Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011

I read in a book once that the only way to have an exciting life is to become an explorer. The word "explorer" here meaning different things to different people. In my situation, being an explorer means discovering the world that exists outside of Port Orchard.But with that in mind, the one and only vague resolution I made for this year was to get better at living an exciting life and to explore.

Here's a recap of some of the things that happened in my life in 2011.
1. I had an awesome practicum placement and felt like a teacher for the first time in my life.

2. I went to the aquarium, the science center, the Star Wars exhibit (mediocre), the Harry Potter exhibit (awesome), on an awesome road trip to Bellingham and to the pumpkin patch.

3. I saw a ton of movies in the movie theater. Some of which were awesome (GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO AND THE MUPPETS, DUH). Some of which were... less than awesome.

4. I went to a ton of great concerts including and not limited to Paul Simon, Weezer, U2, Britney Spears, Mumford and Sons, Death Cab for Cutie and Blink 182. Not to mention, Warped Tour.

5. I went to New Orleans. On an airplane. By myself. And experienced travelling and living and exploring and Bourbon Street and the glory that is ALA.

6. Then I went to New Mexico and it was glorious and snowy and magical.

Here's where I say something cheesy about what 2012 is going to be, trips to Dallas and Anaheim, graduation and so many other adventures. Hell yeah.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have roughly 5 recipes that have been made and photographed (no lie) setting on my computer in folders just waiting for me to get my act together and post. But, because this is not a food blog and under no uncertain terms will I ever pretend that it is, I don't feel too bad.

With that being said, today we made homemade sweet and sour chicken and it was gooooodd.

I only have pictures of my portion because I left the sauce making up to my sister.

Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
 
 1. Preheat the oven to 325.

2. Take your chicken pieces, rinse them in cold water and then cut them into cubes. 

3. In a bowl, mix the 1 cup corn starch and salt and pepper. I put about a teaspoon of pepper and half a teaspoon of salt but really, the choice is yours.

3. In a separate bowl, scramble 2 eggs. 

4. Dip the chicken into the cornstarch mixture and THEN into the egg. Trust me, it works.




5. Pour the oil into a frying pan and cook the chicken over medium heat. You just want the chicken to brown, not cook all the way.

This is where I started getting a little weirded out. Because you dipped the chicken in the egg last, when you go to fry it, it looks like a giant omelety mess. I was concerned but this is normal and it turns out beautifully, I promise.


6. After the chicken has browned, put it into a greased baking dish (I used 9x13). Let the chicken hang out for a little bit while you make sauce.

Sauce ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
 
7. Mix all of the ingredients together and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake the chicken for 1 hour. I flipped the chicken over every 15 minutes or so to make sure it was cooking evenly (and not sticking to my dish).

We ate it with rice and it was great, a nice combination of crispy and moist. I'd make it again.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Getting over it


I have officially crossed over.  I made the jump from team holiday cheer to quickly becoming team Grinch.

I even tried extra hard to go through the motions this year. I read all the holiday books, made the kids sing all the holiday songs and I even indulged in a few showings of A Christmas Story, Elf and Home Alone and yet, I just wasn't feeling it.

I think the problem is that in my head I have a a set idea of what the holidays should look like and when my outer world doesn't match up with my inner world, I get frustrated.
I'm ready to have my own house and my own family and do holidays the right way. I want the house to be full of love and fun and take a step away from the drama. I want to wake up early and cook all day and have friends over whose families are far away.

I want the magic to come back to the holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I need to blog more

I went to New Mexico. It was lovely.

I need to get back in the swing of this. I'm working on it, I promise.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks


Thanksgiving this year has been nothing but stressful and disappointing. With every single plan falling through and my family being nothing short of impossible. I have thrown in the towel and have decided to hopeful try and stay in my pajamas and play the new Zelda game. Anyway, I plan on writing more about that later.

But, I have written a list of things I am thankful for every year since social networking has become a thng in my life and this is one of the only traditions I still have control over so here it is:

1. Books. Oh my goodness, I am thankful for the numerous books I've read this year that have made me think, cry, laugh and have a temporary escape from my regular life.

2. Adventures. My adventure this year changed my entire life and I can't wait for the two more I have planned in the next few months.

3. My family. Even though they are crazy, negative and not the best most of the time, they are what I've got.

4. My friends. The people that I've chosen to make my family. The best group of unique, creative, clever people and I am so thankful to have them.

5. Inside jokes.

6. Baking

7. This life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

4 days

Life has been a bucket of awesome lately and to celebrate: here are 4 things I am thankful for (It being November and Thanksgiving month and all).


