Friday, June 24, 2011

A week with young children

I am a middle school and high school teacher. I work with kids ages 11 through 18... or so.

I am now working with nearly two dozen kids ages 5-10 and BOY is that different. I've come home absolutely exhausted. Challenges I get to deal with is crying because someone tripped them, whining about when snack is, and asking if it's time to go home. Wait, high schoolers do that last one too.

That being said this has been a huge adjustment week for me. The first day, I was afraid I wasn't going to enjoy this job after all. However, as week has gone by, I've adjusted. Despite the fact that I've managed to (mostly) loose my voice due to talking over them and attempting to get their attention (I've had to be very strict and a little yell-y), the buggers are growing on me, and I'm having a good time. I'm even looking forward to next week. This could be a really refreshing job for me after all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday Scribblings: What's Next

This prompt comes at a rather apropos time. Much like the hanged man, Luke and I are a bit stuck at what feels like a precipice.

I've abandoned this blog a bit in light of life throwing things in the way.

1. Luke, my husband has graduated with his Business degree and failed to find employment.

2. I have had to step up as Seneschal (president) of the local SCA group while our real president is Princess.

3. I've done my first play in years, Follies, with the VLT and costume designed for another play, Three Days of Rain, also at the VLT.

4. My best friend has moved to a town about an hour away to be closer to her boyfriend.

5. I have become an Arbonne consultant, and using their products, have been dieting since April. I've lost about 12 pounds.

6. I have also begun doing Bikram Yoga two times a week, I'd do it more if I could afford it.

7. Our room mate, who is awesome, has found a job in Montana, which means we need to find a new room mate.

8. I picked up a part time teaching job for this spring, and a full time (but low pay) camp coordinator position for the summer.

9. Luke's mom's cancer is back, with a vengeance. She fell and broke her hip this past weekend, and they are now talking about extension of life vs quality of life.

The resulting weight that I feel is summed up in the thought that wouldn't stop circling my brain at yoga this morning. "My children will likely never know one of their grandmothers."

I never knew one of my grandfathers, but grandfathers tend to be a little standoffish. They're working or reading or something else. It's grandmothers who play with the grandkids, or tell them stories, or make them lunch.

I have innumerable fond memories, especially from my paternal grandmother and grandfather about going to their house, and their playroom, and their play house, the weeping willow, the deck, the davenport, the huge windows and the antique tea set. I so easily can see my Mother in Law doing that with my children. They'd been talking about kicking out some of the renters in their basements to make guest rooms for family coming to visit. And now? I'm hoping she will be able to attend her daughter's wedding in August. I am fighting the urge to start trying to have a baby now hoping that perhaps she could meet one of her grandchildren. I am especially heart broken about this because both of our parents have been so good about not pushing the issue, not badgering us about kids, about letting us choose our own time to have children.

If my mother in law doesn't live to meet my children, I'm sure that my father-in-law and my parents will more then satisfy the grand parent needs, and my children will likely be blessed to have great-grandparents present in their lives, at least at first. But it is this thought that makes me the most sad, considering my mother in law's illness, and this thought which makes me afraid to wonder what is next.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stinger


Another stealth tasty drink! The Stinger in my opinion is a non-sensical name. Apparently it's an upper crust type drink that was big with "flyboys back in the Big One". It is a pretty tasty drink, especially considering it's 100% booze (not terribly alcoholic booze...but still)

2 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. white creme de menthe

Mix in cocktail shaker with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old fashioned glass.

I.... honestly don't have a lot more to say besides that I like the drink, and would totally drink it again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Wedding Post-Epic Picture Post

We finally got our pro-pics in, so I can do my post-wedding post!

Our wedding was July 31st, 2010 at the Long Tom Grange outside Junction City OR.

It was a semi-formal (Pacific Northwest Summer Formal, if such a thing exists?) with a loose nature/woodsy theme.

We had about 200 guests in attendance when all was said and done.

All in all the wedding went off swimingly, we had a few minor hitches:
*My husband forgot to get his pants hemmed before the wedding so our mothers were frantic trying to find needle and thread to tack them up
*I forgot my flat iron at home, and had to borrow one of my bridesmaids, generally I can flat iron and then curl my hair and it workes great, but using a different flat iron didn't work out so well so my curls fell flat. I still think the hair ended up looking ok, though not quite what I was going for.
*There was a longer break between the appetizers and dinner for some reason. Still not sure why, if there was a problem, or if it was a miscommunication, but only the people who knew the schedule ahead of time noticed, so it wasn't a big deal.

Other then that, I couldn't have asked for a better wedding. It ran like clockwork, and seemed be a lot of fun for everyone.


Invitations:
P1010007
P1010002

WE LOVED our invitations and received a lot of compliments on them for their creativity and attractiveness. Kristin from Twin Raven's Press was fabulous to work with, I highly recommend her. A+


Caterer-
Cornucopia Catering Company! They're a delicious bar and restaurant in our town.

