Thursday, January 28, 2010

nicknames

I got nothin'. I'm trying to work a lot harder during the week so I can have my weekends back, so that may cut down on blogging a bit. Right now I'm avoiding grading some rather dismal poetry quizzes, so that's my excuse.

I was going to write a post about names and nicknames, but I got so bored writing it that I couldn't bring myself to have all of you read it. I'm bereft of ideas and I don't like writing about work for obvious reasons of getting fired or sued. I have no fun child stories and I won't write about Penny even though I could go on for pages about how sweet she is and how I can't believe she just had her second birthday. When we first brought her home, she was small enough to wash in the kitchen sink. Whoops, there I go again. Maybe Facebook has ruined my ability to write in more than one to four sentence increments? Gaaaaahh. I'll think of something soon. Here are some more tidbits.

  • Here's a thought: I found yet another reason to actually like Facebook: An old friend from high school with whom I'd lost touch over ten years ago found me. Just made my week. Plus one of my dad's friends from college found him (OK, I'm not sure if it was through Facebook, but it's still cool) after 38 years of not having seen each other. How awesome is that? I told my mom and she got so excited that all she could say was, "Oh my God!" over and over and began telling me how he'd been her date to some formal and what fraternity he was in. It was very sweet.
  • I had trouble with a particular student on Thursday and went to talk to my vice principal about it. He doesn't know me well at all, but he sure as hell knows what he's talking about. I gave him the rundown on the boy's behavior, he assessed it correctly and then told me where it probably came from (basic lack of disrespect for authority, no true role models at home), and proceeded to tell me my instincts were correct and that I seemed to be doing exactly what I needed to. He pointed out that we don't just teach our subject; we teach a lot of behavioral traits as well. I've always believed that, but it's great to hear someone who has 40 years of experience confirm my beliefs. He said, "You are not the fixer; you are the doer," meaning I can only do my best and the student will either respond or not. As long as I'm trying my best, that's enough. I can't fix anyone. It's a good rule of thumb to remember.
  • I don't have a third tidbit. Help me think of one. I feel I should have three; three means a list. Two means you just can't think of anything. Umm...Oh! It's really a question: Why do they keep putting more and more damn doctor shows on TV? Can't we think of a new genre other than ERs and crime dramas? This is why I like LOST and Heroes!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

This is a favorite recipe from Savory and Sweet, specifically from her mother's cookbook. I'm posting it with her permission because it's perfect for fall/winter and it's just so easy and tasty!

- 2 lbs butternut squash, shredded or cut into small cubes and cooked until soft (~15 min. in a pot with 1/2 cu. water on low-medium heat, covered)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- butter or olive oil
- chicken broth/stock
- 1 ripe pear, any kind, diced
- coriander, salt, and pepper to taste (I guess I add about 1 t of coriander, but do it however you'd like)

In a large pot, add butter or olive oil and saute the onion until soft over medium heat. Add the squash and just enough broth to cover everything. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the pear and spices and puree until smooth. You may eat it hot or cold (I prefer hot). It also freezes well. H, let me know if I forgot anything!

It's so hearty and delicious and one of our favorites--enjoy.

