Thursday, October 26, 2006

3 good things or more

Oh man, this tree I pass everyday coming home from work. It's amazing! The tree is huge and the sunlight passes right through the leaves at around 4:00. I keep saying I'm going to take my camera with me to work one day so on the way home I can snap a picture of it. But I keep forgetting, and then I realize it probably wouldn't be as beautiful to look at the picture anyway. The colors of the leaves this week have been amazing on that tree. It's all orange and yellow, and it changes value ever so slightly. It's as if Andy Goldsworthy made the tree himself. It just brightens my day everytime I go past it. I wish I lived in the house that owns the land on which the tree sits.

Secondly, I was amazed at the beautiful light that bounced of the clouds yesterday before sunset. I don't know what it was, but there was this dense cloud and the sun must have been right behind it. All these rays of light just came from behind, and made a stunning view. The rest of the sky was a series of blue tones and the wind was cold and crisp. I don't mind the cold when it's that beautiful to look at.

Thirdly, we all get an extra hour of sleep over here this weekend! YES!! I'm really excited about that. Yes, fall back everyone! Don't forget.

Fourth, I bought a new winter coat. To keep nice and toasty throughout the winter months, and believe me, if I'm cold now, February is going to be brutal! (it may actually make me pine for Cairo..almost)

Fifth, I head out to see Amy and Travis next weekend! So excited, and I get to visit a new place. Never been to Kansas City, and now I get to go see what it's like.

Sixth, ummm... well, tomorrow is Friday, and Saturday I think I'm going to a halloween party. Don't know exactly what I'm going to be. Any ideas welcome. My sister gave me a few, but now it's a mad dash.....

People say I'm not positive............those are 6 positives in one entry! So there.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In this day and age

I find it extremely difficult that there are so many people I work with (like all of them), who don't believe evolution. I have a feeling I know why (which I won't discuss here). Mostly it's how they've been taught it, and it's their strong believe in the fact that they believe that the bible is fact (but they're not even schooled in that either). They're believing what they are told, instead of looking for answers themselves. Which is why I get all bent out of shape about religion. Many (not all and not every) religion preys upon the uneducated, or the people who just want the ease of faith. I can't understand why people would let themselves be misguided, but it happens outside of religion too (politics.. pretty much anywhere) I try to understand. I know I won't change their mind. And they won't change mine.

At the same time, how can one not make sense of the patterns we see everyday. How can they not see that evolution is in everything and everyday. The regeneration of skin, to the leaves falling, heredity (it's in our genes), the fossils.

I think my next major art undertaking with be a theme in evolution. I haven't quite figured out how... but I want to include evolution in my artwork. It can be the evolution of my art work.. ohh... I like that.. Ellen, want to take part???

Evolution is a sore subject to many people because I think it challenges them. And many people don't like to be challenged. Some people just like to stick to certain believes because it's easier. Life isn't easy. Keep exploring... keep learning. Things change. Theories do get blown out of proportion. But evolution is no longer a theory it's fact.


Do you see a pastry chef in your future? You might. I'm seriously thinking about applying to culinary school to be a pastry chef. Not sure where yet, and it probably won't be until 2008! But it's something I am seriously thinking about. I have to get some experience working in a bakery, or some kind of food industry. So I haven't quite figured out where, but I'm looking. There's a bakery up the road and I think I might just ask if I can work there for basically free.... So, we'll see. I'm thinking of the Culinary Institute of America or Johnson and Wales University, or some school in Boston.... I don't know. But, I'm investigating. Some schools are really expensive, so it would put more school loans on top of school loans. Not something I'm excited about....but if there's a will there is a way.

Keep warm out there folks...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

One of the best things about driving u pto my parents house this weekend was the fact that the colors on the trees are pretty amazing. I think up in PA they're just about down, but around my area it's like they're just about at their peak. The GW parkway was amazingly beautiful. One of the other great things about driving up was listening to NPR. I know.. NPR... but really it's funny because they play old bluegrass songs. And they come out with the funniest lyrics ever. Like:

You can use all the kitchen grease, I can buy it buy the pound. True love ain't like lard, darlin' why do you make this so hard.... please don't take my picture down, on your way back from town.


