Ignoring the fact that the picture is slightly out of focus because my phone camera sucks, are those not the prettiest keys you've ever seen? I had no idea that they made keys with designs on them! I was like a kid in a candy store when we went to get key copies made at Lowe's last night. There were so many options! I settled on the Hawaiian design for the pool key, and the Dragonfly (which I can't find online) for my gate key. Since they're changing all our locks on the house, we just got generic silver keys made, which seems so sad and dull in comparison to the other keys. But fear not, dear friends! Once the house has been re-keyed, a glorious new designer key shall be made, and the house key will no longer be the drab generic key on a ring of fabulousness!
Also, I think I've lost my mind. But at least I've not lost my keys!
So after all that whining last Wednesday about not finding a house, Thursday we found one. We were actually pretty familiar with it, as it's 2 streets over from where Donald lives now. It had been for sale for AGES, but was always outside our price range. When it came up on a website we'd been looking at for rentals, we called right away and made an appointment to see it. It's exactly what I wanted. I walked in and felt right at home. Donald was running late, so I did a walk through on my own, and it was all I could do not to skip through the house. It's lovely. 2500 SF, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, an office, a loft, and a decent sized fully concreted backyard, with pretty planters along the back wall (so now I have to learn something about flowers. And gardening. And being somewhat domestic). When Donald got there, he looked at all the things I'd skipped: DirecTV dish, outlets, washer/dryer hookups, etc. All I cared about was that the layout was nice, everything was clean, and Mia couldn't get out through any holes in the fences. We submitted our application and got the call on Saturday that said we were approved and tonight we do our walk through and get the keys! I could not possibly be more excited.
I gave notice at my apartment complex last Friday, so I have a full 3 1/2 weeks to move my stuff out of the apartment and into the house. I like that I am not forced to do all the moving in one weekend. I'll be moving a few things every night, since it's less than 10 minutes from me, and once all the little stuff is moved, I can do all the big furniture at one time. I'm not packing as much as I should, since I just plan on throwing things in the car and taking them over, but I'm still finding a ton of things that I'd rather give to Goodwill than move into the new house. If you're in the Corona area and looking for some useless junk, you should stop by the local Goodwill in the next few weeks!
Tomorrow afternoon I'll post all the pictures I'm planning on taking tonight, so you can all share in my joy of this fabulous new house! Happy Key Day!
I have an extremely annoying habit of setting my expectations way too high, and then being disappointed when they don't get met. Sadly, I'm aware of this problem, and am constantly vowing to be more realistic next time. Except that never seems to happen, and I'm stuck with a string of let downs.
I thought finding a new place to live would be easy. We'd narrow it down to a few houses, go take a look, and then the clouds would part, birds would sing, we'd sign a lease and it'd be done. Except that only happens in the movies. We've scoured the net, the papers, and driven through countless neighbourhoods looking for places to rent.We've called a dozen listings, and received a handful of callbacks. (Note to potential landlords: If you are trying to rent out a residence, it's helpful to actually return the call of the renter who is interested in the property. Just a thought) (Also, if you tell someone you're going to call them back, then DO SO. Don't just forget about them until they call the next day wondering what the status of the house is. Even if you were unable to get an answer, a quick call back to the potential customer letting them know you're working on it is better than silence. Schmuck.)
I need to work on patience in my life, and this process is just proof that I am sucking at it. I am an instant gratification kind of girl. When I decide I want something or want to do something, I don't want to wait. I decided several months ago that I was done living in my apartment, and I wanted to get the hell out. The fact that this did not instantly happen was annoying to me. Now that I'm actively looking and trying hard to find some place new and not getting it done, I'm really irritated. And it's irrational irritation. I understand that. I should be looking at the wait as more time to get my apartment cleared of clutter, and more time to get the things I want to keep packed up and ready to move. But logic has a way of escaping my notice sometimes. Like on days ending in Y.
Every day she gets up and goes to work with nary a complaint to be heard. She gets kicked, punched, beaten, pinched, her hair pulled, toys and chairs thrown at her, bitten, and slapped. She comes home, talks non-stop about how much she loves her job, and then does it all again.
She has the difficult kids. The ones with labels that the system feels is right for them. The behavior issues. The ones dealing with Autism. The kids the other teachers silently thank the heavens that they don't have to deal with.
