Instagram Junkie

I have a problem. Upon entering the wondrous world of Instagram – I’ve gone a little nutty. I take photos of everything and really enjoy flipping through the filters. I photograph Seabee, baking/cooking tangents, drinks, flowers, scenery … you name it – I’ve at least thought about taking a picture of it. So if you are following me, I apologize. If there is such a thing as Instagram etiquette, or really, any pointers for hashtagging etc… don’t be shy.

Sig-O’s cousin is getting married in approximately two weeks. I have a closet full of casual, appropriate for work/going out dresses, but not really anything that a.) screams at me to wear it and b.) is appropriate for a nighttime summer wedding. I guarantee a lot of people will show up in capris and go casual, but it will be the first big social occasion with Sig-O and I stepping out as husband and wife, and the first time a lot of extended family will meet me … so selfish moment here: I want to look good. Not outshine the bride of course, but I want to look good. My mom came by today and made quick work of demanding to see what I had in my closet, and confirming that only 1-2 dresses would work for my purposes. She also poo poo-ed my idea of wearing separates; i.e. a nice top and pencil skirt combo. We cruised dresses online, JCP, Macy’s, Old Navy, Ann Taylor, and a few other websites with no luck until giving Lord & Taylor a go. Surprisingly, I found a couple options that fit my picky tastes (AKA I like classic pieces that don’t leave my goods all hanging out!) and budget. Two dresses are en route to me as we speak. If neither works, I’ll most likely end up going the separates route. (Sorry, Ma!) I’ll be sure to post a pic of each once they arrive.

If I neglected to mention, Sig-O and I are both in our close friends’, Dave & Anna’s wedding in October. They live in Washington State now, and are getting married here in Mass so it has been quite the undertaking, never mind the fact that Dave is in the military and was stationed earlier this year, and Anna still held down a job in Boston so they lived apart for quite a few months. Dave is a longtime close friend of Sig-O, and Anna has been a great addition to my small but QUALITY circle of friends, so we are thrilled to be included in theirs 🙂 So to tie in to my previous paragraph, if I can get a few nice dresses under my belt, they won’t go to waste since I will have to find things to wear to her bridal shower, bachelorette and rehearsal dinner. 

 

PS – Watch for more Instagram photos. We have a BBQ pizza en route, and I picked up Shipyard Brewery’s Smashed Pumpkin yesterday. Oh! and our lovely photographer sent us our 400 something photos on a CD … need to get them up in my Walgreens online album for selected parties to view.

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Back in the saddle again …

So I’ve started putting together some materials for the upcoming school year. Namely, taking a jaunt to Michaels and cruising their clearance sections and scrapbook paper sections. Goal? To make my cramped, windowless office that I share with about 5 other staff (no joke!) – a “happy spot”. After the past two years, which have been fraught with outside of work stress, plenty of inner work stress and a whole lot of job frustration – and seeing as this is our last year in our current district before we get the good ole heave ho; I want to have a GOOD year. Professionally, personally, and all over. 

Purpose of scrapbook paper – cover bland, cinderblock walls. I bought some leafy, realistic forest print for my co-worker’s side of the room since she is very earthy…I bought myself a plethora of bright green striped papers, and some funky print with a navy background. Have already printed off calendars for the year, started putting together daily organizational type stuff (listening checks, hearing aid/CI and FM system log in/log out, weekly IEP minutes log) because goddamit! It’s gonna be a good year!

In other news: 

– I have been baking bread up a storm. Been a poor food photographer however; results never fail to amaze. Trying my hand at making my own tortillas today to go with fajitas. Had to buy lard which was comical – no one in the market knew where to find it, and they had to call the big man upstairs. Now I am saddled with a whole pound of it and debated subbing in butter or oil or shortening … but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right and the recipe comes from a person I trust (Budget Bytes FTW!) so off I go with that later today.

– met with my advisor at the college. Ironed out details i.e. what to take so I can do my practicum ASAP and actually get out there teaching. I have to serve two gods really – the gods of Licensure Requirements and the gods of Degree Requirements. Before I was picking one course from each per semester because I wanted to finish the degree and practicum altogether then teach. Now that my job and program I work for looks to be a bit up in the air to say the least- priority is to get my practicum done so I can go and teach and then continue to take courses until I satisfy the degree requirements and can walk for graduation. Got it? Good because I finally do haha. 