Oh were did my love go, she's supposed to wear my ring today. If you find her I'll be down by the willow tree getting married to another.

WHAT?? Crazy! I know. Then they have stained-glass blue grass. With amazing lines like:

The lord took my sweet heart and I have to prepare, so that I may go up, and meet her up there.

It just is one of those things.

Anywhooo..........just thought I would share that with you...
Halloween party to go to next week, and I just realized I have no idea for a costume. I don't know this year. Nothing can top last year!

Friday, October 20, 2006

it didn't go down well........

So I told my housemate this week. And it didn't go well. I'm giving her as much time as I can for her to find a new person. I started off by telling her what I was doing and my reasons for moving... NOT ABOUT HER AT ALL. But then she brought on the guilt and outright asked me what she could have done to make it better basically. So I told her a few basics. Then she criticized me and spoke down to me and blamed me that I can't communicate. I was really upset. Granted, I don't like confrontation and I am a bit passive when it comes to certain behaviors of people I'm around. But she's not very approachable, and I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. Not to mention it's her house. I'm not on equal footing with her. I could go on. But I think it's done now. She needs to get over it. And I need to just lie low for the next six weeks. I am sure this is the right decision.

It's the weekend! Museums this weekend, a birthday party, and maybe driving up to my parents....... I love weekends............

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Big Guns

Jenny Lewis is absolutely amazing. I can't even express how glad I am that I got to go to her show. I would see her again and again. She did all her songs off the album and she even performed a few new ones she has up her sleeve. She did some a capella with the Watson Twins and did a couple just on her guitar. She played almost every song with one instrument or another. She was excellent.

I was right up front for the whole show. Front and center. There were two opener bands for for her. "The Blow" (Portland, Oregon based...cory....). It was basically electronic beats and sounds to the performer's voice. She was really funny actually.....on purpose. And since most of the people standing around me were high schoolers, I don't think they really got her. But I thought she was interesting.

The next band right before Jenny was "Vietnam"... which you might guess would have a certain 60's - 70's rock thing going on. .Which they did. It was pretty much straight rock... They were ok. I thought that they were pretty much up there for the hell of it, I couldn't understand their words, but the guitars were good... so..

Then there was Jenny and the twins and the BAND. They were all amazing. The dummer was fantastic, the guitarist was some really young guy (who looked familiar... I don't know where from) from right here in Alexandria. He sang a few hooks, and played guitar. There was a guy at the little piano and he played slide guitar, and the bassist... and of course the twins. They came out all dressed in black and did a few songs. Then the ladies left the stage and came back in a new outfit and rocked out in these "Tina Turner" dresses. It was great. She is so good, her voice is so good. I hadn't expected her to be that good. The sound really suit her, I love the old gospel kind of thing she's got going on... It's really great.

SO GO SEE HER IF YOU CAN! The whole band looks like they really have fun up there. The last song was ," Handle with care" (made famous by the Traveling Willburys), and a an a capella song that she just wrote. I love live shows, you never really know what to expect.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Haikus for Jenny Lewis by Patricia and Kathleen

My sister and I are excited to be going to see Jenny Lewis and we just couldn't contain ourselves with one Haiku......

jenny lewis soon
guitars and scenester hair cuts
hope ben gibbard shows.

jenny lewis rocks
away the dark midnight blues
with us on sunday

Patricia does sing
along with her favorite
red headed sister

Gee I hope ben shows
so he can do a ditty
with jen lewis too

Watson twins sing too
bringing harmonies sweetly
when can i join in?

It's the weekend everybody!!!!!!!!


Ok, I'm going to be saying that all winter. But I just realized we've had so many nice blue skies, that it doesn't really matter. I think in Cairo I could count all the blue skies we had in 2 years on all my fingers and toes and not run out. Sad-- but true. I'll never forget the huge sandstorm I flew into on the way back to Cairo from the states last spring. ugh...

