Sunday, October 31, 2010

Four Group-Discount Adventures

Friends!  There have been no fewer than FOUR Groupon or Groupon-spinoff events in the last two weeks, and they have all featured their own brand of novelty!  Here they are, in order of appearance:
  1. Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum!  So, trust me, I knew even before I bought them, before they ever came up on Specialicious, that Justin would have less than zero interest.  But I, I!  I love this kind of thing!  My theater days are not so far behind me that I have forgotten the magic of the real-but-fake arts.  Although I know very few celebrities, I have always been dying to go.  And it was indeed impressive, starting with Beyonce's guided tour video of how they made her figure.  I can, however, admit that several aspects of it were slightly questionable!  It's super short, as all the reviews will tell you.  And it ends with Joan Rivers, which is pretty disappointing in and of itself.  But apparently, no matter the time period, all the presidents were SUPER TALL.  The Kennedys were represented as being like 5'11!  Each!  Justin and I questioned historical height. 10/16.
    look alikes!
  2. "Mr. and Mrs." (aka Post-Wedding Engagement) Photo Shoot!  Here is a shoot that the Races can really get behind!  Our trooper Justin posed, kissed, and hugged like a champ for an hour and change at our new favorite gardens.  My ampersand, apples, pumpkins and chalkboards were all put to good use, and despite his doubts and grumbling, Justin ended up really enjoying it too.  I, of course, had the best time.  We got a few congratulations, which we happily accepted.  Pictures hopefully to come soon!  Watch for the one Justin staged himself, which includes me sitting in a tree and him attempting to hug both me and a large branch.  Christmas card or Awkward Family Photos, I can't decide.  Both?? 10/23.
  3. Maryland Small Arms Firing Range!  So, trust me, I knew even before I bought them, before they ever came up on LivingSocial, that I would have less than zero interest.  But Justin, Justin!  Justin had been longing to shoot the firearm for many moons now.  Itching for the real deal instead of plastic, zombies, and Dave and Buster's, he'd been mentioning going to a shooting range ever since a friend showed us his collection of bullets and firearms several months ago.  It was going to be their bonding thing; they were going to become Real Dude Friends over guns and the many manly things that went along with that.  I tried to bow out of it before it was even scheduled.  I would tell both my husband and this couple that I definitely did not want any part of this, I would watch from the outside, I didn't want to shoot any guns.  When you make plans to go out with another couple, however, it's generally accepted that both parties of the couple attend.  So I went.  And I almost died.  Not of a bullet, but of such intense dislike of every aspect of the place.  Once in the shooting hallway, filled with smoke, flying casings, and other shooters, I jolted at every bang I heard.  Naturally, there were a lot of bangs.  Loud bangs.  Friends, I jump a mile high when a balloon pops, I contort into a hunched, nearly paralyzed, severe cringe at the sound of the oxygen machine blowing up balloons in case the filler overfills and pops the balloon.  Can you picture me at a shooting range -- at a small, indoor shooting range!  My convulsions alerted me that it might not be the safest idea for me to shoot at all, and I signaled to these kind and well-meaning and gun-comfortable people, through all our headphones, that I was leaving.  I never even touched the gun.  I was relieved and not entirely surprised to see Justin already in the parking lot, trying to stop trembling.  Shooting is not for the Races. 10/24.
  4. Spirit of Washington Dinner Cruise!  This came up on Groupon itself, and I fell over with joy.  Half price tickets for a three-hour tour of the Potomac and a fancy schmancy dinner buffet!  Justin says, of his initial reaction to the Groupon, "Yeah, I was game, but I never thought we'd actually do it."  That's where I came in.  I insisted we do it.  A dinner cruise!  It sat and sat, during our super boring summer where we did nothing, and then the school year started, and we didn't do anything then either.  So I scheduled it for this past Friday, and it was amazing.  We forwent fancy clothes, because it was pretty cold, and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  Turns out we were getting ourselves into something with the classy food of a wedding, and the entertainment of a middle school dance.  Slash talent show.  There was a

