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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 6 [12 Jun 2012|03:18pm]
Our final day in Hawaii was pretty sad, because we were leaving. But since our plane didn’t depart until mid-afternoon, we had one more morning to enjoy ourselves. We went for the scrumptious hotel breakfast one more time, and then caught a cab (actually a Lincoln Town Car) to Lahaina because Judy’s tattoo appointment was happening before the shuttle bus started running.

Tattoo and Last Day in LahainaCollapse )
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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 5 [12 Jun 2012|03:11pm]
Our last full day in Maui was meant to be more relaxing than the previous few. We didn’t have any major excursions planned, just a couple of smaller ones. We started the day with a trip back to Ma’alea (where we started our snorkeling trip) and the Maui Ocean Center. The MOC is a well-maintained aquarium with a lot of great kid-oriented exhibits. I was really pretty interested in checking out the MOC, but once I actually got there, I ended up being a little bored. And then I felt guilty that I was bored, but couldn’t shake it. Judy, though, had a lot of fun. We did get to see sea turtles and colorful native Hawaiian fish. I also discovered while reading at the exhibits that there is a protected area called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a series of tiny atolls that continue on from the main islands. Finding out new geography stuff like that always makes me happy.

The Needle!Collapse )
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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 4 [12 Jun 2012|03:04pm]
Sunday in Maui was a big one for us. I first read about the Hana Highway shortly after moving to Houston, and it sounded like a hell of an adventure. The highway runs along Maui’s rainforest-covered northeastern coast, winding its way through the jungle and along the coastline. With guidebook in hand, we hit the road a bit before 7am. We filled up our tank in Kahului, Maui’s largest (and centrally-located) town, and stopped in Paia for breakfast.

The Hana Highway and BeyondCollapse )
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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 3 [12 Jun 2012|02:46pm]
We were up and on the road early on Saturday morning. We needed to be at our boat, the highly-recommended Four Winds II, by 7:00am to go snorkeling. The drive down the west Maui coast was beautiful as we passed beaches full of early-morning surfers and people paddling their old-school longboards out in the small waves. As we came around to the southeast side of the island, we passed through short tunnels and drove along rocky cliffs. Up on the hillside, huge wind towers spun slowly in the swirling winds of the Pacific Ocean. And then we were in Ma’alea. Smack dab in the center between west Maui and the rest of the island, Ma’alea is a tiny town that consists mostly of a deep water harbor. But it also includes the Maui Ocean Center aquarium, a strip mall, and a Carl’s, Jr.

Snorkeling, Blowholes, and Dragon's TeethCollapse )
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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 2 [12 Jun 2012|02:27pm]
Friday morning started bright and early with a wonderful breakfast back at the hotel restaurant. Afterwards we were going to stop off and take a better look at the lobby’s pond and waterfall area, but the best spot was being occupied by a trashy-looking couple blatantly making out. I mean, sure you’re in Hawaii, but some decorum might be appreciated in the hotel lobby.

There's More!Collapse )
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Honeymoon in Hawaii, Day 1 [27 Feb 2012|04:42pm]
Hi there! The summer of 2011 was an extremely busy one for me. Not only did I get married, we also had a honeymoon in Maui, I attended Comic-Con, and we visited western Colorado in August. I've been meaning to write down a lot of these experiences for quite some time, but am only now getting around to it. So we'll start off with the most fun part of the summer, the honeymoon!

Read on!Collapse )
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Oh, Natasha! Outside is Not as Awesome as You Think [21 Dec 2011|12:47pm]
[ mood | relieved ]

Our black cat Natasha thinks she loves to go outside. She tries to get out the front door nearly every time it opens, and she's succeeded a couple of times this week for real short amounts of time. Last night, our friend's 3-year old opened our front door because he was ready to leave, and Natasha apparently went "don't mind if I do" and walked out. Yes, our black cat with no collar escaped into the night. Ugh.

