Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

To all children, big and small, a happy and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Coffee Talk

I'm sitting here enjoying my second cup of coffee and planning the rest of my day. I would like to go to church this morning, but it seems that my weekends are mostly devoted to writing papers, and so attending church has been pushed down the list of priorities for a while now. When I'm done with this degree, it will be good to get plugged back in at SeaCoast Grace. I miss it, and once Jillian is a part of my life, I want her to have a church family, too.

Speaking of families, I had the pleasure of meeting several single moms yesterday with children from China and Kazakhstan! Irene had a little get-together and invited me to come. She has two daughters from China, who are adorable (of course), and her sister is awaiting a referral from Vietnam! Meeting up with those women was inspiring, but also an eye opener. Wow! My life is really going to change, isn't it?

Last night, I took a break from all my tasks and went to see The Prestige. That is a great movie and I highly recommend it. I'm still thinking about it this morning, or am I still thinking about Hugh Jackman? He's so dreamy! Sigh...

You know what else I'm thinking about? REFERRALS! Where are they? What is going on? I want all my blogger friends with August LIDs to see their babies' faces this week. Come on CCAA!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Favorite Halloween Reads

I love this story about a witch named Gritch and her attempts to whip up some delicious piggy pie. She ends up having lunch with a wolf instead.

In this, the third installment of the Herdman's hijinx, Halloween is in jeopardy at Woodrow Wilson School!

A wonderful book of silly poems about a horrendous, yet lovable Ogre.

I really enjoy sharing these and many other books with my students this time of year.

What are you reading these days?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

When Weird Found Me

Last Saturday, while out running errands in preparation for my reunion, I stopped at my favorite sandwich shop for lunch. Grounds is just a little hole-in-the-wall, and it was really busy that day. After I placed my order, I sat down at an unoccupied table to wait for my order to come up.

I was reading a magazine at my table, when a man in a fedora approached me and asked if he could sit down. Because it was so busy in the place and there were few empty tables, I said yes. He then sat down and pulled out a notebook and a pen, and asked me if he could ask me some questions.

That's when I caught the weird vibe from him.

I responded with, "I don't want to have a conversation with you."

I know, I know. That wasn't very friendly or Christ-like of me. Oh, well... Like I said I had picked up on the weird vibe from him by then and he was making me uncomfortable.

His response to me?

"Oh, so you're part of the silent majority?" He was totally serious.

At that point my sandwich order was ready, and I took my things to another table.

I just wanted to eat my BLT in peace.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Since several of you were unfamiliar with threading, I found this picture and description for you. From

Threading is an ancient method of hair removal that is still used in parts of the Middle and Far East. Thin, twisted cotton threads are rolled over untidy hairlines, mustaches and so on, plucking the offending hair. In Western countries, threading can still be found being performed in beauty salons. Unlike other methods of hair removal such as plucking or waxing, threading is much healthier for the skin and does not result in ingrown hairs.

Practitioners use a pure cotton thread. They generally twist the hair and threading pulls out a whole row of hair, as opposed to tweezing where only one single hair is pulled out. Threading is often preferred to tweezing because of the naturally straight lines of hair removed by the thread. It is pulled out from the follicle. Some women focus particularly on the area between the eyebrows [1], thus interrupting so-called "unibrows". Side effects can include folliculitis, a bacterial infection in the hair follicles, skin reddening or puffiness, and changes in skin pigment.

Threading is known as khite in Arabic, but in Egypt is referred to as fatlah. It is very popular in India as well.

I had tried having my eyebrows waxed many years ago, but since my skin is very sensitive it remained red and bumpy for days after the waxing appointment. I experienced about 24 hours of redness with the threading, but no bumps. I'm envious of those of you who can go weeks between plucking or waxing your brows. I have no such luck. If I don't pluck them daily, they'll take over in no time!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Twenty Years Later

There we are - Joannah and Teresa. Friends since 1982, when we had English with Mrs. Vena, and science with Mr. Smith (he was a little crazy, no really!) our freshman year of high school. I wish I had a scanner so I could show you some pictures of us back in the day! ;-)

So where do I begin with my rundown on last night? Not surprisingly, it was overwhelming for me in some ways. Lots of faces I recognized but couldn't remember the name that went with the face. Oops!

