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Music2Loud Ok, so let me say first of all that I don’t consider myself an old curmudgeon in any way.  I’m a fairly tolerant, open-minded person, but I do like to have a sense of orderliness and peace around my home.

Recently FavNeighbor and her hubby moved out because they bought a condo.  I was so thrilled for them, but so sad for me, because they were amazing neighbors.  We had similar schedules, similar expectations, and similar lifestyles.  We liked to keep our duplex neat and orderly and we were friends with each other.  We got along so well, and I guess I sort of forgot that it’s not always that way with neighbors.

The place was vacant for a few weeks, and I spent that time wondering who was going to move in next door.  It is important to like and trust the neighbors that you share a common wall with.  Not to mention the fact that our backyard is a common space, as is our basement.

Very few people had come by to see the place, and I was worried that the management company might start to get desperate to rent it out.  My fears were warranted, as it turned out. I should mention that the management company was anxious for me to sign the new lease to my house.  I was glad to do it, especially because I found out they weren’t going to increase my rent.  I was really dumb not to wait to see who was moving in next door, especially because my lease wasn’t officially up until September 30th.

Tuesday I arrived home after a “koffee klatch” with Ish, to discover a bunch of plants, a medium-sized dog, and a bunch of backpacking equipment in the house next door.  No people.  I wondered what was going on, since I hadn’t been told that anyone was moving in.

Later in the evening, two people arrived.  One guy in his mid 20’s and his father, who I found out was 45.  Both men had long hair and a bit of a hippie vibe, but I wasn’t judging them by their appearances.  They seemed like nice people, and I found out that the son was an artist from Santa Cruz who moved here because this city has more of an artists community than Santa Cruz does.  (I knew we had some great galleries in this city, but I didn’t know it was such a hub of artistic talent).

Anyway, the father then proceeded to tell me that he used to do drugs (as evidenced from his lack of teeth – he has maybe 7 in his whole mouth) and had spent some time in jail.  Again, I believe that everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.  I also learned that they were going to leave at midnight to pick up the younger guy’s girlfriend and her dog.

So, just in case you aren’t following this, that makes 3 adults and 2 dogs living next door in a 1-bedroom unit.  Definitely a sign of trouble.

The first couple of nights went fine.  They were quiet, friendly, and I thought that things might work out.  Thursday night painted a whole different picture.

Thursday night they decided to start drinking, playing the music incredibly loud (I had all my doors closed and could hear it clearly), and were hooting and hollering.  They were hanging out on the front steps, and the vibe was just really low class and trashy.  I know that makes me sound snobby, but so be it.  I work too hard for what I have and care too much about my home to live next to something like this.

So, I wrote a letter to the management company explaining what was going on, how unhappy I was, and why I wanted to change my lease from 1-year to month-to-month.  Lots of my co-workers are in the process of buying condos or smaller houses since the real estate market is down right now, and I started thinking, “maybe I can afford to buy something, too.”

I got an email the next day (Friday) from the management company explaining that they had talked the the neighbors and assuring me that they would cease and desist with the noise.  The thing is, the noise was only a small symptom of a greater problem.  The main thing is that these new neighbors simply don’t know any different – they’re used to living like this and I’m sure they see nothing wrong with the way they live or the noise they make.  The fact that so many of them are crammed into a 1-bedroom unit should be an indication.  Plus the fact that the son is the only one with a job.  Now, I know that the economy is tough right now, but they don’t strike me as the hard-working sort.

The neighbors obviously realized that I spoke to the management, and that fact was confirmed when I heard the father say, “wow, she pretended to be so sweet, but she’s actually a fucking bitch.”  Nice.  It’s going to be just wonderful living next door to this, right?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m at the place in my life where I want to live in an area where everyone cares about their home as much as I do.  My area isn’t like that.  My area is full of traffic, homeless people, and down-and-out sorts.  I’ve made huge improvements to this place, and I love my duplex, but if I’m honest, I don’t live in the best neighborhood.  By any means.  So maybe it’s time for me to move on to something better, somewhere nicer.

My mom always says that everything happens for a reason, and maybe the reason these people moved in was to show me that it’s time for me to look into buying a condo.  It would be a stretch, but I could probably afford something small.  I don’t have any money for a down payment, but there are new home buyer and teacher programs in my city that may make buying a place more affordable.  Plus, this is the time to buy because prices are down.

I pulled my credit score on Thursday and was happily surprised to discover that it’s gone from “poor” to “good” in the course of 3 months.  My Experian rating is 706, which isn’t stellar, but isn’t terrible, either.  I’m starting to get a bit hopeful that maybe I can join the ranks of homeowner.  So, I’ve contacted a real estate agent, and I’m waiting for his call.  I’m excited to see what might happen.

