Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Shells - Healthy

As you can tell by the amount of posting I am doing (two today). I am on spring break.

Lucky you...

I am on my renewed health kick. I figure that I run now 23 miles a week, but can't lose any more weight...it must be what I put into my pie hole. So from now until 10k race day (April 26th) I am going to work very hard at watching what I eat...and am going to share some new recipes with y'all...did I mention I have been in Arkansas

Sausage Stuffed Shells

24 jumbo pasta shells
1 lb. lean Italian turkey sausage
1 (15 oz) container of light Ricotta cheese
2 c. shredded Italian cheese blend reduced fat
(or Mexican blend if you already have it in the fridge...no one will notice)
1 (9 oz) box frozen spinach
3/4 c. shredded carrots
1 jar spaghetti sauce
(I love my Trader Joe's traditional marinara with a can of tomato sauce)
Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Then you cook the shells according to the package
3. Remove casings from sausage...sorry...that just doesn't look right

4. Then cook sausage over medium heat breaking up and draining liquid.

5. Thaw and drain spinach.

6. Stir Ricotta cheese, 1 c. shredded cheese blend (Mexican or Italian...or whatever), spinach, carrots, Italian seasoning, and sausage.

(And if you live at my house, with my kids you make a batch with just sausage, cheese blend and Ricotta...)

8. Spray 13 x 9 baking dishes with cooking spray and put 1/4 c. sauce on the bottom of dishes.

7. Then put about 3 T. full of mixture into the cooked shells. (Saving unused shells in case either child doesn't like the stuffed ones...I ain't no dumb guy) I sprinkled more spinach on top of GS and my shells...and place them into the baking dishes. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce on top of shells. Spray foil with cooking spray and cover dishes. Bake 40 minutes, uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered another 5 - 10 minutes.
I forgot to take a picture until we ate some of them...still they look, and are, Delish.

12 servings of 2 shells each=

290 calories
9 g. fat
40 g. cholesterol
720 mg. sodium
33 g. carbs
2 g. fiber
7 g. sugar
19g. protein

My kids kinda liked them...although, no joke, my son after eating two bites said...these have a taco flavoring to them...now mind you the Mexican blend did not have any seasoning just a blend of "Mexican" cheeses (whatever that is). I think Andrew would have liked them better if I just had Ricotta and sausage. GS and I loved them. Isabella ended up just eating the plain shells, very happily I might add.

...see I ain't no dumb guy.

More later.

- A Ro

More Arkansas Fun

Central Avenue, Hot Springs

Sounds very small town doesn't it. It doesn't at all sound like...

405 North, Los Angeles

But let me tell you my friends they are two twin slabs of cement separated at birth.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to be going back to Arkansas, back to down home living, no smog, a slow easy going time, and needless to say no three digit concrete slabs to hell.

...or so I thought.

We were on our way to the rehearsal dinner on Central Avenue, Hot Springs..and my friends we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. You know the light turns green and you creep towards it suddenly to have it turn yellow right before you get to it. I could feel my blood pressure start to rise and I felt the cuss words forming on my lips. I couldn't believe it here I am in Hot Springs Arkansas with the road rage that I feel in Los Angeles, and I wasn't even driving.

Then to top it all off Andrew gets a bloody nose, I mean a gusher. We had two Starbucks napkins, it was like waving a Kleenex at a charging bull (said in my best southern accent). Thankfully Dustin was in the truck ahead of us and his brother jumped out of the truck and brought us a handful of heavy duty napkins and we took care of that bloody nose.

...hey I just realized that I probably left those napkins in Kate's car...sorry Kate.

and Kate...thanks for talking me down back there on that concrete slab to hell...otherwise known as...

...Central Avenue, Hot Springs.

Oh and just so things are fair I sat in the parking lot that is your twin 405 N on my way home from the airport...he says hi...

Now I need some happy pictures to get me out of my road rage mood.

hot mess...beautiful hot mess

The dudes

Oh no you didn't catch that bouquet...you are NEVER, I MEAN NEVER getting married.

my heart is melting

OK I feel much better now.

next - Sausage Stuffed Shells...