She loves her job, and loves those kids even more. She is fiercely protective of them, and it infuriates her to see other teachers throw away the hard work her kids have done when they move up into a new class. She pushes them because she knows they can do it, even if they don't.
She believes in tough love, not only with her students, but with her coworkers. She won't baby them or hold their hand. She'll let them make mistakes, knowing the whole time that their plan will blow up in their face. Also knowing that next time they'll think it through a little harder and do a better job.
She spends hundreds of her own dollars to get her kids the things they need to learn. The things her school can't afford to provide them. She writes proposals on Donors Choose to get the things that she can't afford for them.
She's the only teacher in her school who's hung up the phone on her principal. The student having the meltdown was more important to her than being politically correct. When other teachers have a student with a behavioral problem, they come to her for help. Because she knows what she's doing.
She got her Master's degree while working full time. When asked if she'd go on to get her PhD, she said no. She doesn't want to be overqualified for the job she loves. She doesn't want to teach other people how to do her job. She just wants to do it.
She can't go 15 minutes without sharing a cute or funny story about one of her kids. Her eyes light up at the thought of them, and she'll talk about them for days if you don't change the subject. And yet you never want to, because her excitement and enthusiasm is contagious.
She teaches her kids the social skills they can't learn on their own. She wants them to sound like kids. "That's so cool," and "You're a rock star!" can often be heard in her classroom, rather than "Good job". She taught them to say "Peace out" and has been known to tell a kid to "Man up" every now and again.
She's only in her third year of teaching, and she's one of the final five nominees for Teacher of the Year in her district. A fact she's quite indifferent to. The fact she was nominated in the first place is enough for her. She doesn't need to be recognized for her efforts. In her own words, she knows she "kicks ass."
Whether or not she wins is irrelevant. Ask any parent of any student she's ever worked with, and you'll hear just what an impact she's had on their lives. There's no award that can come close to that.
In the immortal words of one of her favorite students: Hooray Miss Jen!
The last couple of weeks have been busy for me, and yet every time I sit down to blog, I find myself with nothing of interest to say. So I'm going to fall back on bullet points, and if you want further details, you can go ahead and ask me.
I think that about covers everything. I feel like I should have so much more to say, but I just don't.
So the plan this weekend was for me to finish all the work that needed to be done on the new site, and then post a grand opening post over here inviting you all to see the new place!
That didn't exactly happen.
What did happen was errands upon errands, a hockey game, a concert, and a visit to the theater, all crammed packed into three glorious days. So today, rather than an exciting post telling you all about changing bookmarks and reader feeds and fun things like that (which should let you know that soon you'll have to change bookmarks and reader feeds and fun things like that should you desire to continue following me) I'll tell you about my weekend. And you can pretend to care!
Since the economy sucks, and shockingly people aren't spending money on playgrounds right now, my employers have been tightening the belts. Our hours have been reduced, so that I now have every other Friday off not because I work a 9/80 schedule like I used to, but because they can't afford to pay us for a full pay period. I am incredibly thankful to have a job, even if the fact that my job is cutting hours and wages in an attempt to stay in business doesn't exactly have me dancing on tables. But I still get a paycheck twice a month and I'm almost keeping my head above water.
Because of that, I had Friday off, and my plan was to sleep in as long as possible and then go run errands. The gardeners had other plans. At precisely 9am, I was ripped from sleep by a leaf blower being used under my bedroom window. Why must that happen on a Friday morning where there's a good chance that someone is trying to enjoy a three day weekend? Isn't it more likely that people are not home on Wednesday mornings, and that might be a better time for early morning noise? (Before I get called a snob, let's make it clear that I live in an apartment and therefore do not get any say in when or where the gardeners work. I am quite content to sweep my own porch (which is what the blower was crudely being used for) or mow the community lawn outside my living room, if it means I can do so later in the day when I'm already awake.) (Also, before I get a lecture on the temperature being more outdoor labor friendly in the mornings and that's why the noise, let me please point out that the landscape company is on our property ALL DAY. They just happen to start my section in the morning. I'd just rather they wake someone else up, that's all.) So at 9am, I was wide awake and completely unable to get back to sleep. Considering the amount of errands I had to run, I decided I should just get up and get them over with, so I could enjoy a peaceful afternoon nap. After dropping my bedspread at the dry cleaners, exchanging my POS router for a new one, perusing the bookstore for various titles, a supremely yummy bagel sandwich lunch, a quick manicure (my personal indulgence and reward for not biting my nails), and picking up a jersey and hat for Donald, I went back home to try and catch a nap.
