Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sugar Shock

No more baked goods, please!!

Oy vey. I feel slightly disgusted by the thought of cookies, cake, brownies and Rice Krispie Treats. I stopped at Raley's on my way home for some groceries and avoided the bakery at all costs. Bring on the vegetables!!

What a day. I stood around in the sun a lot (but, thanks to baby sunscreen with SPF 45, I am not even pink), and sold very little stuff. We made maybe $250. Ouch.

I've been wanting to do a blog update, though, so I will, even though I'm absolutely beat. I have stories and pictures. Good times. Here goes:

Delta Fair

There's a street in this town called Delta Fair Blvd., but that's not what I'm talking about.

A couple of weekends ago I went on a sunrise photo tour of the area, and here's what I came up with--some lovely photos of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. I was there quite early, and already it was busy with people who were there to fish. Some photos...

The sun rising behind Antioch Bridge:

The coastal ranges off in the distance...

Old Downtown Antioch at sunrise:

Adventures in Baking

Let's face it--I cook for one. I don't buy in bulk, and my normal diet is pretty simple, consisting of salads, soup and sandwiches, with fruit and veg on the sides. Breakfast is cereal and either tea or hot chocolate.

Therefore, I don't bake a lot. I've used my oven for pasta bakes and such, but most of the time, I'm a stove-top cook.

So last night, the oven got quite a workout. Two cakes and 80 cookies is a lot of time for an oven to be heated to 350 degrees, and a lot of work for me. Soup just isn't as complicated.

But I was ready:

Notice the phone--that's just in case I needed to call Mom for help.

I also had emergency rations in store, just in case they became necessary:

Fortunately, the first items out of the oven, two nine-inch round pans of carrot cake, were perfect... were the first batch of cookies:

I didn't end up needing the Bailey's.

Let Them Eat Cake

I am glad to report that both of the cakes I made last night sold today. No surprise, they were adorable. Here's proof:

Carrot with cream cheese frosting:

French vanilla with vanilla frosting:

I was especially flattered that the musical one was bought by my students for a party they are having tonight after the spring musical wraps.

The London Shrine

As mentioned in a previous blog, I have a shrine to London in my dining room. I thought it might be a good idea to back that up with pictures.

A poem I wrote shortly after London Semester in 1999:


Last time I was home, I got this darling picture of the Kindergatos in their bed. They love their bed--Mom and Dad bought a bed designed for a small dog, and it turns out it's perfect for accomadating two fat-and-sassy kitties. Here they are in all their glory:

Speaking of Cutie-Patoots...

Here's a great pic of Millie in her Sweet Spot. Perhaps her feet were cold?

Green Shoes!!

You know me, I'm a big shoe person. New shoes can cure almost any bad mood. Whenever I find that perfect pair of shoes, I have to share them with the world. The new shoes I found last weekend are very worth sharing. They are bright green and look marvelous with my white pants and green sweater.


Anyway, yes, they're very green, and I love them. I was complimented heavily on them when I wore them to work on Tuesday. They are, quite simply, a great pair of shoes:

Long Day...

I did my grocery shopping on the way home, so that tomorrow can be focused on NASCAR and some light cleaning. Then I came home, had dinner, and a well-deserved reward:

That's a Lemon Drop, FYI. And it was just what I needed. Now I need a nap. Hmm...not a bad idea. : )


Meg (Queen of the Kitchen With Fabulous Taste in Shoes)

Half Baked

Two cakes and 80 cookies.

That's what I did last night--I baked two cakes and 80 cookies (40 chocolate chip and 40 sugar).

Today we're having a rummage/bake sale to raise money for my choirs, so I decided to support my kids the best I could--by strapping on the oven mitts and channelling Betty Crocker. My apartment still smells like a bakery (not that I'm complaining, mind you).

I have a lovely carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (complete with little icing carrots) and a French vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, which I decorated with little music notes. The cakes were the big projects, as I made them in round pans and had to frost the sides and all that. The cookies are those ready-made ones. Just take them out of the wrapping, plunk them down on the cookie sheet, and bake. Easy. I didn't have the time or energy for homemade.

I also managed to load a few rummage sale items in my car, keep my kitchen clean, and get to bed at a decent hour. Now I'm up at 6:30 on a Saturday, waiting for my hair to dry. I rolled out of bed at 5:30 (horrifying!!) and I have to be at school at 7:30.

I have more stories and some pictures to share, so I'll be updating at another point, either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how exhausted I am from selling baked goods and rummage all day.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Is San Francisco On An Island?

When I am a little older and a little grayer, I shall sit down to write my memoirs. I will tell the stories I've accumulated after years of teaching in public schools.

The good news is, I now have a title:

Is San Francisco On An Island?

It's sure to be a best-seller.

And yes, a student asked me that question today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Go Megan, Go Megan...

Tomorrow I'll probably be moaning piteously as I pour myself out of bed, but right now I'm feeling pretty damned good.

Some ladies at work invited me to join them in an aqua aerobics class, so I went on Monday and again tonight. I'd forgotten just how good a workout an hour of aqua aerobics is. My calves have been feeling it since Monday night, and I have a feeling tomorrow it will be my arms.

