Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy birthday

Originally uploaded by karijean
So that thing? That I was doing with a friend? That's my friend there, with his son. And together, we put up a basketball hoop for Andrew.

That's right, we were smarter than a basketball hoop. And it might not even fall down! What's more, it might not even pull the garage down with it.

Putting up the hoop was a two-day cavalcade of "What the hell?" and "Who builds a garage with studs that are 21-and-a-half inches apart?" and "Ah shit--do we go back and fix that, or keep going and pretend we didn't see it?"

Amazingly enough, Andrew has tested it (with his brand new basketball) and it hasn't fallen down yet. It went exactly as I'd hoped, by the way. As we were driving home, Andrew was chattering about his brother said this, his father did that, and so on and so forth, until we turned into our driveway.... it went something like this:

"So Don said that he was never going to--HEEEEYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!"

That was a good "Hey!", just FYI.

I feel quite satisfied.

And as an aside: I checked, and I still suck at basketball.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mountain and river from airplane

I'm back. I've actually been back for two days, but they've been busy days. I (along with someone else) have been preparing a surprise for Andrew's birthday tomorrow.

Because he's not here.

We missed each other by about 30 minutes at the airport on Friday. He left just before we landed. Very very frustrating. I suppose, though, since his step-grandmother had passed away and there was a funeral and everything, you know, I suppose I don't come first. Annoyingly enough. Because I miss him like a severed limb right now. Even if he did leave a nearly completely empty fridge. A fridge so empty it's like a postmodern piece of art. Empty but for kale. Which is the next best thing to empty.

So anyway. Aggie, I will totally catch you next time I'm in the cities, but this trip was saved to meet Miss Maisie Jean. Who is so much cuter than her pictures, it's almost ridiculous. And then Miss Maisie's Mama, Leah, and Caroline and I had to catch up. I want to come up with the perfect punchline to, "So, a teacher, a lawyer and a doctor go into a bar..."

This trip was... it was good. As good as it could be. Aside from the night in the cities, none of it was really for myself. It was one of those trips that you make because you know you should. I love my grandparents, but man oh man oh man, am I glad to be back. Parts of the trip were painful, because it was easier to have no conversation at all than deal with my grandmother's confusion, but then you feel like a heel for thinking that, but then you have to explain to her AGAIN that yes, Perkins is probably this crowded because it's NOON, and that's what happens... I know the trip was the right thing to do. Bleahghgh.

So, yeah, to see pictures from the trip, click on the view from the airplane. I'm pretty proud of some of those pictures, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In Duluth...

When I played rugby, we had one of those singing-forever songs, where you make up verses as you go, that had everything occuring "in Duluth." ("Oh, there's keyholes in the doors and knotholes in the floors in Duluth...")

Let me tell you, not much occurs in Duluth.

Yesterday, we spent about forty-five minutes talking about the grocery stores in the area. Because one had been updated, "and let me tell you, that is the nicest grocery store I've ever been in." And then we compared it to every grocery store in the area.

And then we ate.

That is the major activity here. If we're not eating, we're planning to eat. If we're not planning to eat, we're planning to snack. And so on. I'm falling into the soporific speed. It's 2:00 and my major accomplishment is that I'm dressed.

But I'm seeing my grandparents (92 and still living on their own, in the house my mom lived in when she was a teenager!) and that's good, and it's all good. Plus I got to change my schedule so that I can stop of in Minneapolis and see some of the best women in the world.

As soon as we decide where to eat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by karijean
We were supposed to go camping.

That's what was supposed to happen.

Yes, it's Put Everything On Hold week, and so normally this wouldn't have been the type of week where we could make plans, but the campsite is 45 minutes from Portland, and we thought that even if I had to come in to the doctor, we could do it.

And we reeeeally wanted to go camping. All the moreso because we haven't had a chance to go camping by ourselves. Don't get me wrong: I LOOOOVE camping with my friends, but Andrew and I haven't gone camping with just each other and we really wanted to. Andrew has FINISHED HIS BOOK (Thank the sweet little baby jeebus) and I start up teachery stuff next week for real and...

Like I said, we reeeally wanted to go camping.

Apparently, so did EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THE ENTIRE STATES OF WASHINGTON AND OREGON. After coming back home from the campsite of choice (first come first served, and apparently we weren't there early enough), Andrew went online and I manned the phones. And I'm only slightly exagerrating when I say there was not one available campsite in either Washington or Oregon. Because there were two. One was north of Seattle, and the other was south of Bend. In the middle of a baseball field. Aside from the horrid idea of camping in the middle of a baseball field, that would seriously impede our Saturday morning doctory plans.

