Monday, April 30, 2007

Weekends mean food

Saturday was a beautiful day. But sleep seemed more important. And then Rach took over my brain and I watched The Wedding Date again.

Sunday was a lot more productive. After awaking in the wee morning hours (6:30 a.m.) and watching the horror of the accident on TV, I finally decided that it was time to motivate. So it was off to the kitchen to remove the various science experiments from the fridge before going off to the grocery store. The true highlight of my grocery shopping was when I was leaning over to check out some flowers and some guy felt the need to say, "Hi," like he wanted to meet me. My thoughts were, "I know you were just looking at my butt. And it's 9:30 in the morning. And you are so not cute. Please go away."

So there was more lazing around the house until I had to get motivated to go to this stitch 'n' bitch -- one of the true highlights of my weekend. Because I finally got to meet BWB in person. We stitched. We bitched. It was fab.

On my way home, I kept pondering what to do with that pound of shrimp I had picked up earlier in the day. Then it struck me that all I was missing was the trinity. That would be the Creole/Cajun one if you're wondering. Because of course, I already had some hot links and some leftover chicken in the fridge. And tomato paste and stewed tomatoes. (By the way, can someone explain how someone -- me -- who does not really like tomatoes all that much managed to have all kinds of tomato choices in the fridge in the cabinet?) What I ended up with is this.

Yes, the rice is sticky but I expected that since I usually only buy medium grain. I do know that I had folks salivating over my leftovers at lunchtime in the staff room today. And now I'm off to consume more. Awww, crap! Knew I was supposed to stop at the store tonight. Jambalaya? Check. Salad? Check. Wine? Check. French bread? Nope. *sigh* Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's that time again

Yep. Another quiz.

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.

Hope your weekend is as warm and sunny as mine looks like it will be.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Still recovering

Wednesday started off as a perfectly nice day. The kids were doing their work. The ones who finished early went to another classroom to help the younger kids with their math. (The other teacher had specifically requested that morning that I send kids to help in her room so that her kids could be a little better prepared for the tests next week.) And then everything went crazy.

The math coach decided to pay a visit to my room for the first time in months. My kids were not happy about it. I know that part of it was that I let them know that while she was teaching, she was in charge. When she answered requests to go to the bathroom and other such things with "no," they then tried to come to me. I told them that once she said that they couldn't, they couldn't. They loved me for this. Near the end of the lesson, she "bribed" them for participation by saying that each child who participated could then ask her a personal question. The questions started off personally innocent -- "How old are you?" "Do you have kids?" Then they became disrespectful. "Why are you always digging in your booty?"

Around this time it became lunch time. The kids started yelling out that it was time to go to lunch. She let them know that as soon as everyone was seated and quiet that we could go to lunch. Five minutes later, they were still yelling and at least one child had taken to standing on her chair. I take that back. She had been standing on her chair various times during the lesson because we were playing the "Ignore her" game. At this point, the coach told me that I could go to lunch and she would take the kids to the cafeteria. It had to be at least five minutes later that the kids made it there.

Near the end of lunchtime, I returned to the classroom. There were books and papers over almost every inch of the floor. And someone had written, "This is bull crap," in ten-inch lettering on the white board. I knew that when they returned, the first thing they were going to have to do was clean-up. And this is when I started the deep breathing.

The other teacher returned to the room after lunch so that we could all discuss their behavior. She let me get the class to order since at this point they did not want to pay attention to her. I told them that I was sorry they were upset. However, the way that I saw it, they were living with the negative consequences of their actions. I was not going to take the blame for this because I did not make them make these bad choices as to their behavior. So the room got cleaned and we were able to continue with our oral presentations on the research project.

Yesterday morning I knew that I would have to speak to the kids once again on the matter as the same teacher would be returning to our classroom later in the day. I started off with, "Yesterday I felt disappointed and embarrassed, and I don't like to feel that way." We discussed how they are known as the worst behaved class at the school. Amongst those who have worked with them a great deal, they are also known as the smartest kids. I told them that for most people, they can't recognize how smart the kids are because all they can see is their bad behavior. I told them that these people probably didn't think they are as intelligent as they are because smart children would not repeatedly make so many bad choices.

In the course of our conversation yesterday morning, another issue came out of which I had not thought -- abandonment. Several stated, "She was mean and you just left us with her." *sigh*

The other teacher returned and things were much better. At lunch, I told her about the conversation I had had with the kids. She said that she is willing to continue to play bad cop to my good cop.

At least today is Friday.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Losing what little of my mind is left

This has been a trying week at work in some ways. It's spring and it just feels like the kids have lost their minds completely. The principal warned us last week that the kids would start feeding off our energy. She said that we cannot start thinking in vacation mode because the adult idea of vacation is relaxation. The kid version? Disneyland. And so she said that if we, as the adults, buy into this energy, then the kids will start treating the classrooms like they're in Disneyland. My Disneyland only has two rides -- the Teacups and Mr. Toad's.

This kind of happened yesterday. The math coach came into the room to do a lesson with the kids and they completely lost their minds. One of my coworkers later told me that she would offer me a glass of wine if she had some around. I told her that I was going to need something stronger than wine. I also had to take a number of deep breaths. Perhaps when it is not so fresh, I will share the gory details.

Now the real fun is that earlier in the week I had to complete progress reports. I got to discuss fun things like behavior. It's really hard to be objective when you've just been subjected to a few days of Disneyland.