Things might be a bit uncomfortable for me at my current home, but with the idea that I may be moving onward and upward, I’m feeling positive.

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Ever since I started my weight loss blog, I’ve been writing much less frequently on this one.  Because weight loss is my main focus (almost like a part-time job), it makes sense that I have more to write about that topic than any other.  Still, sometimes I feel badly that this blog, the one I started blogging with, gets pushed back to second-class citizen status.

One thing that seems appropriate to write about here is how I’ve been doing on my quest to “get a life.”  Last August, I wrote a post where I vowed to take back my life and stop living to work instead of just working to live.

I’m happy to report that I am now a reformed workaholic.

It wasn’t easy.  At first I felt like I was really sloughing off on my duties at work.  “I really should go to the play this weekend.” “The students would really like it if I went to that football/basketball/soccer game,” etc.  Instead of feeding into this guilt trip I was laying on myself, I just said no.  I took myself off of the numerous committees I had been serving on and kept only those that I felt were the most important.

Did I feel like I was out of the loop?  Yes.  Did I crave being “in the know” the way I was when I served on lots of different committees and attended tons of school events?  Sure, sometimes.  But that feeling of being slightly out of the dialed in group was well worth the time and energy I found now that I wasn’t spending so much time and effort at work.

It was a strange year for me because CTLB, my best friend at school and one of my best friends in life, left.  I felt a lot lonlier than I had in the past 4 years, when were were “joined at the hip.”  But before you start feeling too sorry for me, I do have an amazing group of friends at school, and we all eat lunch together every day, so it’s not like I sit alone in my classroom and grade papers while I eat a stale sandwich.  (That would never, ever be me, by the way).  We also had a new principal this year, and that made for a lot of changes.  Good changes, but still, there were a lot of things going on this year that left me feeling out of sorts a lot of time time.

But my life outside of the work day was fantastic!  I found that I had tons of free time, and I used it to try new activities, reach out to old friends and make some new ones, spend lots more time with my family, and just enjoy myself by doing whatever I wanted to do – riding my bike, reading a great (or trashy) book, watching movies, cooking, etc.

It seemed idyllic until the school said they were looking for someone to teach a “summer school after school” class.  I saw dollar signs and knew that if I taught the class I would have the money I needed for a down payment on my new car AND I wouldn’t have to work this summer.  So, beginning after February break, I gave up 60 hours+ of free time and taught the class.  (This may not sound like a lot, but this is on top of teaching 5 other classes.  Not to mention grading and prepping for 6 classes).  It is something that I’m glad I did (for the money), but will never do again.  It’s just not worth giving up that much of my life.

All in all, I loved having my life back.  I felt like I was a better teacher because I could look at things from a well rested, happy point of view.  I plan on doing more of the same this coming school year.  Actually, it should be even better because I’m only teaching one honors class, which will dramatically cut down on my paperload.  Can’t wait.

Ok, enough writing, time to get out there and LIVE!

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Today was the perfect summer day!

The weather was 85 degrees – warm, but not too hot.  Earlier in the week the weather was really overcast, cloudy, and sort of cold.  Not conducive to feeling like you’re on summer vacation.

I started the morning with a WW meeting.  It had been more than a month since I’d gone, and let’s just say the absence showed up on the scale. (To read more about the meeting, check out my weight loss blog).

After WW, I straightened up the house a bit and then went to get the car washed.  The poor thing was disgusting, and I hate driving around like that, especially when the weather is nice.  I always feel so much better when the car is shiny and clean.

Then I headed to my parents’ house to pick up my dad so he could go with me to the nursery to buy some summer flowers for my house.  My dad is an expert gardener and always helps me plant new flowers.  I chose some really beautiful flowers that should do very well.  My house is shaded by two huge trees, which is nice for keeping the heat at bay, but not so great for choosing blooms – most of the flowers I love need full sun.

Window box - this is the view from my front door. Purple colius, yellow begonias, a spider plant (previously planted) and baby's breath ground cover

Window box - this is the view from my front door. Purple colius, yellow begonias, a spider plant (previously planted) and baby's breath ground cover

Front view of the window box

Front view of the window box

Close up of the window box flowers

Close up of the window box flowers

Pots of impatiens for the front stoop

Pots of impatiens for the front stoop

Flower pot and window box

Flower pot and window box

Full front view of my house (on the right)

Full front view of my house (on the right)

Once the flowers start to really take and are in full bloom (within a couple of weeks, I think), I’ll make sure to post updated pictures.  I love flowers, and I think this is definitely one of the harbingers of summer for me – planting the flowers in the front of the yard.  I love going out every other day (or so, depending on the weather) and watering the plants – there’s something very nurturing about it.  Just like cooking. It’s part of what makes a house a home.

