Thursday, March 31, 2011

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I chortle in my joy!

It is not a secret to anyone who has seen me this week that I really am a walking ball of stress. My eyes are pink and puffy from being tired and have gained 4 pounds (although I am eating right, frustration.) I am just putting this out there, finals suck!

But in the midst of all of the stress I have received two bits of great news in the last 12 hours that have just made me actually squeal with delight. I share them now.

As a single woman with no dependents I almost always pay taxes at the end of the year. Two years ago I got a refund but the IRS then found a mistake and took most of it back. Last year I got a small refund, but not complaining!! I have been putting off doing my taxes because I did not want any more bad news. Yesterday I was already in such a foul state of mind that I thought, being rather sadistic, that I better just get it over with ... bring it on! I was delighted to find out I am actually getting a rather nice refund this year.

Then, as many know, when I was 18 I moved to Chicago to be a nanny for two handsome little boys. They are all grown up now. D is a already in college, you might remember that his basketball team won the DIII NCAA championship last year. Well the younger boy, B, is currently a senior in high school (overlook the fact that I was his nanny when he was 1) and just found out he has been accepted to Stanford AND Harvard for next year. How would you like to be faced with that decision? "Oh gee, I do not know which of those elite schools to choose from! What do I do?!" :) I am like the proudest nanny ever!

And the silver light at the end of the tunnel? 5 more days of school.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

9 Credits

When I went back to college years ago I thought it would be a long journey, I just had no idea it was going to FEEL this long. I have had my major declared from day one, but then I added a minor which added some time to school. I have 9 credit left. 9 credits until I am a college graduate. 9 credits. I remember when 9 credits were so easy! These 9 credits seem like they are taking forever. 3 credits will be done in a week (I will know in 2 weeks if I passed.)

When I was in high school I always wanted to graduate with honors. Although, let's face it, I did not really put in all of the effort I could have to accomplish this goal. I missed graduating with honors just barely ... by 0.05 of a GPA point. So in college I set the goal to really graduate with honors. Wouldn't you know it, my college has a higher GPA honors requirement than high school did. My associates program I graduated with 3.88 GPA. Nice!! My minor study in human resource management is almost done and I am sitting at a 3.73 (I thought it was 3.74, but I was wrong) and I need a 3.75 to be an honors student. So close, it hurts!! If I get an A in the class I am in right now I will graduate from the minor program with honors. Then I have 6 more credit hours in my bachelor's program to meet my goal. For this program my school takes the cumulative GPA of all three programs which right now is 3.85.

So here is my problem. I stress. I stress over the little things. I stress over the big things. I stress about how I am going to get all of the homework done. I stress over how I am going to be able to get all of the other things in my life done. I stress over how cranky I get with my family. I stress over everything. I sometimes get so stressed over the little things that I make myself sick.

Let's be honest here, I would really need to screw up my last class in order to fail at my goal. My final 6 credits are dependent on essays I have written instead of taking classes. Standing back and looking at the big picture I am really on track for this goal. So why post this? Because in the next week and month I might freak out. If you are physically around me and see me freaking out I need you (crazy internet followers who may turn into true life stalkers) to remind me to, as my Brother puts it, calm down ... have some dip (no I do not think he is a George Carlin fan, he just says it!) I will graduate with honors and be the first and second person in my family with a bachelor's degree. First and second? Not possible, right? Wrong. My brother in law has his bachelor's degree so I am the second person in my family to get one, but the first of my siblings!! Ha take that my genius siblings!!

Now I am babbling and I should stop because I do have some homework to get to. Calm down ... have some dip! Breathe, relax, and enjoy the rest of the crazy college journey.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vaca - Disneyland

Disneyland is one of my favorite places to visit. I really like Southern California. A. Lot! I do not think I have ever been to SoCal without visiting Mickey and Company. It was hard to narrow down the pics from the trip. This time was my first time with kids. The experience is totally different. Sissy turned 3 in December; LoMo turns 3 in May.

Let me just get this out of the way right now, I have the CUTEST nieces and nephew. No take backs!! LoMo has a very strong willed personality. She has a touch of the baby OCD, and she is so stinking smart!! This is her "Don't talk to me, I am working on my world shattering physics theory that will one day win me the Nobel Prize" look. Or Blue Steel. One or the other.

Sissy is just a flirt who will kiss anyone on the nose. Meeting Minnie

I have two favorite pictures from Disneyland. This is one of them. LoMo was eating lunch and she would not eat a chip with her eyes open. Every time she ate a chip she closed her eyes. It was so much more cute live!!