Anyway, it's a good thing for me to do--I had a rather stressful day (teenagers...Gah!), and I'm glad I let some of the frustration out in a positive way.

And that's all in Megville...I'm just counting down to Spring Break, and beyond that, summer vacation. : )



Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh, the Pain...

Adulthood has its advantages, for sure.

For example, I love having my own place. The laundry room is never compromised, I can play my music when I want, and the TV isn't constantly going. If I want to be half-frozen, that's my choice. Finally getting a lot of money back in the form of my state and federal tax returns--over a thousand dollars--fabulous!

But adulthood has it's disadvantages. Like depositing that $1,000 on a Sunday morning...and turning around that night and putting it towards the old Mastercard payment. Ouch!!

Instead of saving for a summer jaunt to London or Seattle, I am paying for some online classes I have to take. It seems that the learning fun never stops for teachers. There's four classes (health, mainstreaming, computers 1 and computers 2), at $500 a pop. Oh, the agony!

It could have been worse--if I'd taken these classes through National University, they would have cost $1,300 a pop...highway robbery.

So yeah, it sucks, but it's part of adulthood. Right up there with giving half of my monthly paycheck to my apartment manager, or remembering to run the dishwasher so I have clean forks. It's like litterbox duty--not my favorite job on the planet, but worth it in the end because I've got Millie.

Besides, I have a shrine to London in my dining room, and no one can complain, because it's my apartment. I guess this adulthood thing can't be that bad.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, no...not that time.

This time:

Oh, happy thought, indeed.

As I left Safeway yesterday, I noticed the lady in front of me had a box of Girl Scout cookies in her basket. I deliberately took the most inconvenient exit (in terms of where my car was parked) so that I, too, could support Girl Scouts of America. Ten bucks later, I'm ready to go with a box of Thin Mints, a box of sugar-free brownie bites, and my absolute favorite...a box of Samoas. Heaven in a small cookie.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Got Pictures?

I'm finally catching up with some of my photos. Thought I'd post them here for all to enjoy.

First, a few weeks ago I spent a morning in Berkeley. I didn't stay long--it's not as entertaining to me as it was the last time I was there--as an 18-year-old. I mostly wandered in and out of shops, and went on a long hike for an ATM because the parking garage attendant couldn't accept my Visa.

Anyway, here's the very few pics I took that morning:

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

So Much For That Resolution...

But hey, it's only March--I can still get better about updating the LPB, right? It's been a crazy few weeks, and I think I can be excused for not wanting to update.

Some news and headlines from my ever, Wild and Absolutely True.

How To Save A Life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

--From "How To Save a Life" by The Fray

I'm pleased to report that I am now officially certified to perform CPR. I woke up at some ungodly hour (been doing that a lot this week--more on that in a minute) and drove myself 40 miles to Richmond, a rather desperate place with fabulous views of San Francisco. I took a free three-hour course through the American Red Cross, spending my Saturday morning giving life-saving breaths and chest compressions to a mannequin.

I had to take the course as part of a long course to clearing my teaching credential, but it's also something I've been wanting to do for some time. I finally got around to it. I'm hardly a CPR expert, but I did learn a little bit more about helping out in emergency situations...which is good, because...

Emergencies Happen

I don't want to go into all of the details in such a public forum, but suffice it to say that Monday found me spending my prep period helping campus security flag down the ambulance because a student overdosed on Advil and prescription medicines. She used to be in one of my choirs but dropped at the semester to get a couple of credits she needs to graduate. She fainted outside my room at the beginning of 5th period and another teacher and the student's boyfriend carried her into my room to get her out of the rain and cold.

I called security and helped them with phone calls and whatnot while they took care of her. The police arrived first, and I ran outside to help another campus security person flag down the ambulance.

It was some scary stuff, but I'm glad to report that the student is fine now. Physically, anyway.

Under Pressure

Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours

--From "Under Pressure" by Queen

To say that the last month has been stressful is the understatement of the year. I can't really explain it. I've just been under enormous pressure to be the teacher I'm not; to live up to the expectations my students have after having the previous director for so long. It's not easy. And God, some of those kids can be brats. Then there's planning a three-day trip to Anaheim, which nearly killed me before some wonderful parents took that job over.

My last blog update told of my recent minor car accident, and getting sick over my parents' anniversary weekend. It took a good couple of weeks to completely get past that bug. I went to the doctor to make sure it wasn't in my chest (it wasn't) and the doctor freaked out at my blood pressure. Turns out all that Dayquil and Nyquil will do that to a person...but nonetheless, the doc put me on a blood pressure medication. Great--let's add health stress to my growing list!

I went to Mom and Dad's again for my second of two three-day weekends, and had a lovely time just holing up in the house with them. Mom and I did a brief shopping run, but I was still pretty tired from being sick. Mostly we just watched TV, read books, worked on puzzles. I cuddled with Millie, Bella and Duchess, and sat around in my pajamas a lot.

Monday rolled around and it was time for me to return to Antioch. I loaded up my car and then promptly burst into tears. The big, messy, gooey kind. Sobbing, heaving tears. Mom took me back into the house and I spent two hours bawling and unloading all of my stress and worries on her. I just couldn't calm down. Finally I was okay to drive and got on the road with my faithful sidekick in her cat carrier.