Of course, next week is the start of state testing. So the kids are a little freaked out. And I'm spending every day telling them things like, "Just do your best. It's not about you; it's about me." Or, "I know we haven't covered that yet. I don't expect you to know it on the test. And that's OK."

At least we have the fun of the movie project to keep us inspired. And hopefully, balanced.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A new approach

Over the last few years, I have made some really crappy dating choices. This was after taking two years or so off from dating. One could argue it was my lack of recent practice that made me make these bad choices. The thing is that I took the break because I had been making even worse choices.

During the break, I met a guy who I thought was wonderful. But I wasn't ready to date yet. I told him that I had decided that even though I thought the guys were jerks, they had one thing in common -- me. Well, and the fact that I kept picking them.

When I have dated a guy, it has ended up being this all-encompassing thing in which I end up feeling like I'm drowning. I decided to take a different approach this time around. And it hasn't been easy. Because underneath all the "I will crush you under my heel and take over the world" bravado, still lives the shy, insecure girl. The one who starts doubting the feelings of others unless it is heard on a daily basis. And this is what probably why I allowed myself to be sucked into those bad relationships.

So now I hyperventilate for a completely different reason. I start thinking, "It's been a couple of days since I've heard from him. He's about to dump me." And then I want to pick up the phone and call him because in my irrational mind, that's just the thing to do. (And I know that I shouldn't because the problem in his last two relationships was that the women were too clingy.) But instead, I've been picking up the phone and calling Jade, Emerald, or Kate. And they make me go through the litany of why my thoughts are more than likely irrational.

And then I start thinking that maybe I am a grown-up after all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What happened to the rest?

Yes, on Sunday I only consumed half of the steak. What was on the plate, was half. The rest was promptly put into the fridge. So what happened to the rest of it? Well, another quarter of it ended up how a great deal of leftover meat here does -- in a salad.

Salad making has become almost ritualistic for me. First I must gather everything on the counter. Then there is the washing of the romaine heart (Yes, I use a whole one.) which is then shredded into the bowl. Next salad dressing is added to the bowl and the lettuce is tossed so that each bit is just lightly coated with dressing. (This generally takes two to three tablespoons of dressing.) Finally, I chop each of the other ingredients and layer them on top. As I eat, it all becomes tossed together. Because yes, that mixing bowl is my bowl when I dine alone.

Normally when I use steak in a salad, I use honey mustard dressing. But this time I wanted to try something different. What goes wonderfully with beef? Why horseradish, of course. So I made a wasabi dressing -- rice vinegar, oil, soy sauce, wasabi powder, lime juice, garlic powder, ground ginger. It wasn't bad but there was something a little off. About halfway through the salad, I realized that in the past I had used a little sugar. Completely forgot it this time. Next time I won't.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Someone asked for it

The boy is in Lost Wages this weekend. And it's raining. So the cats and I curled up in bed to watch chick flicks. Well, I did -- the movie watching that is. Boris is not really interested in movies. Natasha likes action stuff. She loved Transporter 2. So the two of them napped a lot. And whenever Natasha found a really choice spot, Boris would bother her until she gave up the spot for him. He's such a bully.

And then I got hungry. But I was feeling lazy. Hunger eventually won out.

Yep, calamari and fries. And yes, that is black pepper on the fries. A college roommate got me hooked on pepper and mustard on my fries. Sometimes instead of sprinkling the pepper on the fries, I just dump a bunch in the mustard and stir.

Then on Sunday I decided to continue my bonding with the skillet. Part of a steak and a scramble with green onions, red bell pepper, tomatoes and cheese. This is what I usually eat on Sunday mornings if I'm not having chicken hash with poached eggs. Either way, Sunday morning is not complete without a cup of chai.

I'm starting to think that weekends are all about fried foods.

And since it's Monday, I am sure that I will be seeing more of the above throughout the day. This is followed by my announcement that the dance is not appropriate. For school. For their age. Just not appropriate.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mad scientist

OK. So I'm not really a mad scientist. Perhaps, that could help in the plan for global domination though. Hmmm. I'll have to consider that.

No, instead this is about a little experiment* I have been running with myself for the last couple of months. I have this way of sharing information -- with y'all, with friends, with family. I used to not be this way. Probably because I had a hard time trusting other people. I was the queen of compartmentalization because I figured the less information that another person had, the less the chance that they could hurt me.

So that's what the experiment has been about. What would happen if I held back something of myself? Something that was purely mine? Would it make any difference in my life? We'll see.

OK. So I told a fib . I had to tell someone so I chose Kate early on to be my confidante. No, I take that back. There were others in the running. Kate just happened to be the first to actually answer my call. And then I broke down and told Emerald. Because she has always been my voice of reason. She knows how to call me on my shit in a way that is totally nice. And then I had to throw in Jade for good measure. Because those three? My best friends in life. No matter how much some of them may irritate me at times, they know me better than anyone else in the world. And they're a lot better at relationships than I am. Jade? Married for almost 13 years. Emerald? Married for almost 11 years. And Kate? Getting married in June. (OK. And there are some of y'all to whom I speak offline who know the info as well.)