On our last day in DL, LoMo was really missing her Daddy. Uncle Barry was a good substitute, though. Or at least his finger was, for about 20 minutes.

LoMo and Sister in front of the girls' favorite ride: The Blue Boats. They even learned the words to the song "It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all, It's a Small World after all." What? There are other lyrics? No one told them. over. and over. and over again.

Tigger was grabbing Sissy's face and 'kissing' it all. She thought it was so funny.

This is my other favorite photo from DL. Sissy is kind of obsessed with Cinderella. This picture with the Fairy Godmother makes me think the two are up to something. They are planning global domination. When the Fairy Godmother kissed her on the cheek (I wish I had snapped a pic) you would have thought Sissy had won the lottery. It was a magical kiss!

LoMo loves Arial. In fact she has Arial dolls in both pink and blue dresses.

Jessie is pointing out to LoMo that they both have red hair AND braids.

The Toy Story Mania Ride at California Adventures is my personal favorite ride mostly because everyone looks sexy in those glasses!

Riding Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. After this trip I signed to LoMo that I loved her; her sign back was not quite right, but now I know that all those years that people have been flipping me off that they were just telling me that they loved me too! (Editor's side note, LoMo now can sign I love you very well!)

The girls in front of the castle and Disney

As mentioned Sissy is kind of obsessed with Cinderella. I have not seen anything cuter than her sitting on the floor singing A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Okay the germ hater in me really cringed every time one of my nieces kissed the one of the characters. Even now I look at this pic and say "Oh gross! And cute!"

These girls love Mickey Mouse! They were so excited to see him in his house.

Sleeping Beauty? Let's be honest after a while all of the princesses just start looking the same. Case in point, look at the picture of LoMo with Ariel ... (same cast member, different dress)

Well I had a blast on this trip, I admit to being ready for another one ... today. And not just because I got to play with Sister's camera.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vaca - The Nixon Library

Our plan for California was simple: Go to Disneyland and visit the beach. A few years ago we were driving to DL and I saw a sign for the Nixon Presidential Library. I did not think much of it until after I visited the Carter Presidential Library when I was stuck in Atlanta last year. If I had a bucket list, visit all of the Presidential Libraries would be on it. So I asked the crew if we could visit the Nixon Library and Birthplace. Luckily for me it was raining Friday so it fit in well to go to the Library. Should I mention now that I am kind of a political junkie for those who may not know? I am kind of a political junkie!

When you walk in the Library you are greeted with a huge Seal of the President of the United States and off to the left is a replica of President Nixon's Oval Office Desk.

The hall leading to the Museum is lined with the Stars and Stripes. I did not get a picture of the other hall, it was lined with all 50 State flags.

My question is: How do the nice white space suits get so dirty in outer space? Sissy thought it was cool to stand by the space man.

I could not believe all of the pins they had on display. My favorite pin said "Pat for First Lady" it just made me laugh.

Some back story is required here. I was seriously obsessed with President John F. Kennedy when I was in elementary school. I read and reread all of the books on him in the school library. To this day I still am a fan and just get giddy when I see something that JFK has touched. This is a signed copy of Profiles in Courage. One thing I have to say about my friend JFK, his handwriting was not so legible.

Probably the only pic I have of me on this vaca. I was walking to the space section of the museum and saw myself in the helmet. I said to myself "What would Katie do?" So I snapped my pic and I love it. This museum is different than others, it did not have a replica of the Oval Office. Rather it had a replica of the Lincoln Sitting Room where President Nixon liked to spend most of his time and wrote his resignation speech.

Outside the Museum is a beautiful rose garden. The roses were not in bloom, but the plants were still really beautiful.

The museum also houses the birthplace and final resting place of President Nixon, the house he was born in still stands. Though on rainy days visitors cannot tour it. In the garden President and Mrs. Nixon are buried.

Debbie visiting the graves.

At the back of the property is the helicopter that served four different Presidents. This helicopter served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. When it rains the visitors cannot take tours of it, darn it. How cool would it be to breathe the same air as President Kennedy? Because do not even try to tell me that the air is not the same after all of these years. It is.

It was not until a few years ago that I learned why the flag is backwards when looking at the right side. When marching into battle the flag star field always faces forward looking and the rest of the flag appears as though it is blowing in the breeze when the person or vehicle moves forward.

Sissy walked up the stair with her M&M's. Can you guess what happened next?

After Brother cleaned up the spilled M&M's from the mat he helped the girls learn to do a military solute.

Dad was in the military when President Nixon was in office. It was interesting to watch him pause to remember his Commander In Chief.

