Thursday, March 30, 2006

party down

It's hard to say goodbye to my girls. I had one of my last sessions today with my only elementary level group for this school year. I am kicking myself for forgetting my camera. A few of the girls that I had for three years came back to join in for a surprise party that one of my volunteers threw for me. These 4-6th graders know how to party. We never have a pansy pizza party with this group. All the moms work for hours on dishes like spanish rice, fried chicken, potato salad and Ms. Elllison's famous strawberry cake! It makes me crack up each time I see a table of fourth graders passing the hot sauce around the party table. I won't forget these girls.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Far Flung

With the sunshine today and the weatherman's promises of warmer temperatures my mind turns to summer and being outside more. I hope to take Abel on a pretty long hike and maybe camp in the backcountry. I figure a family outing like that around the end of spring will be what I need to shake off the winter dust.

Since it will be our first long hike with the little man I am a little nervous about really high elevation but would like to do a small peak. Maybe with both Scott and I trading off the back carrier we won't be hurting too much! I am thumbing through some guides and trying to figure out where to go. The peaks I can remember doing in the Adirondacks are: Colden, Gothics and Tabletop. I have also done some smaller trips through regular trails in the Lake George, Cranberry Lake and Whiteface areas.

I am looking for suggestions. Ones that will lead me toward some easy peaks or interesting trails that are doable but will also present a slight challenge. Preferably with camp accessibility. Anyone? Anyone?

Happy Spring!

Driving to work observations for today:

1. A very bizarre man in front of me at a red light picked his nose as he stared at me via his mirrors for the duration of the light. I tried to avert my gaze but COME ON! Disgusting.

2. I figured out that if I get all green lights except for one I can manage to get to work in 13 minutes. This is a big deal. When I don't make them green it can take up to 35 minutes.

3. When drivers get the spring itch they are pedal happy and try to gun it through impossible situations. Watch out.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


"God made this girl in gym class get hit upside the head with a kickball. He did it cause of Karma."

Monday, March 20, 2006

lisa, you will learn to love ben


Thursday, March 16, 2006

a window's life

As I washed our front room window today thoughts of the past owners of this house clogged my mind. The front room window is not original to the house. It is an expansive and boring piece of insulated glass which can't be opened. Spraying windex and smearing it around got me thinking though. I moved to another window which is much older. I doubt it is original to the house (1875) but it it is quite wavy and distorts the view of outside, so it's old enough to be called old.

I wonder who else has washed this window, or the glass previous. It is easy to guess that most of the window frames are original just by seeing the state of them. As hard as it is to open these drafty windows it would be a shame to ever replace them. It has always given me a shivering sensation when I think about people from that long ago walking up the same stairs or tinkering in the basement. It's not as though this was all that long ago. I know our toddler aged country has old homes that have far less memories to carry than other places. It still gives me inquisitive willies. Did other little kids leave fingerprints on these windows? What kinds of tragedies did these people endure? What was the original floor plan like? Where the heck was the kitchen, because I know it had to be bigger than the current one on the first-floor level??

Maybe I have been thinking about it more because I need to give city hall a call and ask about the abstract for the property, which we still haven't received. This will give us most of the ownership information since the property was developed. The only thing we know about the original piece of land is that it was a farm, and it covered a few of the present day lots which now hold houses of their own.

Better finish washing some more of Abel's imprints off, before he wakes.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Job Shmob

I got the hammer call yesterday. The one with the ring that could be heard for miles. I need to start working at job B by April 10th in order to even maintain the option, and I won't know about job C until April 12th. I told a few of my girls today. They wrote me notes on the chalk board telling me how much they will miss me. I have my grad school interview in a few days. These events are happening way too fast and in no coherent order.

All of this is written in underground language due to the following small detail...I haven't given notice at job A yet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Me, Today.


