Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How I met my boyfriend

Quite a few bloggers are writing recently about how they met their boyfriends, husbands and significant others. I figured that I would go out with a bang (post 99), and talk about my very handsome, very fabulous boyfriend. (My boyfriend isn't in these pictures, but I figured a kickball post isn't fun without kickball pics...BTW, click on the pics if you want to see us up close and personal).

We met at kickball. Yes, it's kind of funny, but I play for an adult kickball league. It's actually very, very fun. We pregame at happy hour (2 dollar miller lites) and then hit the field for a game.

Well, I met J on my very first night. I was a player, and he was our ref. I remember thinking, wow, he's so cute, I bet he has a girlfriend (they always do), but I lucked out and he didn't. We didn't actually talk that night, but he certainly caught my eye. There was no way that I could forget him because he threw two of our players out of the first game. One for running over a girl on the other team to get to first base, and our coach for wearing metal cleats (very illegal in drunk kickball). Most of my team was pissed at him. I just thought he was cute.

(Me pose? never!)

Anyways, as luck would have it, he found me online and shot me an email. I immediately recognized him and responded with an oh so smooth, "hey, aren't you my kickball ref?" and the rest is history. It took him about a month (of talking all the time) to gather the courage to ask me out, but it's been fabulous ever since.


(This was the move that TOTALLY sealed the deal. After he saw that leg flip, he was all mine).

Edited to add: Boyfriend is not a stalker. Finding me online was shear coincidence, and he didn't remember me as well as I remembered him. It's a lot easier to remember 1 kickball ref rather than 300 chicks that play kickball. =]

C25K day one, redone

The skinny bitches finally left the gym and I managed to begin (again) week one of the Couch to Five K revolution. It went well.. although harder than the first time I tried it.

*disclaimer- I'm not entirely lazy, I ended up catching a major cold less than five hours after the last attempt at running. If I get sick again.. I'm going to go beat up the treadmill.*

Moving on, it was definitely harder. My legs didn't want to move quite as fast this time around, but hopefully that will change soon.

I went to the doctor today for a check-in and realized that I've probably gained between 5-8 pounds since the last time I was there in July. I'm not amused. I refuse to go higher than a size six. Not because I'm a jerk, and not because I think above a size six is in any way, shape or form large, but because I cannot afford a new wardrobe.

I am living in a far too expensive apartment paying for a car, student loans, and only in my first year as an actual paid employee. I repeat (in case my growing stomach can hear me), I cannot afford a whole new wardrobe. Metabolism sucks right?

I'm almost at my 100th post! I'm sort of new to the blogging world, so what should I do to celebrate?

Gosh!

Since when did they start renting apartments to 20 year olds? It really cramps my style.

I just walked ALL (ha, nice) the way down to the gym in my complex to start the Couch to 5K revolution over again.

Of course, upon my arrival there were two, size zero twenty year olds taking up the treadmill. Jerks.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Orleans


This time next week i'll be in New Orleans! I'm so looking forward to the break. If you have been and have any great tips, tricks or ideas please share them.

It's going to be some work, but mostly play. See, there are times that I love my job.

And so it goes...

So, I had the pleasure of spending a good part of the day with "Dope-Man's" kindergarten aged owner.

Me: Why J, why is your cat named "Dope-Man?"

Kid: My grandma named him that.

Me: Do you know why?

Kid: Duh, because he's white like crack and has red eyes.

Oh, silly me! I should have known.

I have to laugh at them, otherwise I'd just cry. In fact, when I here answers like this;

Me: What is your parents' favorite hobby D?

Kid: Mom loves to sleep. She sleeps all day and only wakes up to watch ER.

I actually feel relieved. At least mom isn't workin' the corner or adopting more cats to name "crack-face," & "heroine-chick."

In other news, I'm having some cat problems. Snap is obsessed with chewing. Now, I thought that this was more of a dog activity so I'd appreciate any advice (not that any of my 4 readers actually have cats). Snap will chew anything. Wires, the blinds, strings on sweatshirts, strings on pajama pants, anything! The boy does not discriminate. It's beginning to drive me crazy.

Last night he chewed through J's IPOD wire. That was really the icing on the cake, because J already dislikes my kitties. I don't need to be giving him anymore reasons to want to throw them out the window.

Seriously, I need to find a way to stop him. He's ate through half my things, and I can barely go to bed without half eaten pj strings or at least half a sweatshirt string. I've tried googling the matter, but it's hard to find another cat with a palate quite like Snap.

He used to chew a lot, but I figured it was because he was teething and was still a kitten. Well, he's not as cute anymore, so taking one little look at him isn't going to cut it anymore (disclaimer- okay he's still adorable, but it was easier to forgive him when he weighed 2 pounds). I need help.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Speaking of gangsta

They made a good choice, when placing little miss blonde girl in the ghetto.

I may look innocent and unassuming, but thanks to my kids, I can crank out a rap song better than your average white girl. I actually wore the outfit on the right to work ------------> and they asked if I was going to prom (my design her girl outfit which fiiiiinally works).

My counseling group of four, third grade boys tried to teach me the "Soulja Boy" dance, for said prom, but that's where I draw the line. Grills? They are cool. Slappin' Ho's? not cool.

The kids are a little bit gangsta

My Monday/Tuesday school is hysterical. It stresses me out beyond belief, but at least the comic relief is there (this is the school with the guns, weapons, swearing, fights etc- have I mentioned the kids are all 11 and under?).

It's in an under resourced area of the county, and most of the children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. The kids are very street smart as well, and can talk a BIG game.