-A Ro

Monday, March 30, 2009

Arkansas Part 2

First of all I owe some pictures...

My sister in law Michelle and our nephew Tyler

My brother Greg and his wife Michelle.

Good now I haven't slighted anyone...

Anyway...Saturday came...the big day. I went to run with my step dad at a crappy hole in the wall gym that housed the treadmills in the sauna.

Ok not really...but it felt like it...but I got 4.5 miles in before I thought I was going to swim away in my sweat...

...I know too much information.

We hung around the condo, ate Sam's Pizzeria pizza, which by the way was the yummiest pizza around (again diet started today), and got ready to go to the church. Did I mention that it was 37 degrees today...no I didn't...ok IT WAS 37 DEGREES TODAY. I didn't pack our parkas...oh wait we live in CA we don't own parkas...needless to say we froze, and no not the 50 degrees CA freezing...really freezing.

We had to go back to Little Rock that night because our plane left early Sunday morning so we needed to be closer to the airport. So I had to straighten the condo, pack, and get me and the two kidlets ready.

The service was beautiful and I only cried at the end of my song and it was because I looked at Kate...how stupid of me.

The reception was at Hamilton House one of Al Capone's joints. It was a nice small reception with, again, really fattening food. BBQ Chicken, Fried Catfish, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and salad....geez did I gain 10 pounds or what. We shoved all 10 of us into a big booth/table, and were quite cozy...

Did I mention that we travel with two, two-year olds?

I know it is just the way we roll...we are sorry Hamilton House and First Luthern Church of Hot Springs...I am pretty sure we didn't break anything.

Handsome Andrew and Beautiful Bella

Kate and her posse

Isabella was the hostess...she took her job very seriously...I am just glad no one tried to get by her without signing the guest book...she would have hunted them down.

Andrew was constantly taken down by the babies...he loved every minute of it.

He just loves those babies.

Tomorrow...a reciepe Stuffed Shells...yummy, and quite possibly some more pictures...

...I know, I know, but I just love my far away family.

- A Ro

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Trip to Arkansas

Well just got back from my sister's wedding in Arkansas. I know that you are thinking...geez you could have waited to blog...you know sit a bit, unpack, relax, but no...GS's sister (and my good friend) scared the crap out of me all because she was going through Amy blog withdrawals so...Suz this is for you.

Warning...had a busy few days...might be a little long...you can just skip through the pictures if you want.

My beautiful, brilliant, wonderful (I could go on) sister Kate got married this weekend in Hot Springs Arkansas

...and no that isn't the reason I didn't blog...yes Arkansas has internet but I did not have computer.

Anyway, she married a great guy Dustin and I am so happy for her. This blissful event meant that I got to go back to the state that I lived in for 6 years. I really like Arkansas. Now I know what you are thinking...and stop it...all the things you have heard about Arkansas are just not true.

...well most of them aren't.

I had such an amazing time. I got to spend the extended weekend with my brothers, sisters in law, niece, nephews, mom, step dad, my aunt Sara and of course Kate and Dustin. I got to meet really good people in Dustin's family, ate really good food (note to self...diet starts tomorrow), and stayed in a beautiful condo with my sibs and their families...with a PlayStation 3 and Guitar Hero World tour complete with microphone, drums, and two guitars.
Let me introduce the band...my brother Greg on microphone (which he had to rip out of my fingers...does he not realize I am the diva??), my son Andrew on bass guitar, my other brother Ryan on guitar, and my sister in law Stacia on drums...My aunt Sara and mom are in the background in utter amazement (or shame disguised as amazement)...it is noted that they stayed for about another minute or two and left the condo.

...if you live in the Hot Springs area I apologize for the noise level...but it couldn't be helped...we don't see each other that often.

I was also very honored...my sister asked me to sing at her wedding. I now know that emotional people like myself should a) not sing at weddings of people they adore and b) if they choose to ignore a) they should not look at the person they adore while singing...who knew you couldn't sing while weeping.

