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Archive for February, 2009

Last night I attended an Italian dinner dance at the Peninsula Italian American Social Club in San Mateo. My mom’s uncle is one of the longtime members of the club (for over 30 years), and he had purchased a table at the benefit. (The funds raised were going to benefit the Italian school (scoula) associated with the club).

When my mom first mentioned that I had been invited, I wondered what I was going to wear. I wasn’t sure how dressy the event was going to be, since my aunt said that people go in everything from pants to glitter. I found a really charming a-lined, 50’s-esque dress that was black lace over a black satin slip dress. It accentuated my waist, and flared out over my hips and butt, which is a perfect style for me. I paired it with pearls and red lipstick, completing what I thought of as the 50’s theme of the outfit. I got lots of compliment on the dress, and I just felt good wearing it. I love it when that happens.

We arrived at the club and I found that many of the people in attendance had dressed down, although everyone at our tables were dressed well. I mean, if you can’t dress up at a dinner dance, when can you? We made a night of it, and enjoyed the Mardi Gras theme.

The best part of the night was the dancing. They played a lot of old, Italian songs, including a few polkas. Who knew there were Italian polkas? I certainly didn’t. I danced with my cousin, a few girlfriends (for the faster, non-polka songs), and my dad. By far my dad was the best dance partner. We polka’d, we shimmied (to a 50’s tune no less!), and we danced. It was so much fun! I found myself laughing while we were on the dance floor from the pure joy of being with my dad and having such a great time. My dad is probably very sore this morning, since his dance card was full all night between my mom, me, and the aunts and cousins he danced with.

Another nice perk of the evening was that I knew many of the people there. My cousin, FavoriteCousin, had her own table, filled with many of the ladies who go to the dining out dinners. It was great knowing almost everyone at the table. A new face in the mix was a guy that FavoriteCousin knows, L. L was not only personable and talkative, but a really good looking guy. Hmmm… I have no idea if he’s single or not, but I would be very interested in finding out. I think he’s around my same age, and he had a lot of interesting things to say last night. Who knows if I’ll see him at an event in the future, but I hope so.

The night was so much fun, and filled with lots of new memories.

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This week I was able to take a couple of long, luxurious baths using my bath “chill pills” that I got from Hydra when I went with my sister earlier this month.

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The best thing about taking a bath, to me, is that it is the ultimate form of relaxation.  You don’t have to worry about all of the million other things you should be doing.  Once you hit the water, all you think about is that moment, enjoying the bubbles, the scent, and the warm water.  It’s good for the soul.

I also think it’s something really good to do for yourself.  It’s a nice way to care for yourself, giving yourself a few stolen moments of peace and tranquility.

When I take baths, I always do it at night, for some reason.  I guess because the pace of the day is starting to wind down, and things move at a slower speed.  The laundry list of “to do” items have hopefully been completed, and all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy the evening.  At least, I find myself choosing evenings when this is true.

Before this week, it had been literally 6 months or more since I’d taken a bath, but I think I’m going to make this a weekly ritual, maybe on Sunday nights.  I really can’t think of a better way to get ready for the upcoming weekly craziness than to take some time out and enjoy the quiet and calm a long soak in the tub brings.

In fact, I think I’ll take a bath tonight, after the Oscars.

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Tonight when I went to my parents’ house to pick up my photos from Italy to put in my new picture frames, I happened upon a box of my old high school photos.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this box, because I had no idea where it had gone.  I’ve moved a lot over the years, and I was afraid that I might have somehow gotten rid of my old high school yearbooks and photos.  Why I would throw away memories like that, I have no idea, but sometimes when I’m in the mood to purge “old stuff,” you never know what might get thrown out.  I’m the opposite of a pack rat.

I can’t wait to spend some time tomorrow going through all of these old photos.  So many memories!  This is just in time, too, because my 20th high school reunion is coming up this October, so I may even find some great pictures to share with my classmates.  How fun!