1. My friends. Friends are one of the only situations where quality over quantity is true. My friends are this lovely, dysfunctional group of misfits who were fortunate enough to find each other and I am so thankful that we have every single day.

2. My family. I'll be honest, they aren't great all the time but when they are, they really are.

3. Cupcakes. Well, baking as a whole but especially cupcakes. There is just something so cathartic about baking something and eating it fresh out of the oven that can turn any terrible situation around. 
 {found here}

4. BOOKS. New books. Rereading old books. Book stores, libraries, thrift stores. 

 {found here}

 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The one where I quit my job





So, I quit my job.

Which, if you know me at all in real life, you will know that this is something that I have been talking about for awhile now but could never justify. 

And as much as I have been talking about it for awhile, it was and is and will probably always just barely be something that I truly loved. It provided me an outlook to practice my classroom management and be creative and plan events and just made me happy. It was my baby that I nurtured and it was my safe place. was. 

Some unfortunate things happened. Some sad decisions were mad and I just realized that I wasn't happy anymore. If I'm not happy, I'm not going to be productive and plus, it was just time.

I had been wavering on this decision for awhile and searching high and low for any tiny bit of confidence to slip into a world that was new and boring and a little bit sad.

I knew in my heart that it was 100% time for me to just be an adult and do it when, after a terrible meeting that was just a melting pot of pettiness and unprofessionalism, I return to the office to find one of my kids with severe autism in there having a melt down.

It would be fair to say that all summer, this kid was my project. I believed in him and his family so much but sometimes, situations aren't a good fit and it has nothing to do with us or him but just the way things are.

He was crying and kicking the wall and just a trainwreck of emotions when I walked in and he looked at me, stopped screaming and said "Miss Whitney. I can't do this anymore".

That's it. No crying. No wailing just a simple "I can't do this anymore".

Now, normally it would be my natural reaction to comfort and distract him. Pull out the blocks and push his troubles away until he has forgotten about it.

But I knew it was time to quit my job when, without even thinking about; I said to him "I know honey, me either".

Me either.

So, I quit my job and that's where I am now. 

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Little by Little

Things come and go in waves of easier and harder. Just when I feel like I've made it back to shore and things have corrected themselves, something else comes along that is harder and more difficult to deal with on my own.

I just wish I was still in New Orleans where everything was lovely and manageable. Everything was broken into small bites instead of at home where things come in large shovelfuls. 

I am exhausted and feel like I can't give anything 80%, let alone the 100% that it all deserves. 

Three more weeks until work slows down and the quarter is over. Now provided I passed the West-E, that should be much more tolerable but we shall see.

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TIME.

In 8 hours, I will get on a plane by myself. I don't do things by myself, let alone travel across the country.

But I can do this, I've got this. 


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Long time no see

I haven't forgotten about you sweet little baby blog. Life has just been insane and if I'm not at work or hanging out with my coworkers, I am living the life of a 20 something recluse.

But... this time next week, I will be in New Orleans just living it up and enjoying air from somewhere other than Washington. (it's 94 there right now so I don't know how much the enjoying part is true).

I can't express how stoked I am to get away from work and school and life for a few days. 

The plans for the trip have become a little stressful. My friend had to change her flight and now I will be flying the whole way there by myself (Sigh) and meet her at baggage. While it sometimes seems terrifying, I'm excited for the opportunity to be independent and conquer a fear (lie. I'm scared shitless) but the payoff will be worth it and when I meet Tomie Depaola and get to tell him how this book made me decide to become a teacher, it's worth it.

I have a lotof pictures to share from when I saw U2, relay for life and some picnics and such but you know, I'm lazy and there is a star wars marathon on. I'll just leave you with this gem. I got a reminder postcard in the mail about the conference and got a little too excited.



Monday, May 30, 2011

A few quick questions

1. While writing an evaluation for an instructor, is it appropriate to use the phrase "Lazy bitchface"?

2. When does adulthood start being fun? I swear it looked much better than this when I was watched "The Real World" growing up.

3. Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with 3 day weekends? My entire schedule is thrown off and I'm not okay with that.

4. Do you want to know how many days until I go to New Orleans? YOU DO. Okay, it's 22.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday... fun fun fun

I started two blogs this week and gave up on both of them. That's how this week has been for me. I am exhausted but it's all good things. You know? 

Let's do this. If you want to play, link up here.



1.   What I love most about my home is      I consider it my safe zone. Everything is fine and tolerable and safe here. My bed and my bathtub are here, my books are here. It's all good.

2.  I'm excited because,    it's the weekend. Sure I have a lot of homework to do and I won't have a lot of time to sit around and actually soak in the weekend but I don't have to work and I'm thankful for that little gem.

