Monday, September 26, 2011

Week Sixteen

Weight Loss Challenge 

Where has the summer gone?  I miss having time to exercise, drink tons of water, cook healthier meals!  Week sixteen found me not loosing any weight, but not gaining any either.

Saturday I decided it was time to get back on the bandwagon.  I finished all the Dove I'd bought (yes, I fell!!), and had my last "fast food" meal for the next few weeks.  I may not be able to exercise right now because, let's face it.....THERE IS NO TIME LEFT IN MY DAY......but that doesn't mean I can't eat correctly.  That's the one thing I can do in my attempt to continue loosing weight.

So, we'll see what happens.  Hopefully my body will continue to loose weight, even if it's slowly.  I'll take any weight loss.  But hey, at least I'm not gaining!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week Fifteen

Weight Loss Challenge

Not much to report this week.  At one point I'd gained almost three pounds, but when I stepped on the scale today, I had lost it all, plus about 0.2lbs.  So my current loss is 30.4lbs, down 0.2 from last week.

With school finally getting into the swing of things, I'm hoping that I can get back to work on this challenge.  Exercise will simply have to come naturally through the week, with an actual exercise "session" on Saturdays.  Continuing to eat properly is what I'm hoping to get back to.  I've been eating like a pig!  Luckily I haven't been paying for it too much.

A Night With Rascal Flatts

Back in June, I bought tickets for me and my sis to see Rascal Flatts at the USANA Amphitheatre, last Friday, the 9th, in West Valley City, Utah.  I was beyond excited since I love this group, and I hadn't been to a concert (besides Ernie Haase and Signature Sound) since I saw Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson six or seven year ago...and I also attended that with my sister!

Neither of us had been to USANA before, so we relied on Google Maps for directions.  There's a standing joke in our family that MapQuest often takes you the wrong direction and Google Maps are more accurate.....that will be important in a minute.

The concert was an outdoor event, rain or shine.  Unfortunately, it began to rain before we left.  I didn't think about it, but my sis brought an umbrella.  The entire time we drove there, we were listening to the radio to hear the weather report and praying that the storm would swing another direction.  We were lucky....the storm hit and was gone by the time we arrived.

The concert was to begin at 7pm, so we left at 6pm, giving us plenty of time to get we thought.  The directions from Google Maps took us to a residential area, and if it wasn't for my sister's great sense of direction (and eventually the line of cars we saw), we would've been lost.  So much for the accuracy of Google Maps!

Entering USANA, people naturally had umbrellas in their hands.  At the gate we were told that no umbrellas were allowed inside.  We were to simply drop them in the growing pile of umbrellas and hope that it was still there when the concert was over.  With reluctance, my sis dropped her umbrella, never expecting to see it again.

The opening act began around 7pm.  His name was Justin Moore and let me just say this:  Rascal Flatts need to screen their acts better.  The job of the opening act is to get the crowd excited; this guy believed we were all there to see him.....whatever!  He would try to get us screaming and when we wouldn't, he resorted to basically yelling and cursing at us because we wouldn't get off our butts.  And if that wasn't enough, he was on stage for almost an hour!  My sis and I were beyond ready for him to be gone....he was terrrible! 

Once he finally left, the crew began setting up for Sarah Evans, the second opening act.  This was different.  I was always under the impression there was one opening act; guess times have changed.

It took 30 minutes of waiting, then Sarah Evans came on.  The time was now 8:30pm.  She came onstage and was much more enjoyable to listen to.  However, she also outstayed her welcome as it was almost 9:15pm before she was finished.  By this point, I was getting beyond anxious, and a little tired of waiting to see the group I'd paid so much money to see!

While the crew came back out to prepare for Rascal Flatts, my sis and I became familiar with the four people sitting in front of us.  Two couples, one younger than the other, with one man who was very obnoxious, and intoxicated before he got to USANA and began drinking!  (and he drank A LOT while he was there!)  We couldn't figure out why he went to the concert; all he did while both Justin and Sarah performed was scream at them that he wanted them gone.  We shared the sentiment, but he was very loud.  We discovered while the crew was getting Sarah off stage that he was quite funny, and if he hadn't been so loveable, my sis and I would've died!  A few people sitting in front of them actually got up and changed seats.....yep, he was that loud!

