Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thoughts and things

I never mentioned that there was a bomb threat at the school I was at on Friday, did I? I can't find any news about it or I'd link it. It stressed me out waaaaay too much.

My other grandma (the one without terminal lung cancer) I just found out has been mysteriously ill and weak and in large amounts of pain for the past couple of weeks. This tidbit of information makes me very anxious.

I have a new nephew. My sister-in-law gave birth yesterday at 4 in the morning. I'm still trying to get Veng used to the idea that he doesn't just have 2 (one brand new) nephews, but that he actually has 6 nephews and 2 neices.

I'm substituting for a high school band class half day today. I did elementary school music yesterday (the teacher left the option of movies for the kids to watch, and by golly, I took it!). I did Junior High Culinary for two days last week (where the bomb threat occurred)--summary of those classes: Aquamarine is a stupid movie, but it has a Weezer song in it which redeems it slightly; The Incredibles is still a good movie even after having watched it twenty-odd times; Friday Night Lights is a boring movie with a couple of troublesome scenes in it that the kids went crazy about before I managed to find the skip button.

I have been corrected about Dystopia...it was a cyberpunk mod, not a steampunk mod.

Current list of suggestions of things I should be when I grow up:
puppy trainer
full-time teacher
bank employee
travel agent

All fabulous suggestions (even if I'm not sure some of them are quite possible). I guess my problem is that all I really want to be when I grow up, all I've ever really, really wanted to be when grown up, is a stay-at-home mom, just like my mom. Since that isn't going to be happening any time right away though, I'm going to make a lovely list of things I want in a workplace.

Things I Want In A Workplace
A casual atmosphere, in the sense that I could wear my paint-splattered jeans and my Death Cab for Cutie t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops to work and people would thing it was cool instead of being three blatant dress-code violations. Where I can sit cross-legged in my chair or with my knees up without getting in trouble.
A friendly atmosphere, where employees are encouraged to interact with each other and talk about not-work-related stuff instead of being completely silent unless talking about a specific work project.
A place where I don't have to be in charge. I don't particularly like being in charge, I've discovered while substituting, and I'm not very good at getting people to listen to me and do what I ask them to, not really managerial material here, I'd much rather be one of the not-in-charge people who does what someone else tells them to do, though it would be nice to have a little bit of freedom to do things I think need to be done or whatever.
A place where I can work with my hands in some way. I like doing things with my hands. I like moving them around. I prefer using the mouse to using the keyboard on the computer, and I prefer the idea of assembling computers to that of assembling code, for instance. I like fixing things. I like making things. I like adapting things so they do something different than they did before.
A place where I can have my own little space--I like being able to decorate my desk with knicknacks and pictures my nephews have drawn for me and other random things that show that it is uniquely my space, a reflection of me.
A place with sunlight. Windows are amazing. Having some (or lots) of natural light makes me happy and more cheerful and leaves me more prone to working hard than dim or really really fake lighting conditions do. Lots of flourescent lights tire my eyes out, and a dim workplace makes me want to go home and read a book or watch a movie instead of staying at work.
A place that I'm not expected to be at too early in the morning. I'm not a morning person. Even when I go to bed at 10 I don't like to wake up before eight, and I like having some leisurely time in which to get ready for the day.
A place where generally, when I leave work for the day, I'm done with it and don't have to bring anything home with me to work on, because I like to have me evenings for myself and my family and my friends. Also, no working on weekends, and I like having holidays off and vacation time (paid or not) available.

I don't know if places exist that meet all those criteria, and if they do exist, I doubt I'm qualified to work there. But it's fun to think about such a great workplace. I know being a stay-at-home mom doesn't meet most of those qualifications, but it's in its own separate category from earning-money work, so it has different criteria.

I think that's all I've got for today. I made delicious pineapple black bean enchiladas yesterday. They were super-delicious, and I need to put them up on the recipe website so you can all make them too. Not hard to make, either (though not fast).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Anybody have any suggestions of what I should be when I grow up?
Veng and I are officially nursery leaders now. We get to go in and meet the nine kids that are in our nursery today (there's two nurseries in our ward) and then we'll probably start teaching next week. I'm looking forward to it.

We went to a LAN yesterday, which was fun (my second all-day LAN). We played Supreme Commander, and a Counter-Strike mod called Dystopia which was pretty cool (steam-punk). I enjoyed it, but nine o'clock hit and I fell asleep on a couch until we left at 11:30pm.

