MMMM + Vacation Recap OR “I’m molting!”

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Let’s go ahead and start with my video, since it has been almost an entire week since I blogged and I need to ease back into it. So, in the hour before we left our house for vacation, I was checking email on my iTouch and put it down on the kitchen table. We got about 30 minutes away from the house before I realized I forgot it. And man was I mad. So I really didn’t listen to MY songs for all that time.  First thing I did when we got home and I’d gotten the kids in bed and things unpacked was start up some tunes. And the first song that came on was Eric Church’s “Smoke a little smoke”, which I really love.

We intended to drink almost the entire time we were on vacation. Ha ha, nope. Didn’t happen. I’ll explain why in a minute.

The second song I chose because I started a new romance series that is based around a rock band and this one, Dragonforce, is by the far the most talented when it comes to guitarists. Holy fingerwork, Batman!

Amazing!

Ok, so vacation recap. Where to begin? The kids were, well, they were kids in the car. Isaac didn’t bitch and moan nearly as much as the last time we drove to Orlando but he wasn’t exactly happy. We got in around 10 or so and on Wednesday, we pretty much just hung around until 2 when Ash and I drove over to Daytona. See, starting maybe on Sunday, both Ash and I realized we didn’t feel so hot. It was definitely one of those Summer colds and admittedly, everyone in my house was congested.

But we weren’t going to let that ruin our vacation! When we got there and settled into our hotel, we began walking and exploring. The point of getting the hotel we did was that, not only was it right ON the beach, but it was only half a mile from the shoppes/movie theater. After checking out the surroundings, we ate at Bubba Gump’s (neither of us had ever indulged in the cliched restaurant) and then decided to sit on the beach in the evening. It was nice because it was overcast so the temps were cool and the wind was nice. Later that night, we saw Captain America, which was good but not as good as I anticipated.

The next day we’d planned to hit the beach early but I wanted food so we hit up IHOP (ew, why did we do this??) and then went to one of the gazillion tourist shops to buy boogie boards. Oddly enough, we ended up buying them from Maui Nix, which is a step higher than 10,000 Beach Gifts or some variation of that name. The waves were really rolling in around 10 AM so the boarding was seriously fun. If you catch it just right – right as the wave is building and right before it crests – you can ride it all the way in.

After about an hour of boarding we reapplied sunscreen and just sat in the sun, people-watching and listening to the surf. We were definitely out there for a good four hours and in the middle of the day. And even though I thought I’d slathered on enough sunscreen, we were burned. Badly burned; ugh. After that we had a late lunch at the Oyster Pub, which was dark and cool. The details after this get sort of hazy because we were so relaxed and just going with the flow. I found it hard to remember a time I felt so unfettered. I’m pretty sure we had pizza that night then sat on the beach some more. I also think we went down the boardwalk towards the pier later on and watched street performers and the Ferris wheel spin spin spin.

Unfortunately that night, the people in the room next to ours – through which our kitchenettes shared a door – were exceedingly loud. It was obviously someone’s birthday and my guess was 21. We managed to drown them out somewhat by opening the glass door to our balcony and cranking the A/C to high, so it ran continuously. At 3 AM, they were still going strong and I wanted so badly to bang on the door or even go over and say something. But it was one of those things where you have to ask: will they listen and calm down or would our complaint just fuel the fire? Sadly, this was the beginning of the end.

Friday morning, I think we both realized that we could have booked one less night and gone home Friday afternoon instead of staying until Saturday morning. We still hit the beach early on and we mostly read our books. We decided to see Cowboys and Aliens around 1 and it was… pretty damn awesome. I was sure it could have gone either way, judging from the previews, but it was really really good. (Daniel Craig is one badass cowboy – whoo!) I think we went out on the beach a little while in the late afternoon then headed to dinner at Tia Cori’s Tacos, which had really high ratings. And it did not disappoint. Even though they made you order at the counter and didn’t have ground beef, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Ash had steak tacos which he loved, a great margarita, and the chips were most definitely hand made. Great salsa too!

Our last night there, we went to the pier (which is under construction) and we had soft serve ice cream on the Boardwalk. That’s also when we met the balloon man, who was totally cool. Elderly guy, probably retired, but you could tell he loves the interaction with people the most.

Sadly, the rude-ass people next door were at it again (even though it was no longer birthday time) and that really pissed us off. I called the front desk at 3 AM to complain but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Ash couldn’t sleep and I think he may have gotten 2-3 hours. He woke me at about quarter to 6 and we went to watch the sunrise. That was quite an amazing experience. So even though the rude kids kept us awake, we benefited from it in the end. We did get our payback on the a-holes next door though. To get the sand off our shoes, we banged them very loudly on their wall at 7 AM. Oh, were you sleeping? So was I… at 2 AM!! Ahem…

Once we got packed up (oh, wait. Originally, we were going to stay until lunch and then drive back but on Friday, when we realized we’d pretty much had enough and that we missed the kids, we changed plans) we drove down the road to Crabby Joe’s, which is in Daytona Beach Shores. My mother goes there pretty much every time she visits the beach. It’s a restaurant on a pier so you’re basically sitting atop the water. Ash originally didn’t want to go but it was worth it. We watched men catching fish, guys surfing, and we even saw dolphins!