– I don’t generally find myself to be on a soapbox very often – in fact my career has made me all the better at actually standing up and saying something when I feel the need since it’s for the children or funding for said career etc. But I saw on the news the other night at the gym, that the FDA is considering changing the standard identity for milk. AKA it’s not just stuff that comes out of a cow and gets pasteurized etc. There is a petition going around for the admission of aspartame, sucralose whatever CRAP FAKE SUGAR you want to call it … to be added to milk ( 1% & 2% varieties at this point) but no labeling saying such crap sugar is in it. The thinking is that it will lure children away from sugary sodas and juices. That is idiotic since we, yes, have an obesity issue in this country, and yes kids need to be swayed AWAY from crap drinks but then you’re going to take another healthy option and turn it to shit ??? AND NOT PUT IT ON THE LABEL!? 

Don’t get me wrong, people should be READING the ingredients list of everything regardless. I’ve gotten much better about doing that – and the less ingredients and more simple they are, the better off for you. But this will just compound the issue of obesity in this country. All those fake sugars and fats and whatever – they don’t help, they harm more than anything. You are better off eating the more natural substance even if it is supposedly “bad for you” (real butter, real sugar, real fats). 

On another note – this change would create a very slippery slope since if the FDA can do that, why won’t they try it with tons of other food we eat? It’s probably already happening to a degree – but people are actually signing petitions to change the standard identity of milk. Holy crap.

If you feel like I do – feel free to sign the petition at the link below. 

Say No To Hidden Ingredients in Milk

– oh, and here is another link. Food for thought regarding raising children.

TTFN ta ta for now!

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Sweet relief!

Can I just tell you how much I love today? It’s been overcast, raining off and on since early this morning, and temps aren’t getting much above 70 degrees F. All the windows in our little domicile (sp?) are wide open, letting some much needed cool/fresh air in. I’m off all day today, re-organizing closets, being artsy-fartsy, getting a jump on impending school-year stuff and baking another loaf of bread (Sally Lunn to be specific!). More details on the loaf of bread in another post methinks (saw a quote somewhere that read “even bad homemade bread is still good!”). Oh, and I have the cutest cat in the world to hang out with as well. OH OH- and I finally got my contract issue resolved last week. Turns out they sent it to the wrong address (not sure why it didn’t forward, thanks local P.O.?); the woman that takes care of billing and a lot of organizing at the collaborative was oddly enough, just wondering why I hadn’t signed and returned my contract since “you are usually one of the first I get back!” Ahhhhh, glad I was just being paranoid about not getting one.

Played around with the blog layout as well. Still sticking with the same layout as you can see obviously, but did change the top photo – much as I love those birdhouses, was time for something new! The current photo is of my shoes (a favorite and popular subject of photography for me) standing near a manhole cover on our honeymoon in Portland. Note the lovely brickwork! And the zigzag pattern on my shoes of course.

Speaking of Portland. Sig-O and I, along with his sister and brother in law are headed to Maine in a few weeks to soak up some Maine air at his uncle’s cabin in the boonies. To our good fortune, the cabin in the boonies is in decent proximity to Portland (only about an hour away), so we are going to take a day trip with them to share our love of the city, which will include extensive eating, milling about with little to no purpose, and hopefully hitting a few of the landmarks we missed on our honeymoon. Commence photos of proposed repeat destinations…

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Baked goods in last photo courtesy of Two Fat Cats Bakery, on our proposed list, as well as DUCKFAT which I can’t seem to drum up any photos of currently. The Holy Donut is also top of our list to revisit.  (OH and JOY – my godmother/aunt, mom and myself will be baking YET ANOTHER trip to Portland sometime in September. Do I love this city or what?!)

OH OH OH – and I have decided to go back to graduate school in the spring. For one class to test the waters (being that the wedding hoopla is behind me, I should be fine). I have all of five classes and a practicum left to go in order to get my Master’s in Special Education, and with things being how they are, you never know what can happen. This fall I am going to work on greasing the wheels of flexibility with respect to the folks at the college and see exactly how much leeway I can get on this practicum deal (6 weeks of student teaching- mandatory!) since I do have a full time job and a caseload that I am responsible for. Can’t take a 6 week leave of absence that’s for sure.

A Master’s Degree is an investment of both time and money, but is a worthwhile one. Especially since the program I work for has this upcoming year left in the current district and there is no word yet of where our “new home” will be. Love my job, but it’s always good to be prepared. Unfortunately in the field of Deaf Education, programs and schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing move, close down, re-open etc. and staff are often let go, displaced or just plain out of jobs.