Anyway, be aware, Friday the 13th is upon us.... Watch your back, watch your back.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Accomplished grade giver

Yeah, one of those days. Except I actually like the population I work with today. Kids are the least of my worries. It's the bureaucratic paper push. It's school, it's government, and you know what's worse? It's state government. So there seems to be even more red tape to go through.

I don't really want to dwell on it, BUT I am. I feel like I need to come to a point and think about jobs, working and all that kind of stuff. Do I need a job that matters? Do I want my job to matter to me more? OR less? Is a job just a job? Should I love my job or just live for the weekends? I don't know. Because if there is a perfect job out there for me, I don't have it. But then again, I don't know what that perfect job is. Is it painting? I've never really had that job? Is it cooking? Or do I like that too much for me to make that a job... Do I want my passions to be my job or do I want my passions to be what I come home to at the end of the day? I don't know. I seem caught between the worlds. Because part of being a teacher is to give things for kids to grab on to, take it, and run with it. I like when a kid makes a piece of art work and he or she is proud of it. I like when they can figure out how shading works, or how to make something have more depth It's a great feeling to see the lightbulb come on. And it's hard to see that anymore because of where the educational system is going. It's stunting a lot of kids creativity. It's not giving them the option to figure things out on their own. It's more like," Here's the stuff you need to know so we can be a passing school and get our funding." And I hate that. It doesn't let me be the kind of teacher I thought I'd be able to be.

At the same time. I would rather not work with adults. And in almost any other profession it would be with adults. For me, I guess I give kids the benefit of doubt. Maybe I shouldn't do that. But they're not totally their own person yet. They have the ability to change and be influenced, and to change their personality. Not adults. They're stuck, become unreliable, and frustrating people.... Or people who are me. Teachers are a strange breed though.. I realize this. Sometimes common courtesy go out the window.

I don't know. My dream job....I'll have to think about that. I thought it would be teaching abroad. And it wasn't. I enjoyed the travel, and meeting people who wanted to do the same thing as I did, but it wasn't a dream. It was definitely a change though. At that time it wasn't the right fit for many different reasons. It doesn't mean I wouldn't do it again.... It's still a possibility.

Anyway, I keep going. The days do seem to be fast. I do have a lot of individual learning going on in my classes. The kids seem to be really interested. I find myself always getting more information for them. FILL THEIR HEADS!! In past teaching positions it seemed to be very mediocre, very mundane. Right now, the kids are fine. Teaching is fine. Do I want more than fine?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fluorescent Lights are killing me

I don't know what it is today, but I can't see. The lights are so bright today, and there is no real way that I can adjust them. Plus, I'm trying to teach shading so that doesn't help. We're doing a 5 step scale and here I am shading these forms with shade 5 (the darkest) and then I turn around to look at my class and there's a weird haze and I can't see straight. This probably means that I should also be wearing my glasses more often now. Oh well. And I should probably go get them checked anyway. My hearing is going, no my sight.. Soon it will be all my joints and organs... Is this what happens in your 30's. I didn't sign on for this at all.

Yesterday I had a request for pictures of pyramids. We're doing landscapes and he wants to do an Egyptian Landscape. So I went home and pulled together some photos. And it was actually neat to look back on them at this point. It's really cool to think I was really there and saw the pyramids kind of regularly. So I put an assortment together, including Saqqara, the Red Pyramid, and of course Giza. I also brought some of Luxor, Aswan, and Karnak (one of my favorite places). So we'll see what these kids think about the pictures.

Anyway, I better go take some advil or something. My head feels like a headache is coming on.. Yep, better wear my glasses.

I feel like I had things in mind to talk about. Oh right, North Korea... uh, duh. I seem to remember that being an issue when the Iraq war started. And the government just pushed that aside, and now here we are 3 years later. Did you know that someone bought Ptolemey's (spelling?)atlas for almost $4 million! WOW! Amazing. If I'm ever rich enough to just buy an object for 4 million dollars then I would by old maps and stuff. I love those things. Alas, I don't even have $1,000,000, so I don't think that's in the near future. Plus, a house would be nice to have someday. And Lebanon is having an international movie festival! Wow! That's a country I wish I could have gone to while I was away. Oh well.