I need to make some friends here. I still really like and admire all my old friends. You're all really cool people. But my methods of communicating with most of you are rather limited now and for me at least that always seems to change things either a little bit or a whole lot. My emotions are out of whack today so I'm not going to go into it anymore than that I'm a little lonely and need to make some friends here that I can get together with and talk to and go window shopping with and stuff.

There's so much I need to learn about life still.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fatty delicious chocolate, nostalgic Zelda music, and nasty hissing cockroaches

So, let's get the nasty part out of the way first. I saw my first cockroach over the weekend. It was on a jacket I had in a suitcase that was lying on the floor of our laundry room. It waved it's little antennas and hissed at me before running and hiding. I yelped. It was a very light brown orangey color, and big, and though I thought I was prepared to see a cockroach, I was not. I wussed out and went and got Mike to come kill it. He couldn't find it though, so he just picked up the jacket and took it outside in hopes that the cockroach was still in the jacket and would crawl out during the night. We haven't seen it since, so I don't really know what happened to it. The jacket is my dad's old jean jacket, very large and comfy and broken in and lined with flannel that makes it really warm and I have loved it for forever even though it's pretty ratty now. It has a couple of holes in the lining. My dad said, while they were here, that the cockroach may have layed eggs inside my jacket, and so I have finally been convinced to throw it away (once I cut the buttons off). For now it's still outside. Just in case.

On to more pleasant things. My mom gave me chocolates for a belated Valentine's Day present when they were here, from See's Candies. I have been eating them. A lot of them. Indeed, most all of them. In two days. Very, very fattening, but oh so tasty. It'll be good when they're gone, and I won't have any candy left that needs to be eaten.

We downloaded an orchestrated album of Ocarina of Time music, and it is so darn completely fabulous. It's really well orchetrated, I'll have to post a link to it later so you can all hear this fabulous music. Of course, you may not have exactly the same reaction to it as me. I have fond memories of pretty much that entire game, due to watching my brother play the game. Hours and hours of watching the game. No playing it myself, mind you, just watching it being played. Like a very drawn out and sometimes frustrating movie where the main character doesn't always know how to solve the problems presented to him and will spend hours trying the same thing over and over again despite the fact that it obviously doesn't work and perhaps if he tried something ELSE the puzzle would be solved. That would not be a good movie. It was fun to watch (most of the time) anyways, though, and I still really like the music (I liked it in the game, and the orchestrated version is fabulous, as I've said several times already, but it bears repeating).

On a final note, I finally feel as if there are enough recipes in our recipe website to make it worth posting (despite the fact that not all the sections have stuff in them yet, and not all the recipes I've made and really liked are in there yet). So...go to kdusey.com. Make some of our recipes. They are delicious. We will continue to update it regularly (and I'm not going to update my recipe blog anymore).

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's update time again!

I've had a really hard time being motivated to substitute lately. I think I'm going to take Junior Highs off my list of places I'm willing to substitute for, and that should improve things quite a bit. High school isn't too bad--if they don't want to do what you ask them to, they just don't do it, and don't bother with mouthing off about it for the most part. And elementary school kids are mostly still young enough to be at least slightly intimidated by substitutes (though the older elementary grades are kind of annoying).

Valentine's Day was nice. We both stayed home all day and played games and watched Noir together and had pancakes for breakfast and a late lunch picnic on the grass outside across the parking lot, and a late dinner of Greek chicken.

I tried to make creme brulee for dessert for Valentine's Day but it didn't end up getting all the way done until a couple days later. I didn't realize it would come out being like pudding. Our toaster oven doesn't work for melting sugar under the broiler. It was interesting...don't know how soon I'll make it again, though it was pretty tasty. Passionfruits are really hard to find, so I used mangos for the sauce that was supposed to go on the side.

