Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ten years

I went to my high school reunion last night. To quote a song of the time, "How bizarre. How bizzare, how bizarre."

My sweet Matt came with me, despite the fact that he knew no one there but me!
(Doesn't this picture look like we're going to the prom or something?)

It was strange - some people looked very much the same, some better, and some were not so recognizable! Funny to see people working the room, yet still mostly associating with their same cliques... I sat with more musical people, a lot of the popular ones were together, jocks, etc. I guess some things never change, eh?? It was good to have gone, though - fun to see what people are up to. Here are a few... the only pictures taken with my camera!

Nadia, who I've known since we were five!!

Christina, musical and athletic, who now teaches Phys.Ed in Ohio

More of the music nerds (er...gang) - Dave, me, Danae and Ken

Danae, Meghan and Me

It's funny to have gone, and such a rush of memories. Some great, some I had forgotten, some I wish I didn't remember! It was good to touch base with some of the people of my past, and also wonder about some others I hoped/thought I might see. I went through the yearbook after I got home. So surreal. That was me. In so many ways I am exactly the same, yet in others I am so different - but then again, do we ever turn out the way we thought we would?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yummy soup

When it gets cold like this, I tend to want something warm and comforting to eat. Soup like this fits the bill nicely, is easy to make, and freezes well. I found the recipe in one of my mom's magazines, and I share it with you!

Carol's Carrot and Dill Soup

1 pound carrots (about 2.5 cups)
1 medium onion
2 cups water
2 cups low-fat chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bunch fresh dill (about 2 tablespoons)

Peel carrots and cut into 1/2 inch coins. Peel and chop onion. In a 2.5-quart saucepan, bring carrots, onion, water, broth, salt and fennel seeds to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 30 to 40 minutes till carrots are very tender.
While carrots are cooking, rinse and chop dill, reserving several sprigs for garnish. Add dill to cooked carrots and, using great care, puree in two batches in a blender. If you plan to serve the soup cold, let it cool in the pan first. Garnish with fresh dill.

(Recipe from Guideposts magazine, Sept. 2007)

This time, I put in less onion (we don't like a ton) and instead put in a big spoonful of chopped garlic. Next time, I think I might try fresh ginger instead of dill (and perhaps the onion.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Movie Time

We went to the movies tonight... and saw this!

It was tremendous fun... neither Matt or I have seen it before. We loved it, and the 3-D was really cool! (And we got to keep the 3-D glasses, which were much less dorky than the huge IMAX 3D ones for HP5.) The songs are quirky (and get stuck in your head!) and it's visually interesting - but what do you expect from a Tim Burton film?
Unfortunately, it appears to be slated a very limited release, and we're caught it on the closing weekend... but who knows, maybe they will extend it so you can go if you'd like!

PS: I think Matt should be Jack Skellington for Halloween next year. What do you think?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't bother me when I'm shopping!

I need to know if others feel the same way I do about this.

Whenever I happen to be in the mall, I find myself accosted by multiple kiosk salesmen (usually), trying to get me to stop and try/buy different products off of their carts - hand lotion, heat packs, jewelery cleaners, head massagers, straightening irons, and the like. And usually the scenario goes something like this:

Me: walking along, window shopping, people watching, talking to whomever I'm with, etc.
Guy: Jumping in front of me or hurrying to my side, speaking in an insistent loud voice, "Excuse me, miss? Can I ask you a question?"
Me: "No, thank you," I reply, politely, without stopping.
Guy: Continues with his spiel without missing a beat, still with a very loud voice, more actively trying to get me to stop (example)- "Do you keep your nails natural? Let me see your hands..." as he gestures for me to hold out my hands, getting as close as he can without touching me.
Me: "No, thank you," I respond, a little more insistently, as I speed up and walk away.

At this point, most will back off and just tell you to have a nice day. I'm fine with that. Although I may not like them jumping on me at the mall (which is how most of them behave, men and women kiosk salespeople alike), I had one the other day who really took the cake. The conversation started out as I mentioned above, but instead of quitting with the second attempt, he said to me, sarcastically, "Oh, don't be so hard."

I didn't realize what he'd said until I got too far away to turn back around.

Don't be so hard????

Excuse me??? I politely said, "No Thank You," and that's your response? If I had realized it sooner, I would have stopped and said something to him. I know that he's trying to do his job and earn a living for himself. But it's not acceptable to say something like that to a stranger and potential customer, and expect them to respond in any way other than with negativity, even if you didn't mean it literally.

Is this just a local thing? Or is it just a kiosk salesperson tactic?

I don't like pushy salespeople, but after working in retail, I know how to politely deal with the situation. But this just took the cake. As I said before, I appreciate the fact that they are trying to earn a living... they just need to learn to read people! It's pretty obvious when someone is uninterested. There are body cues that let you know when people are open to being approached and when they want to just be left alone. A good salesperson is trained and knows how to recognize this. I make it pretty obvious. I avoid eye contact with them. If I am with someone else, I engage them in conversation before we walk by the kiosks. I concentrate on a window display.

Maybe I should just run screaming in the other direction the next time a kiosk salesperson approaches me. Do you think it would give them the hint?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A few thoughts and comments

Random things floating around in my brain. Do with them what you will.

I should be working on stuff for my Holiday concerts, but it seems so strange to be planning for them already. But November is such a short month in terms of school... I really should have started already. There's a lot about it that is so hard. You have to try to include everyone, and consider the group of students that you are working with. We're very multicultural, which is a cause of stress for me. I also don't have loads of money with which I could purchase things myself. Bah.

After church today, Matt had to stay for a meeting, so I went into the house to do some work. (He's not officially living in it yet, but we've moved some stuff in already.) I will say this... the people who lived there before left the house FILTHY and with a million and two holes in the (plaster) walls from a million and two nails and hooks. Did they try to turn the house into a museum? I did a little spackeling (it's been a while since I've done it so I wanted to make sure it looked all right before I did the whole house), put together a mobile clothing rack, cleaned the two tables we brought over, and washed all of the downstairs windows (inside only). It was 48 degrees inside the house (obviously the heat isn't on yet!) but the work kept me warm. I would have used the steam cleaner machine, but M has to change the outlets first and then they will be 3-pronged accessible.

I have a short work week, happy, happy, joy! Tomorrow and Wednesday are full days. Tuesday is a half day due to Election Day (go and vote, people... and if you live in NJ, be sure to vote for the open space bill! No more McMansions!) and then Thursday and Friday are teacher's convention days... so no school! Whee!

Went out with the gang (who we haven't seen since Labor Day weekend) for Indian food on Saturday night. Yum. My new favorite food. I ate WAY too much and then crammed in some ice cream afterwards. Ugh! I've been trying to be so good since the summer (almost 20lbs!) but I seem to be sabotaging myself lately. Time to get back on the wagon... which is hard with the holidays approaching! I. Must. Be. Strong!

All right. Enough kvetching. I need to go to sleep now and am very tired, which is perhaps why I just bumbled on and on like this. So, as I said at the beginning, do with it as you will. I will go to sleep.