Spring Break 2012: The Staycation

I’m not quite sure what it was about 2010, but clearly I have not been able to recreate whatever it was that prompted me to write every day about something that made me happy.  In fact, I haven’t been able to write every day about anything since then.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about writing happy thoughts every day, and it is, of course, the thought that counts, right?

Regardless, I’ve had a lot to be thankful for this week.  It’s my spring break, and for once, I decided not to do anything.  I decided to engage in a staycation.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, it’s a vacation where you stay at home.  It has been an amazing week, and I decided a couple of days ago that my brief comeback to the blogosphere would detail exactly what made this week one of my favorites in recent memory.

Monday:  Ladies of Leisure

One of the best parts of being on vacation is waking up without the help of an alarm.  That’s exactly what I did today.  At 11am, I went to the gym and worked out with my trainer.  After that, I got an hour-long massage, and then met up with my friend Meghan for a late lunch.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is the lifestyle I was meant to lead.  Unfortunately, I did not win the MegaMillions, so it’s going to be a while before I can fully become a true lady of leisure.  Additionally, I decided this week to cook one new recipe a week.  Today it was shrimp paella.  While delicious (and a recipe I will totally make again), I should have fully read the instructions before I started cooking.  Cook time:  two hours.  I didn’t eat dinner until after 9pm.  Totally worth it.

Tuesday:  Pre-Trivia Bar Crawl

New recipe of the day:  veggie scramble.  Throw asparagus and mushrooms into a coffee mug.  Add egg and a tablespoon of milk, microwave, and BAM: breakfast.  After a run, I met up with the trivia team, mainly comprised of fellow teachers, for a Shirlington bar crawl, pre-trivia.  We hit Busboys and Poets, where we sat out in the sunshine and decided that yes, a leisurely life is the way to go.  Then, we played darts at Bungalow, and I’m still pretty terrible at the game, despite the fact that I throw darts with some pretty severe aggression.  I don’t mean to, it’s just how I throw.  After Bungalow, we headed to Guapos for some deadly 27oz. margaritas.  Finally, we made it to trivia, almost all of us slightly intoxicated.  You would think this would have a detrimental effect on the outcome of the round, but no.  The alcohol, which at this point included a beer and a few shots, only increased our mental acuity, and we won.

Wednesday:  First Recipe Fail

First thing’s first: going to the grocery store in the middle of the day is heavenly.  No one is there, there are no lines at checkout, and the shelves are all fully stocked.  As if I didn’t ALREADY love the grocery store.

Anyway, I had been wavering all day as to whether or not I should cook bacon ranch chicken or lasagna in the slow-cooker as my recipe for the day.  I went with the bacon ranch chicken, and it was a bit of a failure.  The chicken got overcooked, and it was pretty bland.  I also experimented with shirataki noodles, which are essentially fake noodles made of tofu.  I forgot to pat them dry after cooking, which made the bacon ranch chicken sauce a little soupier than it should have been, but other than that, they tasted kinda like overcooked ramen.  And for zero points (yes, zero points pasta), I’m willing to give them another whirl.  But not the chicken.  I actually dumped the leftovers this morning because I know I’m not going to eat them.  And I never dump leftovers.

Thursday:  Lazy Day and a Midnight Showing

I did something today that I absolutely love doing: I watched an entire British television series in one sitting.  They’re only six episodes, so it’s okay.  I watched “Jekyll,” a modern version of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde.  It was pretty decent, but how could it NOT be considering the fact that it was written by Steven Moffat?

After spending all day in bed watching TV, I had energy in reserves for a midnight showing of American Reunion.  Definitely worth seeing, even at midnight.  For those of us who were actually IN the class of ’99, it was a throwback to simpler times…or at least a movie about old people kickin’ it old school.  Hilarious.

Friday:  Epic Naps and Even More Epic Cooking

Today is the day.  I have wanted to make slow-cooker lasagna ever since I started collecting recipes, and I finally found the time in which to do it.  I started cooking around 12:30, and everything was in the crock pot and ready to go by 1pm.  After that, I went to the grocery store, bought some produce, and came home in time for an epic two and a half hour nap.  Woke up just in time for Body Pump, and had to wait another hour and a half to try my latest experiment.

It was worth.  The.  Wait.  I am loving this whole “cooking” thing, I just wish I had time to do it every day.  Staycations can be such a tease.  My only complaint was that it was a little salty, but I stupidly switched ground oregano for dried oregano, but it was all I had.  Despite this minor flub, I am just pleased as punch with this latest experiment, which led me into my second culinary experiment of the day: chocolate and peanut butter filled crescent rolls.  I had to do two recipes today since I didn’t cook anything new today.  Decadently delicious.  I found the recipe on Pinterest (a new addiction for those with lots of leisure time on their hands), and it said to cook the delights 10-11 minutes, but I suggest 17.

And now we’re back to the weekend.  I keep forgetting it’s Saturday and no one is working.  After such a glorious staycation, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to go back to work, but it’s time.  I almost cried twice watching Kathie Lee and Hoda on Thursday, which tells me I either need to go back to work, or run the risk of becoming one of THOSE women.

And no, I’m not sure what I mean by that.


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January 20th: Korean BBQ

I love Korean food.

I discovered I had an affinity last year when one of my students started bringing me Korean cookies – these little flaky bits of deliciousness – on work days.  I love it when the kids feed me.

