Catching Up

So I’ve been sick and stressed and not writing at all, so I’m trying to play a little catch up. Then maybe I can start over.

20130315-194613.jpg I found a bottle of Disney’s Nightmare Before Christmas nail polish on clearance at Hot Topic. Like Hot Topic’s own bottles,this one is shaped (Gosh I love marketing!). I had to put on a base coat of greenish grey to make it darker. It gave it a tint that was interesting.

20130315-195633.jpgThere are reasons I shouldn’t let others choose my polish for me. To start with I was taking a short break from polish; depression and stress are weird. Anywho, my students noticed, and I let one of them choose the color. She picked light purple. I, being one not to disappoint, looked for the most Barbie color I might have. I started with my fabulous Sinful Colors’ Frenzy and tried out Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Craze, ” We Need to Talk”. It’s a light purple texture coat, but doesn’t really work all that well. The whole effect is very sparkly and the student loved it, so there is that.

20130315-201715.jpg Last but not least: I can’t believe I let Essie fool me again! But the pattern looks so cool. Too many coats needed to cover; magnet only works too, too close so that you pretty much tap the nail and wreck the design anyway. And the design is totally inconsistent! I’ve used other brands of magnetic polish before and while they are far from perfect or easy, they do work better than this! I added the Disney black sparkle to try to cover the major uglies but what ever.

So I’m all caught up! I’m using Sally Hansen’s new Lustre Shine called Copperhead. I was expecting a dual color, but it has a very nice depth. It’s a metallic, rather than a sparkle, and I like it. No pics though and after a week and a half it looks like crap. I’ll pick something fun for next week and try to get that up sooner rather than so far later. TTFN!

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Moon Candy and Mental Blocks

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20130206-223709.jpgOkay… I’m gonna tell you a little secret. I am not a fan of Revlon nail polish. It’s not really Revlon’s fault, although they could use a reboot like nobodies’ business. Every time I see their old fashion, sad, and tired little bottles I think of my mom’s nail polish basket. My family has always kept our polish collections in baskets, along with remover and cotton rounds, clippers and other supplies. My mom’s was this wicker sewing thing with lid and a little compartment in the top. She had a nice little collection, not the size of mine (mine is a sickness that doctors should really make medication for) but she did had more than ten. The thing was that they were all the same color… each one only a slight variation on that orange-y beige that someone at Revlon thought to call “nude”. No one without a spay tan thinks that that color is nude, but it’s this sedate color that is always so respectable. My mom wore it every time she polished her nails. It was the only color I’ve ever seen on her fingers. I could never wear only one color for the rest of my life, even my favorite color (which is so not that one). My mother loved it, loves it. It is an affront to the hoarder in me, even if that isn’t the healthiest part of my personality.

So every now and again, I look at the Revlon display, and I try to consider the colors. Every time I give up. It’s like a mental block. So it’s kind of a big deal that I’m wearing Their new Moon Candy line. True, the bottles look nothing like the old standards, but still… The bottles are two polishes in one with a base coat on one end and the foil coat on the other. I chose “Satellite” a burgundy base coat with a foil and slight pink sparkle top coat. The effect is interesting, but the foil has a tendency to sink in the bottle and slip off the brush, making it difficult to apply. It required several coats, my nails were so thick that it made for an uneven smoothness that I found distracting and annoying. You also know that with that many coats it was going to be a pain in the butt to get off at the end of the week (and it was, although with it being that thick I could peel it off to some extent. But I always feel that that hurts the nails so I still don’t like it). Lastly, as many coats as I used and the foil was still far lighter than the display photos I’ve seen, and the top coat is almost a third of the way gone while the base coat was barely touched. It’s an interesting look, and perhaps with practice I could become more adept at managing the foil pieces. I want to stay optimistic while realistic.

Then came another down side… the edge of the nails was quick to wear off. It is always so annoying to see that tell-tale white rim on a recently polished nail. I don’t really care that when I polish my nails its messy, with polish on the sides. I can usually rub it off in a day or so that’s easy enough to deal with, but I want them to last at least the week. Cheaper polish lasts longer, and the colors are often times much more fun. I’m just saying.

Yes, I am biased. No one is perfect. But I think that as pretty as it is, there are more cons than pros with this week’s choice.