...more info soon. I hope.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Mexican Review

We went out for dinner the other night and it inspired me to write a short review of some area Mexican restaurants. You know, in case anyone reading this is in the mood for a taco, but sick of Taco Bell and Don Pablo's. Here are a few places to find better versions of south of the border classics. I'll touch on the only area Mexican food I have tried, the list is: Mex, Salena's, Maria's and Los Amigos. All close to or in the city, and affordable.

If you aren't familiar with authentic Mexican food, here is a tip on what NOT to look for if you want the real deal. ~ Smothering something wrapped in a tortilla with mounds of cheese and rich sauces is not a good way to get a taste of Mexico. I suggest finding a restaurant that makes their own refried beans, spanish rice, tamales and tortillas. Mexican food is simple food. The trick is making it tasty with a few ingredients. So, here are my short and humble opinions...

Starting with Mex. This is a cozy place in the hopping bar area of Rochester. cough. The food is good and service sufficient. The menu is full of great fresh vegetarian and contemporary recipes. New twists on some old classic Mexican food. If you have never tried avocado pico de gallo, this is a great place to get it! The tortas and burritos are huge and full of flavor. Big emphasis on black beans here. Probably the least authentic of the places I chose but surely worth a mention. A lot of diversity to create complex Mexican flavors. Great salsa too.

Salena's has the most authentic ingredients that I have found and a happy stucco atmosphere. Unfortunately, the food isn't all that tasty. I have been here a few times and just kept thinking I was ordering the wrong thing, but nope. I am sure some people will contest this, since it has been around for awhile! Maybe I need some suggestions on what to order. The meat has always been dry and flavorless with the exception of the chorizo. The rice is also quite dry and bland. The mole is flavorful, but once you have mole in the style your family makes it there are hard lines for comparison.

Maria's is in the strangest location and pretty hard to find if you don't know what to look for. Very rustic and clumsy looking but great food. Everything is homemade and yummy. The tostadas, enchiladas and tortillas (hot off the griddle) are all recommended! Great salsa here too and I remember the rice and beans being perfect for my taste. Very affordable!

Los Amigos is by far the best of the group. There are a couple other Mexican places I wanted to try, but now that we have found this place I think my search is done. Service was fantastic. It is compelling to me that the restaurants with the simplest decor often has the food with the most gusto. I have only been here once, but have heard good reports from various people as well. This is where we ate on Saturday, and didn't have to wait for a table which helps my opinion of it. The fresh salsa was spicy and great. Our food was out promptly and hot. I ordered the chicken chimichanga (which is not the chain store version of a fried tortilla.) This was delicious, savory shredded chicken wrapped in a large flour tortilla along with sharp cheese and chilies. Superb, spicy and simple. Scott ordered the green chili enchiladas, the light sauce was bursting with flavor and heat. Completely recommend both dishes. I thought the rice and beans were the best renditions I have tasted in this area.

¡Coma y goce!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Something to do (instead of studying).

This may be very boring to read. I was going to just link it but that seemed to be too long of a process and I should get back to studying. ;) If you aren't interesting in knowing too much about me, skip this one. But, if you really want to play along you should do the same thing in blog form... get to it!