...oh yeah I knew that.

The plane trips there was great...no events, no delays, lots of sleep (on my part) and got to watch Madagascar II...awesome movie by the way I highly recommend it.
My daughter...loves having her picture taken (or as they say in Arkansas...picture made)
My son...hates having his picture taken...or picture made if you are needing Arkansas sub titles.

Got into Little Rock at about 6:30 pm...hit the Taco Bell...dodged tornado warnings (welcome to the south)...helped Kate pack...and made it to the condo in Hot Springs. Now here is one of the reasons I love the south...

Dustin's mom...whom we had never met...arranged for us to stay at this amazing condo...and she met us at the condo at about 10:30 pm with a homemade bundt cake, a tray of cookies, a meat and cheese platter, bread, fixins (that is also an Arkansas word), soda (caffeine free...you rock Donna), and a case of bottled water. THEN she asked me if she could run to Kroger for us to pick up breakfast foods...yeah like I'm gonna let her do that.

Kate your mother in law is awesome...God love her (another popular Arkansas saying).

My brothers, sisters in law, niece, and nephews all drove overnight from Iowa and got to the condo around 6:30 am...Friday morning. Needless to say I got to babysit my 2 year old niece Sam while everyone else slept...not sure why the only little one who didn't sleep much in the car was wide awake and ready to play.

Oh wait...I know why...it is because she is my niece Sam...the hot mess.

I had fun with her and gave her back to her Mama so Bella and I could go to the salon with the gals. I only went along for the company as I hate having my feet touched...

...I know call the therapist.
Here is Kate and Bella

Bella getting toes done...just watching this about did me in...I just hate feet.

Bella getting finger nails done. The lady was super nice and Bella had a good time. I enjoyed hanging out with the girls...and got Starbucks after...can't complain about that.

That night was the rehearsal dinner...fun, good food, (I know I know diet tomorrow...I have a love hate relationship with southern food), lots of happy tears, (the females in my family really know how to cry...and we do it often...I know this and yet I still agreed to sing at her wedding I really need to work on knowing my limits and sticking within them)...and lots of pictures...here are a few.

Kate and Dustin...awww
Joey...my adorable nephew...oh my gosh...sorry Kate for the butt in the background.
me and the hot mess...Sam
The hot mess's parents my brother Ryan and Stacia...btw they both lost about a 50 pounds between the two of them since last I saw them...a true inspiration for me. My other sister in law lost some too...not sure why I don't have a picture of Greg and Michelle...sorry.
My boy and hot mess's brother Ty...these two were inseparable...I love my guys
Me and my kidlets
Did we mention that we travel with two two year olds???

Again we apologize Hot Springs.

More tomorrow...I am sure you have had enough for tonight.

-A Ro

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Big Mama a few days ago blogged about her 5 year old daughter playing t-ball...her first attempt at an organized sport. Reading this blog gave me some really strong memories.

Oh, ok you talked me into it...I'll share.

The first one was my first attempt at an organized sport. The difference in my story was that it was softball...and I was in the 6th grade. Now I would advise any of you out there with young children please I implore you for the sake of all humanity your daughter's first experience with organized sports should not be in the 6th grade. I am not sure if any of you remember what it was like being in 6th grade...granted I barely remember...but it was NOT the time to don sports shorts, be forced to run fast, hit a ball, catch a ball, and throw with any kind of accuracy...all with other girls...who OF COURSE were judging your every move, and how your body looked in those lime green sport shorts.

Obviously I wasn't athletically inclined or I would have started sports much earlier...at MY request. I was very into music...I loved to sing and play the piano. But for some reason my father thought I needed a sport to enhance my dull and boring life, or he just needed to fulfill a need of his, but had two sons just 3 and 5 years younger than I was who were both HUGE sports kids...so that couldn't be it. My father was an amazingly awesome dad, and I am sure he had the best of intentions and I realize that by being an only child himself, and me being his oldest he had NO idea the trauma associated with being an awkward geeky girl...being put in left field...barely able to hold the glove AND being told that you must catch a pop fly before you can go home...needless to say I was the LAST one EVERY time.

