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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fa-la-la-la-freakin-da!

It is finally here! Christmas break has officially arrived. Happy holidays to all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Live simply, so that others may simply live.



I know I blow money on totally unnecessary crap (but I LOVE my LAMB purse, so back off) and the following is my attempt to redeem myself and my American decadence.

I like to wrap up the semester of supply and demand/scarcity/monetary policy blah blah blah chitchat with something that my students can actually connect with-I have found it with kiva.org. It is a website featuring microentrepreneurs: people in the developing world trying to be self-sufficient but lacking the access to banks and loans that are more available in the good ol' USA.

I first found out about microcredit from a documentary entitled "Small Fortunes" (through BYU's Center for Self-Reliance) that tells the stories of people who have received such loans. After viewing some clips and discussing the issue (some classes included more blank stares than actual discussion...1st period) I showed my kids the website and challenged them to donate. We are shooting for $200 ($1 each-you are impressed with my math skills) and I will match their donations up to $200. This is a great way to give the gift to "the person who has everything" (or just won't tell you what they want) and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside...and isn't charity really about making yourself feel better? I jest...

I know money is tight for everyone and it seems like there is someone sticking their hand out asking for donations every which way we turn (back off, Salvation Army), but it is amazing to see how just $10 can change someone's life in the developing world.

Fun fact: Dr. Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 (step up your game, Obama) for his work with the Grameen Bank and the microcredit movement.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In it to win it.

I am heading up the blood drive committee at Frontier High School this year and we just had our first event. 150 students signed up to donate (yay!) but we had to turn away about 35, as Houchin Blood Bank just did not have the staff to process that many kids before school was out. Boo.

Anyeatironrichfoodsanddonate, it is a district-wide competition among all the high schools, and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if we had the most donations, because cheap plastic trophies are cool and saving lives is even better. This post is my request to everyone who donates over the next year to please credit your donation to Frontier High School. Additionally, Houchin will bring the bloodmobile (that sounds disgusting, I know) to your office/business; employees can donate during the workday, and this can also be credited towards our school. And come on! In between helping annoying customers and clients and dealing with ridiculous co-workers, who wouldn't want to be poked and prodded?

For anyone who has ever engaged in a game of Trivial Pursuit/Scene It/Cranium, etc. with me, you know I do not mess around when it comes to such contests. I bring the pain, and this competition is no different. Bonus: great and easy way to help out those in need. And please do not look at the post's image and think I support such crap shows. I am not into the whole vampire/Twilight thing, but I thought it was appropro for my message and the Halloween season. Team Harry Potter. All. The. Way.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

100th post: Strength.

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be. -George Sheehan


This school year has been a difficult one, for various reasons, and I have found solace in an activity I used to dread every day during the fall season in high school at the ringing of the final bell: running. I joined cross country because Nicole did it, liked it, and dragged me along. I still remember the numbing pain I felt after my very first practice, which rendered me unable to climb a flight of stairs without wincing at every step. Out of shape? To say the least. My dad recently started getting back into top form for his Mt. Whitney climb this summer, and suggested that he, Nicole and I do the 5 mile "fun runs" at Yokuts each month. Thus, I altered my workouts, foregoing the cardio I used to get on the exercise bike and elliptical for lacing up the New Balances and hitting the pavement outside.

I have been blessed with a crap metabolism and know that I am doomed to a lifetime of workouts and calorie-counting. With this in mind, I have busted my butt too many hours to count with various workout tapes (old school Jane Fonda, anyone?), moves from websites, and at various gyms around town. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, though, can compare to the feeling I get when running outside. The beauty of running is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. No one needs a membership or special coordination to do it. Just go. There are times when I blast the music (Christina Aguilera's "Fighter" is my favorite-what music motivates you?) and moments, usually at night, when the quiet surrounds me and allows my mind to clear of all the confusion.

I used to laugh when people would cite "running" as a hobby, thinking this was just a way for them to let others know in a not-so-roundabout way they were sporty spices and always workin' on their fitness. And while I maintain my belief that this is the motive of most of them, I now get it. My hobby, my peace, my nirvana, my drug? Run, Candice, run.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who is running things?

As we all know by now, schools are kind of in a financial pinch...as is everything else. They keep track of what we print; limit our paper supply (I had to ask permission for ten pieces of card stock to print tickets for a senior class event); and I currently have 198 students, compared to the 150 from last year. These examples signify just a few of the cutbacks and changes that have occurred. I get it, we are all having to tighten our belts, and yes, there is a LOT of waste that occurs that needs to be reigned in-I am grateful for a job at this point. So where the heck did the district come up with the funding to drop off a big ol' gallon of hand sanitizer for EVERY classroom in the district?! (And how much did the huge "Property of Kern High School District" sticker cost? Yeah, because I'm going to steal it.) Swine flu, schwine flu...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Have bleach for your eyes within reach.

