Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Week In

This is about the only coherent thought that I can form at the end of the day...


I've only had students for four days, and I'm still adjusting to being back at school. And by that I mean, I have abandoned all semblance of balance in my life, deserted the gym, and eaten almost nothing besides takeout since the kiddos returned last week.  I am out of teacher shape for sure. I went from spending all day alone and living pretty much schedule-free, to spending all day with fourteen-year-olds and having to regulate my fluid intake in order to not pee my pants between tightly scheduled fifteen minute bathroom breaks.  

I'll get there though; this year is already off to a much better start than last. I don't want to good mouth it yet, but it looks like I have only a couple of hooligans to wrangle this year. This is a welcome change from last year when the balance of each class leaned strongly in the hooligan direction.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I cannot believe that it has already been two years...I still get a little thrill when I see the wedding band on Tom's hand. I still get excited to call him my husband, and every day I love being his wife just a little bit more.

Two years ago today really was the happiest day of my life. It is such a cliche, but they are cliches for a reason... It was wonderful beyond words to be surrounded by everyone I love as I officially, publicly joined my life with my best friend's...all while wearing the most beautiful dress I'll ever own.

  {And the flowers...oh, the flowers!}

Never in my life have I felt so lucky and so loved. Loved by Tom, of course, but also by everyone who was there, everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with us. It was the most incredible feeling to look around and see all of the people who were there because they loved us. I mean, there were definitely a few people who were there for the free cocktails, but mostly there was the love...

It's too bad that one only gets to be the bride for one day, because, man, the perks are great! I'm smiling now as I write this, remembering how amazing these lovely ladies... The day would not have been complete without them.

And, of course, my family...I really hit the jackpot there, no question about it.

{This family group hug was one of my favorite moments}

The love I feel from and for these people is indescribably huge... Plus, they throw one hell of a party!
 This feels like a wedding recap that is two years late, but I'll take any excuse to look through these pictures and relive the day. It was extraordinary.

Tom - you're my favorite. Thank you for making marriage so much fun. I love you.

 { I can't wait to see where this ride will take us.}

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Suddenly Summer

Somewhere between the May Gray and the June Gloom that lasted well into July, summer snuck in. The dreary weather of the last few weeks has been kind of a nice because it has given me an excuse to hole up, completely guilt free, with my crafting and cooking. However, keeping all of the windows closed and wearing long sleeves and actual shoes in mid-July was starting to get a little old, so I celebrated the return of the sun this Monday with a trip to the pool and an indolent hour during which I did nothing but treat my vitamin D deficiency.

And now that the sunny side of summer has shown up, I have to maybe, probably, hopefully go back to school. I have spent the past five weeks vacillating (somewhat psychotically) between indifference, hope, despair, and a kind of forced nonchalance as the school district sat on its metaphorical hands and... Well, I have no idea what the district district has been doing for the past three months. Lobbying for a bulk discount on red tape? Attending trainings on new ways in which bureaucracy can be used to supplant common sense?

I know what they haven't been doing, and that is figuring out who will be teaching the fifteen sections of English that are currently open at my school site. That translates to roughly 465 students, students who return to campus in three days, who are currently without an English teacher. Students who will likely spend the first couple weeks of their ninth and tenth grade years with a rotating cast of substitutes. Apparently I should have added righteous indignation to my list of rotating mental states...

Anyway, the point is - it's sunny and warm and the forecast is for more of the same. I will be taking advantage of the new weather pattern by crossing another activity off of my list this weekend...  Tom and I have a paddle board lesson scheduled for Saturday morning; I assume that I will have Jennifer Aniston-style biceps in no time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making Things From Scratch

The harsh realization that the year is more than half over has me getting serious about crossing some things off of my 30 by 30 list. One of the more vague things on my list was "make things from scratch." Uh, okay. I'm not sure what exactly I had in mind when I came up with that goal, but I'm giving it a shot.

Vanilla Extract From Scratch
I actually started this first project several weeks ago, and it won't be finished until close to the end of the year... Despite the time commitment, I hesitate to even count this as making something from scratch because it was so simple.

  • First, buy vanilla beans and booze. I ordered my vanilla beans from Beanilla and decided to go wild and buy both rum and vodka. Apparently you can make the extract using either type of alcohol. I made most of mine with vodka and used the leftover rum for mojitos, win/win.
 Vanilla beans are somewhat expensive ($20 for twelve) because they are the fruit of a very particular and rare flower that blooms for about one day and must be pollinated by hand.

  • Split the beans in half lengthwise and stuff them into mason jars or whatever is housing your extract- to-be.

  • Add one cup of liquor for every three beans.
 {Here's the rum variety on day one.}

{Here it is with the vodka version when I whipped that up two days later.}
  • Shake and wait. Put in a dark cabinet. Repeat.
{It's been a month, and although it looks more like vanilla extract now, it still smells like vanilla vodka.
According to some websites, the extract could be ready in as few as six weeks, but most recommend waiting three to six months. I'm thinking mine will be done in time for Christmas gifting and baking.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Snacks

Picking up the farm box on Sundays always inspires a sort of culinary bravado in me... This week the box included figs among its many treasures.

 A little online research informed me that figs, magical and exotic fruit that they are, don't last long after harvesting. Soooo, when late afternoon hunger struck, I whipped these up with a little online help from Emeril.


Friday, July 9, 2010


I have lost a serious amount of steam with Creativity Boot Camp. How shocking. I started something with gusto and gradually allowed my interest to be diverted by other things...like a passing butterfly. I have issues.

Anyway, the prompt for the final day, day thirteen, was smile. I'm not a fan of taking portraits as that would require that I actually speak to and pose people... Hence, I chose to interpret this prompt a little bit differently. I took myself on a field trip to the zoo, and indirectly documented tons of smiles. I was smiling, I'm pretty sure the kids watching the turtles were smiling, and I'm sure that the flamingo was representing with the flamingo equivalent of a smile.

{This view always makes me smile}

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have enjoyed the daily prompts, but I'm about ready for the end of Creativity Boot Camp. For smooth, I attempted to take some shots of me shaving my legs, but... Well, I suspect that taking pictures whilst balancing on one leg while trying to shave the other one would be a challenge when one has not had three glasses of wine. The results were sub par to say the least, but at least I attempted it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Thinking of my brother and all of the troops on this Independence Day...

Friday, July 2, 2010


Creativity Boot Camp - losing steam, but still playing catch up. The word for day eleven was full-bodied. Since following and secretly photographing unsuspecting pregnant women seemed...inappropriate at best, I went with a picture of my new favorite full-bodied number.

The return to I Avenue is complete.

Depending upon how you count it, this move has been months, years, or decades in the making. Mom, Dad, and Meghan are finally...
{Home in Coronado}

Full photographic tour to follow.