However, and it is not very often that I say this, but looking back I was glad that I was forced to do this. I enjoyed the "team" sport...I had good coaches who cared a lot...I got to bond with my dad on HIS level...and I got some good exercise (again not sure what you were like in 6th grade, but body issues were a big part of mine)

...I still don't recommend it.

The second was remembering my Andrew's first t-ball experience. I went to his Junior's baseball game last night and watching my now 13 year old make a spectacular diving catch in center field and hit a smoking triple to left field makes me forget his younger days.

BUT...he did used to be the little kid who would hit the ball off of the tee and then try to field it himself. I loved watching him play t-ball. He was such a little guy and LOVED baseball. In fact it was just last year some 8 years after his t-ball days that he actually turned into quite the baseball player. He has worked very hard to get where he is today but his passion for the game is no more than it was back then...when the weight of his helmet practically knocked him over.

...I secretly love to go to those fields and watch the, as Big Mama said, the players going after the ball like little ants going after the lone Dorito.

...such a mood lifter.

More later

-A Ro

Friday, March 20, 2009

The no caffiene drama...

Well I am going to make a short story long...so bear with me.

Last year about this time I found a lump in my left breast. Now I have had a "doctors saying that you have cancer"...cancer scare that turned out to not be cancer so my tolerance for this subject is greater than most, and at the same time my respect for disease is also greater than most. So I trudged to the doctor to get to the bottom of it. He thought it was serious enough to send me to a breast surgeon...which I greatly appreciated since usually it takes a month of Sunday's to get through the red tape of insurance. So this not so stoic not very serious patient went off to the very stoic very serious breast surgeon and the conversation as I was lying naked on the examination table went like this:

Dr. F: ah yes I feel the lump

Me: (does he realize how silly I look lying here with a paper shirt) oh...

Dr. F: You have very lumpy breasts...do you realize that?


After that question about a dozen responses went through my mind...I would now like to share a few with you. Keep in mind he is an uber stuffy doctor with NO sense of humor.

First One:
Dr. F: You have very lumpy breasts...do you realize that?
Me: Thanks for noticing

Second One:
Dr. F: You have very lumpy breasts...do you realize that?
Me: Well I have never touched another woman's breasts so I really don't have anything to compare it to.

Third One:
Dr. F: You have very lumpy breasts...do you realize that?
Me: Well I have never touched another woman's breasts...well unless you count that time in college when I had too much to...oh never mind.

TIME IN: Ok here is what I really said

Dr. F: You have very lumpy breasts...do you realize that?

Me: oh well no...(see I can be good)

Dr. F: Do you drink caffeine?

Me: Well only 3 shots of espresso a day...

Dr. F: No more caffeine for you...no soda, coffee, decaf (who knew decaf had caffeine), no chocolate...only herbal teas. Caffeine is linked to fibro-cystic breast disease...which you have.

AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH No say it isn't so...how will I go on...how will I survive...GS just bought me a new coffee bean grinder and a new bag of oh so wonderful Starbucks coffee, and my shipment of Cinnamon Dolce Sugar Free syrup just came in...why me...why me.

now mind you the cancer scare completely left my mind and the thought of no caffeine was much worse than the possibility that I had breast cancer...how crazy is that???

...well he was pretty certain that I didn't have breast cancer...ok but NO CAFFEINE???

So after a week of complete and utter exhaustion, massive headaches, grouchyness...and the wonderful GS (who can't live without his pot of black coffee each morning and really can't function without ingesting that first cup) offering to never drink coffee again. I made it. I got over the needing caffeine.... and even without GS having to sacrifice anything.

Now what I miss the most is the actual taste. The going to a coffee shop for conversation over a hot cup of joe...is what I miss. I miss Starbucks iced venti non fat sugar free Cinnamon dolce lattes. And as silly as it sounds I miss fountain diet cokes...not many places have fountain drinks with caffeine free.