Ahhh, the joys of the internet and small cameras that can be used to discreetly take pictures of the finest America has to offer. The next time you get your paycheck and glance at the federal and state taxes, remember all your fellow citizens who are being supported by your efforts. Check out www.peopleofwalmart.com for more chances to judge others and feel pretentious that Target is more your style. (All the while remembering we all hit up Walmart every now and then, so don't be too la-di-freakin'-da.)

I found you, Miss New Booty...People, dress for your body. Has she no mirrors? Or shame?

Okay, I kind of want those pants. And by kind of, I mean really.

Um, yeah...what mall kiosk custom-printed this gem? Because I doubt she is paying homage to the Buddhists or Hindus. And why have the guys next to her not punched her in the head yet? Perhaps they did not pay attention in history class...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The "NA NA NA" song for the birthday nerd.

Click her for your "So What" video-We're all gonna get in a fight!
Big C loves Little T.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bootylicious.


One of the great things about the school year starting (besides getting up before the sun rises and trying to hold the attention of 195 teenagers while talking about opportunity cost) is that I get back on a schedule with my workout. Yes, you would think that summer vacation would be the time to buckle down and focus, but sleeping in usually took precedence over exercise.

While looking online for some new moves to try at the gym, I found a website called fitsugar.com. True, the name doesn't quite exude strength and power, but it is chockablock full of ways to change up your routine and take your workout to the next level. (Okay, that last sentence even annoyed me-excuse my wannabe trainer jargon.) One article in particular was especially good, offering "8 Dynamic Booty Exercises." Check. It. Out.

I've been around long enough to know you've gotta work with what you've got.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I did it.

I have been wanting a LAMB handbag since the day Ms. Stefani debuted her glorious line and have hated seeing Skankface McGees like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton with these purses casually slung over their arms...they are not worthy. While wasting time online this weekend, trying to get some feeling back in my hip joints following the 5 mile run with Dad and Nicole, I found this beauty...HALF OFF. My time had come. Years of foregoing cable, furnishing my home with thrift store and yard sale items, keeping my PG&E under $30 a month, and dyeing my hair with $7 boxes of Loreal Preference, are finally coming to fruition. It is all about allocation of resources. Some people like a fully stocked fridge; I like a fully stocked closet.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Capitalism, schmapitalism.

My new t-shirt, found on ebay and ordered for tomorrow's lesson on command economies. Yay! I embrace my nerdery fully. (Yes, I just made up a word-jealous?) Have some fun times and see if you can name each of the leaders featured, party people. Now enjoy some quotes concerning the free market...

"The cold fact is that most income is not distributed: it is earned."

"Capitalism is what people do if you leave them alone."

"Capitalism needs to function like a game of tug-of-war. Two opposing sides need to continually struggle for dominance, but at no time can either side be permitted to walk away with the rope."

Following our discussion concerning the good, the bad, and the ugly of our free market system, one student had me pegged as a Democrat. (Insert laughter here. I love messing with their minds.) Apparently my negative response to her question about whether I am a fan of Fox News led her to label me as a liberal. Nerds...And such things are what frustrate me about the current state of America-you're either one or the other. This whole brooha about Obama's address to schoolchildren is ridiculous. Teachers show stuff in class all the time that is probably biased or not reviewed by administration-why the need for them to do it now? Besides, I am sure not even a quarter of the students would even internalize the information being presented. Obama is the president and if he wants to have some face time with kids, have at it. Heaven forbid he encourage them to stay in school and take responsibility for their lives (although the legislation and policies he supports are doing just the opposite). What's next? Is he going to tell them to eat vegetables?! (Organic, of course.) Everyone just needs to chill.

Click on the following link for a hilarious article, courtesy of the cracked.com:
Republicans vs. Democrats. Fight, fight, fight...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mondays are the best!

At around four o'clock Sunday afternoon, the day starts sucking. Why? Because the realization begins to sink in that Monday is in my near future, and Mondays deserve a big thumbs down. This morning was no different, but it was especially crappy when I walked into the office and found out the AC was down throughout the school. (Yes, I am a 21st century American and am incredibly spoiled.) Great. So I waltz into my classroom and start up my computer, which took an especially long time. The bell rings, students begin sitting in their desks, and I continue try to open up up the PowerPoint for the day's lesson, full of interesting pictures, information, and video clips to help guide them (and me) through the lesson. But guess what? The system is inaccessible, and no one on campus has access to their files. Sucky. First period is so not cool. By third period I've hit my stride, any glitches in the day's activity/lesson have been ironed out, and learning abounds. First period? Not so much. (Seriously, Porter-I'm not just making this up.)