After the flowers were planted, I made lunch for my dad and then brought him home once we had finished eating.  I love spending time with him this way.  He’s in his element outside, and he has so much expertise, so it’s really nice to be able to learn a bit from him about one of the things he loves.

When I got home, I decided that I’d take a short bike ride to the library to pick up the books I had requested.  Nothing is better than getting that email notification from the library telling you that you’re books are on hold.  Love it!  I didn’t realize that I had ordered quite so many books, though.  I had 9 hardcovers to fit into my bike basket!  Luckily it’s big enough, so everything fit – just barely.  It was great to bike the 2.6 miles roundtrip because it was just enough of a workout to get my blood pumping and make me feel alive.

Now I’m about to get ready to go out to dinner at Thea, one of my favorite Greek restaurants, with one of my old high school pals.  I’m so glad that she and I reconnected a few months ago because I really missed our friendship.  The thing is, nothing really happened – we just lost touch after high school as it’s so easy to do.  Thankfully, we found each other on Facebook (gotta love social networking sites!) and have gotten together about once a month ever since.

All in all, a wonderful summer day – I hope to have many, many more just like this one.

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Lately, I’ve been hearing that question a lot.  This is the first summer where I haven’t signed up to work, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m looking forward to actually getting one of the full benefits of teaching – an entire 2-month period of time off.

My mom in particular is worried that I’ll get bored.  She knows me too well, because when I get bored, I start to spend money.  What better way to ebb boredom than to go shopping, right?  Well, not this summer.

This summer I plan to do nothing.

And by “nothing,” I mean that the plan is no plan. Nothing too specific. Mornings spent reading the newspaper while sipping coffee. Walking. Working out. Swimming. Biking. Lots if activity & focus on weight loss. Keeping the house super clean and organized. Feeling like every day is a Saturday, even when it’s Tuesday.  Thursday morning WW meetings. Seeing friends. Buying produce and flowers from the farmers market every Friday. Overusing my Netflix queue. Music in the Park. Cooking healthy, delicious meals for myself every day. Laying in the sun reading a captivating book. Shopping, but trying not to spend too much $.  Starlight Cinema.  Buying a new car in August when my current lease is up.  (I’m thinking a VW Beetle convertible would suit me perfectly).  A tiny bit if tweaking my current curriculum. And lots and lots of writing on this blog and BellaOnTheBeach.

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

— Henry James

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Is today really Monday?  Aren’t Mondays supposed to be yucky and awful and hard to deal with?

Today has been a fantastic day!  From the time I got up (early, before the alarm!) all the way until I got home, things have been going great.

Not only did I have time to sit down, read the newspaper, enjoy a cup of coffee and my breakfast at home, but I also got to work earlier than normal.  This is quite a feat for me, since I’m usually running to my classroom just in time to beat the 5 minute bell.  Unlike other jobs, teaching requires that I be there exactly at a certain time, with hardly any leeway.  It was so nice to be able to get to my room with plenty of time to prepare for the day ahead.  (Usually I make sure that I have everything ready, including writing the next day’s agenda on the board, just in case).

My classes went wonderfully, despite the fact that my honors students had a research paper due today.  Usually the days that papers are due are the ones that cause major stress for my type-A, overachieving students.  Today most of them were completely prepared and calm, which really helps set a nice tone for the day.  Plus, they’re really enjoying the new novel we just started, which is always nice.

Then, after lunch, I was surprised to discover that I got paid a day early!  Considering that I only get paid once a month, getting my check a whole day in advance was awesome.  I was able to come home after a few errands and pay all of my bills early.  It’s so nice to feel organized and ready for the month ahead.

I even had a bit extra this month, so I treated myself to some new makeup from Sephora.  Speaking of which, I’m not sure how you are, but I’m a really loyal to certain brands of makeup, and making a change is a really big deal for me.  For several years now, I’ve been using Bare Escentuals.  I like the lightness of the feel of the makeup on my face, but I am getting sick and tired of the mess it makes in my bathroom.  Seriously!  There has to be a better way to deal with the loose mineral makeup!!  The thing that fueled my wanting to switch is that last week, in a moment of rushing around the bathroom in the morning, I dropped the container with the foundation in it, and… SPLAT!  POOF!  Clouds of mineral makeup all over the bathroom floor, all over my shoes, all over everything!  UGH!  As if my mornings weren’t hectic enough already.  Couple that with the fact that I feel like the makeup looks a bit too “powdery” on my skin, and I made the decision that as soon as I got paid, I was making a change.