Our Menu:
Appetizers:
*Baked Brie with Apples and Pears
*Fruit Basket/s with yogurt lime dipping sauce
Entrees:
*High Pasta – Spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted garlic, browned butter, parmesan cheese & hazelnut garnish.
*Chicken Pagonia – chicken breasts, fresh apples, portabello mushrooms,
tarragon, and shallots.
Sides:
*Gourmet Greens Salad w/ Edible Flower Garnish – Fresh greens accompanied by cucumber rounds, tomatoes, red onion and spinach. Served with two of our homemade dressings and homemade croutons.
*Green Bean Almondine Рfresh and local green beans, saut̩ed to perfection in butter and spices, topped with toasted almonds.
Desert:
*Fruit Tarts—homemade fruit tarts from our Bakers...the freshest fruits... Homemade crust

We had fabulous service for an excellent price, the staff was friendly, helpful, and I can't say enough good things about them. The only hicough was that there was this strange long break between the apetizer and the meal, but that may have been due to a miscommunication of some sort. Those who didn't know the schedule, hardly noticed, and it was only a problem because it meant that it was starting to get dark before we finished the toasts and we didn't have ton of lighting. Overall though, really happy. I will totally go with these caterers again in the future. A

We served cupcakes (home made by various family members and friends) as our wedding cake.

We served glasses of Three Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon coupled with Sparkling Cider for toasting and to drink with dinner.

This seemed to go over great, people (as far as I could tell) enjoyed the wine, and if they minded that it was cheap wine, they kept it to themselves.

The head table had Sweet Life's Chocolate Orgasm Cake [Orange Scented Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and bavarian cream, topped with blood-orange-infused white chocolate butter cream and finished with ganache].

OMFG this was an amazing cake. It was so rich we barely were able to eat our slices. We had lots of extra which we ate most of and pawned off the rest before we took off on our honeymoon. The cake was amazing, a great value, beautiful and ready on time. A+

I carried a wildflower bouquet that I pick up from the local farmers market the morning of the wedding. This went amazingly. I arrived at the market right when the stalls were setting up so I told the man making my bouquet which flowers from his selection I preferred. I bought three bouquets at $5 each. One for me, and two that I broke apart and spread on the arbor/alter. This was an AWESOME idea, in my opinion.


The ceremony music is by my harper friend Noah Brenner. This was gorgeous and so pefect. Noah was of course amazing! :) A+

The reception music is DJ'd by my friend Steven Gott and his new DJ business Absolutely Entertaining. This also went off fabulously. He played a great mix of music and kept folks dancing (using those rented dance floors thank goodness!) all the way until we took off from the reception. His (brand new) equipment went great and in general I couldn't have been happier with the music. A+

Now for more pictures! Our photography was by Michael Brinkerhoff and Sean Hoffman of Start Your Forever Photography. Michael is an old theater friend of mine and I've always loved his photos of theater productions I've been in and head shots he's done. I was not disappointed by his wedding shots either. I was a bit of an idiot and wore comfortable, but not entirely flattering clothes to get ready in, but that's my own damn fault.

All our tables had centerpieces that were themed to something that was a part of our lives, past, present or future. Playmobil were some of my favorite toys.
Getting ready

Yup.
To be honest, I was getting sick of having pictures snapped while I was doing my hair, I thought this might disuade him. I was wrong.

I just love this because of how my BM's eyes came out!



Groom with NO PANTS!



Bridesmaids & me


Groomsmen & husband


Wedding party


The whole family, my grandparents, parents, brother, us, his parents, sister and grandmother.


Noah, my harper.

Looking towards the guests, from the alter


Groom and Minister (who was a childhood friend of groom), in case you couldn't tell ;)


Me and my dad (and his snazzy outfit, I loved what he ended up picking to wear, my dad's always had awesome and eclectic fashion taste!)






MOST AWKWARD WEDDING PICTURE EVER!!!!
I have no idea why we made stupid faces... we didn't get hardly any good 'presenting' pictures cuz we were making stupid faces in all of them.








We sort of rushed through cutting the cake since it was starting to get dark REALLY quick.

This picture is just SO me and my Gramma.

First Dance

Luke and his mother dancing.

Me and my dad

These kids had a blast dancing all night long, we ended up with so many pictures of them because they were just so much fun!

I HAD to put my hair up, it's nothing fancy but it kept it out of my way.



Our 'puzzle' themed table was a big hit! They stole the fire from the fire table in order to be able to see better!


WOOO!

There are 650 pro pics in all, it was hard to choose, I'll admit. If you're liking what you see, you can see all the pictures at www.startyourforever.com/langstraat/

Again if you're in Oregon and looking for a photographer, these guys were awesome, tell them Ruth sent you :)

Thanks for looking guys, some day I'll show a few of my 2000 plus honeymoon pictures? Maybe? Lol.

I'm glad to be married, the wedding was perfect (and just imperfect enough to feel REAL) and I'm happy to be married!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Fashioned


I'm told that this drink is a favorite of my friend Jessi's. I can't say I agree. Again, don't like whiskey. Although, somehow its a little better for me when it's not mixed.

Tonight is a bit special, my friend Sarah is here celebrating her birthday, as it's a Monday night, it's nothing to exciting, but I figured we could hit two birds with one stone and try a drink, both blogging and celebrating.

