Sunday, May 31, 2009

Empty Classroom

I finished the end-of-year cleaning in my classroom on Friday. We have to push all furniture up against a wall so the floors can be cleaned. It makes my room look so very SAD. I brought my personal stuff home for safekeeping. I seem to have accumulated a ton of stuff in my seven years of teaching.

Especially since its anyone's guess if I'll be back there next year. I hate this screwed-up economy!

San Francisco...SWEET!

I really do love that city. It's not London, but it is kind of unfair to compare a British city that's a gazillion years old to a California city that's...well, not a gazillion years old. As far as I know, the Romans never experienced a San Francisco foggy summer day.

Anyway, you can read about my many adventures this weekend over on The Anxious Traveler. I took a ton of pictures.

These, however, don't belong on the travel blog, so I'll post them here. I went to dinner at Heather and Arturo's place, and decided, even though I knew it to be casual, to wear a dress I bought on Friday. It's an $18 WalMart dress, but it's cute, and I felt fabulous in it. I told Heather, "I'm practicing this new thing called 'body confidence.'" So far, so good.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hello From San Francisco!

I'm in the computer room at Hotel Whitcomb, taking a break from all the sight-seeing I've done. Here's the run-down so far:

1. Got gas and a quick car wash in Stockton.
2. Drove 80 miles to San Francisco.
3. Crossed Bay Bridge, stopping on Treasure Island for some photo ops.
4. Drove through the city to the Presidio, stopping under the Golden Gate bridge for some awesome fog pictures, saw a whale!, and then to Baker Beach for ocean sounds and sand-in-shoes fun.
5. Drove to Japantown, looked around.
6. Got lost (happens every time I come here).
7. Found my hotel, checked in.
8. Wandered the neighborhood, stopped at the Asian Art Museum.
9. Knelt at the altar of St. Arbuck's for a Frappuccino and croissant (no lunch today).
10. Here I am.

Next up: Get dolled up, go to Heather and Arturo's for dinner, and possibly out for drinks later.

Tomorrow, I want to revisit Broadway street--there were some AWESOME signs, but no parking/time. So that's on my list.

Friday, May 29, 2009

San Francisco

I'm off, tomorrow, to my beloved City By the Bay. I will spend one decadent night in the Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street.

Looks like my grand plan to sit on a beach all day will be foiled by that famous San Francisco fog, but I still intend to get an ocean fix. The sound of the ocean is so soothing, and it's been a busy, somewhat stressful week, in terms of not knowing anything about the fate of my job position for next year.

I also want to explore Japantown and the Asian Art Museum.

Stay tuned for pictures on The Anxious Traveler!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Urgh. Why'd they have to go and make Twilight so damned addictive?

Now I have to wait until fall for New Moon to come out--and to see the gorgeous, shirtless RPattz on screen.

***Edited to add this bit of awesomeness:

And So An Era Ends

Today, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his boss, Rick Hendrick, announced that Junior's cousin, Tony Eury Jr., would no longer be crew chief of the 88 Amp/National Guard car.

On the one hand, I'm sad--the Juniors have been together almost all of Dale's NASCAR career, but on the other hand, I'm excited. The 88's performance has been so very dismal of late, it's hard not to think that perhaps this is the only way to go.

Overall, I'm sad for Dale Jr.--this picture from today shows that it's not an easy move for him. In typical Junior fashion, he blames himself for the failings.

I'll be tuned in this weekend, watching with curiosity as an interim crew chief sits on the pit box. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All Kinds of Sparkly Goodness

Thank you, Jezebel. Thank you very, very, very much.

Bored Bored Bored Bored Bored Bored Bored

I am bored. Just in case the title of this post didn't give you that idea.
My grades are done and put in the system. I have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone going in the DVD player for the small group of 8th graders in my room. Promotion was this morning, and for a while, I babysat the kids who didn't have good enough behavior to participate. Now I've got some of the good kids just hanging out. Most of the 8th graders went home after promotion with their parents. Those who stayed are just hanging out.
My room is almost completely clean. I have a few things to take down from the walls, but that can be done this afternoon and tomorrow.
I just had a bathroom break. I had an envelope from Human Resources in my mailbox. I got a pit in my stomach until I read that according to this school district, I am considered "Highly Qualified" in meeting the regulations of the No Child Left Behind Act. Yay me.
I should hope so--I majored in music education, I have a credential to teach music, and seven years of teaching music under my belt.
Seven years...damn. Time flies, whether you're having any fun or not. Fortunately, I've had a lot of fun with my career--and some bad times--*cough* *cough*Antioch*cough* *cough*.
So here I sit. I have seven boys watching Harry Potter, and about 3 1/2 hours left to my work day. I'll do some major cardio after work, then relax at home. Tomorrow is our last student day. Friday is a teacher day. Saturday, it's off to San Francisco for some well-earned fun and relaxation.
In the meantime...I'm bored. Good thing I brought my book today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yay for Donors Choose!