So now it's 9:30pm.  We'd been there since 7pm and endured rain, one wretched opening act that went forever, and another decent act that also went too long.  Just when we began to wonder if Rascal Flatts would ever come onstage, the lights went down and the fun began!

USANA Amphitheatre

We were in section 304, row L, seats 13 and 14; we were right in the center of the action!

This guys head just wouldn't get out of the way of my pictures!

My sis and I had decided that when we knew the concert was near its end, we would head out early and try to avoid the massive crowd of people.  Around 10:30pm, Rascal Flatts began talking like the concert was over.  We were very confused.  They'd only been onstage for barely an hour....weren't they just going to intermission and coming back?

They left the stage and we were still confused.  The crowd continued to scream, and suddenly they came back.  However, it quickly became clear that this was their encore......seriously?  My sis and I left once we were certain that this was in fact the end of the concert, but half the amphitheatre had the same idea.

Power walking as fast as we possibly could, my sis was able to find her umbrella and we headed to the poorly marked parking lot.  This was one time I wished my car had an automatic lock....I could've pushed it so the horn would go off to help us find my car!  Surprisingly, I found it quickly, but it was too late:  we were blocked in because the people to the left, right, and front of us had decided to stick around and wait for the crowd to leave; and we couldn't back up at all....we were completely stuck.

It was now 11:00pm.  Since we weren't going anywhere anytime soon, my sis and I started reflecting on the concert....and I was not happy at all.  We waited over two hours to see Rascal Flatts, and they were only onstage for about an hour.  During that time they probably talked to the crowd for 20 minutes total, sang four or five songs that weren't theirs, and only sang two songs off their latest album.  I paid a pretty penny for those tickets, and that was all we were going to get?  SERIOUSLY?!?  When I go to a concert, especially one from a group of this caliber, I expect to get what I paid for...and be entertained by THEM, singing THEIR songs!  I guess I paid to also be entertained by the boring opening acts too.

When my family goes to an Ernie Haase concert, it's almost three hours long, and with tickets only costing $25, we get WAY more than what we paid for.  I suppose this is another way times have changed.

Back in the parking lot from hell, the clock continued to tick away.  An hour, then 90 minutes pass, and before we knew it, the time was midnight and we had barely moved an inch!  By this time my sis and I had been sitting in my car longer than Rascal Flatts were onstage!!  Thanks to the cars blocking us in, we were one of the last cars out.  We finally started moving a little after midnight and made our way home.  I walked through the door of my house at 1am!  

Now, the concert wasn't all bad.  Yes, I was BEYOND disappointed, and no, I will NEVER pay that much for tickets to their concert again.  However, the time they were onstage was great.  The crowd screamed, I screamed (I wanted to loose my voice, but they weren't there long enough!!), everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.  Unfortuntately, there were just too many cons to this experience.

Live and learn. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week Fourteen

Weight Loss Challenge

Week Fourteen has started out fantastically!  It's only Monday, but because of my weight loss on Saturday and Sunday I am ready to get back on this train.

Stepped on the scale Saturday:  1.2lbs down!  Sunday:  1.8lbs down!  3 POUNDS IN TWO DAYS!  That's more like what I'm used to!  I am now at a total loss of 29lbs; the most I've lost yet!

Today my sister and I are going clothes shopping.  I can't even remember when the last time was that I was excited to do that.  Maybe because this time I'll actually be able to fit into the clothes!

It's now Saturday, so here's a recap of the rest of the week:

Clothes shopping was SO MUCH FUN!  I found a few outfits that simply look wonderful, and I'm very happy to finally really see my hard work paying off.

I ended week fourteen at 30lbs lost.  20lbs to go.  I'm in no is WAY too busy right now!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beautiful Blouse and The Terrible Temporary Fence

So, yesterday my sister and I went shopping for new clothes for me.  Loosing weight has brought one fun issue:  EVERYTHING IN MY CLOSET IS TOO BIG!

Away we went, her as my fashion consultant, and I the humble client, to find me clothes.  She found this really cute blouse at Kohls, and I bought it.