We substituted maraschino cherry syrup for the splash of simple syrup. Somehow, the bitters really takes the edge off the whiskey for me. This is much easier to drink then some of the other whiskey drink.

Sarah says she can't really taste anything but the whiskey. She prefers her whiskey with beer, and likes the malt taste, so the drink isn't ideal for her. As she drinks it down and gets closer to the cherry, she likes it a bit better.
2 oz. bourbon or blended whiskey
Splash of simple syrup
2 dashes bitters

Add ingredients to iced rocks glass and garnish with a cherry.
Perhaps I need to be a bit more brave and just drink my whiskeys straight up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Everyone likes Candles, right?


Friday, before we went to the coast, I went to a Partylite party at my cousin's house. (If you're not familiar, Partylite is one of those party sales companies where the product is sold from a consultant, via parties, to customers, much like tupperware, CAbi, passionparties etc.) I've used Partylite candles for years, I honestly can't remember how I first go exposed to it. Maybe a friend from work? I've hosted parties myself, gone to friends, worked off and on with several different consultants. The candles are excellent, the candle holders nice enough, the scents are amazing. It's fun, and it's nice to always have some candles on hand. The prices for the candles are reasonable, comprable to what you'd pay for any brand name candle, and you absolutely get your money's worth. The candle holders are hit or miss. Some are priced well, others over priced, some are attractive, some don't appeal to me. But what do you expect?

The reason I bring this up is because every time I go to one of these parties, at least for the last few years, the consultant picks me out as the person they think the can convince (I mean...would be good at...) being a consultant. I even nearly tried it out with Arbonne, mostly because the woman who approached me about it is someone I have a lot of respect for, and I do LOVE make up. Arbonne didn't work out for me. I wasn't very committed to it, I didn't jump in 100%, and the make up is more expensive then most of my friends could afford. Plus, after using the products myself, they didn't seem to be much better then anything else, so they had only their business practices (as far as how the make up was made) going for them.

Well, I spent a fair amount of Friday's party thinking "I could do so much better then this woman". Not that she was bad. She wasn't. But I could do better. And once again, I was the person that she honed in on when it came to the part of the party where she talks about being consultant. Usually I play along and brush it off. But this time it was different, for a few reasons.

Last time, I was in graduate school, aiming for a career where I was confidant I'd find work. I had goals, and a regular job. I was busy as hell, and I loved what I was doing. I was financially stable, even if I was relying on my parents and loans.

Things are different now. I have a Masters degree with no prospect of a full time job. I have tons of free time on my hands. I have no specific career oriented goals as I'm stuck with whatever opportunities arise. I live paycheck to paycheck, supporting my husband (more or less), and I'm STILL relying somewhat on my parents.

So this time, I really thought about it. And I asked real questions, and thought about what it would mean to me.

Basically - There is no start up cost for your display 'kit'. There is a recommendation/expectation that you find 6-10 parties to host the first month. That's the part I'm the most worried about, but after that, you can do as many or as few as you like. Take home pay is 25% of the profit on your shows. Most shows are about $400 they say, although I'm not 100% sure I believe that. There is opportunity for greater income should I decide to join their 'leadership' program, although at this point I don't anticipate that being something I'd be interested in.

So what's holding me back?

Well, I'm afraid that I don't know enough people who would want to host parties.
Luke is suspicious and somewhat dismissive of 'jobs' that aren't part of a formal company. He doesn't approve of busking, he's afraid that all consultant sales programs are pyramid schemes (although in one of his business classes they spent a class period on Partylite so he's actually supportive of their business model), and he's not into spending money.
When I mentioned I'd been to a Partylite party around Luke's parents, they were also dismissive.
I haven't talked to my parents yet, so I don't know what their thoughts would be.
I'm afraid I'll fail.

Reasons to do it?
I could use the money.
I could use the focus, something to be excited about and make goals about.
I could use the non-project/sewing/knitting/SCA stuff to do during the day when I'm just sitting at home on my ass.
It might be fun.

So, reactions? Advice? Thoughts? Has anyone done anything like this before? If I was a consultant, would you host a party?

(And if you think it's a bad idea, I especially want to hear your opinion!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rob Roy


Yet another Scotch drink. This one I like ok. It certainly warms the stomach, a nice thing on a cold rainy October night like tonight. The bitters really come through in this drink. The sweet vermouth merely serves to sweeten the drink, I can hardly taste the vermouth flavor.

A classic 19th Century drink that can vary from sweet, through perfect and on into dry, our version is sweet.

I'm also very excited because we just inherited a few actual cocktail glasses (pictured) in which to serve these, rather then the little tumblers I was using before. Since I have the glass to use, we chose to mix with ice, and strain into the cocktail glass instead of serving it on the rocks. A truly authentic experience?

1 1/2 oz Scotch
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
Dash of bitters

Serve over ice in a rocks glass or shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass garnish with a cherry.


For the record. Maraschino cherries are gross, and whoever invented them (who strangely enough is from my husbands home town, the nearby college town of Corvallis, OR) should be shot.