Happy, goal-oriented, organized, efficient and productive are the key words for this coming work year,  a.k.a. MAKIN’ SHIT HAPPEN!

Of course, HAPPY can be applied across all settings 🙂

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Choices

“Much of life is imposed upon us; there is much we do not choose-the premature death of someone we love, lifelong illness, divorce, additions, job loss, unsettling colleagues, even some of our own personality traits. In so many notable ways, life seems to choose us rather than the other way around. And frequently, it does not seem very fair.

On the other hand, there are those portions of our lives that we do seem to have at least some control over-whom we marry, the job or profession which occupies much of our waking time, where we decide to live, how we spend our money. Such things we choose for ourselves, and these choices give us a sense of control, or at least a tit-for-tat sense of balance to counteract the unpredictable and the imposed.

There is another aspect of who we are which we are able to choose as well-not that we always do, however, but we do have the freedom. We can choose if we want to be compassionate or not, if we want to be forgiving or vengeful, generous or greedy, gentle or demanding. We can decide to become patient or understanding or honest or caring for the weak among us. Such choices pretty much stand before us for most of our lives-always present, always reversible…”

 

The copy and pasted passage above was sent to me a few years ago by my oldest aunt, who I am very close with and who also happens to be my godmother. She found it in her church bulletin, but it isn’t overly religious, in fact it is fairly secular in nature and I believe resonates with all human beings. Even when we feel like we have no options, there are ALWAYS choices to be made. Since she sent this passage to me, I have always returned to read it in times of upheaval and uncertainty. 

The very nature of working in the field of special education, and education in general, means you are always faced with getting a pink slip at the end of a school year. I’m probably just psyching myself out and being over-paranoid, but I have yet to receive a contract for next school year, and I know several of my co-workers have received theirs. I already know for a fact there are a lot of different issues and factors at play for the next academic year (it’s our last year renting space within the district we’ve inhabited for 3 years and it is unknown where our next “home” will be, staffing patterns etc) and I really can’t think of a reason that I would get laid off besides funding but in the case that I do, it is not the end of the world. There are other jobs. 

On the bright side, I looked into taking a sewing class at Jo-Ann Fabric; $35 for a three hour introductory course! Boo yah! I keep breaking needles, and as much as like to think I can teach myself things (and I can, depending on what it is), I think I could really benefit from a professional showing me how to run everything in real time – and $35 for the 3 hour course, plus the materials and apparent “freebies” you get, totally worth it in my book. I’m planning to take the one offered ASAP so I can finally get a jump on some curtains and a few ReFashionista-type projects I’ve been saving up.

Pi pip, cheerio and all that rubbish!

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BORNNNNNN FREEEEEEEEE

AS FREEEE AS THE WIND BLOWSSSSSSS, AS FREE ASSS THE GRASSS GROWSSSSS…ahhhh the mellow sounds of Mr. Andy Williams (it’s either this tune or “IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OFFF THE YEARRRRR” that rings through many a teacher/educationally employed person’s head this time of year)

As you may have noticed, I’ve been out of work for a few days. Last Wednesday was my official last day, turned in all my paperwork, all the kiddos’ FMs and audio equipment, my laptop and my desktop; finished up all the IEPs and current performances still kicking around… and I was FREE.

FREE TO DO WHAT I WANT, ANY OLD TIIIIMMMEEE

Boy, having a well-deserved break has turned me into quite the songstress. Apologies. 

I literally did a whole lot o’ nuthin’ Thursday and Friday. If you count cruising the computer, TV and just dickin’ around the house as “nuthin'”.  Felt a bit guilty about it to be honest but as Sig-O repetitively told me, “You go at warp speed all year long, stop feeling guilty about sitting on your a-s-s for a few days!”

Duly noted, husband. After this long weekend, I do go back to work part time, doing Early Intervention home visits over the summer to keep my mind sharp (aka play with cute little kids and get paid for it!). 

A few important things to note:

– we have a new addition to our little family. We adopted a wee little kitty from a local shelter, and christened him Sebastian, or SeaBee for short. Sappy me for a moment – he has brought us a lot of joy and laughter with his antics! In addition, I credit him with part of the reason I am able to simply kick around and do a whole lot of nuthin’ – who wants to kick out the cute little kitty snoozing in your lap, or ignore his meowing requests for play? Not I. 