100 things about me…

1. I like Swedish fish better than any form of chocolate.
2. I don’t like fiction written in the form of letters between the characters.
3. In second grade, I pushed a kid against the side of a bus for tripping a blind kid.
4. My favorite flower is the Indian Paintbrush.
5. I like my coffee with loads of cream and sugar.
6. My biggest fear is that my family will die in a car accident.
7. I could live in a cabin on the top of a mountain and be perfectly happy.
8. I have lived in Las Vegas. Feel sorry for me.
9. I have never broken a bone and the only places I have been to outside of the lower 48 are Vancouver, BC and Tijuana, MX. (Niagara Falls and Toronto don’t count when you lived in Buffalo.)
10. I love cooking and my husband loves baking = a good pair.
11. I jumped out of an airplane in Montana.
12. Injustice makes me sweat.
13. Uncle Buck and Waiting for Guffman are my favorite comedies.
14. I could only put $4 worth of gas in my first car, due to a huge hole in the gas tank.
15. I love making jewelry.
16. I hate scrap booking.
17. I was engaged for six months and we got married in a state park, and it was perfect.
18. I am interested in child psychology and Native American populations.
19. When I was in high school I wore a lot of black and played sports. Weird.
20. I once put smoke bombs in people’s mailboxes. When the police caught up with me and my friends we lied our way out of it. We were evil and stupid.
21. I have seen 38 states.
22. I love clothes but am too cheap and/or broke to buy them.
23. I want to try to “live off the land” sometime in my life.
24. I want to spend a few months in Europe (Ireland mostly) and South America (Argentina mostly).
25. There is only one food I can think of that I don’t like, lima beans.
26. It annoys me when people are rude to wait staff.
27. I am so happy I married a loving and funny man.
28. I worked at McDonalds for three months. Blah.
29. I like to sew and play football.
30. My favorite thing to do with my son is taking a walk and talking about the things we see.
31. I have only skied three times in my life. The last time was the only one I enjoyed.
32. My WB addiction is Felicity, all four seasons.
33. My favorite job in high school was as a prep-chef.
34. My heart hurts when I see one of my girls at work being abused.
35. I have had over ten jobs and have been working since I was fifteen.
36. I never went to a prom.
37. I wish I could sing like Karin Bergquist.
38. I love going to the movies.
39. Hospitals annoy me.
40. I never ate paste, but I was tempted.
41. I love reading Steinbeck and travel narratives.
42. I hate reading science fiction.
43. I know that world peace is not entirely possible.
44. I know how to burn a worm nest out of a tree with a welding torch.
45. I suck at tennis but I still like to play.
46. I appreciate sincerity.
47. I took 8 years of piano lessons.
48. I love my church.
49. I would rather play with my son than clean the house.
50. My favorite thing to do with a friend is go for coffee.
51. I think drinking is overrated.
52. My husband and I dream of the menu we would have if we opened a restaurant.
53. Body surfing on the Oregon coast was an awesomely fun thing to do.
54. I hate working. I would love to own a business with my family.
55. I wish I had taken violin lessons and ballet from a young age.
56. I am not good at keeping in touch with old friends.
57. I like making apple pie, which is the extent of my baking.
58. Having my son made me a better person.
59. Camping is my favorite vacation, but I can enjoy just about any kind as well.
60. I once worked as a fundraiser for an environmental lobbying group. I went door to door asking for money, and people actually gave it to me!
61. The best concerts I have been to are: Over the Rhine, Phish, the Allman Brothers and Ani Difranco.
62. I got lost with a group of friends when we decided to bushwhack in Grand Teton National Park.
63. I won a miming competition when I was in ninth grade. Dork.
64. I love going out to eat and trying different ethnic foods.
65. I should be better at prioritizing.
66. I am a good listener and try to give good advice.
67. When I have to make a decision I call my husband and then my twin. Every time.
68. My son is super cute.
69. Fall is by far the best season. A big pot of soup and a thick sweater…ahhh.
70. I like foreign films; my favorite is My Life As a Dog
71. I would die for my family.
72. I believe Emily Watson is the best actress on the planet.
73. I have a high tolerance for people who are annoying.
74. I like to dance around the living room. Shhh.
75. I have been to a Metallica concert.
76. My favorite dessert is ice cream, cookies and cream to be exact.
77. I suck at video games.
78. I have shot a 9-millimeter handgun and a shotgun.
79. I have put change on the railroad tracks and it was actually interesting.
80. If I had a super power I would want to have super sonic hearing.
81. I suck at drawing.
82. I fell asleep during my statistics final in college.
83. I played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, and Rachel Lynde in Anne of Green Gables.
84. My twin and I can read each other’s mind.
85. I painted houses one summer and that was the hardest work I have ever done.
86. My great-great-great-grandmother was Aztec Indian.
87. I won’t care if my son wants a mohawk some day.
88. I love oatmeal cookies.
89. I feel most loved by people who have me in their house when it is messy.
90. I despise being in debt.
91. Fresh air cleans my mind.
92. I had my first kiss when I was 15, my first boyfriend when I was thirteen (and it was on a dare and lasted two days). Nice.
93. I despise snobs.
94. My friends know I love them.
95. I don’t collect anything that requires dusting.
96. I have been cow tipping. It didn’t work.
97. I think it would be cool to be in a movie, even if for a minute.
98. I believe kids are not respected enough by the general public and seeing happy kids makes me happy.
99. I hope to see my son grow into a healthy, God-loving man.
100. I love when my husband plays the guitar.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Things I heard today...

