Tuesday, August 29, 2006

the deal

What is the deal with L.A. and helicopters? Sure, on the beach you know people are being shuttled from a shwanky house in Malibu to their private jet at the airport. And standing on a friends deck in Silverlake you can see the helicopter downtown with its shining beam of light, cops, police car chases? But when I am trying to watch a movie in my living room and a helicopter continues to circle over my house, I really have no idea what is going on. More police? I know better than to try to find out through the media. Living in Cincinnati there was a night where armed gunmen robbed a bank and were roaming the neighborhood, streets were blocked for hours and a friend (and another friend of a friend) said there were tanks driving up the street. The news? nothing. Continually check through the rest of the week...nothing. (--by the way as I type the helicopter continues to circle, seriously it has been about an 1/2 hour)*. Cincinnati's only reporting was on the bank robbery that occurred around 10am, however a friend driving home from my apartment around midnight was stopped by the police and reprimanded for being out, when armed gunmen were about....news....nada...she had to return to my place because the streets were barricaded leading the 4 blocks to her place. That helps you sleep at night doesn't it? Ah the ghetto, will I ever miss it?

*Michael's helicopter comment "It's kind of weird, cause its right above our house”.

p.s. Kate wants me to tell the story about the time I Bruce Lee kicked down the door to our bedroom. I think she could tell it better as the more rational sibling in the situation. You should ask her to guest post it here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Closing the Gap (a serious post for a change)

My friend Vanessa just started a blog called Closing the Gap for Individuals with Disabilities that I see kind of as a post M.ed. collaboration tool. She puts it best when she says

My hope for this blog is to facilitate conversations with and between other special educators, caregivers, and anyone working with individuals with special needs. I believe in collaborating with others to provide my students with effective and appropriate services.

Anyway, Vanessa is supremely cool and I hope that her site can serve as a nice forum for people with special needs, their friends, families and service providers. (Wow! I am sounding all grown up here, more like a grad paper than my usual rambling blog fodder)

A colleague/professor of ours piloted an exercise program, called Jumping Jacks & Jills, for kids with ASD in Cincinnati. Vanessa has successfully expanded this program in her new neighborhood in NJ. I love the program and it is something I would like to see nationwide. I have already started talking to people I met at a school curriculum training last week about starting one near here in the spring. (I am not quite as quick as Vanessa at getting these things together, but really, I typed it out now so I am accountable for making it happen.)

Finally, Vanessa is so crazy motivated that she is also doing a Walk for Autism Research on September 30th, and raising money as a team for the Jumping Jacks & Jills. So, if you are just sitting there with all that money you meant to earmark for charitable donation burning a hole in your bank account go visit her Walk site to make a donation.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I am credentialed (is that a verb? It is now.) to teach in California. At least that is what my HR lady told me this morning. I can't wait to get a paper or an email for the proof. But still, this is fantastic and now you can be happy that you don't have to read (or skim, or ignore) any more posts about my credentialing nightmare. (just crazy posts about my actual teaching nightmares).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What does this say about me?

Michael and I spent most of Saturday afternoon rearranging furniture again. When you live in a shoebox, there is always the misconception that if the couch were just on the other side of the room things would be so much more spacious. Our misguided spatial abilities lead us to an entire afternoon of shifting and rearranging. I need to see it to believe it. Things are still bizarre and we are still sleeping on a mattress on the floor, but the living room...it looks so spacious.
The point?, you may be asking (please this is a blog post, do they ever have points, well maybe in a vague narcissistic sort of way. I'm getting there.

Last month, Michael noticed that when we moved from Cincinnati I swapped sides of the bed. (Do you know how couples are about their sides? I think it gets bad enough that it carries over to hotel rooms, and if you are ever forced to sleep with a sibling or friend in a hotel bed you might get into a fist fight if you are both right siders.) Me, not so much. Michael believes I need to sleep nearest to the door. This is very mobster of me, no? Kind of like the favorite seat in restaurants (in the corner so you can see the room of course, and no one can sneak up behind you with a weapon --or more salad dressing). In my family, we sometimes end up doing a little restaurant dance where we shuffle around one another trying to get the premium seating when the table is wedged in a corner. But, back to bed sidedness, I never noticed my switches or proximity to the door but Michael's theory of it cracks me up. Do I need to escape to somewhere? I am not a get up in the middle of the night bathroom person. I could get all psychoanalytic about this, but I am not so much concerned as amused. We swapped the side of the room the bed was on yesterday and when I looked at the bed the first thing I said was "You know I'm going to have to sleep on the other side now."