I decided to wear the blouse to work today.  Since the school is still under construction, there is a temporary fence installed around the playground so the students can go outside for recess.  As I was leaving work today, I was certain that I had cleared the fence, and was far enough away to take the step around.  And then I heard an awful sound.....RRRRIIIIPPPP!  I looked down and my BRAND NEW BLOUSE had a HUGE, gaping hole in it!  I simply couldn't believe my eyes.  I haven't been shopping for clothes in over a year, and the first time I wear the blouse it ends up destroyed?  Not fair.

There was no way I would be able to attempt to take this back to Kohls, so I instead went there searching for this shirt again.  It wasn't in my size at the store I bought it at yesterday, but luckily it's on hold for me at a Kohls in Salt Lake City.

See the pretty blouse....with the hole on the left side?

Yep, there is no way this baby can be sewed back together!

Again, such a beautiful blouse!

And such a terrible hole!

The lesson for today:  stay away from temporary fences!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The First Week of School

I am a third grade teacher for the American Preparatory Academy charter school.  They have one campus in Draper, Utah, another in West Valley City, Utah, and they've built another campus in West Valley.

I work at the brand new campus, which is still under construction.  So much so, that teachers weren't able to even get into the building to prepare their classrooms until last Friday, August 26th....with school starting Monday, August 29th!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  Luckily many parent volunteers came to help the teachers make their rooms look as "put together" as they possibly could in such a short amount of time.

This has been the LONGEST, and most TIRING week of my life! 

Since I live in Sandy, I'm about 30 minutes away from work.  I also now have to deal with traffic, which I've been blessed to never have to worry about before.  I have to be at school at 7:45am.  So Brandon and I are out the door by 6:45am each day so that I can avoid the morning traffic.  I don't get to leave work until 4:15pm, and by then the afternoon traffic has begun.  And don't even get me started on Utah Drivers....and I thought California Drivers were bad; they are NOTHING compared to Utahans!  I get Brandon from school, come home and make dinner, sit for a few minutes, get Brandon ready for bed, and I'm back to bed by 9:30pm to start the next day.  It's been a crazy schedule.  I've had caffeine pumping through my veins this week, not blood!!

Being at a brand new school definitely has it's advantages though.  The biggest is that everything is brand new (duh!).  But there is a lot of enthusiasm with the staff and the students who are at this school for the first time.

This week has been all about teaching the students procedures.  American Preparatory Academy (APA) is all about Direct Instruction.  Aren't sure what Direct Instruction teaching is?  Read here to find out all about it.

By Tuesday the marjority of our curriculum should have arrived, and we'll be starting with reading and math groups.  Yep, I went an entire week without the majority of my curriculum, and since there wasn't a fence around the playground yet, the students (and teachers) were forced to stay inside for recess!  Did I mention it was a long week?!?

I have a great class.  They are catching on quickly to the direct instruction techniques we use to get the attention of everyone.  I'm naturally a loud person so  I've almost lost my voice because of all the cheering and teaching of class rules.  It's been great.  I can't wait to see how they progress, and how I can become a better teacher.

Here are some pictures from my classroom.  Please remember, I only had about 2 1/2 days to be inside it, with construction workers constantly coming in, making it more difficult to put my room in the order I'd like it in!

My bulletin boards aren't finished yet 

Front of the classroom 

Back of the classroom 


Week Thirteen

Weight Loss Challenge

I decided after spending last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at my new school getting my room ready that week thirteen was probably going to be a bust.  I was right.

This last week has been the most stressful, long, tiring week I've had in years!  Needless to say, I gained weight instead of one point I skyrocketed up almost 3.5lbs!  I kept a good attitude though.

Exercise?  Are you serious?  I've been up at 5am, on my feet for 11 hours, jumping up and down attempting to keep third graders happy and awake, and then straight to bed by 9:30pm.  There has been NO "official" exercise, and I worry when that day will come again.  Hopefully once the stress and anxiety of the first few weeks of school level off, I'll find that I'm not so exhausted and will be able to exercise after running from school, driving 25 minutes in EXCITING rush hour traffic to pick up Brandon, go home, make dinner, bathe Brandon, and take care of other house duties.

