Friday, August 25, 2006

Perceptions of Self

I'm beginning to realize, once again, how important my image is as a teacher. We began crew practices last week and I met a bunch of the students, many of whom I will be teaching in a few short weeks. The thing is, I never would've seen my old Buffalo Public School students in any place I truly cared about. Maybe in my car as I drove by a bus stop, but that's it. I switch to a little private girls school and what happens? Not one day after the first crew practice I go to a concert (great free concerts in the summer here) and when I happen to have two beers in my hands, three of them walk by. Sigh. Not that I can't drink, but it looks...not so hot. I am excited to get with students who actually care, however. Plus--listen to this--the chick from downtown who's head of English told me that I got bumped for a contracted teacher, so I wouldn't have been going back to my old school anyway! I guess things happen the way they do for a reason.

Different note, same idea of image: I have to confess I bought the Winsor Pilates DVD. You know the infomercial, the one where the celebrities talk about how they lost inches off their waists and can now fit into clothing they wore in middle school?

I called within the “next twelve minutes”, so I got the whole thing for $10 (plus S&H, of course). With a wedding coming up and a dress to fit into, I figure if 20 minutes of concentrated pilates a day can help, why not give it a shot? Plus with all this biking I’m doing, I know I’m getting extra exercise. I have grand plans of riding the bike to work in the morning until it gets too cold or too sloppy out; hopefully I can stay true to this. I’m inspired by my youngest sister, C., who walked almost an hour to work and ran home to train for a half-marathon. But that girl is dedicated; I often try to take a leaf out of her book when it comes to focusing on getting work done. There’s a reason why she went through Yale with a terrific GPA.

So those are my image thoughts, although when it comes down to it, the most important image is the one I have of myself as a healthy person who does the best she can for herself and those around her.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blast from the Recent Past

Today I had a rather bizarre experience: My ex is in the army and is trying to join the Department of Defense, and they needed to talk to me as part of a background check! Obviously I can't divulge the details but they asked all sorts of questions, from what activities he liked to do right down to asking me to describe his character. As I remember, he'd wanted to join for quite some time, so good for him. Honestly, I think he'll do a fine job. It was rather strange to recount my entire relationship with some federal agent guy I'd never laid eyes on before, but hey, I'll do my part for our country.

Five Senses Friday:

Sight: Three squirrels playing around a pine tree trunk about six feet up.
Sound: Those same squirrels running repeatedly around said tree while chasing each other.
Smell: Fresh basil in our backyard little garden.
Taste: The zucchini bisque I made for lunch.
Touch: The feel of my pretty party dress! Girly, I know-I didn't even wear it; I just tried it on for fun.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Different View

I briefly posted my car woes and then my sister advised me to take it down...Who knows if a student will read this one day and then I look like I'm irresponsible? So, yes, I am without car right now and I have to say that I do like riding my bike. It's a whole different world and it really makes you aware of your surroundings. I never realized how many people in Buffalo do ride...although there is a worldwide movement called Critical Mass who only ride bikes as a way of saving the environment, etc., who have a Buffalo contingent. I'll also say that Europe is MUCH more bicycle-friendly. When I lived in Germany, the bike path was right next to the sidewalk and went throughout the cities. There were so many bikes that all you had to do was lock your wheel to the frame; nobody was going to steal it otherwise. Anyway, I have enjoyed the wind in my face, the extra exercise, and the chance to look around my neighborhood. I may continue to ride to work in the fall, until the weather gets bad. I'm just trying to figure out how to transport "work clothes" so they're not wrinkled and/or wet. Ideas?

