Saturday, December 31, 2011


Today is New Year's Eve. A time for renewal, resolutions and goals for the future. For many, it is also the biggest night of the year to party! For years, I felt the same. My friends and I would spend weeks figuring out where to celebrate, what to wear and how to where to stay. After the planning was complete, outfits were purchased and the big day had arrived...I found that New Year's Eve never quite lived up to its hype. It often ended with drama, boredom or simply a feeling of being let down of the promises of the night it was supposed to be.

After talking with a good friend (and former roommate) today, I decided to list memories of New Year's past. The good, the bad and the ugly:

1) Last year, after viewing some wonderful fireworks on Queen Anne hill, Adam and I opted to play it safe and cab it back to our hotel. However, there were NO cabs to be found. We walked and walked...past a shady night club, shady people and about two miles back to our hotel. This might be a slight exaggeration but being that I was in heel, it might as well of been ten miles.

2) Speaking of cabs, we should have learned this lesson several years ago when there were not cabs available in Belltown either. Lesson learned- it is impossible to hail a cab in Seattle on NYE.

3) Going back a bit farther in time...way back to when I was a 23-year-old student teacher and still living at home. Because there was not enough excitement in Mill Creek at this time (although The Jet may have been a lively option) a huge group of us girls decided to stay in Seattle and hit up a party at this club called "China Harbor." Thinking back on this night still makes me cringe.

I won't go into all of the details, but let's just say it involved me getting a bit intoxicated (pretty sure I missed the toasting at midnight), having my purse and coat stolen from coat check, a fire alarm pulled at the hotel and a HUGE headache the following morning.

4) You think I would have learned from the night at China Harbor, but that was not the case. In 2004 (2005 at midnight) we were invited to yet another party at a club. This one had the promise of being more adult, since there was a great band performing (G Love and Special Sauce). The night started out okay, but we soon realized the drinks were both expensive and scarce...pretty sure I waited for 30 minutes to get a beer. When we finally secured a bottle of bubbly, somebody took it and downed the whole thing right in front of us!

The night ended with me getting hit in the face (long story), my friend patting me on the head and driving about 6 people home in my grandfather's car. It is okay, the lack of alcohol (two beers the whole night) and slap really sobered me up.

On a positive note, the following morning (on New Year's Day) was the first time I talked to my (now) husband, Adam when my roommate and I decided to prank call him (really mature, I know). I guess things really do happen for a reason.

Happy New Year everybody!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"She's Crafty" ...or not so much.

There are many things I am skilled at. I run races at a quick pace (not record-breaking but still fairly decent), can read a novel in several days and throw a softball harder than many men. One area ,however, that is not my forte...crafts. At all. I mean I am probably the least "crafty" person you will ever encounter. To truly understand this, we need to go back. Way back to middle school...

During electives rotation, I was enrolled in "Home and Family Living" and we were working on a sewing unit. Each of us to select a pattern for a stuffed animal to sew and work on it during class. I still do not understand why we not given a simpler task to begin the unit-such as sewing on a button. Or even a useful skill... such as hemming pants, but I digress.

Anyways, I struggled constantly with my stuffed dog. In the process, I broke two needles and one sewing machine and the poor guy ended up looking nothing like the picture (poor guy). To make matters worse, the teacher graded these IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASS-embarrassing. Needless to say, she was not too pleased with my product, especially when it fell apart in her hands.

Years later, in college I was seriously lacking funds and decided to make "no-sew" blankets as gifts for Christmas. Since this did not involve any actual sewing how difficult could it be? After purchasing the required fleece fabric from Michael's, I went to town. The first side of the blanket went pretty well. However as I progressed to the other three sides, the blanket became smaller and smaller. Soon, it did not really resemble a blanket at all. It sort of looked like a distorted pillow.

Luckily, I landed a holiday job at Starbucks...meaning my family received real gifts and not the fleece messes intended for them.

Don't worry...there were many other "failed" crafting attempts in college that did end up as presents for others: Picture collages, poem books (sorry Emily) and of course Moge Poge(sp?) picture frames and boxes.

After college my crafting attempts came to a halt. It is a good thing I teach middle school because I do not think the kids or their parents would have been pleased with my bulletin boards or art projects in the classroom.

Recently, I joined the site "Pinterest" where posters "pin" ideas for fashion, decorating, cooking and...CRAFTS! Perhaps I could tap into my inner artist after all- everything looked so easy to create. The clever fall and winter decor made with random objects found around the the house would be a breeze to duplicate! I would just need to get some basics to get me going...

But it was not to be. I nearly had a panic attack from the massiveness of JoAnn fabrics. There was way too much to take in, and after adding up the prices of what was in my basket, I decided it was not worth it. So, I headed to Pier 1 to purchase items for my tablescape. I reasoned it would be cheaper in the long run (as I would most likely mess up the homeade decorations and have to start over).

Although I have struggled with crafting throughout the years, one artistic feat I did have was baking and decorating "Cake Pops" for my co-workers. Even though they did not not look as nice as the ones on the box, they tasted delicious and that is what really matter, right?

Oh, and I can make a KILLER "Sock Bun!"

Monday, October 31, 2011's the one night a year...

I am all for letting your "inner slut" shine through on Halloween. Go ahead. Dress as a "sexy ladybug" or a "sexy construction worker." Heck, even sport a "prostitute" or "Stripper" outfit. It is the one time a year where we can truly become somebody else for the day.

That being said, the one genre of "slut gear" that irks me is when said sexy costume is a child's costume. I mean when the actual character is a child and then the costume is sluttified*...seems a tad paedophilic* if you ask me. Here are some examples I have spotted around town over the years. (These are costumes that should never be worn in the "sexy variety")

- Sexy Strawberry Shortcake (pretty sure she was about 4 years old...eww)
- Sexy Raggedy Anne
- Sexy Alice in Wonderland (she was, like 10 in the book)
- Sexy Gingerbread Boy (this one is just plain wrong...dressing as a sexy boy?)
- Sexy Miss Muffett
- Sexy Bo Peep
- A Sexy baby (okay, I did not really see this costume, but would not be surprised if some college girl wore it last weekend).