We were back in Orlando by 10 AM and enjoyed the rest of the day immensely. Ash napped and we swam and my sister and her boyfriend came for dinner. And even though that ended in a horrible argument, the overall day was good. Sunday was my mom’s birthday but my dad had an all-day work presentation so we took her out for Mexican before driving back.

I’m pretty glad to be back in the office today, even though there are a lot of irritating tasks ahead for me to tackle. Also, my face is peeling from the sunburn and I look like a decaying zombie or something. No amount of lotion will help the peelage so I’ll just have to suck it up.

Thanks for hanging in there with my vacay recap. You may or may not care but I like to write it down so I can go back later on and read it. You know, when work’s got me down and things are all crazy again. I can reread how awesome it was to just sit on the sand and watch the champagne waves bubbling on the shore. Le sigh.

P.S. – Link to my vacation pics in case you’re interested.

Fresh starts

I just forced myself to close all Firefox windows that didn’t have to do with work and/or teaching. (Except for wordpress, obvs.) It was difficult but the desire to watch/shop/read is way too overwhelming. Especially coming off the summer session where there are periods of intense activity and weeks of incredible boredom. Sure, there are projects to work on (and I do) but there’s nothing pressing. And I shouldn’t complain because come Monday, I’m going to be slammed. Students will be lost, and somehow end up seeking advice in my little alcove. Sure, I have the answers, but I am always amazed that they even find me back here.

I really do look forward to the new semester though, especially Fall. Everyone is so eager and full of hope and aspirations. I can’t help but feel similarly, with all the energy and anticipation the students bring.

With that said, I actually feel sort of blase about teaching. I am changing which strand I’ll use because maybe then I’ll be more interested. It’s a trick, really, because I know that switching means I’ll need to do more prep and actually read. Perhaps by forcing myself to do so I will learn something new and revive my desire to teach these youngins. Hopefully by choosing the multimedia strand we’ll be able to talk about more pop-culture stuff and that will be engaging. I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate vampires into my plans. Ha ha. Since they’re all popular now, I could get away with it. I know my kids would appreciate watching clips from shows anyway. And if that’s what will get them and keep them interested, so be it.

I have to work on my weekly plans and get them turned in. It’s all I can just to focus on this one Word document, this one class, this one week of plans. Must. Concentrate.

The academic, the workhorse

At this time of every year – the beginning of a semester – I calibrate myself to balance my administrative assistant job with my adjunct position. It’s always interesting to see how my brain will take to that, how clearly I will think about how to separate the duties I perform for all the graduate students and how I handle my class’s assignments/discussions/grades. Sometimes it all seems very apaprent and I am on the ball, ready to go and can juggle all the necessary balls. Then other days, I am in a fog and all my “have-tos” seem to mix together in a jumble of unaccompishable goo.

In 2010, I am trying to focus more on taking things one day at a time while having a general long-term outlook. I find that if I plan too far ahead, I will lose track of the immediate issues. And of course, I have my good days and bad days. The days where I accomplish everything and feel so motivated. Then there’s the days where I have no interest in work and all I can do is play Bejweled Blitz and surf the web. But I suppose every job is like that in some ways; I hope that if I ever (and I would hope TO someday) move on to someplace else, there are definite down times. Otherwise I’d probably go insane.

SO, tomorrow I will be super busy and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I kind of can’t wait. I’m kind of a dork. :)

New Year, New Theme

With what WordPress offers us basic users, I think this theme is pretty decent. I feel all happy when I update though because it feels like forward progress; an accomplishment. After last week, I need it. Not that there weren’t moments I enjoyed while on vacation. Well, I guess it was more like a staycation, if you want to use one of the new dumb buzzwords. Elliot and I did have fun at the playground and we had our moments of bonding. I enjoyed nap times because I cleaned and got personal endeavors done. But on the whole, I kind of got tired of being with that kid all day long. And I am sure he got sick of me. I dropped him off at school this morning and he was just fine with me leaving. He seemed more than ready to get back to his routine and his friends and I am very ready to have a day to myself, even if it is in the office.