But I prevailed...I found that I like Starbucks iced venti passion tea with sugar free vanilla...and I found that hot tea lattes from Coffee Bean. I pushed on...I forged new loves...now they are not with the intensity of the old loves, but life does go on you know. Although nothing really replaced the Cinnamon Dolce iced latte...

until now...

So now the long story comes to an end...Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has new iced tea lattes

...so today I sat down and stared one in the face...a Toffee Rooiboos iced tea latte, and I said "tea latte, just so you know you won't replace my cup of heaven known as the cinnamon dolce latte, but you have potential to fill this void in my life...now no pressure, but I am counting on you."

...I stared...

...I slowly sipped...

and I really liked it...I think I have filled the hole in my drink obsession...

....maybe there is hope for a happy life yet.

P.S....not to disappoint, but there was no time in college when I had too much...but you probably already knew that.

More Later.
-A Ro

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Back...I know you missed me

Hi...well there is no excuse for my lack of blogging. But I am gonna try...my daughter had strep throat the week I got back from OK...and I had my spring choral concert that week too...then I got sick, really am sick. I have this head cold that just won't go away. So there...take it or leave it.

I know really no excuse.

So today is St. Patrick's Day, and I do have my green shirt that I purchased at Target for $4.00. I played the game and am wearing green, although I am pretty sure no one would dare pinch me...but I am not taking any chances.

Now before I continue I need to put out a disclaimer...

...I have nothing against the Irish...there I said it.


Why is it that we all put on shirts that say "Kiss me I'm Irish" when clearly most of us aren't. Why do we plunk down the bucks to buy those $4.00 target shirts, and those Old Navy ones, that not only are green but have the date on them so you can't even wear them again...OK so I do wear them again...can you blame me? Then there are all the foods that people turn green. Now I don't know about you but my mom taught me that usually when food that isn't normally green...suddenly is green...it shouldn't be eaten. But somehow on March 17th we eat green bagels, green eggs, green pancakes, and drink green beer...there is just something so wrong about that. Kindergartners make leprechaun catchers and look for gold at the end of rainbows...just one more thing that will crush them later in life when they realize that they just aren't real.

In summary: For people who are Irish... I say CELEBRATE...drink your green beer, eat your green bagels, wear "Kiss Me I am Irish" shirts (because you ARE Irish).

For those of us who are not...be respectful observers of this holiday. Don't drink yourself into oblivion claiming that you are Irish just because you wear green, eat green food, and can put away the Guinness.

OK...I know no one wants to get pinched...so wear the green, but just not the Erin Go Braugh shirt...cause admit it...you have no idea what it means.

Things I have Noticed (for the past couple of weeks):

1. Sexual Harassment seminars can give you vital information if you can get over watching your peers act out those high-larious vignettes.

2. GS is such a great dad.

3. There are just some people who are never happy no matter what.

4. My students are great...they work so hard and really know how to put it all together.

5. Sarah and Justin are really great kids.

6. I hate being sick...really hate it.

7. How can a sweet little girl have strep throat when her throat doesn't even hurt? Go figure.

8. I missed blogging...and missed reading the blogs I follow. Better get cracking.

Things I am Thankful For:
1. My sweet strep throat girl.

2. My growing up little boy.

3. GS and his kids.

4. Great colleagues who allow me to stay home when I am sick.

5. Spring Break...only two weeks away.

More Later

- A Ro

Sunday, March 8, 2009

So Much to Say

OK there are some days when I can hardly think of things to say but today...so much to say. I am sure it is because I didn't get to blog yesterday about my final day at the conference and traveling home...so I guess we shall get started no?