Sundries on Sunday

I have a few ideas and thoughts that have been rattling around in my head, so here they are.
  • Every morning I walk to school. It's a mercifully short walk; I never have to worry about traffic or the car not starting. In the winter I do have more likelihood of a broken ankle slipping on ice, but that's it. In those minutes that I walk to school, it's absolutely quiet and it's my time that I don't have to share with anyone. Depending on what time I get out the door, I either walk in the dark of the weak early morning light or I walk with the sunrise. I can listen to the wind, watch the light play on the snow, or just think my thoughts. I gather myself for the day and whatever it will bring.
  • When T and I cook together, it's always such a pleasure. Even when he can't find the sugar when it's right in front of him, or I squirt ketchup all over the stove, myself, and his socks (as I did tonight), the meal is something we create together and take joy in. It's those small pleasures that make our life together as special as it is.
  • Yesterday I had to go to an unexpected funeral. A friend of ours had a darkness in himself that he couldn't shake. The service allowed those who loved him to both mourn and celebrate his life in a way that I hadn't expected possible. It just makes me want to hold onto those I love even closer, and for any of my friends or people I know who hold a similar darkness inside yourselves, please know that I and others are closer than you may think.
  • My sister's getting married in June. Recently she contacted me to ask if I would read at her wedding. We've drifted a lot in the past few years due to geography and life, nobody's fault, really. She asked me because she remembered how we loved books together when we were younger and we still do today. I'd forgotten that we had that tie. It just reminds me to reach out to those I care about--relationships take effort and care if you want them to continue and grow. So I want to make more effort with those who have become "Christmas card friends", if you know what I mean.
  • Penny loves to look out the window. She especially likes to sit on the pillows of our bed and just watch the world go by. Saturday night I woke in the middle of the night to her having snuck up on those pillows, right above my head, and she sat there like a little canine sentry, watching over us. Even better, she fell asleep on the pillow and woke T up by licking his head. Pets make every day better, don't they?
  • I know I've mentioned this before, but driving past the General Mills plant when they're making cereal still makes me smile.
Have a good Monday! I'm off to bed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Your Feel-Good Friday

If you haven't seen this Pixar short film yet, here it is. If you've already seen it, enjoy it again. I just love the little girl's expressions throughout, especially at the end.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Speaking of Poems...

...have I told you all/do you know about the Poetry 180 website? I bet I have, but I want to mention it again. I just love it because it makes poetry accessible to school children...and adults, frankly. The point is to have schoolchildren read one poem every day school's in session, adding up to 180. Sure, I don't like some of it, but a number of others appeal to me because it's not high-falutin' or impossible to understand. It's a nice change from the lofty poetry that gets shoved down your throat as a student, the poetry you have to analyze and examine and find all the metaphors and symbolism and uuuggghhh. Granted, I still make them do that, to some extent. I kind of have to. The greatest irony was looking at the first poem, by former Poet Laureate (2001) Billy Collins:

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

...And then we examined it. But not too closely. We looked at the first thirty and I enjoyed "Did I Miss Anything", "The Partial Explanation", and "The Distances", to name a few. Check them out. I often feel daunted by poetry and this website helps me find access to it as well. This is also why I have the kids write "found poetry", which is simply poetry created from words that someone else has written. Again, because I don't consider myself a poet myself, I find creating poetry difficult...but if you give me words to work with, I can come up with something. It's why someone created magnetic poetry for the fridge--that little bit of inspiration. I equated it to Legos (I have to get creative to reach the kids): Even if you all have the same set, what you do with them is quite different. Check out this site to see what others have made up--although I warn you, I have no control over any of the content, so I'm not responsible if any of it is questionable. Some of it's quite lovely. Here's one I came up with that comes from the Amazon.com review for Reading Lolita in Tehran. I promise nothing in terms of quality, but I'll give it a shot:

The Book Group

An inspired blend

A moving testament

with the ability to change and inspire people's lives

Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of
great Western literature

banned by the government

forced to meet in secret

They met to talk
share
and burst into color

These books "were not a luxury but a necessity."

Try one yourself!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, the humanity

I started this post earlier on in the week but didn't get to it until today. In my sophomore class, we were doing a wrap-up of Mark Twain's essay "The Lowest Animal", an extremely ironic essay in which he uses biting humor to point out that, because of man's terrible habits, he should actually be listed as the lowest animal, not the highest. We did a quick run-down of what Twain writes about humans: They're greedy, war-mongering, cruel, the only ones who enslave, the only creature that blushes (or needs to, he points out), hypocritical patriots, narrow-minded of other religions. So I asked the class, Is he right? Are we still this way? Without hesitating, they all said yes. This prompted a follow-up: Can we change this? Is there any hope for humanity?