Two months ago I was in the middle of a much-needed week off from work. During that week, I met Dan. I told you that I decided to close the place down while Dan went home. See, this is when the experiment started forming in my mind. Because what I left out was that after Dan left, I met a perfectly wonderful guy. When I didn't include that information in that original post, I just thought, "Well, I'll say something later." And then the days started passing by and I said to myself, "Well, maybe after a couple of weeks." Then it became a month. And then finally a couple of months.

How did I come up with the magic number? Probably because it's been years since I've been able to last past a couple of months with one guy. I always find some reason to leave. Because I'm always the one leaving. No, that's not shocking to me. I recognized this ever-so-wonderful trait in myself when I was about 19 or so. Oops. I'm going to have to take that back. I was clueless and it took a friend to point it out to me. I was going on and on about the latest wretched guy and then she turned to me and asked, "But why are you the one with all the broken hearts in your wake?"

That was a huge part of the experiment. I have often wondered if my complaints are a part of the whole process -- the process that ends with me leaving. I can write whatever I want about some guy here and all you will ever know is what I choose to tell you. (Because I hear from y'all a lot more frequently than those whom I truly trust. You know. The ones who call me on my stuff. Which I'm sure that y'all would do. But in many ways you're at a disadvantage. They can tell from my tone of voice over the phone that things are not quite right.) And usually if I'm writing about some guy, it's because he's pissed me off. And then I get to hear your responses telling me that I haven't misread the situation. But then you've only seen my perspective and that's really not fair. Even though I love being right. And especially if it enables me to do what I do best -- leave. Because when y'all tell me that I'm right, then I feel justified in my choices. (Maybe my mother was a little bit right when she said that I'm passive-aggressive and like to manipulate people.) So I figured that if I could make it past the first couple of months without leaving, then I'd be doing pretty well for me. And if I did leave, then it would be purely me.

Sure I've talked to Kate but we're lucky if we can actually catch up with one another a couple of times a month. Lately with her upcoming wedding, we've been talking to each other a lot more though. And yeah, Emerald and I talk weekly but remember? She's the voice of reason. Probably why she's a scientist. She's not satisfied until she has all the facts. Because she knows that I sometimes leave stuff out. And Jade is the person who knows all of my secrets. That's why she isn't allowed to read this blog. They are the three people whom I trust the most in this world. Perhaps that's why I have had a hard time with relationships. Because other than these three people, I have never been able to trust anyone else so blindly.

So this time I went it alone. Well, alone except for those chosen few. Because I met a perfectly wonderful guy. And I didn't want to mess things up for once. And I figure that I must trust him because he knows something about me that very few people know -- something that I shared with him before I did even with my most trusted friends. Something that could have made him leave. But he didn't.

So yeah, he is younger than I am. But then months beforehand my mother reminded me of something. The guy my mom dated for the longest after her divorce -- and I gave this guy a lot of crap at first but he won me over by just being himself -- was ten years younger than my mom. After they broke up, they remained friends. Over the last few years they lost touch. This is how he came up in conversation recently. My mom was wondering how he was doing. Also one of my mother's cousins, a woman I considered to be one of my many mothers, was married to a man who was 12 years her junior. No, they didn't split up. She died in 2001. And they still loved each other deeply after over 20 years of marriage.

I guess it all gets down to that inner person. It's not a matter of age, of race. Just the connection of two people. And no, I am not completely naive. I do realize that there are things that rear their ugly heads and try to make relationships difficult. But I've made it past two months and I'm still happy. But then again, this supposed happiness could just be a part of limerence. (This is one of my favorite words from undergrad thanks to a roommate.)

But this perceived happiness? Probably because we actually have things in common. Like he works with kids. So when I talk about my students, he understands. Just like I understand when he rants on about his students. In fact one of our first conversations started off with him ranting for about fifteen minutes and then apologizing. I pointed out to him that I know firsthand what he means. And when I talk about what I want for these kids, he's just as excited as I am. Queenie has talked about this. The need for that when you get home and talk about your day, the other person understands what your day was really like.

Most days before this I felt like I should walk down the streets, singing Jill Scott's "Talk to Me."

Yet this pales in comparison to the real thing. Because in my mind I will always be waiting for Lloyd Dobler to be standing in the middle of a street while wearing a trenchcoat with the boombox held over his head. Because I am a child of the 80s and wasn't that the ultimate declaration of love from the 80s? I would never give him a pen.

And so the lesson that I have finally learned is that it is sometimes better to hold some things back for yourself. My mother was wrong. Omission is not quite the same as a lie. A lie would be saying that you're happy when you're not. And I'm happy.

And now that I'm so happy? Well, my internal soundtrack is pure Stevie these days. Although there may still be a little Jill mixed in. (And speaking of Stevie, I always imagined that if I was ever crazy enough to get married, the first dance at my reception would be to this song. Because I'm kind of a hopeless romantic. And I could dance the hell out of this song. And if this guy makes it through, then this seems more than fitting. In an inside joke kind of way.)

There was a point in all of this that I would have made a post saying, "Why didn't he call?" due to my insecurities. (I may come off as confidant but I am very insecure. I have just learned how to mask my insecurities very well over the years. Mostly I have gotten past my feelings of insecurity by reminding myself that he probably has insecurities of his own. Proof? The fact that a man whom I think is so attractive and has everything else going for him asked me, "If I gave you my phone number, would you actually call me?" And this was said with utmost sincerity.) And I would have been reassured by everyone who told me to write him off. But I hung in there. And believe me when I say that his was rough. Perhaps this was due to a recommittal once I googled him. Because then I knew he was worth fighting for. Someone had asked me during this time period what I was looking for in a man. I acted like I didn't know but I did. (Sorry to this person for lying.) When I was about to give up and call him, he magically called me. I mean the very evening that I was going to call, the phone rang. And we understood what each had been going through during that time.

