Friday, June 27, 2008

Memorable Nannying Moments of the Week

3 things Sam said...
(Out of the blue at the park he says,) "Ali, when are you going to get a boyfriend?" "Ha, when you find me one Sam." "It's not my job. All you have to do is make out with a boy and you'll have one, so go do it." Maybe I should take his advice...

"Sam, is your brother going to marry his girlfriend?" "I hope not!" "Why?" "Cuz I have enough sisters as it is- I don't need anymore- even if they're only my in-laws!!!!!"

(Sam lost the baseball we were playing in the pine tree.) "Oh man, I smell like pine!!!! I'll never get a girl. All I'll get is a squirrel!"

2 things from Abby...

(Sam and I played baseball- all week!!!!- and I started singing "We wanna pitcher, not a belly itcher" and she said...) "we want an itcher not a belly Bitcher!"

At the post office I told Abby to stand on any of the blue tile squares near me and wait patiently, which she did (yes!) but there was a crazy kid behind us running around and his mom said, "Get over here. Look at that girl? Can't you stand like her all nice and patient?"

My work here is done.


Every year, my lovely hometown of Lincoln puts on a contest called "The Best of the Best". It highlights local businesses that are the stars of our community.
This year, my mom has an opportunity to WIN in the photographer category! Please help her out by following the directions below and voting for her (anyone from anywhere may vote!)
If you've never seen her work (you've obviously never read any of my posts that gush about how great she is) so check her out HERE!
Please vote asap and pass this on to anyone who has seen any of her pics or to whom you can introduce her pics. Leave a comment to let me know you've voted.
Thanks for help!
Here's what to do...

Okay everyone, here is a contest I could have a very good chance of winning-but only with your support!!! This is a contest that is held in Lincoln every year and names the winners as "The Best of the Best" in town. If you'd like to help me win, please follow this link and fill out the fields at the top, then just go down to "photographer" and put my name, "Debbie Brown-owner of Debbie Brown Photography" in the appropriate field. If you fill out the form you have a chance of winning a prize as well!


Thanks again,


P.S. If you have a chance, let me know if you voted :)

Debbie Brown Photography

BLOG site is (bookmark this and check back weekly for information and photos about all sorts of things!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still in Love

Not much to say in this post. Just wanted to share the news article about the Brit who fled the country after murdering his wife and kid. Seriously, dude.
Despite this weirdo I'm still totally in love with The Brits (search for one for me to marry, ok?) and want to go to England so, so, so badly.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week. I went home last weekend and had loads of fun. (See photos on my facebook profile or my mom's blog.) I promise to come back with a couple posts over the next few days. Expect some overdue blogging on some AMAZING literature, commentary on radio and a nannying post or two.