These kids, at fifteen, resoundingly answered No in my one class. No, they did not think there was hope for humanity; no, they did not think we could change. When I asked why, they responded that things had just become really bad and that they'd simply continue in this way because that had become the way of the world. A few still held out hope, pointing out good deeds and suggestions of small movements that could and did turn into larger ones. I mentioned the Greek story of Pandora, where while she let out all the bad in the world, hope still remained.

What got me most upset--and I told them this-- was that in their fifteen years on earth, those who came before them had given them this sort of mindset; we have apparently handed our youth a world full of despair and cruelty, and they don't see it getting any better. I urgently told them they had to because if they didn't see a vision of a better world, it wouldn't happen. I said they made me even more determined to do what I could to change their vision. I want to bring up something hopeful every day to these kids to prove them wrong. God, I hope I can prove them wrong.

My other class took a more hopeful view, with one student even saying that he believes we all have the ability to make the world a better place--we just have to choose to. This is a student who rarely speaks up in class and seems fairly frustrated with school (as only a fifteen year-old boy can be), so I found it deeply heartening to hear him say this. Some did think humanity was destined for apocalypse, but others pointed out that Twain was looking at the world from his perspective and had seen different things than today's youth had--the students in my classroom simply hadn't had the life experience that Twain had, and perhaps Twain had a darker perspective on the world. They did recognize that all great and good movements start with a small group of dedicated individuals...as do the terrible movements. So it can go both ways.

I realize a lot of the discussion could have come from the fact that it's winter. It was 7:30 in the morning and they weren't quite awake, but were tired and resentful of being at school so early. They're teenagers and prone to melodrama. But it made me think--we of generations past have to help create a world that fifteen year-olds see some good in. At least, I think so. If that makes me naive, so be it. So I leave you with a pretty cool, palindrome-like poem. It gives me hope, and I hope it does for you, too. Do try to read it with the audio to get the full gist.

On a final note, here's a link to various ways you can help those in Haiti:
http://www.google.com/relief/haitiearthquake/

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sledding

Just a fun Sunday with my friend M and her five year-old son J (his first time sledding!) This is what numerous inches of snow allows, so I have to say that sometimes it's nice to live in a snowy area!

He thought this was the hill; it's just a giant pile of snow removed from the parking lot!

This sheriff's car was buried next to it, which I found pretty amusing


M and J


video
J's first run; he had a bit of a crash but it didn't stop him from wanting to go again!


video

Just a cold, snowy Sunday


video
This is one of the only places in the United States that has this sort of toboggan run

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow

There's no other title for it. I warned Ouiser several times this was coming, and here it is. Everyone has their images of snow; it was even a (terrible) song in White Christmas. We think of the perfect looking pine trees, softly falling in the night, and often it does look like that. Snow can be beautiful. It can also be gray and hard as a rock, but that's mostly from highway travel. I much prefer the former to the latter.

When you live where I live, you get used to some form of snow arriving possibly as early as Halloween and as late as May, one year. Probably April. So yeah, we're pretty used to snow here in WNY. It has many forms: wet, powdery, heavy, slushy, sticky, pretty, and thick, to name a few. One becomes quite the connoisseur, uttering statements such as:

"This is great for snowball making! Packs well and doesn't stick to my mittens too much!"

"Yay, the light kind--makes shoveling easy!" (We have ergonomically correct shovels. Makes it easier for the back, you know.)

"Ugh, wet and heavy--better move the car from under the tree [so when the snow snaps the branches, they will not damage your car, which actually happened to me because the snow weighed 12lbs per square foot]."

I tend to measure snow in terms of whether or not Penny can run through it, or if it's deep/messy enough that I have to wear boots instead of nice shoes. That reminds me of another typical WNY conversation on New Year's Eve day at the shoe store:

"I need to find awesome boots that I can wear in the slush. Do you have those?"
"Oh, yeah, they're leather AND waterproof. And they have this cute design on them."
"Screw it; I'll just get the fleece-lined galoshes that look like cowboy boots."