3.  My preferred method for blowing  off steam when I'm frustrated is     baking. Nothing solves a problem like turning on some music, pulling up my hair and baking.

4.  Currently I am craving  nothing. I just woke up and I hate eating first thing in the morning.

5.  The thing I love most about my mom is     she's like my own personal cheerleader.

6.  If I was going to write a book about my life, the title would be  True story, for a while I wanted to write a book about teaching and call it "Brace for Impact" and then this book came out and I was CRUSHED.

7.  If I were to eat one thing for the rest of eternity it would be      a combination of chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes smothered in brown gravy. Pure love.


Once I drag my butt out of bed, I need to do some quick homework things, make some flashcards for a test and then get to work by 10. Lameo.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I am definitely ready for some introverted time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Friday

I didn't get to watch the royal wedding but I did wake up first thing this morning and google a million pictures. I haven't been around to do the fill in the blanks for awhile (stupid adult life!) but I'm here now.


If you'd like to play, go to this fantastic blog here.






1.   I am looking forward to    my trip to NOLA,  next school year (when I will be teaching third grade the entire time).

2.  Something kind of embarassing that I still love anyway is    the backstreet boys, I still listen to them at least once a week.

3.  My favorite car is     a prius. I want a prius so bad.

4.  If I could pick one type of weather to live with for the rest of my life it would be    sunny and bright with no humanity so my hair will be okay.

5.  My favorite thing to do after a bad/stressful day is    bake something, listen to music and vent  .

6.  This weekend     I will finish the awesome book I'm reading (more about that later) and go to the Star Wars Exhibit .

7.  If I were a color, I'd be       purple      because,     it's my favorite color and I know it's meant to be

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Labels

In school, we are told time and time again to ignore labels that are all too often placed on children. Often times, I will be handed a folder with 1 word scribbled on a blank. A word that's usually something like autistic, defiant, low, average, anxious, whatever it may be.

Usually, these words are meaningless to me and the people I work with. While they do have an impact on our instruction, they in no way impact the dynamics of our classroom or the community that we have worked so hard to create.

When the label of anorexic was recently placed on my little sister, I struggled with it at first. I thought of the hundreds of times when I've come across a label placed on a kid and laughed about it. Sometimes thinking something like "yeah, I'm not surprised" or "there's no way". I thought about my innate belief that labels don't define a person, they don't make up a person or change a person. They don't interfere with the way I interact with them, talk to them in the morning as we both rush to get ready for school. Labels are what we make of them, what we choose to do with them. Whatever they may be. 

This label does not define my family or my sister. This does not change things or help things or hinder things. This label isn't who she is or who she will be. 

This label is temporary, meaningless, passing quickly. This label is not her. Instead, it is an unwelcome visitor in my house and I am ready for it to leave. 

Work





There are days when I love my job and I couldn't imagine ever working anywhere else (you've heard this from me before right?) There are days when my job makes me want to cry or rather, punch someone in the face.
 
This week was Spring Break which means the club is open  from 6-6:30. Most days I worked the 6-12 shift, one day I worked from 10-6:30 and yesterday, well... we will get to that later.

On Monday, we got to work to find out that the school fridge was broken and all the milk, snacks and ranch had gone bad. The smell was disgusting and gag worthy. We put on masks, cleaned it out and survived to tell the tale.

Tuesday through Thursday were... fine. A little stressful but nothing out of the ordinary. 

But Friday. Oh Friday, you bastard. 

I woke up thinking I was working 6-12:30 which is not a big deal. I had planned to spend the rest of Friday in my pajamas, watching the last season of the Tudors. Instead, the girl that is supposed to take my spot, calls in 45 minutes before she was supposed to be there and my 6 hour shifted turned into a 12 hour shift.

I don't mind the hours, I don't mind the people that I was working with or the kids (we only had 40 versus the 60-70 we had the previous few days). 

But holy h, I still tired.

Instead of posting anything of substance, I'm just going to leave you with this: does anyone even remember this commercial? Oh man, I loved it. 








Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunday Sweets Volume 8

A little delayed but better late than never, right?

Let's see if you can pick up on the theme.

1. I am a little behind on the scarf bandwagon but in a perfect world, I would have this and wear it all year. Found here





2. Tomorrow (If I have enough time between work and school) I am getting an iphone! I already have my heart set on this cover found here




3. I love this print and would hang it up in my dream bedroom. Found here







4. Along with these flowers found here



5. This dress. Oh this dress. I would wear it on picnics and when I'm teaching and every day of my life. Found here.





Sunday, April 3, 2011

Untitled


I fought back and forth with this. I would write it in the middle of the night, get the words out of my system. Make peace with what's going on and then save it to my drafts and go to bed, doing what I do best and pretending it wasn't real.

