Wednesday, September 30, 2009

273/365 Doc's Good Eats

I try to avoid the Apple-Chili-Friday-Olive Garden drill whenever I can, so when I spied this delightfully campy place next door to the Holiday Inn in Warren, MI, I knew I had found my dinner. The seats were concave from years of customers lingering over the Good Eats, and the few occupied tables had elderly couples dallying over the senior specials. They call them family restaurants up this way, but they are so like the beloved diners of my youth in the New York metro area. The cup of chicken soup was overflowing with curly noodles, tender chicken chunks and vegetables that were remarkably still al dente. Then my entree, the grilled chicken Greek salad arrived. As expected, the plate was bigger than my head. Fresh, creamy feta, crisp, cool lettuce, warm chicken slices and the yummy surprise of some sweet beets...mmm. I had skipped breakfast and lunch, so I allowed myself a peek at the list of Oversized Desserts, though I knew what was tempting me. I smelled the apple pie baking when I entered the place. I ordered half a slice at full price, a strategy to try to keep myself honest. The perky, young waitress asked, with a wink, if I'd like that warmed. Silly girl. She brought the half and I ate half of that. A delightful meal of relatively ordinary foods that could only have been improved with the company of friends or family.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

272/365 The Home Conservatory

Complete with metronome, music stand, and a music library with yellowing pages of my college rep and the crisp new possibilities of her young vocal studies, this is becoming a favorite place in the house. We have a sofa for spectators (human and cat) plenty of natural light, and fabulous acoustics thanks to high ceilings and wood floor. Though, to be truthful, a cave would be beautiful when filled with the sound of my daughter singing. When she is on, there are angels in the room.

Monday, September 28, 2009

271/365 Sweet and Sour Stomach

I have been craving it for days, a dish I normally avoid when taking in Chinese food. Tonight though, my stress level was high and the the delivery place was still open. This is a dish I shouldn't have at 2 PM, much less 10:30 at night. Attempting to allow food to fill the space left by a turmoil of emotion never works. The result is guilt on top of turmoil and a night of indigestion. The chicken didn't make the problems go away, and the sweet and sour sauce didn't miraculously change the difficult and delicate situation.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

270/365 Autumn in my mind

It means Halloween, Thanksgiving, roasted chestnuts, apple cider and my birthday. According to the calendar it should be here, but I know we'll have to wait a while to feel it. I DID spend my afternoon with the sounds of crunching bones, sportscasters and beer commercials. I DID resist a strong temptation to stock up on Brach's candy-corn-dominated autumn mix while it is good and fresh in the store. I paused my podcast today when my morning run included an interlude of crunching leaves beneath my Nikes. But I'd be fooling myself to believe it was here. Half a block from home I was drenched, more from the humidity than from my own efforts. The pool water still hovers near 80 degrees unassisted, and the a/c unit cranks on regular cycles. Open window, light jacket, convertible-top-down-at-high-noon season is yet to come.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

269/365 Preparations for a BFF

She studied and practiced for 4 1/2 hours today, so a visit and sleepover seems to be in order. We're going to Theatre Jax to take in The Importance of Being Earnest, and then we'll hit the redbox for a late night sleepover movie. If KF is coming we need to get her 2 favorite food groups: Ranch and Diet Coke. Hard work and good friends make for a great weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

268/365 I may have to do it myself....

Conference with a teacher today. An ARTS AREA teacher, who wondered why my daughter asked questions in class, and then basically did everything but call her a dummy. YES, this is important information. That's why you need to BE SURE the kids are getting it, not just ostracizing those who seek more help. Grades, grades, grades. Assigning and then evaluating without instructing. That's what she thought passed for teaching. She offered no support and did little to satisfy my request that she do everything in her power to help my child in class. She was confrontational, and treated me like an idiot. It's likely worse for the kids. Lack of quality teachers? Maybe the media is onto something.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

267/365 Twinkle No More

129 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade boys and girls auditioned for this year's production of Willy Wonka, the musical. 129 renditions of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. 129 readings of lines. 129 will be in the play, until the dropping out begins. If I don't hear twinkling for a while, that would be just fine by me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

266/365 Audio Readers Club

We finished Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why on the way home from piano lessons this afternoon. While schlepping about has meant a lot of time in the car, we're loving sharing books. It makes the travel time productive and FUN! She even stops texting during the book. Thank goodness for Tonight I downloaded the next one, Before I Die, by Jenny Downham. Sounds a bit sad, but may have some levity, kind of like a teen "bucket list." Either way, I'll enjoy sharing it with my girl.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

265/365 Everybody needs a teddy bear

Pardon my indulgence of cat photos, but this was irresistible. There may have been some inappropriate, inter-species activities between bear and cat before this photo. I walked in as they were sleeping it off. Working at home I've had a delightful time observing the (few) daytime activities of the supervising cats around here. I read recently that "time spent with a cat is never wasted." Every nap, grooming, or stretch is purposeful and entertaining.

