Sunday, April 29, 2007


Swimwear is on my mind because it was 95 degrees yesterday and I went swimming. It was nice getting in the pool and exercising. I love to swim and I love being able to swim just by walking into my back yard.

Which brings me to swimwear. A month ago Cool Guy and I went on a trip which included staying in a motel a couple of nights, but on the road, I realized I'd forgotten to pack a swimsuit. We always hot tub at motels because it feels nice to soak after traveling. So, we stopped off at a clothing store when we reached our destination and I hurried in to find a suitable suit. I now have three swimming suits, but I don't consider this excessive because I actually do swim quite a bit, and if I swim in the morning, then it is nice to get into a dry suit after lunch to swim again. Plus, if you shop at the stores that sell last season's fashions (Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, etc.) then suits are really inexpensive.

So, I picked out several selections to try on and chose one that is really similiar to a suit I have and like--the front has a sort of wrap over, shirred kind of panel that successfully diverts the eye from the fat layers I've grown on my midsection...It had a bra-like thing in it, but I figured I'd just cut it out like I did the other suits I have because, duh! who wants to swim in a bra??

Later that evening as I put on the suit--over my skin, rather than over my undies as is necessary in the store dressing room--I became aware of lots more than a bra---the interior of the suit was entirely involved in some type of corset-like contraption. Cool Guy saw me puzzling over it and he plucked off this tag, attached to the suit. It describes the thing as a "flexible casing" with a "control panel"--it was built right into the suit. The directions (if you can read them) direct the wearer to "roll on your SHAPE DETECTOR like you would a pair of pantyhose". Egads!! Why would I want all of this in a swimsuit?? Torture devices in which to relax?? Maybe someone does want their suit to lift and separate, but mostly I just want my suit to cover me enough that I can go into public without causing some law enforcement activity. I want to be comfortable when I swim, I don't need to be controlled.
CoolGuy got out his multi-purpose Leatherman device and we used the scissors to snip away the entire inner "flexible casing" (trust me--designed to mold the wearer ala keilbasa) and we finally were able to get on our way to the hot tub. My shape was undetectable. No problem.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fashion Ick

Message to a lady I saw today:
I know that you didn't want panty lines. But when the fabric of your pants is so thin that a person walking behind you can see the shadow of the crack and the two moles on your left cheek...maybe underwear lines wouldn't be so bad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Shortest Summer--coming up

I signed the transfer paper yesterday to move to a different elementary school here. It is a nine month school, in a more middle-class part of town. The students have parents who go to work every day and have future plans for their children and send them to school for an education, not expecting that the teacher will have to do EVERYTHING for their child. It will be a relief.

The only downside: my 12 month school ends Aug. 10. My 9 month school starts Aug 21. And there will be no track breaks, just the usual Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring breaks. So I'll have a really short "summer break". But, it'll still be worth it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Am I Out-numbered?

I realized today that I have a skewed outlook on life. Since becoming an adult, I've spent the overwhelming majority of my time in the company of children or teens. As a result I just assume that every other adult lives life with the underlying theme of "How does this affect children?" or "I should be setting a good example, I'm the grown-up" or "Watch out how you speak/act because children are here."

I don't know what made me think of it today, but it struck me that the entire reason for Las Vegas to exist is to indulge the fantasy life of adults. This is the city where people come to act badly--on purpose. And do so loudly and proudly and go home with pictures.

Here I am working every day trying to indoctrinate (yes, I'll admit it) young people to act unselfishly toward others, be kind, work hard for the future, develop social responsibility and enjoy intellectual curiosity. But I'm surrounded by a community that exist to facilitate hedonism and debauchery.

Later I realized that I don't have to live in Las Vegas to be working in a place populated largely by adults that don't value most of the things I'm trying to foster in my students. Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Free Ice Cream Day

I just came home from spending two hours trying to convince people that Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream really is free today!! Tonight!! Honest!!

Every year B&J choose a day and have "Free Ice Cream Day"---it's a part of their corporate philosophy. If your group is willing to come to the store and help, then they'll donate the tips and donations to your organization. So, during the day, the Air Force volunteers did the dipping and the staff at my school did the work between 4:00 and 8:00. My job (with several others) was to stand out in the walkway there in the mall at Planet Hollywood and guide people into Ben & Jerry's with little cards that announced Free Cone Day.

Whew...people in Vegas are so jaded what with having to fend off the porn-card pushers and the "let me put this lotion on you" people that it is really hard to give away ice cream!

Most people wouldn't even look at you. If they did, half of those folks didn't speak English! (Lot's of foreign tourists here) Then the rest of those who would give you a glance simply didn't believe! "No really," I'd say, pointing at the shop behind me, "It's free ice cream day! They do it every year!"

Many people did get their free ice cream, and the tip jar was filled at the end of the evening. But it made me appreciate my job of convincing nine year-olds to obey me, and that I'm not one of those unlucky guys passing out those annoying call-girl cards on the Strip. It's hard enough to give away ice-cream!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dinner with the Mayor

We went to a new restaurant last night in our never-ending quest for yummy food...This is a Thai place we'd read rave reviews about and it definitely earns all the lovely things you want to say. Like many Vegas establishments, it has a wall full of autographed photos of the hosts standing next to celebrities. But, last night, we had our own chance to hob-nob with the famous: We ate dinner with the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman and Mrs. Goodman.

Actually it was more like: we were eating dinner, they were eating dinner--different tables, same small room.