And the most beautiful thing about this post? I wrote this at the beginning of the experiment when I didn't know how things would turn out. (Well, except for some minor revisions along the way. Very minor, I might add. Like removing the Jill and Stevie song lyrics and adding links for them instead. And adding the link for the second Jill reference. And the previous paragraph. That I wrote about a month into the experiment -- when I was going to call it all a vast failure.) That's right. Two months ago. And so now I am committed to what so many other bloggers are -- some things just shouldn't appear in your blog.

*To the person who tried to tell me that this is not really an experiment, I have two words for you. Bite me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Good Dagny

There is still a chance that I might be laid off. I will know definitely around May 15 or so. In some ways, that doesn't matter at this point. Because I know that I have made a difference.

Back in December I went to this conference. During the cocktail hour in the hotel, I started talking to some of my fellow teachers. (A bit too much for some.) One teacher had been having problems with one of her students. I was in shock. This girl always ran across the playground to hug me. I thought that she was one of the sweetest creatures on this earth. I was wrong.

I have her older sister in my class. Her sister is a handful -- and that's being nice. The other teacher's response to my comment about the hugs was, "She doesn't get nearly enough hugs. Don't stop." So I didn't. Some days she gets three or four hugs.

And I started checking in on this little girl on a regular basis. When I found out that she had had a good day, I would drop by her classroom with a small gift. (Thank you dollar section of Michael's and Target.) Eventually she started showing up daily looking for a gift. This week I upped the ante. She had to get through a full week with good behavior. And she did. So I gave her a choice of one of the prizes that I had picked up from Michael's last week specifically for her.

And then I let her bat her eyes at me after school and threw in an ice cream bar. (I keep them in the freezer of the staff room as rewards for my students.) As we were leaving the staff room, we ran into one of the secretaries. I explained to this woman what I was doing. She told me that the girl looked less wild and that I must be having a positive effect. In her opinion, the girl looks less wild and tired. We talked about the difference that one person can make in a kid's life.

If I end up staying around next school year, this girl will probably be one of my students as I should be teaching her grade next year. Actually the teachers in her grade have decided that I should have her next year as I have already bonded with her. I pity any other person who would have her.

This is what also gives me hope that I won't be laid off. I have bonded with a great number of what could be my future students. It would seem silly to pass them off to someone else when they are so excited over spending next year with me.

Oh, and now for the scary.

Here's what my kids are into currently.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guilt sets in

All week long I have been enjoying your blogs. And each time I read, I realize that I haven't really posted this week. Of course, I really haven't had much to say. (I think I have been saving my energy for Saturday.) But today, something happened. I learned that there's a pretty good chance that I won't be laid off. So the cats and I are dancing. Well, I am. The cats are thinking, "Won't someone come and save us from this crazy woman?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Business as usual

No, there are no photos of food today. Yesterday I was still feasting upon leftovers. That's the fun of living alone. I have a hard time making the more interesting food items in small amounts so it's either eat it for days or freeze part of it for future consumption. I tried to take some of the soup for lunch yesterday but silly me walked out and left the bag sitting on the counter. That meant that I had to dump it when I got home. Because dairy sitting out all day? Ewwww!

The return to work was not as bad as it could have been. I actually woke up on time. And thankfully since I went into work last Friday for a few hours, I did not have that much prep to do in the morning. The same goes for this morning as I stayed at work until around 5 or so. (This was because a couple of the kids had things to do in the room -- like decorating and sweeping.) Per the kids' suggestion, I think that we will be having a class meeting this morning as well. I think the main topic will be "Now that the room is so clean, how will we keep it this way?"

And are the kids ever busy. This week they have a research report due as well as a book project. I am also busy setting up the calendar for a special project that they will hopefully start next week -- one about which I am thoroughly excited. Basically the kids will come up with a story idea and then sketch out preliminary illustrations. Then a local business will turn their idea into a film. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Finally, my mother leaves tomorrow morning. That means no more calls every day at the precise moment during which I am trying to take a nap. (Yes, this happened every time I was trying to get some rest during the break.) There's a chance that she may not be back until some time in July. Perfectly fine with me. Means I can celebrate my birthday how I want to. Yes, I love my mother. But only when she is at least a few hundred miles away.

Must run along as I have TV to watch before I get ready for work.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Laziness sets in

I awoke this morning and thought to myself that I really didn't feel like going to samba today. Too much like work and I would like to continue to believe that I am on vacation.

This past week has been filled mostly with food and redecorating. The fun of time off is that I can give into the food cravings. One of my main ones this week was a desire to have beer-battered fish. Today I gave in.

The pieces in the front are sole and in the back, cod.

So now I have one more artichoke, the remains of the potato leek soup, bread pudding, and the deliciousness of beer-battered fish. I am tempted to never leave home because there is so much more food to cook.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I've never been a wimp

Before I get onto the main attraction, I'd like to share this item.