In the good news department, however, my saddle shoes I have been coveting for quite some time arrived and I ADORE them. Interesting reactions from the students, as they called them bowling shoes, Mickey Mouse shoes, referred to me as Charlie Chaplin, etc. You never know what will cause a ruckus in class.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

For Mom and Dad!

Haha, siblings! I win the "favorite child of the day" award. (Even though Dad had to come fix my water pipes this morning after knocking on my door and calling multiple times to wake me up. THANK YOU!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

So long, sweet summer.


So I'm guessing I should probably brush up on my knowledge concerning the economy, as school is in full effect on Monday and I have avoided all news sources and discussions concerning it the past couple months. Looks as though I will be spending the weekend glued to the computer screen, perusing websites for CNN, NBER, The Dismal Scientist, The Economist and some random Google searches...with probably a little Facebook, Fark and dlisted thrown in.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

13. Two for one.




13. I Am Scout: A Biography of Harper Lee (Charles J. Fields) was found in the school library as I walked out of the computer lab following a day spent answering the same ten questions five thousand times (does NO ONE read directions?) as my students worked on a stock market project. To Kill A Mockingbird has always been a favorite book of mine (I know I am not the first to say that) and I find it interesting that the author, Harper Lee, never wrote anything else. (But, seriously-talk about pressure!) Thus, I thought a peek into her life would be quite interesting.

Apparently Mr. Shields wrote a first biography directed at adults, and I Am Scout was his edition for the teen crowd...you could kind of tell. It was a little choppy at times, but still a good read. We find that Ms. Lee's real name is Nelle but went by her middle name, as she did not want it mispronounced "Nellie." Her close childhood friend Truman Capote, upon whom the character Dill is based, basically screwed her over following the monumental success of In Cold Blood, refusing to acknowledge the integral role she played in gaining information about the case. (Side note: What is the big deal about his book? I think the man just knew how to market himself well. I thought it was meh, and we all know my opinion is the only one that truly matters.) I recommend it to anyone who loves her book...and if you have not yet read this masterpiece, go sit in the corner. Seriously. Of course I had to pick it up when I should have been doing a hundred other things (this was when school was still in session) and it is definitely a book that transcends the ages. The following quote by Clifton Fadiman is very apropos: "When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before."

During my time reading TKAM, I got into a, well, we'll call it a discussion with a student. This kid is the type who thinks he is always right and quibbled over every single point I ever docked him. I basically told him he was prejudiced/racist, and advised him to read the book, showing him the following quote: "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." (Atticus Finch. Coolest name ever.) I doubt he took my little literary lesson to heart.

PS-I am always reminded of Grandma and Grandpa Urmston when I read To Kill A Mockingbird; on one of the trips they took Nicole and me on, I remember watching the movie for the first time. Interestingly, Gregory Peck's role was much smaller initially, but it was built up, paving the way for his Oscar. Harper Lee's first choice for the role of Atticus (based upon her on father) was Spencer Tracy.

PPS-This was assigned reading in Mrs. Reider's 8th grade literature class (one of the best teachers), and the final project included creating a map of the fictional town of Maycomb, AK, the book's setting. Laura O'Rullian and I spent hours at Erin McCarthy's house (the night before, of course) putting this flipping thing together. You had to hunt through the book to make sure the post office was on the correct corner and that Ms. Dubose's house was just so. What is in I Am Scout? A map of Harper Lee's town of Monroeville, upon which Maycomb was based. What. Ever.

Holy crap. I need to pick up the pace if I am going to read 50 new books this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Done.

The 10 year reunion went off without a hitch and good times were had by all. The end.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fashion show! Fashion show! Fashion show at lunch!

I figured now that I have a couple months to catch up, it would be a good time to get a haircut, as it has been about 8 months since the last one and my hair has been through its own Battle of Iwo Jima this year. I sprung for the fancy salon and went to Great Clips, where a gorgeous (seriously) Argentinian lady snipped away. I began by first apologizing for the hot mess that is my hair and explaining its recent history, and then she proceeded to give my hair disparaging looks while encouraging me to buy expensive reconstructive products. Um, did she not hear I stripped it on my own, an obvious sign that I am a cheapskate? That said, I am VERY happy with the cut and will be returning to Adelita at Great Clips on Rosedale. Fo' sho'.

The best part of the experience was eavesdropping on the conversation taking place to my right, as it included some girl describing all the "really cute" outfits she bought her niece. I couldn't see this Eleanor Roosevelt of the 21st century, but after hearing her shopping selections, I had an image in my mind. I will share with you some of her words and you can play the game as well.