ANYWAY, I talked about Christmas but I didn’t really recap how great the gifts were, not that I am materialistic. Mostly, I feel really spoiled by Ash and my parents. Since becoming a wife and mom, I seem to get the most stuff. I guess in some ways this balances out all the stuff I do for everyone during the year, if you want to look at it this way. As mentioned, I did get an ipod Touch. In fact, if you’ll recall this blog entry, I got the things I wanted this year. I so rarely lust after specific material possessions but these were devices I craved. I also resolved my ipod issue, as mentioned in a previous post. I think the combination of uninstalling iTunes components in a certain order and running all my Windows Updates (oops) before reinstalling really helped. No more error message and my play lists still exist.

I also got the Snuggie, which I abhorred for the most part. But Ash didn’t order the Slanket in time. Actually, my parents got this one for me and it’s the Micro-plush version so it doesn’t have some god-awful animal print but is just plain navy blue. It’s a good blanket, I have to admit. Ash did get me a cashmere throw too so it’s time to purge some of my couch blankets. I got some really cool books, a lot of gift cards, and Ash got me the Wii Fit Plus, which is amazing. The games are fun, you feel like you’re actually doing something, and it’s going to come in handy when I am on maternity leave. I’m glad we got it, even though it wasn’t something I foresaw wanting or needing. Good gift!

The weather here is nuts, by the way. It was about 24 this morning and supposed to be 20 tomorrow. Now, for some of you folks covered in snow, I am sure you’re thinking I am a big pansy for complaining about this. I’m not really complaining. I’m simply stating that it’s colder a bit earlier than normal. And it’s so clear that the temps are lower. I’ll take this over rain any day, trust me. I have plenty of coats, scarves, and gloves to make it through. I am, however, not looking forward to going out to get some lunch. I am nice and cozy in my office. I am glad to be back here.

You can’t please everyone

I am going to be somewhat discrete in this post. There’s a certain someone – a person with great power – in this department who I think has it out for me. I may have mentioned our last staff meeting wherein said person ignored my question – actually saying in the series of dialogue, “Claire has a question but we’re going to ignore it.” This was after I apparently said something this person took offense to. I wish I only knew what it was! It really made me feel awful for the rest of the day too.

This past Tuesday, this person waited to get their dig in until the end. The day had been rainy and miserable and at one point during the meeting, the sun came out and I noted it to a colleague. At the end of the meeting, Person Who Hates Me was telling us to enjoy our day off (yesterday) and they said, “It might be sunny but Claire noticed the sun come out a second ago and soon as she did, it went away. So you can blame her!” It’s not like it was “mean” and in all honesty, it didn’t phase me, per se, but I think it was just a little inappropriate. I never appreciate the person in a group who uses another person so that the rest of the people get a laugh, you know? It wasn’t necessary.

There are a lot of pieces of this entire situation that go missing because I am not at liberty to discuss them but let’s say that this person thinks big and wants to be head honcho and I fear that a lot of people are going to get screwed in this process. This worries me greatly. But it also reminds me that I won’t be in this job forever and maybe it’s a sign to be moving on sooner than I imagined. But who knows? For now, the job’s pretty good. And I am happy.

Random weekend chatter

First, let me just wallow in the fact that the Magic managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last night. You let a fatass with the lamest nickname ever – Big Baby – beat you? Come on guys, you can do better than that. Oh and Dwight? If you are going to be a self-proclaimed “Superman”, then you better pick up the pace, buddy. Supes is pretty damn ridiculous and your shooting percentage last night? Not so much.

Secondly, I come today in praise of the new Star Trek movie, which rocked my face off. Seriously. Even if you are not a Trek fan – even if you HATE Star Trek with the passion of a thousand fiery suns – you should see it anyway. Well-cast, well-acted, awesome action scenes, humor, new Kirk is HOT, and it all in all was enjoyable. I am glad we chose to see this over Wolverine, though I still need to get my ass to a theater on that one. I know it won’t be as good but I feel like I owe it to my age-old fandom to see it.

I’m eating hummus. Aren’t you glad I told you this??

The weekend was pretty good in that we got a lot of stuff done and it was Mother’s Day and all, which means I got pampered. On Saturday, Elliot and I ran errands and we napped and ate ice cream and watched a movie. I actually recommend Sex Drive if for nothing other than James Marsden redeeming himself for his awful role of Cyclops in the Xmen trilogy. He’s much better suited to the older brother bully he played in this flick. On Sunday, I got nifty flowers, Ash got up with Elliot and I got to sleep in. I read comics in bed and then we ate breakfast. Of course, it all went south when Ash realized how hard it is to wake up  that early on the weekend (he normally sleeps ’til 10) so he fell asleep on the couch. Granted, I had XM Chill station on and it IS rather sleep-inducing. But later on, we took a long walk and I got to nap and read Y: The Last Man (vol.1).

So I had a good weekend and woke up today feeling… angry. For no reason really. I drank coffee, ate yogurt and got slammed as soon as  I got into my office. It’s busy as all get-out and I can’t fathom why. Summer is usually slow. So anyway, how was your weekend? See any good movies?