We were waiting in the tiny crowded foyer for our (luckily) reserved table when a couple entered and squeezed past us begging to be excused. I immediately recognized his voice from radio and t.v. His Honor stepped right up to the hostess, smiled his greetings, and then turned to go to "their" table over in the corner. A little frission of murmuring followed them across the restaurant because he is a very recognizable figure here in Tinsel Town (go to the link and look at the photos: he's not your ordinary mayor.)

They ate a quiet dinner, picked up their bag of left-overs, and exited, but this time he waved and acknowledged different folks, responding with a "thanks" to called-out congratulations on his re-election this week. Then he and Mrs. Goodman went out to their car and drove away.

So, that was our celebrity sighting for the week. Not that we have one commonly. We'd have to go to the shiny part of town for that. Usually I'm just sighting things I wish the city government could fix: trash, homeless people, graffiti. Maybe I should go to Bellagio next weekend and try for another Vegas-moment.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Portrait

Must share a wonderful gift I received on Friday from a student. I love it! I think it looks quite a bit like me. I had my hair up in a bun, I was wearing dangly earrings and a white blouse with poofy sleeves.

I get a Beavis & Butthead vibe from the nose...and in real life I do have boobs.

But look how skinny she thinks I am!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Just a cheery salutation for the season from an old friend!

Friday, April 06, 2007


Tonight I ate a delicious salad from my garden: lettuce, basil and radishes to which I added some store tomatoes. But in a few weeks, the tomatoes will be coming from the garden, too! Yum...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Whiner on Vacation

Tuesday I went to Mt. Vernon (home of George and Martha Washington in Virginia) while I was visiting back east. It was a terrific day to be outdoors and even though D.C. is a favorite destination I knew that there would be too many people because of the cherry blossoms and Spring Break. However, lots and lots of them also decided that it was a great day to visit the lovely estate along the Potomac River, too. I've been to Mt. Vernon several times with my fourth grade and twice with visiting relatives. But I love going there, and they've opened a new education center and larger gift shop since my last visit. Going with the kids, I didn't shop at the small one--I just did crowd control. I thought I'd go in the house and then go through the new education center and gift shop.

However--it took over an hour on line to get into the house. I waited, but I'm not sure why, now...I've truly been there and done that. I guess I just didn't think that it would really take an hour--I should have believed a sign they had posted. I ended up not going through the whole education center because it was too near closing time when I finally finished with the house.

Directly in front of me in the endless queue was a large group of 12-14 year old kids from northern San Diego county. Naturally, being me, I struck up a conversation with the adults standing next to me. That's how I found out they were from Escondido. I said how I'd lived in San Diego for many years, many years ago, and how much I loved it. Then I heard from the man, for the next twenty minutes or so how much he doesn't really like living there. He has an avocado farm and he's a plumber and he's lived there for 21 years (I moved away just about 21 years ago) and "if his wife weren't involved," he'd "move back to Missouri in a heart beat." Weird---you live in paradise but would leave in a minute if only your wife were gone? He also complained about the Chilean import business screwing up the American avocado market, his lousy neighbors and their lousy horses that they ride leaving horse poop all over his drive-way/easement road. Then he complained about being on this trip with these dreadful kids. (His wife is a teacher at a private Christian school and that is who sponsored the trip and he came along with her.) Whew...I was relieved when he finally had to go off with a group of the kids to find a restroom and when he came back, he went to a different part of the line. What an unhappy person he seems to be. I wonder if we'd continued to talk if he would have been able to come up with any good things about his life?

Home Again

It was 93 degrees here in my desert home today as I drove around doing errands. Of course, I was in an air-conditioned vehicle and going in and out of air-conditioned buildings. Then I went back home and we grilled a pork loin and ate out on the patio, after dark. It was still 75. Maryland it 42 degrees. When I was there on Tuesday it was 75. Hmmm....maybe this is an okay place to live after all.

My garden was happy while I was gone. It gets automatically watered since it is strategically located to be in the path of the lawn spigits, so the radishes have gone crazy and the tomatoes have tiny green orbs hiding under several leaves. The spinach and lettuce look great and this afternoon I planted the green bean seeds. It's so exciting to see things growing. I just love to plant seeds and have results!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Perils of Nomadic Living

We've lived in five different towns since we were married. We've moved within some of those towns so that the number of church congregations we belonged to is higher than five. Those towns have been in four distinctly different regions of the U.S. with correspondingly different eco-systems. And that doesn't count the region where we both were born and raised--again unique from the others in which we've lived since marrying.

This has resulted lately in my developing a sense of not belonging anywhere. I don't belong in the place where I grew up--I've been gone too long and would be unhappy there most of the year because of the harsh winter weather. I can't really go back to California right now because it is prohibitively expensive where I'd like to live, and there aren't openings for generic teachers in the schools where I'd like to teach. I'm living in Las Vegas, but there are at least as many reasons to leave as to stay.
  • I like my house; I don't like my job.
  • I like being in a city again; it's a weird city.
  • I like the weather most of the time; it's colder in the winter than I anticipated.
  • It's great being close enough to my extended family to participate in family events; 1/2 of my children live in the East.
  • I love the West; I LOVE Washington D.C. and the surrounding plethora of American history sites.

    So, I'm in Maryland for a few days, feeling rather "at home" and yet, I know I don't like the summer weather here, and I am a Western girl. The people at church today are long-time friends and it felt like I'd never left. Hmmm...Cool Guy can work here and come home every night. My Maryland teaching certificate expires in July, but it'd be really easy to renew it.

    I don't know where to live. I'll just take down my tent, load up the camels, and be on my way Wednesday, back to the desert for now..