Monday, September 21, 2009

264/365 Bad Cat

Yep. He's chewing my hair. I'm glad that my cats are bad. Life would be so boring in a house with good cats. I love coming home and finding the cat toys in different places, yet the guilty parties appear that they have been sleeping all day. Hansel thinks he's still a kitten, going on the attack when feet move under blankets, protecting us from unknown predators. A consistent source of amusement.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

263/365 The Curtain Falls

He was funny, cute, and memorable, if not the romantic lead. He always will be my leading man. Maybe next time we'll share a stage again... All the way to closing night without a broken brain!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

262/365 O.K.!

It looks like he's having a blast up there, my Mr. Andrew Carnes. Playing a grumpy, rude character? What a stretch... It has been a real treat to watch him, and listening to the score with full symphony is a delight. The audiences have been pretty large, but not sold out. I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn't want to experience live theater. Dropping $10-15 on an 85 minute movie is still popular, even in these economic times. Live theater is a better value. The show is longer, more personal, and always has the edge of being a bit unpredictable. Besides, it supports a local economy. And Oklahoma is definitely a value. Top-notch singing, a script with laughs that have stood the test of time, and glorious orchestration. Too bad tomorrow is closing already.

Friday, September 18, 2009

261/365 Justice is Served

Citation. Court date. Evidence. Not Guilty.

Woo hoo!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

260/365 Riding 'Da Bus

SO proud of my girl, striking out in a new school on her own. She has to navigate her way through dozens of buses to find the right one, making her way in a school so far from home in a different county. She's been rather conscientious lately. Growing up so fast. It didn't help that her wonderful voice teacher, Dr. C, reminded me of how grown up she is, and how, before we know it, she'll be on her way to college. SLOW DOWN!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

259/365 Interior Decorating vs. Kitties

With the hubby's new b-day present (HD TV and DVR) we'd considered a donation of the 1990's entertainment system. Even though I still like this furniture, it's way bigger than necessary to house the sleek, new t.v. that even came with a wall-mount option. Ultimately we decided to keep it, and heavy in our considerations were Hansel and Gretel. Using a system of windowsill, fireplace, entertainment system hurdles, they can relax in comfort and view the trees at birds-eye level. Those windows are 7-plus feet up and would be inaccessible. In the end the cats win.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

258/365 Tired Teen

When the alarm rings at 5:30 AM she is up right away, never complaining. We leave the house at 6:30 and she's back in the house by 4:50 PM (on days without lessons or extra-curriculars). Then we have homework, practicing, and gossip updates from the local high school. No wonder she's ready for bed by 9:15 PM. I thought she was asleep, but this kid is such a ham that the flash of the camera triggered the involuntary smile. Gotta' love her. I do!

Monday, September 14, 2009

257/365 Hard Work if I can get it...

7 or 8 hours to plan each new 75 minute presentation. 8 new presentations to plan. Then a school that has hired me for one day in October wants me to put together a totally new, totally customized presentation. & hour presentation will probably be 25-30 hours of research, planning, and preparation. Maybe I'm not being paid, but I am working in September! Work is good, though. I'll be paid eventually (when I present it) and it's keeping me from working on my "around the house" list. Cleaning the garage can wait!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

256/365 Treadmills, Football, Reading Comprehension and Dear Abby

Football night in America. Keith Olberman, Tony Dungy, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Rodney Harrison, Tiki Barber and Peter King keeping me company during the gap between the 2nd and 3rd Sunday games. Macbook and I are bonding over a new workshop session on reading comprehension. The Jags didn't put it together, but the first half of the game distracted me appropriately as I attempted to resume my running habit on a treadmill at the Y this afternoon. In the other room the teenage Dear Abby is running interference on several freshman relationships on the rocks. The husband off rehearsing for his debut with the Symphony... not a bad Sunday all in all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

255/365 Boo Boo getting better.

Dermatologist said it would take a coupla' weeks to heal. Not even going to call me, because there's ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that the biopsy would be positive. They took a razor to my face! Kvetch, kvetch, I know. The husband had 3 holes drilled in his head. But I think my suffering merits a little ice cream, at least.

Friday, September 11, 2009

254/365 It's Alive!