Weekend, off-kilter

This was yesterday evening:

Though it is 6:22, the boys are sleeping and for once, it’s actually pretty quiet around here. Elliot’s ear infection is definitely better but as far as I can tell, he’s milking this for all it’s worth. He is being a big-time brat and just crying and whining and wanting to be held and fed and it absolutely drives me mad to see that he’s figured out how to manipulate us. They learn so young…

Luckily, he was semi-well behaved for my friend who babysat him last night so Ash and I could head to Panacea for our dinner club. One of our friends deploys for Iraq soon so we figured we’d best go while everyone still could. And we had quite a good time. Thanks to our neighbours, we got the party started early. Ash went to their house to work on their computer and came back with margaritas. The night got interesting and I overate – a plate of various fried seafood – and felt bloated and gross when I crawled into bed with this graphic novel and promptly passed out.

And this is from today. I am just blogging SLOWLY.

Sunday was sucked into a vortex of despair as Elliot was still sick and I couldn’t get much done and oh, woe is me: I had to work out;  actually drag my ass onto the elliptical and work. I ate like total garbage all last week (and ingested a few too many beers which are calorie loaded) so I owed it to myself to work the hell out of that elliptical. And I feel better for it today, certainly. Though I still woke up feeling like a garbage truck ran me over. Ooooh, the grogginess. But I have a literal ton of papers to grade and if I don’t do it, I think I’ll feel possibly worse.

SO, What did you do this weekend? Please, entertain me – I really need it.

P.S. I updated my Showroom page.

Get this train back on track

I think I have some more things to do but for now, this is where I will begin. It is difficult when the weather is as it is: gray, dark, wet and cold. Our high is only 56, it’s 55 now. Yesterday was my recovery day, my day to fall asleep at 9 PM, once the movie we were watching got started and the lights were low, blankets on me on the couch. I took a leave of absence from any serious blog-writing, I didn’t accomplish much at work. I needed to recover from taking care of the sick ones in my house; the laundry, the dog who puked in his crate, the endless piles of dirt and random pine needles on the floor, the glass Ash dropped in the bathroom, and the bits and pieces of our lives that get strewn about the house and bring about this tiny bit of anxiety.

I was walking back out to the car with my bag and water bottle, after having already strapped Elliot into his seat, and I suddenly felt very grown up and capable. As if all along, I was not. I single-handedly got the boy up, fed, dogs out and fed, dressed, lunches packed, put Ash’s phone by his bed so that when he awoke, he could call in sick to work. Sure, these may seem like mundane, average things but I think about other people I know and wonder how they get it all done. Some seem so… incapable and yet, are these activities really that difficult? This feeling, I find, is difficult to put into words. I think I am getting the hang of this parenthood thing, this adulthood thing. At almost 30, I sure as hell should.

With that said, I am going to step away from the internet for a second. For an hour, or two, and get things in my office done. Filing, organizing, decluttering. That’s a good palce to begin. A clean desk always helps my mind stay focused. How do you stay focused?

LOL @ the cruelty that is my computer

I sat on this entry all day long – literally, from about 9 AM until just now – and then, out of nowhere, Firefox did something I rarely if ever see it do: crash. And when I restarted, my post was gone. Of course there was an autosaved drafts but, truth be told, I offered you nothing – NOTHING! – of importance. i have spent the day working along, toiling over tiny projects, and I feel very foggy. I could use a beer and a nice long sit on the couch, just zoning out. Isn’t that what Fridays are for? So tell me: what do you normally do on Friday nights? I want details, people!

Up and at them

::Raises hand:: I’m here! Present! Oooh, ooh, over here! I’m heeere. That used to be me on the first day of classes. I was the kid who sat up straight, hands folded, and when called for roll, I shot my arm up as high as I could and let it be known that I had, indeed, arrived on time for the first day. Surely, you could say I was an overachiever. Or maybe a goody-goody. I got that a lot. But in the end, I think it pays off: I was here at 7:45 this morning, which is the first day of the Spring semester.

There’s not the same air of excited nervousness in Spring as there is in Fall. The freshmen are now all jaded and cocky and the rest of the students realize that they’re mired in the middle of the school year and it’s back to the same old grind. But I still feel renewed; new semester, new beginnings, new chances to improve on my job and be better than I have before.

And now, because my brain is rather scattered, some bullets.

  • We got a letter from our friend who is in jail. That kind of warmed my heart a bit.
  • I have had cramps for 3 days now. (??)
  • I added a pic to The Showroom (guh; nom nom nom)
  • Elliot’s newest word is “uh oh” and he says it ALL the time. But it’s so cute!
  • We’re going to the circus tomorrow night!
  • Freshmen feel so entitled and I don’t understand why.
  • I’m making my online students keep a blog this semester. I’m giving them the option of WordPress or Blogger; I hope they choose WP!
  • I’m super busy!