Sunday, August 31, 2008

Check!

I finished in 2:31, a minute above my goal. I'm just glad to finish and to know that I ran most of the course. However, I didn't anticipate the sheer volume of people and the ridiculous bottlenecks that were all over the beginning of the course, so had to spend some of the race getting myself back on the right pace. No matter what, this is another thing checked off of my life's list of things to do.

Loved:
- the race announcer proposing to his unsuspecting girlfriend before the start of the race
- the marching bands/cheerleaders sprinkled all over the course
- everyone running for unique reasons emblazoned on their shirts
- seeing all the disney characters 
- the weather

Hated
- that we didn't get to run through Angel Stadium as runners were allowed to last year
- the one clif bar per runner policy at the end of the race. we paid $100 to run the race. I deserve 2 clif bars. Minimum. Loved that many people ignored the volunteers and took whatever they wanted anyway. 
- the 6 A.M. start time

After the race, we got ready just in time to attend a lunch held to honor my newly-engaged BFF. When I got home, all I could do was sit on my couch and watch half of Season 7 of the Gilmore Girls. That's what I've been doing for the last four hours. I'd post pictures of my happy day except my camera is not within my arm's reach and it's entirely too painful to walk. I hope to regain full mobility by tomorrow.

For now, please enjoy my mobile photo blog via fuzzyshot.com. 

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grace

All week, I've been complaining about how tired I am. Nearly every day after work, I drove 30 minutes south to rounds 2, 3, and 4 of a job interview and drove an hour back up to church for vacation bible school. I'd teach my tired little heart out, go home, go to sleep, and start all over again. 

The worst thing about this past week is that I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel clearly enough. The weekend was going to be packed and there were moments of serious contemplation when I didn't think I was going to make it. 

I was so focused on myself that I didn't see the grace that everyone was showing to me.

Thanks and much love to:
Woo-z for make the Costco trip on his own so that I could have Friday afternoon to breathe.
Woo-z and aznphatty for allowing me just to sit in and enjoy their small group.
BFFs for driving and making my race shirt so that I wouldn't have to.
Jacko for organizing the kids and sending them off to the beach when I was running late.
Mr. Single for teaching and including me in the games so I wouldn't feel like a full fledged old fart.
Woo-z, Jacko, and aznphatty for taking care of everything so that I could leave the beach early and at peace.
K for doing everything in his power to make sure I got home at a decent hour so I can be awake for the race tomorrow, even when I didn't know what was best for me.
Gun Boy for waiting on me, driving, and making an effort to have a conversation.

The weekend is not over yet, but thinking about these people helps me to know that I will make it. It's amazing how God hears me even when I'm not calling.

I hope He hears me tomorrow when I'm screaming bloody murder at about mile 9 or so.




Thursday, August 28, 2008

Body

I got the most hilarious email from #85 today. So funny that I have to post it here. 

"Hey Everyone,

I have a funny story. My college buddies and I are hiking Half Dome in Yosemite. So you know how it goes, we have to get everyone on the same page, make sure the flakers go, figure out car pool, camp site, etc. This involves the usual mass emails. One of our friends, G, was reluctant to go. He just got married, and we are harassing him because we think that maybe his wife isn't letter him go with us. It eventually comes out that he doesn't want to go because he thinks he can't make it up Half Dome. This is weird because in college he was a football/rugby player, so of course we are making fun of him even more.

At the same time, I'm kind of in charge of making sure that we are bringing the right stuff. So we have a parallel, more serious email conversation about it. Early this week, I emailed Jane about what we should expect besides the obvious. Jane replies to me with a list of stuff that we should know. So, I forward this list to my other friend, A, who is also in charge of making sure everyone knows not to wear italian dress shoes, etc.

My friend notices that the email was sent by one "Jane LastName."

So A, forwards Jane's email to G in an attempt to shame him into going and says, "Look, sucker, even #85's friend who is a little asian girl made it." (He's never met Jane, none of my friends have met Jane. He is just assuming that she's a little asian girl, which is true. You are very petite Jane.)

G replies saying, "I did a search on #85's friend." (He also works for google, so there is an on going joke about G being able to google things really well, which is kind of true.)

He says, "Does #85's friend look little to you?"

This picture was attached ...



So now everyone is asking me where I met Jane and how many push-ups she can do.

I tell them you can do 147 in a row.

hahah, sorry Jane.

#85."

[dead]



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tired

I left the house at 7:30 A.M. and got home at 10 P.M. I think Louie is mad at me.
They inviting me back for a fourth interview.
This is turning out to be one of the most tiring weeks of my adult life.

Again

My MOH got engaged on August 17th!!!!!