Wow, an entire post of drivel about bed sidedness. Do you have a side? How about the seat on the bus? Last week in my training, I sat at the "Kindergarten table" (sounds super cool right?). We sat in the same seats everyday. You know how when you go to class and someone is in "your" seat it screws you up for the entire class. (And how this is especially bad if you have to sit way closer and you can feel the rest of the class behind you, or you have to continually wrench your neck around to catch site of the person asking a question or making a comment.) Apparently, this does not affect me in bed, and if I was alone, I'd just sprawl anyway.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

more training (and a note on internet browsers)

idiotic training continues here
I forgot my massive binder and the "homework" contained within on the second day. If my other rant didn't contain my thrill of in-service training, that statement alone should illustrate the responsiveness my anal-retentive homework obsessive-compulsive butt has to this class. Just send good vibes to the dept. of ed in California so that I can receive money for this drivel instead of class credit. I have enough class credit in my opinion, I just want the cash.

I am supremely lazy when I come home from a strenuous day of sitting on my butt and listening to teachers complain about the math program (when they are not reading aloud sections of the manual). I read things on the Internet and watch silly cable. Recently, I re-added a site meter to my blog. My only insight I have from this is (I am fantastic at wasting time ) more people I know should be using Firefox. I mean it! Tabbed browsing! It is fantastic. If you are at your home computer and can download you should at least check it out. I have no more to say, other than, do you have cable? Are you watching Weeds and Project Runway? I think I will watch Weeds tomorrow and then catch the Runway on one of the multitude of reruns during the week. (I am currently watching too much TV). I can't wait to get financially together (maybe sometime next year, but at least something will be in direct deposit by November) to start exploring the Korean BBQ in the neighborhood, as well as the Carry OK as it is pronounced by my Korean friends (Kareoke) and other shady bars and grocery stores in the neighborhood.

Monday, August 14, 2006

teacher math training

This week I am spending 5 days training at a local elementary school to learn to use the district wide math curriculum. I would say it is a bad sign when the facilitator rants about her family (they are all engineers, she is a teacher) and in a manner of speaking blames the patriarchy (or Malibu Stacy, "Math is hard!") for her career aberration. She goes on (after the other women in the class have an, I so agree the man is bringing us down bitch fest*) to talk about the allotted time for mathematics instruction (60 minutes). She makes sweepingly broad statements about emergency schools (schools where the kids are not passing tests and they government requires more intense programming) and explains that this particular curriculum recommends 15 more minutes of uninterrupted academic time for these schools or students that show the need for more intense instruction. She says, "So, what is that? .... (long pause)....90 minutes of instruction".
4 more days of this and crappy catering.

*I am a feminist; I just need these people to learn to run a professional program. There are many reasons why this is not one of them (not just an inability to add whole numbers). I just hope I don't need the credential credits so that I can collect a nice check for my 5 days of inanity and boredom.

all about me (the title of the wall paper bound book I made in 2nd grade)