Ok- advil.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Saved? In more ways than one

First of all I am saved from the ants and maggots. Yes. I move to my new place in December. Can't wait to be free of that. Having my own kitchen and not having to hide in my giant room when I'm home. Did I mention I don't even want to eat in the kitchen, let alone prepare anything.

Second, I don't want to be "saved" by born-againers call it. I wanted to poke my eardrums out with a fork yesterday. I had to set up my computer in another class yesterday and the woman listened and sang-a-long with christian radio...ALL DAY. NO people, NO! Stop it!

Thirdly, I am finally getting stuff done at work. Apparently we're getting some cabinet space, so I can lock supplies up and not have to worry about who is getting thier grubby hands on my art supplies. Thank goodness. Not that it's been a huge problem, but it does happen from time to time.

Ok. We'll it is Tuesday, I get to listen to my own music today, I can dream about my new place, and my supplies are all here. It's a pretty good start.

Monday, October 09, 2006


This weekend was a bit of a strange one. I can't quite explain where the time went, I just know it went. I dunno.

Friday I went to dinner with my friend Ruth and her husband, who has come back from 2 exhausting tours in Iraq. I had never met him before, but it was nice to finally sit down all together and talk. And...we talked, and talked, and talked. It was interesting because I had never spoken to anyone first hand about the Iraq war, the politics of it etc... Although it was Friday night, and it would have been nice to have a light night... it was serious. He's out now. And glad to be out.

Saturday I managed to make it to the NEW and IMPROVED American Art Museum with my friend, Jeremy, which is connected to the National Portrait Gallery! Simply amazing, beautiful. It just blew me away and I had no idea how big it was. I saw so much stuff, way too fast. I need to go back and spend some more time just seeing what's there. It got a bit crowded in some of the areas, but mostly it felt free enough to walk around. Upstairs they have like a catalogued area where all these paintings and sculptures are just in these cases, labeled. It's strange. It's like going into someone's closet. But amazing. I realize that I just need to go downtown more often and look around, walk around. It's so close. Who says I can't be a tourist in my own town Well, it may not be my own town... but it's close enough.

The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing. Mostly trying to remain inspired by all that I saw, while texting my sister who was in Nashville (why she drove down to Nashville I don't know, but apparently she had a good time, or was in the process of having a good time).

Sunday I took my time, got up and drove to my parents. I really like that drive. It's so relaxing and pretty. The colors are starting to change more, and I have a feeling it will be at it's peak next week. It was a beautiful day yesterday. I ended up watching the world baking championships for some reason. The Japanese won. Which really doesn't seem like a society that eats bread, but then again, what do I know. I've never been there. I do know that when Japanese admire something, or someone they go for it. It's a respect thing. So they must love bread. The French managed to burn their bread! Their French! Known for their bread, everyone tries to make a baguette like the French.. but they still managed to come in 4th in the world. It's fixed... I tell you. US came in a lame second.

We've been having rain lately, but now it's back to being warm. Today it's supposed to be up in the 70's. WOW!

Someone seriously needs to save me from my work place. I don't know what it is, but everyone seems to be uber religious. We're at school folks. I can't stand it. Hello? Separation of church and state. I'm all for people finding their own spiritual flavor, but it's not appropriate in the work place. What if I bring in my Buddha and Dalai Lama picture, or I start saying Namaste to everyone. Hey, I already throw around Insh'allah, and I'm not even Muslim Whatever people's religion is, I don't really care. But it's just hard to be around it.

I am supposed to find out about the apartment today. I hope it's ago. If I get it, I won't be able to move until the first week or so of December, but it's around the corner. Next weekend I'll be apartment sitting for a friend, and then First weekend in November I head out to Missouri. Then Thanksgiving a few weeks later... And then.. maybe I can move.