I admit... in my day, I have created some scandalous costumes. Halloween would stretch over a 4-night (hazy) escapade, requiring one to come up with separate costumes for each drunken evening. Sometimes, said costumes were not even for Halloween, but for a Fraternity Philanthropy (exhibit A: piece of red, sequin fabric tied around to resemble a shirt/bra).

As I get older, I realize I should cherish those days, when Halloween was just a reason to show some serious skin.

Now that I am out of my 20's, I realize grown women look ridiculous in "Legs Avenue" costumes- or maybe we look even better (minus the freshman 15?), but nevertheless, the sexy gear has retreated to the costume bin in my storage closet.

My only plea is for all college girls (and perhaps some older women as well)... to pick your "sexy" costume responsible. No normal man is going to be into an adult women dressed a slutty "Dora the Explorer."

*not sure if these are real words, except maybe in the Urban Dictionary, but they seemed to fit with the context of this entry!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It is fall

When I was younger, I absolutely loved summer and despised when the days became shorter and evenings colder, darker and usually (in Seattle anyhow) rainier. Summer was always my favorite time of year. I could hang out in my jean shorts (jorts) and flip-flops and read a good book outside until 7 or 8 pm. Oh yeah, and as a teacher, I also have the summers off, making it all the more relaxing.

I never understood when people claimed that fall (FALL) was their favorite season. How could anybody like fall? They would try to persuade me with talk of cute sweaters, new boots, and the great scenery of the leaves changing. Never, did I comprehend their reasoning. SUMMER, not fall was the best season.

This year, however, I am beginning to rethink my past beliefs. Fall just might be my favorite season after all. Why the change of heart, you might ask? Here are a few reasons for the change:

1) The fact I had purchased a new pair of black boots and was ecstatic when the morning was finally cool enough for me to sport them with my new skirt, rather then wearing my peep-toed pumps. Also, the boots are much more comfortable...

2) It is much more enjoyable to go for a run in the crisp air than in the scorching heat. I also was able to take in the fall foliage as I ventured around Edmonds.

3) Being lazy is easier, MUCH easier when it is not sunny outside. Finally, an excuse to watch Lifetime movies during the day.

4) Fall is excellent weather for wine-tasting. Unlike the summer months, when reds are more difficult to drink, fall provides the perfect palate for a variety of different kinds of wine!

5) All of my fav TV shows are back. With new episodes. No more re-runs. Although, I am still waiting for the Pretty Little Liars premiere this week...

6) My warm, puffy coat. Enough said. I know it is not the more attractive, stylish thing in the world, but it is SO cozy!

7) I have an excuse to not wash my car. It might rain after all.

8) Hot totties...with marshmallow vodka. Yum.

9) Fall is an excellent time for experimenting with hair color. Time to go dark again?

10) Halloween. Who doesn't like carving pumpkins and eating tons of candy? Not to mention... "Halloween is the one night a year where a girl can dress like a total slut and nobody can say anything about it." (Sorry, had to throw a "Mean Girls" quote in here- best movie of all-time)...

Happy Fall everybody!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Since I have nothing to write about...

For the last couple weeks, I have had a plethora of blog ideas. I usually think of them as I am driving home. Upon sitting down to type, I would realize that none of them work out as well as I had anticipated.

For example, I went to Hawaii (Maui) with Adam for our one-year-anniversary. It was fabulous. Absolutely fantastic. But, as my friend's mom informed me at a wedding shower, "nobody wants to read about how wonderful your life is." So true. Plus, I lost the cord to download pictures from my camera, so I would not be able to post the stellar photo of myself, surfing...

After thinking it over, I was planning on writing not necessarily about my great time visiting the 50th state, but a blog comparing Seattle to Hawaii. I know what you are thinking-that sounds odd. It was, so I have yet to post that entry.

There were other possibilities but, in the end, none worked out the way I had envisioned in my mind.

Since I LOVE to read, I decided in the end, this entry would be a list of my personal favorite books.

Here it is. A list of the best books I have ever read.

1) Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

This is a memoir about a boy's miserable childhood in Ireland in the 1940's. His family is dirt poor, and cannot even afford shoes. To make matters worse, his good-for-nothing father spends the little money they do have at the pubs. Oh, and they keep having more children. And half of them die before the age of three. Sounds depressing, but McCourt writes in a way that makes it almost humorous.

2) Jemima J By Jane Green

This is one of my favorite "chick lit" reads. A girl living in London wants to lose weight and get a boyfriend. She meets a man (who lives in California) online and leads him to believe she is thin. Jemima does lose the weight right before she takes off on a journey to Los Angeles to meet him. I know this plot sounds dumb and cheesy, but trust me, it is incredibly well-written. In fact, I literally devoured it in one night!

3) 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult

Most people are more familiar with Picoult's book, My Sister's Keeper, but in my opinion, 19 Minutes toally blows it out of the water. This book is told in multiple points of view (which I LOVE) as they unravel the events leading up to, and following a school shooting. Picoult's uncanny ability to develop many characters is amazing and a difficult task, and she nails it!

4) Sex Wars by Marge Piercy

Before you start raising eyebrows at me, this is NOT a book about sex. Not really anyway, although there is certainly a lot of it in the story. It is an historical fiction novel set in the time of women's suffrage, and showcases some of the era's well-known figures-Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, and Cornelius Vanderbuilt...and the villain, Anthony Comstock (famous for his laws banning porn and birth control). I actually learned a great deal while reading this, and also was completely enveloped in the story.

Other recommended reads (because I am too lazy to write anymore reviews, this is just a list). Again, these are all books SO outstanding, I have read them multiple times:

5) Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah (have Kleenex ready)

6) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (long, but a fast read...I promise)

7) The World without End by Ken Follett (the sequel to Pillars.)

8) The Help by Kathryn Stockett (better than the movie...and I thought the movie was fairly decent, as far as movies modeled after books go...)

9) Harem by Dora Levy Mossanen (Great historical fiction read about life in a Sultan's Harem, and I learned a great deal about Eunuchs as well)

10) Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen (follows a woman's life as, well, a Courtesan)

11) The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory (can you tell I enjoy historical fiction?)

12) Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi (great read for guys too! Learned a great deal about the man behind the racket, including some interesting bits about his hair!)

13) Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner (again, not a sex book! She has many other great reads too)

14) Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult (because everybody likes to read about Amish community)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Since my mind is way too exhausted to come up with a clever post (the first two days back at school have wiped me out, I decided to just observe things in my day-to-day life. Some are funny, others annoying, and some just...well, random.

Here are some (random) observations, made by me, over the last few days:

1) Socks should NEVER be worn with Capri pants. Particularly if they are knee-high bright pink socks. And especially on a day where the weather is in the high 80's.

2) There are many people who choose to double-park (in the best spots) in the QFC lot by my house. These are not people with big cars...but average to small cars.This is confusing to me, and annoying when I am attempting to find a place to park. Either people in Edmonds cannot park, or are inconsiderate.

3) Apparently the new craze is to light fireworks on labor day. At least in the Lynnwood/Edmonds area. I was not aware of this and may have to check into purchasing some fireworks of my own next year.

4) Every single year I have been a teacher (7 years now), the person with the job of predicting enrollment is terribly wrong. And, I might add that they are paid A LOT of dough to be so consistently incorrect.

5) It is always hot the first week back at school, even if the summer has been cold. Not fun in a school with no AC and over 30 middle-schoolers in one room. Some of whom who are unaware they need to start applying deodorant.

6) Painting a room looks much easier on those home remodeling shows. You know...the ones where they finish painting an entire room in under an hour and make it look super-eary? Well, it took me over an hour to paint a minuscule bathroom, and I was left with spots that needed to be touched up, and paint all over my arms and face.

7) There are an increasing number of people who use the self-checkout for a full cart of groceries. Surprisingly, there is no limit on the number of items in these lines. It is agonizing when you get stuck behind them. Even more so if all you are attempting to purchase is a single pack of gum, and a bottle of water.

8) Speaking of water...the price of water at my work (out of the vending machine) has gone up this year. Currently, it is at 1.50 for a small bottle. Hmmm...perhaps it is time to start remembering to bring my own?

9) Yet another observation from the vending machines is the fact that "Rockstar Energy Drinks" have been added to the options. Seems ironic as all soda/energy drink items are not allowed for students. I guess somebody thinks teachers need even more caffeine. The coffee is no longer enough to keep us trucking through the day.

10) I noticed that 80's styles are back. Since I was not not old enough to dress like Madonna when it was "in" back then (I usually sported the leggings with big shirt look), do you think it is acceptable to wear these clothes now? There is an unspoken rule stating you should not partake in a trend you already wore growing up. What I am wondering, is that since I was just a kid in the 80's, do I get a free pass to rock a "Like a Virgin" outfit?

11) Justin Timberlake is actually a decent actor. I typically doubt the acting chops of pop stars/singers (Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson, etc.). After viewing "The Social Network" and "Bad Teacher" I would have to say...the former N'Sync boy band member is fabulous in movies (and SNL skits).

12) I used to think the commercials for the microwave meals that cook in one minute (rather than 3 minutes) were silly. After all, can't we wait 3 minutes to eat? Is anybody really in such a hurry they cannot wait the extra minutes for a delicious processed meal? Today at lunch, when ALL microwaves were occupied (and I was in a huge hurry) I started to rethink my prior opinion. Or maybe, I could just start making a sandwich....

13) And lastly, a FINAL observation made today regarding fashion: Nobody should be allowed to wear the combination of sandals with socks. The only exception is if you are a senior citizen... otherwise, it just hurts my eyes to look at. If it is chilly enough to pull on the socks, slip on some shoes!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fro-Yo to go!

As you read in my previous post, I have been going a bit "stir-crazy" this summer. However, I did accomplish at least one incredibly imporant feat. Tasting frozen yougurt from ALL of the local venues.

Seriously, somebody needed to do it. So you are welcome in advance for what I undertook on my time off.

My love of all things frozen yogurt goes back. Way back. This blog will start where it all began...

It was the summer between 4th and 5th grades and the Mill Creek Plaza was definitely a "hot spot" for all of us kids. There was no fancy "Town Center" as stands today. We could either ride bikes to Albertson's, Shari's, a couple pizza places, and a Crownbook Store (you know, the small bookstore that existed before the GIANT chains took over, but I will save that rant for another day).

The magical summer when I was 10, a new place opened. A frozen yogurt store, called TCBY. I remember riding there with my friend, Shannon after scrapping together enough change to purchase two 99 cent sundaes. The yogurt was delicious and I was hooked.

Now, frozen yogurt has become the newest dessert trend in the area, with new stores opening weekly! Here is my synopsis of the three I have tried recently:

Menchies, Lynnwood: EVERYBODY was talking about this place, but since I despise driving, especially on the freeway, I was estatic when one opened near my house.
Pros: LOTS of flavor and toppings to select from. I opted for the tart and the red velvet cake, along with some cookie dough on top. I liked being able to serve myself and the yougurt had a good texture and flavor.
Cons: Serving yourself means so does everybody else. I was okay with this until I saw a boy stick his hand in the gummy bears. It was also a bit messy. My husband, Adam, announced that his yogurt was gross and that nothing compared to TCBY and was confused as to why it was so popular.

Revolations in Edmonds: This new fro-yo spot in downtown edmonds is always packed with families, couples, and teens. I had heard great things, so I went here next. Yes, on the very same day I visited Menchies. Don't judge. I was on a mission, and also, the Mechies was for lunch...this was dinner.
Pros: Lots of flavors and toppings. It was almost exactly like Menchies, with many different options to select from. I liked being able to sample as many as I wanted as well. My traditional chocolate flavor was pretty good, but not great. The stawberry topping I selected a stopping was delicious and all of the fruit seemed to be very fresh.
Cons: Again, the thought of so many people handling food grosses me out, and although I did not see anybody grab with their hands here, I am sure it occurs. Also, this place was pricy. Over five dollars for one yogurt. And, mine was not even that full!

TCBY, Lynnwood: My old favorite, now closed in Mill Creek, but this one is actually closer to my house now. Since Adam was raving about its greatness,I decided to make a little visit yesterday (before you think I am an addict, this was NOT the same day I visited the first two).
Pros: This yogurt was definitely the best of the three. I ordered a small bowl of the traditional tart flavor and my old fav-white chocolate mouse! Both were rich, creamy and had great flavor. Also, no grubby hands touching the toppings (cookie dough and sprinles). The girl at the counter wore gloves.
Cons: Not as many options, but I am thinking this is a good thing, as many of the yogurt options at the first two were nothing to write home about. It is also in a bad location, which is why I think it might not be as crowded?

