Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet Lojack.

There's a new resident at our apartment . . . and he has four legs.  My roommate Jen has been scoping out a weenie dog, and last week, she found the one.  Meet Lojack:

So far he's pretty skittish, kind of a wuss (Matt: "he's made up of bones, cowardice, and brown fur"), and he's peed on the floor a couple times . . . but we love him.

Meanwhile, the hunt continues for a beagle sister for Lojack!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I ♥ The Hunger Games

Matt and I went to see The Hunger Games on Sunday.  We thought that giving it a couple days to let the hype die down would be advantageous, but it was almost as insane inside that theater as I imagine it was on opening night.  We had to sit in the second row, which was a bummer, but the movie was so good that I almost forgot about my eyeball headache!

I loved the book for a lot of the reasons everyone loved the book: fascinating story, compelling characters, good writing.  But most of all, I appreciated its deeply political nature and the allegory that will seep into the minds of all the tweens sporting TEAM PEETA shirts.  I also loved the casting.  Man, is Jennifer Lawrence beautiful:

Rue was heartbreakingly cute, and OMG Woody Harrelson!  Perfect!  And OMG Lenny Kravitz!  HOT!  And absolutely amazing as Cinna.

But back to the social commentary.  The people of Panem live in abject poverty without enough food to eat, all the while supervised by a luxurious Capitol of corrupt government officials.  This government forces children into a battle-to-the-death each year, in competition for a lifetime supply of food.  The poorest people are forced to enter the Hunger Games multiple times, as an extra entry into the death battle earns you a year's supply of grain/oil.  Pretty straight-forward, huh?

Makes me think about how our country's poorest people have lower life expectancies thanks to inadequate medical care, violent neighborhoods, environmental hazards (the poorest residential neighborhood in San Francisco is located amidst factories and old, toxic power plants, leaving its residents with the highest cancer rates in the city), poor nutrition, and, say, the disproportionate risk of getting shot by the police.  

But also, I just loved the movie for its entertainment and spectacle:

So: what did you think??

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break Plans

It's a happy Friday . . . cause next week is Spring Break! Admittedly, I have a good bit of work to do, but I am so looking forward to having some extra time to just rest and catch up on life.  Here are some of my plans and goals:

1. Run, run, run
. . . cause bathing suit season is fast approaching.  Any favorite running blogs, tips, or ideas for mind control so that I don't spend my entire run obsessed with when the run will be over?  Ha.

After deciding that I definitely couldn't afford lululemon's $90 running tights, I bought these cropped compression pants from Old Navy and I really like them!

2. Read, read, read
My goodness, it's nice to have time to just sit down and read.  I have shelves full of unread books and some poetry projects that need tackling.  

3. Organize my home!
It really does get the absolute worst at this time of year.  I'm so overwhelmed with work, school, and various changes in the works (TBA) that my house gets neglected.  I'm really looking forward to taking some time to get rid of old stuff that I don't use or need anymore, creating space for stuff that's crammed in boxes, etc.  If you have any ideas or websites that have helped you with projects like these, send them my way!

4. Plan a Camping Trip 
Matt and I got a great Groupon for 2 nights camping in Half Moon Bay.  I can't wait to use it!  Granted, I haven't really been camping since I was 16, so I don't really know how it works. Yikes.  At least Matt has a tent--ha!  I'm already scouring Pinterest for vegetarian camping meals, ideas re: what to bring, etc.

5. Drink Beers on Patios
(enough said).

What would you do with a week off?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Catching Up

I always have all these grand plans of blogging timely weekend reviews and pictures and news stories, but lately, it rarely happens.  I'm blaming it on the time of year; it seems every year around this time--as we approach the end of the school year (only one grading period left!), I fall woefully behind . . . on everything.  Anyone else ever feel that way? Luckily next week is Spring Break, which will hopefully give me a chance to catch up.

And speaking of catching up, here are some pictures from the past week!

Sheba came to town and we took one picture the whole entire time.  But it was only because we couldn't stop talking:

Now I love her even more!