When we got back into the building we found Sister playing the piano in the White House East Room replica. What an honor! To be able to play the piano in the East Room of the White House? Nice. I would totally put that on my resume.

This is a view of the Library from the garden across the reflecting pool.
Even if I were not a political junkie, I would have found this stop interesting. 2 Libraries down, 11 to go. The sad thing is, one of them is in Grand Rapids, MI where I lived for 4 months on my mission. I totally missed out on that opportunity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vaca - The Beach

I have learned something very valuable, I will never catch up from taking a week off. I am just destined to be eternally a week behind. The first step to recovery is acceptance, right?

As mentioned before, on this semi-family vacation Sister let me play with her super awesome camera. I now know I want one, I need to go to there. Then I need software so I can touch photos up, and then my favorite photographer can hire me as her second and pay me the salary to which I would like to become accustom to!

Stop one on our vaca was an overnight stay in Las Vegas. No pics, no amazing memories to share other than a very cold drift down a lazy river.

Our first stop in California was to go to Huntington Beach. We got there in time to play and then see the sunset. It was rather pretty, and I know that one day I could live on the beach.

Sister and LoMo heading down to the beach

Brother and Sissy

Sissy making a sand castle

LoMo was really put out that I kept trying to take her pic

Can you tell who played the hardest?
The sunset was quite amazing; seriously I could live on the beach

It was too cold to get in the water, but it was still a beatuiful trip to the beach.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day Light Sucky Time

I would like to start a petition to end Day Light Savings Time. Others may like it, but this girl does not. I am not a farmer, the light saving does nothing for me. My curtains are dark enough that they block out the sun either at night or in the morning to my room. I like to sleep. My body likes to get sleep on the schedule it likes.

Should my fictional petition fail, can we at least vote on calling it Day Light Sucky Time?

Twice this week I have been so tired that I almost crashed my car … it has been a combination of factors: 1) I AM TIRED!!! and B) my hair is longer now than it has been in years. Confused much? So here is what has been happening to me … I look over my right shoulder to check my blind spot and see nothing. Then when I turn my head back to the front I see out of the corner of my eye ‘something’ that appears to be a car and is in fact my hair. I dislike greatly Day Light Sucky Time.

End of rant.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vaca ... to come

Last week I was able to go on vacation with some of my family. Most, actually. I went with 8, we left home 6. Sister let me play with her camera, so of course I took over 1,000 pictures of LoMo and Sissy ... and the beach ... and Disneyland ... and the Nixon Presidential Library. The thing is choosing the right ones for here AND catching up on work. That will happen one day hopefully soon.

All I have to say is that was an amazing trip. I came home a little tanner, a little more rested, and ready to face life this week!! So pics to come.

So until that happens, allow me to share my favorite story from the vacation, that has nothing to do with anyone else in my family. We stayed at my brother's timeshare condo close to Disneyland. Every morning we would get on the ART bus and head to the park. Well one morning everyone but me went early for the Magic Morning. I just did not get ready fast enough. So I was standing waiting for the bus on my own. There was a little family in front of me in line. The kids were running around the garden area having fun. The parents were not really paying attention to the kids. It got kind of quiet, the kids bent down and were looking at something rather intently. They picked something up, and came over to their parents. I hear "Look Mommy, what is it?" In the little boy's hand he was holding a condom in the wrapper. I could not help myself I started laughing. The Dad did not find it funny at all. He was mortified that the kid had found, picked up, and then showed off the condom (in the wrapper which was promptly thrown away in the trash) and I could tell he did not appreciate my laughing. I told him that that was my favorite part of my vacation! He scowled. I think he missed a really important teaching moment for his son who could not have been more than 4 (the daughter looked to be 3) to tell them that people use those to cover microphones when they do plays to keep the sweat out of the mic pack. Favorite story of the vacation!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Double Treat

I am shamefully behind in introducing you all to Mr. February and, while I am at it, I might as well introduce Mr. March from my Nice Jewish Guys Calendar. Can we blame it on my brain being older?

Mr February is Brian L.
Brian is a comedy writer and his favorite food is eggs. Brian likes the "nerdy" type of girls. He has never been to Israel, but loves matzo ball soup. His hobbies include going fishing and to dive bars.

Mr. March is Jordan S.
Jordan describes himself as an "East Coast Jew and a hippy." He lives in Venice where on weekends his two Boston Terriers pull him down the blvd on his skateboard. This law school student has to admit his mom drives him crazy but makes great soup.

I am so glad I have this calendar so I can dream big. Dream big, sister, of the man I may one day call my own!