Wow, life got busy VERY quickly!

The one thing I CAN and WILL start doing again this week is eating healthier.  I have complete control over that, and I'm hoping that since natural exercise will come from walking around all day at work, my weight will be able to continue to fall off.  I've already lost 1lb from the 3.5lb I gained, so that's helping my spirits.

No worries, we'll just move on to week fourteen and pretend like this week didn't even happen!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Star Wars Saturday


Get ready friends, this is a long and emotion filled entry!!!!!

The Star Wars Trilogy comes out on Blu-Ray September 16th.  I've been back and forth about whether or not I was going to purchase this nine disc set that will contain three discs of bonus footage.  A few years ago when episodes 4-6 were released on DVD there was a lot of bonus footage and through my research I've discovered that the 3 extra discs won't be worth it.  (Click here to see the details for the blu-ray package.)  If there was commentary by more of the principal actors, maybe I'd go for it.

Another reason I've been on the fence is because I've heard that George Lucas once again couldn't help himself and made more changes to what were once the greatest movies ever made....prequels not counting.  I read that the changes would be SUBTLE changes; mainly that in The Phantom Menace Yoda would now be completely CGI instead of a puppet.  That doesn't bother me at all.

However, today I've made my decision....there is NO WAY I will be purchasing the blu-ray version.  And I'm seriously considering finding the websites that have been created for the sole purpose of promoting the boycott of the blu-ray version and signing my name to them.

The internet is on FIRE with the news that George Lucas has gone and done it again.   And this is no subtle change, especially if you are a die hard fan like myself.  No, this change comes to one of, if not THE MOST POWERFUL scenes in all 6 movies; the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader's sacrifice to save his son, Luke.

This ending sequence is my FAVORITE part of the entire saga.  Here is the scene the way it has played out since the movie was released in 1983:

Let me ask you this:  is there anything wrong with this scene?  NO!  But, remember, we're dealing with George Lucas, the man who continues to think that he needs to screw around with the movies that are beloved, and obsessed about by so many people.  In George Lucas's twisted mind, since the release of Revenge of the Sith, something is now missing.

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, when the Emperor tells Darth Vader, (who has just been put into the black suit,) that his wife is dead, he yells out, "NOOOOOOO!".  It was a stupid line.

Well, ladies and gentleman:  Georgie Boy has now inserted that STUPID LINE into the end of the scene when the Emperor is killed.  Why?  Who knows.  Here is how the climactic scene will now play out:

Are you absolutely kidding me?!?

The reason this scene is so powerful is because there is no dialogue.  The incredible music by John Williams puts all the emotion there for you.  Watching Darth Vader looking back and forth from Luke to the Emperor, you can almost see the expression on his face......even though he's wearing a mask.  And when he finally turns, with conviction, towards the Emperor, picks him up and throws him down the shaft of the Death Star.....I get goosebumps; even though I know it's coming!  When I saw this scene in the theatre, we all screamed and applauded!  Brandon jumps for joy each time he sees it too!!

In 1997 when the "Special Editions" came out, there was so much excitement because many of us, myself included, had never witnessed Star Wars in a theatre.  And then we saw them...and were furious about many things that were changed.

I've made a few blog posts about the changes that I thought were ridiculous.  Greedo Shooting First was one of them.  When The Empire Strikes Back came out, another change was made.  A conversation between The Emperor and Darth Vader was now different.

We were mad, but we still purchased the DVDs when they came out because we love these movies.  But now I've had it!  George Lucas has every right to destroy his own movies, but if he's going to release them on blu-ray, why not put the ABSOLUTE, before-he-messed-with-them originals in the package for the millions of fans who are FURIOUS about the continual changes?  We too would love to enjoy Star Wars.

I would've spent the money on the blu-ray package just to get my hands on the original versions in a better format.  Now, the only copy I have of them is on VHS....and they aren't even my copies....they originally belonged to my husband!!!!

So here's to you George Lucas.  Thanks for once again letting your millions of fans down.  Maybe next time you release these movies you will fix those that really need to be messed with....THE PREQUELS!

Click here to read many of the articles that sent the internet into a flurry.

Finally, I will now quote from Darth Vader, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"