Her fiance *eeek!* did a beyond fabulous job in getting her the ring. We, of course, had to remind her who was top dog with this pretty lil' thing.


I'm so beyond happy for her. I'm also happy that I get to be involved in planning another wedding. I'm not sure which makes me happier. ;)

ILOVEYOU!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Straws

Image from padlab.com


I recently (stupidly) volunteered to go buy boba straws for a co-worker who needed them for a project he's making for the kids. I'm not sure exactly what the project is or how it'll turn out but when he was thinking out loud in my office I (stupidly) suggested boba straws. Since he had never heard of boba or seen the straws I (stupidly) said I'd go get them. I didn't realize I had no idea where to get them. I checked out a couple of 99 Ranch places and Lilcee gave me the info for New Taiwan but I've yet to make my way there. I don't know why it's been so difficult for me to get there.

Enter GreenPeaceMama.

Last week while I was scouring 99 Ranch in my hood for the straws, I ran into GreenPeaceMama, mama of GreenPeaceBridesmaid. I briefly mentioned why I was there, we made small talk, and said goodbye.  

This week, I get an email  from GPB that GPM saw boba straws during her trip to Berkeley and brought them back for me! All she wanted in return was entry into Disneyland and thanks to K, this is no problem at all. She had no idea that I would need 300 straws so when GPB told her that I needed more, she was "on it like donkey kong." 

GPB was the first friend I made when I immigrated from Hong Kong at age 6. I love that GPM came through for me, even at age 27. She makes me miss my own mama.

Hooray for mamas!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blogging

I'm a bad blogger. I'm good at bullet points and I don't do/eat enough interesting things to keep a blog going. I recently read that a blog should be consistent in a posting schedule and topic. This got me thinking about my own blog. I definitely want to post regularly and write about something. 

I'm addicted to design and stationery blogs. I will leave that arena to the experts.

I'm thinking of writing a blog about my daily interactions with children. But that would force me to stop reading my own blog.

This blog began as a chronicle of newly-wed life, but it's really not that interesting. It's like pre-married life with twice the laundry and half the bed space. I will, however, leave you with this random conversation I had with K about a week and a half ago while sitting in front of the TV:
K:  I've made some plans for Labor Day.
J: Oh? 
K: I'm going to play golf in the morning and learn to swim in the afternoon.
J: Uh ... ok. 

I didn't bring up the fact that it takes more than one afternoon to learn how to swim or that 26 years of trying to learn may be an indication of how that afternoon will turn out. This newly wed knows that support is important in a new union. This doesn't stop me from laughing at him every time I think about it. 

I apologize. That's funny to me.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Visuals

K has been working hard on starting up renovations in the new condo. I've been working hard on picking out the details. Between the leaking air conditioner, talking to the HOA, and scheduling contractors, I don't envy him.

I'm learning that picking out furniture is not my strength. I prefer looking at photographs and prints that will go nicely in a collage in the dining nook. I found this blog through one of the other design/stationery blogs that I subscribe to. Something about the pictures tickles my eyeballs. 




With K's help, we have managed to narrow down some things to put into the condo. Nothing fancy or original, but good enough for our first place. I have a really hard time picking furniture because I don't have an idea of what I like. I've lived in my current house since the 5th grade. I'm just used to all the pieces my parents picked and have never picked any of my own furniture. Unless if you count the futon in college but that was really between two options that my mom presented to me.

Every broke first-time homeowner loves a little Ikea in the right places, right? My jaw dropped a bit when I saw that Ikea is now selling couches for nearly $1000. If I'm going to pay $1000, I might as well get a couch somewhere else! I still like Ikea thought. Love this as a dining chair: 
4 of those babies to go around this dining table, in white (I hope. K and I are having "discussions" about color.):



We're getting the one in the smaller size because, in case I haven't mentioned it, we're moving into a shoebox.

This is my favorite piece so far. My desk! Kevin doesn't need a desk. Just a laptop in front of the TV. 


We're looking for a couch under 70". I looked on C&B's small scale couches and thought I found the one but when I went to go sit on it yesterday, it was not as comfortable as I wanted. Ideas?




Tuesday, August 12, 2008

*Jingle, Jingle*

What's the sound?
Sleigh bells?
Nope! It's the sound of the keys to our new condo in my pretty little hands!!!

Finally!! K spent about an hour measuring the entire place for me so that we could start furniture shopping. We do a little bit of renovation (floors, paint, bathroom) so we won't be moving in right away but just like wedding planning, I suspect that all this planning, designing, and buying will be all the fun.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Lucille's

Since I've never traveled to the part of the United States between Las Vegas and Chicago (and don't have any plans to), I probably don't know anything about good BBQ. So take it with a grain of salt when I say that Lucille's is da bomb. I love it. so. very. much.