So THAT sucked.

So Saturday after the doctory stuff, we decided, you know what? Fuck it. We tossed a picnic in the car and headed off to wine country. Our favorite vinyard was holding two bottles of one of our favorite wines for us, it was a gorgeous day for sipping wine and eating cheese, and so we did. And while we were out there, we figured, hey, what else could we do? So we hopped back into the car and just kept on driving, on to the coast. And then we drove home through the Tillamook forest. Every car we passed that had camping or outdoor gear we said, "They're probably camping this weekend. Assholes." But instead, we went geocaching and exploring and "Well, why not go left?" up the coast, and I'm not sure, but we might have had a better time than if we'd gone camping.

I'm going to like this Andrew's Done With His Book thing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I love to be a student.

So, that conference.

One of the few benefits from my school dsitrict is that they will reimburse up to $550 or so a year of expenses, and if you don't spend it, it rolls over. Since I haven't spent anything for two years, I've got some bucks saved up, and I decided that since I like this AP Stats gig, I might as well really go for it. The folks that own the AP brand (and, seriously, make no mistake: it is a brand, just like American Eagle, Hollister, Dell, and Converse) run institutes all across the country and so I signed up.

I took one of these last year, up in northern Washington, which--uck, so much suckitude, other than the fact I got to hang with a dear dear friend of mine and his wife.

(speaking of which: mental note--they have a baby due. Is it a boy or a girl? Must check into that.)

But I figured this institute was in driving range, and wouldn't fuck (tooo much) with our Make A Goddamn Baby plans for the summer and I could still, you know, progress as a teacher, so hey! Everyone wins!

And of course, it falls right in the week of every cycle that is the Put Everything On Hold week. When calculating weeks and shit in the spring, I thought the PEOH week would be NEXT week, but apparently I miscounted. PEOH week is, um, FUN (or not), but I'll talk about that some other time.

Anyway, I'm in this training.

And. Um. I LOVE it.

Yeah, sure, I'll bitch about the class, about the 25% who have no idea what they're talking about but still insist on FUCKING TALKING. And maybe I'll bitch about the teacher, who isn't very good at getting people in line and making them shut up. And sure, I know, Teachers Make The Worst Students (ask me sometime about the Freedom Finger learning experience...). But I love being a student.

I love it.

I am actually learning some cool projects that I could do as a 1-day or 2-day thing that really do make the "Ah-ha!" light go on (or at least they did for me). Hard concepts, like transformations, or how to explain R-squared, or whatever Stats-associated topic may come up... this instructor has some great material. It makes me think, and I actually do understand some things better because of what I've learne.d I will be a better teacher because of this class. And soon I have to do some homework for it, but first I'll finish this because...

Also? Hee. I ran into another teacher from my district. Not from my school--there aren't any (which actually is a surprise). But this teacher (who rocks, ROCKS!) and I know each other from some post-grad classes we took together. Turns out she's going to be teacing some of the same classes as me and asked how AP Stats had gone. Oh, I said, I had a 90% success rate. THAT WAS YOU?!?!?! she asked.


Apparently there is some talking. At the district level. ABOUT ME. That she overheard. Because an influential parent said, "LOOK at this teacher with the 90% passing rate: you can't TELL me that teaching doesn't affect that." Emphasis, by the way, on influential.


So yeah, despite that PEOH factor of this week, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm a rocking teacher, and I'M GOING TO BE EVEN BETTER.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Um, hello?

"Hi, Kari? This is Dr. Doogie's office. Yeah, your 8:45 appointment is... well, he's on vacation and so won't be in that morning, so will a 10:45 appointment be okay? In fact, I'm just going to put you down for that, so if it's not okay, can you call us? 'kay, thanks, byeee!"

Um, no? It's so very NOT okay? Because I'm supposed to be twenty miles north of here at that time? And my ovaries kind of feel like two inflated balloons so I kind of have to get in for this appointment tomorrow some time? And so it's great that the Doogster can take a vacation with his family and all, but if there was doubt about whether he'd take appointments in the morning after coming back, could you ahve scheduled me for another time? AAaaannd you've pretty much fucked my ability to attend this conference, thereby probably fucking my ability to get the $600 refunded? So fuck you very much? 'kay, thanks, byeeeee!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

This thing we're doing

So, for that brief time I was pregnant, and basically ever since then, I've been putting a lot more thought into what I eat. Not losing-weight wise, because I am doing too damn much to my body right now to fight a two-front war with it. I'm on meds that make me gain weight, I gained weight while pregnant that a miscarriage doesn't help with losing, depression does great things for one's waistline, whatever, I'm trying to let that go.