That didn't exactly happen, either.
I made the mistake of trying to mess with something that was working just fine, and ended up breaking the entire thing. So I spent my last remaining free hour attempting to fix that, which caused me to be 15 minutes late for meeting Donald at the hockey game. The game, however, was awesome and the Reign won, making me forget that I hadn't slept like I planned. After a fantabulous dinner at Boston's (I highly recommend the pasta with creamy tomato sauce. It's to die for) we headed home and I passed out.
I slept in Saturday and planned on working on the aforementioned new site once I got up. And I did! But not for half as long as I wanted to, and then I was off and running more errands before picking up Donald and heading out to Anaheim to see Reba McEntire perform. Ladies and gents, she is phenomenal. Simply fantastic. She didn't employ her trademark costume changing, but at least she wasn't singing in a bingo hall. Sadly, they don't allow cameras in the Honda Center for certain events (which I think is total crap) so I was unable to document the experience. But I assure you it was unforgettable!
Sunday, Donald and I drove out to LA to see RENTat the Pantages. Second only to Wicked, RENT is the greatest play ever to grace the stage. This is the second time I've seen it in the theater (though I've seen the movie countless times), and it was awesome. Two of the original Broadway cast members are currently reprising their roles, as are two of the final Broadway production cast members. It's a great play with any cast, but these actors make it so much better. It's not your typical theater production, which might be one of the reasons I love it so much. I mean, at one point the audience is asked to moo. Like cows. How many plays does that happen in? The music is great, the story's fantastic, and the characters are people you feel like you know. If you're in the LA area, I wholeheartedly suggest you make time to go see it before it's gone. Actually, it's on tour now, so if it's coming near you, LA or not, you should go see it. I promise you won't be disappointed.
And so there you go. My weekend in a nutshell, and the reason that the new site isn't done yet. It's going to be another busy week for me, but I plan on carving out some time to get the final tweaks done so you can see what I've been working at for so long. Hopefully you'll like it!
I love three day weekends. Something about having that extra day off makes going back to work so much more bearable. I had a busy start to my weekend, and then a lazy end to it. It was perfect.
Friday after work, Donald and I took off to Laughlin for a quick trip. It took us about 5 hours to get there, including the time we stopped for dinner, but we talked the entire way. One of the reasons I love being with Donald is that he's so easy to talk to. We never have awkward silences or a lack of conversation. So, while sitting in traffic wasn't pleasant, at least the company was excellent. We stayed at the Aquarius hotel, which was actually pretty nice. They have a smaller casino than we expected, but it was still well laid out. I adore any casino that has a No Smoking section of slot and table games for those of us who don't like to breathe in smoke from the person sitting next to us. We wandered around for a while, played a couple of slot games, and then went up to our room. We slept in Saturday morning (almost missing checkout time) and had a lovely brunch at the buffet. (People watching is by far one of my favorite activities, and let me tell you, there were plenty of interesting people to watch.) After brunch we hit the casino for an hour or so before we had to go back home. Donald wandered over to play blackjack, while I made a beeline for the Goldfish video slots game.
Now here's where I have to explain a little. I love video slots. I think they're cute and fun and quite entertaining. I'd play them even if I didn't win money. I also get excited when a bonus game pops up, regardless if it's my machine that gets it, or one next to me. When I sat down on the middle machine of a 3 machine strip, I had an elderly woman on either side of me (It's snow bird season in Laughlin, which raises the average customer age from 40 to 72). These women were not there to have fun, apparently, based on the glares I got any time I wiggled or clapped for a bonus game. (For the record, I'm not loud and obnoxious about it. In fact, I'd bet you couldn't even hear me two seats over. I'm quietly excited about the game.) Finally both women left, and a nice and friendly woman sat down. She and I had a great time exclaiming over bonus games and lamenting when we got crappy numbers. Her husband was standing behind us and remarked that he hated slots and could't understand what we were so excited about. Twenty minutes and a lot of fun later, he decided to see what the fuss was all about and sat down at the machine on the other side of me. At one point, the woman (who's name I never got) remarked that she'd never met anyone who got so excited when OTHER people won money. I can't help it! It makes losing money much more acceptable if you have fun while doing it! Actually, I ended up almost doubling my money, so when we left there, I was in a fantastic mood.
