Monday, June 13, 2011

I gotta say, this year has been amazing. I know I sometimes complain and feel burnt out about school, but my students are overwhelmingly awesome. Take the project kids at my school have been working on- they are using social and public media to educate their community about food and health issues. East LA is a food desert- which is defined my wikipedia as any area in the industrialised world where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. It is prevalent in rural as well as urban areas and is most prevalent in low-socioeconomic minority communities, and is associated with a variety of diet-related health problems.

All the eleventh graders at the school have been working tirelessly to come up with ways to change this reality- and one of the incredible things they've done is create a marketing campaign which will be airing on our city's public transportation system. Yowzer!

Here are some of the videos they have made:

Have You Noticed How Far You Have to Go to Get to a Supermarket? from Public Matters on Vimeo.


Have You Noticed How Often You Eat Fast Food? from Public Matters on Vimeo.

My students are truly amazing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When did it officially become legal for me to marry my husband?

Just over 40 years ago.

That's within your or your parents' lifetime.

But laws remained on the book (but not enforced) in certain states as late as 2000. That's certainly within your lifetime.

Happy Loving Day, all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not sure if you've already seen this, but if you haven't, Behold! The least offensive Christian song I've heard all year!

(Okay, so some of the visuals are a bit racial profile-y, but the lyrics are good, and the song is catchy.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

So, believe me when I tell you, that police story is much better in its one line form. The actual experience just involved a lot of waiting around and dozing on the couch.

On Saturday night, we met some friends for dinner in Long Beach (where they live). We went to dinner and then returned to their apartment for dessert. (Cue sinister music)

Then THIS happened. (Note, we had no idea what was going on at the time.)

We tried to leave around 10:00, and were told by the police to get back in the apartment, lock the door and close the blinds. We heard yelling, running, and gunshots. Then there was a helicopter and dogs barking. Richard looked out the window and saw the SWAT team. At 11:00, we tried to leave again. No dice. Since there was no end in sight, I fell asleep on the couch. Richard stayed awake all night in full Batman alert mode. At 5:00 am, the police knocked on the door to take a statement. We asked if we could leave, and he said he'd ask his supervisor. They finally let us leave. The street was completely silent, but there were 8 or 9 police cars just hanging out. We drove home, and took Charlie outside to use the bathroom (the little trooper held it for nearly 12 hours). Then we called our mothers and went to sleep.

So there you have it. Much better in its one line form, don't you agree?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hooboy. We had a crazy adventure last night that involved being held hostage inside a friend's apartment by the SWAT Team and Long Beach Police Department for nearly 7 hours. No kidding.

Instead of that story though, I'll share pictures of my other big Spring Break project: the dining room. Long ago, our dining room looked like this.
It was nice. However, due to our apartment complex's insane policy about wood furniture in the garage (It's a fire hazard, you know. Unlike other things people put in the garage. Like gasoline, and cars.), our dining room has been doubling as an office for Richard. In addition to his fine conversational skills and charming wit, Richard has books. Lots and lots and lots of books. And it's okay- I was aware of this when I married him. But the book ownership had taken a rather predictable turn, and Homeboy was out of bookshelves. And our dining room was beginning to look a little like something from Hoarders.
(Not an ACTUAL picture of our dining room. And perhaps an ever so slight exaggeration.)

So over Spring Break, I decided I could handle it no more and I went to IKEA (by myself) and purchased and loaded up boxes and boxes of bookshelves. I should also tell you that while there, my cart broke and I had to move the insanely heavy boxes from my original cart to a new cart. I am awesome.

So now our dining room looks like this.
It still looks cluttered, but is a vast improvement over the previous arrangement. Richard even has room to grow with several empty shelves.
And a small, but functional workspace where he is busy daily, creating works of genius.

So there you have it. Our new and improved dining room/office/book storage facility.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Break Projects

Spring Break proved to be a time for me to do all the projects around the house that I've been thinking about, but have had no time for. Exhibit A: The patio.

This is what our patio looked like last summer.

Pretty nice, right? Peaceful, even. Now imagine that scene with all dead plants and pots full of dead snails intead. Slightly less peaceful, and perhaps even a bit disturbing. Due to the unique circumstances of our weather & patio locale (no rain, very sunny but not on our patio) added to the fact that I forgot to water the plants for 6 + months, our deck was a little sad. Okay, a lot sad.