The newer stores in the area may offer more selection as far as toppings and flavors go, but come on, TCBY has been around for ages. Also, customers may get a kick out of being able to serve themselves for a time, but the novelty will eventually wear off...or they will get grossed out when they see somebody sneeze or stick their hand in the toppings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A confession...

I have a confession. I think I might be ready to go back to work. Shocking, right?

As a teacher, I have the option of taking the summer off. I have not exercised this option until this year. In the past, I have taken classes, worked as a server, and taught summer school. This was the year I decided to give myself a bit of a break (besides the two weeks worth of classes I enrolled in).

When I pictured my summer of freedom, the possibilities were endless: lying out in the sun and reading, going on fun day trips, hiking, and maybe taking up a new hobby.

However, I did maybe one of these things. It was difficult to sunbathe due to the lack of sun in the PNW this summer, day trips were put on hold because of traffic concerns and the lack of any creativity on my part regarding where to go. Oh, and I NEVER went hiking. I really did not have anybody to go with and it is not safe to go alone. There are bears out there.

Oh, and the hobbies I desired to take up (playing the guitar and rock climbing) proved to be pricier than I thought.

Needless to say, the break has still been relaxing, but...I am kind of ready to go back to work(after my trip to Hawaii, of course).

There are definite signs I need a busier schedule, including:

1) I have begun having full-on conversations with my dog. Not just the usual, "good boy" or "ready to go on a walk?" I mean, I am asking my dog questions and answering for him, like, " Teddy, do you want to come upstairs while I get ready?" It is beginning to come rather creepy. Poor Teddy. He probably just wants me out of the house, so he can take a nap.

2) I have cleaned the baseboards in my entire house TWICE this summer. Each day in fact, I embark on a new cleaning project.

3) On my walks with Teddy (he now gets two per day), we (Teddy and I) now know many of the senior citizens and stay-at-home-parents by name. Some have asked if I have a job.

4) Going to the gym is typically my major event of the day. When I am working, it is an activity I have to fit into my schedule.

5) Trips to places like Target that I would accomplish at a rapid pace during the school year now can last a couple of hours.

6) So far, I think I have read over 30 books. The other day, I checked out a book from the library that I had already read in July, and did not realize it until chapter 4. I am not sure what this says about the genre of books I have been reading.

7) Two days ago, I made a visit to the teacher store and actually became elated with the various borders and stickers I might purchase for the new school year. Can I add that I am not the least bit crafty and despise any sort of classroom decorating. Usually, somebody has to help me put them up.

8) Each morning, I tune into the "Today" show and "Saved by the Bell" re-runs while drinking my coffee. While this is nice, I actually sort of the quick-paced mornings when I am working. I sort of enjoy the hustle of having to get ready in 45 minutes. Not the 5:30am wake-up though.

Now, I am by no means complaining about having the summer off (for those of you screaming "shut-up" at your computer while reading this blog). I just think I am one of those people who likes the structure of a schedule.

I LOVE being busy and working to fit everything in during the day. Most of all, as much as might complain about it during the school year, I LOVE my job. And I miss it after the first couple of weeks off.

And there you have it, my confession. Now, I will just have to see if I eat my words come October!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A facial; a wake-up call

For my 30th Birthday, my wonderful sister (thanks Meag!)sent me a spa day at my favorite salon in Edmonds. This package included a facial, which I immediately booked for the soonest appointment possible.

I waltzed into the Ombu Salon sans make-up and ready for some great relaxation while I was the recipient of a nice face massage and treatment. God knows, I needed it, as my skin had been feeling rather well...tired as of late.

The facial was an excellent one; excellent rejuvenation of my skin with some serious exfoliation. I was lying there, wishing that I could afford facials on a regular basis when the esthetician stated:

" You should really look into a skin-care regimen. You know, now that you are in your 30's. It can help stop any further damage to your skin."

Just to be fair, she said this after I informed her that my "skin care regimen" involved some Aveeno face wash and sun screen. And, I was not really too insulted as she was older than me and informed me that she too, was a sun worshipper in her teens. And had proceeded to lay out in with no sunscreen, just oil. She continued stating that most of the damage to my skin had occurred at least 10 years ago (baby oil days). Apparently, the only way to rid my skin of that damage is with laser treatments.

She showed me some of the products she used at the counter after the service. I only bought one item (the exfoliate, which is amazing) before I got sucked into buying EVERYTHING she used on my skin.

Afterward, I headed to Target and stocked up on: Lifting lotion with Retin A, moisturizer with sunscreen, night cream, and toning lotion. I was set. Ready to protect my skin. After all, who wants to look like leather when they are 60? Not this girl?

Since that day at the salon, I have been faithfully using the exfoliate, the creams, applying sunscreen and I even donned a hat while reading in the sun.

The hardest part of all of this is that I cannot see the immediate results that my ADD personality demands. I was hoping to see my skin looking and feeling MUCH younger overnight! Not the case. Although, it does feel a bit smoother now, a few weeks into the treatments.

The big question is: will being cautious now save me from looking old and aged later? or is it too late?

Has the fun I had in my teens ruined my looks forever? Well at least if that is the case, I had fun doing it. I would not take back the careless days of summer, spread out on a beach towel at a pool, the beach, or in a backyard.

I would have, perhaps like to go back and tap my teenage self on the shoulder and hand her a bottle of SPF 30!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Looking back...

Now that I am officially in my "30's" I figure I must be older and wiser now (at least than I was in my teens). Looking back, here is some advice I would give to "teen-age Allison"...

1) Bleaching your hair white-blond will not look good. Especially if you do it yourself. Also, your roots will look horrible. The pictures will haunt you for years to come.

2) Be yourself. Don't worry what everybody else is or is not doing.

3) The following trends are extremely ugly. Please refrain from wearing: HUGE jeans, white eyeliner, skin-colored lips, glitter on your face, butterfly clips, black mini-skirts with shorts attached, platform flip flops and super-flare REALLY low-rise jeans. Oh and sequin tube tops.