But it is and as much as I want to wake up and move on and hide this part of myself and my life that is out there, that's not how the world works now, is it?


My younger sister has an eating disorder. 

It started off right after the beginning of her eighth grade year. She slowly started cutting down on portions, reading labels, speaking out on what we were having for dinner. Then around Christmas time, she started reading weight loss books, cutting out things like bread, milk, cheese. 


After the first of the year, she started packing only a few crackers or a few carrots for lunch. Obviously not getting enough calories for the day. 

When I asked her about her new diet, she quickly got defensive (a red flag, such a huge red flag). She dropped 40 pounds in 2 months which we all tried to explain to her is unhealthy and so so dangerous. 


She started commenting on things she wanted, saying things like "I don't need it, I want it but I don't need it".

She would get in fights with us, hide what she had eaten (if anything) all day from us. It got to the point where we were losing sleep, constantly worrying about her and struggling to find a safe and non threatening way to deal with what was happening right before our eyes. 

Things are slowly getting better. She now has to keep a journal of the things she eats during the day, then meets with someone to talk about them. Things are getting better, but this disease is still here, living in my house.


I don't know where things will go from here, I don't know how this started or how it will end. I just know that this is my family. This is my baby sister, the light of my existence that has it in her head that for whatever reason, she is not good enough.

If you or someone you know feels this way, please get help. Know that like my sister, you have people who care about you and love you to the moon and back whether you weigh 100 pounds or 400 pounds. Know that it can and will get better. 

Please.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Forward















*starting at the top,  1.Max Fisher puppet found here.  2. The super moon! 3. Liz Lemon puppet found here.  4. First sign of spring.  5. Amazing selection of YA literature.  6. Diet Coke and mentos at work. 7. The area surrounding my desk at work.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Summer Camp or why I can survive longer than you


One of my favorite blog friends was talking on facebook yesterday about signing her stepson up for Summer camp.

At work, we are talking every. single. day (and by talking, I mean mentally preparing) for summer camp this year.

Summer camp is a HUGE thing.

But it wasn't always in my town. Growing up, my options for summer entertainment were church camps (which at the time, my parents didn't do) or these cheap classes at the community center.

Obviously my mother chose the classes because they were cheap, nearby and "practical".

My mother is the kind of person who always has my best interests at heart. My best interests according to her are almost always a little different than how I would categorize my best interests for myself. 

The summer between 3rd and 4th grade, she was determined that I wouldn't sit around reading (!!!) and instead signed me up for... wood carving and a class about the water cycle.

I spent 4 weeks of my summer learning how to carve wood and identify the stages of the water cycle.

And that's why you'd pick me to be stranded with you on a desert island, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life as I know it

Since the last time I made my way to these parts, things have changed quite a bit. I finished Winter quarter (yessss!) and became 2nd in charge of my branch at work (stressful, awkward, potentially awesome).

Now, let's look at some pictures.















Last night was our yearly auction. We raised $75,000 and have a grant that matches everything we made dollar for dollar. As sappy and disgusting as it is to say, it was amazing to see people in the community who genuinely care about the work we are doing. At one point, they had opportunities to fund a kid. Two people in the crowd donated $10,000. How cool is that? Also, what do these people do in their life that they can donate $10,000 no question asked? I need to wrangle one of those men. 

What I'm saying is that life is stressful, awkward (do you know what it's like being someone's boss while they are also being a huge d-bag? No? You don't want to find out) but not too bad.
 





Sunday, February 27, 2011

My second favorite kind of Oscar

Unless you have been living under a rock in rocksville, you know that tonight is the Academy Awards. One of the most important days of the entire year if you are me.

Here are my oscar predictions-


Leading Actor-
Will win- Colin Firth
Should win- I would cut off my pinky finger for Jesse Eisenberg to get this award. It's not just because he is my intj crush but because he deserves it. If you don't think so, just watch the scene where Eduardo says to him "You had one friend!", Jesse subtly flinches and it's the best bit of acting ON EARTH.

Supporting Actor-
Will win- Probably Geoffrey Rush although this is a category I'm not completely sold on.
Should win- Umm... Yeah. Christian Bale who I love to hate.

Leading Actress-
Will win- Natalie Portman.
Should win- Annette Bening. She's classy and lovely and in The Kids are All Riht when she sings Joni Mitchell, you just can't help but adore her.