Happy Hump Day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yesterday I sat in the parking lot of my gym after finishing up a phone call with Nicole. For about 15 seconds my mind fought with itself over my desire to leave the gym and skip my workout. (I think I have these feelings about 1-2 times every two weeks: not bad. However, I always quickly remind myself that in a short period of time I'll be required to look better than good in a silk green bridesmaid dress.) Get out of the car, once you're inside you won't want to leave. After telling myself that line I begrudgingly walk in and check out the class schedule for the day. Being that Sam had a 5:15 baseball practice I made it to the gym a little after 6 and actually arrived in time to take an evening class like the rest of the world who gets off at a decent hour.
6:30 class: Yoga (for all bodies) For all bodies: so does this mean that the room won't be packed with 5'2" girls who popped out of their equally small mothers breathing deeply, calmly saying namaste as their first words and ever so cooly twisitng up like a pretzel whenever asked?
I decide that maybe this yoga class will be a better way to ease me into my workout for the evening. I do a quick 10 minutes of running on the treadmill and head into the room at 6:25. Just enough time to stop sweating, breathe normally and check the fellow yogaers. Yogaers? Yogais? Yogaites?
So far so good. Only two other people in the room: a normal looking couple who are not doing anything annoying like sharing a mat or holding hands while they synchronize their breathing. (In fact, I didn't even know they were a couple until the end of class when the guy asked the woman what they should have for dinner. That's cute.)
By the time I get a mat and a yoga brick and look over to see my fellow classmates are barefoot while I take off my shoes but decide there is no way I'm taking off my socks, my teacher arrives. She looks just like a yoga teacher- as if I know what they look like, but she does: cropped hair, the definition of yoga pants, calm, quiet smile, but not all bouncy or energetic like an aerobics instructor. She passes out those strap things and as she passes me one she quickly suggests that I might like to find one of the longer mats instead of the typical work out mat I've chosen out of habit from all my crunches. "Oh yeah of course" I say. Darn, I screwed up already. Because of course in my head that's a mess up for the student that I always am.
As class begins, about three other women filter in and we begin by breathing. A lot of breathing. Breathe? I don't breathe. I mean, I breathe but I don't, ya know, breathe. This is the extent of my thought while breathing: I've been running for twenty minutes, thank God my ipod is on and there isn't a soul in the room because I sound like I'm dying.
"Listen to the music and focus on the patterns of your breathing. Think about only the space of this room," she says. Think. Interesting music, definitely couldn't run to this. I wish I was listening to the new Wheezer CD right now. I need to buy that when I get paid. Paid- only two days. Then i get to go home, yay! Home, I love my new room. "Keep your thought on this space." Right, this space. Yoga. How many calories do you burn doing yoga? Does anyone know? Amanda loves yoga. Maddie took a yoga class once. Damn this thinking is hard. haha, I wonder what this would be like if Maddie and Jena and I were taking yoga together. I would definitely not be focusing. They're not even here and I'm not focusing. "Now that you've released your negative energy and entered this space..." Wait, I'm not done!
Breathing goes into stretching. "Stretch the heels into the earth." she says. "Turn your body and feel the stetch in your spine- an organic movement." I think this means press the bottoms of my feet into the floor and when I turn my back my spine shouldn't feel like I'm breaking it in half.
As class continues we move into the classic- downward dog. Even a yoga virgin like myself knows what that is- a creepy Cosmo name for a yoga move. More specifically, all your weight feels like it's in your arms and hands while your feet are parallel to one another and your ass is sticking straight in the air- awkward. This of course is the time of class when the teacher goes around to correct or compliment everyone's position. Shit, this hurts, but does it look right? My upside down head glances at those around me to see if I'm doing it correctly. No luck because all the blood is rushing to my head and all I can focus is on the pulsating. Oh, and the seizure like shaking of my jello like arms. Now my teacher is hovering over me mumbling something about shifting. Shift? Shift what? I feel like I'm going to topple over and your soothing voice makes me want to scream, "I don't do yoga! I can't breathe, I can't focus, I run, that's it."
Throughout the rest of class we move in awkward positions and do some ab workouts. She keeps giving these ab moves fancy Eastern names that I can't even remember. It's called a sit up in cardio world.
"Everyone lay down and stretch from your arms to your toes. Feel the sun and the earth and your heart..." I've tuned out but know this is the last five minutes of class where you get to close your eyes and do nothing, yes! "As you relax, stay focused on your breathing. Inhale all your positive energy and exhale your negative thoughts while I pass out some eye masks." Eye masks? Eye masks which have been used by countless other people which means their eye sweat is all over it. So now I can't focus on positive energy crap because I'm thinking about the exact second she's going to lay an eye mask on me and I'm going to jump up like a kickboxer and refuse to wear it. I feel her coming towards me, but not with an eye mask- with a kleenex. Oh thank God. She's using a Kleenex as a protective layer.
After five minutes of heaven I wish her voice was saying we could sleep there for the rest of the night, but it is time to sit up and bow while she makes eye contact and says namaste (who the hell thought of that as the Yoga slogan anyway?) to each one of us. I think we're supposed to say Namaste back, but I find that awkward and quietly whisper thank you (like the cardio girl that I am) instead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everything I needed to Know

For the most part I am truly amazed by how this year turned out. Basically, nothing like I expected.
To say the least, I never imagined the year after I graduated college being anything else but my first year of teaching. Of course, that is definitely not how this year looked.
At first and for more than awhile, I tried miserably to hide the fact that I was "so okay" with not getting a teaching job and staying in Portland for a big question mark of a reason. Even a couple months into the fall of 2007 I felt I was wasting my time and not doing enough.
November of '07 brought with it rain (which has never left!!!) and more importantly the beginning of my Adventures in Subbing. I'm not sure I knew what I was getting myself into when I went to the orientation with my notepad, highlighters, pens, questions and the same "game face" I brought every day as a student. Everyone else looked like the orientation was no big deal and that they couldn't possibly be apprehensive about the vagueness of being a sub. I however was scared shitless.
I remember walking on to my first sub job and thinking, "Oh my gosh, what the heck am I doing here? I cannot teach 1st and 2nd graders, that orientation was a joke and what do I do if I have to teach roman numerals???!!" Okay, okay, so teaching those kids for four hours was not as big of a deal as I made it out to be, but that's what I do- overreact, lose sight of sensibility and reflect on it later. With time, okay like two seconds, I fell in love with subbing and could not be happier with how this year turned out. (Unless of course someone could have paid all my student loans and found me a British man, but I digress...)
For years to come I will face challenges tougher than the stress the "year after college" created for me. I want to be able to look back at this year and remember subbing after years and years of teaching and being jaded and forgetting, etc., etc.So, this blog is basically a "Everything I needed to Know in life I learned from Subbing"- if you will. And before you enter the list I lay before you, let me also thank all of you (blog readers, my mother for always having her phone on and my dear, wonderful family and friends) for bearing with me this year as I pretended being out of college didn't bother me, finally admitting being out of college bothered me and listening to my endless stories about children after being out of college finally really didn't bother me. Enjoy!