What I am trying to do is pay more attention on the fresh vs. packaged, local vs. organic vs. conventional, enhanced vs. not debate. Not necessarily picking sides, but at least being aware of the payoffs and costs. I guess what struck a chord was reading one of the many THINGS YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF NOW THAT YOU'RE A HUMAN INCUBATOR books and it said, "You should be trying to each as much organic food as possible." Now, that might be dirty-hippy lies, but whatever it is, it resonated with me.

As Em said once, there weren't choices a generation ago that we have now, but there also wasn't the massive amounts of additives either. And we need to think about the growth hormones, the perservatives, the corn syrup, the partially hydroginated di-methyl siloxane or whatever. I'm not saying don't buy movie popcorn, because hello? Have you gone to a movie with me? I guess I'm saying, it makes sense that some of this stuff may be affecting us in ways that we won't ever know.

So Andrew and I--okay, mostly at my urging--have signed up for this great thing, Organics To You, that delivers fresh produce to us each week.

We call it the Hippie Box.

This is me, who hasn't cooked with fresh food much in her life (and whose favorite recipe is a casserole that has exactly 1 ingredient that's fresh--who's midwestern????) It's kind of giving me a hard time, because, well, for instance, here's next week's box:

1-6oz. Blueberries - *LOCAL, farm direct*
4-5 Nectarines
1lb. Apricots - *LOCAL*
3-5 Pluots - 'A Plum-Apricot Hybrid'
1lb. YukonGold Potatoes - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 Romaine Lettuce - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 bunch Kale or Chard - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1/2lb. Snow Peas - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 bunch Green Onions - *LOCAL, farm direct*
6-7oz. Crimini Mushrooms - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 bunch Beets - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1-2 sm. Red Peppers - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 bunch Broccoli - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1/2lb. 'french filet' Green Beans - *LOCAL, farm direct*

Okay, the first few are easy: fruits! And fresh fruits! And Pluots? SO FREAKING TASTY. And the potatoes, well--mashed is easy. Lettuce--uh, salads, sandwiches? And then we start getting into what I call the "uh-oh!" territory. Kale or Chard? Yeah, I'm googling recipes for that. Snow peas? Beets? I have never ever cooked with these. I mean, I know how to cook broccoli, but seriously, how much cooking of fresh vegetables do I do? Well, now I do quite a lot.

We get the Hippie box each Tuesday, but I can look up what I'm going to get on Saturday, so that I spend most of Saturday and Sunday figuring out what I can make. I'm making a lot of stir-frys--I had to go out and buy a wok finally--because that's easy, healthy, and uses a LOT of veggies.

But we get either chard or kale, or--lucky day!--both once a week, and I am running out of ways to make that shit tasty.

End of Summer.

I have been spectacularly unproductive this week. About the most useful things I've done are: I gave blood, and I squeegeed the new storm door.

I had to use my new 99-cent IKEA squeegee which by the way has a name. It's the LETTEN. So even a 99-cent squeegee has a goofy Swedish name.

And in trying to google what the name of the squeegee is, I found folks who are selling the squeegee! On Ebay! For $2.99!!!! That's some markup.

Anyway, my summer is basically over--next week I'm in AP training again. I know, your pity is overwhelming. But it's part relief and part disappointment. I get to have a purpose every day again, a reason to shower and get dressed again. On the other hand, I haven't reorganized the basement like I had planned to, cleaned out the garage like I had planned to.

I did this training last year, but I did it in waaaaaay northern Washington, so I had to sleep in a hotel every night. It basically sucked. Now I get to do this training here and come home every night which is way cool. Plus, I couldn't have gone away this week anyway, because I'll have at least one if not two doctor's appointments this week which would have been difficult from waaaaaaay northern Washington.

So, bye bye summer, hello fall. Hello Back to School clothes (thank you Mommy!), reasons to wear new super cute shoes, and homework. Good bye aimless lonely days, copious free time, and America's Next Top Model marathons. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I never lived there, but I visited often.

I have family there. I have friends there. I've checked in with everyone I can think of, or checked in with someone who checked in with them. God bless Teh Internets, because when cell phones go down, you can still post to a site.

I'm glad everyone I can think of is okay.