Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Chandler...

 Remember when I told you in August that I was contributing to a blog reviewing TV shows? Don't feel bad for not remembering - things are so crazy that I forgot to tell you about my post from a couple weeks ago dedicated to Chandler. Hard to believe he's all grown up and now hosting a radio show. Check it and the other great posts about some of your favorite shows out. 

Girls' Weekend in SLO

When Maria moved into my Victoria Place apartment my senior year of college, I thought she was nice, but had no idea that knowing her would change my life. After all, one of the first things she had out was a Lakers pennant. Now eight years later, she is one of my very best friends and a person who helps me make sense of life.  On a whim, we decided to meet up in San Luis Obispo for Labor Day weekend. Best decision ever. 
 After chatting late into the night on Friday after driving up/down to slo, we started our Saturday with a run. Our half-marathon was just a month away, so there was no slacking. Plus, we had plans to eat our way through town that day courtesy of Seth's suggestions, so we had to earn a little bit of it. It was a fantastic way to see town. Made me want to live there even more.
 Welcome to Pismo. My seventh grade self wants to write BFF. Don't judge.
 The shoe shots continue - Avila Beach.
 Welcome to the oddity that is the Madonna Inn. I've never seen anything like it, but Maria and I could not get over how eccentric this place is.  When we found out my great-grandparents used to visit the Madonna Inn for their anniversary, the hilarity hit unsurpassed levels.
The decorating is like Barbie and Disney princesses on crack.
And the men's restroom is legendary. We passed two other women going in. The urinal is literally a rock fountain. I felt a bit like I was in Snow White....not because of the urinal or the fact that we were in the men's restroom...decor people....focus.
See what I mean about Barbie on crack...during the much love.
The chocolate cake is also famous, though Maria and I both preferred the pink champagne cake.
 After we'd shopped a bit and recovered from our sugar comas, we waited for a long time outside an Italian hole-in-the wall restaurant. Nothing really happened, but we took pictures just the same. 
 Two mornings in a row, Maria and I shopped and ate breakfast at the Apple Farm. Deliciously wonderful. Their baked goods, especially their biscuits, are worth every calorie.
 These statues were outside our hotel (you can see the sign in the background). Couldn't resist.
 My favorite of the statue pictures. 

For a trip that was only a couple of days, we fit a lot in and had the best time. I always feel better about the world after I spend time with Maria. We talk for hours about work and boys and life and who knows what else, and somehow things seem to make more sense or be that much funnier. I love this girl and cannot wait for her (and Jenessa) to visit this weekend for our half-marathon.  Thank goodness Maria moved in all those years ago....

Birthday Surprise

I am very rarely surprised, but the Sunday before my birthday "The Dark One" sent me the following video. 
In case it seems a bit cryptic (I honestly had no idea what he was talking about - perhaps because I was laughing so hard at the attire), my family surprised me with tickets to Les Miserables for my birthday. 
It was perfect weather, and since it was a "fancier" evening out, I finally braved the tiered necklace I had bought from Stella & Dot. (Doesn't seem like a big deal, I know, but I still a bit like I'm playing dress-up with some accessories.)
  We started our night at the ferry building in San Francisco with a scrumptious dinner at Gotts. They have fantastic shakes.
 There are few pictures that make me that sentimental in an instant - and the poster for Les Mis is one of them. I love seeing Cosette's face.
Best surprise ever - fabulous show. Great company. Beautiful new costumes (not as in love with the new staging - where is the rotating stage?!) and powerhouse voices. Cannot say a big enough thank you to my family for helping me welcome in 29. 

(ps. I know this was almost two months ago - I'm behind...very behind.)
(pps. Les Mis the movie comes out in 85 days - Happy Christmas!!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have such mixed feelings about this book and have tried all week to put into words my reactions to Mr. Riggs' book. In short, I think that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is convoluted brilliance. There are glimmers of genius - such unique strokes of storytelling and ingenuity. But there are so many details to wade through to get to that genius. Perhaps I was distracted. Or perhaps I didn't expect such a unique story, so my mind wasn't prepared for the supernatural. I think some people will love it and some people will hate it. I think the first more than the latter, but I just don't know....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

July, July

Once upon a time, there was no need for red pens or ironed dress pants. Instead there was only travel, good food, and endless hours spent with friends and family. Here are a few of the summer highlights that I keep replaying while I try to get to get used to being in school again....

I honestly never thought I'd go to Louisiana again, but where the Munsons are, I am glad to go. Jewels and I had the best time just hanging out, playing with the kiddies, and watching the Food Network. It was a great visit, and I can't wait to see them again. 

Spontaneity is rare in the Hutchins family, but on my way home from the Color Run, my dad said we were doing lunch in Napa. After a very intense shower, we were off for the most delicious food at Tra Vigne. Wine country is just another reason why California really is a magical place.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Tahoe and any excuse to share that love. Tracy, David, Seth, and I went up for a long weekend towards the end of July. We enjoyed the sunshine, fantastic cooking, the final installment of Batman, taking time lapse pictures, and just being away from normal life. These snapshots aren't the greatest (especially since we didn't manage to get Tracy in a single one), but we had great time.

ps. Still trying to understand Picasa and how to insert correctly sized photos. Click on the pictures if you want to see them a little more clearly. :)

Pins & Shots

I end up with all sorts of images on my desktop from everywhere - pinterest, facebook, etc, etc. These are a few of my favorites from the last month. 
 In a perfect world, I would own these. 
 Guess what adorable creature just turned four?!
 Jenessa took amazing pictures in England, and this is the that I keep thinking about. Can't help it. 
 I want to turn this into a poster and put it up in my classroom.
 Oh the cuteness!!
 Am I too much of a dork?
 One of my favorite restaurants posted this on facebook to taunt me...too bad it's in Washington....
 My niece took a picture like her auntie.  Love.
 I miss this little boy. Good thing he comes soon!!
 Fall is coming. So happy about that.
Wish I had these too...Cinderella's shoes in my closet would be fantastic. 

I told you the pictures were random, but I love, love, love them. 

American Born Chinese

American Born ChineseAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never thought I'd say that I had read a graphic novel, let alone enjoy one or teach one - but here I am doing all three. Gene Luen Yang's book is remarkable and poignant. It touches on identity, culture, and self-worth in ways that I wouldn't have expected for a book that is told through pictures and word/thought bubbles. I am genuinely excited for what discussions I will have with my freshmen - they will love this book.

ps. For the record, the Monkey King storyline was my favorite. I never thought I'd say that I identified with a money and its issues, but I genuinely did.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dreaming of a reality....

Do you ever wake up after dreaming and think you're somewhere else? It happens to me often, but lately it happens all the the point that I've woken up a few times in the last couple weeks and not known where I am. I've also woken up still in conversation with whomever I was dreaming about. I  actually apologized aloud a couple nights ago to a friend who I had been driving with in my dream but I, as an apparently bad copilot, had nodded off mid-conversation. Tonight though I wish I could go to bed and wake up to a different reality. Don't get me wrong - I love the fall and my job and all those other things and people that make up my days. But I have the "Sunday night blues" in a major way, and I want to wake up to waves crashing on the sand or the sound of wind moving through Aspen trees.....maybe at least I'll dream about them while I sleep and wake up feeling like I can smell the salty air or feel the worn wood of a Sundance rocking chair.