Again, I can't really explain all of the things that I've been trying to cope with--it's so much more than typical job stress and that bug I had. It includes loneliness and a feeling of isolation I sometimes have, living where I live. I have friends, and I know if I ever needed anything, all I have to do is call Karen or Larry from school and they would be there to help me in no time flat. But still, I spend a lot of time alone when I'm not at work, and the sad fact is that my dearest friends are too far away, and we are all too busy these days to see each other much.

And add to it all that a few weeks ago we had THREE shootings within TWO miles of my apartment in ONE weekend...

So I've spent a few evenings sobbing in my apartment, partly over job stuff, partly because of loneliness, partly because I just didn't feel in control of anything. The good news is that I had a physical recently, and the doctor had some help and advice for that. She called it "situational anxiety," and she thinks it will be something I'm able to move past given time. In the meantime, she suggested I talk to a counselor, just to get it all out and sort through it all. So I'll be doing that.

The even better news is that every time I've had my blood pressure read since the day it was high, it has been normal.

Got Sleep?

Normally, if I'm going to have problems with insomnia, it's not being able to fall asleep. This last week, however, I've been waking up at all wee hours of the morning, and then tossing and turning until finally giving up the good fight at 5-something and getting up. I've spent many days this week yawning in my students' faces and contemplating putting my head down on the baby grand in my classroom for a quick nap.

It started Tuesday morning, when I woke up at 4:00 and did not get back to sleep again. On Wednesday I woke up at 1:40 and tossed and turned, only dozing lightly a couple of times between then and 5:30. On Thursday morning I woke up very briefly at 1:40, then fell asleep until 4:00. By Friday morning I was unaware of what time I was waking up--actually, I just didn't bother looking, but I know by 4:00 I was awake with no hope of sleeping again.

I even woke up in the wee hours this morning. It's freakin' Saturday!

Needless to say, I've been tired.

Life Is A Highway

Mom and Dad had mentioned briefly a few months ago that they should probably make a trip to Utah this spring to see my Grandma. While there, they'd probably pop up to Idaho to meet Tyson, my soon-to-be-official nephew. The adoption is set to be finalized in May, so everyone send positive vibes!

I want to meet Tyson myself, and see Grandma, so I asked Dad if he and Mom could plan their trip around my Spring Break. They had no problem with this, so we'll be driving to Salt Lake City for a few days in early April. I'm already compiling songs on my iTunes to make a couple of long mix CDs for the drive.

Driving through Nevada has to be the most boring activity I can think of (well, except for watching grass grow, maybe), and Salt Lake City isn't the most happening city on the planet, but it should still be a fun trip. It's always nice to see family, and it will be a change from California for a few days.

Plum Pick

Last summer Mom and I went to the Barnes and Noble near her home and saw that there was going to be a big author visiting the next day--Janet Evanovich. Mom asked one of the employees about her, and the employee told us about a series of books Janet wrote called the Stephanie Plum Mysteries. Mom bought the first one, One For The Money.

After reading it, she proceeded to buy and read, one by one, the next 11 books in the series, loving each and every one. "You have to read them," she would tell me. I would nod and smile, and file the idea away for a while. It's not that I didn't want to read them--they looked fun an all, but I was going through a big Regency phase at the time and couldn't buy enough Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh and Lisa Kleypas.

Anyway, during that second three-day weekend, I picked up One For The Money and started reading. And laughing my butt off. In the two weeks since then, I have gobbled up ten of the books. I've got Eleven On Top on my night table, which I'll start tonight, and Twelve Sharp waiting in the wings. Lean Mean Thirteen comes out in June, and to keep myself entertained while waiting for that, I've got two holiday-themed "between the numbers" books, Visions of Sugar Plums and Plum Lovin', to devour.

A little bit of background:

Stephanie Plum is a down-on-her luck Jersey girl who's been laid off from her job as lingerie buyer at a department store. Desperate for a job, she blackmails her sleazy cousin Vinnie into giving her a job as a bounty hunter for his bail bonds business. Her first assignment is to capture a cop-on-the-run, Joe Morelli, the irresistable bad-boy she lost her virginity to years ago.

Over the course of the series she teams up with her sexy bounty hunter mentor, Ranger; not-so-guilty cop Morelli; a plus-sized ex-hooker named Lula; Bob the Dog Who'll Eat Anything; her sassy Grandma Mazur; Sally Sweet, a transvestite-but-not-gay musician; and throught it all she has the non-support of her roommate, Rex the hamster.

No car is safe from Stephanie Plum's bad luck, with the exception of her uncle's horrid powder-blue '53 Buick. She is possibly the only bounty hunter on the planet who leaves her .38 in the cookie jar at home instead of taking it with her on a bust.

These books are hilarious.

And That's About It

It's 8:30 on a Saturday night, and this red-blooded American girl is going to...hop in bed with her Stephanie Plum book. Hey, I'm exhausted. Things are looking up in my life, but I'm still more tired than I can begin to describe.