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My little buddy! He goes back to the vet next week, courtesy of the shelter, to get shhhh shhh shhfixed. Sorry little guy!

 

After much consideration, and admiration of ReFashionista (a woman who DIYs all her own clothing out of thrift store finds), I decided to pursue getting a real sewing machine. I did a lot of hand sewing for items for our wedding, the bird cake toppers, part of the bridesmaids’ gifts – I don’t have a lot of patience for it. I am such a thrift store junkie and a budget minded shopper in general, why not try and create unique pieces from my thrift store finds? I can’t tell you how many times I go to Salvation Army and find an item that is absolutely old lady or matronly in style, but the color or print would make such a cute dress/top etc. 

I was in luck because my mom’s old friend Debbie – had a few leftover sewing machines to get rid of. Her mother passed away just before we got married and was a huge crafting/sewing buff. I picked up a Kenmore sewing machine (no idea what make or model eek) fo’ FREE. Her mom was a tough but well meaning lady; I much appreciate Debbie thinking of me and letting me have one of her old machines – maybe she will pass me down some good luck to boot! 

Image it looks just like this … no manual etc. I took sewing classes as a kid – hopefully the old knowledge starts flooding back. Best way to learn, by doing!

So I’m gonna head over to Salvation Army and see what I can rustle up over there before I meet my aunt for din din. I have visions of a strapless, casual dress I can wear to a wedding in August. If all doesn’t go well, I do have some backups!

 

Finally – I haven’t mentioned this on here in a while, if ever – but I’ve always been interested in finding a local Farmer’s Market or CSA but was discouraged at the lack of them, or lack of quality. My mom lent me a local magazine called Edible South Shore, that LISTS Farmer’s Markets and CSAs!!! They’ve been under my nose this whole time. Planning to hit at least a couple Farmer’s Markets this weekend with Sig-O. No more buying produce at the store (unless absolutely necessary!)

 

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Smitten Kitchen

Smitten Kitchen is listed as one of my favorite places to visit on the web (see link list at left!)

There are many reasons why:

– she makes fantastic REAL food, generally not fussy or overdone

– she and her family just went to Rome. With a toddler. God bless her.

– she just posted this recipe that I am planning to make ASAP

Go check her out, right meow! (this reminds me; I need to pick up her cookbook tout suite!)

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Meg on a plane … nope just kidding.

Anyone who knows me well (and some people that don’t even, since I tend to overshare…) know that I loathe flying. The whole experience- hustle and bustle through the airport and security, sitting and waiting, boarding, waiting some more, TAKING OFF (shudder), being UP 20,000 thousand some odd feet IN THE AIR, and then landing (my favorite part, coming back to Earth!). I loathe it all, with a little less loathing when the pilot comes on and says, “We are now beginning our descent into blah blah city”. I will fly if absolutely necessary, but I require Xanax -copious amounts of Xanax- leading up to the day of flight.

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That being said, Sig-O and I had the opportunity to attend a breakfast/viewing at the Cranland Airport in Hanson, MA. My grandfather has always loved planes, and with my brother serving in the Air Force (haha flying and dealing with planes for a JOB; could we be any more different!) I do like to check out and WATCH planes, particularly the small ones. Despite my fear, I do love watching them take off and land, and I absolutely love the noise their wheels make upon contact with the runway 🙂 eee eee eee!

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pontoon-style boat – wished I could have seen it land on water but was still very neat!

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U.S. Army plane – room for 8, very cool!

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My oh-so-pale self posing in front of a Red Baron-esque plane!

 

There were also several antique cars to see as well – including a really impressive one from the 1930s (didn’t catch the specific name) and the owner had restored it to its’ original colors (you can kinda see it in the background of the picture below, coffee colored with orange and black!)

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Beautiful blues! Mustang and Coupe de Ville!

 

All in all, it was a lovely morning spent with a few members of my family. 

 

 

PS – Shhhh, I entered myself in the Narragansett Brewing Company’s ‘Gansett Girl Calendar Contest. More details to follow – if I get enough votes to get in the Top 12, I get to go to Providence for a photo shoot with professional hair, make up and vintage clothing provided by some local businesses!!! (I swear I’m not shallow, I would just love to get all dolled up vintage pin-up style and get actually documentation of it!)

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