Lessons from Subbing:
1. Always pack your lunch the night before (just like your mommy taught you).
2. Wearing a name badge really does make you feel important.
3. Having kids call you Ms. B makes you feel less old than kids calling you Ms. Brown.
4. High schoolers really don't care if you're there substitute.
5. Elementary schools really do care if you're their substitute.
6. Junior highers really don't care about anything- except myspace.
7. Being a sub means acting like you're bff's with the regular teacher so kids can't play you.
8. Having the Sub Finder system phone number on speed dial makes life so much easier.
9. You know you've subbed at a school a lot when the custodian knows your name.
10. Coffee is God.
11. Staff room coffee is the opposite of God.
12. Dodgeball is still fun, but as a sub you end up wincing and gasping a lot because you're afraid students will get hurt.
13. Being a dance teacher does not mean you have to dance.
14. Being a sign language teacher means you need to know sign language.
15. 4th graders are the new 7th graders- sometimes loving, sometimes hateful, sometimes jerks.
16. Animal Crackers are awesome.
17. High school halls are intimidating even when you're no longer a student in them.
18. As a sub you want to defend everyone, which means you don't mind yelling at the skinny kid to protect the fat kid.
19. 4th graders think they're old enough to say the words cunt and ass.
20. 4th graders have no idea what the words cunt and ass mean.
21. One day is long enough for any elementary schooler to think you're the best teacher in the world.
22. Getting "You're the best Ms. B I love you!" pictures never, never, never gets old.
23. I still remember long division just like Mrs. Lamb taught me.
24. Ms. Jepsen's perfect hand writing skills come in handy when correcting 1st graders hand writing papers.
25. Networking IS the most important asset in any working world.
26. If a school's staff room is the nicest looking it means they have the best spread of Friday treats.
27. 6th graders like to pour water in their enemies pencil boxes.
28. A personal supply of hand sanitizer is oh so important.
29. 5:30 am comes way faster than you think it will.
And the most important things I learned while subbing:
30. As much as I loved subbing elementary schoolers, I was SO not meant to be an elementary school teacher.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Adventures in Nannying

So there is this mom in the neighborhood where I nanny who is always saying hello and is really sweet. I often go for a run in the 'hood with Abby in the stroller and she once commented on how cute I am for doing that and ever since that exchange we've always smiled, said hello, etc.
This afternoon while picking up Sam from school, I experienced the mom version of being in junior high. That "cool elementary school mom" said hello and asked if I'd like to bring the kids by for a play date this summer.
It was kind of like when some cool junior high kid asks if you want to ride bikes together on Saturday. Cool.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A non-love letter

Dear Portland,

For almost five years I have called you my second home and adored your wonderful Pacific Northwest qualities. I tell those afar the glory that is your trees, beaches, open-minded thinking and superb restaurants. I show newcomers all that you have to offer- the best coffee, amazing music and fun shops.
Why then, Portland have you let me down? This is my first and only summer in Portland and I had big plans to be outside- running, hiking, playing and enjoying all. the. time.
But no, this dream cannot be met because the weather BLOWS. Literally, in fact, I'm looking out the window right now and am appalled by the Chicago type winds I see. How am I ever supposed to enjoy these next two months with blankets of clouds, sheets of rain and days of endless wind?
I ask you Portland, what have I done to deserve this? I do not want to start telling people that you're mean and no fun, but if you don't hurry up and get sunny you leave me with no other choice.

Hurt and in despair,

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Chicken or the Egg

A little list I've compiled of "which is better?" Just some things to think about...

-Is it better to drive to the grocery store to buy local organic produce or walk to the grocery store to buy "average" produce?
-Does it make more sense to buy a hybrid vehicle that is shipped from Japan or a semi gas efficient vehicle from the States?
-Should we worry about the light in our bathroom being on when a school leaves their lights on ALL night long?
-Is it better to stop driving to "prove" that gas is too spendy or to be thankful we're not the poor, adorable slobs in London who pay $9 a gallon?
-Is it more helpful to re-create a state test that millions of kids are failing or re-create schools to fit the test?
-How does making organic linens for home decorating make a difference when the average American can't purchase them because they're $90 a ft.?
-Does it matter if immigrants take U.S. jobs when Americans don't want the jobs they take?
-Is it better to let good ole' Hillary continue her run for the White House despite the divide for votes Democrats are creating with each passing day?