Glam and Imperfection

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20130205-192030.jpg So here we have one of Nicole OPI’s christmas collection called, “All is Glam, All is Bright” over a Sally Hansen Insta-Dri called “Slick Slate”. I really like the Insta-Dri series for their fast drying time and the flat brush. Slate is this really nice taupe color that is very subtle and businesslike. It provides a great base for the glittery silver and red of the OPI. I received a lot of complements on this polish. I was very pleased with my nails. I wish that I could say the same for the rest of my week…

This week has been a little lighter on my commitments as I did not have Advanced Drama after school. You would think that this would mean that I finally got to taking out the trash or vacuuming my stairwell… Nope! I have stopped apologizing for my lack of domesticity. Instead, I just don’t invite people over to see it. I do still complain about it, sometimes at a level that I am sure disturbs, or at least annoys, my friends. And I am still shamed by it. But mostly I dream of the day when I can afford housekeeping.

Oddly enough there is an opportunity (or at least the possibility of one) for me to have a little more money each month, by refinancing my home. I know that I qualify for the HARP thingy, and a friend of mine even recommended a guy to help me with it that he trusts and has known for many years. I have not called. I ask you, why do we procrastinate the things we want to do? I understand the putting off of things we don’t want to do, like putting laundry away into drawers that are over full or grading papers, but those things that would make life better. Why do we put stuff like that off?

I thought I had posted this one, but as it turns out it was dropped instead. I don’t remember what it was that I had to say, so I will have to live in my imperfection and try to do better. Thanks for sticking with me.

Frenzy and a School Play

20130127-180935.jpgTruth be told, I just couldn’t resist. Walking through Target before work on Sunday, I came across Sinful Colors’ Frenzy, a glittery purple and teal. I covered with the same Nicole OPI texture silver, but I’m much happier with the results of this week’s combination. Sinful Colors are a very inexpensive brand (a $1.99 a bottle) but they make a pretty good product. Two-three coat coverage and very vibrant colors. I wonder how it is that they can be so cheap, but I’ll keep buying them as long as the company stays in business. I will warn you to be careful and check the bottle if you do shop with them… I had to open three bottles before finding one with the brush attached to the lid. Nothing’s perfect.

This week marked the beginning and the end of the first school play that I assisted in directing at my new school. The play was a miracle! There is no other word for it. Monday the cast was no where near ready to perform in front of an audience, and yet five days later, they were being applauded by parents, teachers, and friends. I always see the putting on of a play to be at least a little bit magical. No matter how bad you may think that things are going, the show go on. Somehow, the show always goes on. At times it is inexplicable in the how of things coming together, but it always seems to come together on opening night. Of course, the kids could have done more, made the play more than it was, but the audience loved it, the kids had a lot of fun, and things could really have been worse.

Oh the play was Peter Pan, by the way, with Tinker Bell, 13 lost boys played by girls, 9 more girls playing indians. I think that the cast numbered somewhere around 40 students from grades seven through nine. We worked two days a week for three-four months, and had to push it back a month. it was a joyous time that I will be reliving twice a year for the rest of my life. Did I mention that I have a cold that refuses to improve and physical therapy three afternoons a week? I got to see opening night, then had to quarantine myself in my house for the rest of the weekend, minus the three hours at my sister’s. I took off work and slept as much as possible. I’m not 100% but I can talk again without coughing for five minutes.

The other miracle? I get two afternoons off from Advanced Drama after the play! I’m so excited I could cry. More rest for me! I may not get well, but at least I won’t be getting any worse.

Disco Dolls and Positive Thinking

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20130121-194704.jpgSo I am a little more than a day late with this one, and for that I apologize. I have a cold, and it has made me a little lazy. This week I experimented texture, using Nicole’s OPI Disco Dolls as a base coat with their silver texture coat on top. The two came as a set that I found on the clearance rack at Target. The two bottles were only $5-7 together and I had never used texture. Disco Dolls is a sparkly orange-gold with lots of flecks to catch the light, while the silver is really just silver. I like the cracks of the texture and the subtly of the two colors together, AND I think that the two of them are too subtle (kinda at the same time). Really it depends on how mature I’m feeling at the moment. The thing is that I work with 6th graders, so maturity is not in high demand on most days. Also, silver nail polish doesn’t exactly scream mature to begin with.

I’m having a little bit of difficulty this week, trying to decide what to talk about. So many interesting, wonderful, exciting things happened, but I seem to be getting stuck in the negative. Saw an amazing play of one of my favorite current stories, done with these incredible puppets of life-sized dragons. I loved every minute of it and took all kinds of pictures. What I keep focusing on, though, are things like the annoying family behind me who were eating and crying and talking throughout the show, or my knee being in pain, or my sister’s complaint that I didn’t invite her. My friend and I waited over a year for the show to come close enough for us to drive to. She bought the tickets on the first day they came out, and we sat in one of the first rows with a fantastic view. The show used, not only the animatronic giant puppets, but also beautiful shadow puppets, and these lit-lantern style boats held up on sticks by actors walking through a laser light effect to look like water. The whole thing was just so totally cool! Why do I get hampered by stupid crap?