We went because live theater is something we love. We went because four "Into the Woods" castmates were featured in the show. We went because we support the arts in North Florida. With movie tickets inching towards $15 bucks, movie times inching down toward 1 hour (including the trailers and commercials), live theater is really a better entertainment value. In a city of nearly 1 million people it should be no problem filling every seat in a small community theater. Especially when they put on a smokin', sexy show with some powerful vocals and a kickin' pit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

253/365 It was my duty to photograph it

She sat in her car, devouring her frozen yogurt treat, though I don't know how she maintained her appetite. It was a grey Toyota somewhere underneath, but the exterior was mainly adorned with poop. Bird poop. Not just a little poop. The bumper had a UNF sticker, and I guess that the osprey mascot had its nest right over the car. It was paint-splatter-food-fight-mud-wrestler-all over the place poop. Either she pissed off the bird something awful, or she didn't notice that she had pulled into the aviary at the zoo.
I wanted desperately to photograph it for my loyal readership. Really, it was something to see. But the teenage daughter FREAKED. "That is the stupidest thing I ever heard. You are stupid and fricking crazy. You are NOT going to ask that girl to take a picture of her crap car. OMG Mom, No!" I think her head spun a 360. It would've been a journalistic scoop. A blogging first. Artistry and nature, all wrapped in one excrement-covered import. But my teen ruined my rush.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

252/365 A Kiss For Dessert

It's quickly becoming a Wednesday tradition. Because the afternoon bus stop is only a couple of blocks from Grandma's house, and Grandma is off work midweek, it just makes sense to have dinner and some time together. We usually eat at Grandma's, then take in a game of Bananagrams or catch up on the latest Cash Cab. Today the schedule was a little different, with an early dismissal and a long audition at the high school. Chinese food, said the auditioner, and this was the perfect ending to the meal.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

251/365 Teacher for Sale

By 9 AM today I had been rejected by Kelly Services in Duval County. No, they are not interested in my qualifications to become a substitute teacher in Jacksonville. Thanks for asking. My head whirled as I cleaned house, more intensely than usual, wondering if this cleaning were in preparation for calling a realtor. Husband's teaching salary and current mortgage plus expenses does not make for a balanced equation. Then this afternoon I received a couple of phone calls. Friends and fellow presenters with leads and recommendations. How did they know I was googling the fine points of negotiating a premium for your own plasma? I believe that I do a fair to decent job at the educational consultant gig, and it looks like there may be hope in continuing it. So this evening I dust off the resume, send off session descriptions and qualifications, and throw on a dressy blouse at 11 PM for a Photobooth headshot on the MacBook.

Monday, September 7, 2009

250/365 Where were you?

We may have had a grand adventure, but H & G were a bit annoyed. They each gave us the (four) cold shoulder(s) as they waited for water service at the bath tub.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

249/365 The Other Half

1/2 Marathon + 1/2 Marathon = Whole Marathon, damnit.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

248/365 On the other end of 10

We bummed around the hotel for a while and then met the friends at Mimi's for a high-calorie breakfast. More laughter and good times shared, and many memories to sustain us until the too-long next time. It is a delight to see friends from my childhood with such wonderful partners. JS and DA so happy with the wonderful men they have met. Our West Coast adventure continued with a visit to the Santa Monica cousin and her wonderful man. We chatted, snacked and shopped the promenade. IMG spent the night with her cool cousin DG, so we can hardly wait to learn of their adventures.

Friday, September 4, 2009

247/365 OMG Wifi In Flight

In spite of the ridiculously early wake-up (2:30 AM), I am so psyched for this weekend. My guy and our girl sit across the aisle from me. She's on Myspace, he's watching HBO comedy while psychologically steering the plane from his window seat. I'm revved up for Sunday morning, the Disneyland half marathon, walking in celebration of the extended warranty on the hubby. Even more exciting is the prospect of visiting family and friends in SoCal, starting with a Buca di Beppo feast with JS, RD, DA, and her beau, R. We'll see cousins and great aunts, with my girl spending a night with her cool cousin DG in Santa Monica. Monday is a long day home, but it is capped off with Ev's first Oklahoma rehearsal. He's back onstage with a gun, a song, and a whole symphony orchestra. An exciting three days ahead!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

246/365 Mochi Madness

They've been here 3 1/2 weeks, but I've already filled my buy 9 get 1 free punch card. The best frozen yogurt! Green tea, taro, yummy toppings. Delish. A yummy post (high) school afternoon treat.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

245/365 Teed Up

My t-shirt design is the top, his is the bottom. I guess it reflects the mixed feelings. A celebration of living, an excuse for walking! Race preparations are underway.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

244/365 The ugly affects of multitasking while driving

I skipped the lunch at the school, so I thought that 99-cent bean burritos would be perfect for nutrition and portability on the drive to the airport. A cheap indulgence that would fill me up without making me feel suicidally guilty. I guess it was good that it was the salsa splattered and not the rented car.