Today was better than most Mondays. We have a kindergarten student who likes to get himself in trouble, crawl under the table and disrupts learning. After an afternoon in the office, he swung by my office to drop off a picture that he made for me. It was a beautifully drawn bird, with trees, a smiling sun and some bright green grass. The bird had a tattoo on his stomach that said I love you Ms. Ashley (not my last name, but I refuse to share that in a public forum). After he handed the picture to me he noticed a picture of Snap and Sage that I have on my desk. He said, "I love cats! I have three." I said, oh yeah? What are your cats names.

His response, "Dope-Man!"

Gee, now I understand why you are in the office all the livelong day little man.

Later in the day, I went to check in on one of the students that I counsel. He was having a rough day, and I wanted to make sure he was remaining calm within the classroom setting. The students were writing a story about the "ultimate bedroom." They were webbing and brainstorming about all of the things that they would love in their dream bedroom; you know refrigerators, hot tubs, Steve McNair.. the normal stuff. This one particular boy was hoping for an ice cream truck.

I said to his pod: Wow, A. wants an ice cream truck in his room. That way he could eat ice cream whenever he wants and his parents can't say no!

Boy next to me: Yeah, cool, expect then his teeth will go all rotten and bad.

Me: Well, then we'll just have to get him a grill.

Boy next to me: Good call Ms. Ashley, good call.

I know, I probably shouldn't have said that, but sometimes I just can't resist. When I heard about dope-man the kitty cat, I actually busted out laughing in front of the little boy and the principal. I just can't contain myself sometimes (now you know why I work with the little ones).

That reminded me of another funny story that happened at this same school a few months ago. I was standing out front during arrival, and a little boy that I know came up to me to report that another boy rubbed his "balls" on his breakfast. I'm thinking baseballs, basketballs, those aren't allowed in school! He said, "no, Ms. Ashley, his ball, balls."

Oh.

To make a long story short, I searched around the school looking for the alleged "ball" boy. Apparently, the name that I was given was only his alias that he uses around the neighborhood. After about an hour, I found the right boy. I said, "excuse me, but did you rub your privates on D's breakfast?"

The little boy looks at me with a straight face and says, "No, but I rubbed my chiiiiiiiiiicken nuggets (while pointing to privates) on his breakfast."

Oh lovely. Thanks for sharing that.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

hmmm

Apparently my design her gal isn't showing up for others. I'm not crazy, I really did add a graphic to my blog and it does show up on my computer, just not on anyone elses. I guess I need to figure this thing out.

Sunday

This weekend turned out to be a really fun one. On Friday night I met a few friends at our weekly happy hour spot. They have free pizza, free wings, and two dollar drafts. As a result, we frequent the joint quite often. As always, happy hour turned into happy four hours, but whatever. It was Friday.

You saw what I accomplished on Saturday, but Saturday night was much more thrilling. J and I decided to go bowling together. I love bowling, and I used to bowl on a weekly basis. In fact, I even have my own pair of bowling shoes. They are purple, sparkly and very loud. But why not? You can look like a fool while bowling.

Now, this does mean that I'm a good bowler. In fact, I've never broken 115. But, I think anytime that I can share a pitcher of beer with my boyfriend while wearing fun sparkly shoes is a good time. After dinner we went on a hooooot date to Applebees. I kinda hate Applebees, as does J. However, my grandpa got me a 50 dollar gift certificate to the restaurant for Christmas. Random to say the least. I've never been to an Applebees with grandpa, and I don't think I've ever mentioned a grand desire to go in his presence but hey, it's the thought that counts.

J said that he thinks grandpa got it as a gift from his students (he's a college professor) and laughed, ha! applebees; I wouldn't be caught dead there. I'm giving this to the grand kids. Yes, my brother and sister got them too.

Applebees sucked, but the drinks were fab. After dinner, J and I came back to my complex to play some board games. We had a night of Cranium, Taboo, more Cranium, and a little Scattergories. We played with J's best friend and his fiance. The fiance and I kicked their asses (sorry babe) in Taboo. Like I've said before, I would so much rather play board games (while drinking of course) with some close friends than go downtown and be shoved, spilled on, and wait in line to get into a club. This is Maryland, not L.A. There is no need for lines to be forming at a downtown dive bar.

I used to go out all the time. I'm talking Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Now, it's a once every few weeks occurrence. That's just fine with me. I'd take a night in with J or some close friends over a bar any day.

J's at the Maryland vs. Duke game tonight, which is apparently a big deal. I'm not into college basketball (much to his dismay). As a result, it's been another lazy Sunday. You know, the kind where the thought of driving down to the red box to get a movie seems like a hassle. I love being lazy but sometimes, I actually feel worse when I don't get up, out and moving around.

I'm not even remotely looking forward to work tomorrow.

Design Her Gals!

As you may have noticed, I've added a picture of me (a graphic, that I helped design) on the right of my blog. I was directed to this website from another blogger, The Cat's Pajamas.

This is a very cool website that sells fabulous personalized stationary and other gifts. Best of all, they are dedicated to stage IV breast cancer patients, and work hard to put some of their sales profits towards the research and care of breast cancer patients. You can find all of the information about their products, how to design your own "gal," and stage IV breast cancer here; Design Her Gals. I was incredibly excited to find my "gal" in my inbox this afternoon.

I had a lot of fun making her, and I think she fits me to a "T." I actually wore that exact outfit, I'm talking the dress (very similar, mine was solid, not floral), the boots, the tights and the necklace when I went to see the Transiberian Orchestra with J and the family. She fits my style and personality perfectly. Best of all, I was able to add tiny little Snap and Sage lookalikes to my "gal." The Snap cat is right on (orange/white). In real life, Sage is more Gray and less white, but it works. The cat duo was perfect because Sage probably has at least a few pounds on Snap, and the picture fits accordingly.