Looks cute, doesn't it? I had to take the picture in the car because I knew that I was going to tear into immediately. It was around 3 p.m. yesterday and I hadn't had anything to eat since the bread pudding in the morning. I quickly learned why the item was on sale for $0.10. They were the most horrendous tasting jellybeans that I have ever had. So bad that I threw them out upon reaching home. I should have gone for the Cadbury creme filled bunnies instead.

And now, onto the main event. I decided to take the plunge over at Hilly's yesterday. It's a new kind of meme. If you want to join in, just follow the directions at the end.

1. If you could pick the next place you would live out of thin air, where would it be?
Easy. London. I didn't even need braincells for that one.

2. Friday the 13th....friend, foe or just a bunch of hooey?
Bunch of hooey.

3. Who is your favorite literary character and why?
This is a tough one. I could go with the obvious of Dagny Taggert but I think I should delve deeper. I glanced over all of my books but no other character came to mind. So Dagny Taggert of Atlas Shrugged it is. I read the book when I was around 19 and it has stuck with me. Dagny is extremely independent and goes her own path. She could really care less what others think of her. And those people who don't really like her? Leeches who would suck the life out of her if given the chance. She doesn't really fit in but in the end she finds a bunch of like-minded folks who truly appreciate her. Isn't that what we all hope for?

4. What are three traits that the next man to steal your heart must possess?
Sanity, adoration of me that borders on worship, and the ability to truly listen.

5. Finally an easy one...what is your current cocktail of choice?
The sun is out so it's mojitos these days.

Here are the instructions to continue:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me." (I was going to change this to, "I accept that one day you will probably crush me under your heel but in the meantime please interview me," but then I remembered that a good dictator -- ummm ruler -- should come off as kind and pleasant at times. So a simple, "Interview me," will do.)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I couldn't resist

Once I conquered my bedroom, I realized that the rest of my apartment looked shabby in comparison. I've gotten as far as the living room. There is still some clutter on the bookcases but that will be a piece of cake now that I've taken care of everything else. On today's list is a complete scrubbing of the bathroom and kitchen.

This did not stop me from entering the kitchen last night though. I finally had my artichokes with hummus. This was followed by potato leek soup. I think today I'll try it with some crumbled bacon on top. Because bacon makes everything better. Oh, and I made bread pudding as well. They didn't have croissants in the store so I picked out the bread that I thought was of the closest consistency and then let it get stale. This vision started when I noticed the strawberries in the store. Well, actually I went looking for raspberries but ended up settling on the strawberries. If there had been raspberries, I would have baked them into the bread pudding instead of serving them on the side. This morning I also got around to making the creme anglaise. Because that's how I envisioned the whole thing -- bread pudding topped with creme anglaise and fresh sliced strawberries. (And yes, this is what I ate for breakfast. Along with a mug of chai.) If I keep up like this, then this summer this may very well end up being a food blog.

But since it isn't, let me move onto other things. I first saw this at Kapgar's. Then Hilly posted it. So of course, I finally had to give in.


1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
Where to start?

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.
Purple Rain.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Ed Harris. Ever since The Abyss, I've had a thing for him.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Jim Carrey. Because of this, I was torn over The Truman Show. As you can see from my above answer, it should have been a definite must-see. So I debated it some before I actually went to see it.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
Duh. Grease. Still own the soundtrack. And my fave bar in North Beach? They have it on the jukebox. One of the bartenders used to play it at closing time.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.
I leave the singing to my mother. If it has a song that she knows, she is guaranteed to sing along. Heck. This is the woman who sings along to the Muzak when shopping. Really embarrassing. Especially when I'm trying to act like I don't know her and she yells across the store, "Where are you going? Yes, you in the blue sweater. What's the matter? Don't want to admit to people that I'm your mother." So no singing.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.

9. Name a movie that you own.
I wouldn't even know where to begin. The latest purchase was Cinderfella.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Mark Wahlberg.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Of course. The last time I can remember was a double feature with the 'rents when I was a kid -- Cooley High and Mandingo. I was supposed to be asleep by the time they showed the second one but I wasn't. Still disturbed by that one to this day.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
Isn't that a rite of passage?

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.
Devil in a Blue Dress. Cinema Paradiso.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
No, but there's that one rental I've never made it through. Every time I have rented Shakespeare in Love, I end up falling asleep at the exact same point.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
Terms of Endearment.

16. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
Clerks 2. Sad, huh?

17. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Suspense, classics.

18. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

19. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
I'm sure there is one but I have obviously blocked it completely. So let's leave it there in the recesses of my mind where it belongs.

20. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Another hard one. I tend to enjoy what others find weird. Thus the reason why my mother and I rarely go to the movies together. But I'll take a stab at this one -- Village of the Giants.

21. What is the scariest movie you've seen?
I think I am going to have to agree with Hilly on this one -- Poltergeist. Saw in high school. We all left the theater freaked out.

22. What is the funniest movie you've seen?
Raising Arizona. The Last Supper also makes me squeal with joy, but in a different kind of way.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's my mother's fault

Whenever my mother is around, she feels the need to have daily outings. Tuesday morning she badgered me into joining her on one of these outings. We ended up at Ikea. For a couple of hours. Do you know how dangerous that is?