Snow is my life; I walk in it, play in it, drive in it. I will have you warm weather weenies know that we've gotten anywhere from 2-4 inches of snow every day this past week and never once did anyone think of closing the schools...for which every student and teacher was incredibly grateful. Or not. Truly, it didn't even occur to anyone that anything might close. My city goes through anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 TONS of salt every year for winter. One of our first acts when we bought our house was to secure a plow guy, whom we love dearly.

The best part, though, is the skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding, which DH and I did last year. There's a great run near our house and we were the only ones there without children. Didn't stop us from making serious runs--and let me tell you, it's quite the workout slogging the sled back up the hill when you're dressed like Randy from A Christmas Story. It is also still fun to throw yourself in a pile and make a snow angel, even if you are over 30.

And then there's the serious side: We had to buy a roof rake, a 25 foot long metal rake with a large scraping blade that helps get snow off the roof. You never realize these contraptions even exist until the dining room begins to leak, as it did last year. Those icicles are not just for covering with food coloring and eating, people!

So here are a few of my better pictures, taken yesterday. Enjoy and stay warm. And slow the hell down when you're driving, turn into a skid, and pump your brakes. Thank you.

We forgot to take in the lawn chairs. Whoops.

Just to give you perspective on how much we have

Deer tracks through our yard
I think the best part is either walking as it falls silently around me, catching the light no matter the time of day, with the covered hush of sound that only winter can bring; or sitting inside on a snowy night as the wind howls, with warm cozy clothes on, a fire in the fireplace, comfort food, and people I love. You just can't get that at any other time of year, which is why I still love the snow, no matter the mess it makes. I guess that's why I live here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is just to say...

That's actually the start of one of my favorite poems by William Carlos Williams, but anyway, I just wanted to point out quickly that what started off as a kind of crummy (to use one of our vocab words, atrocious) day turned into a positive one. I began with sleepy students in one class, overly "funny" students in another (ah, fifteen year-old boys), felt a little blue about silly stuff I can't control, and then had a great, positive, helpful chat with my colleague J, who gave me a lovely pep talk and delicious dark chocolate. Next I did an exercise with my freshmen in which I taught them how to write an introductory paragraph. Not terribly exciting to you, but part of the exercise involved them looking over a paragraph I had written and critiquing it. Once they realized I really did want their feedback, they started pointing areas where I could improve, from repetition of the same word to awkward sounding language that needed smoothing over to missing details.

People, when you get fourteen year-olds examining writing and actually seeing what works and what doesn't and having the ability to verbalize that, it's huge. HUGE. Plus they couched their comments so well--honest yet kind. I praised them to the high heavens, but they deserved it. I have a wonderful batch of freshmen this year; I feel extremely lucky that I've got a lot of eager little beavers. It just made my whole day. Tonight I have a girls' night out with sister C. and Mom, plus T got us a super deal on a gym membership and I plan to work out, so I feel very fortunate that I get to move into the second half of the week on such a high note.

Hope you have good Wednesdays as well!

p.s. As per one of Ouiser's recent posts, my next one may well be about snow. We have lots of it. LOTS. You have been warned.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cereal Commercials: The Dark Underbelly

OK, I've talked about designer perfume. Now, I have to ask: From a media standpoint, why do so many children's cereal commercials have the premise of one character/set of characters keeping the cereal from another or attempting to take it by force? I suppose because it's so tasty one want to keep it all for oneself, but isn't that simply teaching gluttony? Perhaps I've truly hit on something; perhaps this is one of the catalysts for childhood obesity. Probably not.

Seriously, Fruity Pebbles? Why is Fred Flintstone such a creep that he can't share his Pebbles with Barney? Is there some finite amount? And why does Fred have sole access? For crying out loud, they used to share Winston cigarettes together. What happened to the neighborly love? Fred's obsession with these Pebbles and his rage frighten me.