Jen and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a neighborhood restaurant called Townhouse.  We sat at the bar and ordered appetizers and Irish drinks.  It was the perfect marriage of low-key and festive:

I ordered avocado bruschetta and it was amazing

I am seeking a benefactor to buy me this shirt from Anthropologie:

makes my heart swell

I'm looking to things like beautiful shirts from Anthropologie and the addiction Matt and I have developed to Prison Break to distract me from the horrible, punch-in-the-gut news that Sean Payton, beloved Saints coach, has been suspended for one year thanks to Roger Goodell's "tough on crime" stand against "Bountygate." I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of the NFL, but my goodness, everyone seems to think this punishment is alarmingly heavy-handed.  Yesterday, the tweets from Drew Brees, Thomas Morstead, Lance Moore, et al almost had me in tears.  What's in store for the Saints this coming season??

Thanks for meandering through this ridiculously all-over-the-place blog post.  Eventually, I'm going to try to write about what's been on my mind through all of this: the Trayvon Martin case.  I just haven't found the words yet.

p.s. Y'all had a lot to say about fads yesterday--I love hearing everyone's thoughts!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On Fads

Lately I've been thinking about fads, and it's probably because of one with which I am particularly disgruntled:

CROP TOPS.  Don't get me wrong: I think they look cute on some people (like for instance 6' tall models).  But definitely not on me.  So when I tried to go shopping with my roommate the other day and all I could find were crop tops from Anthropologie to Forever 21, I was frustrated.  What did designers and stores do with their regular length shirts?  (Oh how I miss the tunic).

Which got me thinking about other fads.  Isn't it mysterious how trends suddenly surface and then spread like wildfire? And then our fickle consumer culture drops 'em like hot cakes and moves on to the next one.  More fads that seem to be omnipresent these days:

What do you think about these trends?  Are there any you particularly love or hate?  It seems like chevron is the new bunting; macaroons are the new cupcakes.  What's next?  You can always get a good idea of what the latest hype is all about by walking into a store like Forever 21, H&M, or Urban Outfitters: they're suckers for the fad du jour.  I'm okay with some of these . . . but crop tops need to BEAT IT.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Things to End the Week With ♥

Today is a furlough day for San Francisco Unified School District . . . which politically, is horrible, but personally, I'm really grateful since I have approximately 8 zillion pages of my students' personal narratives to edit and type up.  Despite the relentless rain, it's been a really good week, thanks to the following things and more:

1. Impromptu Date Night
When I got home from my Wednesday evening poetry workshop with Diana, Matt suggested a last-minute date at our local punky dive bar.  We had so much fun!  Not only did I indulge in some good ol' southern rock on the jukebox, but I got to play several rounds of Erotic Photo Hunt at the bar . . . which made me seriously miss my bestie and our college days (er, nights) in New Orleans.

can you spot five differences?  GO!

2. Sheba is in town!!!
I've been counting down the days till this girl arrived in San Francisco, and she's finally here!  We're meeting for happy hour at Farmer Brown's this evening at 5, and suffice to say I cannot wait.  Pics to follow!

3. Draw Something
If you have an iPhone and you are not playing Draw Something with me, then you should change that immediately.  Here are some of my drawings to convince you:
clockwise from top left: Tupac, divorce, Angelina, yoga 
(. . . as if you needed me to tell you)

It's keeping me up at night, but it's totally worth it.  Play with me!  You can search by my email:  

I'm also looking forward to Tuesday, when the rain is supposed to subside.  I'm getting antsy all cooped up inside and unable to go for runs!  In the meantime, Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Green beers for everyone!

(link up with Micaela)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rainy Days and a Lingering Cough

The rain has fallen on San Francisco.  And it's allegedly here to stay--at least for the next six days.  As you can imagine, I have pretty much no desire to pull on my rain boots and trek out into the rain . . . instead, I am fantasizing about staying in for the next week catching up on books and cleaning and news.  I'm currently re-reading Hunger Games, which makes it hard to do anything else but read, really.