1) Sorry boys, I only date rock stars
(Do you WANT your daughter on the "Rock of Love" bus? Dream big, o' little one.)
2) I'm with the MILF
(I will SLAP you, Courtney, if you ever purchase this for me and my pretend children, just for wasting your money.)
3) I love my daddy, even if he is a deabeat a**$#@!
(Make sure to dress the kid in this when the daddy drops by once a year to take the kid to the park for an hour. Nothing like a big pile of animosity to get the visit started right!)

There were a few more, but at this point my head was exploding with the shock and horror of it all. I was tempted to lean over and ask if she found one emblazoned with the message "In 20 years, taxpayers wll be supporting me and my 5 kids", as that would be super appropriate, but I am passive aggressive and that's just not my style. I'll just sit there and smirk to myself at the witty and hilarious things running through my head, then post it on my blog.

I realize that a picture of Britney Spears and the kids sharing a pack of smokes would have been more post-appropriate, but her image has already been used once on my blog, so I though I'd change it up. Nothing like Brooke Hogan in a pair of homemade denim chaps (What?! No bedazzled jewels?!?) to represent this particular sector of society.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Urmston Family Reunion t-shirt. Thoughts?

Stupid blogspot would not add the "widget" to my post, but it would add it to the "gadget" in the layout (good story, I know), so look to the RIGHT for my idea for the Urmston Family Reunion t-shirt; I am obviously ripping off Uncle Peter. (CORRECTION: ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY COOP-A-LOOP.) I tried out various fonts and colors, and this is the best result (according to me and my impeccable taste). The image on the back should actually be the same shade of yellow as the text on the front, but I seriously lack Photoshop skills, so use your imagination. The numbers in the Uranium box (for all those non-science fools) can be changed from 92 to 61 (for the year of establishment) and from 238.03 to 620.09 (for the month and year of reunion).

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Spiritual awakenings? Religious antecdotes? Please leave here! Merci beaucoup.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From the makers of "The Wonder Wand"...



My honors kids really didn't want a written final, and I obliged by giving them a few project options, including making an economics music video using an already recorded song or an original. I posted a video a few months back of a commercial for "The Wonder Wand" made by some of my boys, and I'm sure all who saw it would agree it was quite fantastic. This video is their newest creation. Thank you to Brandon Carter, Brian Williams, Jean-Luc Slagle, and Ryan Sitton for continually amazing me. Enjoy.

Follow-up: Channel 29 news did a story on them today. Sweet.

A few other projects were also quite fabulous, including a remake of Lonely Island's "I'm on a Boat"-theirs was "I Bought a Boat." (If you haven't seen the original, check it out-there is a clean version available for those with sensitive ears.) I'll post it soon. I know, you're all on the edge of your seats.

I'm going to miss these kids.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Who's got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and is seeing No Doubt in 6 days? This moi."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For Shnee!

Jesus broke the connection because we were talking so much crap.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dear Mama...


Go to Shnee's blog for the sweet stuff; I work hard to maintain my status as the cynical one.

Anytime I bring up issues fom my past, Mom offers to send me to counseling. We successfully cleared up one such problem that has existed since my high school days.

As senior class president, I gave the welcoming speech at graduation; I then was the first to receive my diploma. Following this, my family left, which meant after the ceremony, when everyone is on the field, taking pictures, etc., I was without family. I brought this up for the fiftieth time a couple months back, to which Mom asked "if I give you $20, will you never complain about this again?" Fo' sho'. Mama didn't raise no fool.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10, 11, 12. Shoot me in the face, could've done worse, now we're getting there; respectively.

All the big reading I was going to do during Spring Break didn't really happen. I submit two reasons for this lack of literary consumption: 1) napping is sometimes better than reading and 2) the selection I brought was so incredibly craptastic that I think I temporarily lost interest.

Before heading over to Leo Carrillo, Courtney and I did some shopping at the Goodwill bookstore (one of my favorite frugal finds EVA). Unfortunately, my discerning taste must have been on holiday, as I managed to purchase some truly ridiculous beach reads. I don't know what I was expecting, as they were typical "chick lit" selections (I wasn't looking to get through Atlas Shrugged or anything like that), but geesh...I actually BURNED one of the books in the campfire after I read it, Nazi Germany style, as I did not want to place it on my beloved bookshelf or donate it and subject someone else to such trash. #10-two thumbs down to Janet Evanovich's Plum Lovin'.

The Guy Not Taken (#11) was a collection of short stories that really weren't so bad but, after the mindless dribble I had just read, I think my brain was shutting down. They were by an author I've read before, Jennifer Weiner (the brothers and cousins got a big kick out of that), and I would recommend some of her other books for those looking for some very light reading. (I love how I sound like some snooty New York Times reviewer. Excuse me while I continue Anna Karenina now.)