Why do we let the teeny-tiny, silly, useless nonsense get in the way of the best moments of our lives? And when will we realize that things will never be perfect?

I met with my principal about his first observation of me as a teacher at a new school. There was this part of me that honestly thought that he was going to rave, be impressed, and just like that, I really would have a whole new life. Surprise, surprise! I’m not perfect. I have things that I need to improve and work I need to do. That is not to say I didn’t do things that he liked or that I suck as a teacher, not at all. But I seem to have this idea in my head that if I’m not perfect at this right out of the gate, it must not be the right place or job or life for me.

And now I’m here, doing a job that I like a whole lot more than I don’t. I have students that I like and who like me. I’m teaching the subject that I love. I have some pretty cool co-teachers who are kind and supportive and amazing. So I’m not going to give this one up. I’m going to try to stay focused on the things that work, and fix the things that don’t. I hope you will too.

Oh! And I tried a different undercoat with that silver texture. I can’t wait to tell you all about it…

Just as soon as I get over this damned cold.

Iceberg Lotus and Back to School

20130113-195014.jpgThis week we have Nicole’s OPI Iceberg Lotus, a fancy name for what is really sparkly teal. I mentioned last week that OPI is one of my favorite polishes. It really is all about the brush. It is nice though that most of the Nicole OPI colors can be found in a Target or Walmart for seven or eight dollars (and Target often clearances different colors out) The coverage is pretty good; I figure three coats is in the realm of pretty good. Two coats is very good. More than three coats is annoying and messy. Essie is usually in the four coat variety (sometimes even 5). It’s a shame when they have all those lovely colors lined up on display. Then I realize just how telling it is that the OPI stuff is usually sold out, in the wrong place, or otherwise missing. Essie can have their fancy display. I’ll stick with the stuff that works.

I needed something really fun and showy because this was the first week back to school. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes to work in a job that you like, sometimes even love. Almost everyone in my family for at least the last three generations have been teachers in one arena or another, and when my own plans at life fell through (again) I joined the family business. I spent five years subbing, or being tortured by principals, administrators, and sometimes students who hated English and me by extension. The worst of these was definitely, last year. Several of my friends were more than a little worried that I had walked into a tunnel that was collapsing around me. I was so stressed that I was throwing up nearly every morning. I was trying so hard, but I could not connect with the students to the director’s satisfaction. I was both panicked and relieved when he told me that things were just not going to work out.

This year is completely different. I am at a very different school with a different philosophy, focus, and student population. I have much younger students (middle school rather than high). And I am finally teaching something that I really love: Drama. I work with other teachers that seem, at least so far, to think that I am doing well. The best part is that I love my students! They are so amazing and sweet and enthusiastic and wonderful, and I love each and every last one of them. And after a three week rest, I came back to school for second semester in a completely different place than one year ago.

Unfortunately, that different place did not include sleep. A five day excursion to Disneyland that ends the day before you go back to school is not exactly restful, and I haven’t been sleeping much this week. Can’t seem to catch up. I’m not stressed exactly, nothing like last year’s hell. I do have a meeting with my principal next week, and I’m, of course, a little nervous about what he’ll have to say. But this is more the stress of staying up too late and getting up too early, nothing like the “any day now these people are going to fire me” nightmare of what I’ve been through.

Still, when the kids take forever to settle into routines that they had down perfectly before the break, and they just never seem to be able to focus for more than ten minutes, it can be really difficult to remember just how much I love them and my job. It is only after the lesson is over that I realize that they can’t keep focus for as long as the lesson asks them to. It’s not the students; it’s the lesson. Change yourself not other people. Yeah, that’s not a lesson I’m ever going to be done learning, is it?

Oh well, life is just never going to be perfect.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Fantasy Makers Glow in the Dark and Disneyland

20130112-164948.jpgSo my first week of nails centers around Wet ‘n’ Wild Fantasy Makers’ Glow in the Dark. It was probably somewhere between 99 cents and $2.50 whenever it was that I bought it, however long ago that was. I’m not even sure if Wet ‘n’ Wild still exists, but somehow the cheap companies always seem to do the best work with the glow works. This week I really needed to glow!