I was disappointed that the people I hoped to see the most weren't there. I had been in Concert Choir and Troubadours during high school, and most of my close friends were also involved in vocal music. Only one other member of the Troubadours, John H., attended and he sat with us for dinner. I enjoyed seeing him. He's a unique individual, with a great sense of fun, and he still has a real sweet spirit. He used to wear his hair long back in school, but he decided to cut it during our senior year. Trouble was he decided to cut it during a "Battle of the Bands" concert in the school amphitheater - onstage. The school administrators marched out of their building and took him off the stage rather quickly because we all know what cutting your hair in public leads to, right? (Imagine me rolling my eyes, if you will.)

There were quite a few people that I had gone to elementary school with though, and it was good to see them because I've known them since first grade. Being an elementary school teacher, I have a unique perspective on how young we once were. Yikes! Seeing them brought back memories of slumber parties, favorite teachers, and playing after school in the neighborhood. I remembered when John A. was riding my ten-speed bicycle, rode it into a parked car, and chipped his front tooth. Do you think I was concerned about his injuries? Nope, I was mostly upset about any damage my bike had incurred.

Most people I talked to were married with children and still living in Orange County. The women were sharing pictures of their children every chance they got. I would have been too, if only...

Everyone looked older, and some looked much older - that's to be expected. I received many compliments on my appearance and, being a wallflower most of my life, that felt good.

Overall, it just wasn't all I thought it was cracked up to be. I'm glad I went, but I wish I hadn't spent so much emotional energy being apprehensive about the evening. Oh, well...

I've got another ten years until I have to consider doing it again.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Class of 1986

Tonight is my high school reunion. A few weeks ago I didn't think I'd be going, but then my plans changed when Teresa decided she would go.

I didn't want it to be a big deal. I'm really busy writing a paper for my class right now, and I didn't want to be spending money on an outfit. So, I was just going to wear a skirt and a top I already had.

I began to accessorize that outfit, and somehow that led to buying a new dress instead! It was a deal at TJMaxx, a MaxStudio kimono-style, knit dress in black and tan - very vintage (1940s) looking. But I needed shoes for it, so I ordered a couple pair from (my favorite shoe store) to try. They arrived yesterday afternoon, but they were too high and uncomfortable. It's too bad really, because they were both so cute!

So, I forced myself to put in about three hours on my paper yesterday afternoon before I hit the mall in search of shoes, jewelry, and a handbag. While I was trying to focus on "Brain-Compatible Classrooms" all I could think about was what I needed to complete my outfit! Once I got to a good stopping place, I high-tailed it for the local shopping mall.

Okay, what's with women's dress shoes these days? The styles are so cute, very feminine, but the heels are four inches tall! I'm already 5'8". I don't want to be six feet tall tonight, not to mention how uncomfortable that would be. Anyway, I finally found a pair I liked that weren't too high, but I had to have them stretched a little. I hope they don't hurt my feet. Maybe I should stash my slippers in my purse in case they do? Nah...

I then found a necklace, bracelet, and earrings set at The Limited, and it was buy two get one free - so another bargain.

Whilst walking the mall, I came upon the Ziba Beauty Center and decided to have my eyebrows threaded there. Another bargain - just $9 to have my brows shaped! I am obsessed with my eyebrows and pluck them meticulously everyday, but she cleaned up the tops of my brows and that's something I don't usually do. Now I think I'm hooked on threading. It took five minutes and they look great!

I finished my shopping spree at Nordstroms where I bought Spanx pantyhose (there will be no unsightly bulges tonight), and some new eyeshadow.

At that point I was exhausted and it was after 8 o'clock, so I made my way home - after I had dinner at Chik-Fil-A - my first dining experience there. I wasn't impressed.