#12 was borrowed from Melanie and was pretty engaging: The Mysterious Benedict Society.
A preview...

Reynie Muldoon sets off one day to take an important and mysterious test. He and the other children do not know what the test will be or what they will win if they pass, they are all simply answering an ad in the newspaper: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"

And thus begins the adventure of a lifetime. The test-takers are soon narrowed down to four extraordinary children: Reynie, George “Sticky” Washington, Kate “The Great Kate Weather Machine” Wetherall [reminds me very much of our own cousin Kait-will tell it like it is, creative, and resourceful], and Constance Contraire. These kids all possess an impressive combination of intelligence, bravery, and that certain je ne sais quoi that makes a hero, which is good because they pretty much have to save the entire world from Evil.
(Thanks to Gracetopia for the blurb.)

Trenton Lee Stewart's writing has been compared to both Roald Dahl's and Lemony Snicket's, and I must concur. Moreover, the illustrations done by Carson Ellis are quite enchanting and truly add to the story. I always love finding great children's books and, while I wouldn't put it in the same category as some of my favorites (e.g. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself), it's one to be checked out. With vacation ahead (YAY!) it will entertain your kids (and it's 400+ pages!) and you could do some cool projects (art, discussion, etc.) along with it. Hmmm...it might be fun to have some sort of kids' book club/day camp this summer. Anyone think they or their kids would be interested?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In my experience, "let's think about it" usually ends up with me watching Solid Gold in my basement on prom night.

I think there is a part of me that would have preferred such viewing pleasure to the day I had a couple weeks back. The BIG EVENT for which the junior class was responsible occurred-PROM-and, thankfully, it went quite fabulously. The girls and I spent the days leading up to it shopping and painting, designing and shopping, and shopping and creating. Needless to say, we definitely did our part to support the economy, all the while finding AMAZING bargains on Chinese paper lanterns, glow necklaces, the whole sha-bang. How did we ever accomplish anything before the Internet? Just Google coupons for whatever website you're using the next time you do some shopping, and the deals that pop up will astound you. Anycheapskate, the decorations were amazing (I know, who looks at them?), the candy bar and bathroom amenities were a hit, and the kids danced/reveled in iniquity (according to Mom) the night away. The event was capped by one of the swimmers hopping onto a lighted dance platform and stripping down to his Speedo, tie, and tube socks-inappropriate yet hilarious.

Huge THANK YOU to Aunt Jaime for her amazing seamstress skills, as she took my $14 Ross dress and turned it into a Queen of Hearts costume. (I'm sure she whipped the adjustments and flair into place in less than an hour, but I am a sewing retard and probably would still be stabbing myself in the eye with a needle if I had done it. This is why we engage in trade, oh proponents of increasing trade barriers to protect crap American industries.); Nicole for braving an incredibly tall ladder for hours to hang the 70+ lanterns, all the while dealing with my anal retentiveness; and Mom, who spent countless hours making the cake for the Mad Hatter Tea Party table (which I had planned to let my classes gorge on the following Monday, but every single kid felt the need to touch/poke/rub it, trying to determine if it was real or fake), made vinyl cutouts for the centerpieces (red and white roses with playing cards popping out), helped with last-minute (hour?) set-up, and especially for swiping some chicken from the hotel restaurant in an attempt to help me gain back my sanity-apparently you need more than a handful of Swedish fish in a 12-hour period? Crack was invented for days like this-you can see the crazy in my eyes.

Earlier in the day I was setting up for a few hours by myself, as the girls left to do the hair/nail ritual, and in the ballroom next to me was a "Fashionata" show (what the crap is a "Fashionata"?). I had to endure a couple hours of listening to the catwalk commentary, courtesy of rich old women-quite enlightening. Some of the event attendees popped in to watch me do my thing, with one woman referring to me as the "help" (what century is this?), while another asked me if we were serving "light hors d'oeuvres." When I replied in the affirmative, saying we were having cookies, chocolate-dipped strawberries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken strips (the food was part of the package), she condescendingly told me that those weren't light, as there were items with protein. Well la-di-freakin'-da.

Fun fact: I received a phone call AND had to have a face-to-face conversation with a parent who was incensed over the fact that her child had not been elected for Prom Royalty, as that had been his/her "only high school dream." Priorities, people.

PS-For those who didn't know, I went back to the blonde in February. I know, alert the press. This required 3 boxes of color stripper and 7 bottles of hair color in one weekend. How my hair did not fall out remains a mystery. It stayed a funky color for about a month (still a little weird looking when worn down), and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the helpful comments from my students. Case in point: one kid asked when I was going to fix my hair, to which I replied "when are you going to fix your face?" I know, my professionalism astounds you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seriously?