I use the patio almost everyday when I get home as a place to decompress with a cup of tea and a book. Out chairs were really uncomfortable wire things that did not make you want to sit out there for very long.

So, about a month ago, I went to our local botanic garden and talked with them about the weird situation of our deck. It is basically a full-shade patio with the exception of a month or two in the summer when the deck gets about two hours of sun in the middle of the day. Plus, all the plants had to be able to live in containers. Plus, they had to be able to live if neglected for months at a time by their preoccupied owner. There were five plants that fit that description, and I bought them all.

The low tan planter appears to be full of dirt but actually contains wild California strawberries which should fill in the whole pot over time. We might eve get a few strawberries to eat if Charlie would stop eating the flowers.
The succulents were planted last summer and managed to survive (and even thrive) under my reign of neglect. Our new plants seem very happy in their sunless, waterless home.

We also got a new love seat for the patio which is a huge upgrade from the previous table and chairs situation.
It is very, very comfortable and nap-worthy. Our deck is now less of a snail-plant graveyard and a more restful place to relax and study. Wouldn't you like to come visit us so you could sit here, too?!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sigh. Spring Break is over.

I will post an update soon with pictures of my Spring Break projects. For now, you can all be content that I'll be going to work every day next week just like the rest of you. Boo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to have more balance in my life. In this vein, I'm now attempting to be more of a "real person" and do more than just work, eat, and sleep. The result is that I am often more tired, but I feel a whole lot better about life in general and a whole lot more normal.

We have several sources that I check for free/cheap events in our local area, and I thought I'd share just in case any of you want to be real people, too! Though these are specific to the Claremont area, I'm sure there are similar things in your area.

1) Claremont Colleges Event Calendar One of the perks of being married to a perpetual student/professor-to-be is that we will always live in a college town. And colleges, especially awesome colleges, have great free or inexpensive events constantly going on during the school year. We have attended many lectures, concerts, arts events, and other events just by keeping tabs on the school's central calendar. Not all of the colleges' events make it onto this central calendar, but an awful lot do.

2) Our local NPR station's event calendar We love NPR, and we love NPR events. Last night we went to a StoryCorp listening events that knocked our socks off. NPR's calendar lists all kind of cool events, many of which actually have nothing to do with NPR. Some of the events are free, some are cheap, and some aren't so cheap.

3) City of Claremont's website Our town often makes Richard and I stop and say, "Wow. We live in AMERICA." We call it the Star's Hollow of the West. (I know many of you Texans are not believing that a town in California could love America, but there you have it.) The patriotic package is complete with events that could only happen in small-town America: parades, free concerts in the park, town barbecue, firefighter's pancake breakfasts. If you've seen it on TV in some small town, it happens in Claremont.

4) Groupon and LivingSocial You've probably heard of both of these sites, but the idea is you buy gift certificates to restaurants, services, and events at a huge discount. We've only actually bought one, but I like seeing what's going on in our area.

So there are my ideas, do you have any others?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Doheny State Beach

We took the opportunity of a warm (and completely free) Saturday to head to the beach today. We made sure to get there early so we could beat the crowds.... of which there were none.
We really like Doheny State Beach- I think it will be added to the list of favorite beaches. There was plenty of parking, close bathrooms, lots of sand, beautiful water, cool birds (pelicans!), and just enough interesting people to watch but not too many to be annoying.

Having spent many a day last summer at the beach, we are now pros at packing and getting out of the house in a timely manner.

And beach set-up 2011 is vastly superior to beach set-up 2010. We have an obnoxious new shade tent! I see many a beach day in our future...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It is statistically guaranteed that the closer you get to a holiday (or any sort of "break") in a high school, the crazier things get.

Spring Break is next week, so things are getting a wee bit crazy round these parts. But oh, I can make it. I keep having visions that look like this and pull me through the day.
I intend to spend all my time by the pool next week, except for the hour in which I will be getting a massage (courtesy of a Christmas present from Rich).

Rich will still have school, so that's a downer. Otherwise, blue skies ahead. 1.5 more days- I can do it!