This led to a 30-40 minute search, in the dark, around the house and a couple of our neighbors houses. Judy thought she had her, but Natasha hissed and ran away and she couldn't find her again, so I went out to search. Just before I gave up, I decided to check our back yard and managed to find her. Natasha, however, had found out that she doesn't like going outside nearly as much as she thinks she does. Turns out that outside in December is cold and dark and pretty scary. So scary, in fact, that she hissed at me repeatedly and ran away around the back of the garage when I tried to get her. Then she wriggled under our side gate and into the neighbors' bushes. She stayed there for a minute, though, and when she tentatively poked her head out, I grabbed her and held on tight despite getting a pretty good scratch. Then I deposited her back in the house where she continued to be freaked out for the next hour. All of this happened, of course, right during Evelyn's bath time, which is why we had to split up the search in the first place.

On top of that, her brother Victor, who has never really been apart from her, started freaking out and meowing like crazy when he realized that we were trying to find her. When you have little kids over as company, odd things can happen, I guess. I'm just glad we were able to find her and that she didn't spend the whole night outside.

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I Am Now a Homeowner [31 May 2010|07:45pm]
Hey there, Livejournal holdouts who still check these pages out. I'm still alive, really! The home search was a long and laborious process, which I will detail below, after a cut. We looked for a couple of months and probably 40 houses, with a few close calls before finally getting a great house in a great neighborhood. I will be moving in sometime in late June, after gradually moving a bunch of my stuff over there. Judy and Evelyn are currently planning on moving in in July 2011, after our wedding, which is scheduled for July 2, 2011.

The full house hunting storyCollapse )

But the Sunday after the deadline, we headed back out to look at four recent listings, and found the house! It is a 2,249 square foot house on an 11,900 square foot lot, with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It is in an older neighborhood with a pool, playground, and clubhouse, and is heavily wooded. Of all the subdivisions we went through while looking, this one was always our favorite. But the houses for sale were either too expensive or gone quickly. We jumped on this one, though, and made an offer before it had even been on the market for a week. After some wrangling, we settled on a price and I closed on it this past Thursday (May 27). So I am now a homeowner!

There are plenty of more things to talk about, but for now, this is the kicker of the story. On Friday, May 28, I went in to my apartment complex office to talk to the landlord about letting me out of the final month of my lease (it goes through July). She wouldn't even enter into a conversation with me about it. I said, "I was wondering if you'd be so kind as to consider letting me out of the final month of my lease." And she shook her head sadly and said, "No, sorry, there's no way we can change the dates in our computer, it red flags at corporate." While this may be true, her lack of willingness to even engage me on this makes me think she's very happy she has that "oh, corporate will frown on it" excuse to avoid ever having to discuss the issue with tenants.
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Great Day! [06 Mar 2010|05:05pm]
[ mood | happy ]

Okay, I was supposed to go to the second annual Spring ISD 3k Fun Run/Walk this morning. I'm completely out of shape, but if nothing else, I was going to walk the 1.8 miles. It's only 3k! But it looked like today was going to be a perfect day weather wise, so Judy and I decided to get going early and head down to the zoo with Evelyn. We rode the Hermann Park train first thing, and then spent a good 3 hours in the zoo in beautiful weather. Last time out at the zoo was sort of a mess, with Evelyn just throwing fit after fit. So this time we got smart and rented a wagon so she wouldn't have to walk everywhere with us. And she ended up having a great time which made the day wonderful for us. So no regrets at all in skipping the race.

It's been much harder to get myself walking and running to get in shape this year because I'm at school until after 5pm on Tuesday and Thursday, teaching French horn lessons until 5:15 on Friday, and have staff meetings most Mondays. I don't seem to have the motivation to put off dinner until about 7pm on these days and just go work out when I get home.

And I mentioned it everywhere else, but since I haven't updated this journal in months, I'll announce that Judy and I are now engaged! She decided near the beginning of the year that she was ready to get a ring, so we went out and she picked the one she wanted. I got it about a week later and proposed to her so we've made it official. We are currently looking at Saturday, June 18, 2011 as our date, but that's very preliminary. We have a ton of details to figure out first. Plus I've been pre-approved for a mortgage and am actively looking for a house. So a lot of changes are on the way in my life. After nearly four years in this apartment, though, it's time. And I would rather have a house all figured out before the wedding stuff becomes imminent.