Anyways, I love my new gal, and I hope you do too. At the very least, check out the website. Their products are perfect for bridesmaids, teachers, etc. They are things anyone can use and you can personalize them to fit all of your friends. I know I wouldn't complain if any of you wanted to buy me a few products.

*edited to add:* if you can see her, please leave a quick comment to let me know. I'm hoping that it at least works for a few people....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where did it go?

Have you ever had one of those Saturdays that just flew by... it's 5:30 and i've accomplished nothing more than a shower.

We did do alot of this.....

.....and a little more of this.....

..... and then we played with some mice. Those paws look evil.

She beats the crap out of that mouse. In fact, it has lost it's tail altogether.


I did manage to finally take a picture of my new dresser. Gorgeously built by J. I'm a fan.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Success

The presentation/observation went FABULOUSLY! In fact, I think I may have knocked a few socks off, if I do say so myself.

I got a thumbs up from one particular employee who hates everything, and I'm the only one that was warranted a thank-you from the head honcho.

I don't necessarily think that my presentation on phonological processing was earth shattering, but I was asked some very hard questions and managed to sound very knowledgeable while answering them.

Confession: I have this insane ability to sound smarter than I really am when the need arises. It's called, professional BS'er.

This was far better than my last observation. For that, I was trying to be unique and have my boss observe a group counseling session. Well, wouldn't you know, the smart boy was absent and I was left with two boys who could not even remotely understand my lesson. Bummer. I was left with a, "At least you processed it really well with them at the end." Oh, Super! I prefer the thumbs up, the wow, that was great, and the thank-you for sharing your infinite knowledge feedback. =]

I celebrated with a 2 hour long, gab filled lunch with three of my coworkers. No kids is a very nice change every once in awhile. Best of all, it's Friday.

Oh, and to those of you who responded last night, thanks for the ideas. I sat down, set to work, and organized my recipes in a three-ring binder with sheet protectors. I forgot that I had about 500 of those lying around under my bed. I had to make a portfolio for graduate school, and placed all of my term papers and assignments in sheet protectors (if there is one thing Tufts made us do, it was write. Twenty pages a week sometimes). I said good-bye graduate school, hello domestic life.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Kids!

We have/had no kids today and tomorrow.

It really is a blessing sometimes. I actually accomplished more today, in only 3 hours, than I do in an entire week sometimes. I added to at least 5 psych reports which will make my life much easier when I take a week off to go to New Orleans (2 weeks! yay!). The only downside to no kids means less time to test them within the 60 day time frame. When I'm only at a school two days per week (MAX), those sixty days are swallowed up pretty fast.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I have to give a presentation to the staff on a psychological assessment. Throughout which, I will be closely watched by my boss for my second annual evaluation. Cross your fingers for me.

I decided to stay in and recoup tonight. J and I usually go to trivia on Thursday nights with a group of his friends, but I gave him a kiss and sent him on his way. I needed to prepare for the presentation (I'm type A, expect numerous handouts) and to hopefully get rid of this cold. I am certainly past the point of no return. Now about once every 3 hours my nose gets stuffed up. The rest of the time I feel decent.

I was turned on to Palm Gifts today by a fellow blogger, and lets just say that it is a little dangerous. I'm trying to be good, and trying to keep my spending (vacation) in check, but I'm kind of a fan of all things preppy and all things monogrammed (not that I actually have anything yet, but watch out. It should arrive in 6-10 days). I really hope my mom hasn't figured out how to read this blog.

Not one I want to meet in a dark alley



Oh Snap. Appropriately named.

Recipe Help....

I am usually borderline creative.. but I just cannot figure out what to do with my recipes.

I tend to find great recipes on the web (print them out) or in magazines (rip them out) and then lose them, ruin them, misplace them etc. I have been keeping them in a plain old folder, but it is completely stuffed to the limits.

I tried rewriting them all onto cute little cards but that lasted about eh.. four recipes, and then my hand got tired.

Does anyone have any great novel ideas for keeping/storing recipes that they want to share?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I know most people don't like to comment, but don't be scared (in fact, I'm scared I'll be one of those bloggers who asks a question and not a single person responds). I am looking forward to hearing some ideas.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This may be TMI

But... my office at work is right next door to the bathroom. Actually, right next door to two bathrooms. Both of which are the single stall type. Without getting too graphic (and ungirly, I like to appear girly), lets just say that both bathrooms are frequented quite often..... and much to my dismay, about once an hour the stench is unbearable.

My coworkers just do their business and then leave the door wide open! Others at least use a courtesy spray of air freshener, but lets be honest. Instead of plain old shit, now my office smells like pine tree shit or vanilla shit.

After a few too many times complaining via Gmail chat to my friend Amanda (look two shout-outs in one week) she recommended that I try these things called "Poof Drops." I was a little skeptical, but now I think I want to call up the inventors and kiss them myself.

I pray that you don't have this problem as well, but if you do.. seriously, give them a chance. My work life as improved substantially since purchasing them. You can get them here, and for 10 dollars a pop and 4 dollar shipping (I got two bottles), it's really not a bad deal.

Okay, moving on from gross topics (seriously, you'll want to kiss me too if you try it out), I'm STILL sick. I'm certainly on the mend, but 100% I am not. Work was incredibly busy too, but at least that allowed me to ignore my stuffed up miserableness (is that a word?)

Little kids are funny though.

I love me some TJ's

I do have other interests besides food (i.e. I'm not as hungry as I appear), but if you have a Trader Joes near you.. I highly recommend scurrying on in there and picking up the

Tilapia Citronette & Chicken Gorgonzola Entrees.