4) Try harder in your classes in high school and opt for some challenging classes. All you really have to worry about now is school. Make the most of it. Running the student store and weight training are NOT challenging classes.

5) It is NOT a good idea to drink an entire water bottle filled with vodka. Particularly when you are 15-years-old and weigh 100 pounds. You will get sick and throw up everywhere. Then, the next will wake you up early to go hiking. (I still wonder if she knew I was REALLY hungover)?

6) Value the friendships you have now...don't take anybody for granted. Keep in contact with old friends as you grow-up.

7) Running away from the police during a snow storm is NEVER a good idea. It can only turn out one way. Badly.

8) Appreciate and spend time with your family.

9) Eating healthy does not include consuming a large diet Coke and a bag of Otis Spunkmeyer cookies for lunch. In fact, stop drinking soda now. Later, you will have LOTS of cavities due to this habit.

10) Enjoy being young, not having to worry about anything (other than what is going on this weekend), and learn from your experiences, whether they be positive or negative.

And that, "teen-age Allison" would be the advice I would have given you looking back at what life was like back then.

Not to say that this same advice could not be applied today as if I find myself wearing white eyeliner or losing contact with old friends, I will remember what I would have told myself as a teen and do the same now.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beep me... my love/hate relationship with technology

My love/hate relationship with technology(namely cell phones) goes WAY middle school. The year was 1995 and I had just earned a pager after a summer of baby-sitting. I was pretty stoked about it, since pagers were the "new thing." They were a much better option than the giant "Zach Morris Cell phones" available at the time.

My pager was a shiny, light-blue shade and it allowed me to receive archaic text messages from friends. Now, I would know who was trying to get a hold of me and I could call them back (sometimes from a pay phone). I loved the freedom of people being able to reach me when I was not at home. And, as a 13-year-old, I often was not at home.

Since I did say this was a love/hate, let me tell you the hate part. Not only could my friends track me could my parents! And, I was expected to call back when they beeped me.

This relationship with technology continues today, but now it is much more extreme than a simple beeper. People can now contact one another ALL THE TIME! While this is sometimes really cool and helpful (when you are lost trying to find some body's house, during an emergency, etc) mostly it is just annoying.

Two of my favorite memories were when I traveled through Europe. Obviously the trips were amazing but so was the lack of technology. When I was there I did not have my phone. It was heaven. Nobody could reach me and I could only search the web or check email from the REALLY OLD computer in the hotel (MOTEL/HOSTEL) lobby. And I survived. Thrived even. No cell problem!

Since I cannot always use the excuse that I am in Europe, I know have to purposely leave my phone at home when I am running errands, walking Teddy, or out to dinner. This gives me just a piece of the technology-freeness (not sure if this is a word, but oh well) I felt in Europe.

Since obtaining a new cell-phone last year, I now have a new issue...the Internet. Now that the Internet is available on my phone, I often find myself online and randomly searching the web. I will check facebook, look for Groupons, "Google" things I am wondering about. Not only is this rude to the people I am with (or unsafe, if I am in the car) it is flat-out annoying to me too!

Don't get me wrong, sometimes the Internet is fabulous to have at your fingertips. Sometimes it cures the boredom of sitting in a waiting room. Mostly though, it is absolutely not necessary to be online.

Another irritant that cell phones and technology have brought upon us all... people now assume one should be able to reach anybody, at anytime, in any format (text, call or email) and said recipient should either answer or respond immediately.

Is this fast-paced society we have created more effective? Or just more annoying? The jury is still out on that one. I do no that once in a while, we all need a break from being connected at all times.

So, I challenge you... go "retro." Try leaving your phone at home when you are out running errands. It will be just like back in the 80's and 90's. You know, when you could only be reached AT home and everybody just had to wait until you returned to reach you...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting the artificial stuff out of my life...

Growing up in the 80's, I learned that sugar was bad for you. This was reinforced all the time (low-sugar cereal, reduced sugar juice, etc).

It was only natural that I was drawn to all things artificial... if they contained less sugar or fat (or none)the assumption was that they must be better for me, right? I regularly searched out all things fake...syrup for pancakes, whipped cream, creamer, ice cream (yuck, I know)and Popsicles.

Two of my main addictions, used daily, were spray butter and sugar-free sweeteners (for my coffee). In fact, until I made the decision to stop using "fake food products" I could not even recall the last time I had used REAL butter. On anything. Seriously.

For those of you who are wondering, "what hell is spray butter?" I am not even sure how to describe it properly. I guess you could call it: a mix of chemicals that are combined to mimic the flavor of butter.

Oh, and you can spray the chemicals right onto your knife required. This in itself should have scared me. I was literally spraying chemicals onto my food! My husband was particularly not a fan of the spray. He thought it sounded like I was putting cleaner on my toast.

My other vice was sugar-free sweetener in coffee (splenda, syrup, equal, etc). Not just a little bit either. I would unload the stuff in there, pleased that I was cutting out 100 calories and making a healthier choice. Or was I?

A couple of weeks ago, I started getting headaches at work. Like, REALLY bad ones. Bad enough that I had to take Advil nearly every day. This was not normal, so I decided to pinpoint the cause. A friend had mentioned once that she could not use "fake sugar" as it gave her pounding headaches, so I decided to cut those out.

And, what do you know...NO MORE HEADACHES! Plus, I found that when I used real sugar, I did not need to use as much.

My next challenge was to start using real butter...not nearly as fun to use, but probably much healthier.

Last Friday, I accepted the challenge and spread an English muffin with honest to goodness REAL butter.

It was delicious...and I actually felt more satisfied. Not hungry right away like I was with the fake stuff. The best part though? I could actually taste the English muffin. The spray butter's artificial saltiness had been completely overpowering the taste of the bread.

Even though it has only been a couple of weeks since my life-style change, I already feel much better. Headaches are gone, I can taste my bagels again, and I am not creeping Adam out anymore.

So, the moral of the story is: getting rid of the fake things in your life (whether it be people or food products)feels fabulous...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day! Or...Sh*t my dad says (and does)

Hi there. Long time, no see (or write). The reason? Well, as all of my teacher friends know, the end of the school year is quite a busy time. Plus, Adam has been using the computer for work...leaving me with only my phone to post from, which I have decided takes WAY too long!