We drove back home Saturday afternoon and hit up the Anti-Valentine's Day hockey game at CBBA. We got there a little late, so we missed out on the Dark Knight bobble head giveaway, but at least the Reign won and put themselves back in first place in their division. After dinner at BJ's we went home and crashed. Something about sitting in a car for 4 hours makes you REALLY tired. Sunday started the lazy portion of my weekend, as I didn't get out of my pajamas until near 5pm. We had dinner out in Orange County with my parents and sister, and picked up Mia who was being puppy-sat while we were out of town. Since I also had Monday off, I spent the day in bed on my laptop watching movies and doing some work on my new website (which will hopefully be ready for a March debut!). I was well rested when I returned to work on Tuesday, which is something I haven't been in a very long time.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend. I hope all of you have a fantastic Valentine's Day, or a rockin' Single's Awareness Day, whichever you choose to celebrate!
I am in the process of moving this blog to a bigger and better site, with more flexibility for me design wise. I didn't, however, realize what an undertaking this would be. I have to relink all my posts, and reorganize all the pictures before I can get it working right. So I've been spending a lot of time on that, and not so much time actually writing content. Oops! Also, if you're not popping in here by way of a reader, you'll notice that the Steelers masthead is still up. The design specs for this site versus the new site are very different, and rather than do everything twice, I'm just focusing on the new one. So we'll just pretend that I'm leaving it up as a tribute to the recent Super Bowl Champions, and not because I'm too lazy busy to do another one.
In addition to all the site fixing, I've been doing a bit of online shopping. A friend of mine has a well documented obsession with greeting cards, and has pointed me in the past to several Etsy shops where super cute cards can be purchased. I was in need of a card for an upcoming baby shower, so I went back to her suggestions and found exactly what I was looking for. And a cute valentine's day card (which I can't show you because he reads this blog). And some birthday cards. And some thank you cards. It is becoming an addiction for me. I cannot resist the cuteness. And I don't even really send cards! But I can imagine getting these adorable things in the mail and it makes me so happy. So now I want to make others happy!
I'd show you all the cards I bought, but then it wouldn't be a surprise if you receive one. So you'll just have to trust me when I say they're cute. My favorite shop is RobinsonsNest and you MUST take a look. She has lots of sweet cards and wine glass charms and other odds and ends. She's incredibly nice, and extremely fast at responding. I asked for a couple custom items, and though she's busy right now, she did say she'd let me know when she got them up. I went back and bought more cards just while writing this post, because her service is so great, and the cards are just awesome. (She's not paying me to write this, FYI. I'm just that darn pleased with her stuff!)
I've mentioned before that one of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago. My grandmother, cousin, and ex-mother-in-law have all suffered from it. There are so many good causes that need support, but breast cancer research has always been on the top of my list. Last fall, a friend e-mailed me a link to a program called Army Of Women. It's a group established to research breast cancer not just on high risk women, but on women who are also healthy.
An excerpt from the site:
It's such a simple program that I can't believe more people haven't signed up for it. You register your e-mail address with them (along with age, ethnicity, and location) and they send you an e-mail to see if you fit the research topic that they're currently working on. For example, I just received an e-mail that stated a new study on post-menopausal overweight women was being conducted at UCLA (since that's semi-close to me). It gave a general spectrum of the study, as well as what a participant would be expected to do (in this case, visit UCLA 3 times a week for aerobic exercise and weight training, eat meals prepared by the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, as well as blood tests, lung tests, breast fluid tests, and body measurements). Since I am not post menopausal, I do not qualify. So I simply clicked the No Thanks button, and they send a response e-mail thanking me for my time. That's it. So far I've been offered 6 studies, but sadly have not qualified for any of them.
It's such a simple thing to sign up, and you may be able to help with breast cancer research simply by filling out a form. It costs you nothing but a moment of your time. I urge you to sign up, and then send a link to your mom, daughter, aunt, grandmother, sister or friend and have them sign up too. Click the link below to get to the sign up page, or click the badge on the top right column of my page.
If you want further information on the program, please feel free to ask me!