But after finding linens -- and a few other things -- I was suddenly inspired. I have been wanting to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom for some time. And I really did need to clean. It would be completely wrong to put the new linens on the bed in a messy room. And then there was that bookcase that had seen better days. So of course, yesterday I had to head to Target as well. Oh, and floor pillows. I really needed floor pillows. K-mart came through with one of those. But they only had the one pillow in a color that I liked. So today that meant a trip to both Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as Pier One. (And I still need to got Aaron Brothers because there's this print of the map of Barbados that I should have framed long ago. Perhaps tomorrow. Because I can walk there.) It's a good thing that Top Design has come to an end. Who knows what other shopping damage I could do?

And yes, the cats approve of the new arrangement. I think. They've been using the bed as part of their speedway. Not bad unless one is trying to sleep in said bed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Damn Time-Life!

Last Thursday night was the official start of my spring break. But I was tired from the events of the week so I allowed myself to be lulled to sleep by the dulcet sounds of the television. Only to awake at something like 1 a.m. to the voices of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock. They were shilling the Time-Life Classic Soft Rock collection. I found myself singing along. And then the most awful thing happened. I rewound to the beginning of the infomercial. *gasp* And then I sang along with the entire thing. (I know some of you were wondering how an African American girl could be making it in with the liberal White folks of Berkeley. Now you know the awful truth. At times I am the Fresh Prince and at others I am Carlton. Don't even think about throwing on a mix of Steely Dan and Aerosmith -- some of my faves from elementary school. But then I also knew James Brown, Aretha, and Sly and the Family Stone. Get funky now!) Now the cats, and possibly some of my neighbors, know that I am truly certifiable.

One would think that this would be enough. Ha! I went to my computer, put on my headphones, and started up iTunes. I listened to the full songs, many of which I have, until something like 4:30 in the morning. This included gems like Gino Vanelli's "I Just Wanna Stop," Ace's "How Long," Cat Stevens' "Wild World," Rickie Lee Jones' "Chuck E.'s in Love," and the Moody Blues' "Your Wildest Dreams." Oh, and lots of Steve Winwood, Seals & Crofts, The Bee Gees, and Kenny Loggins. The sad thing is this stuff has been running through my head ever since. And then I segued into one of my faves from the 70s, Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right." I've had that gem stuck in my head for at least three hours this morning. Perhaps tonight I'll erase it all with a good dose of Depeche Mode and Boingo. And maybe some STP and Metallica for good measure.

Until then, I'll be rooting around in the closet for a pair of platform sandals and a polyester disco-y dress. And then I'm going to run to the store for a can of Aquanet Super Hold. And some blue or purple eyeshadow.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Health issues

This morning I got up bright and early to head to the doctor's. Well, maybe not that early as my appointment was at 9:30. But if you're on break, that starts feeling like the crack of dawn.

I started going to the doctor at the beginning of February for some other stuff. Then they noticed that I was overdue for both a PAP smear and a mammogram. The mammogram? Obviously a device invented by a man. When I told my mother this, she said that they should come up with a similar device to detect testicular cancer. Hehehe.

So for the first time ever, my PAP results came back and I was told that I would have to return. Not that I was completely surprised. I've been seeing this coming for a number of years. My doctor reassured me that this was perfectly normal in women who smoke. The deal is I was then scheduled for a colcoscopy. And yeah, it was as much fun as the description. She said that everything looked pretty normal, just a little scraping necessary. She did take a biopsy sample just to be safe though. This what has had me kind of freaked out over the last few weeks. It seems like I hear that word "biopsy" a little too often in my family. But I figured that if the doctor was going to let me wait all this time to have it done, then she wasn't too worried. And so I didn't really talk to too many folks about it because that would have probably made me worry more. Instead, I was able to shove it all off into a corner of my mind and to concentrate on other things over the last few weeks. I still have to go back one day for the full sonogram. Given my family history, my doctor thinks it would be wise that they have a "picture" on record of what I look like healthy.

And speaking of family health, things seem to be moving along with my stepmother. She is responding to the treatment, even if it has left her completely drained. The two largest tumors in her brain will never go away and surgery is not safe. But they have been shrinking and as long as they stay their new size, the doctors don't think they'll be any problem. My mom didn't exactly agree when I went to dinner at her house last night. She said, "But it's still cancer." Yeah.

My aunt has an appointment with her oncologist today. She hasn't been responding to the chemo. They have now changed her chemo. Instead of going once every three weeks, she now goes once a week. The appointment today is to put in a shunt or whatever because they've been hitting her veins a little too much. I have heard through the family grapevine that the doctors want to operate but she won't let them. Who knows what's the truth? She is also scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. My dad is concerned because now my aunt proclaims that vicodin is her new best friend. One day soon I'll work up the nerve to ask her pointblank why she won't consider surgery. I know she's had quite a few over the last three and a half years. But she's always been such a fighter so I just can't imagine her not taking advantage of all of the options.

At times I feel like I am reliving my grandmother's death all over again. (Funny thing is that as my aunt ages, she looks more and more like my grandmother each day.) My grandmother suffered a number of strokes. And then there was the congestive heart failure. Her local hospital learned how to resuscitate her quickly. This went on for ten years. Ten years of preparing myself for her death every time she went into the hospital. Ten years of her not dying because the rest of the family was not ready to let go. My grandmother was a shell of her former self by the time the family was ready to let go. I had to explicitly tell my father to let go at this point. Because my grandmother was tired. I was tired. My father, the Leo, has a harder time of letting go of people than I, the Cancer, do.