My most recent project, Help Us Make Beautiful Music, has received its first donation! Hopefully I can get it fully funded by August and get some instruments into my classroom.

NOTE: This is NOT a plea for money...but if you thought you could spare a few bucks, I wouldn't object...

Attention Northern California Jezzies

June 21st. San Francisco. Roberta freakin' Flack.

Check this out.

Marie and I suggest a Jez meet-up for the NorCal set--and this would be perfect. Who's in?

A Little Treat

I decided that I've earned a little treat for surviving another school year, so I'm going to spend Saturday night at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco. It looks like a great place, it's in a great location, and best of all, they're having a sale!

So my grand plan is to get an ocean fix. If it's foggy, I'll sit in the fog and listen to the ocean. If it's sunny I'll make a day of it with my iPod and a good beach read. I'd also like to go to the Asian Art Museum if time permits. I also might peruse Japantown. I'll have my car, so I can drive around town, or walk if I so choose.

And, should I feel particularly decadent, I might just have room service for breakfast.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Motherhood

I guess I don't really hide the fact that, at this point in my life, I have no desire whatsoever to have children.

Don't get me wrong--I love kids. Obviously, otherwise I'd be pretty miserable being a full-time K-8 music teacher. People tell me all the time, "I could never do what you do--so much patience! I just don't have it." And I think to myself, "I couldn't do what YOU do--give up so much of myself for someone else."

Maybe someday I will get to that place. Then again, maybe not...because the funny thing is, the closer I get to that time in my life when my biological clock is supposed to start ticking at loud volume, the less inclined I feel to ever have a baby. If I do meet Mr. Wonderful and get married, maybe I won't be able to imagine not having his baby. But until I'm in that place, I'm perfectly happy to raise two well-adjusted cats and to have the freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it (finances permitting, of course).

And, of course, if I ever do have children, I really hope I can take some time away from teaching, because spending all day with other peoples' children and then coming home to my own sounds exhausting. People do it, and I admire them for it, but the thought makes me...tired.

I bring this up because last week, my thoughts on the matter may very well have ended what could have been a nice friendship.

Two colleagues decided that their old friend, C., would be great for me. When he contacted me on Facebook, I figured, "what the hell, I'm not going to turn down the opportunity to meet new people." The few times we chatted online, I didn't see fireworks, but online chatting is funny like that. His friends told me he's shy with women. Okay, fine. But our conversations seemed so...dull. Sorry to say it, but sometimes people just don't have anything in common.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't really read his profile right away, or else I might have known that we really didn't have much in common sooner. He's sci-fi, I'm Jane Austen period dramas. He's science, I'm music. He's conservative...I'm decidedly NOT conservative. You get the idea. The one thing we had in common is that we both like Lord of the Rings.

Then he asked me to dinner. I said, "That would be fun!" figuring, hey, give it a chance--you never know. He was out of town for a week, but once he'd returned, he never brought it up again.

Then came Wednesday. I posted a cute kid picture on my Facebook profile, and made the somewhat tongue-in-cheek remark that it could almost make me want to have children..."but don't worry, I'll go back to work tomorrow and get over that!"

Immediately, C. posted a comment: "So, you don't want children, ever?"

My first reaction was, "Dude, I've agreed to meet you for dinner--are we really discussing the children issue?" I went to work, emailed a few girlfriends, and decided honesty is the best policy. Later, I replied, "Not really."

And then I put it out of my mind.

Friday night, I was perusing my Facebook account when I noticed that C. is no longer on my friends list.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen: I've been un-friended on Facebook by a guy I'd never met in person, possibly because of my fair certainty that I never want to have children. I can't think of any other reason. It seems so ludicrous. I thought we were just having dinner! Obviously, he was looking for so much more than I was.

