Friday, June 30, 2006

Inevitable Europe Pictures

(Later Note: Ackh! Apparently, I am not savvy on all the ins & outs of picture linking. Thanks to Heidi, I can mention that you can click on the beautiful rectangles to see the pictures ... out of order, of course.)

We had a boatload of fun in Europe and have almost completely returned to normal life. Now it's time to bore our friends and family with pictures. Here are five that sum things up.

If I do it right, the first one is of the Tower of London. We spent about 4 hours in there exploring all the parts and reading all the information. I was fascinated by the torture information and the fact that the Tower of London was mainly a residence. The second picture is a main :) reason for going to London: scones & clotted cream for me and fish & chips for my husband.

The 3rd picture is at the Grand Place in Brussels. This is a large square and there happened to be a free concert that night of Pagliacci. We had walked ALL day and could only take standing for an hour at the opera. It was in Italian with electronic subtitle boards in Dutch and French. Bon.

The 4th picture is of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It is/was Rembrandt's 400th birthday this year and they were having a special exhibit. We tried 3 times to get in and never quite managed it. The first time they were closed because some crazy person threw acid on a picture and damaged it, and the museum had to deal with that. The second time the line was long, so we thought we'd go back later. Later, the line was longer, but we stood for about 30 minutes and were 1/2 way through the line. We flaked out, and a funny thing happened. A woman was riding by on her bike with her kid in the cart on the bike and was talking to her kid and said, "we should tell them (the queuers) 'it's not worth it'". Hmmm. We did finally see a nice Rembrandt exhibit at the airport on the way out. The last picture is of a representative canal in Amsterdam. Apparently, there are more canals there than in Venice. Okay, travel show over.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Two+ NYC Experiences

I visited my friend in NYC when I was up north (with the Yankees ar ar), and we saw, "Mama Mia". I was so looking forward to it, but it just didn't do it for me. It didn't help that I had a bonus singer in the form of a little girl behind me who knew ALL the lyrics and could belt them out loudly. It also didn't help that I started feeling my 40+ years, and all the young kiddies in the cast (20+) looked like babies. BABIES.

We also went to to Josie's (I think it was), this eclectic healthy food frou-frou restaurant up on 74th and Amsterdam. Delicious food. Pricey, but I guess that's NYC. When we went in, the hostess scanned us up and down and proceeded to sit us in the back near a noisy table and the kitchen area. My mild-mannered friend asked if we could have a less noisy table, and we were shown to a nice window seat. Now maybe it's just my interpretation of "good" and "bad" tables, but why don't they fill up all the "good" tables on a first-come-first-serve basis? Too weird.

My next weird experience was on the train going back to NJ. Oh my goodness did we have some loud gangster rival groups in our car yelling and threatening to fight and being all kinds of noisy. You just wanted to muffle them. Then the other people in the car got into it and started yelling, "Jerry. Jerry. Jerry." Blach. It basically settled down one stop before I got off. Whew, blessed silence.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Parent Visit

I'm off to the northeast tomorrow to visit friends, and when I get back, my dad is coming to visit for 4 days with his girlfriend (a word that definitely sounds funny when applied to a 72 year old). Holy cow, I just realized he's older than I'd thought about lately. He usually seems so young.

Anyhow, this will be an awkward visit (like all of them). I love my dad, and I know he loves me, but we never have more than a handful of words to say to each other. Oh goody, now there'll be another witness to the awkwardness. Hopefully, she's a talker, and I can have my husband as a buffer, and with those extra 2 people, maybe there'll be enough conversation to make us seem like normal people.

Yeesh, and that Sunday is Father's Day. Okay, now I have to plan something, ... horrible daughter that I am.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Teacher Pay

I was just watching TV while making dinner, and there was a "Union" ad on. It had 4-6 different smiling people saying things like, "I like my union because ...", and then they all proceeded to say bad things in the vein of fatcat union bosses lining their pockets, money going to politicians the workers don't support, huge union dues that cut into paychecks etc. Oh my goodness! Is that why there is effectively no teachers' union in Texas - the anti-union people have worked their magic?

All I know is that in NJ we had a strong union, and as a teacher I felt more respect than I feel in Texas (I took about a $14,000/yr pay cut as a teacher moving from NJ to TX). In NJ, any extra duties were compensated. In TX "what do you mean you won't perform this yet-another duty for free? it's not about you, it's about the kids!". Somehow they make you feel like a money grubber for even thinking about pay.

Ew, see it's already seeped into my pores because I now DO feel like a money grubber. A poorly paid money grubber.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I guess I forgot that "teaching" requires a ton of standing and rushing around the halls making copies and standing and walking at your duty stations and such. Shockingly, in the summer when you're on your duff, if you eat the same amount of food, you gain weight. Who knew?

Okay, new plan, walk in the mornings and walk at night (less skin cancer potential, and less Texas summer heat issues). I'm still going to yoga 6 times a week, so that's good, but that apparently does not make up for sitting around all day. All this energy stressing about weight and health. You think THAT'D burn calories.

I'm not a total slug, though, I'm finishing a quilt (finally) that I started too long ago to mention. I made a skirt. I'm still practicing cake decorating (yea, more food to eat/not eat).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fun Facts

Here are some things I came across while surfing the internet (which I'm doing way too much of). Now I haven't verified them, yet, but EVERYONE knows that anything you read must be true, right ahem?

The longest living cells in the body are brain cells which can live an entire lifetime.
Porcupines float in water.
The human body has enough fat to produce 7 bars of soap.
The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees.
Frogs sometimes eat enough fireflies that they themselves glow.
Because heat expands the metal, the Eiffel Tower always leans away from the sun.

Today I must do some gardening to get me outside instead of inside reading and doing puzzles and napping all day (though I have been going to yoga every day). I loved yesterday's teacher. You know those people that just glow from within? That was her. She just exuded honesty and beauty and knowledge.