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So Close! [13 Dec 2009|06:44pm]
[ mood | calm ]

Done with all of my concerts for the year, and they all went well. Now I just have to get through one more week until Christmas vacation. Cannot wait.

This was the year that Facebook took over for most of my blogging here on Livejournal, and I'm kind of sad about that. But really, before I started this journal, I had never been a regular journal keeper of any kind. I've never been convinced that my life is all that exciting, although occasionally cool things happen to me. Those who have both Conatonc and ReviewingChris friended will notice I've been much more diligent over at the review blog, because I like to stretch those writing muscles. Which doesn't mean I'm shutting this down, just that I don't expect to start updating more often again anytime soon.

Oh well, have a good December, people of Livejournal!

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Relaxing Sunday [01 Nov 2009|03:49pm]
It's 10 to 4 on Sunday, November 1 and I'm sitting quietly at home watching last night's Austin City Limits with M. Ward (he's pleasant but I'm not feeling the need to go out and buy/download any albums). Today's plan involved grocery shopping, pet store shopping, and a stop at the comic book store for the big Halloween sale. I did the latter two, but grocery shopping has yet to happen. Sometime along the way, I was in the process of getting roped in to help Jenn move to her new apartment just off-campus at Rice university.

This ended up not happening because Jenn (as is typical) didn't get up until 11am (even though she got the extra hour of sleep!). Then there was a trip that needed to be made to Target to get more things for the apartment, while her dad was supposed to go out to Best Buy to purchase a printer and camera for her. This was all supposed to happen while Judy, Evelyn, and I were out at the pet store and comic store. But dad didn't leave for Best Buy until after Jenn and her mom got back from Target and it was getting to be after 2:30. The end result of all these delays is that I didn't feel particularly comfortable heading downtown after 3pm on a Sunday to help move, because I needed to be back home by about 7pm to do the work I need to get ready for school for the week. So instead I'm getting a relaxing afternoon to myself, the first in what seems like a very long time.

I really should clean up my apartment and vacuum because there are cardboard fragments all over the place from my cats' scratching posts. But I think this may be a job that is big enough for Judy to bring the Dyson over from her place.

I finally broke down and bought Rock Band 2 about a month ago. It is a great, great practice tool for the drums, let me tell you. I haven't really done anything else with it, but it's nice to have a game (besides Facebook Farmville) that I can sit down and play for 45 minutes or an hour and not get stuck in a huge level or something like that.

Judy and I have been debating for the past two weeks about our Christmas break plans, but it looks like we maybe (finally) have it figured out. Looks like I'll come up a couple of days before Christmas while Judy and Evelyn will follow on the 26th, and we'll all go back on the 30th. It should be a lot of fun and it will make my mom very happy.

Sorry I don't do real life updates much anymore. Things are generally really good for me, which is great. But it doesn't always make for interesting writing.
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This Past Weekend [21 Sep 2009|05:44pm]
[ mood | amused ]

Had a very interesting weekend. Judy and I decided to take Evelyn down to the zoo since it's starting to cool off enough to tolerate being outside for a few hours at a time. Well, things started off well enough with a ride on the Hermann Park train. But once we got into the zoo, Evelyn was more problematic. Basically, she wasn't having a lot of fun. She'd enjoy an animal for 30 seconds and then sit down crying because we wouldn't carry her everywhere. In retrospect, we probably should've rented a wagon or something to let her ride as much as walk. But she's been doing this "I don't wanna walk, carry me!" thing for a few weeks. So it was a bit of a trial, but afterward Evelyn said she had a good time.

After that I got to go home and watch Michigan State lose to Notre Dame. Boo! The Spartans better get their act together this weekend at Wisconsin or they could be looking at a long, terrible season.

Then it was back downtown to pick up Jenn at Rice and go to Discovery Green to watch Buffy the Musical with a couple thousand people. Fox officially shut down the burgeoning Buffy Sing-a-long movement a couple of years ago, but since this was a free event for a non-profit organization, I guess they let it happen. I never made it to one while it was going on, so this was a new, fun experience. It was pretty cool to be with so many people enthusiastically singing along. And Amber Benson was there, too. She took the microphone and sang "Under Your Spell" along with the dvd, which was very, very cool.