Yesterday was the last day of my conference and I really had a good time. I went to this little brewery for lunch before I needed to go back to hotel get my stuff and get in the much anticipated taxi ride home. So I sit down in the bar area...yes by myself...and notice two gentlemen sitting at a table just across the bar...close enough to see me but far enough away for me to not hear what they are saying. Well half way through my lunch and a few odd glances I realized that I know this guy. He was the choral director at the university where my ex used to work in Arkansas. Now here is my immediate dilemma. I think he recognizes me and we did hang out together with his wife often, but I hadn't seen him since we moved...6 + years ago. So, of course, the rest of my lunch is pretty much ruined because the only thing I could think about was how to handle leaving without saying hi because I would have to pass his table to leave the restaurant. Well I decide that I am just going to go up to him and stick out my hand and say hello...I know what you are saying "who are you and what have you done with my A Ro". Well that is all fine and dandy but as I get up to gather my stuff and hop down off of the bar stool I was sitting on I hit the end of my knife on my plate (teeter totter style) and it goes flying across the bar almost hitting the guy at the next table but the most embarrassing thing was the "KLANGITY KLANG KLANG...KLANG...KLANG...(wait for it) KLANG" as it bounces across the wooden floor. I thought I was gonna die. Well the good news is that I went up shook his hand and had a nice, but thank goodness short, conversation.

...I just hope he didn't notice that my heart was beating out of my chest and i was shaking...geez.

So I go back to the hotel to get my bag and have the hotel call me a taxi...easy enough. I go to the front desk and ask for a taxi and the guy says...and I swear it was in slow motion like the movies..."Hey these two ladies are going to the airport too would you like to share a taxi with them"...I am so sure the look on my face was horrifying because they both look at me and give me major looks of encouragement. So I am about to face my worst fears...small talking while riding in a taxi....AHHHHHH but it does get worse...I know you are thinking how can it get worse...I HAD TO SIT IN THE FRONT SEAT.

...see I told you.

Things I Noticed:
1. The airlines have this thing where when you board the plane if you are "Super platinum, gold bonded, executive bathroom, I am so important" first class you get to walk on a 4 foot red carpet as you go to the the boarding pass taking lady. C'mon are you serious?? I would feel like such a fool walking on the red carpet. Ok I understand they paid god knows too much money for a plane ticket, and they should be able to board the plane first, but do they REALLY need to walk on a red carpet...PUHLEASE
2. They also have this new section of the plane: Economy first class, I believe...looks real similar to the seat I have but i guess not. On this plane last night the "regular joes like me's" section was packed full and the economy first class had about 8 people in it, but the odd thing was that the 6 exit row seats were just in front of me and two of the rows were empty and the other two rows had one person in them each, and they both were very elite older women, you know the kind who think that the rule about cell phone usage, sitting down in your seat before we can leave, and making sure all of the Gucci luggage is properly stowed, doesn't apply to them. Now I was thinking do I really want those two to be the only two that have to figure out how to get all the 100 or so people behind them off this plane??? Needless to say I was a little worried. I just think that the people I want to be sitting in those rows are the people who wouldn't pay extra money for a little more leg room and who would save me before their matching Prada bags...I'm just say'in.
3. I love those kind of moments that you will remember forever. Today sitting in Disney Concert Hall watching my son play the cello with this amazing youth orchestra really struck me hard. I had tears streaming down my face and goose bumps the entire time. It was truly a moving and surreal experience.

Andrew, Me, and Bella at Disney Concert Hall after the performance.

Things I am Thankful For:

1. An amazing, moving, goose bump experience today.

2. Arriving home safely...and there were moments I wasn't so sure.

3. GS for coming all the way to LAX very late at night to get me after a long day of controlling airplanes himself.

4. The ability to get up this morning and run 5 miles despite jet lag and daylight savings time.

5. My two beautiful children

More later

- A Ro

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Trip to Oklahoma Part III - Day 2 Conference