It's always a special treat to go because all of the Lucille's locations are far away from us so it was a perfect end to a great evening that began with K and his team winning their basketball game. It's much easier to enjoy dinner with the team when they've won the game.

We always share the same thing when we go: a combo with beef ribs, another meat, baked potato, and corn. Don't forget the strawberry lemonade. Same meal, everytime. Just call us Mr. and Mrs. Excitement.



They have a choice of three sauces. I've never added sauce to my food, it's saucy enough for me. You can also get everything without the sauce already on it.


I'm looking for these types of lights for a birthday party this weekend. Anyone know where I can get them cheap and quick?




Louie always appreciates it when we go to Lucille's.


I went on Interview #2 for a different company today. A real, hour-long interview! I thought it went well. I didn't make a total fool of myself. Sort of, but I won't recount that here. I left with a test and task to be completed by Monday.



Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cafe

K loves Hong Kong style cafes. We live near a ton of them. He would eat at one everyday if he could but unfortunately for him, I refuse to. WeezerMonkey put it best when she described these cafes as "Chinese people cooking American food." (Or something to that effect.) All of these cafes share a lot of commonalities but there are only a handful that we'll return to. Time and time again. Today I was feeling especially kind and compliant so we visited Garden Cafe.

All of these HK cafes have place mats sponsored by other companies.


This is actually a newish menu. There is usually a separate lunch and dinner menu. The only thing that varies between the two is the pricing. You can pretty much eat whatever you want, whenever you want it.


The beverage is the key to the cafe. Most popular is the lemon iced tea or iced milk tea. The drinks are usually included in the lunch specials. There is sometimes a surcharge for boba or if you'd like your drink cold.


Everything you order is accompanied by soup. Every HK cafe has the same two choices of soup: vegetable or cream. I always choose the former.


This is K's favorite dish: baked pork chop with rice.

 

For my bachelorette party game, he was asked, "What would be your last meal on earth?" His answer: "Baked pork chop and rice with a iced lemon tea." The man is obviously easy to please.

Our other usual HK Cafe includes Cafe Spot (The lemon iced tea is awful here, but they make it for it with their Hong Kong pancakes.) and Red Ant Cafe (I used to like them much more than I do now.) 

It goes without saying that the food is not the highlight of these cafes but the comfort of knowing that you can walk into any one of them, get your usual drink and dish, and leave spending less than $10 per person is good enough for us.

Mystery

Last night, after fellowship, I went to Old Country Cafe with a small crew because we were denied an invitation to The Hat. I ordered the meat stew rice noodles. When it arrived, I wasn't sure it was even mine because it didn't look like "meat" at all. Unless meat is white and floats around in strips. (Ok, chicken is white but it looked nothing like chicken.) When it I ate it, it taste a little like pork in one bite and in another bite, it'd taste like fish. Then I analyzed it and saw that there was possibly some breading on it, but never tasted the breading. My theory is that they took all the leftover meat that they had from the day, grounded it up, fried it together, and put it in my bowl. I was so amused with my mystery meat noodles that I actually took a picture. I also had everyone at my table try it just so I could share the fun.



I haven't gotten sick yet so my stomach of steel is doing its job. Christina thinks its meat paste which then would qualify it as the ultimate mystery meat. I should have went with the chitterling rice noodles like the Liao Duo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why

The interview went dandy today. It was more of a screening that could have been done through a phone interview, but whatever. No hard or challenging questions arose so I'm going to count this as a .5 real interview. So now I've been on .5 real interviews. All she really wanted to do was to make sure that I could form complete sentences and not drool on myself.  I should be interviewing with the actual manager and then the head honcho in a couple of weeks. 

Ali left a comment wanting to know my reasons for quitting the current gig. I thought I'd just answer here since I'm still mulling it over in my head. I hope it doesn't scare off or offend current or potential teachers. weezermonkey is right. if you love the job, doing it for 40 years would be a blessing. I obviously don't love it. This is just my perspective based on my experience.

I started teaching Bible studies in my college fellowship and found that I really enjoyed teaching. It came really natural to me, by the grace of God, and so I continued to explore it by minoring in Education and taking on tutoring gigs. By the time graduation was looming, I really didn't have a real idea of what I wanted to do but saw teaching as an obvious option.  One night, I decided to apply to a graduate program wherein I could earn my credential and masters degree in two years. Two birds, one stone. I applied only to one school telling myself that if I didn't get in, I'd just find something else to do. Not exactly a passionate pursuit.