Meeting people is exhausting. If you need me, I'll be curled up with my cats, reading a good book, and planning my next big adventure.

Back In the Saddle Again

Yesterday, Mom and I went to A Chance For Bliss (their blog is here) to go for a trail ride with Deanna and Margaret. It was a gorgeous day for it--sunny with a blue, cloudless sky, and not at all hot. Just warm enough.

When we got to the farm, Dee and Margaret were busy finishing their chores, so Mom and I pitched in and helped clean horse poop out of the front pasture. It didn't take us too long. It's physical work, of course, but it doesn't smell bad--horse poop is way more organic than the stuff I regularly scoop out of the litter boxes at home.

We helped groom the horses we would be riding. Margaret would ride Eddie, Dee would ride Buck, and Mom and I could choose between Zulu and Doc (a newbie to the farm). Mom ended up on Doc, leaving me with Zulu, a dark Morgan who is a total gentleman.

Dee always wears a helmet, and she requires everyone else to, as well, for safety reasons. No problem! I'm happy to protect my noggin. I'm not afraid of horses, but I have a healthy respect for what can happen. As Margaret said, "Some people say, 'Oh, my horse is bomb-proof.' There's no such thing."

Doc has these stylin' Mary Jane boots...

...and a handsome face.

Buddy watches the proceedings, bummed that he can't go along with us.

Buck waits patiently

Doc takes the bit

Zulu (left) and Eddie (right) are ready to roll.

The view from Zulu's back

Mom on Doc, ready to go.

We set off for a nearby trail. We had to ride along the road for a few minutes, which was nerve-wracking for me, but Zulu's a pro. He wasn't phased by passing cars at all.

The first few minutes of the ride were a little uncertain. The last time I was on a horse, I was fifteen--half my life ago! That was a trail ride at Bryce Canyon, and those horses were trained to follow the leader. Zulu, while a gentleman, is used to being ridden by someone who at least knows what commands to give.

I got a crash course from Margaret. To stop him, sit back in the saddle and push forward with my feet, saying "Whoa." Pulling too much on the reins would make him back up. I could give him a loose rein, but it won't hurt him to pull back when he decides to munch on the trail!

The best part was definitely the trail, which is gorgeous. Northern California is beautiful in its way. In another few weeks, this will all be brown and yellow from the heat, so I enjoyed the flowers and green while it's there. There were tons of birds, and I could hear woodpeckers in the distance. Fortunately, we ran into no snakes, and no rabbits darting out under the horses' feet.

Another view from Zulu:

I started getting into my stride. Zulu likes to keep up near the lead horse, so he would trot from time to time. The first time, it surprised me, but I didn't panic. I just pulled him back to a walk. He and Doc had Mom and I in stitches, reaching out as we walked along to grab a mouthfull of grass to munch on. Every time we stopped to get everyone back together, Zu's head would go down to the ground to munch.

We were out for about an hour. It was a lovely ride, and I'm pleased to report that I'm not even sore today!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Kitty Khorus Has Rolled Into Town

Well, my week is FINALLY over and I was able to get out of work at about 2:40 today. I drove straight to my apartment. I did not pass go, I did not collect $200.

When I got home, I pulled a dirty trick on the furbabies--I rattled the cookies, gave each cat one to snack on, and then ran to close the bedroom door. See, this keeps them from running under the bed when they realize--eek!--that I've got the cat carriers out.

I had already loaded the car, so I set about getting the Terrible Torties into their boxes. I caught Duchess after she was temporarily distracted by a Harley ambush. Then I turned around to get Bella.


My bedroom door was still tightly closed, and I could not find her anywhere. I had a sudden horrible feeling--what if she'd slipped outside while I was loading my car? But Bella is NOT curious about the outdoors, beyond watching Bird TV, so I knew she had to be around somewhere. Still, I peeked outside for a moment.

When I came back in, she was streaking across the living room (I still haven't figured out where she was hiding). I managed to catch her and get her loaded into her box.

Next was Harley, followed by Millie. They're old pros at this by now. I took my cats out to the car, loaded them in, started the engine, and trained the full-blast air conditioning on them. Then I ran back to the apartment for Bella, Duchess, and my purse. Finally loaded and ready, we hit the road.