Until then, I'm sitting in someone else's classroom, doing my work because I can't seem to get on the internet or server anywhere else.... Don't ask me why, I just work here. (BTW..there is Christian radio lunch I'm going to get my Ipod out of the car)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Yep, it's Friday

So I can't really check my e-mail today, but I seem to be able to put out a short blog. I can't get on the server for my school district, so I can't do any work. Quel dommage.... Anywho, it's raining up a storm over this way. Which I have to say is kind of a welcome sight to me. Even though (you're going to laugh at this) I left my window open in my car and my driver seat is soaking wet. Yep, never done that one before. I have no idea how I forgot, or got disracted, it must have been that huge package I saw on the doorstep from Amy and Travis, and I couldn't look away, there-by forgetting to put my car window all the way up. So, needless to say, I get in my car at o-dark-thirty (as my dad used to say) and I sit, thinking my car is cold. NO!!! It's wet, silly. I immediately have to run back up two flights of stairs, grab some towels, change my pants, and figure out how to keep myself dry. I ended up putting two towels down and then set my raincoat over it, and I managed to keep semi-dry. My poor car. It's brand new. For sure it's going to smell now. I was doing so well.

And, didn't get coffee today. But classes seem to be going smoothly today, hung up some art work. It isn't all bad. It just started off rather bad. But it's gotten better. Always look on the bright side of life (whistle....).

Today I get to see an apartment! How exciting. I think if it seems clean and decent I'm probably going to take it. I wouldn't be able to move there until around the end of December, so I would have to suffer through the ants and what-nots at the other place. I think she might suspect that I'm looking. I mean, come on, I never ever cook! EVER. What does she think I eat. I think she makes up stories in her head about me. Ha, who knows. I don't know how someone could actually be so clueless to think that this is actually working for me. It works for her. It's her house and she's making a lot of money off of me for doing nothing. I shouldn't sound harsh. She's a nice person. She does a lot. But it's as plain as the nose on my face that it's not working for me. The place that I'm looking at is spacious, and is cheaper than where I live now, and it would probably balance out with a few added utilities. So I'm happy about that. Plus it's either a one bedroom or two bedroom, can't remember which right now... So Pattersons...Welshies.... you could come back and visit this summer and you'd have a room!!
Ok, the bell for lunch rang... it kind of sounds like big Ben..

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where else can one go to meet a.....

..nun who's taught geometry for 40 years
... a clergy from Leeds, England
.... a 3 star general
..... the CEO of National Geographic
...... the Post Master General

I'll tell you where! A Spellman reunion. I was invited to go to the National geographic Museum for a reception with a friend of mine, it was her high school reunion. And who do I get to meet? All those people, and then some. How about an oncologist, or an insurance agent. All kinds were there. It was really funny that I was there. All the people at this cocktail hour were older, and definitely more established. But there is definitely something interesting about being in a room full of all different kinds of people. I also enjoyed the exhibits. Most of it was photography, which is what we always remember about NG. There was an exhibit about football (or soccer as we American like to call it). They had 2 pictures of soccer being played in Egypt, near the Giza pyramids. One of the pictures showed street kids playing soccer in a middle of a dirt road in front of the Great Pyramid, and the other a couple of kids playing soccer with in the walls of the Mena House Hotel. Very interesting to show those too pictures together. It doesn't matter where you come from, or what you do... Apparently soccer (or football) makes the world go 'round.

Anyway, it was an interesting night last night. AND!!! AND!!! I even made it back for he series premiere of LOST! IT was great. I am so addicted. I tried to stay up and watch "The Nine", it looks good, but I just don't want to get interested. I may have to watch it at a later time.

I also listened to " All things Considered" last night while I was going to the event, and they did a little spot on "The Decemberists"! What a great way to end the day. And!! And!! Death Cab will be in town in November.. I really want to go, but I don't know if I can...

Decisions, decisions....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

At least I'm alive

The computer is killing me. I can't connect properly to the server. And I have work to do.

The kitchen is filthy. I won't even begin to tell you what was crawling on the floor yesterday. It's enough to make anyone nauseous. But let me just tell you this. Remember that show, "You Can't Do That on Television". That kid show that the friendly neighbors to the north produced and gave us locker jokes like: "Hey Christina" "Yea, Alistair" "Did you hear the one about...?"