For frozen, prepared food, they are phenomenal. Both are in the frozen food section. The Chicken Gorgonzola has a lovely Gorgonzola cheese sauce (duh) and portabellos. The Tilapia has grilled asparagus, carrots and citrus sauce. For 6.99, they are definitely another freezer staple.

In other news, my cats officially have about 50 cat toys lying around my apartment. Do you think they play with a single one of them? Nope, they prefer chapstick, pens, tissues and other various household materials.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sick but still sweet

I would like to thank my friend Amanda (and Paula Deen of course) for passing on the lovely recipe that I fed my boyfriend tonight (i.e. I may be sick, but I'm still sweet).

I took a picture of my creation on my phone, but apparently I forgot to save it. Oh well, use your imagination. It was yummy.

Hearty Meat Pies

1 1/2 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups plus 3 tbsp water, divided
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups of potatoes, diced
1 tbsp corn starch
1 package frozen peas and carrots
1 recipe for drop buttermilk biscuits (as follows)

1. Place steak in a large zip lock plastic bag; add flour. Seal bag, shaking well to coat.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add steak; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Remove from pan, set aside.
3. Add butter to pan, and melt. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; until tender. Stir in 3 cups of water, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic salt, worchestershire sauce, and steak. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 mins. Add potatoes and simmer for an additional 20 minutes (I didn't do it this long).
4. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp water and cornstarch; add to steak mixture. Cook, until thickened. Stir in peas and carrots.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon mixture into oven safe baking dish (can be one large or four individual size). Spoon drop buttermilk biscuits evenly over top. Bake 20 minutes until biscuits are golden.

Drop Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
1 c buttermilk.

In a medium bowl, combine baking mix, cornmeal, garlic powder, and cheese. Stir in buttermilk until dry ingredients are moistened.

By the numbers...

0 - the amount of seconds that I was able to breath comfortably today. Damn cold. All of my colds tend to go this way.. they start with a sore throat, and end with a complete inability to breath through my nose. I've tried sudafed, I've tried mucinex D, I've tried nasal spray. NOTHING WORKS.

1 hour, 45 minutes - the amount of time it took me to get to work this morning, due to this accident on the highway. Might I add that I moved approximately 3 miles in this 1 hour and 45 minute period.

5 hours - The amount of time it took the darn meteorologists to cancel the winter weather watch.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon cancelled winter weather advisories that had been issued for several areas

They called for snow between 10 am and 4 pm. They finally cancelled it at 4 pm after not a single snow flake.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Throw us a bone

Weather.com has shared this little lovely with me...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM TO 4 PM EST TUESDAY.

Screwed out of another snowstorm?

Okay, yes, I realize this counts as a snow storm. However, the only ones that matter to me are the ones between 6pm and 6am a.k.a. calling off or delaying school, snow day hours.

Holy Salad

I just had the best salad in the world. I love salad, but it's so hard to find anything decent, fast and to go. Panera does okay, and I used to love Finagle Bagel salads (I can't find one here in MD). However, currently California Tortilla takes the cake!

I'm not a huge fan of their burritos (I'm a Chipotle girl through and through), but their salads are to die for. I've tried them all, and I figured it's about time I provided them with some free advertising. They are huge, I'm talking- you could feed a small family. They are so fresh, and for 6.99 they are a total steal.

These are my favorites...
Crunchy BBQ Ranch Salad - Crisp lettuces, grilled chicken breast, tortilla strips, shredded Monterey jack cheese, black beans, corn, fresh salsa and scallions. Drizzled with BBQ sauce and served with a side of Ranch dressing.

Southwestern Chicken Salad - Crisp lettuces, grilled chicken breast, guacamole, tomatoes, shredded Monterey jack cheese, corn, cilantro and tortilla strips.

Taco Salad - Lean ground beef, crisp lettuces, tomatoes, shredded Monterey jack cheese, guacamole, corn, cilantro and tortilla strips.

I'm serious.. go try them. You will not be disappointed.

Weekend Wrap Up

Well.. the Couch to 5K workout certainly got me sick. I woke up on Saturday feeling like crap, with a sore throat, sore muscles and a stuffy nose.

I slept most of the day, but went to my friend Noelle's apartment for her 27th birthday party (I was one of the hostesses). I threw together some really great punch, a few birthday food treats, and stuffed a pinata with some fabulous prizes.

Champagne Punch (This was a huge hit)!



2 Bottles of Champagne (you can use the cheap stuff)
1/2 bottle of vodka
1 can concentrated Limeaide
1 can concentrated Pink Lemonaide
1 can concentrated OJ
1 bottle gingerale

Mix together, and voila. Alcohol induced fabulousness.

I also threw together some Chocolate Caramel Crispy cakes which are incredibly fabulous, and taste like a classy rice krispee type dessert.



Chocolate Caramel Crispy Cakes

4 Milky Way bars
1/2 stick of butter
3 cups of Corn Flakes
40 mini cup cake wrappers

Melt milky way bars and butter under low heat, stirring frequently. Once melted, pour over corn flakes. Next, put corn flake mixture in mini cupcake wrappers and voila. Yumminess.

Anyways, the party was really fun and we ate well and played a lot of fun games. I only made it out until about 1am though because the sickness was certainly setting in.

On Sunday, John and I woke up and were off to Northern VA for his brand new goddaughter's baptism (I was still sick, but nothing a little cold medicine couldn't control). Where we also ate a lot, and I got to hold a baby for an hour. My favorite. J looks incredibly hot in a suit, so that was an added bonus.

On our way home we stopped by my parents house to watch the football games and to eat even more food. I probably shouldn't have pushed myself so much, but we have had both stops (and the b'day party) planned for weeks, so I didn't want to back out now. With J's busy schedule, it's important to take advantage of the time whenever we can.