I just moved to L.A. I am trying to be a teacher (just finished a degree and certification in a different state). I am getting married in October. I love wine. I like to cook and watch other people cook, (at home and on TV.), my fiancé is a composer, musician, film scorer, and generally just the nicest person ever, I am much more cynical, and not as talented. I read all the time. I like babies. I love to go to the beach, but I am obsessed with sunscreen (even so I still burn, just in odd patches that I miss), I tried to cut down on book reading while I was in graduate school and consequently got obsessed with blog reading when I was supposed to be writing papers. I really love good conversation, but I talk a lot so I may intimidate or annoy you but it is just in my excitement to get the words out. I am kind of computer geeky as far as my family is concerned but really I know nothing as far as the real world is concerned. Lucky me, the (elementary) education world is as clueless as my family so I am still a girl genius on the Microsoft Word. I am currently watching Iron Chef America (which totally sucks compared to the original) and the secret ingredient is puff pastry, this is an incredibly lame secret ingredient because everything tastes fantastic in a buttery flaky puff pastry. Also I think the chefs know the "secret" ahead of time and that is pretty lame. I went to college (undergrad) for biology and got many bad grades and then completed an art degree (in only four years yay me!) Ultimately this did not make me competitively employable. Lucky for me I could type and alphabetize and I spent about 4 years as a very educated secretary (ahem, adminstrative assistant/office/sales manager--doesn't it make you feel better to have the word manager in your title? no.) I made the most money doing grunt filing work at a pharmaceutical company. I got many paper cuts and lost many brain cells to alcohol and boredom. Eventually I decided I should work at something more worthwhile that didn't make my soul hurt with the uselessness of it all. I still paint (sometimes). I don't do ceramics or sculpture any longer because I don't have the space or money. It is way past my bedtime. This should all stay true for a while so I won't have to update (I don't think) other than to change the word fiancé to husband. This makes me happy. I hate the word fiancé (maybe the dingo ate your fiancé!) Wish me luck this fall 13 small 5 and 6 year olds may crush my will to live.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

the weekend debriefing

I feel like I should do a boring weekend recap. Partly because I have been posting pretty regularly and partly because I am on the "left" coast. (a quote from one of Michael's many high school friends) and I feel that I should try to keep in touch with any east (or right) coast friends that read this.

So, the obligatory bullet point weekend retrospective:

Friday afternoon
  • ADR work for some random crime movie (this entails doing silly voice overs for crowd scenes of movies to sound like the crowd) Hooked up through Michael's dad's childhood friend (said in a Long Island, New York Italian accent "from da neighborhood") received checks (woohoo! not quite as poor)[I don't know what ADR stands for, though Michael tells me the R stands for Recording and I told him I thought the A stood for Audio, and he said no)
  • Dinner with friends-lots of yummy food, an apartment that is gorgeously decorated, and a glass of red wine unceremoniously dumped on my linen beach pants (picture this: me and a good looking young man, a camera comes out and someone wants a picture of us we move together and he moves to swiftly run his fingers through his hair, swings his arm around abruptly and slams the bottom of my wine glass, the glass goes flying into the air--along with its newly poured contents all over the apartment (and my pants) with itty bitty shards of broken glass. Lucky me, these people are so cool there was a quick clean up, and a pair of drawstring replacement pants, as well as a new drink. Yay!)
  • I am lazy; Michael goes to a recording session.
  • We both attend a children's community theatre production of Annie! (doesn't it deserve the exclamation point, just like E!)
  • Go out for Mexican food, and a show break down (synopsis: cute kids, glad we went to see the one we know, Daddy Gaybucks may have some actual talent if he can lose the sibilant S)
  • I am still lazy; Michael goes to another recording session.
  • Grocery shopping, laundry, bill paying
  • cable television (including the movie The United States of Leland--quite intense, lots of names)
  • preparation for tomorrow: lunch making, mapquesting, paperwork preparation
In complete retrospect:
Oh, my, god, Sunday was boring, why did I even include it?
I am obsessed with commas and parentheses (am I not?)
I need to learn how to make stories like the wine incident sound funnier (I mean it isn't often you go home from a dinner party wearing another man's pants.)

