Monday, August 30, 2010

This weekend

So, this weekend has been decently relaxing. I received my list of students: I will have 10 students; 8 boys, 2 girls. 1 first grader, 3 second graders, 1 fourth grader, 4 fifth graders, and 1 sixth grader. Four students will be tutored in Math, the rest in Language Arts. Unfortunately, my laptop, which I need for this job, decided to corrupt its hard-drive, and Matt has spent the weekend fixing it. I think he has been successful; it is updating as we speak. All my documents and pictures are on his computer now. That works for me; I don't have to worry about the kids accidentally deleting anything during a tutor session.

Before my computer decided to die, I got it in my head to try a project. I saw on One Pretty Thing a post by Little Black Teapot  for an adorable sock dog. Here's what I got so far:

What do you think? Pretty cute, huh? I think so! Oh, and the one on the left is definitely a mouse. Not sure how that happened. It started life as a dog....The second one is decidedly more dog like :)

Well, Matt stayed up until about 330am fixing my computer, and he was up around 730am, so he's already off to bed. I guess I need to head there soon! If my computer is for sure fixed, I'll start calling my parents to set up first sessions tomorrow. And maybe I'll set up a sewing class with the guys we got the sewing machine from. Also thinking of a spin class....I've got 4 unused paid-for sessions. Should use them up!

Well, good night, all.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update on New Job

Well, I still don't know who my students are going to be. But I do know that I have 10 of them. Yep, that's right. I decided that I wanted to have as many students as possible. Especially seeing as how I don't have a whole lot going on around here for a while....My students range from 1st grade to 6th grade, and will be tutored in Language Arts or Math. I am required to tutor them for 20 hours total sometime between September 1 and April 30. Let's see, 10 students, 20 hours a piece, that's 200 hours total, right? Not too shabby. Actually, if I finish up with some of the students by January, I could potentially take on some new students. That all depends on how I feel about this whole thing come January, of course. And if I don't get another job, too. My plan is to meet with each student at least once a week, for 1 hour 45 minute sessions. So, that's 17.5 hours a week. A decent part time job. I'm hoping I can stay organized, which will be the key. And that the kids will benefit from my tutoring, of course. I'm excited to get started! Unfortunately, my fingerprint check hasn't cleared yet...hopefully I'll get my list of students by this weekend (actually, it cleared, but it wasn't entered into the system, yet, so they wouldn't release the list...*shrug*).

that's about it. Other than coming home to a small power outage. We ended up going to the Americana mall in Glendale for some shopping in A/C stores and dinner at Cheesecake. I ordered the Weight Conscious Chicken, which was pretty yummy, and had chicken left over. And I don't feel guilty about eating there, because it was very reasonable as far as calories go.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know, my wristlet was featured on Flamingo Toes! Bev was excited to see what I had made from her tutorial and posted pictures of my project! I'm pretty proud; actually I'm ecstatic!

Now that the power is back on (obviously since I'm typing this. As much as my phone can do, I hate typing a large amount on it!), I am thinking of going to bed. I've got a new book from Barnes and Noble, and I can save the organizing for tomorrow, right? I hope you all have a wonderful night!