Today, I'll continue the ramping-up to tonight's event by doing a little waxing, having a manicure and pedicure, and having my hair blown dry by my hairdresser.

So, why all this effort? Because preparing to go to your twenty year high school reunion is stressful! I've talked with Teresa and she agrees, as do the other two friends we'll be going with. We've all been shopping like crazy trying to find the perfect outfit and worrying about what others will think of us. This is insane!

I was a wall-flower in high school. I had some very good friends, but after high school I only kept up with a few friends, and now I only maintain friendships with Teresa and one other friend (who isn't going tonight). I know I'm dreading people asking me if I'm married, or not, and why not; Teresa doesn't want to talk about her divorce; S. is self-conscience because she had a baby recently and hasn't lost all her pregnancy weight; and D. - well, I think D. is probably the most well-adjusted of us all - she's just worried about how she looks.

So, wish me luck because right now I'm just a bundle of nerves about the whole thing - a little excited, and apprehensive, because I don't know what to expect. At the ten year reunion, someone I thought had been a good friend couldn't remember my name, and the husband of another friend hit on me all night long. It was so weird!

I'll post tomorrow and let you know how it went. I'll probably have some pictures then, too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You're Invited!

Stephanie started this one, and I think it's a great idea.

Let's say you could invite eight bloggers over your house for the weekend. Who would you invite and why?

Okay, since I was "invited" to Stephanie's house, I'm not going to include any of the bloggers I would "meet" there, because that would be redundant, right? I also didn't include bloggers I've already had the pleasure of meeting in real life.

So, here's my guestlist:

Julie, because hers was one of the very first blogs I began reading and I think she's an amazing person. She's so creative and smart! I've had the opportunity to get to know her a little better over the phone, too, and she's someone I think I'd like to spend time with.

April, because we've got the teaching thing in common and her posts always make me laugh. She's very witty.

Shana, because, like Julie, hers was one of the first blogs I came across, and I love Sophie Lu. She has been so gracious to me via email, and has shared her insights and experiences with me. She is a ray of sunshine.

Tamara, because we have emailed quite a bit and I feel like we're already friends. I would hope she'd bring Alexis and Maya with her, too.

Jen, because she's one courageous, wise, and smart individual. I so admire her for the path she's on and her honesty.

Connie, because she has a great sense of humor, and she must be a wonderful conversationalist. She'd be the life of the party.

Kathy, because we've got the teaching thing in common (like April), and she's spiritual and introverted, like me.

Mariah, because we're both with the same agency and she's a single waiting mother-to-be also. We've gotten to know each other a bit through email and I'd love to meet her in person.

There are so many others I wish I could invite, but, hey, I've only got about 900 square feet here and one bathroom. So, the rest of you are going to have to bunk at someone else's for the weekend!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Conference Week

Well, at least none of my students seem headed for the state penitentiary this year!

All of today's conferences went really well. Even the one I was a little nervous about because the mom had been a wee bit confrontational at Back to School Night. Whew!

One perk during conference week is that it coincides with the on-campus book fair. Two students donated three new books for my classroom collection that I had requested. I always enjoy getting more books to share with my students. I'd tell you what titles I received, but I'm too tired to remember what they are right now. Conferences always wear me out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm On iTunes!

As some of you may be aware, in a former life I was an aspiring singer/songwriter. I played the local coffeehouse circuit for awhile, then wrote an album's worth of material with my guitar player, Brian, recorded it, and marketed our product via the internet. It was an exciting time. Our efforts led to the CD being picked up by overseas disc jockeys (Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) and played on many independent country radio shows. You can google me and see I'm not making this up!

I traveled to Nashville several times networking a little bit and meeting others who were in pursuit of similar dreams to mine. In the spring of 2001, I began a short series of shows opening for national country acts when they came through Southern California. I opened for the Bellamy Brothers, Ricochet, Blake Shelton, and the subdudes. Fun times!

My stuff is still out there on, a wonderful website that really gives independent musicians a way to share their music with the world. They have recently teamed up with iTunes and you can now find my music here. I recommend Yellow Moon and I Know - they're my personal favorites.