I have had this post in mind for weeks now, however. Longer actually. Since my "Mother's Day" post, I knew I also had to honor my dad with a blog entry (although he will never see it, since he has not yet picked up on "The Facebook" of online of things I LOVE about him)

So, this is a list of humorous things my dad has said, done, or taught me throughout the years! Love you dad... We will begin with things he has SAID.

1) "Hit the fish over the head!" (said to me prior to me having a nervous breakdown over having to kill the fish. And, ironically, fish if one of my favorite dishes. I just could not stand to actually slaughter the little guy myself.

2) "Stay away from the Alderwood Mall. It is full of fat people in vans trying to find close parking spots." This is a CLASSIC line from my dad. blunt as he might sound...he was correct. The mall WAS in fact full of fat people, trying to find close spots. Thanks for the warning pops!

3) At L.A. Fitness last year: "Hey Allison, do you know ____________? (as he is introducing me to a teenage boy)He goes to Jackson High School and plays baseball there."

Dad...if I KNEW this 17-year-old boy, I would hope you would be HIGHLY concerned, considering that I graduated from Jackson over 10 years ago!

4) "I think it is fine that Teddy is spoiled. Dogs are supposed to spoiled and played with. They are NOT just pieces of furniture." Finally, somebody condoning the fact that we have a very spoiled puppy!*t my dad has done...

1) Once LA Fitness, in front of a sign reading "please keep your shirt on. No cell phones" I glance over and notice my father wearing NO shirt and talking on his cell phone! Classic!

2) My dad despises when people are late...but what is funny is that he is often late himself! When I call to say I am arriving late, he cracks jokes about how I am always late...completely ignoring the fact that he is also late the other half of the time.

3) Saying things TOO loudly is another trait my dad has. While this is sometimes funny, other times it is embarrassing. He will say things like, "boy is that server stupid" loudly enough for the server to hear. I swear, when I am with him at dinner, we probably get our food spit in half the time.

Important Lessons that my dad has taught me (besides to stay away from the mall):

1) My dad always encouraged me (and my sister)to be athletic and competitive. I thank him for the fact that I can throw a softball (HARD), not a rainbow throw. I also thank him for completely understanding the rules of baseball.

2) Never letting me use my size as an excuse. I inherited my height from my dad's side, but I never let it stop me. Even when I was cut from the Volleyball team, I still managed to play basketball for years!

3) To try to stay calm in all situations. I swear, I have almost never hear my dad raise his voice. He handled things rationally. One particular situation comes to mind where he had to pick me up from the Mill Creek Police Station (way TOO long of a story to explain here). Although, I did have to push his car up the hill in the snow...he still did not yell at me. Although, getting frostbite was most likely punishment enough!

4) My dad instilled in my to always be supportive of others. As I played MANY sport and participated in many activities throughout the years, my dad could always be found at all of them, cheering me on (or sometimes umpiring or coaching). When I switched from softball to tennis, I thought my dad would be disappointed. Instead, he came to as many of my matches as he could and complimented my playing, even when I lost! (even though you will not see this)here is a toast to you and all of the little quirks that make you the father that you are!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lessons learned...from my mom!

Since it is Mother's Day, I thought I would let my mom know all of the things that she taught me without knowing it. These were mostly things (like rules) that I would argue with her about (or roll my eyes at) when I was a teen-ager. At this time I, of course, thought that I knew it all and that my mom was clueless. However, now that I am "grown-up" I appreciate these little things and even (gasp) find myself trying to embed them in others!

1) Never leave wet towels on the floor, bed, or in the laundry basket for too long or they will get mildewy. I used to mock this rule and carelessly toss my towels all over the house. Now, I make sure mine are hung up.

2) Too much make-up will make you look like a prostitute. Okay, so I don't think my mom worded it quite that way when I was 11, but she did tell me that I was beautiful without make-up and to save it for when I really needed it. Looking at a photo of myself at age 12 after having a friend give me make-over, I can see she was right.

3) Stop laying in the sun covered in oil. Use sunscreen. Wear sunglasses. You will regret it when you are older and look all wrinkled. True. Totally true. Should have listened to that one!

4) Always make your bed, no matter how rushed or tired you are in the morning. It makes your bedroom just look a little more put together. Plus, it feels WAY better to get into a made-up bed at night.

5) Some of the kids you hang out with are bad news and will get you into trouble. I honestly hated when my mom told me this. I could make my own decisions. I didn't have to follow anybody. However, now I find dolling out the same advice to my 6th grade students when they have friend issues. And, my mom was right. Lots of the kids she was speaking of did turn out to be "bad."

6) Always wear your seat belt. My mom actually would refuse to start the car until all passengers were safely belted. I am actually surprised today just how many people do not buckle up.

7) Eat healthy foods, not junk. As a kid I despised my lunches. All of the other kids would get to enjoy cookies, chips and soda. Meanwhile, I would have a sandwich, crackers, an apple,and a fruit roll-up (the 100% fruit kind)with a (100%) juice to wash it down with. My family also never went to Costco to purchase pallets of muffins, doughnuts, or chips. We actually ate organic food before it was popular. Now I am glad that I was encouraged to eat healthy and still try to today. With the exception of ice cream of course!

8) You are not too short. Your feet reach the ground, right? After completely missing out on the whole "growth spurt" that my peers got around 8th grade, I would often complain about wanted to be taller. It never happened and my mom made me appreciate myself the way I am and to stop comparing myself to others. I may not ever model runway fashion, but I can bust out more double-unders than most people at my gym!