So what did I move to?  FMG raved about how much she loves Stila.  So I went to Sephora last week to check out their products and found some wonderful options for my skin.  Today I ordered:

  • Illuminating Powder Foundation I love that this powder is packed and not loose.  Plus, it really does give the lightness that I liked in the Bare Escentuals with none of the mess.  I also really like the brightness that it gives to my face.  They aren’t kidding about the illumination!  It also has an SPF of 12, which doesn’t hurt.  (Now before you jump all over me about how I need more than just a 12 SPF, I know I do.  My moisturizer has an SPF 25, plus my skin is olive and doesn’t burn easily, so I’m covered already.  This will just be a nice little added protection).
  • Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer I don’t usually use a tinted moisturizer, but I got this as a sample from Sephora a little while ago, and LOVED it.  It gives your skin a really beautiful, dewy glow, without a heavy feel.  It’s perfect for those weekend days when you aren’t going to be doing more than running errands or walking around the farmers’ market.  Since I’m taking this summer off, I figured this would be a nice item to add to my beauty bag.  It has an SPF of 15, which is a decent amount of coverage for my skin (see above).
  • Convertible Color I like the idea of a cream blush, because I think it gives a really lovely, light bit of color to your cheeks.  If done correctly, it can be so much more natural than powder.  I bought it in Peony, because in my “research” on youtube, I think it will be a great color for my skin tone.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about this product, so I’m really looking forward to trying it.

After my online shopping spree, I made a healthy, delicious dinner myself and ended the evening with a nice dose of one of my guilty pleasures, Gossip Girl

Today was simple, yet perfect.  Gotta loves days like that.

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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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babysitting Babysitting duty, that is!

Thursday my sister roped me into babysitting tonight.  You know those conversations that start with, “So, what are you doing on Saturday night?”  My pat answer is usually, “well, I have a few things going on, why?”  Just to see what the other person might suggest.  That way, I don’t have to commit to something without knowing what I’m getting into.  But, since it was my sister, I said, “oh, not too much.”  To which she replied, “oh, good, then you wouldn’t mind babysitting for T & E while R and I go to my friend’s house for a party.”

Wait a minute!  Are you telling me that the married-with-2-kids sister is going to party and the single, devil-may-care sister is going to be home on a Saturday night babysitting?  What’s wrong with this picture?!

Not that I don’t love my nieces, because I do.  I like spending time with them.  I like to think of myself as the “fun aunt.”  They love Zia (Italian for aunt) because I like to play dolls or watch movies with them.  But usually at my parents’ house, and usually only for a short amount of time.  The thought of being completely responsible for them scares me for some strange reason.

I mean, it’s not like I didn’t babysit when I was a teenager, because I did.  But that was before I had a car, or friends who had cars, and I wanted money to buy that future car.  It was fun to get out of my house and be in charge.  When LC first asked me, I was hesitant.  I’m not sure why.  I guess part of the reason I’ve decided not to have kids is because I don’t want all that responsibility.

Then I reminded myself that it was only for 4-5 hours; not even overnight.  I could deal.  Plus, we could make it fun and say we were having a pajama party.  Which is why I’m in my comfy, cozy pjs as I write this at 6:35pm on a Saturday night.  That’s right, it’s a rockstar lifestyle, aren’t you jealous?

I have popcorn and hot cocoa, so we’re all set on the snacks front.  LC’s bringing DVDs – I heard mention of a My Little Pony movie and The Bee Movie.  And I think she’s going to pack a board game in the bags somewhere, too.  My youngest niece is only 17 months, so she’ll go to bed fairly early.  My 6 year old niece and I will have a great time, I’m sure.

Plus, I think it will be good for me to see “how the other half lives.”  You know, the half that is selfless, and puts others needs in front of their own?  Ya, them.  I’m not usually one of them, so this will be an interesting experiment.

I just hope we all make it out unscathed.  😛

________________________

Update: It’s 10:20, and both kids are sleeping.  T (6 yrs) fell asleep after playing with magnetic paper dolls (very cool!), having some popcorn, sugar free hot chocolate, and lots of School House Rock.  My sis told me that T had been talking about coming over here all day.  She was so excited to go to Zia’s house.  🙂  That really just melts my heart, you know?  Fun times.

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