Thank goodness I have today off, but I hate spending my days off sick as a dog. My throat still hurts, my stuffy nose is worse and my ears feel ridic. But, I think I should be on the mend. At least I better be, I have to go to work tomorrow (no ifs, ands or buts about it).

In other related news, I have been sick THREE times this winter. I'm beginning to think that there is something seriously wrong with me compromising my immune system. This is getting to be ridiculous. I'm hoping it's just that I work with kids everyday, but it really sucks to be out for the count for a few days at least once a month. Ugh.

Friday, January 18, 2008

26 26 26

I hereby want it written down on the internet for proof.

I am going out. To karaoke. At 10:30pm.

Screw you 62 (although taking off my pjs was painful).

Hello three day weekend!

TGIF. Just like every Friday before today.

I had a long, boring day of meetings today at one of our satellite offices. Now, these offices are basically old school buildings that have been converted into meeting space for in-services, meetings etc.

Today, they happened to be holding the 10 grade high school English exam make-up in one of the meeting rooms next to mine. When I stopped into the bathroom, an older lady stopped me while I was washing my hands to wish me luck on my "exam."

Now, I know I look young, but NOW I look like a tenth grader?!? Apparently there is a reason they give us those work badges (that I never wear). Perhaps my outfit was a little unprofessional.. but it was meeting day, Friday casual. For those of you dying to know, I wore my new Gap trouser jeans, a navy blue cashmere turtleneck, a navy blue polka dot headband and some brown ballet flats. It's not like school staff is expected to show up in black pantsuits with 4 inch heels. Maybe I should take it as a compliment, but for some reason I don't.

Anyways, in other news, inspired by The Cat's Pajamas, I began the Couch to 5K work out by Cool Running. This is where she got the idea, and I figured I would give it a shot.

Now, I'm not exactly overweight, but I am SO out of shape. Recently, when I became winded after walking two bags of trash from my apartment to the dumpster, I realized that this was whack. I have NEVER been a runner. I could dance for an hour, I could walk, but I can't even run for two minutes without wanting to cry (at least recently). Running is still not my exercise of choice, but (blame my boyfriend for forcing me to watch waaaay too many horror movies recently) I suddenly thought, what if I am stuck in the woods and need to run away from cujo the angry dog? what if a crazy child throws another gun in the woods and I need to run away?

Well, my sad, non-running butt would make it about .034543 miles before passing out in tears (or tripping over a twig). So anyways- no, I do not like running. But, yes, I think it's important that I can at least run 2 miles to save my life if necessary.

Plus, like I said, I'm not overweight, but the Christmas candies and cookies appeared to go straight to my stomach (picture a tire tube over my pants- that used to fit, mind you).

Anyways, for someone who hasn't worked out since June (unless Dance, Dance Revolution counts), the first day went better than expected. I ran/walked for 30 minutes and didn't pass out (yet). However, I did think I might after stepping off the treadmill. My legs felt all wobbly (but that may be a side effect of treadmills.. if you know, please leave me a comment so I don't go all hypochondriac).

Now, I think it's time for a nap and a little relaxation. Hooray for day one done!

*sidenote: a HUUUGE thank-you to Sasha from Barely Keeping It All Together for sending me her running spreadsheet. It made the first day much more bearable!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A waste of perfectly good snow

We have snow. Beautiful, glorious, icy cold snow.

I, for one, am a huge fan of snow. Winter must have one or two redeeming qualities, and really, snow is it. I don't dig chapped lips or below zero temps. I'm not a huge fan of gray days when the sun sets at 4:30pm. Getting up 15 minutes earlier to chisel ice off my windshield isn't exactly a walk in the park. All in all, I'm a Spring, Summer and Fall type of girl.

But, like I've mentioned (more than a handful of times this winter), for some reason I like snow. I think it's pretty, and much better to look at then the freezing gray expanse that usually lies outside my window. However, I think what I like best about snow, is the fact that allows me to sleep in (sometimes).

Today, we finally got the snow.... but it started at 1pm. Snowstorms that begin at 1pm generally mean no two hour delay and certainly no day off.


Around the United States, you will see teachers, psychologists, guidance counselors and other school staff checking weather.com habitually when there is even mention of snow. You will also hear the sighs and disappointed sounds of teachers that find out the snow storm is scheduled on Saturday, or is going to start after 12pm. Sigh. What a total waste of a good snow storm.

So instead, we now have some gorgeous snow out there, but no snow day or early dismissal. This was my ride home. My commute, which generally takes 20 minutes, took over an hour. Maryland drivers are not exactly known for their ability to maneuver snow. In fact, they are some of the worst i've ever seen.

We got about 2-4 inches. A lot more than usual, but certainly not a blizzard. However, where I live, 2 inches is a perfect excuse to run down to the safeway and load up on toilet paper and dry goods incase of a state of emergency. It's also a perfect excuse to drive 2 miles per hour on the high way. Sweet.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I love this picture


This picture cracks me up. Oh Snap couldn't possibly be any cuter.

feeling settled

I had a happy and healthy childhood. My parents were loving and supportive. My family life was stable, but my home life was not.

We moved more times than I can count on two hands. I've lived in more states that most people have ever visited in their lifetime (In no particular order- Massachusetts- three different times, Connecticut-three different times , Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee). As a result, it feels so good to be more settled now.

I attended three different first grades, in three different states, and changed schools twice in middle school and twice in high school. After high school, I continued on with the change. I had become so used to leaving and starting over that I became bored very easily. So for college, I decided to go to school in Massachusetts (about 9 hours from my then hometown of Pittsburgh). Throughout college, I lived in four different dorm rooms and two off campus apartments. After college, I moved again to eastern Massachusetts for graduate school. That lasted about two years. During my internship year, I moved yet again, south of the Mason Dixon, where I currently reside.