Thanks mom, for making me the person I am today, and I am sorry for not listening to your advice when I was growing up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30 before 30

The other night, my friend, Kelly, told me about a book given to her as a gift prior to her 30th Birthday...called "30 Things to do before you are 30." Being that I myself am about to reach this milestone birthday, thought I would come up with my own list of 30 things I hope to accomplish or do before July 6th. I realized as I was coming up with things, that I had already completed some of them (those are in bold) Here it is:

1) Backpack through Europe
2) Get a puppy
3) Go on a Redhook Brewery tour- I worked there for several years, yet never once went on the tour.
4) Run on a beach (perferably someplace warm)
5) Visit my college town of Pullman and go to: The Coug, Sella's, The Bookie, Pita Pit, and Gamma Phi Beta (for a picture opp)
6) Have a night out in Seattle that is reminiscent of my 23-year-old nights out. This would include going to Chopsticks, Ozzie's, Pescos, The Ballroom, and perhaps Tia Lou's and the Red Door.
7) Going back to my roots-meaning my real hair color, which I have not seen since I was in Middle School.
8) Purchasing a house
9)Squeezing an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink. This was something I read about in a "Ramona" book when I was little...I have wanted to do this ever since.
10) Go horseback riding again. Have not been since I was younger.
11) Bake a cake with more than one layer.
12) Learn to change a tire.
13) Sing Karaoke
14) Fall in love and get married
15) Run a 1/2 marathon. No, I have absolutely ZERO desire to run a full one.
16) Randomly break out into a dance number like they do in the movies (perhaps a "flash mob"). I have secretly always thought this would be amazing!
17) Buy a ridiculously expensive purse for myself. Like, not one from the Brass Plum where I usually get them.
18) Get a tattoo...
19) Plant vegetables in my yard that don't die and are actually edible
20) Go Sky-diving. Kidding, that is DEFINITELY not on my list...the idea terrifies me and I could care less if I ever do this.
21) Go wine-tasting in Napa/Sanoma
22) Take dancing lessons (I guess I would have to get Adam to agree to this one as well)
23) Write and publish a book
24) Dive in the mud again. Have not done this since I played softball in high school. Will be able to check this off when I compete in the "Warrior Dash" this will be technically after my 30th, but only by a few days!
25) Visit my sister in the Big Apple
26) Rollerblade around Greenlake...and ignore the weird looks people give me
27) Purchase a bike and try to ride it places...maybe to Redhook to go on the brewery tour? However, I will not attempt to ride it on the streets. Trails or sidewalks only!
28) Go Kayaking. Again, preferably some place warm (maybe I could fit this in the same day I run on a beach)?
29) Go on an unplanned road trip
30) Keep setting goals for things I want to do/accomplish even after I turn 30. After all 30 is the new 20, right?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reasons why I should be paid more (and be allowed to keep my National Board Stipend)

In the following week or so, these are the issues I had to deal with at work:

1) A student who is a potential gang member was expelled for threatening to stab another student in his math class. Said student was let back into school the next week (because he did not actually have a weapon) causing us to have to move the student who was threatened out of my class and into another.

2) I discovered that a group of girls in my class had essentially started a "fight" club and would meet to beat on one another in the restroom during their passing time. In addition, they would try to distract their math teacher, allowing them to do this in class as well. All of their parents are in denial that their "angels" would ever do such things, although the Vice-Principal has gathers a couple dozen witness reports from other students citing exactly what they were up to.

3) One member of the "fight club" group took things a bit too far, nearly strangling another member in the bathroom. I was the one who ended this fight and now the mother of the "strangled girl" is pressing charges against the other...completely ignoring that her own precious daughter had a very big part in the whole situation. Said mother is currently harassing me with emails, in attempts to now appear to be a caring parent who is involved with her daughter's schooling. I am guessing this is to prepare for when her and her daughter's character are in question during the hearing?

4) Oh, did I mention that the girl whose mother is pressing charges was suspended for 45 days for bringing a knife to school back in October? Yup, quite a model student.

5) Two boys in my class are now suspended for fighting before school. One of them ended up in the hospital with a broken arm. That mother is also pressing charges against the other boy, even though they were equally involved in the fight.

6) Because of all of the the suspensions, I was left with a class of only 21 students for two days last week. While it was nice, I am still expected to give these students the opportunity to make up any missed work. Oh, and I will also be judged on whether or not they pass the state test.

7) Tomorrow, I am getting a kid with major behavior issues in my class, because there were so many problems with the teacher of the class he was in. But don't worry, I am sure I can change his entire attitude even though his parents don't seem to make the effort.

8) Two girls that I have in my class forged notes as to get out of their Science class early and go home. One got out, the other note was caught by the office. They didn't seem to understand why this was a big deal.

9) Did you notice that I have even mentioned any challenges that have to do with actual "teaching?" This is because the actual teaching is the easy part.

10) I am still teaching amidst all of these problems. While all of this was occurring, we: Studied the Aztec and took a quiz (which every kid got an A or a B on), learned about the Literacy elements of theme and character, figured out strategies for reading non-fiction text, and used metacognition to think about reading.

With all of these challenges, I feel that I should definitely be allowed to keep my Board Stipend (which will probably cease to exist next year) as should other NBCT's. However, the "solution" currently in the works is to take away my stipend and add more kids to each class (since I am considered "highly qualified").

The question I have, and have pondered for a while is: When will we as a nation start holding parents more accountable? It is not my job to teach kids manners they should have learned at home. It seems like everybody thinks the schools are the way to handle any major problems with youth. Schools are where we try to change gangs, nutrition (school lunches), childhood obesity, family problems, friendship and social issues, and more...

Your kid is fat? Blame the school's and their "unhealthy lunches" and only "two trimesters of PE" without bothering to take a look at what they are eating at home and sheer number of hours they spend playing video games, rather than moving. Isn't it time to take a good hard look at why just turning to schools to solve all of our problems is NOT working.

All the pieces of the puzzle have to be in place to see any real change- Schools, parents, and the community. Right now, unless something changes, I have a real concern for the future of our county.

Although, maybe I can sue these parents for giving me wrinkles before I should have any?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The white hat trick

When I was in high school, there was this thing that my friends and I referred to as "the white hat trick." It was basically a theory that all guys looked better when wearing white hats (even better if they were backward).

Then, when the hats were removed, said boy could be completely average looking, or (gulp) ugly.

White hats, for some unknown reason, just caused the attractiveness of males to increase tenfold. Perhaps it was because they covered strange hair, an odd-shaped head, or a peculiar face (previously shaded by the hat).

Seriously. This theory tested to be true time and time again. In college, I discovered friends from other schools who also knew of "the white hat trick" and it's effectiveness to woo girls. It was being done all over the state...maybe even the country!

Alas, white hats went out of style when I was in college, replaced by a new trick...the "long hair trick" (I know, I am pretty clever with names).