The drive was pretty uneventful. There was a lot of crying at first, but they settled down later in the drive. Everyone was happy to arrive at our destination. Bella and Duchess have loved on their mom now, and Millie and Harley stepped in like they own the place.

Tomorrow, Mom and I are going horseback riding at A Chance For Bliss. Should be a great day!

Keen on Keane -- Everybody's Changing

You say you wander your own land
But when I think about it
I don't see how you can
You're aching, you're breaking
And I can see the pain in your eyes
Says everybody's changing
And I don't know why

So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

You're gone from here
And soon you will disappear
Fading into beautiful light
Cause everybody's changing
And I don't feel right

So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Matter of Trust

This is the letter I'm giving my kids tomorrow in 6th period, followed by a lengthy assignment from Character Counts (which we use at our school).

Dear students,

On Thursday, all trust I had in this class was violated by the theft of my iPod. I know that it was someone in this class who took it, as the iPod was in its dock in this room when I left and locked the door for lunch.

It is so very disappointing that one of my students would steal such a valuable item from me, and that others, who might have seen something or heard something, would not be honest with me, or with another teacher, if there is information you know.

It’s not about the iPod. Immediately after school I went to Best Buy and bought a new Nano, because I can afford to do so. It is about trust and character. I honestly believe that every student in this room has good character—but sometimes, we make bad choices. One person in this room made the choice to steal from me. The rest of you didn’t, and don’t deserve punishment or the indignity of a backpack search. However, you will find that life isn’t always fair, and sometimes all have to pay a price for the actions of one person.

Today, you will be required to finish a Character Counts assignment. You will stay seated in the seat I assigned you. You will not talk. You will have no need to get out of your chair. If you need a pencil sharpened, or anything else, you will raise your hand and wait patiently for me to assist you. My original plan for today and Tuesday was to allow you to watch a movie and draw. That will not be happening now.

If you finish this assignment before the end of the class period, you will remain seated at your desk, quietly.

Ms. C

Diary of a Fat Girl: Part Nineteen

I've sort of hit a plateau with my weight loss (no gain, just a distressing SAMENESS in that number on the scale) and with the Fat Girl blogs. But today, I was down a pound (woohoo!) and figured maybe jump-starting my blogging about my weight-loss adventure would help, too.

B. the Sadistic Trainer is but a memory now, and has been replaced by C. Who Speaks Softly but Works My Butt Off.

C. is pretty awesome. She's a nutritionist, and I want her legs someday. I'll have to do a lot of squats and lunges. The first thing she did was allow olive oil and avocado back into my life (B. dismissed pretty much ALL fats, even the good ones). On the surface, she seems more laid-back than B., but I have learned not to let that soft-spoken nice gal thing fool me. She makes me WORK.

She sometimes laughs at my reactions to certain exercises, but she doesn't relent. She gets that it's difficult, but also believes I can do it. I once told her that every time I want to sink to the floor and not get up again, I just think, "Tank tops! Shorts! Sundresses!"

I'm already wearing tank tops more regularly, and I don't feel so ashamed of my big ole flabby chicken wings--mainly because they're not big ole flabby chicken wings anymore. They're not completely fabulous yet, but there is definitely more muscle than there was, and less fat. My elbows feel more pointy. My shoulders are a little more fierce.

Before you know it, I'll be strutting around in backless dresses and spaghetti straps.

I'm still in my size 14 jeans, but hope in another week or two that I'll be able to get out of Big Girl Territory into a size 12. I sort of see the difference between size 12 and 14 as significant for my height (I'm 5'2"--in other words, SHORT). When I was a 12, in college, I was still sort of cute and curvy. At size 14, I started feeling fat. Getting back into a 12 for the first time since my early 20s will be awesome.

In the meantime, I'm eating lean proteins, whole wheats and lots of fruits and veggies. The summer fruits are coming back, which makes me happy.

Hopefully soon, my size 12 butt will be posting Diary of a Not-so-fat Girl blogs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Love My Kids I Love My Kids I Love My Kids I Love My Kids I Love My Kids

Pardon me while I work REALLY hard to remember that I love my students.

It was 2006 before I finally stepped onto the Technology Train and downloaded iTunes. When I bought my iPod a few days later, I was in love.

Meg's Little Pod and I had a wonderful three years together. Today, my sweet little Nano was stolen from right under my nose. I was so mad I almost cried in front of the little snotbuckets. Don't worry, I managed to hold off until I was alone.