    hilarious deep-voiced DJ and three ridiculous waiters who dressed up in glitter vests, sang and danced their hearts out.  They weren't very good at it, but they were very enthusiastic about whatever they were doing, but the overall point is that my joy at the entire situation drowned out any distaste for their objectively sub-awesome performances.  The dance floor called my name -- the cha cha slide?  The electric...slide?  Some new slide called the Cupid?  Guys.  I can't help this kind of thing.  I have to do it.  I love it so.  Also, turns out it's perfectly okay not to dress up.  It's perfectly okay to wear anything you like.  From our LBD bachelorette party, to our classy old couples, to our just-engaged lovers to our mid-dating hooch-it-up ladies and their she-made-me-wear-this dudes.  The entire time, amidst it all, we couldn't believe what was happening.  We were on a dinner cruise!  We were getting serenaded!  We went out on the deck several times for views of the DMV skyline and the stars!  We were next to a group of four people who didn't look very happy about anything that was going on.  But one of them happily took our picture!  Thank you, friendly angry man! 10/29.

Friday, October 22, 2010




On the Beltway!  Were we not alternating between 70 and 10 mph I would have rolled down my window and shouted with unbelievable joy.

Numbered List: FALL EDITION

I have a post in my heart about how ridiculous education is.  I can't write it.  Tonight, at least.  Or pretty much in this blog in general.

Instead, I will leave you with Happy Fall Thoughts:

  1. Brookside Gardens!  We are so excited to explore a new garden and have our backwards engagement session brought to us by Groupon!  I have mini pumpkins and apples.  And an ampersand.  Justin is being a good sport.
  2. We have been working on a still life in painting.  Our midterm.  It's pumpkins (two huge orange, one super light green, two a weird super light orangey-green), and a few lemons.  Apparently my gentle painting teacher has no say over which still lifes are left set up in the classroom, so anything we paint is on the condition it's still there in the future.  Furthermore, the fruit/vegetables on display will be rotting kind of soon.  In describing this condition, and in encouraging us to try to finish during Thursday's session, Tim instructed us to "paint like it's your last day."  He meant, of course, like it's your last day with the still life in front of you.  But I took the opportunity, as I frequently do, to take his words out of context and apply them to life.  Paint like it's your last day.  "Tim, you're so inspiring!"  He chuckled.
  3. How did baseball evolve?  I think I can see the progress of most famous sports.  Get a ball into a certain area -- don't hit people.  Too hard.  But baseball!  Starts out innocently enough: hit a ball with a stick.  Bases really throw me for a loop.  Hit a ball with a stick, then run in a circle.  Strategically.  Baseball might very well be the most complicated sport.
  4. Fall always makes me wish I could run.  :(
  5. Pumpkin Spice Latte coming up, I can feel it!!
  6. Marriages are everywhere.  This is so awesomely exciting and renewing my faith in humanity.
  7. Magazines are also everywhere.  Somehow I got myself into some sort of subscription/free trial mess and I currently have one Whole Living and two Real Simples waiting for me.  (Dude.  Real Simples are NOT, in fact, real simple.  They are like 400 pages a piece.  Not even kidding.  What is this, InStyle?)  This is on the heels of my last Whole Living and The Nest.  I rarely use anything from them, but recently I decided I am in love with young-ish-housewife type magazines.  They're so...seasonal!
  8. Fall candles: Coming soon to a living room near you.  Mmmm.
  9. Also: B8HOVN.  I pretty much died.  We were crossing a street as the composer was turning towards us onto our road; my jaw dropped, I grabbed Husband's arm and pointed wildly.  I hope that gentle musical family understood.  I was so happy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Recent Realizations