I had my dad's truck the other day, as my mom needed my oh-so-gas-efficient Honda Civic to go out of town, and I thought it would be a good time to drop off the piles of bags full of old bottles and cans that I saved from my classroom...at Liberty...last year. Yes, they've been sitting in my garage FOR-E-VER. On my way to drop them off, I stopped at Walmart for a crapload of prom supplies, and when I came back out, something was missing. That something was 8 huge bags of recycling. What the what?! Of course the swim pop-ups and lap counters were untouched (I know, who wouldn't want lap counters?) but my bags o' cans were nowhere to be found. Only at Walmart. I like to tell myself that the money (about $30-$40) went to feed some needy family, but more than likely some skeeze was able to buy their supply of crack for the night. Geesh...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some covert action.

Mason and I went shopping for his prom shoes and tie today and had a MAJOR score on the Vans. We stopped by Macy's as well so I could buy some fancy-schmancy eyeliner at the MAC counter for about twice the regular price, but I had a gift card and I heard it was the best of the "affordable" options. (I love that magazines such as InStyle think MAC and Banana Republic are good for those "shopping on a budget.") Mason tried to not look like too much of a homosexual at the makeup counter while some bleach blonde gal rattled off about twenty different shades of black from which I could choose-I settled upon black.

We drove by Costco on the way home and Mason asked if I had a Costco card, as a polish dog and soda for $1.50 is cheap and delicious. No membership, but I did have a gift card and needed gas. I didn't want to wait for twenty cars, though, but fatty Mason said we should still attempt to get in the store and I could try an "I forgot my card" line-we're hardcore and decided to go for it. Turns out all I had to do was open my wallet and simply pretend to look through it for the doorman to grant us entrance. Victory! Spicy mustard was in my near future.

Not only was the polish dog and pink lemonade (with a touch of Sprite) as good as ever, I commented to Mason that the fact that we got something we weren't supposed to made it just that much better-he agreed. Hmmmm, maybe proponents of legalizing marijuana based on the argument that a lot of kids do it just because it is illegal are onto something.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

9. This was NOT intended.

My friend's birthday was last week, and usually I bring my A-game when it comes to selecting the perfect gift for such things. However, my creativity has been severely depleted due to my need for it in the planning of Prom and organizing the school blood drive. Thus, I found myself at Target/my Mecca buying her a gift card-lame. I decided to add a personal touch with a book and settled upon Tori Spelling's autobiography; you know, real hard-hitting journalism. Of course I flipped through it when I got home, and soon browsing had turned into perusing. And that's how I found myself up until 2am engrossed in the sordid tale of Tori's privileged upbringing, drama on the set of "90210" (I was never allowed to watch it but I don't feel that deprived), her first failed marriage, finding new love (with a married man-scandalous!), etc. And you better believe I wrapped it up nicely (that truly is my favorite part of the gift-giving process) and am giving it to her tonight at the birthday soiree.

During my shopping excursion I was looking at office supplies (hold on, it gets better) and saw a body appear, then quickly disappear, at the end of the aisle, followed by a yelp of "I don't want to see her!" What the what? Of course I investigated and found three of my students. Apparently kids think it awkward to see teachers out of their natural habitat and, of the three, only Carissa was being normal and conversing with me like a human being, while Jeff and Rudy tried to avoid eye contact. Jeff then shared that he had seen me looking through the books and quickly turned the other way, as he didn't want me to see him "dressed like this." First off, there was nothing wrong with his ensemble (I was looking hot-to-trot in my gym clothes); and second, if one is as smart as this kid, who cares what you're wearing? While I do enjoy the world o' fashion and find great joy in piecing together outfits for the work and fun times, others don't, and that's cool. I only judge girls who wear Uggs paired with miniskirts and boys who don the Skin and Metal Mulisha brands.

I can recommend sTORI TELLING (props on the title) for those looking for a quick and painless beach read; but not for those looking to nourish their mind, body, and soul. I am thinking of atoning for this by checking out The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. My students and I recently read and discussed excerpts from his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway stockholders, and he is just good stuff. Did you know he has lived in the same home for the past 50 years and that he has a company jet he named "The Indefensible"? Fun facts...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Skanks.

So I was looking at all of the family's posts yesterday and noticed that the heading for mine included drug usage, while Courtney's included the word "ho". I mentioned this to my mom, saying that she must be so proud of her daughters; she laughed and gave me one of her reprimanding looks. Fast forward to today when she admittd that she didn't really get Courtney's ("Idaho...No Udaho") until she said it aloud, and that the pride was just swelling inside. I thought I'd change it up for Mom's sake. Your turn now, Shnee.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I need the good drugs.