Supporting Actress-
Will win- Helena Bonham Carter
Should win- It breaks my heart to say this but I don't think Hailee Steinfeld should even be in this category when she is very clearly a leading actress in True Grit. However, I think THIS award should be given to Helena Bonham Carter because she's quirky and delightful and did a great job hiding her real personality in her role and that's what acting is all about to me.

Animated Feature film-
Will win- Toy story 3
Should win- How to Train Your Dragon because it is everything Toy Story 3 wishes it were

Art Direction-
Will Win- Probably Inception
Should win- I'm tied on this one. I think if Inception were going to win anything, it should be this but it's about time that the Harry Potter crew get some love.

Cinematography-
Will Win- The King's Speech
Should Win- The social network. duh.

Costume Design-
Will Win- Probably The King's Speech
Should win- I am Love

Directing-
Will Win- OH LORDY, it better be David Fincher
Should win- See above.

Documentary- 
Will Win- Inside Job
Should win- Exit Through the Gift Shop. A movie I watched 3 days ago and have not stopped thinking about sense. What is art? Who is Banksy? How cool is this movie?

Documentary short subject-
Will Win- I have not seen any of these so I'm just going to randomly pick. Will win- Poster girl

Should win- see above.


Film Editing-
Will win- The King's speech
Should win- THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Hands down.

Foreign Language Film-
will win- Biutiful
Should win- Dogtooth

Makeup-
Will win- The Wolfman
Should win- The wolfman

Music-
Will win- The King's speech and its lazy score.
Should win- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross produced a score that I have on my ipod, I love it so. If you don't believe that Trent Reznor is oscar worthy, listen to "in the hall of the mountain king" from the movie and talk to me about it again.

Music Original Song-
Will win- I see the Light from tangled
Should win- I LOVED tangled and I think it deserves this.

Best Picture-
Will win- The King's Speech
Should win- I would cry and throw up and vomit and die if the social network won. Which I believe to the bottom of my heart that it should. This movie is a snapshot of real life right now. This movie is about friendships and fitting in and doing something new and important. This movie is what every. single. movie should look like and be like. Enough said.

Short Animated Film-
Will Win- Day and Night
Should win- The Gruffalo

Short Film Live Action-
Will win- Na Wewe
Should win- Wish 143

Sound Editing
Will Win- Inception
Should win- I'm okay with Inception here.

Sound mixing-
Will win- Maybe the social network. maybe.
Should win- THE SOCIAL NETWORK FOR LIFE.

Visual Effects-
Will win- All of these movies are kind of blah. So, Inception?
Should win- HARRY POTTER.

Adapted Screenplay-
Will win- The Social Network
Should win- You know the answer.

Original Screenplay-
Will win- The King's Speech
Should win- In my dream world, this is the only thing the King's speech wins


Friday, February 25, 2011

kind of like sixteen candles

{found here}

I forgot to mention, last week at my birthday dinner, the waitress went around to take everyone's order (all 15 people) and then left before she took mine.

All I could think about was how it was something that would happen in Sixteen Candles.

So excuse me while I go wait outside for Jake Ryan. 

Snowy Friday

If you watch the news for my area, you would know that we were supposed to get anywhere from 3-6 inches of snow in the past few days. Which is a really big deal if you are me. 

I've spent an unmentionable amount of time at the window praying to sweet baby jesus that I wouldn't have to go to work/school/outside my bedroom and alas, it just never showed up.

Lame.

Now, on to the blanks. Link up here if you'd like to play.





1.   I am currently obsessed with    mittens. I bought a pair a few weeks ago at the mall and I sewed some cupcake buttons on them and now I refuse to leave the house without them.

2.  Today I am    slightly stressed and excited     because,  today is my current boss's last day of work, I'm anxious for what's going to happen next week/forever and excited for things to come. At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself. 

3.  The age I am is    22     and the age I feel is    most of the time, I feel like I'm still in high school. Still dealing with the same drama and issues. But some of the time I feel like I'm 60 and everyone's mom, taking care of problems and dishing out nurture a little more than I'd like .

4.  My favorite place is     at home in my bed. Snuggling and warm and reading a good book.

5.  Something I have been procrastinating is     working on my math unit plan. It's a partner assignment and I'm just not feeling it. What started as a completely manageable project has stacked up so much, I might have 6 lesson plans to write and fancy up in a week. 

6.  The last thing I purchased was        a sandwich last night. There was noooo way I was making dinner.

7.  The thing I love most about my home is      the little things I have collected over time. Framed pictures that my friends have drawn me, pictures from important days, drawings my students have made me. You know, the important stuff  .