  1. Has anyone else ever noticed that unreasonably often, the "WRONG WAY" sign is in fact in the middle of the meridian that divides the halves of traffic?  This both gives me a good scare while driving and is ineffective for those who actually are going the wrong way.
  2. Earlier this past week my throat hurt as part of my annual Three Days of Mild Sickness, and especially after school (where I was already talking only when necessary), I said almost nothing once home.  I wisely (if sadly) didn't sing along to the radio, either.  But get this - in not singing one of my favorite songs, I finally heard the actual words to a line I was never really sure about but sang my own version to anyway.  I take this, as I take lots of things, as a pretty good metaphor for life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why must my ambitions be increasingly epic

So I'm getting my dual certificates in special education and general education in elementary school, and hopefully the now-defunct PGCTF (moment of silence!) can still tack on my English cert, rendering me triple certified with several (I count four?) permutations of how that can work out in my future.  My painting class is swimming along beautifully and getting tucked away to keep in my back pocket, or up my sleeve, or in some other clandestine section of clothing.  I'm a jack of all trades at dismissal, especially just now, having added sponsor of Bus Patrol, which basically makes me the most coveted authority figure among the fifth and sixth graders.  Everyone wants to be on Bus Patrol, but only my elite 17 get the honor.  I take the minutes for 20 hours' worth of meetings per month totally outside of special ed duties.  Oh yeah, and in the present, my school NEEDS to make AYP this year.  Or else we will all die.  How did all this happen?, I ask myself daily.  Like anything, a combination of volunteering and getting requested.  Funny how volunteering leads to more requests.  It's like leaving five minutes earlier in the morning -- you don't get there five minutes earlier; it's a sliding scale and you arrive even earlier than five minutes because the traffic was already lighter in those earlier five minutes, saving more time.  The sum is greater than the whole of its parts.

But now I must have decided that the world is not enough.  The world apparently needs a functional greenhouse. 

My school has a greenhouse.  Yes, a greenhouse!  Imagine my joy at my interview, my bewildered peering on that December day, wondering if what I thought I saw was really true.  Imagine my dismay at passing it by every day all throughout last year, filled with janitorial supplies, alone, void of life.  Imagine my outrage at fully realizing its six or so broken glass ceiling panels.  Imagine my hope at hearing that once upon a time, up until recently! it was used regularly!  The itty bitty children grew plants from seed and cherished them and gave them as presents and even sold them!  The lessons that were learned, the rarest of opportunities, especially in this ridiculous age of overwhelming curricula!  (I roundaboutly realized today that if they only gave us half the curriculum to cover in a given year, just by enrichment and depth and creativity I'm quite convinced we would approach learning the whole of it; mastery is so directly affected by the pressure to fly through it all that it just doesn't happen.)  The wholesome, real ties to nature and earth!

Indeed, I sadly gazed at it every day from January 19th onward last school year, guilty that I wasn't currently remedying the situation.  I vowed to make that my pet project this year.  And here we are.

I am ALMOST certain that I have my hardcore principal's blessing to form a committee under the guidance of the guidance counselor.  But make no mistake, yours truly is spearheading!  And she has no idea what she is getting herself into. 

Current Ideas:
  1. Call glass/greenhouse company for (free) estimate.
  2. Call glass/greenhouse company(ies) for greatly discounted panes and installation, further discounted for this Great Cause For The Disabled And Non-disabled Environmental Children (do I hear a Groupon!).
  3. Call local businesses for contributions to this Great Cause For The Disabled And Non-disabled Environmental Children.
  4. Research "government grants."
  5. Submit write-up and get accepted on and advertise flagrantly and vehemently for donations.
If there is something I'm missing, please let me know!  If any ideas come to you in dreams, let me know those too.  Speaking of dreams, I had my second dream last night that my children underwent some magical surgery and could walk ("Calvin and Ryan, you guys look great!").  That hazy coming-to is great, until you realize it was just a dream and they are and always will be in motorized wheelchairs, both of them.