Day 2 of the conference was very enjoyable for me. For one thing I got to shake hands and meet one of my favorite choral conductors who I admire so very much...James Jordan. It was a real thrill. I also attended a session that I really enjoyed...I love getting practical things that make me a better teacher...I also took a nap...that is just something that I don't ever get to do. It was nice. I also had dinner with GS's sister, and we went to a very good Mexican restaurant and then to a worship concert hosted by my conference.
Here we are...geez do I have a big forehead or what.
Things I Noticed Today:
1. Why do hotels have ice machines on every floor?...I just don't get it. They give us all an ice bucket in each room and an ice machine on each floor. Why?? Are we supposed to make and serve martinis? Why ice? Why not a water machine?...I'm just say'in.
2. I avoid people like the plague...not sure why. I meet people and say hi and have a short conversation and then if I see them again...I avoid them...I know call me coo-coo birds.
3. I am getting better at eating alone...I don't feel so crazed about it...yea me.
4. I don't think at the concert tonight that I could have handled one more song with a text in Latin...geez those people are long winded.
5. I realize that I just love naps...uh oh I'm in trouble.
6. I like being alone in a hotel room, but I really miss GS, Isabella, and Andrew...and Maggie of course.
7. I am dreading the getting back home part of my trip tomorrow. Taxi, people on airplanes, and just a general day of travel and then comes the jet lag...oh woe is me.
8. I am right about certain things...and this conference made me realize that. Sometimes people higher up than me are just plain wrong.
Things I am Thankful For:
1. Great dinner, good concert, and great company.
2. Being validated.
3. My adorable Bella the chimney sweep, and my upper school chorus for cheering her on in my absence.
4. A great opportunity in this trip.
5. For my school for sending me here.
More Later
- A Ro

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Trip to Oklahoma Part II - The Conference

It is show and tell time...
Here is the conference arches and those are my new friends...
...not really I don't have any new friends....

There really is a Starbucks on every corner...thank goodness!!!

Kind of blurry, but Bricktown is an awesome place in OKC...

My cool hotel...Courtyard Marriott...$300 a room...thank goodness for ACDA discount.

Really good spaghetti...I was proud of myself...I really wanted the 15 layer lasagna, but got the spaghetti with marinar sauce...yea me.

Something about a hotel bed is so nice...if you forget that other people have slept there...yikes I think I'll sleep on the floor tonight.

I am so proud of myself...I got up to run, I only ran 4 miles, but it was really hot in the small workout room here at the hotel...I know no excuses...but I feel like I at least did something to help my goals out. I have been doing a good job of eating.
But the thing I am proudest about is the fact that I am doing so many things on my own...eating on my own...going to sessions and concerts on my own.
So I went to the Jazz concert...and was planning on going to the reception...but I got to feeling like I didn't want to go alone. But gosh darn it I did it...
...hated every minute of it...but i did it.
The summation of my day...riding on the bus (nice bus with a video player) back to the hotel after the crappy reception...watching a dubbed version of "Paul Blart Mall Cop". English was coming out of their mouths...but there mouths weren't moving in the same direction....
weird day...
More later
-A Ro

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Trip to Oklahoma Part 1 - The journey

I hate to travel...it isn't something I dread, but when I am doing it I am constantly thinking that I really am not having any fun. The only thing I really like is sitting at the airport...watching people. So as I am, now, sitting in my hotel, done with travel, ready for a great experience at my convention, I decide to do another list...(as you know how much my life revolves around lists)

Things I Hate About Traveling - Chronological order - Please keep in mind this does not include the stress of planning to travel...that is in an earlier post.

1. 2:30 - alarm goes off time to get up...getting up early sucks...getting stuck in LA traffic sucks more...especially if you are a worrier like me.

2. 3:30 - shuttle is supposed to be here...it is not...did I mention that I am a worrier?

3. 3:45 - shuttle comes and there are already three passengers on the van plus the driver. We sit in complete silence for the 40 minute ride. By silence I mean no talking...the Muzak radio was all anyone could hear...and my favorite was the alto saxophone version of "I Will Survive". It was so hard for me to sit there in silence especially when two of the men sneezed and I wanted to say "Bless You" but that might have opened up a big ol can of "needing conversation" worms and I don't think that any of us could have handled that at 3:45 am. But my mind does start to wander...I think things like what if I were to just turn around and yell "Boogedy Boogedy Boo"

...don't worry I didn't.