Don't you just love the hat in my picture? I know, I know - Jack Sparrow called and he wants his hat back! Ha!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Look Alikes?

You be the judge:

I think it's interesting that I was matched with two Asian celebrities. Must be the dark hair?

And then there's Monica... Well, at least it's not Linda Tripp! LOL!!!

Try it yourself at My Heritage.

Thank You, Connie!

Came home today to find a cardboard box on my porch. When I opened it, this was inside:

When I opened that, this was inside:

Isn't she darling?

The card it came with says, "Joannah, you are going to be such a wonderful mom. Congrats on your LID! Warmly, Connie & Jadyn."

Connie, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness! You had given me a heads up a while ago that this was on it's way, but that it was on backorder. I think it's perfect timing - it coincides nicely with the receipt of the brown envelope. What a great way to start the weekend, too!

To all of you "adoption bloggers" who read and comment frequently, thank you for your friendship and support. You don't know how often I share your stories with my family and friends, and when I do I always say, "I have a friend who..." Yes, you have become friends and I am grateful for each of you!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Brown Envelope!

I had a feeling this might be showing up soon. Sad to say it's the last exciting milestone I can foresee before my referral, and who knows how long I'll wait for that!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Sorry... I just had to borrow a line from America's favorite blowhard.

What I'm referring to is this.

Yep, a veteran teacher is likely to lose her job because she took her students to a museum and they saw artwork in which (gasp!) nudity was displayed.


I just can't believe that anyone would expect a teacher to prevent her students from observing nude sculptures and paintings in a museum. What's she supposed to do, go around throwing beach towels over "questionable" pieces?

Thank goodness there's no nude artwork at any of the fieldtrip sites I'll be taking my students to this year.

Or, is there?

There is a book in my classroom, a children's book, about art and it has several nude sculptures and paintings in it. A couple times a year, it becomes something of great interest to my students. As the interest peaks, I shrug my shoulders and say, "It's just art! Some people, including famous artists, find the human body to be very beautiful and it inspires their artistic creations." That usually calms them down a bit.

You know, I want my students to grow up comfortable with art and environments in which art is displayed. I want them to have mature reactions to the things they see in a museum. I don't want them to overreact to nudity in an artistic setting.

Maybe those administrators and parents in Texas need a little art appreciation education.

Come on! Grow up!

p.s. The photo up top is one I took at the Orsay in Paris. I think it's beautiful. ;-)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Jiinkin Kids

I just popped over to Stephanie's blog and saw that she has a new venture going. I love Stephanie's artwork and designs, and I really like that she's created so many designs that pertain to adoption. Please check out her new site Jiinkin Kids.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Apple Pie

I really like pie, especially this time of year. It's one of my favorite comfort foods. Both my mom and my sister make beautiful pies - apple and pumpkin usually, although my sister has made delicious and lovely cherry pies, too. Me, I help with the pie making, but it's not something I've ever tried on my own really. I'm okay with that! ;-)

So, yesterday, my mom and my grandmother (I call her Tata and she reads my blog all the time. Hi, Tata!) and I went to a little craft fair at Piecemakers pretty much just so we could eat their apple pie. It's that good! A few years ago, Mom and I were out shopping or something, and I had a craving for apple pie. I think it was our intention to go back to my mom's and make a pie, but then we drove by Piecemakers and saw that they were having a little fair. We stopped to check it out and sure enough, they were serving apple pie and it was SO good!

So, now, each October I drag my mom and Tata, or a friend, over to that little fair so that I can have some apple pie. I don't really care about all the "happy crap" they're selling (although they usually have some neat jewelry), I just want the pie.

Apple pie is way better than mooncakes!

So, what's your favorite kind of pie? Do you make your own pies?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Of Mooncakes & Other Things

Wasn't the moon simply beautiful last night? I wish I'd spent more time outdoors admiring it.

Well, the mooncakes weren't a hit with my students - or my family! Ha! I think three kids out of thirty-one said they liked them. I so wanted to like them, but I don't get the appeal. They are so... pasty.