That's my iPod! My entire music library in one pencil-thin little vessel. The iPod that has gone on so many car trips. What in the world does one do without an iPod?!

So I detoured by Best Buy on the way home from work and bought another Nano. In the three years since I bought my sweet little pod, prices have gone down, technology has gotten even more slick, and the Nano now comes in COLORS. I bought a blue one (not green, heh). I've uploaded everything to it and I'm ready to go.

In the meantime, I'm HATING the class of kids who took it. A backpack search yielded nothing, so someone probably hid it in their underwear. I hope the kid who took it is happy, I really do.

Teaches me to leave it out, instead of putting it in my locked desk as I usually do when the middle school kids come to call. Still, one of the 8th grade language arts teachers leaves a digital camera out all the time in her room and no one has taken it!

File this under "lesson learned," and get on with it. Revel in new adorable iPod, which is blue and as twice the storage capacity. But still, mourn the loss of Meg's Little Pod, the one that eased me into this technology-crazy millennium in the first place.

A Letter to Mommy from Bella

Dear Mommy,

Meg tells us you'll be home tonight, but we don't get to see you 'til Friday. What's with that?

I mean, I understand that you want to get over the jet lag and all. You humans just don't understand the fine art of cat napping. Really, if Duckie and I had just made a cross-country flight, it would take maybe two hours under the bed napping, and then we'd be ready to go.

I suppose I can wait 'til Friday. Meg said something about the Kitty Khorus. Really, I hope she's not complaning. SHE doesn't have to be locked in that stupid little box, does she? She thinks the solution to our confusion and discomfort is to blast the air conditioning and her iPod thingie. Hmph.

Anyway, she treats us well, and gives me my rubbies every night. The food dish is always full, the potty pans aren't too bad (though they smell like that little orange pimple kitten). Also, I'm not used to sharing my potty pan with a boy!

We get cookies every morning, and even I am eating them. If I don't, the little dude will get them, and that just doesn't seem right.

I'll have you know that Duckie and I will hide under the bed for a while when we get home, just to put you in your place. You humans! You never learn.

...but I still love you, Mommy.


Your Bell-boo.

Maraca Madness

My 5th period class just made maracas with kindergarten art buddies.
There are beans and shell pasta (pasti?) all over the floor. I figure I have the easier end of the deal, though. The kinder teacher gets to take all the noisy maraca-makers back to her room!

Keen on Keane -- The Frog Prince

"The Frog Prince"

An old fairytale told me
The simple heart will be prized again
A toad will be our king
And ugly ogres are heroes

Then you'll shake
Your fist at the sky
"Oh why did I rely
On fashions and small fry?"

All promises broken
Feed your people or lose your throne
And forfeit your whole kingdom
I'd sooner lose it than still live in it alone

You were our golden child
But the gentle and the mild
Inherit the earth, while

Your prince's crown
Cracks and falls down
Your castle hollow and cold
You've wandered so far
From the person you are
Let go brother, let go
Cos now we all know

Soon, someone will put a spell on you
Perfume, treasure, sorcery, every trick they know
You will lie in a deep sleep
That's when

Your prince's crown
Cracks and falls down
Your castle hollow and cold
You've wandered so far
From the person you are
Let go brother, let go
Cos now we all know

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm Wearing a Tent.

This is me with my friend from Chorale (who wishes to remain anonymous) on Sunday. Proof that our dresses are tents. Keep in mind that I bought mine when I was 20 pounds heavier, but also note that it doesn't flatter the lovely figure of my friend. She calls them polyester body bags. All I know is I had all kinds of sweat rolling down my back in that thing on Sunday. Gah.

P.S. We're supposed to wear pantyhose with our tents dresses. I'm a rebel!

Keen on GREEN

Green is quickly becoming my signature color. It's so fresh, so happy, and it complements my coloring.

The first picture is my current purse. It's Liz and Co. from J.C. Penney.

I have a ton of green in my wardrobe. Let's start with the tops (there is at least one in my laundry hamper, and one in my ironing basket, too):

And, in addition to my current hand bag, two others:

I also have a hat, three scarves (one has some green in with the blue), and two pairs of shoes.

Not to mention jewelery and workout gear...

Hell, my umbrella is green.

At first I was a little bit embarassed by all this green, but I've decided to embrace it as my signature and get on with things.