Monday, August 23, 2010

New Job

So, a new chapter in my life is about to begin. I am joining the ranks of the gainfully employed! :) I was not actively seeking employment, but on a whim decided to check Craig's List a few weeks ago. There were several tutoring jobs, and I decided to apply for an interesting one. I wasn't expecting anything, but a few days later I got a phone call which turned into a phone interview, and I was hired! Today, I had my first day of orientation/training. Let me just tell you, it was a crazy morning. First, I decided to give my good friend Krysta a call and see if she was doing anything in the morning. I didn't have to be at my job until 1030, and Krysta was on the way. We were able to have breakfast together, and got to chat. Well, we kind of chatted too much. I was planning on leaving her house at 930, which would give me an hour to get there. It should take 30 minutes, and then I'd have 30 minutes to walk if I had to park far away. All was going well; I got to the area at 10. But, then I had trouble finding the place. The address was on Century Blvd, and I couldn't find the address! I went up and down the street. Finally, I decided I would give up, find a parking spot, and walk up and down the street until I found it. I turned on what I thought was 96th street, the street the directions said to park on. Oops! I was driving on 98th street. Well, as I was trying to figure out how to get to 96th, I looked to the right, and there was the address! Why was it a Century Blvd. address on 98th street? Very confusing! Anyways, I was relieved, but I still needed to find a place to park. So, I drove down to 96th street. A yellow car was right in front of me, and took the last spot on the street. Where to park? I turned down a side street, and 2 more blocks down the road I found a spot. Not a moment to lose! I threw all my stuff in my bag, and raced out the door. I had 13 minutes to get there on time. Not a good impression to be late on your first day! So, what did I do? I RAN! In the heat, in my dress shoes. I ran like the wind! (OK, an exaggeration, but I did run. Until I was out of breath. It is hard to run in those shoes! I would definitely NOT recommend it!) I went the wrong direction on 96th, and ended up going much further than I really had to....Darn! But I made it to the building, found the elevator, and found the office. I walked in right at 1030. Whew! But, now I was standing there in the office, with 30 others, sweating. Dripping with sweat, as a matter of fact. I didn't want to sit down (not that there was an empty seat, or anything) because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to cool down enough. I didn't want to leave a puddle of sweat on the chair: Yuck! A nice gentleman offered me his seat, but I thought it better to stand, a little distant from anyone else. Keep my stink to myself, so to say....

Well, the rest of the training went pretty uneventfully. We learned a little more about the company and the program we'll be working for. I will be tutoring under the umbrella of No Child Left Behind. You know what that means, don't you? Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. But I don't mind....I'll find out Wednesday who my kids are going to be. What subjects (Math or Language Arts) I'll be tutoring them in. What grades they are in. Until then, I don't know. It could really be anything. I'll be using my laptop to help teach these kids. Each one will get 20 hours total from me between the start of school and April 30th. It is totally doable.

I'm glad my students will be in the Northern Valley area, and not in LA. Holy cow! That commute would drive me INSANE! I left the training at a little after 3 and got home after 5. And it was bumper to bumper pretty much the whole way. I know that a LOT of people do that commute each and every day. I don't know how they do it! I'm grateful that Matt has a job close to our home, and that I'll be working close by as well.

Well, I'm excited. I'll be using my degree, earning some money, and making a difference in the lives of kids who might not have had the opportunity before. I'm ready. Bring it on!


Friday, August 20, 2010

On Sewing and Handbags

Well, let me just say that I have the best husband in the world. For my birthday, he got me the best gift ever! He listened to what I've been saying for a long time, considered all the things I NEED and want, and got me a Bernina sewing machine! It has been so long since I've sewn anything-since that first summer in Alaska to be exact. That's when my cousin Patty taught me and Penny to sew. We made some quilts. It was awesome! (I think Kate and I might have quilted one summer as well...its all kind of long ago...) Anyways, I've been wanting a sewing machine for a long time. All part of my efforts to become more self-sufficient. Even if I don't actually make my own clothing, I would like to know how to alter clothes, revamp them, that kind of thing. Well, it has been a week since my birthday, and I hadn't sewn anything using my machine except some practice sewing on some paper. I decided that I wanted to do a project today. Just go out there and do it! I had seen this really cute tutorial on Flamingo Toes  for a small purse. Perfect! I've actually been annoyed at my purse lately. All I put in it are my wallet, cell phone, and keys, and they all seem to get lost inside. I asked the owner of the blog if she thought that I could use place mats for the fabric. She responded that it would probably take two place mats, and I'm glad she did. I went first to Target this morning, and picked up two place mats. One was a solid green color. The other a beige with yellow, green, and brown flowers on it. I loved the flower pattern, and since I love green, they were perfect. Then, I ran (drove) over to JoAnn fabrics and picked up some thread and a zipper. Total, I spent $14.00, which I don't think is too shabby. Especially considering I have enough thread to last me a little while....

Well, when I got home, I went straight to work. I followed the tutorial pretty closely, except I decided I didn't need to do the inner pocket. I don't have anything that small that would fit. Also, Flamingo Toes breaks up the pattern on the front of her purse with a solid stripe, but I decided I liked the flower pattern on the placemat. I was able to thread the bobbin, thread the machine, sew a zipper on (that was tricky, but I finagled it, and it looks great.) and even do some hand-stitching, which turned out alright. 