After that, Judy was all, "We need to go to The House of Pies!" So we checked it out for the first time. At 10pm it was completely packed in the small, old-school, run-down diner. We got seated relatively quickly, but that was the only quick thing about The House of Pies experience. It took a good 10 minutes to get our order taken. Then another 1/2 hour to actually get the food. Food which the waitress, whose words were pleasant but whose body language said "I don't give a damn about y'all!", nearly tossed onto the table. A little bit later, she actually did a walk-by checkup. "You all okay over here," she said as she walked right past us, never breaking stride. Then she gave us our check, trying to hustle us out before Judy and Jenn had even had a chance to order pie.

The House of Pies was definitely a memorable place to eat, I'll tell you that.

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School and Stuff [08 Sep 2009|05:17pm]
[ mood | disappointed ]

I have decided that Facebook is mostly responsible for my continuing apathy to update this Livejournal account. It's bad, because I definitely still like writing out longer things. But I often feel like my life just isn't that exciting on a regular basis and so this space gets left behind. It's easier, I guess, to make a quick three-sentence update on Facebook than to sit down and write an LJ entry.

School has started now and we are in the third week. No, we didn't watch Obama's speech to students at school today. But we did watch the inauguration back in January. How quickly the attitude goes from "This is an historic moment and all of our kids need to see it" to "It's just not worth the headache of dealing with the complainers." The conservative muckrakers that set up all these protests should be proud, because they got exactly what they wanted on this. Enough publicity to make it too much trouble for school districts, principals, and teachers to bother to stand up to the jerks and say, "This is a valuable thing to do." All the talk of indoctrination and brainwashing was absolutely ridiculous since none of that went on.

The way the right and the left have divided this past decade, seemingly leaving a vast angry chasm in the middle where rational discussion and debate should reside, is quite sad, I think.

Hmm. In retrospect, I think that's all I want to say right now. I'll let that stand on its own for a bit.

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Let's Talk About July [06 Aug 2009|08:53pm]
[ mood | relaxed ]

It's been a really long time since I updated this thing. Okay, so the Orff II class was great. This is the third consecutive summer I've taken a class from these instructors and I've liked each workshop better than the last. I learned a lot and I feel much more comfortable trying out the Orff techniques with my students come the fall.

Judy and Jenn and the rest of their family were gone to Colorado for 10 days, coninciding directly with my class, so I watched a lot of Netflix movies during that time. Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, was a surprisingly well-made thriller. I was not expecting that after the bad bad trailers a few years back. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was an indie drama that was critically loved a couple of years ago, but I didn't like it very much. None of the characters were particularly likable, so I never really got attached to the heist-gone-wrong-but-really-this-is-about-the-family-fallout-that-results-from-the-failed-heist plot. Frozen River was as good as advertised, though. It's a small drama about a poor mom smuggling illegal immigrants across the frozen St. Lawrence River from Canada into the U.S. Mostly I watched it for Melissa Leo, who was so great for so long on Homicide and I've barely seen her since then, and she was understated and great.

After the class was over, I headed out to San Diego for Comic-Con a few days later. Comic-Con was great as usual, but this year I kept the wandering between rooms and waiting in lines to a minimum. I spent most of my time in the massive Hall H and watched almost all the movie previews they had, 31 in all. I had a great time hanging out with my brother and all the Comic-Con buddies I see once a year and then only see on the messsage board for the rest of the year.

Worst of all, though, was the class I had to take after I returned from Comic-Con for my school. We're implementing a new school-wide program this year and we all had to be there for four days of training. Most of it didn't apply to me as a music teacher, and worse, it felt like it was massively stretched to fill four days and could easily have been done in two.

Oh well. Now I'm finishing up week 1 of my final 2 weeks of summer vacation, and it's been nice to actually get a chance to mostly just relax after the busy July. Although I did get my kittens spayed and neutered. Natasha doesn't understand that she's had major surgery and doesn't know why I'm keeping her inside my bedroom most of the time. It's because you want to run all over the place and wrestle with Victor, silly cat! You can't do that much until you're all healed in another week or two.

