Friday, October 31, 2008

random movie quotes, halloween edition

we decided to watch the cheesy 80s slasher flicks, in honor of all hallow's eve. all the movies we weren't allowed to watch back when we were kids. understandably so because they would've scared the pants off us!

1) "I just asked you to do one thing, to stay awake and watch me and to wake me up if it looked like I was having a bad dream, and what did you do, you shit?"

2) "Did you know a young boy drowned the year before those two others were killed? The counselors weren't paying any attention... They were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was..."

3) "I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply...evil."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


as usual, an entertaining evening in the district was ruined by a long, silver train. when i go into the city in the daytime, i never have problems with missed trains or long delays between them. the later it gets in the evening, the longer the waits become and the more asinine metro's policies become. last night, waiting for a transfer at metro center, two empty trains passed through the station without letting any of the 100+ people on the platform on. i know they're trying to stack up their trains at the line termini (plural of terminus?), but it seems awfully wasteful at the same time for them to not carry passengers when metro is still open! a trip that took us 30 minutes to get into the city, transfer included, stretched out to 75 minutes back out. c'mon metro!

because i didn't get home until 11:30, it's going to be a long day. i had a scarf on when i left my house...i think. somewhere in between picking up my bag and walking to my car, i lost it. how it fell off in less than 100 steps without me noticing, i'll never know. i sure hope it's not a harbinger of things to come today...

on another note, i had a good spot to watch the drag race last night. the queen that won the race would've given usain bolt a run for his money. and yes, the queen in question was wearing high heels. the post covered it, too, so my coworkers didn't think i was crazy when i described it.

this was last year's race. if you remember, i went and had a blast then also.

happy halloween, y'all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

commuting + tomfoolery = carfoolery

the last two weeks, i've been in a funk at work. it's carried over to home, too. i'm just tired all the time. work is a stressful drag, even though i have a wonderful class this year. as was the case my third year teaching, i couldn't ask for a better class. even my troubled-is-as-troubled-does is having a helluva good year. i'm feeling mighty optimistic that his improvement from the beginning of second grade to the end of third will be monumental. it's early yet, but the first set of crossroads have passed.

thursday morning, i figured out one cause of my general malaise. i was pretty much sleepwalking to work in the mornings. i am a social creature and having someone to talk to in the mornings about something besides work wakes me up better than coffee. i had that in florida with my mother hens. they'd ask about this and that, pick my brain about who i was dating, what i did over the weekend, where i was going climbing next. how i miss that normal banter that makes me feel like a human instead of a robot! back to the present, my morning commute this year has restored that interaction to a large degree. the days that i carpool, i am more alert throughout the day. i get to bullshit about life outside of school with a friend before getting to school and talking shop for 10 hours.

small story, laughter is better than caffeine. time to go watch some football. chomp chomp.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

attention, rabbit lovers!

that'd be those of you that read this that like rabbits so much you eat like them. i'm even going to share this with some of you that don't necessarily read this. if you're new to my ranting and raving, welcome. disclaimer, i'm not a vegetarian, nor have i ever tried to be. i think this soup is quite tasty; i have made it twice in the last 3 weeks. here's the second incarnation. i preferred this one, she preferred the first. i think a combination of the recipes might make it the best.

first, equipment. sharp knife, oven, cookie sheet, large saucepot, some sort of processor (i use an immersion blender, but a normal blender or food processor would work nicely too).

half of a butternut squash
half of a cooking pumpkin
one box of vegetable stock
4 small potatoes
1 cup half & half
cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, various other spices as you wish.

cut the pumpkin and squash in half. remove the seeds and pulp. rub with olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes. just enough to soften them up. while they're baking, peel and quarter the potatoes. when the gourds are softened up, cut, peel, and cut them into chunks. this takes a while and some serious elbow grease. make sure you have a sharp knife and some patience.

add the vegetable stock and vegetables to the sauce pan. sprinkle cinnamon over the mixture enough to leave a thin film. boil them as if you were making mashed potatoes. when done, process them somehow (here's where my immersion blender came in handy.) blend it all together in the sauce pot, adding the cup of cream. vegan folks, i reckon you could use soy milk?

ladle into bowls with a teaspoon (or so) of honey. a little cayenne pepper really makes it great.

the previous recipe, i didn't use a pumpkin. i used a few sweet potatoes and the whole butternut squash instead. the regular potatoes gave it a better texture in my humble opinion, but she said the sweet potatoes made it sweeter (and thus better). you be the judge.