But maybe I let go because I hate to see my loved ones living in perpetual pain. A law school instructor said that I would be a good lawyer because I was empathetic and could put people at ease. There's a price for empathy though. It eats away at you when you have to feel someone else's pain too many times. A couple of months ago I was talking to my aunt in Savannah about this. I think that my innate pessimism allows me to be supportive of everyone else when the worst actually does happen. The rest of them are always caught off-guard when it does and often lack the tools to cope. Me? I take in all their pain. And when it gets to be too much for me, I go to therapy. Because they won't. Go to therapy, that is.

So now the worst part of my week is over, or it had better be. Time to go out and have some fun.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Birth of an empress

I was reading Kapgar on Friday and the post got me thinking. Was 27/28 a special time for me? A sign that I am getting old, or perhaps I have finally burned out too many brain cells -- I did the math to figure out exactly what year that was.

Age 27 is when I decided that I really didn't want to be a lawyer. Actually, I had decided that prior to that. At 27 I decided to act on it. The hardest decision was not about leaving law school but whether to remain in Virginia. I packed up all of my stuff and moved back to California a few months after my 28th birthday. As I had no job, I moved back into my mother's house. I worked a few temp positions -- four to be exact. The last one turned into a regular position.

Once I had reliable income, I quickly left my mother's house. I have never been a fan of the 'burbs and hightailed it to the Mission. It will always be one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. And prior to that move, all of my partying efforts were purely amateur. I wonder if I would have ever become the partygirl that I was if I had not made that move. At the height of it all, I was out Wednesday through Sunday nights. And although I could pay for rent, utilities, and food, partying was not necessarily in my budget. Especially at San Francisco prices. So I learned to get to know people who could comp things -- food, drinks. (Sometimes I stop by my old haunts and if one of the bartenders whom I knew from back in those days is around, I know that I will receive a free drink for old times' sake.) I became the consummate flirt, the queen of double entendres. Because nothing makes a man move faster than the possibility of getting into your pants. I had learned at 21 that I had power but I did not fully wield it until those years following my move to the Mission.

One of my partners in crime back then was the receptionist at work. After a bit, we started allowing some of our male co-workers to join us on our evening outs. They were given one instruction -- bring your wallets because we do expect you to buy us stuff. This was after an unfortunate incident after one co-worker arrived early one evening and proceeded to buy all these other women drinks. By the time we arrived at a much more fashionable hour, he was broke. He was cute but not that cute. This same co-worker tried to bad mouth me to one of the payroll clerks after the first night we allowed him to be seen in public with us.

"You should have seen Dagny. Guys would come up to ask her to dance and she would demand that they buy her a drink first. What nerve. She's cute but she's not all that."

"Did they comply with her demands?"

"Well, yeah."

"Then she is all that."

So some may argue that I have inflated sense of self. Much better than the lack of self-esteem that haunted my teen years and led to some rough bouts of depression. And the inflated ego? Well, it was only a matter of time before I came to think of myself as Empress of the Universe. Screw what my mother says. She's just a jealous hater who only wishes that she could woo folks with the same ease that I do.

So bottom line. Yeah, 27/28 -- a pivotal time. And now I'm going to just rest on my laurels until someone else comes along to try to claim the throne. Of course, with the upcoming week off, perhaps I should take action to ensure that the throne is still mine.

On a final note I'd like to call notice to two new commenters. First, there's m. who has some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. Then there's Mrs. Mogul who I suspect is an empress in her own right after reading through her posts. Y'all should definitely check them out.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

In the wrong time

You're The Great Gatsby!

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Having grown up in immense wealth and privilege, the world is truly at
your doorstep. Instead of reveling in this life of luxury, however, you spend most of
your time mooning over a failed romance. The object of your affection is all but
worthless--a frivolous liar--but it matters not to you. You can paint any image of the
past you want and make it seem real. If you were a color of fishing boat light, you
would be green.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

*sigh* So Cancerian... It also happens to be one of my favorite books although I probably like Fitzgerald's short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" the best of his work that I have read.

And this got me thinking yesterday on my first day of spring break. I spent the day in my pj's napping, watching a little TV, and going through books. As for the books, here's a short list of some of my favorite books and authors.

*The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. OK. Maybe I like his short story "A Rose for Emily" more. Actually I've read all of his novels except for the few that were not about his mythological county in Mississippi. Take that back. I tried one of those and it just wasn't as good as the others, in my opinion. I read most of the twenty-something novels during my freshman year of college after being introduced to Faulkner my senior year of high school. The university library was a magical place to me that year.

*Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

*Mohawk and Empire Falls by Richard Russo.

*To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

*Pat Conroy.

*James Cain.

*Alice Hoffman.

*Milan Kundera.

*Barbara Kingsolver. Well, maybe not Prodigal Summer. That one would have been OK if her previous book had not been Poisonwood Bible. After Poisonwood, Prodigal Summer was a disappointment.

I am sure there are others but these were the first to come to mind. I tend to revisit these books at least once a year.

And now I'm off to do exciting things like cleaning and grocery shopping. Oh, and dropping off that piece of mail for my mom about which she screamed on Thursday night. I told her I would get it to her over the weekend. She replied, "No, you will bring it by Saturday." And yeah, I just rolled my eyes again.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What's next?

I had originally planned on writing this post this morning, but sleep was more important.