In college, the "frat cut" finally went out of style and long hair became trendy. Long hair on guys showed that they were laid-back, carefree, and "different" (even though the majority of males thier age had the same style).

Instantly, men with longish hair were deemed to be more desirable and attractive.

Then, similar to the removal of the white hats, college boys might cut their locks for the summer- and reveal their true appearance. No longer could they hide behind their hair.

Today, the girls I teach site "skinny jeans" as a prerequisite for a boy to be "attractive" (perhaps a Beiber influence)? If a boy does not wear said jeans, he not considered cool by the female teenage population.

I sort of get the "white hats" and "long hair" as a way to hide who they really are...skinny jeans do not really fit this idea. Sorry guys. Nobody looks good in skinny jeans, even the Bieb. And they certainly do not hide anything either.

Maybe they will put away the skinny jeans when they learn of the "white hat trick" from their fathers?

I guess, the bottom line is, if we girls have make-up, push-up bras, and highlights, guys deserve to have some tricks of their own too?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Would you like socks and srunchie with those?

My first experience with a salesperson attempting to sell me additional items while making a purchase was at Nordstrom when I was nine.

I had finally saved up enough allowance and dog-sitting money to buy a new pair of Guess jeans (yes with zippers). As I counted out my money at the counter, the woman asked me, "would you like some slouch socks or a scrunchie with these?"

Caught off guard by this new (to me) sales approach, I mumbled, "yes" before realizing I only had enough for the stone-wash jeans. The scrunchie and socks would have to wait.

As I grew older, I realized this was a common tactic of sales people and I even practiced it myself while working in the student store in high school ("would you like a soda with your Otis Spunkmeyer cookies") as well as when I worked at Abercromie and Fitch ("perhaps some perfume with your ripped jeans?")
Usually, the items offered make "go" with the original purchase. However, I have noticed lately this is not always the case. See the following incident below:

Today, I decided a nice vanilla ice cream cone would really hit the spot after walking my dog. I cruised in the drive-thru and placed my order via the screen and waited for my total.

Instead the voice replied, "would you like some oatmeal to go with that?" Oatmeal? really? Not only does oatmeal NOT go with ice cream, but it was also three in the afternoon. Hardly oatmeal time.
"No thanks," I replied.

But the voice did not give up on me yet..." Would you like to try a large fry or a large soda with that?" Now I was just getting annoyed. If I wanted a large soda or large fries I would have ordered them. And again, neither really compliments a small ice cream cone.

Pulling up to the window, I retrieved my ice cream cone (sans oatmeal, fries, or a large soda) and drove off.

I did not go for the sales pitch, but my guess is many people do. My only objective is: if you are going to try to tag on additional purchases at least make sure they compliment the original.

Also, if I could go back to that day where I bought those Guess jeans, I wish I could have also purchased the slouch socks AND a scrunchie. Both of those go with the jeans much better than the oatmeal would have gone with my ice cream...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not trendy?

For some reason, when something is trendy (or "on-trend" as Meaghan told me to say), I make an honest stab at trying to like it. This attempt usually fails miserably and I decide to stick with what I know and like. Maybe I am boring. Maybe I am not trendy. At least I am being me, and that is what matters, right?

List of my failures with pop culture:

1) Twilight. No, not the time of day. The books. The movies. Basically anything to do with this phenomenon. And yes, I did read the first book and could barely get through it. Worst writing ever. It sounded like how I teach my students to get rid of dead words. The author does not use "said" once. Not once. Really?

2) Skinny jeans...I just feel they make my legs look like pig legs. Half a dozen times, I have hit up the stores in pursuit of these jeans. I have tried both cheap and expensive ones- they looked equally disgusting. Big thighs, small ankles. Yuck. I did however buckle and go for a straight-leg option (necessary for tucking into boots).

3) Ballet-style flats. This is one trend I wish I could wear, but I need the heel height, and always feel I make others uncomfortable when wearing flat shoes.

4) scarves and long necklaces. Again, I really like both of these styles, but cannot seem to pull them off. Seeing others pulling together an outift with a big necklace inspires me to find one as well, but to no avail. Same with scarves. When I try to wear either, I look like a kid playing with my grandmothers costume jewelry, or they do not quite go with my outfit.

5) Most fantasy movies. My sister, Meaghan, will agree with me on this one. They just plain creep me out. The Never-Ending Story" is the worst (I became physically sick twice after viewing this one), followed by the "Lord of the Rings." The whole trilogy. For some odd reason though, I LOVE Harry Potter... go figure.

6) "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series. Everybody was raving about it, so I put my name on the (100 or so person long) hold list at the Edmond's library. Finally got it last week. Read the first 150 pages and am bored and am choosing to abandon the book.

7) Gingerbread lattes, pumpkin spice lattes, Eggnog lattes, or any other holiday flavor for that matter. Each year, I attempt to try one after the initial excitement that they are BACK for the season and decide (year after year) plain, boring Vanilla is much tastier.

8) Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, I realize I am taking you back a bit, but remember how popular this movie was? Back in 04' (or something) I was stoked to see it playing at the movie theater in Queen Anne. It was going to be SOOO funny. I was wrong. This movie was just kind of dumb. And the worst part was that for years people quoted every line from it, wore "Vote for Pedro" t-shirts, and acted out that dance scene. Since most people seemed to think it was hilarious, it kind of made me wonder, "maybe I am just not that funny?"

9) Gin and Tonics/Vodka Soda. It seemed that sometime in my mid-twenties, most girls switched from beer to these beverages of choice. I of course would usually order my usual champagne, but became curious about these new more "adult" drinks. Were they really delicious? One night I bravely ordered a Vodka Soda with LOTS of lime (I hate gin and tonic, so that drink was out of the question). I took a ship. Not bad...but not good either. Then, each sip became worse than the last. It took me quite a while to get that sucker down, and I was left with an awful taste in my mouth. Also, the whole time, I wished I had ordered champagne or beer. Now I know better.

I realize this list sounds rather negative, but there were also many trends I did enjoy quite a bit (New Kids on the Block, overalls, colored jeans, tall boots, pea-coats, and embarrassingly... wearing REALLY flared jeans). Maybe not liking the current trends today means I am boring? Or maybe it just means that now I am not afraid to go against the trends and find what I really like to wear, read, and watch...