Ah, and then there's Trix cereal. He's the TRIX rabbit. Why call him the Trix rabbit and then tell him, "Trix are for kids"? That's just cruel. Can't we teach our children to share? Doesn't that count as a vital lesson? Why, then, O advertising creative team, why have these children chuckle and tease this poor bunny? I call shenanigans on this one. Does anyone remember in the 80s when they had a write-in contest to see if the Trix rabbit should actually get his beloved Trix and the majority said he should? Well, it's been 20 years and I think it's high time we gave him another chance or perhaps offered him an alternative. It sure doesn't seem as though they're doing this for his health.


Lucky the Leprechaun defines irony for me. He's had no luck keeping his own damn Lucky Charms. Once again, jerk kids keep trying to steal his Lucky Charms, coming up with all sorts of nefarious plans to take them. How about asking, children? Lucky doesn't seem to be the same sort of cereal hog as Fred. I bet if you were nice, he would share. Doesn't this give kids the wrong idea: Take what you want and do anything to get it?

Super Golden Crisp: The way I remember it, Sugar Bear used to beat up those who tried to take his cereal. Now, mind you, if someone tried to steal my food, I might get a little edgy, too. He is a bear, after all, and there's the whole survival/resource guarding instinct. But hey, "It's got the crunch with punch"? So it makes you so strong you can defend yourself against sugar-stealing attackers? And why did Sugar Bear sound like Bing Crosby? (Was that a subtle dig at the crooner's alleged behavior toward his children?)

I'm sure there are others out there, other sugary cereal ads waiting to corrupt the minds of our youth. TAKE HEED, PEOPLE. Do it for the children. Won't somebody please think of the children?!?!

P.S. Do not get me started on my dissertation of Sonny the Cocoa Puffs Bird as the prime example of addiction and the dangers of a sugar high.

A look back

All right, I'll look at the last decade because, hey, in ten years a lot happens:
  • Survived the post-Y2K madness unscathed
  • Worked at my first real teaching job
  • Had my first major breakup--necessary but extremely sad
  • Got into and out of unhealthy long term, long-distance relationship with person whom I later got unintentional revenge upon when he wanted to join the CIA and I had to be interviewed for a background check
  • Got my master's degree and first teaching certification
  • Lived in three different states (VA, KY, NY)
  • Saw a major terrorist attack
  • Moved back to Buffalo
  • Changed jobs or places of work six times
  • Went to the west coast for the first time (CA)
  • Gave myself a minor concussion
  • Re-met a wonderful man
  • Fell in love, got engaged and married
  • Went on a honeymoon
  • Put one dog to sleep, got another
  • Bought a house
  • Bought my first new car
  • Made many lovely friends
  • Discovered blogging (very important)
  • Went to four places other than the U.S. : England, Canada (again, still counts!), Mexico, Cayman Islands (technically a British territory)
  • Saw my sister and brother each get married, saw another sister get engaged, saw a third sister fall in love
  • Began seeing a wonderful therapist who keeps me on the straight and narrow
  • Adjusted my relationship with my parents so we're more adult-adult and not just parent-kid
  • Saw many of my friends get married and have children
  • Found out what happens to Harry Potter
  • Realized that the difference between 22 and 32 is so incredible that I can't even begin to describe it. Fortunately, to many of you out there, you already know what I mean so I don't need to explain myself. If I could go back to give my 22 year-old self a lesson, I think I might tell her to ask for help more often, trust her instincts more, procrastinate less, and read more good books.
There's probably a lot more out there that I could think of to add to that list and tell my younger self, but that's what I can think of for now. The mistakes I made, the leaps of faith I took, the decisions good and bad all add up to who I am now. Of course I have regrets; we all do, but for the most part, I accomplished quite a lot and have really begun to make my life what I want it to be.

I know that the next ten years will also bring tremendous change to me personally and the world in general; I'm just glad I get to share these moments with so many of you and I'll be there to share in your joys and sorrows as well.

Friday, January 1, 2010

All right, got this from Yum who got it from Sweetney. Here goes.