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I Got in After All [12 Jul 2009|10:27am]
[ mood | geeky ]

So I talked about the Orff Level II music ed. class I was supposed to take this summer, and how I didn't get in for a variety of reasons. But asking to be put on the waiting list paid off, because the Thursday afternoon before the class started, I got a call to see if I was still interested. Of course I was. Although it was a week from payday, so the $350 (200 for registration, 150 for materials- there's a lot of books) took a bit of creative accounting to come up with, but I managed.

I was a little surprised when I got there last Monday. Last year, for Level I, we had about 35 people in the class, so with Level I and II going on this year, I expected about 60-70 people. But each class has about 16 people, so it's a lot smaller. The small size makes it a lot more manageable. The other nice thing is that every person in my class took Level I here last year, so I know everybody and it's pretty cool. After the first week, I'm finding Level II of the program is a lot easier than Level I. I think it's because it's a lot of work figuring out exactly how the Orff program works the first year, and the second year is more of an extension of the method. And I'm actually having quite a bit of fun. This is my third year in the program (2007 was just a 2-day workshop, not a full level), and I've enjoyed each year more.

Plus, you know, Judy and her whole family left for Colorado on Wednesday after she finished up her summer class on Tuesday. And they're not back until Saturday the 18th. So it was gonna be a long 10 days without her around and only a few things to do. I'm glad to have something to occupy my days. Although I have to say that this weekend, having exactly zero commitments, has been really nice. Did I mention that Comic-Con starts in a week and a half? I'm excited, as always. That's probably worth another post all on its own.

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The Difference Between Me and Pitchfork.com [26 Jun 2009|10:27am]
I reviewed this album, The Loud Wars by So Many Dynamos, for the website I write for. And I gave it a 6/10, saying that it was fun but the vocal melodies lacked any sort of hooks and that it made the album as a whole fall a little flat. So indie website Pitchfork.com's review of the same album popped up today, and their reviewer gave it a 5.5/10. His review was more of a dissection of the band as compared to the indie rock scene in Washington DC circa 1999. Whatever, not my scene or one I ever cared about, but apparently this guy did. A whole lot.

Anyway, a comparison he makes near the end of the review brought it all home for me- "Stovall's voice seems to be veering a little farther from Travis Morrison (which is good!) and a little closer to that dude from Cake. That is less good." Off the top of my head, I have no idea who Travis Morrison is (turns out he's the lead singer for indie heroes The Dismemberment Plan, who I never got into) but I'm annoyed that the guy can't be bothered to find out that Cake's lead singer is named John McCrea. Or worse, that it was an intentional snub to make sure we know that Cake is not a cool, Pitchfork-approved band. That snobbish, we-are-the-arbiters-of-cool attitude is what has always turned me off about Pitchfork, even though it's much less prevalent now than it was, say, 3-4 years ago.
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Downloading vs. Buying vs. Receiving Music [18 Jun 2009|09:31am]
This is sort of a rant against record companies, particularly the big labels that are still around. But it's not your typical rant, I hope. I've been reviewing music for (you know what? I've just realized this rant could be construed as a problem for the site I work for, so I'm removing their name) for about a year-and-a-half now, and it's mostly been really cool. I get to hear a lot of new music for free and occasionally I'll come across a new band that I really like. And I like to write, so getting the reviews done isn't a problem most of the time.

When I first started, I would get really dismayed when cd's I asked to review never showed up. It was only after a few months that I realized that I would only get about 75-80% of the albums that were assigned to me. The others just...never came. Whether that was because of record company incompetence or indifference or a combination of both I've never been sure. Last summer, I was particularly disappointed when a pair of albums I really wanted to write about never got to me. Jammy string band Railroad Earth and former Phish bassist Mike Gordon both had new albums out and I got to write about them for the site. But I never got either one. So I never heard either of the albums and I never wrote those reviews.