When I started teaching, I loved the job. Everything was new and I was learning everyday. Like everyone says, the first year is the toughest but in the best sense of the word. It's just a lot of hard work. The second year was my best year. By the time the third year rolled around, I realized that if I stayed in this position, I'd be doing the same thing every single year. Some teachers will tell you that the kids change and so that keeps it interesting but to me, it's the very same thing: the same curriculum, the same techniques, some of the same struggles. I also started to get lazy very quickly. Instead of busting my butt, staying late everyday, taking work home, and planning on the weekends, I started to do what I had to do. I just couldn't continue functioning at the same level, thinking about work all. the. time. So while I started to feel like the walls were closing in on me, I also know that it was my own fault for not wanting to change things badly enough. 

During my third year, I got another position at the same school working specifically with kids who were not reading at grade level. It was an out of the classroom position and I was supposed to teach reading lessons to small groups of students for 45 minutes intervals. This worked out perfectly. I was focused and  it was fine until additional responsibilities started pouring in.

Instead of having me teach small groups, they thought it'd be more effective if I trained people to teach small groups so that we could get more kids into the groups. The further I got away from the actual teaching, the more I became a manager of adults. This was tough. I'd deliver training and then go observe it see it implemented. 7 times out of 10, it wasn't because these were people who didn't sign on to be teachers. People would come to work late, leave early, or not even come in at all. I did have any authority to hold them accountable and so just watched some of the plans crumble.

Perhaps the single worst thing about the education system is that you cannot actually fire anyone. They make the process so arduous that the administrator never wants to follow through with it. Even if you were able to fire someone, you'd have twice as much trouble finding someone to fill the position. 

Since I was supposed to be doing the training and less of the teaching, I was assigned other things to do. This included things like lunch supervision and student discipline. While it wasn't ideal, I was OK. I started getting really antsy when I had to do things that really had nothing to do with instruction. I make the certificates at my school for all types of awards. I make buttons for students who pass their fluency test. I write the monthly parent newsletters. I put together the art supplies for our art classes. My coworkers started saying things like, "I'm sure your dad is proud that you got a masters degree to make buttons." It was all in jest, but there was a sad glimmer of truth in the jokes. I suppose you can count me as one of those people who thought they could change the world and failed miserably.

I am so far from actual teaching that I'm not even sure what I'm doing anymore.

My principal promises that this year will be different. I'll be in my own room again, working with small groups. Unfortunately, the last year and a half has left a really sour taste in my mouth. There are a lot of things with colleagues that I won't delve into here but I can attest that it is the paperwork and adults who drove me crazy, not the kids.

A bright side of all of this is that I've discovered that I have other skills as well. I see that I'm capable of working in other environments and may even thrive. That's a big reason for this possible change. 

If I had to do it all over again, I would've stayed driven and focused. I wouldn't have given up so easily. I wouldn't have looked to some of my coworkers for examples and direction. I would've done what I knew was right. I would've stayed in the classroom.







Thursday, August 7, 2008

Interview

I've never been on a real job interview. My very first real job was working at a Papyrus in Berkeley, before it sadly burned to a crisp. The "interview" that landed me that job took place on a bench across the street from the store. The manager asked me about myself and my schedule as she smoked a cigarette and was careful not to blow smoke in my face.

My second interview landed me my current gig. It was two weeks before the school year was set to start and the school had lost a first grade teacher as a result of No Child Left Behind. This would be the only time I'd ever be grateful for Dub-ya's brain child. The principal interviewing me and I both had the unspoken understanding that they needed me. Actually, they just needed a warm body before the kids returned. Since my temperature was a healthy 98.6 degrees, I was set. 

I'm going on a real interview tomorrow. I'm nervous. I've never been asked those difficult interview questions that people prepare for in front of the bathroom mirror. As you know, I've been contemplating a career change and while I'm still employed, I am exploring my options. It can't hurt to put myself out and there at least give it a try. Honestly, I'm not sure I even want the job because my job with the big LAUSD giant is so safe. I keep telling myself that I have to take risks in order to really get to where I want to go ... wherever that may be. Or I could be a teacher for the next 40 years. *shudder*

I've had a lot of thoughts I'd like to include here:

1. Why is that girl wearing a backless, low-cut mini dress and clear heels at the mall on a Saturday afternoon? Why is she purchasing another backless, low-cut mini dress today? (I wanted to snap a picture of this but could never get slick enough.)

2. Why does Barefoot Contessa irk me so!? *shakes fist* Why am I always checking in on her at the Food Network at 5 P.M.?

3. I drove 400 miles on my 16 gallon tank. WOO HOO! I've also been driving at 65 mph or under. Me = grandma.

4. God is good.

Deep thoughts, I know these are.