1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Learned how to bake bread and did so, truly stood up for myself, successfully extracted a camera from behind a refrigerator, saw a black man become President

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't do too badly because I tried really hard to make resolutions that are for life (see last year's entry), not just a year, and ones that are realistic. Judging by the scale, I need to up the exercise quotient.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, Scarlet Lily and my friend H.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Mercifully, no. I did lose an elementary school classmate a few weeks ago to a traffic accident, which was sad and strange.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, which is not saying too much because I live 30 minutes away, but hey, it counts.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
"Patience with myself, others, and the speed/pace of my life. I am always looking to the next step, the next chapter. There are times when this is really helpful; generally, it's a pain in the ass and it prevents me from sitting back and just enjoying life as it happens." Not to be unoriginal, but I have to agree with Yum on this one. I'd also like to have a permanent position at my place of work. I'd like to have more follow-through: I have great intentions but for some reason have a lot of trouble making them actually happen. It's what I like least about myself.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
4/21/09 Second wedding anniversary
5/29-5/30/09 Our 10 year reunion at Colgate--returned to the place where I met some of my dearest friends and realized how far we'd all come in ten years
3/21-3/23/09 Getaway weekend for my birthday. It was the first time since our honeymoon that we got to take a "just us" trip.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Again, probably standing up for myself for the first time. That and finishing coursework to get my Special Ed certificate.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Very similar to Yum, I didn't have any major fail moments, but I suppose my biggest was not taking advantage of time and opportunities often enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No more than a few really bad colds. Knock on wood, I also managed not to contract swine flu while working in a large high school with hundreds of sick kids.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The apparatus to make bread? Books because they're always money well spent. A car for $1 from my grandmother.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Umm...Taylor Swift in the face of arrogance and silliness? Elin Woods standing up for herself with a nine-iron? Honestly, I will say the students I work with in Alternative Ed because despite mistakes earlier on in their lives or personal medical conditions, they realized the importance of an education and now choose to get a high school diploma and not just a GED. If she doesn't mind, I will also cite my friend A who has persevered with grace and strength, despite an extremely difficult medical diagnosis. Plus she's finally realized it's all right to ask for help, a huge step for a lot of people (myself included).

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Tiger Woods. Numerous politicians. Bernie Madoff. The Buffalo Bills. Lindsay Lohan. Small-minded bigots who continue campaigns of persecution against those who are "different" than they are.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The basics, really. That's something we'd like to accomplish for 2010, to spend money on things we'd like to do and have, not just on things we have to do.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Knowing I'd come back to my current place of work, hearing our friends A and J got engaged, seeing my Colgate friends at reunion, making my first successful loaves of bread, our new car and seeing my grandmother to get it

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Oh, jeez, I never know the answer to that until I hear the song later in the next year. Probably something hideous by Lady Gaga.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier
b) thinner or fatter?
probably a bit fatter
c) richer or poorer?
Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading, YES. Mostly what I've already referred to, following through on things. Spending money on us instead of someone else.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Comparing my life to the life I think I should have [sic]
Wasting time on useless worries and idleness

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my various family members, warm and well-fed; in the car with DH listening to The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Yes, with bread making and my new straightening iron. And I continued to fall in love with my husband (and the dog, I admit, but not as much as the former, of course. Did you really think I'd leave her out??)

22. What was your favorite TV program?

LOST, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, True Blood

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I try not to waste time hating people.

24. What was the best book you read?

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Mick Jagger is almost 70 and is still too badass for anyone else on stage.

26. What did you want and get?
A position at OPHS for the year, my certification classes finished, lots of love from family and friends, a new (to us) car

27. What did you want and not get?
a permanent position at OPHS

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

For my birthday weekend, T took me away to a B&B and we had a lovely weekend and a particularly delicious meal. I turned 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A permanent job.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
The same as always: Basic pieces with fun shoes and jewelry

32. What kept you sane?
Friends. Husband. Keeping this blog. Music

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Simon Baker

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care.

35. Whom did you miss?

Duh, everyone far away. [sic]

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My office mate K

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
I don't know.... Probably more of that I've written, that it's important to stand up for oneself and to be satisfied with the life that I have while still striving to improve it in reasonable ways (keep my expectations within reachable levels)