So this weekend DF and I went to a wedding in southern Erie county. His future best man, Dean, got married on the family property out in the woods. The bride wore a simple white sundress, adorned with his family's (Scottish) tartan and arrived by hand-made canoe at the dock of the large pond near the house. They married on the dock with the sun overhead, we all blew bubbles as the bagpiper led us back to the house, and we all danced and drank the night away. It was so relaxed: Everyone changed into comfy clothes after a while, there was a bonfire with s'mores, we saw the meteor shower, dogs and children ran through our legs, and a number of us stayed the night in tents pitched around the property. Just such a pleasant weekend. I'm still exhausted, but it just reminds me that, while my wedding will be more formal, I still want that fun, relaxed atmosphere. Next weekend we have another wedding, so I'll have to see how it compares. Oh, and the DJ was great, but DF and I have sworn there will be no Celine Dion or Shania Twain at our wedding. SJ, does that remind you of sophomore year, when we banned Celine and Oasis, I believe, from our room? ;-)

Now it's back to reality: Lesson planning, cleaning our messy little apartment, and grocery shopping. Somehow this weekend we began talking about how great it would be to have a personal sherpa to carry all of our stuff. Do they have those, personal sherpas? My sherpa would carry all my school stuff to and fro. I always seem to have lots of stuff to carry. And where, where is the maid to do all the cleaning? Oh yes, she's typing this.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Wedding Musings

I went to a wedding last night, my friend's sister, E. E looked absolutely beautiful, and the weather couldn't have been better, considering how gross and humid it's been. Outdoor setting overlooking farm country, gorgeous tent with terrific band, everything was great. I think my mom lent some levity to the family because she began crying as the MOB, a close friend of hers, began walking toward us, and was in full waterworks as E and her father came along. He even stopped to laughingly offer her a handkerchief. I think Mom did her own little part in keeping the bride from tearing up herself, so way to go, Mom. One neat thing the reverend did was to have the bride and groom turn to face the guests, having them really look at everyone to see who came and talked about how all these people loved them and wanted to share in their special day. I thought that was pretty cool. And yes, now I want a bagpiper at my wedding. I doubt I'll actually have one, but it was cool.

The one damper was that DF couldn't be there. I realize that if you're attending a party where you don't have single friends to keep you company, going to a wedding-type event can be significantly different if your significant other isn't there. It's almost a rite of passage for me: Mostly gone are the parties where the group of girls and guys went together and everyone danced with everyone. Oh, sure, if you've got a close bunch there you still have a lot of fun, but the slow songs become the time when you hit the bathroom or grab a drink. This was definitely the case last night: My other single friend and I hung out and I danced a few dances with groups, but I didn't have a group of buddies to run around with. Plus DF is a fabulous dancer and he would've been spinning me all over that dance floor. And I had such a nice, twirly skirt on! Rats. So I guess this is a sort of roundabout tribute to T: It just wasn't the same without him. I had fun, but not as much. However, we have wedding to attend on the next two weekends, so I think he'll make up for it.

Next question: Salsa band, DJ, or regular band who also play songs everyone knows? And what the hell do I give for favors?

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Fun with Friends and Family

I just had the nicest weekend! My sister M. and her very nice boyfriend C. were in town and we spent the weekend at my parents' place in Eden (it's really called that), which is about 30 minutes away from me, yet it seems like an entirely different planet. They're in the country, complete with a pond and a swimming hole down the road. Basically we ate amazing food, cooked primarily by Mom's husband R. and boyfriend C. (although Mom and I made killer pizzas for lunch, I must say), and drank refreshing cocktails made primarily by my DF. He does a mean Bloody Mary--and I didn't even used to like Bloody Marys. Yum.

I think what made it so great was the completely relaxed atmosphere of the whole weekend. If you wanted to read, you read. If you wanted to play golf, you played golf. DF and I hit the watering hole (pictured above), which was made a lot more exciting due to heavy rains making the waterfalls so strong you could duck under them and sit watching this cascade directly in front of you. I don't think we turned on the stupid TV once. Instead we played games and just enjoyed each others' company. What could be better? Now all that needs to happen is for my sisters to finally move back home so we can do weekends like that more often!

I realize that the most fun I have with others is always when we entertain each other in some way. I'd rather have a game night with some music than do a movie or a loud bar any time. On that note, my friends and I are thinking we need to start having theme parties. We've collectively been to these themes: Gatsby, Ugly Shirt (prize for the "best"), Bring Your Own Wine (also prize for the best), and my sister M. and her boyfriend C. are thinking of doing a 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall party where they actually put 99 bottles of beer on the wall...and take one down and pass it around...until all are gone. Yikes. Any suggestions for others?
Above is the view from the top of our hike! Below is Mom's dog, Amos.