This year I turn 40 (actually, it’s this month) and to celebrate I decided that I wanted to finally do something that’s been on my life list forever: to stay at a Disneyland Hotel. It started with a memory of passing by one of the pools on the way to the park and seeing a fantastical pirate’s cove with a skull cave and everything. Sadly, the pool is long gone, and how that could even be possible astounds me. So instead, I stayed in the Grand Californian, with its special entrance into California Adventure and beautiful architecture. I’d been planning it for months after talking with my sister one afternoon. I even set up an event on my Facebook, and then waited to see who would join me…

The answer I got was Practically No One. After the initial planning with my sister, she and my mom told me that they couldn’t make it for more than a day or two and couldn’t afford the hotel. I quickly called my friend Murphy who for had the money and time to waste. She agreed to join me. She was the only one. My family joined us for a day at the park, spent the night at a nearby hotel, and went on a tour of the hotel with me the next day. Most of my friends were either sick at the last minute or never responded to the event.

It turned out to be cool that it was just Murph and me. Two people have a much easier time getting around. There’s no splitting up the group because some want to go on rides while others want to eat, and no feeling guilty for splitting up. Still, it did hurt my feelings to not have more people want to join me.

The thing is the plans we make in our heads never seem to live up in reality. Pools get remodeled, financials change, people get sick, life just sucks that way. And we cling to those moments of suckiness rather than the hours of fun and color. What’s that thing in The Matrix where the computers tried to give humans a happy world to live in (or feed of them in) but the humans would never believe it? And I’m just as bad as anyone else I’ve ever met.

So in an attempt to be more positive, here are just a few of the fabulous things that you missed by not celebrating my birthday with me:

1. The hotel was fantastic! Beautiful grounds, friendly staff, and the guest service desk had these funny little quizzes about some of the rides with prizes if you answered them all. It’s mostly for kids but we had fun with them anyway. The bed was cozy with the best pillows ever complete divine little chocolates at night. Housekeeping kept leaving us these cards with Disney characters on them, and the even the soap had an imprint of the castle. There were even hidden Mickeys in the carpet and Bambi in the shower curtain.

2. We got to go into the park an hour earlier than the regular crowd. It allowed us to go on some of the new rides that we never would have been able to try out because the park was so crowded. We rode the new Cars ride and played in the Toy Story Arcade twice. When the park was open it would have taken the whole day in a line for just one of those rides, but we got to play and play and play.

3. I got to hear a really awesome house band and see the coolest Alice in Wonderland costumes ever! They even have groupies, stalker groupies apparently. They were part of the Disney rave that happens most nights in California Adventure. My favorite part was their costumes. The lead singer was The Mad Hatter, but not some big headed, Johnny Depp clone. This one was total rocker, all purple and sonic apple green with a red graphic tee and a belt made out spools of millinery thread.

4. We got to ride the Jungle Cruise three times in one day. I know that it sounds silly, but it was one of my favorite rides this time. The new rides all have prerecorded tour guides that never change, but everyday different guides tell different jokes to the passengers. We got to hear three of them. The best joke? “Spear, spear, spear, spear!”

There were a lot more awesome, fun, ridiculous moments: yummy sandwiches, a Christmas tree of traffic cones, wreathes of wrenches, chocolate doubloons, a wickedly frustrating hoodie hunt, a colossally crazy Pirates of the Caribbean special fun line that wound through all of Frontierland, and even had a switchback or two to keep people from figuring it out, RumbleRoar at Pigfarts, and more than one trip through an inner-tube followed by a hot tub.

So what did we learn? Nothing turns out the way you plan. Guest Services is awesome (but they are nicer to kids than adults) and Wet ‘n’ Wild made really great glow in the dark nail polish (Seriously, every time we were in a dark ride I got to play dancing fingers). Whenever you are seriously depressed about how something did not go the way you wanted it to, take the time to count off all the moments that were fun or fantastic or silly or just unexpected. Oh, and go in twos if you can (thirty is just too many) and if you can have it be one of those rare people that remind you that crying is okay especially when you really need to. Even better if they remember to bring the Harry Potter Musical on DVD for you to watch when you don’t feel like going out again.

Oh! I tipped my nails with Nicole’s OPI holiday color: Deck the Halls. OPI is one of my favorite brands, and I always highly recommend it. The colors are pretty great and they have lots of variety, but the best thing is the brush! It’s flat unlike the traditional brush, which makes it easier to put on, smoother and faster drying too. Anyway, have a great week filled with color and fun!