I've lived here for almost two years now, and I think I'm finally ready to settle down. The thought of change no longer entices me, it just makes me drowsy.

I think that may be why I act more like 26 going on 62. I like to feel settled. I like the fact that I've thrown out my college girl posters and furniture, in favor of more adult things. I like that my closet is no longer littered with halter tops and mini skirts. I like that instead of having 16 bottles of 10 dollar vodka above my fridge, I have a funny cat calender and fancy entertaining tableware.

For years and years, I cried on my birthday. I dreaded getting older and growing up. Now, I like being a grown-up. I like that I no longer have homework, and that my work day ends when I walk out of the door. I like walking through my front door and being greeted by a clean house (not littered with pizza boxes and beer cans) but instead full of cat toys and grown up treats.

And just so you know, I haven't cried on my birthday in two years. I am not exactly psyched about turning another year older (thankfully i'm not even halfway to 27), but I like how my life has turned out so far, so it's okay with me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In my bed

This is what is in my bed, every single night.

Is it strange that my cat spoons with me every night? It may be, but I'm not going
to complain. She's an absolute sweetie. Everyone told me, get a boy cat, they are much more cuddly. Not so, my girl is 100% in love with me. My boy couldn't care less.

6 out of 7 nights we're doing the spoon train. J (unhappily- the purring annoys him, it puts me to sleep) is on the end, I'm in the middle and Sage caps us off on the other end.

Reliance

I am pathetically reliant on the internet.

If you asked me last week, I would have brushed it off in a second. I don't know HTML, I can't do any type of programming, and I actually have to search how to add/remove programs.

Internet whiz, I am not. But if you take away my internet for even an hour, I feel like I'm back in the stone age. Today, our work internet was down throughout the entire county. We happened to have about 8 meetings lined up. I was out of parent checklists, and without internet, it was impossible to contact my secretary and ask her to fax or send me more.

Well, that was until some nice lady (obviously older, b/c honestly, no one my age would think about this) that I work with reminded me that I could easily call my secretary and ask her to send the checklists over.

It was a total ah ha moment. Picture me, with light bulb over my head and everything. Me, internet addicted Ashley, wouldn't even think to pick up a phone to get something that I needed.

Amazingly, I was born before the internet was even invented (I think). It is truly amazing how I survived. I have now vowed to use the phone more often, just so that it's a tool that I remember to use in the future.

Before you start shaking your heads, starting off my week with a happy hour (last night) probably wasn't the best idea either. I think I may have killed a few brain cells.

In other news, the new dresser looks fabulous (albeit huge). It's amazing how much smaller furniture looks in the vast, giant warehouse that is Ikea. It's MUCH larger than expected, but I blame myself for that (and it doesn't look bad, just big). My mother urged me to put masking tape on the floor in the exact dimensions of the dresser to determine if I could live with something that large for one week. I instead did the go to Ikea (where everything is apparently dwarfed next to the surroundings) and do the stare and ponder test (which lasts about 30 seconds), then go and buy it.

I really need to start learning my lessons.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why, oh why

...Can't it snow in Maryland?

It's the number one thing I miss about living in Boston.

Snow trumps rain every time. In Maryland, all it does is rain.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Busy Day!

Because my friends all have lives without me, and my boyfriend works a billion hours a week, I decided to go to my parent's house today to visit with my mom, dad and younger sister, Erinn.

I had a fabulous time, and enjoyed spending time with them. We ended up heading down to Reston Town Center for a little shopping. We managed to get some fabulous deals.

I got two pairs of jeans from The Gap. Both pairs cost only 52 dollars total. For both. Score.





I also bought this adorable winter hat from Banana Republic


Not only that, but I picked up a really cute star shaped serving bowl from Pottery Barn and a lovely new flat screen TV for my bedroom. My parents just recently ordered a new one, and are allowing me to borrow their old one for the time being. It's not a 60 inch TV by any means, but it will certainly suffice in my bedroom.

On my way home, I decided to stop at Ikea for one last purchase.

If I'm going to have a new TV in my bedroom, I need something to put it on. I have been contemplating the purchase of a dresser for about a year now. I don't necessarily need anymore space for my clothes, but I am in desperate need of storage. I figure, instead of getting a TV stand, this dresser will work for both storage and a place to put my TV. So, instead of clothes, it may be filled with Christmas Decorations, but oh well.

Going solo to Ikea is a story for another day. I had to make puppy eyes at two separate groups of guys just to get this 200 pound dresser into my small little Jetta. I probably should have waited for a time that I could go accompanied by my big strong boyfriend, but Ikea is right on the way home from my parents so of course I went.

I must now start my spending vacation (i.e. vacation from spending money), although truth be told, I picked up some great deals today while bonding with the family.

Now, it's time for some beer and football. I never thought I'd say this but, GO Jacksonville!

Friday, January 11, 2008

IQ tests

I guess that there is no need to doubt my profession. Blogthings says so.

And to think, I actually give IQ tests to children for a living. Now, if only I could figure out their IQ scores after a few short questions, i'd be rich. Instead, like today, it takes me an hour.

For some reason, I don't think blogthings quizzes will suffice in the special education world, but it would make my life a heck of a lot easier.

Thank god it's Friday!

Your Dominant Intelligence is Interpersonal Intelligence

You shine in your ability to relate to and understand others.
Good at seeing others' points of view, you get how people think and feel.
You have an uncanny ability to sense true feelings, intentions, and motivations.
A natural born leader, you are great at teaching and mediating conflict.