I finished a really good book A Child in Time, by Ian McEwan
I really didn't want to start this book because my stress was begging for a Devil Wears Prada, type of cushy girl reading. Instead I got desperate and ploughed on through as is typical for me when I am short on reading materials. (of course my copy is from the library)

Here is my favorite quote:

"To have a destination, a place where you were expected, a shred of identity, was such a relief after a month of game shows and Scotch. To show his pass to the familiar taciturn guard, to saunter across the marble hall among well-dressed, self-important people, to penetrate deep into the building, knowing without giving the matter a thought which staircases and corridors to take, to arrive at just the room and make small talk with colleagues, to sip coffee from the plastic cups bearing the ministry's stamp, bought from a machine in the corridor that dispensed onion soup down the same nozzle -- it was for little repetitions like these that people kept their jobs, however dull. It was all Stephen could do to refrain from bursting into song."(p. 155)

In one paragraph, my life, the last month full of television and wine versus the previous years of alarm clocks and office work, summed up. I can't wait to be back to the bored me that knows how to get places and who will be there when I arrive. Then I can add my own drama through weekend trips around the city or out of town.

Friday, August 11, 2006

picture pages picture pages

Here are more pictures.

First my new apartment
kitchen2.JPG with my itty bitty kitchen
Check out the photo set here

Next some snaps of the dress
the dress again.JPG
and me taking ridiculous pictures of myself in it.
See more here,
because I am sure you need multiple blurry pictures of a fluffy (off) white dress.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

road trip photos

I uploaded pictures to flickr of our 5 day trip across the U.S. from Eastern Pennsylvania to Los Angeles. They are in a set called driving cross country.


Get excited for lots and lots of highway pictures, lots and lots of pictures of clouds from the passenger window. Wow, in one boring stroke I bring back the vacation style slide show which I know only from sitcoms and that one episode of the Simpsons.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

evil things, good things

I just got off the phone with the certificated personnel HR lady. She now informs me (not really a surprise but irritating nonetheless) that she doesn't expect to hear from the state for 3-4 weeks. Hmm, that would be after school starts, and after all my training and orientation. Oh, she has new information...if it doesn't go through I can reapply for an emergency certification or for a one year certification, but they like to wait to hear about the full on certification first. Good of her to tell me this now. Then she says the contract will only be for one year (at this point does she think I care, whether it is for one year or ten, I just want the paycheck and the stability). I am taking this to mean that no matter what the first outcome, I will have a job (just not an ongoing contract). I will also take this to mean that when they deny my cool person certification I will have to go get another money order for $55 and try to get another kind of not as cool person certificate. She didn't say that, I just believe that is what will occur. I would love to be able to have one conversation that involves all the required information and not some half-assed version.

the good things?
I also just got off the phone with my former landlord, who apologized repeatedly and told me he is putting my security deposit in the mail tomorrow. This was fine with me, because now I know it is coming and it is coming to my new address.

I started a blog at blogsome under the same name. I think I might move over there because it looks like an easy way to categorize posts. I'll have to see how lazy I am about actually setting it up. You should check it out if you are interested in a banner that has cute puppies. Other than that there is not much going on over there.

Are you watching Project Runway tonight? Do you hope neck tattoo leaves just so you don't have to look at his neck tattoo any longer? Do you have a fun group of people that you watch with or do you have your own version of Michael who will be falling asleep on the aforementioned comfy IKEA chair when he is not to busy making fun of my taste in reality television. If it were up to him we would be watching World Poker Tournament all the time.

thoughts on L.A.

There is something in the water that makes all dogs purse sized. (or punt sized)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

the healthy and creative pact

Michael has proposed (starting yesterday) that we each try to do one healthy thing and one creative thing each day. Similar to New Year's resolutions that I fail to keep or even to make for that matter-- we seek to better ourselves*(I hear this in a snooty accent)--or at least look pretty good for the wedding and not go crazy from working all the time and never doing anything for ourselves. The idea is a good one because it is far to easy for me to fall into patterns of work and school that involve breaks in the evening only to eat a bag of chips drink a couple glasses of wine and start all over the next day. Barring gifts for friends I haven't really painted throughout the time I was in graduate school, so the proposed creative/healthy streak is Michael's effort to get me back in gear and not let himself fall into an all work all the time routine with schoolwork. Examples of our healthy and creative things are easy to think up, but of course much harder to actually get my butt off the comfy IKEA chair to do. One day for me might include playing with some watercolors and going on a long walk, for Michael it might be nightly push-ups and sketching out a piece of music that is not for school. I am immediately behind one day because I did crunches and push ups yesterday but no truly creative thing. Though my lazy procrastinating self is already cheating the pact by thinking of things I did that could fit into the creative part. I printed all the wedding invitations and double checked the envelopes, I made a quick chicken stir fry for dinner...that's creative!, how about if I floss tonight?, that's healthy right? But truthfully the creative and healthy things need to be separate from the daily things. So Michael can't count his walk to the bus stop and I can't count cooking because we do these things every day. Instead our creative and healthy things need to be more intentional and more suited to our creative outlets musical and artistic and become more physically active. So today I prepped a canvas (that's the start to something creative) and maybe later I will do some yoga stretches.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