Life has been crazy: B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Teaching economics during a recession is draining, as I am constantly reading and studying every news source out there, trying to stay abreast of the sitution so that my students don't think their teacher is an ignoramous who should be pink-slipped. Although my workload has increased quite a bit, though, it's exciting to be teaching a subject that is extremely relevant and that allows for awesome discussions. I can honestly say that, as of now, I am loving my job...although Friday you couldn't tell, as I was on the verge of throwing desks, as 3rd quarter grades closed and everyone and their mother needed to make up tests at the last minute and give me a billion excuses as to why/how they lost their extra credit papers.

My second endeavour that is monopolizing my time is planning the prom. The theme is Alice in Wonderland and is going to be quite bomb-diggity. I am the class advisor and should really just be overseeing things, but I have control issues with how things should look and took on the task of designing the tickets and posters to advertise the event. (I think I should be a graphic designer later in life, but that would entail really knowing how to operate a computer.) The kids I'm working with are great, though, and the event should be quite fantastic (fingers crossed).

Lastly, swim. (Any excuse to post a picture of Aaron Peirsol is a good one.) I am one of Frontier's JV coaches and am really having good times with my kids, or "guppies" as we refer to them. We just had our second meet, and it is rewarding to see the kids improve and to watch them get excited about their progress. We swim against Liberty next week, though, which will more than likely be a blowout and will burst their bubbles, but it's good to knock kids down once in awhile-it prepares them for the real world. This season's coaching experience has really brought me a new appreciation of my dad and the program he has built at Liberty, and I hope that I can inject some of that at Frontier. It makes me laugh that I am the strict disciplinarian at my new school, though, as I was the "easy coach" at Liberty (not Mary Kay Leteourneau easy).

My "50 books in 2009" goal continues, though slowly, but I'll catch up over Spring Break. #6 was The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton, about American girls who travel to England to find love; #7 was The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, a non-fiction piece about an American (himself) who lived in England for 20 years and came back to the good ol' U.S.A. to travel via automobile to discover and explore the homeland; and #8 was Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg (author of books such as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe). I have read most of her books and have loved every one. She writes in a very honest and candid style about slices of real American life, and I recommend her to anyone who is looking to distract themselves from the hustle and bustle of the world. Of the three, Bill Bryson's was my favorite. I laughed out loud throughout, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of him.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I KNEW it wasn't just me!


Although the local paper usually is not my source for current events (it's all about cnn.com and FARK, baby), I tend to enjoy Lois Henry, and her article about the women in Bakersfield getting the "short end of the dating stick" rang oh-so-true. Henceforth, I'll be spending my weekends on the green. (Either that sounds like I plan to get high a lot, or I just spend too much time around teenagers. Hmmm...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

To all the Presidents I've loved before...

Big ups to my personal favorites: Thomas Jefferson and Harry S Truman. The attached audio is by Mike Birbiglia, in honor of our 43rd. I don't care if you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Anarchist, Green Party, whatever; it is hilarious.
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

5. I now want to see a Scarlett Johansson movie. Questionable.


I have always enjoyed period pieces in regards to movies and books, and Girl with a Pearl Earring was no different. One of my favorite classes in college was European history, with an emphasis on the Dutch (gold star to Dr. Rink!), and this book reawakened my interest in the land of windmills and wooden shoes. It is historical fiction, creating a backstory for the girl in the portrait and the artist, Vermeer, and it is simplistically lovely. I have the painting hanging in my front room (surprise, surprise) and I now have a story-albeit one entirely contrived-that gives the girl some soul.

In globetrotting news, I have decided my next European rendezvous will include Holland and Denmark. Learn some more history, tiptoe through the tulips, get in touch with my family roots, and see where the future of America is headed if we continue with Obama's plans for socialization. Hurray for a nation of dependents!

Friday, February 6, 2009

3. & 4. Two steps forward, two steps back.


Yes, I did just quote Paula Abdul. Most know her today as the drunky McDrunkster on American Idol, but I will forever remember her in a Laker Girl uniform and dancing with a cartoon cat. Straight up!

Book #3 on my 2009 50 list was Love is a Verb by Mary Ellen Edmunds, recommended by my mom. It was very uplifting and reminded me that there is more to life than stacks of ungraded papers and discussions about the economic stimulus package (one in EVERY class today-kill me) and that I need to be more vocal/active (hence the "verb" in the title) in showing my love for others, which can be difficult for me, as I am somewhat of a closed book/ice queen.

I decided to follow it up with Revolutionary Road (currently a movie starring those kids from Titanic). I know it's a book I should pretend to have enjoyed, as it is the story of a 1960s couple trying to come to terms with a life they never really wanted, culminating in great tragedy, but...meh. Just wasn't doing it for me. One of my favorite movies is American Beauty, though, and I kind of recognize some similarities between the two stories, but I'm going to have to pass on Road. I am loving my newest literary pursuit, however, so good times are ahead. I know, you are all waiting on the edge of your seats for my review. Be patient.