Maybe they'll grow on me, if I keep trying them each year. I didn't like sake for the longest time, but I've developed a taste for it and I'll drink it now when I go out for sushi. Maybe mooncakes are just one of those things you've got to try more than once? I don't know. They sure are cute! I even received a package of mooncakes from one of my Chinese-American students. That was so neat!

Our dining experience last night wasn't that great either. It was so nice to be together, but the food just wasn't very good. I love good Chinese food, so we'll just have to keep looking for some local Chinese restaurants where you get great food and that nice Oriental atmosphere. My sister's husband said they have a favorite take-out place nearby, so maybe another option is to do Chinese take-out on special occasions. We can jazz up the table with thematic items, put on some Chinese music, and try some games or crafts that tie in with the holiday. I don't know exactly, but I know that I want to make some of these Chinese holidays a part of Jillian's childhood. In part to pay homage to her country of origin. I really want her to be proud of who she is, where she came from, and to have a positive association with Chinese culture. I also think it will be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Three Months

Tomorrow it will be three months since my LID. So, three little ladybugs to mark the occasion.

Friday evening, I'm going out for dinner at the Golden Dragon with the family in honor of the Moon Festival. I purchased mooncakes at the local Asian grocery for my students to sample on Friday, too. For some reason I'm thinking they aren't going to be crazy about them.

Oh, well...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday Tagging

From the Queen of All Things Tag-Related – Jenny
(I did shorten this from its original insanely long length!)

So far whom did you talk to the most today?
My students.
What was your last weird encounter?
Weird hasn’t found me lately.
What is your middle name spelled backwards?
Can you eat well with chopsticks?

What odd things creep you out?
Lawn mowers and leaf blowers. I hate the sounds and the smells of the whole lawn grooming process. They seem to mow the lawns at school every other day, and there’s not a day in my neighborhood where someone isn’t having their lawn mowed, or mowing it themselves. It drives me nuts.
Have you ever felt an earthquake?
I’m a Native Californian. Of course I have!
How many good friends do you have?
I have five or six friends who have known me a very long time and they still want to be my friend. ☺ I have made some wonderful new friends in the last year, too.
What’s the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Escargot and they were surprisingly good.
What is your favorite word that starts with the letter G?
Who do you blame for your mood today?
??? (Last year at this time I would have said students A. and R.)
What is something scientists need to invent?
An Easy Button for the CCAA!
Are you listening to a song now? Which?
No, I’m listening to the dogs grooming themselves. :-P It’s pretty gross.
What story do you tell most often?
What will happen if you don’t do your work or behave yourself in my class. I don’t think that’s technically a story, but it seems to be worth repeating on a regular basis.
What do you think people think of you?
I think people think I am serious, ambitious, capable, smart, and independent. Then again, maybe they just think I’m a pain in the neck!
What is your favorite commercial of the moment?
There’s a Home Depot commercial right now with a couple of little boys in it. The Asian boy is one of my students. So, I like that one because he’s in it. He’s a cutie, too!
What does it take to make you cry?
Not much.
What are you looking forward to?
Meeting Jillian in China in 2007!
Have you ever cried because you thought you were ugly?
I probably have.
What do you like to do when you are alone?

Okay, if you’re up for it, YOU’RE tagged!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back At It

I'm printing out the syllabus for my fourth master's class as I type. Sigh...

I really enjoyed NOT having any school work.

Oh, well...

Five and a half months from now, I will never have school work again.

I will have a new degree instead. :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Yesterday I had my vehicle serviced, and on my way to the dealer I noticed that there's a new Tuesday Morning in the neighborhood. So, after I picked up my vehicle later in the day I decided to stop in.

I will say that I didn't like the fact that the place was overflowing with merchaindise. It's hard for me to look past the mess in a place like that and find the good stuff, but I did. They had a children's book section with lots of hardback books. Most of them were just $3.99!

I even found a copy of Shaoey & Dot! I'm going to read that one to my class tomorrow.