unreal expectations

I'm one of those annoying creative types that never actually gets anything done while waiting for some semblance of perfection to occur. I have been writing daily posts in my head for at least the last week. But my brain expects beautifully, long pictorial view of my late June road trip. Well, maybe someday, but until then...I am in LA now and mostly freaking out.

The apartment is good (there will be pictures of that too, mmmhmm whenever my lazy butt gets off the bed and finds the camera cord), the neighborhood is bad (but comparable to our Cincinnati 'hood and therefore we have made a very expensive lateral move, albeit one that added in a teenytiny parking space). I got my wedding dress and many boxes of invitations to print which will sit on my desk until I go buy cyan, magenta and yellow ink, because my idiotic (or maybe crazy smart in a bad steal my money sort of way) Epson, will not print in black without also having full cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges. We have lots of fancy kitchen gadgets in our ittybitty kitchen with an oven so tiny I can fit one cookie tray. I put together lots more furniture with allen wrenches. (I cannot wait to be able to buy furniture with no assembly required.) When I go places here I kind of know my way around. I can drive around town and back home without getting lost, and I can even take different roads home every time.

Yesterday, at long last I went to the HR department of my school district to complete my becoming a teacher in what appears to be the Country of California, things were going extremely well, I was making kind chit chat with the HR lady, things were nearly completed when...She saw her supervisor on the way to the copy machine and they both puzzled over my new Ohio teaching certification. A two-year provisional certification. (Hmmm, to my knowledge the only kind you can get in Ohio unless you began a program in the late 1980's and have been grandfathered into to the old teacher for life system.) The two-year provisional certification is a problem, they have never seen one before, this may, in HR lady words, "condemn" my job offer. I think the word provisional is scaring them away. I tried unsuccessfully to explain that this is the the norm for Ohio. *Ohio and California have no reciprocity with teaching and California has its own set of tests and requirements. My job offer was always contingent on the ability to get a CA state license or certificate or whatever, this was always part of the deal. But the shock and confusion of the HR ladies and the word condemn really ruined my Friday. So now I am in limbo again, I must wait to hear from the state. In the meantime, do I attend the unpaid training sessions for math and reading? Do I continue to worry and plan for the 13 little kids I may or may not be in charge of educating this September. Should I really be looking for another source of income before I completely max out my credit card? Also I understand the States rights but really how is it possible to receive a masters degree in education from an NCATE credited university, to do a YEAR of student teaching, to pay repeatedly for FBI background checks because each state requires their own version and won't share, pay hundreds of dollars to each state's teaching certification people and still not be granted the license/certificate? Can they give me the time and money back? I hate not being in control. --end rant--

Really though, I am living in Southern California. I just bought 4 new bikinis (I practically never wear two piece bathing suits, but I was tanning/burning a big X shape in my back with my cool 40 style black one piece, which by my October wedding may look like some type of crazy tattoo or scar, thus the bandeau swim top to the rescue) I am going to the beach today, and hell maybe tomorrow too, because I can! I don't have a job. Oh and I am very fair skinned the tanning/burning in small unsuncreened areas occurs through my use of 30SPF or sometimes when I am feeling super neurotic KIDS 55 SPF. I blame Michael for the burn marks on my back, his ability to spray apply sunscreen is poor. I am thinking of purchasing a cream variety to see if that works better for him. Unfortunately for all my long armedness I cannot apply sunscreen to that one spot on the middle of my back.