One thing I’m also looking forward to is seeing my thinner self.  Now, I have never in my life been thin, but in high school my heaviest weight was 176, which I thought was enormous at the time.  What I wouldn’t give to weigh 176 now!!  I think seeing myself at that weight will be good motivation, and who knows, I may even find a picture to hang up on the fridge!

The other fun thing about finding these photos is that lots of my old high school friends are now on Facebook, and I can’t wait to share these pictures with them there.  I’m sure there will be plenty of “blackmail” pictures to go around  – this was the 80’s after all.

Finding this box of high school memories is like opening a huge treasure trove.  I can’t wait to dig in and see what I uncover.

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I have been looking forward to this February break for longer than I can tell you (Ok, probably since we returned from the long weekend of Semester Break in late January). Things have been moving very quickly in my life, and I needed some time to just stop, relax, and get to all of the things that I’ve been putting off.

I want to savor each day of this vacation, and not let it slip by without feeling like I’ve truly enjoyed it. I’m kind of thinking of it as a practice-run for my summer vacation.

I know it’s only February and it seems silly to think about the summer now, but I’m really looking forward to taking the whole summer off.  It’s been years since I did that, and the one summer I did, I had a really short vacation – I finished up at one school in mid June, moved back home (from San Francisco), and started at a new school, which began in early August.  So really, I only had about 1 month off, and I spent a lot of it moving, setting things up, etc.  This summer the plan is to spend the days riding my bike, swimming at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex, and reading books while lying in the sun.  Oh, and a few movies, I’m sure.  No stress, no pressure, just moving my body, getting healthy, and enjoying life.

But back to this February break.  The weather has been pretty awful – tons of rain (almost 3 inches in 2 days!), gray skies, cold, howling wind – not a lot of motivation to go out and make it a great day, if you know what I mean.  Which is good, because there are a lot of things for me to do in the house that I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had the time.

Some of my plans for the week:

  • Give the duplex a good, deep cleaning.  It’s been weeks since I’ve mopped the floors and it really shows.  Having a clean and organized apartment really helps me feel organized in my life, so this is a top priority.  In fact, I’m not going to do anything else today until I get this done.
  • Take a few long, luxurious baths with the new bath items I got from Hydra a few weeks ago with my sister.  My bathtub is rather shallow, and due to the fact that I’m rather large (ahem!), I don’t always think of taking baths because I can’t sink down and feel completely submerged in the water.  But I’ve decided that I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying baths right now.  I can still get the aromatherapy benefits, the soft skin feeling, the bubbles.  So what if I’m not completely submerged in the water?  I can still enjoy it.  Plus, there’s nothing better than just letting all the stress go while you soak in a warm tub.
  • Get a pedicure. Originally I had planned on taking Neece to InSpa for her birthday gift (about a month late, but we’re busy women), but because the weather is so yucky right now, she said she’d rather wait and go when the weather was more flip-flop friendly.  I also told myself that I wasn’t going to get a pedicure until I hit my 5% with WW, and use it as a reward.  I haven’t gotten a pedicure in months, to safe money, and because it’s winter time, and I haven’t been showing off my toes anyway.  But I have an even coming up on Saturday, and I’m going to be wearing peep toe shoes, so I NEED a pedicure.
  • Hit the treadmill to start on my OYO (on your own) trainings for the half marathon.  I’ve been really bad about going on my own to do my practices, but I know that if I’m going to improve my time and my stamina, I have to get these OYO workouts in.  Plus, I haven’t listened to my iPod in a really long time (I’ve been doing a lot of at-home DVD workouts), so I’m going to look at it as a chance to listen to some great music for an hour while I improve my walking.
  • File taxes. Ugh.  This one is never a pleasure for me.  I did my taxes last weekend, and while I’m getting a small amount back from the federal government, I owe twice that amount to the state.  Dammit!  I really think that until I own a house (not sure when that will happen, if ever), I’m going to have to resign myself to the fact that I’m going to owe the state money each year.  I think I’m on some sort of hit list with them, ever since I owed taxes from my dot-com stock option days.  On the bright side, I don’t owe that much money, compared to previous years, so I guess that’s a blessing.
  • Add some pictures to the many frames I’ve bought. I have three really nice picture frames that I’ve purchased recently that have spaces for multiple pictures that still need to be filled.  I’m not sure what’s taking me so long add the pictures to the frames, but now that I have some time, I’m going to work on them this week.  Two of the frames are really cool shadow box types that have multiple layers; for those I want to use pictures that I took in Italy in 1995.  I have to make a trip to my parents’ attic to get them out, but it will be worth braving a little dust to make these picture frames finally look finished.
  • Spend some quality time with family and friends. Yesterday I got to see my sister and my nieces at my parents’ house, which was so fun.  My mom’s birthday is on Wednesday, and we all wanted to get together to give her our gift – tickets to see Wicked in SF and happy hour at a posh bar in the theatre district afterward.  My mom was thrilled with this gift, and I can’t wait.  We’re going to go March 29th.  My sister and I had seen Wicked before when it came to SF before it hit Broadway, and we loved it.  I know that the three of us are going to really have a ball that day.  I also have plans to hang out with a friend from high school whom I haven’t seen in almost 20 years.  We reconnected on Facebook (gotta love that site for those great connections), and have been meaning to get together.  She and her friends go to a local bar for karaoke on Thursday nights, and I keep telling her I’m going to join them.  Since they don’t get there until close to 10pm, I can’t go when it’s a “school night,” but since I have Friday off this week, I can definitely make it this Thursday.
  • Enjoy a good book, or two, and maybe a few of the magazines I have backlogged. I’m an avid reader, but I find myself in the familiar situation of having lots of magazines on the rack that haven’t been read.  I also have a few library books that are about to be overdue that I want to finish before I return.  I want to carve out a few hours (maybe later today or tomorrow), to sit and enjoy some quiet reading time.  I’ll make sure to update my GoodReads page so you can keep up, if you’re interested.
  • A bit of school work. A week before the break, I gave an assignment to my at-level juniors to write a “tall tale” in the vein of Mark Twain.  I asked them to use several comic devices in their writing.  They had a really fun time coming up with outlandish scenarios, so I’m looking forward to reading these.  The smart thing I did was make it a group assignment, so rather than having 35 stories to read, I only have about 15 or so.  I also have to write a syllubus for a “summer school after school” class I’m going to be teaching when school resumes.  It’s actually really cool curriculum that I’ve used with my juniors, so it should be an easy class to teach.  I decided to take on this extra assignment because I’m adamant about not working this summer (see above), but I want to make sure I have some extra money for a down payment on a new (to me) car.  My lease is up in August, so I’ll be car shopping.  I’m getting $2900 (before taxes) for 60 hours of work, which is a little over $48/hour – not too shabby.  Plus, because this class is geared towards seniors who have failed the first semester of English but need it to graduate, the kids should be very motivated to pass.  All in all, not much work to do, which is so different than February breaks in the past.
  • Attend an old-school Italian Dinner Dance. This one should be a blast.  My mom’s aunt & uncle belong to several Italian associations in San Francisco, and often buy whole tables for different fundraising events.  This Saturday one of their organizations is throwing a dinner/dance and we’ve all been invited.  I bought a really pretty party dress (I’ll post pictures later) and can’t wait to get all dolled up for the event.  I have a feeling there won’t be too many people my age at this party, but I don’t mind filling my dance card with dances with my dad, great uncle, and cousin (among the other gentlemen who might be there).  It should be a lot of fun, and it’s something I haven’t done before, so I’m looking forward to it.
  • Watch the Oscars! I love the Oscars – the gowns, the accolades for fine film making, the gossip – it’s always a fun event.  Once when I was living in SF, one of my friends threw a fabulous Oscar Party and it was so much fun.  In recent years, I’ve watched the Oscars at home by myself, which is also fine by me.  This year, I’m going to my parents’ house to watch it with them.  I’m hoping that maybe next year I’ll be able to have a little Oscar party at my house – I love getting together with friends, good food,  and strong drinks while dishing about the show.  Sounds like a plan in the making, right?

So there you have it, lots of plans for a great week off.  I’d better get started if I’m going to get it all done!!

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