Thursday I stayed home and cleaned all day. I got lots done and was very productive. Friday afternoon/evening we cleaned more. At about 10:30pm my family arrived. We gave them a grand tour of the apartment, my dad went to bed, Mike played Guitar Hero and DDR with my little brother and sister) and I talked with my mom for awhile. On Saturday, I finally got to play Boggle which was fun (though my little brother and sister beat me by quite a lot...they've both gotten really good at that game). I made my family pancakes which they claimed to like, though I think they may have just been being polite. We went and drove over to the temple and walked around it, which was nice. It's very pretty. Then we went to Golfland and played some miniature golf (my little brother creamed us, with four holes in one). We would have gone to Body Worlds, but when I checked on the tickets on Thursday or Friday or whenever it was, they were all sold out. After that, we tried out their little "race car" track. I unfortunately picked the slowest car, and got lapped several times by Mike and passed at least once by almost everybody else. Lunch was late, at Ranch de Tia Rosa. Delicious food. I got a spinach enchilada, which I absolutely loved, though it proved to be a bit hard for my tummy to digest later.

We dropped pretty much everybody off at home afterwards, and I went with my mom in search of some quilting supplies for me. We started with Sally's Fabrics (great fabric selection, quite pricey), then heard of a sale at Hancock's for President's Day so went over there (pretty good fabric selection, still reasonably pricey, they didn't have any of what we were looking for except for the rotary cutter). Then we tried Walmart because, hey, it's cheap. They had nothing worthwhile. Finally, we headed to JoAnn's which is the furthest away (same as JoAnn's always is, decent fabric selection, pretty reasonable prices, and a sale!) where my dearest mother bought me a rotary mat, ruler, and four quarter-yards of background fabrics for the lap quilt I'm going to make. My mom has been making several of these little quilts, with frayed hearts sewn all over the top, and they're really cute. She made one for my oldest sister, had some left-over fabric which she let my next-oldest sister make one with, and still had some leftover fabric so she's making one for herself (which she's almost done with now). Apparently she still has some leftover fabric for the hearts part so she's going to mail it to me along with the pattern so I can make one too. It'll be my first ever semi-pieced quilt, so I'm really excited. I made a jean quilt once, but it was just a bunch of really big squares sewn together, and I tied it. This quilt will require actually quilting. And now that I have my own supplies, I can try out other quilts after this one. I've always wanted to know how to quilt, it'll be really fun to finally learn. Much thanks to my wonderful mom for getting all the stuff for me.

Saturday night, we played some more games, went and saw Night at the Museum (predictable, yet funny--Dick Van Dyke still has the Moves!), had a late dinner at Subway, and finally went to bed. Sunday was some more games, church (ward conference Sunday so I didn't get a single opportunity to introduce my family), then dinner with Mike's parents (delicious) and Karaoke back at home which made me very happy. I fell asleep on the big chair at about ten, and shortly after that, most everybody decided it was a good time to be bedtime.

This morning, my family left to drive back to Utah. My older sister called right before they left to say there's six inches of snow up there. Hopefully their drive back goes well and they all get there safely. My mom insisted on doing a lot of cleaning while they were here, which while being endlessly nice of her, was also a little frustrating to me because even though she was just trying to be helpful and a good mom, it was as if I'm not old enough or responsible enough to do it all myself. It was really nice of her, though, and it's probably mostly my own fault for not having it really thoroughly clean before they got here (though I tried, I just couldn't get to everything).

One of the things I did get to before they arrived was organizing everything in the craft room, so now I have places for everything and room to work on all my projects. It'll be really nice. I'm kind of wishing I could stay at home every day, and work on cleaning and cooking and then work on a project for awhile, or go to Enrichment, or do the shopping, or whatever. It just seems like it would be so satisfactory to be the housekeeper. Being a fellow money earner has not been very satisfying at all, other than the fact that we have enough money to live off of without being in debt which is really nice. But I get home from work and I just want to relax, and on my days off, I want to have time to relax the whole day, and none of the house stuff gets done, whereas I think I've gotten in the mode now where if I stayed home every day and didn't have to work, the house would stay decently clean, we wouldn't ever have to go out to eat because I was too tired to make anything, my huge pile of craft projects would slowly get completed and I'd still be able to spend time relaxing with Mike in the evenings. It's just not financially possible right now, as much as I would like it. Someday I'll undoubtedly be able to do that, though we'll probably have kids by then and I won't get much time at all for projects or relaxing.

It's funny because when we were first married, I didn't have a job and just stayed at home and didn't really ever do anything, and got depressed and the apartment was a mess and I really wanted some excuses to get out and do stuff. Now I have a job, and all I want is to have some excuses to stay at home and do stuff. Of course, we have two vehicles now so I can do a lot more stuff than I could when we were first married when I stay at home. It's hard to believe we've been married for almost a year now. One of the diamonds in my ring is a little loose, so we're going to take it to the store and see if they can fix it before it falls out.