You would make a good counselor, salesperson, politician, or business person.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You look awful

Today, I had to run from one of my schools to the other to pick up a student's cumulative and special education folders (to hand deliver to yet another school).

As I was sitting in the conference room, while the special education teacher was rifling through the folder to make sure everything was in there, the speech and language pathologist walked in.

Disclaimer: Now, I took Monday off. Mainly for mental health, i.e. laziness reasons, but it was a sick day.

As she walks in she says, "wow, you look like death rolled over twice today."

Umm. I'm not entirely sure what death rolled over twice means and/or looks like, but thanks for that. That certainly was not the highlight of my day. I love being told that I look like crap, despite feeling fine (mostly).

I did have a headache, and I was surely exhausted- but now I think she jinxed me and i'm sitting at home feeling worse.

Thank You...

...To Ashley at The Cutest Blog on the Block for helping me make-over my new blog look.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Misleading

Truth be told, the recent pictures that I've posted of the cats are not all that recent. I have thousands of files on my computer named; cats first week, cats september, cats october etc. However, as of late, my cats are not down with posing for pictures.


I finally got them to simmer down for a few hours yesterday, and I managed to get some more recent shots.



They are no longer the tiny little fur balls that they used to be.. but still adorable. They are fast approaching 8 months old and look like actual cats now, rather than kittens. I can't believe how long I've owned them.

J thinks I talk about my cats too much. I was appalled. I have enough love for him and the kitties.

I wish I thought of this...

Very Smart Boy

Kids these days. They are funny.

Backgrounds

I have tried to change the look of my blog about 29.768 times since yesterday.


I swear, I'm editing the HTML code exactly as directed, but every time I hit preview, it's my same old, boring blog style.

I think it's a lost cause. Now I'm trying to decide if I like this better than the really plain style I had yesterday. That bums me out, because I was totally trying to go for this...compliments of The Cutest Blog on the Block



Now that, is my style. Computer illiteracy sucks. However, I have managed to learn how to insert a hyperlink. Score. However, truth be told, I'd much have this pretty purple background as opposed to a hyperlink.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Doubts

Confession #2.

Sometimes, I doubt my job. Now, I have no intentions of quitting (3 yrs of graduate school and student loan debt will ensure that), but sometimes I second guess my decision.

I sometimes wish I had a job that would allow me to surf the web without Big Brother watching my every move. I'm not looking to surf any xx rated sites, but a trip to gap.com would be nice every once in awhile. It would be nice to be able to read blogs, and tool around on the internet.

My friends with normal jobs email me links. Nine times out of ten, Big Brother blocks the site, and I have to wait to check it out at home (where I undoubtedly forget to do it unless they email me the link).

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to sit for more than 1/2 hour each day. There are some days that I get to sit, but I'm always in a meeting at that time; arguing with parents, hashing out educational decisions, and typing up Individual Education Plans.

The other day, when my boss was talking about where we would like to see ourselves in five years, all the while smiling at the infinite possibilities (note: in his mind), my close friend/coworker and I glanced at each other and whispered, "working part-time" at the exact same moment.

Which leads me to the infinite possibilities. There really aren't any when you work in a school system. I have my graduate degree is school psychology. Unless I go into private practice, the only thing that I can do is be a school psychologist. The jobs above school psychologists include assistant principal and principal, both which require more schooling. Plus, it's not really something that I'm interested in. Above that lies superintendent, which requires a stint as a principal. That's were the infinite possibilities of working in a school end.

I'm sure he was looking for answers like discover a cure for autism, or develop a new counseling technique, but sadly, I don't really have time for that while juggling three schools and 1,000 children. In the meantime, I'm running ragged, trying to make it to one meeting after another, with barely enough time to follow through with any of the plans that I've made for the day.

Which brings me to planning. I can plan a counseling session in a few minutes, but 4 out of 5 times, it doesn't come to fruition. Instead, a crisis undoubtedly occurs and I'm pulled in this direction or that. I can decide to lock myself in my office to write reports all day (which are 8 plus pages each), but someone usually finds me in my small closet and sends me upstairs to deal with the problem at hand.

There are a thousand things that I love about my job, and someday, I'll tell you all about them. In the meantime, there are certainly some things that I don't, which leaves me lusting for an office job. A job that will grant me four walls and privacy. A job that will enable me to read Perez Hilton whenever I please.

Just Because...

...It's been far too long that a picture of Oh Snap and Sage was posted.



Monday, January 7, 2008

Confessions

It is time to fess up. I have a problem walking.

Not a problem in so much that my legs don't work, but I cannot pay attention while walking.

It's like the second my feet hit the pavement, all of the extraneous stimuli around me goes blank and I just walk haphazardly. I run into people, I run into plants, I run into objects.

Some people have the innate ability to be courteous to their fellow pedestrians, but I wasn't born with that ability. If you veer right, so will I. If you stop to let me by, I won't even notice and trek right through you.

It hasn't really caused me any problems, but it's made me seriously aware of the fact that I do not pay attention to my surroundings (luckily I do not have this problem while driving).

For example, if people are coming out of the door to a restaurant, and I'm coming in. I'll walk right in. Whereas, other polite people wait outside and hold the door open for those leaving. I generally turn around 10 seconds later to notice the rest of my party still outside waiting patiently for others to exit.

I promise that my mother taught me manners. But apparently not the manners that help you in the mall or on a crowded sidewalk.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Well then...

I think maybe I jinxed us both.

That sucked. Like woah.

Luckily I started drinking at 4 pm so the shock didn't hit quite as hard.

I had a feeling that it wasn't our lucky night, but that was one of those games that just pulls on your heartstrings.

We were losing. BAD.

Then we came back in the last quarter, took over the lead, only to lose it again in the final minute of the game.