Anyway, there was also the "I don't know" slime gimmick, and then who could forget Bart's burgers... was it Bart? Anyway, what they always talked about during that skit, always grossed me out. He always served a special dish.... remember what it was called? Well, I do, and that's why I couldn't eat dinner last night. I don't understand how she lives like she does. Needless to say, I called 4 apartment buildings to inquire about places to live. I just can't be happy there. It's not worth it at all.

This morning there were still ants crawling on the table. It's disgusting. It's been weeks. I couldn't even eat my breakfast. It just stresses me out. It's unnecessary. If she would spend more time caring for her home, she'd probably feel more happy too. I know how I'm going to feel more happy... I'm going to move.

I'd love to buy a place down here and I am going to look into that After all, it's a buyers market right now. However, it may require me to move further out. We'll see how it goes.

Enough ranting for one day. I get to go the National Geographic Society tonight. I'm really excited about that. There's a reception and a speaker. I've never been there, but I hear it absolutely beautiful.

Monday, October 02, 2006


r that amount of time and not going anywhere.

Ok, so I guess my sentence, or my blog, kind of got cut off yesterday. It's probably my fault. I was a bit distracted. It was just one of those days. I spent a couple of hours driving to my parents house, and then just hung out and decided to get on the internet while I was there. It's free and all. And there, and fast.

It was actually a beautiful fall day in the DC area yesterday. I always go on the GW parkway, and it goes along the Potomac River. The water was glistening. The clearest sky. The monuments looked like they actually beamed. It was a picture perfect day. I wish I had my camera, and I would have stopped along the way to take a few pictures. You could see all the monuments, and even the Washington Cathedral in the background along with the old buildings of Georgetown. I told my parents that I wished they had come down instead of me going up there. But, then I never would have been able to stop at the Catoctin Mountain Orchards. I love that place. It's been there for years. And it's a place my family used to stop on the way to my grandparents house, back in the day. Good memories. They still give out free apples. And now they've added more canned goods and jars of their delicious preserves. They have the best apples, and the best apple cider. APPLE CIDER! I love that stuff.

It's been an up and down weekend, but I guess it's something to build on. This week I have a lot of plans to get moving, on moving again.. Not far away, just my own place. I think as soon as I do that, I'll be much better off.

Ok, back to work. It's Monday for sure. Looks like Monday, feels like Monday.. I hope the week goes fast.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

At least I didn't have 31 fiascoes...

Yes, each birthday is met with different expectations, and different ideas of what it will be like and how to celebrate, and how it should end. This year is no exception. Aside from the fact that it is a lot different from last year (for one I'm not in Egypt), this year I wanted to do something different, something I had not done before. Well, I did accomplish that. I wanted (wanted....) to go to the wine festival in Leesburg, VA. A nice quaint town on the outskirts of the heavy traffic of the metro area of DC. Katie and I bought out tickets ahead of time on line, and were very excited to go. We met at her house atround 11:00 am, grabbed some coffee and made our way out. Sure we hit a couple of traffic spots, who doesn't? But we were excited to get on our way to drink some wine. We were 5 miles from the venue when we hit the big traffic. 4 lanes were merging together,creating the slowest traffic I had seen sine pre-Iftar traffic exiting the Khan El Khalili! Seriously! We did not move. By the time we reached that area it was already 1 pm. But we thought, surely there must be an accident, or something. No, it was everyone with in the tri-state area heading for this festival. And I exaggerate. These weren't people from teh tristate area, they were all coming from the tri county area! Anyway, it took us another hour to go one mile. One little tiny mile.. I can run a mile in about 7-8 minutes... Ridiculous.. So we go on, we think we can get through, and get to it in a timely fashion. A half hour passes, hardly any movement. People are getting out of their cars to go to a restaurant to use the bathroom, and then walking about a half block to catch up to their car. At that point we're coming up with a plan B. Plan B is to turn around and go out to eat. We give it about 15 more minutes, and realize in about another 1/2 hour people will start exiting the venue and we'll be stuck in the traffic going the other way. So we jump on that. Turn through the median and go back to Manassas park. We hang out, pretend that the Wine Festival was oh so fabulous and a rip roaring good time, and then head out to eat.
Yes, disappointed, I don't think I've sat in a car fo