In other book news, I stopped by the Goodwill that is devoted to used books and SCORED, finding six more Baby-Sitters Club books to add to my collection that I'm slowly rebuilding. I passed on a couple Jessi and Mallory books, though, because they were always boring. Any other BSC fans with me on this one? Nobody cares that your parents treat you like babies or that you love stupid horse stories. Now get back to describing Claudia's outfit!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Suggestions wanted.


For those who have not yet been drawn into the hilarity that is 30 Rock, may I recommend that you schedule a viewing next Thursday night at 9:30. It is a behind-the-scenes show about an NBC sitcom, and Alec Baldwin is especially fantastic; though a typical annoying Hollywood liberal in real-life, he masterfully plays a Republican corporate bigwig.

Although the most recent episode was a rerun, I still managed to not feel as though I had wasted thirty minutes of my life, as I had a pile of papers to grade in front of me. (Does it matter that I only got through about five?) Moreover, it was the genius reunion episode in which Liz Lemon (Tina Fey’s character) returns to her high school to show former classmates that “the ugly duckling has turned into a vaguely ethnic swan”; go online to view the episode or hit up a friend with DVR and good taste in television. (I swear, I am not being compensated for my promotion of this, although I should check into it.)

The point of all of this is that I am currently planning my ten-year reunion with some classmates and am looking for input from those who have attended their own. What did you like about your reunion? Not like? What would be some fun award categories to present (e.g. “person with most divorces under their belt”)? Please include any and all suggestions in the comment box or email me at candice.urmston@gmail.com.

Merci beaucoup!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I love my job: reason #136

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We are wrapping up our study of demand this week (when prices go up, demand goes down...earth-shattering, I know) and I planned a project for my honors students to get their juices flowing. These kids need to be creatively engaged to stay interested, and I thought it would be fun to expand upon our study of what other factors influence demand besides just price. Following a class analysis and discussion of ads for things like cigarettes and diamonds (you know, the bare necessities), they were assigned the task of designing a campaign (in print or commercial form) that would increase demand "in these tough times" for a seemingly ordinary product. Gold stars, happy faces, and kudos to Jean-Luc (you MUST say this as though you are aboard the Starship Enterprise), Brandon, Brian, and Ryan. Freakin' hilarious.

PS-Many other student campaigns used the "sex sells" tactic; interesting final products are proudly displayed upon my classroom walls.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2. Hmmm...

I read Ender's Game based on the recommendation of some of my male students, and I just don't think the sci-fi genre is for me. The author did an excellent job of revealing some aspects of human nature, though, such as how to lead/manipulate the masses (if we hadn't all learned from the whole Obama debacle) and how to best use our emotions-one of my favorite quotes: "Ender's anger was cold, and he could use it. Bonzo's was hot, and so it used him"-let that one sink in. Ooooh...nice.

Okay, that whole last sentence is so screwed up in terms of punctuation that I'm not even going to mess with it. AnyStarWars, overall an enjoyable read; I'm just not the target demographic. It's good to expand my horizons every now and then, though, but only in terms of literature. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

1. Boo-yah.

I finished the first of this year's fifty books, and I am already thoroughly enjoying the endeavour. It was lengthy (and not Harry Potter font-size 18 pretend lengthy), but never a dull moment. I am sure Margaret Mitchell will roll over in her grave, but I am thinking that Britney Spears is a modern-day Scarlett O'Hara. The resilience, the multiple marriages, Southern roots, always being judged, baby daddy drama, secretly pining for Ashley/Justin Timberlake, the cliffhanger ending (will she get him back/will she get her career and abs back?), etc. And the whole time I was reading I kept thinking that Clark Gable was MADE to play Rhett.

PS-I think I am going to hell for feeling sympathy for the post-Civil War Southerners, actually breathing a sigh of relief when Reconstruction came to an end. Crap.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy wedding, sister!

Friday, January 2, 2009

50.

Over the course of the holiday break I have had the time to read quite a few new books, some of which I loved (e.g. The Black Dahlia and The Other Boelyn Girl). I realized that I have gotten into the habit of rereading the same books over and over, and have decided that one of my goals for 2009 is to read 50 books I have never experienced. I originally thought 100 would be a fun number, but then quickly realized that would be one book every 3.6 days (I know, I am dazzling you all with my math skills) and that might take the fun out of the whole thing. My first selection is Gone with the Wind and, while it is a bit weighty and some of the slave language (is that okay to say? Who cares...) is dificult to understand, a la Jim in Huck Finn, I am thoroughly enjoying this classic.