Monday, October 20, 2008

seriously? seriously!

after the whirlwind weekend of driving and relaxing and yoga-ing and strolling and bicycling and visiting, emphasis on wind, i realized that i had not a speck, not a crumb of food in my refrigerator to take for lunch this lovely fall day. that aside, i've learned in this new routine up here, it's best to plan around the climbing schedule when it comes to food shopping. when i've gone to the grocery store after climbing, i spend approximately 3,152% more than if it were a normal night. that's just a ballpark figure; i'm still double-checking my figures. i think it may be a tad too low.

back to the topic at hand. i needed grub at the grocery store. off i went. the first stop is always the deli to get my quality luncheon meats and cheeses for delicious sandwiches for lunch. recession or not, i'm not gonna skimp on my sandwiches. store brand cold cuts (or worse, prepackaged ones!) just don't cut the mustard. last night, empty shopping cart in the deli with my reusable shopping bags that i'd resisted purchasing until this year. now i'm actually in the habit of using them.

again, i digress. i get my delicious deli meats, virginia ham and swiss cheese this week. a loaf of dark german wheat bread and spicy brown mustard await the pairing at home. i do the rest of my shopping, searching in vain to replenish my nutella supply, and head to the checkout. when i arrive, i pull my, bag out from underneath my purchases to bag my groceries.

wait, a second. i had two bags in my car. i had two bags in the parking lot. i had two bags at the deli...somebody stole one of my bags? seriously?

seriously. it's a dollar, folks. i appreciate your desire to be more green, but stealing to accomplish that end? that's like ecoterrorism on a smaller scale. earthfirst activists blowing up logging trucks. but much smaller. you do know that the very same store where you committed your petty larceny sells the very same bags brand new?

i guess i'll be buying a shiny new one for myself. ooh, maybe i'll get the limited edition redskins bag while you use my grimy, year-old stanky one. take that!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


i've tried my best to be a good yoga student. i learned how to breathe properly, how to move slowly in poses, how to try being present in the moment. with accomplished yogis guiding my way, i still always struggled to clear my mind and relax during the active parts of classes.

when i went to class in the park with my favorite yogi, i struggled to shake the sleep from my brain. more often than not, i couldn't stay for the entire class and had trouble focusing on more than my watch, lest i be late to meet my parents for lunch for example. if i made it to the end of class, it was usually because i arrived late, and i was playing catch up limbering up. struggles.

i took a class at school last year for eight weeks on mondays. simply being at school would not allow my mind to clear. stresses of the day were hard to shake when i was still in the place that housed them. the best i was able to do was fall asleep at the end of class. snoring.

saturday afternoon, i finally was able to clear out stresses. with an inexperienced yogi. perhaps it was my self-conscious nature at previous classes that held me back, but i was absolutely relaxed and mind cleared throughout the class. balanced. mind focused on peaceful settings. mountains out west. boulders back east. toes in the ocean. fingers in the snow. it finally convinced me that i can do yoga on my own. all i need is a mat, and i have my balcony to sharpen my focus. i'll see what i can do starting then.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

puppy love

i often wonder how my kids will turn out. no, not biological kids. none of those in my life yet. there's a few more steps in the path between me and munchkins.

how my students will turn out. my first year teaching i was sure that i was going to stay around alachua long enough to see my first class graduate from high school. different plans were clearly in store for me. i'd even gone so far as to plan to take out an ad in the santa fe high school yearbook for their senior year. maybe i'll still do that. let's see...they'd be in eighth grade now. i think. four more years!

it's funny seeing the kids in my class interact with one another and wonder who will still be friends beyond this year. which friendships will fail, as they often do. which ones will flourish or begin anew, much to the surprise of those around them now. i think about the friends i ran around with in middle school, in high school, in college. they couldn't be more different. as kids change, so do their friends. some of my best friends in childhood were from the neighborhood or scouts. i couldn't tell you the names of many friends from elementary school, excepting the few that wound up at my high school.

what train of thought led me to this wondering state? last night at the gym, two of the kids on the climbing team were goofing off with one another. he clearly had a crush on her; she was completely oblivious to his flirting, likening it to normal friendship. that body language gave him away. his goofy grin when he looked at her; her annoyed sighs when he wouldn't stop bothering her. they'll probably remain friends if they keep climbing. something more, who knows. on the playground today, i saw two of my kids from last year. neighbors and friends, they'd make a cute couple.

in high school, that is. now, that's just too weird to contemplate.

a.k.a. i'm a nerd

museums are fun. there's a ton of them up here. she and i went museum hopping yesterday. we were on a mission to see two new exhibits. i guess that's what happens when you actually take in culture. you can pick and choose what you want to see. only want to see one exhibit at a museum? have at it. you ain't missing nothing.