Maybe this makes me sound like a bad fan, but I like to save the heart attack inducing games (i.e. the dramatic ones) for the regular season or for the Superbowl. There's nothing fun about seeing a playoff game full of ups and downs and ups and super far down, downs.

The special teams, didn't look nearly as special as they should have.

The interceptions left me dumping my other boyfriend Ben, via a 60 inch widescreen TV (I don't think he noticed).

The fact that they lost by a field goal in the final minutes of the game is what really angers me. I'm not going to go wild and find the exact stats, but I can name at least four (including last night) playoff games the Steelers have lost, by a field goal, in the final seconds of the game. Seriously, they need to address that problem. We could start by getting Adam Vinatieri to move over to the NFC.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Oh NO

Bad night for me and the boyfriend.

The perks of dating a Redskins fan...

Photobucket

He enjoys football- knows the teams, the players, and what is going on.

He understand my need to spend a perfect Saturday night (or Sunday-- all the livelong day) watching football.

He's not a Ravens fan.

His team really doesn't pose a threat to mine until the final game of the season....The Superbowl.

And really, what are the chances of both the Redskins and the Steelers making it to the Superbowl?

GOOOOO STEELERS!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

TGIF

What http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22497895/ is this world coming to?

I seriously wish I knew how to add a hyperlink to blogger (correctly).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

If only

Your New Year's Resolutions

1) Get a pet parrot

2) Eat more Cheetos

3) Travel to Japan

4) Study witchcraft

5) Get in shape with spinning
If only it was this easy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hits n' Misses

I never make resolutions. I like to break things, so it's never worth trying. However, after contemplating 2007, I've learned some things.

HITS:

* Adopting Snap and Sage in August. They light up my life.
* Meeting John. He made my October. He lights up the rest of my life.
* Obtaining a job- and a pay check.
* Spending incredibly cherished time with friends and family.
* My 26th birthday. They used to make me sad, but this year was quite the celebration.
* Enjoying the holiday season for exactly what they are, rather than thinking about what is missing.
* Discovering and participating in the time honored tradition that is happy hour.
* Trips to New York City, the Poconos, and Las Vegas among others.


MISSES:

* My previous romantic relationship. gross.
* The stress and anxiety around obtaining said job.
* School loan pay-back went into effect in September.
* Working out lasted about 6 months. Progress, but not enough.


GOALS FOR 2008:

* Cook and stay healthy. I love cooking, I just never made the time to do it.
* Pay off debt. Apartment, car, student loans.. whatever.
* Save for a down payment on a house.
* Stay in touch with friends and family that live far away.
* Laugh often, and love much.
* Continue to enjoy happy hours.
* Stop sweating the small stuff.

New years with pictures

My midnight kiss

I kicked butt in karaoke

Admiring something

Someone.. take the mic away.

Tom has trouble controlling his alcohol intake.


3am was fast approaching

I've got the singing stance down.

It's a new year

I went back to work today. In all fairness, I actually worked two days last week, but those were fun days at work. The kind where I can converse with some adults, sleep in a tiny bit, and wear jeans.

Today, it was back to the grind, and it wasn't a very exciting one at that. I was looking forward to vacation for months, now, there isn't much more to look forward to on the work horizon (aside from New Orleans- half fun, half work).

These past two weeks have been wonderful. There is nothing quite like sleeping in, playing games, visiting with friends and family and eating like woah. Which I did, quite well. The jeans barely fit.

I did decide to do something about it. In the form of Dance, Dance Revolution. We'll see how that goes. I'm not really a gamer, but I'm very into DDR and Singstar (which we enjoyed for hours on New Years Eve). I've just never been one to work out, and i've never stuck to anything aerobic for more than a few months.

The meteorologists did it again. Yesterday, before bed, there was a 60% chance of snow by 5 am. Today, when I woke up (and there was no snow on the ground), there was a 20% chance of snow. With all of the technological advancement in this world, wouldn't you think that something as simple as snow could be predictible? Regardless, I want some.

I'm in a nesting phase. The kind where all you want is to lay low at home, buy a house, and entertain. I'm reading Better Homes and Gardens for fun and have got back into the cooking swing (it helps to cook for two). Nesting isn't quite as fun when it's 50-60 degrees outside though.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Years!

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy 2008!

I had a fabulous time celebrating with some of my favorite people.

There was plenty of food, too much booze, Cranium and Karaoke (I love Sing Star).

Plenty of pictures to follow, but first- some recipes. My food came out great- courtesy of the Food Network.

Thai Glazed Chicken Lettuce Wraps



1 pound thin cut chicken breast meat, available packaged in meat case of market
Grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 tablespoons minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
1 cup packaged shredded cabbage and carrot mix
3 scallions, chopped on an angle
1/2 cup plum sauce
2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into half again
1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped

Thinly slice the chicken into strips and sprinkle with grill seasoning.
Heat a large skillet to screaming hot. Add vegetable oil, then chicken. Cook chicken 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the ginger, garlic, peppers, cabbage and carrot mix and scallions and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Add plum sauce to glaze the mixture, toss 1 minute, then add basil and wilt leaves. Add fish sauce and turn to coat. Transfer cooked chicken and vegetables to a bowl. Place spoonfuls of chicken into a piece of lettuce with cucumber and fold lettuce over to eat, like small tacos.

Cold Sesame Noodles



12 ounces angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Fresh chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cold. Drain the noodles really well and transfer to a wide bowl; toss with the sesame oil so they don't stick together. Chill.
In a blender combine the peanut oil, ginger, garlic, chili paste, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water. Blend. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce until well coated. Serve at room temperature or chilled; garnish with the sesame seeds, green onions, and cilantro.