"Ms. Austin, doesn't bipolar mean you get really hot, then cold?"

"My friend has a daily hit list. It's a list of people she has to punch in the face before 8th period."

"Isn't a poodle a hot dog?"

"I get sick of coming to school because all I do is listen to the teacher yell at kids for throwing stuff out the window."

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Church

Why is it that I feel more at home at Artisan than any other church I have attended in my life? The quickest answer is because it the closest thing to real church that I have ever known. For most of my school-aged years I attended a small private school associated with our church. We breathed church every waking minute. My mom worked at the school and we often would stay after school until the night church meeting or special event started. We knew every inch of both the church and school buildings from playing hide and seek or because of lock-ins with youth group. Yet, even with all that time in "church" I still didn't feel like I understood what it was all about. I saw more back-biting than compassion, more prayer meetings than outreach, and more preaching than relationships. Since then I have seen different versions of the same, sometimes with a little more good or bad mixed in.

Building a new church is hard emotional and physical work. The best part is seeing your own dream of God's church realized. Different churches are better suited for different people. I see Artisan as a community for people like me: striving to be real, genuine, compassionate and truth-seeking artists. Artists in the sense that we are all creating our journey together, utilizing our abilities and minds to work through faith, not just letting someone else translate it for us.

I don't see people painting on a good face for church like I have in the past. I see friends who have valleys just like everyone else and who have hearts as big as bass drums. Also, I have never heard the Bible preached in a more effective and relevant way. When I read Acts I see a similar group of people. People that don't have it all figured out but are true to their feelings and also realize the responsibility of committing to God. And, never before have I felt the awe for God as I have in the atmosphere our church creates in music, confessional time and art.

Before Abel was born, that is all I treasured about my church. Now, I see him growing up and being a part of church. Not secluded, but loved. Last night as the sermon was finishing Abel kept asking me if we could "go sing?" I think that although he is still very young he realizes the beauty of God through music. He knows that pictures of a man on a cross means "Jesus" and that his friends at church care about him and his soul.

I think we still have a lot of work to do and more sacrifices to make. I pray we continue in this for a long while....

This post is a part of a linking project which will be posted here.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

long week

I am feeling kind of stressed. My Grandmother is not doing well. My sister and I went to Buffalo this weekend for a quick visit. It was stressful. I wish we were able to be more available to my mom in order to help. She is currently her full-time nurse. I do not want to imagine the pain my mom feels dealing with the day to day frustration and sadness.

This job junk is getting on my nerves. I am pretty good at relaxing about stuff until it is time to make the actual decision. But, this time the little steps are taking over. Just found out last week that I need to move my GRE testing date up due to a huge snafu in my grad school application, so no time to study. I have to take it no later than this thursday and pay $40 extra bucks for their kindness of moving it up. If anyone has any quick study tips for this one let me know...quickly. The thing that drives me even more batty is I may not even be going back to school, but yet it needs to be done because there is a slight chance.
More to come on all of that soon.

Abel is surely a bright spot. Except for this morning when he rolled out of bed at 4:10 in the am. To his defense, he didn't really like the idea all that much either. Poor guy has a sinus infection. He is sleeping soundly now though and was a in a great mood all morning despite the lack of sleep.

Lord, hear my prayers.