A while back, Laurel got a Groupon for Honey Pig in Annandale, and tonight we cashed it in.

Despite the fact that I got a bit lost finding the place, when I got there, I had no idea the deliciousness ahead of me.

Seafood pancake.  I could have eaten five of them.  Not really sure what the actual pancake was made of, but the huge lumps of seafood inside were divine.

Bulgogi.  Beef deliciousness over rice.

Some chicken thing.  Also delicious over rice.

Some pork thing.  Again, delicious over rice.

I feel like the three of us (Megan, Laurel, myself) ate more food than humanly possible, but at the end of the meal, I was pleasantly satisfied.  Not full, but not hungry.  The portions were perfect.

What’s not perfect?  The fact that I want Korean BBQ like three days a week now.

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January 19th: A Lack of Murderous Thoughts

For those who know me and read my Facebook wall, you know that this has been a hard year.  Not just with one class, but with almost all of my classes.  It doesn’t help that my most frustrating classes, English 9 and yearbook (yes, yearbook.  Normally the love of my life, this year almost the bane of my existence), meet at the end of the day.  There’s nothing worse than ENDING your work day on a sour note, and I’ve had lots of sour notes this year.

Now the title of this post might lead you to believe that I actually wish harm on my students.  Not the case.  Most days, I just wish they would go away.  Imagine how refreshing it was to leave school today in a good  mood.  And on a Thursday no less.  Thursdays are the days I see my freshmen.

I think the key was the fact that we had reading/writing groups today.  Those can be disastrous if you’re not careful, but it’s only taken me five years to figure out what it takes.  Require the kiddos to take notes on their conversations and threaten to grade the notes for depth of conversation.  In classes where the students are OBSESSED with grades, this motivates the little darlings to actually have productive conversations.

I’d love to be able to say they are intrinsically motivated by the desire to improve their writing and THAT’s why the day was a success.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but at least they’re finally getting something out of the class, and for once, I don’t have to play the bad guy.


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January 18th: Specific Praise

The problem with catch-up…I can’t remember what I wanted to say about this, so I’m just going to Rick Roll myself.

I need to remember to stay on top of this thing…

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January 17th: Awkward Family Photos

The first day back from any break is hard, especially when you had a weekend like mine.  It’s hard to get back into a routine, especially when your first day back is an English 9 day.  No complaining.

So for the next few weeks, my class periods are broken down into about 40 minutes of small group discussion, a short lecture, and then large group discussion.  Like a good teacher, during small group time, I circulate, make the rounds, confiscate iPads (again), and make sure everyone stays on task.

That doesn’t take 40 minutes.

So I’m on Facebook, and my friend Misti posts a link to Awkward Family Photos.

And thus, between each rotation around the room, I checked out a new page of awkward family photos.  There were some LOL moments for sure, but also some jaw dropping train wreck moments.  Those  mostly came with the pregnancy photos.  This one might be the scariest of them all:

Yeah, that’s an adult  male airbrushed onto her pregnant belly.  Terrifying.

Thank you, Awkward Family Photos, for making my first day back at work bearable.

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January 16th: Impromptu Brunch

It’s the last day of my NYWoF: Long Island Edition.  LJ knows how I hate being rushed when it comes to travel, so we had a little bit of breakfast and she took me to the train station.  As a result, I arrived at Penn Station about two hours before my bus was scheduled to leave, but fortunately, Megan (that’s another blessing mention if you’re counting, Megan) was taking my same bus, and she and Mimi were down for brunch!  I love me some brunch.

To be honest, over two weeks after the actual brunch took place, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was delicious.  I (of course) had eggs benedict with double the salad instead of home fries.  Healthy eating, what?

It wasn’t just the food that made impromptu brunch awesome.  No, it was the company I kept.  Despite the fact that we live about four and a half hours away, I get to see Mimi on a regular basis, but the fact that we can send a text that says “Brunch?” three hours beforehand and make it happen is pretty awesome.

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January 15th: Winning the Golden Globes

No, I did not WIN a Golden Globe.  I did not get dolled up in a fancy dress that may or may not have ended up on the “Worst Dressed” list.  I did not plan an acceptance speech and I didn’t try to exit stage left when everyone knows you’re supposed to exit stage right.

So perhaps the title of this post is misleading, because, like I said, I didn’t WIN a Golden Globe.  I won THE Golden Globes.  The Golden Globes pool, that is.

Tonight we traveled to Stamford, Connecticut, to attend a Golden Globes viewing party hosted by LJ’s boyfriend Ben.  Earlier in the week, he sent out a spreadsheet for us to fill out with our picks for the evening.  Put $10 into the pot, and if your picks were well-informed and smartly planned, you could win some money.

My picks were well-informed, smartly planned, and I ended up winning a grand total of $20!

The money wasn’t the best part, though.  The best part was the conquering some pretty fierce competition.  I’d only met Ben one other time before, so I was unaware of his vicious competitive streak.

And he was unaware of mine.

We made most of the same picks, but he made some crucial mistakes.  You vote against Meryl Streep for Best Actress?  You disregard Idris Elba’s performance in The Wire and vote against him for his work in Luther?

Please.  You know what this feels like?


Old joke, I know.


No.  I’m not competitive at all.

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