4. 5:00 am - I finally get through security...and let me tell you that is a whole 'nother Oprah for me...grouchy people waiting in line...feeling like you can't get your crap in the bins fast enough for the people behind you...taking your shoes off and holding your breath as you walk through the metal detector and the panic you feel while you are trying to gather your crap fast enough for the people behind you...geez.

5. 5:15 sitting at the gate with my Starbucks iced tea...now the worrying begins for me...I worry about not finding a place to put my carry on suitcase...I realize this is soooo crazy, but the first thing I check is what group I am in...so I know if I board towards the beginning or towards the end...this flight I am group number 3...towards the end...

...I know I need to call my therapist.

6. 6:00 - finally on the plane...don't worry I got my suitcase into a spot...whew. However watching people putting stuff in the overhead really makes me wonder about the human race. Some people just don't know how to fit things into spaces with any sort of intelligence. It isn't hard people...

7. 6:00 - 12:15 - Having to sit with people and make small talk...AAAAAHHHHHAAAAHHH. I just hate being so superficial. I really think that is it...I hate small talk chit chat. I hate doing it, and I hate listening to other people do it...I love talking to people I know really well, and no one would ever label me as shy...just don't like it.

8. 12:15 - The ever so dreaded taxi ride...'nuff said.

9. I guess just being by myself...eating by myself...sitting by myself...I really need to be better at that...I will try to really enjoy this.

10. Missing my kids and Bella being sick...geez feeling bad for John...even though I have done it numerous times before having a sick kid with no help...sucks living so far away from family, you have to depend on others...not good at that either.

I've got good news and bad news...

Bad News first - I have to do this again on Saturday
Good News - I won't blog about it...

More later -- Pictures and conference stories...I'm sure something crazy or weird will happen, although we are talking about choir directors...

- A Ro

Monday, March 2, 2009

Time Travel

Who knew Cher singing: "If I could turn back tahhooum" (translation if I could turn back time) would be so profound...but if you think about it who doesn't have those moments where we think if only I could be like superman and fly around the earth so it would rotate backwards and I could have a chance for a "do over"

This all came about yesterday. Andrew had a football game at noon and we were running a little early...(I know you are thinking what it wrong with this picture)...anyway they had just come from their dads and ate a very big breakfast (this sentence is justifing what I am about to say) so we decided to go get a little ice cream.

...well during the second half of the game the ice cream man came to the park and Bella's friend went to get ice cream...and I told Bella that she already had ice cream so she would need to pass on the ice cream man this time. She was fine with this.


Her friend came back with a snow cone...to which Bella exclaimed "I LOVE SNOW CONES"...which she does. So she wished for the entire game that she hadn't gotten the ice cream cone but "saved" her sweet treat for the snow cone. She then told me that she wished there was a way to go back in time and be able to do things differently. The funny thing was that she was telling me this like I hadn't wished this a hundred times...a day.

This was so funny to me and made me think about this idea. There are so many things that I wished I had a "do over".

Now there are so many things that are just easy do overs. Like stopping at one piece of pie instead of two...not choosing to wear the too tight jeans hoping they will stretch...or that time you put your foot in your mouth when you told your boss "Hey my mom has that dress" or you got up to lip sync "I Kissed a Girl" at your faculty party...I know I know get over it...

But there are mistakes that are just meant to be mistakes. Things that we learn from. Like having your heart broken in so many pieces that it seems it will never be repaired only to have it put back together stronger than before. Growing stronger through battling a disease or a loss.

I think there is a good reason we don't have the ability to re-do some things. There are times when I was in the middle of a situation that if I had the magic re-do card I would have not seen it through, but looking back were life changing situations that made me who I am today.

I am also a perfectionist so I fear that I would have spent so much of my life re-doing things because really, even if we got re-dos it would never be as perfect as it is in our minds. We would spend our whole lives trying to be perfect instead of growing and living through our mistakes.

...but I do feel my daughters pain...choosing something that you thought you wanted and then to have the perfect thing show up right around the corner. I hope she remembers that mint chocolate chip ice cream is really good...but its no snow cone.

More later
-A Ro