But things have changed a little bit in 2009. Whether it be through good timing or that I've proven myself to be reliable, I've been able to get a lot more "high priority" reviews. These are the albums from artists you're more likely to have actually heard of. And yet, as the profile of the acts I'm reviewing has risen, the amount of actual albums I'm receiving has taken a nosedive. The first culprit was Nickel Creek violinist Sara Watkins' solo album back in early March. I was really looking forward to hearing the album, but I never got it. But I was determined to hear this album, yet I wasn't going to buy it because, you know, Nonesuch was supposed to send me a copy to review. So I turned to torrenting sites and eventually downloaded a copy. About a week later, Nonesuch got their act together and sent the digital files to my editor who then forwarded them to me. Better late than never, but I was already working on the review by that point.

Next up were a pair of old favorites, Ben Folds and NOFX. Both of which I considered a privilege to review. Ben Folds put out a compilation of a cappella choir groups singing his songs, which sounded like a neat idea. Too bad Sony didn't feel like it was worth their time to send me a copy to review. So once again I hit the torrent sites and found it. NOFX, on the other hand, showed up on the website's "to review" list late, after I had already ordered a copy from Amazon. So that's what I reviewed, because Fat Wreck Chords couldn't be bothered to send a review copy. The Mars Volta has a new album out next week, and that review is going to run on time because Warner Bros. deigned to send my editor the digital files. So I downloaded that one legally.

Hey, I still like having a physical cd, but if companies just want to distribute their review copies digitally, that's fine, as long as I get a copy somehow. But I work for an established site that's been around for a decade. They may not have quite the same presence as, say, Pitchfork, but it's a legit place that encourages in-depth music reviews. So it really bugs me when the record labels or the representation for these major acts (whoever is responsible) can't be bothered to send their material out for review. I don't like pirating music, I've never been a person who jumps on the downloadable files when they leak early. I'd rather wait for release day and get a physical cd. But if I'm going to get my "high priority" reviews in on time, that's the only way to get a copy to listen to. Right now I'm waiting for three more high-profile releases, all of which come out in June. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio's 30-minute orchestral version of "Time Turns Elastic" came out Jun 9, but I haven't gotten it. Björk releases a lavish live package called Voltaic on June 30, but no sign of it here yet. And worst of all, Dream Theater's Black Clouds and Silver Linings hits stores this coming Tuesday, but I don't have a copy. This is the worst because I got to review the band's last DVD at the end of last summer, and Roadrunner Records sent me a review copy of the DVD a month in advance! But now the album is 5 days from being released and I don't have it. It's very frustrating, and maddeningly inconsistent.

Anyway, this is not meant to be me bitching about how I'm not getting free stuff. I will still buy that Dream Theater cd and probably the Trey Anastasio album even if I never get review copies, because I like the artists. What I am bitching about is something I see as unprofessional behavior from a variety of companies who should know better. So, kudos to Warner Bros. for actually doing what they are supposed to do. The Mars Volta review will run next week as the album comes out- the rest of you record companies just don't care, I suppose.
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Most Expensive Week Since...well, 2004 [11 Jun 2009|04:55pm]
'Cause I just remembered that in 2004 I went to the ER with kidney stones and without insurance and that ended up costing thousands of dollars. Thanks again, Grandma and Pa Conaton, for bailing me out on those medical bills.

Yeah. Anyway, I started the week by buying a plane ticket to San Diego for Comic-Con. Last month, that ticket would've cost me $238 and I could've chosen when to leave and when to come back. On Monday, though, that ticket cost $338 and I was forced into buying a ticket that has me arriving almost too late on Wednesday and leaving at 6:45 in the morning on the Monday after Comic-Con.

On Wednesday, I took my car in for 110,000 mile maintenance. I've been in Houston for nearly 3 years, but this is the first time I've actually taken my car in to a Honda dealer for maintenance. But I figured they would probably be a little more thorough and know what to look for over the shop around the corner. Well, they found some stuff, mostly filters and fluids that needed to be replaced over and above the standard maintenance. So that ended up putting me back $507.