so, museum number one. natural history. last year, checked out some of the permanent exhibits and a kids' photo competition. it was a lot of fun. probably more for the company than the rocks and minerals. this year, there was a new oceans exhibit that just opened. it. was. rad. there's a right whale hanging from the ceiling. there's a giant squid and a coelacanth. a reef tank with a skittles bag full of nemo's friends. excited kids running amok. on a whim, checked out the butterflies exhibit too. not nearly as big as the exhibits i've seen in chattanooga or in south florida, but it's small size meant that the hundreds of papillons were right in your face.

museum number two. american art. it's paired up with the portrait gallery, where we've previously seen the hip hop portraiture exhibit. there was a new ansel adams and georgia o'keefe exhibit. this makes two adams exhibits we've seen in the district. this one was really cool because of its juxtaposition with o'keefe's southwestern paintings. it was really awesome to see the pieces that clearly shared a subject. ansel's photography was less impressionistic that georgia's, but it was fairly obvious that the subjects were the same. as usual, i was fascinated by his work and fairly amazed that there were more shots of his that i'd not seen before.

it was nice not being harassed as locals in our day of touristing. perhaps it was the backpack and sneakers. perhaps it was the baguettes and cheese for a picnic lunch. perhaps it was asking real tourists to take goofy pictures of us on the mall. most of all, it may have been the only-a-tourist-will-wear-this t-shirts we bought at a kiosk in the ballston mall. i should do that more often!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

reflections on a year past

whew! had i not been so crazy busy working my students today, my mind might have wandered where it ought not. they're off to p.e. now, so i do what i usually do at the end of the day. leave the lights off and chill out until they leave.

a year past. last year, today was the second monday in october. columbus day. yesterday was the day i rolled back from hound ears, relaxed and stressed all at once. you see, i had this date with a girl i'd met very soon after i relocated. fate intervened, and our paths kept crossing. she and i had tentative plans for a lunch and museum date the following day (that'd be today, folks, stay with me.). stomach butterflies worsened due to traffic snarls delaying her arrival at our meeting spot. we were far past lunchtime, and had to hurry through the museum. the natural historians kicked us out, and we found our way to chinatown. a chill, brief afternoon date turned into seven hours or so, ending with the sunset on the mall.

it's been an epic journey since then. travels together. family. friends. weddings. a funeral. easy meals. banana pancakes. eighties movies. delicious cupcakes. snow. rain. sunshine. it amazes me how much has changed in a short year. with the five years beforehand to compare to, it's like i'm not even the same person.

early morning phone call to start the day. i can't wait for dinner tonight or our museum-hopping planned for monday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

pretty fly

"fly. that's the only way that i can describe those shoes, benjames." thanks, margarita. that's the only way i can describe my exhausting weekend of catching up with climbers old and new. wish the weekend and the climbing wasn't so abbreviated.

pretty fly morning of climbing. warmed up on a nemesis. prettiest 20 foot boulder line in the field. The Heretic. three years in the making, it finally went down. followed soon thereafter by Honzo Blade. and thus began my assault on tiny, tiny holds. i closed out the morning, sending the hardest problem i've ever climbed. The Unforgiven. credit card-thickness crimp near the top. V7. maybe i'll turn into a V8 climber after all. ten months progression between grades. as long as i stay healthy, that is.

following a lunchtime snack, i worked hard the rest of the day. no sends, but good progress made on some wicked cool lines. if the weather's nice next year, i might even get a few more of them. i guess when you shoot for the stars, invariably, you'll miss more often than not. i think in the competitive atmosphere, a little sandbagging is needed to actually get those 10 climbs in before the end of the day. there's no way i can crank at my limit for an entire day. that's alright though. pictures to follow when i get them.

fly friends around, new ones by association. dinner at black cat, good beer afterwards. yelled at by the campground folks for being up too late and having too much fun. next morning brought too much dew and slow moving friends. great southern breakfast, pack up and hit the blacktop.

long drive there and back. more fun on the twisties in the daylight, golden rays of sunlight trickling through the almost-changing fall leaves. hairpin turns aren't quite as hair-raising without fog and deer around each one. handled more adeptly by my new whip, but still far short of the two-seat roadster i secretly wish i could whip around those curves in. better yet, the bike i know i'll never hop on.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a sense of belonging

for the longest time, i had trouble forging bonds with the new gym crowd. i knew few names, and far fewer knew mine. last night when i left the gym in my final pre-hound ears training session, the majority of the people i was climbing with knew who i was and conversely, i knew who they were. it felt a little more like the grg of old.

my plans of dragging a few dc folks along with me to boone were for naught. turns out it'll just be me and a nouveau grger on the road in my blue hatchback. she's good people. seems a lot like one grger that i often wind up climbing with because we have similar styles. i do enjoy the trips with people i hardly know. it ain't the first one, and i doubt it'll be the last...