I Could Use a Break

from the drama, stress and craziness that is the state of education in the state of California.

Where should I go?

Hmmm...Cannes would be nice.

Under Pressure

I'm sitting here at my desk (at work), with my iPod headphones plugged into my ears, listening to Keane's awesome cover of Queen's "Under Pressure." It's one of my favorite Queen songs, and I love Keane's version, too. Mostly because Tom Chaplin's voice curls my toes.
Anyway, it's approptriate. School is out (the kids are pretty goosy right now, and so are the teachers) for the day, and we have a long staff meeting ahead this afternoon. Mrs. Principal has "a lot to tell" us. In a conversation I had with a colleague a few minutes ago, I mentioned that I'm bringing chocolate and Kleenex.
I wasn't joking.
I did not get a pink slip. However, mistakes were made in this school district and hearings have been held about it. MY NAME WAS MENTIONED. Yep, I'm here still by mistake.
VAPA could still get cut (that's Visual and Performing Arts, if you don't know what I mean by VAPA). I could still be out of a job. I have absolutely no idea.
Hence the loud singing along with "Under Pressure."

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Return of Shamu

I got an awesome workout in today. : )

For starters, I did about 35 minutes on the stair climber, reading Glamour and listening to Keane on my iPod. After sweating it up in the main gym area, I wanted to have some time in the pool. I'm finding that I love swimming as a workout--I love how weightless I feel in the water, and how, even though I'm really working my muscles, it doesn't feel like huge effort.

So I donned my too-large swimsuit (yay me!) and stepped into the pool area. The pool at my gym has three lanes. Two people can easily share one lane, leaving room for six people to comfortably use the pool at one time.

When I stepped out of the locker room, there were five people in the pool. Perfect!

Except for Shamu. See, the title of this post is not a disparaging reference to my own body (I'm under 200 pounds now, people, I'm awesome, not a whale). It's about the relatively fit but AWFUL swimmer who was hogging the whole middle lane.

I am not a strong swimmer. I do a decent frog-kick and I can move my arms in such a way that keeps my head above the water. I have just enough swimming skills to keep myself from drowning in a pool, but I don't trust myself in rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.

That said, I know just enough about swimming to know that it's not supposed to be so MESSY! And Shamu was messy. When I finally found a free spot to do my laps, I found myself right next to the two lanes he was (still) hogging. Every time he passed me, I would end up with water in my eyes and ears. I've shared a lane with freestyle swimmers before and not had this problem. Dude was churning the waters to storm-like intensity. I was starting to get seasick.

I also know enough about swimming to know that your hands are supposed to SLICE the water, not SLAP it. This guy's hands have got to be hurting tonight.

But the real kicker (pardon the pun) was his turning. Michael Phelps he is not. A thorough Google Image search yielded this:

You can see that as the swimmer somersaults into a turn, the legs tuck up and slide into the water. Then the feet are planted against the wall for a good shove.

Shamu was not getting this. His legs were SLAPPING the water with comical force, sending huge waves of pool water onto the floor. It was hazardous standing anywhere near the explosion.

Anyway, I started to get tired of battling the waves and getting water smacked into my face every time he passed me, so I got out after only 8 laps and retreated to the sauna.

Better luck next time, eh?

Mi Familia

Just some random shots of my family through the years.

My brother Aaron with two of his kids, Tyson and Echo

Aaron and I...many years ago. I must have been about seven or eight.

Aaron in 2002

Mom and Dad celebrating 40 years of marriage in 2008

Mom and I in Oregon in 1993. I was a freshman in high school.

Mom and Dad at a Flag Day luncheon for Dad's veteran's group

Mom, Aaron and I with Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm

Back row: Dad, Mom, Katie, Susanne (sister-in-law), Aaron. Front row: Echo, Tyson, Grandma Cooper, Me. Dang, my arms look so much better now!

Grandma Bean (of Snoopy fame) and I on my 14th birthday.

Mom and I at an Alan Jackson concert in November 2008

Mom and I celebrating our successful post-Thanksgiving WalMart run--I will never subject myself to that madness again. Even for a $50 CD player.

Dad plays Santa and Mom is an elf, with Ruby, a pony from A Chance For Bliss

My favorite veteran on Veteran's Day 2007

A great pic of Mom and Dad in front of Monet's house at Giverny (Normandy, France). That was a great trip.