Here is my finished project. I'm so proud! It turned out fantastic!!!

Seriously. So cute! And it only took me a couple hours! For a beginner seamstress, I would say that this project was perfect. Just the right combination of ease and challenge. I'm thinking I might try to make a slightly bigger one...I could spend the same amount of  money, just get a longer zipper.... I dunno? Anyone have any good ideas for my next project? Know any good tutorials out there?

Have fun!


Monday, August 2, 2010

The last little while...

So, we've been doing some decently exciting stuff around here. Lately we've been focusing on our future garden and our yard/landscaping. We decided to plant a Valencia Orange tree in our front yard, and are looking forward to fresh squeezed orange juice sometime within the next 5 years, haha.

Here's Matt planting the orange tree. Its doing pretty well, I think (hope). Also, we transplanted some bulbs from the backyard (what will soon be our vegetable garden) to the front.
Our future plan is to have steps going up just to the right of the bulbs. We'll see what happens :) This bare spot in the landscaping was created by the septic hunt earlier this year. There used to be a gigantic, gorgeous bush right there. Now, there are bulbs, and hopefully someday there will be steps.

In the backyard, we removed the bulbs from the flower beds to make way for vegetable beds. :)

I'm still working on getting all the bulbs removed and clearing out the dirt. We've decided to do Square Foot Gardening this fall. To start, we'll remove at least 6 inches of soil from the beds, and add Mel's Mix. We'll be good to go! My plan is to sow in late September, early October. We'll be planting: broccoli, beets, carrots, swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsnips, radishes, sugar snap peas, spinach, strawberries, turnips, and marigolds for decoration.
We also decided to pretty up the yard. Under the trees was getting a little out of control, with grass and weeds about knee-high. We have a gardener that comes once a week, but he only mows the lawn and trims edges. Well, we found out that the city of Los Angeles gives away free mulch. Yep, all the yard waste that goes into the green bins every week gets turned into mulch, and you can go pick it up any day!

So, we took our truck and a shovel, and so far have used two loads full. We laid down landscaping fabric, and then the mulch, and we're hoping that solves our weed problem. We shall see. Here are before and after pictures:
Magnolia tree: before
Magnolia tree: after
And our other tree (not sure what kind): after
I have to say that I'm really happy with it.

We're also starting to compost. If you do SFG (Square Foot Gardening) you start with the perfect mix of soil, and then the only thing you ever add is compost. That's right! No fertilizers or chemicals. Just compost. Well, we'll need a bit of compost in the future, so we got started early. We have about half of a trash can full of compost already (we drilled holes all around it to let air in, add stuff once a week, and "turn" it {really just roll it around} a couple times a week. Couldn't be easier than that! Compost city!) and we are making more. We also have a compost pile-we decided to try two different methods. The trashcan is the much faster method, but I have hopes for the pile.

Well, that's about it. We DID have some guest come by yesterday. My nephew, Ryan, just got engaged two days ago, on his birthday. He lives in UT, but came to CA to propose to his girlfriend. They both came up for a visit last night. It was so much fun having them! It is weird to think that Ryan is all grown up, but I guess if his little sister is old enough to be married, then he is, as well. The funny thing is that for the second time I've been the first one to see a Blair child after he/she got engaged. Lindsay invited me and Matt down to Disneyland the day she got engaged, and we had an awesome visit with her. Now Ryan comes to visit. :) It makes me feel pretty special, tho...

Anyways, not much else. Anyone planning on staying up to watch the Perseids Meteor Shower on August 12-13? I've always felt that it was MY meteor shower, since it falls on my birthday every year. Some people are predicting up to 100 meteors an hour, with an average of around 60. That's more than one a minute! The moon will be nonexistent, so, enjoy! Get out there on a blanket in a dark spot and watch those falling stars!

Well, that's really all. I need to go get some stuff done, maybe start making dinner. Talk to you guys later.


PS. Happy birthday to Dad, who would have been 71 this year. We miss you, Dad!