Yesterday I lost my mind completely. That's right. Queenie and I took our classes out on a field trip. That's 45 kids. (Some were absent and some had to stay at school.) We were joined by six other adults. At times we could have used more adults. And I'm sure there are BART riders who now absolutely hate Queenie and me. Overall, it was pretty successful. There is one child in my class who will never see another field trip this school year though due to the scene the child tried to create. Can anyone say drama?

One would think this would be enough excitement for one day but no, I needed more. That's right. After dealing with the kids in public most of the day, I then had to pick my mother up from San Francisco airport. Her flight came in at 5:30 p.m. Yesterday was opening night for the Giants. Fortunately, most Giants fans take public transportation but still. You do the math.

By the time I got home last night, it was about 9 p.m. (And the sad thing was that I could not get the Netflix rental from the mailbox because as I was approaching the building I was accosted by a homeless guy who smelled of liquor. He proceeded to follow me, begging me to marry him. So no mail but simply a quick retreat into the safety of my building.) It was a no-brainer as to what to do next. Sleep. And I was heading into some really good sleep around 10:15 p.m. when the phone rang. Who was it? My mother wanting to chitchat. I think I finally had to say something along the lines of, "I'm going back to sleep now," to get her off the phone. Because I was trying to be polite and to not hang up on her. Especially since I had already stated that I had been asleep. Why do I feel like the next two weeks are going to be especially long?

Today was an OK day at work but that's OK. The important thing is that the day is over. And now I'm officially on spring break. What first? A nap.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Toxin free

.. and too tired to be bitchy. (This was originally titled "They shoot horses, don't they?")

Yesterday I finally made it to the samba class. It seems I have made a commitment along the way. Yesterday's rehearsal was the second rehearsal to get ready for Carnival. Yep. That's right. I will be dancing in this year's Carnival parade.

I went to class sporting a tank top, a hoodie, and jeans. (There were also some shoes involved in the whole thing but they were not conducive to dancing on the gym floor and were quickly discarded.) The hoodie was discarded after about 15 to 20 minutes. I have never sweated this much in all of my life. Within the first half hour, I had sweated every toxin out of my body. And stupid me did not bring any kind of beverage with me to rehearsals. The rehearsals? Three hours. I am suddenly thinking that by Memorial Day weekend, I will have absolutely no problem fitting into a size one.

after three hours of dancing and sweating, I did not have the energy to see about my mom's stuff. Nor did I do the tutoring thing. Hell. It was all I could do to stay awake until 8 p.m.

And don't ask me how ugly things got at Safeway. This woman was having severe issues with her total. I was going through severe dehydration. And I was starting to feel pain in my legs. When I finally reached the checker and he asked, "How are you doing?" with some silly grin on his face, only one answer seemed right. "Not good. Especially since I'm a little dehydrated and had the misfortune of choosing that stupid woman's line." Can I also say that there were many moments when I almost slammed the cart into the folks in front of me? Except that the person closest to me was a perfectly innocent little boy. Wenches did that to me on purpose. I know.

At one point in the evening, I caught up with Emerald. She said, "You can lose a lot of weight doing that. And you have to be limber as well." Later in the conversation, she asked how much it all cost. Now here's the real beauty. Three hours of hardcore sweat and it's all free. I believe that I had a whole week's worth of cardio in that three hours. Because the drums never really stopped during that whole time. (Yeah. Drums.) And the cool down stretches? Why did most of them have to be based upon Downward Facing Dog? Yep, yoga. Kind of like my bellydancing days. Back when I last could get into the size ones. So I am having the feeling that if I keep this up over the next couple of months, I'll be back into my cute little size one dresses just in time for summer. Oh, and there's also the feeling of accomplishment of mastering the choreography. The samba I have down except for that last part. That last part is dependent on wearing the right shoes. The other dance I know pretty well. Well, at least the parts of it I saw.

But the best part of it all? Mimicking other people. And I've always been really good at that. Something to do with my inner chameleon.

I'm a little sore today. Not like the worst of the days when I took bellydancing years ago and would awake around three in the morning after class, screaming over the pain in my legs. No, this time the screaming was for a different reason -- my alarm clock.

All I have to say is, "Is it Thursday yet?"

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Keep thinking happy thoughts

I started off this weekend feeling a bit manic. It took me some time to figure out why. And then it dawned on me. My mother arrives back in town on Wednesday night. And now I keep hearing the Wicked Witch of the West's theme music.

So at some point today I must do a bunch of fun stuff. Like get rid of the junk mail at her house. Charge the car battery. Relight the pilot lights. You know really fun stuff. For which I will get chewed out if I fail to complete even the smallest thing.

There used to be a time when my digestive system would hold a protest for about two weeks before her arrival. Perhaps that's why I used to weigh five pounds less. Now I just sit around feeling perturbed by the inconvenience. Because here's the surprise. My mother thinks the world revolves around her and that we are all here to serve her. Well, maybe not y'all but definitely me.

The worst of this all is that she has chosen to show up during my spring break. Grrrr. So I am trying to plan as much as possible for myself so that I can spend as little time as possible with her. I've gotten pretty good at this over the years. Not surprising since this is a woman who called me every kind of a bitch when I was in high school. Seriously. The name-calling has stopped but I do believe that she relishes in trying to tell me how I can improve my life. Because I'm so messed up.

So now I'm going to go back to my prone position and keep reminding myself of what my aunts tell me -- twisted as they may be in their own right. "I am wonderful and she is just merely jealous."