It's cloudy and is going to rain today.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


So I'm feeling better most of the time now. I took the day off from working yesterday and read some manga for most of the day, which cheered me up a lot. Then Mike came home, and as usual, that made me happy. And we went out for dinner with his parents after dropping our car off to finally get the smooshed door fixed, which should be done today hopefully. And while at dinner, which was at Chili's, I got to have delicious chocolate volcano cake (warm chocolate cake with warm hot fudge sauce inside it with ice cream on top with Magic Shell on the ice cream). Chocolate desserts make me happy. Most any desserts make me happy, actually. Especially since I almost never make dessert myself. After dinner we came home and watched Castle of Cagliostro since neither of us had seen it in quite awhile, and I got some good snuggle time in, which also makes me happy. So I'm feeling better most of the time now. There's still times when I start thinking about it and get sad, and that'll probably keep happening until after she's gone, but as long as I don't get into a huge depressed funk I should be fine.

I'm going to see if my family wants to go see the Body Worlds exhibit while they're here visiting. http://www.azscience.org/bw3/index.php I think it sounds really cool, but it's kind of expensive to get in so I don't know if they'll want to go or not. It frankly doesn't seem like it's been all that long since I last saw them, but it'll be nice to have them visit anyway. I'll get to show off my cute house (I've taken to calling it a house even though it's not a straight up house because it's entirely big enough to be a house). Though that does mean I have to clean up and organize the whole thing before they get here, and hopefully I can actually even get pictures hung up on the wall before they come. Maybe I'll try making the curtains for the kitchen window today (I got some cute green fabric from Walmart for about $5 which will hopefully be just enough for the curtains). Lots of cleaning to do in the next week. Hopefully the weather will be warm for them while they're here, rather than rainy like it's been so often since we moved here.

Mike and I are working on a recipe webpage to replace my recipe blog. It'll be accessible to everybody, so it should be pretty nice, and it'll be easy to update once I get the hang of it. So hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping it updated with all the delicious recipes I've been making. We've had some great chicken spinach salads, and I made delicious curry a couple of days ago (real curry! With chicken and potatoes and carrots! It tastes like the classic curry you can get from places like Teriyaki Stix except better. And I made Oyakodon yesterday (parent and child bowl is what that means...it's sorta like chicken egg drop soup served over rice). That was fun, and satisfactorily delicious, though I'm going to try tweaking the recipe a little I think. So I need to put all those up, and all the recipes I've made before that've turned out well need to get in there too. I'll post a link as soon as it's got a few more in there.

I think that's about it for right now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My mom is weird

I love her dearly, but there are times when I wish she would display the emotions she's feeling, because I think it would somehow make me feel better when I'm sad to know that she's sad sometimes too, and to have seen it. I don't know how she's feeling right now, but I know how I'm feeling, and it's really hard to deal with.

Basically, I just found out that my grandma's been diagnosed with lung cancer, and has a year or less to live. Unless one of my other two grandparents suddenly unexpectedly dies, she will be the first grandparent I've lost. Her husband died in his thirties, I never knew him. My younger brother died when I was four, I don't think I really understood it at the time and I don't remember him anymore. So, the prospect of my grandmother's death is really the first time I've had to deal with this whole death/dying thing, and it's kind of amazing how much it hurts, even knowing how happy she'll be to finally be with her husband again after forty years apart and all the other happy stuff. They haven't finished all their medical tests yet, but the doctor basically said there's no cure, it's probably inoperable, and it will be an extremely painful way to die. My mom said she doesn't like the doctor, because he didn't tell my grandma anything positive at all (though it's good that he was so straightforward so everybody can be prepared, but still...). And that's all she's said that's given any hint as to her emotions at all. I don't know how she does it, she's always been like that.

I ought to be kind of used to this idea of imminent (I think I spelled that wrong) death. When I was going to BYU and living with my grandma my last year, she fell off a ladder while trimming a tree and ended up in the ICU for four months, with quite a few very, very close calls as a result of pneumonia and broken ribs and various complications of a bunch of different things. But I couldn't really handle dealing with it that semester...it was one of the things that finally made me just drive to my parents and ask to move back home with them, because I didn't know how to deal with it and I didn't want to be alone in her house while she was possibly dying in the hospital. I'm still not used to it. She was finishing up her mission papers to put in again for her fourth or fifth mission, the medical exam was the only thing left. And lung cancer...I never, ever expected anybody in my family to ever end up dying from lung cancer. It's always been so closely associated with smoking in my head, and none of us smoke. But, it like pretty much all cancers can be caused from simple cell mutations.