Then, this morning (Thursday), I took the kittens to the vet for the first time. $352 there. Yeah, so just about $1200 on my credit card in four days. Not happy about that, really, but it was all stuff that needed to be done.

Oh, and then I just found out this afternoon that the music education class I was planning to take in July is full and that I am not getting in. Even an appeal to the person in charge, whom I know relatively well, didn't work. So, because my school secretary didn't realize that she was supposed to send in the form and pay for this 2-week workshop, I now have a big gap in my July schedule. Judy suggested that I go to Colorado with her family during that time, but that will set me back another $300 if I decide to do that. Yeah, not sure I really want to do that when I still have to pay the not-insubstantial hotel fees at the end of Comic-Con. At least my car is paid off on July 15, so I will have a little extra money to start paying off my suddenly huger-than-usual credit card bill.
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The School Year is Over! [07 Jun 2009|11:54am]
[ mood | chipper ]

Kittens are doing fine, they're 8 weeks old now and getting into everything. I'll be taking them to the vet for the first time this week, now that I'm off of school. Yes! The school year is over. The last couple of weeks after Memorial Day were very, very long, but as of yesterday afternoon, I'm done. Of course, we ended on Friday and were supposed to have an extra staff day on Monday, but I opted to come in yesterday to finish up instead.

I start my summer music class on July 6, though, so there's only about a month before I'm at it again. That's two weeks long, and then, as soon as I get back from the San Diego Comic-Con in late July, I have a 4-day training. Because my school is implementing a new schoolwide educational philosophy for the next school year and we all have to learn it. Ugh. But still, it's summer and I at least have a few weeks to relax and catch up on reading and tv and video games and hang out with Judy. Well, theoretically. She's taking a summer class all through June that has her in class Monday-Thursday from 2-6pm.

The school year was very good, though, and I've been at my school longer now than anywhere else in my teaching career, and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. So things are good all around. :D Oh, and last night we had a Comic Book Meetup and then we went to sing karaoke (I did Barenaked Ladies' "Another Postcard") and went dancing after that. It was a goooood night!

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Kittens! [14 May 2009|08:26pm]
Last week Judy and I went out to the house of the girlfriend of one of my fellow teachers to pick out a couple of kittens. I was planning to go out and get a new cat about a month ago, until Andres told me his girlfriend's cat had just had six kittens and they were looking to get rid of them. So we waited. I wasn't actually planning on going out to get them until this coming weekend, but we were given an ultimatum. The kitties were going to the shelter last Friday if nobody claimed them, so we went. I ended up getting a gray, stripey male and a black female and they are tiny and adorable!

Of course, because they are so small, we had to put them on formula even though we were told they were eating solid food. The kitten food we bought was still too hard for them to actually chew. The gray cat did fine slurping up the formula, but the black one kept getting her nose in the bowl and snorting it up by accident. Eventually she started putting her whole head in the bowl and turning it so that her nose was resting on the rim while her mouth was in the bowl, but this also involved paws in the formula and was very messy. So we tried the oatmeal-like formula stage 2 instead, and now both kitties can eat it and are loving it. Now the fun part is going to be getting them weaned off of the formula in a couple of weeks and teaching them to eat solid food and drink water.

Litter box has been fairly successful so far. Both kitties know how to use it, but if they're outside of my bedroom, where the box is, they tend to look for alternatives. So I spent the last 2-3 days pulling the gray cat out from the corner behind my tv stand, which he had decided was his second potty spot. Now I know when he meows and tries to get back there to redirect him into my room, and he'll use the box. Between the bathroom problems and the messes with food over the first few days, I'm pretty glad I've been in this apartment for three years and I don't have to worry too much about the carpet being ruined. They're gonna have to replace it anyway when I finally move.

Oh, and no, I don't quite have names for them yet. We're working on it, I promise, but nothing has quite stuck so far. They are fun and adorable and it's good to have Judy around and done with school. She's coming over in the middle of the day while I'm teaching and giving them food and attention. She's loving that, because she feels like she didn't really get the chance to bond with Anya and was little bummed at all the love that cat gave me. I think she's doing a good job of ingratiating herself with these kitties. :)
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