I'm just not absorbing it at all yet, I guess. It hurts to think about, so I'm kind of trying to not think about it. I need to think about it sometime though. For right now I guess the best thing to do is to just try and figure out how on earth we can get back to Utah in the next couple of months to see her again.

In happier news, my parents and little brother and sister are coming to visit next weekend, so that'll be nice to see them again.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I don't love seventh graders

I started substituting on Tuesday, with a small class of 3rd graders who have ADHD and stuff. It was actually quite fun. There was an aide in there (thank goodness) who took care of all the actual lesson stuff, and I did the stuff she normally does (grade papers, work one on one with a student who didn't want to do anything, etc). The kids were really smart, they just had a hard time staying focused on their assignments.

Wednesday, I substituted choir. It wasn't too bad, although one of the classes (the first one, of course) screwed with me and lied to me about a bunch of stuff about how class was supposed to work and managed to get a hold of the teacher's grade book and look at it for quite a while during class (I didn't discover it until one girl brought it to me during the next class period asking if she could please put it away, which I of course let her do after which I locked up the place that it had come from and changed all the lesson plans so that nobody would go through that particular room again during the day). Other than that, the day went pretty well. The students weren't horrible, though they weren't particularly great either.

Thursday and Friday I substituted a seventh grade reading class. A couple of the class periods were pretty good. Two of them were particularly horrendous. I'm substituting math at the same school on Monday, but there will be tutors from ASU there helping the kids out, so it shouldn't be too bad. Seriously though, after Friday was over I had a humongous headache, and got to the verge of crying a couple of times. I do not know how to handle seventh graders who do not want to do what I tell them to, are swearing at me in Spanish, and glare at me for the entire class period as if I am the scum of the earth. I am going to be much, much more picky about which junior high classes I agree to substitute for from now on, and if they continue to go that badly, I'm not going to do them any more.

Veng has gotten to substitute 2nd grade, preschool, and kindergarten so far, and he already has lined up to substitute junior high biology, culinary class, ESL, and more kindergarten. I have been getting jealous of him, as I would very much like to do more elementary school substituting. The culinary class sounds like it could either be a lot of fun, or completely horrible. I think it would be more fun if it was at the high school level.

I don't know how teachers do it, honestly. Being on their feet for so much of the day, keeping the kids in line, grading all that homework every night after an already long day. It's pretty amazing. After my first day substituting, I thought to myself, hey, it might be pretty fun to be a teacher, but then I thought about the homework, and the day-after-day stress, and decided that I'm glad I chose to not go into teaching. Substituting is okay because once the day is done I get to go home and do whatever I want and don't have to worry about it anymore.

I got a chocolate swirled cheesecake pastry thing last night when we went out to eat with Veng's parents, and it was delectable, and helped make up for my bad day very well. After dinner, Veng and I went out and watched Pan's Labyrinth, which was a really good movie, though not one I think I'll watch again. Lots of creepy parts. A fair amount of heartless violence (it is rated R for that, and some swearing). It wasn't any worse for creeping me out though than, say, the torture on 24 is. At any rate, it's a very good, rather creepy, very sad movie. The visual effects are very well done and believable. Listening to the Spanish was pretty fun...I tried not reading the subtitles except for confirmation as to what I was hearing at first, but then one particular character came on and I couldn't keep up with listening to it anymore (and they started using a lot of words I don't know in Spanish) so I reverted to just reading the subtitles, and smiling to myself when I recognized words here and there. Veng enjoyed the Spanish a lot, as a couple of characters speak with a very distinctly recognizable Spanish accent (as in, the accent that Spaniards have when they speak Spanish, with the theta).

Now it is time for breakfast and housework. Sometimes I wish I didn't ever have to do any housework. Other times it's kind of fun being the little housewife and taking care of everything for Veng. I think it's one of those things that hopefully I'll just eventually develop habits for all of it and it'll just get done, because I'll just do it without really thinking about it. At least, I hope that's what will eventually happen. Now, breakfast.