I did take a break last night, though, to watch the train wreck that ended in this:

We already knew this was coming (those of us who read the spoilers, anyway).  And I'm not going to ask, "WHAT WAS HE THINKING???" because I know what he was thinking.  He was flooded with that obsessive infatuation that happens at the beginning of some relationships . . . and those feelings prevented him from thinking clearly.  Plus, this whole charade lasts what, like 6 weeks?  And you know what's funniest to me?  That like TWO DAYS before the proposal, Ben's all "I'm in love with both women! I don't know what to do!" Um, HEY BEN FLAJNIK.  And while I'm at it, EVERY BACHELOR/ETTE EVER.  If you're conflicted about who you want to be with, then YOU AREN'T READY TO PROPOSE.  Ughhhhh.

I can't believe I ever had a crush on this clown.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Weekend is Within my Grasp

. . . but I'm not sure it's gonna be any more relaxing than this past week.  We've got a lot on tap for the weekend, and I'm still not healed from my vicious flu/virus/whatever-it-was of March 2012.  The fever's gone, but my cough is epic and it's incited a mighty sore throat.  Wouldn't it be nice if the world just kinda stopped when we were sick, so that we could get better on our own time?  Yeah . . .

I did take two days this week off (Monday and Wednesday).  After being out on Monday miserable with fever, I decided to take some medicine and rally on Tuesday . . . which was a terrible idea.  I got to school to find this note from my substitute:

which made me frustrated and sad, and frankly, I was in no shape to be at work anyway (my fever was 100.6 at the time).  So despite my students' lack of success with substitutes, I called in sick again on Wednesday, which was a really good thing since my temperature was back up to 101 by Tuesday night. Ugh.  Here's a funny conversation that happened while I was attempting to teach class on Tuesday:

student: Ms. Kiefer, why aren't you wearing any makeup?
me: I feel terrible and I have a fever; makeup is the least of my concerns.
student: Put on some makeup.


I had time to do two noteworthy things while I was home sick: 1. Watch the movie version of The Help and 2. Read all about the controversy that is KONY 2012.  I'm sure most of you know all about it by now, but just in case you don't, here's the run down:

Invisible Children released this video in the hopes of raising awareness about African war criminal Joseph Kony, who has abducted tens of thousands of children and turns them into sex slaves and child soldiers:


When I first saw the video, I thought: "what an incredibly powerful film, and what an inspiring use of social media to get people riled up about an unthinkable injustice."  The film really is well-done.  It's convincing, engaging, and a good mix of the personal and the political.

But immediately after, I started to see all the backlash: the articles accusing Invisible Children of misrepresenting the situation, the groups pointing out that Invisible Children is partnering with the terribly corrupt Ugandan Army, the financial accusations that Invisible Children, a nonprofit, has spent millions on travel and film-making as opposed to direct relief.

1. Here's a critique of the KONY 2012 movement by Michael Deibert.
2. Here's a response from a Ugandan man that I found to be particularly good.
3. Here's the tumblr site dedicated to providing alternatives.
4. An article from The Atlantic.
5. And Invisible Children's response.

So what do you think about all this?  I'm still soaking it all in and considering the different perspectives.  Ultimately, I think the awareness resulting from IC's KONY 2012 video campaign is pretty tremendous, but a lot of the criticism resounds with me.  Social/political action is a seriously complicated issue, huh?

Happy Friday.  And let me know your thoughts on KONY 2012--I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fever Haze

Yesterday I called in sick at Balboa, but I felt too guilty skipping my evening poetry workshop at San Quentin (it only meets once a week), so I rallied.  Turns out it wasn't my best decision, because I burst into tears when I got home & walked in the front door of our apartment, causing Matt to think something terrible had happened.  Between my 101 fever and girlcramps and the morning earthquake that scared us all, I pretty much gave up on Monday.

Unfortunately my thermometer broke last night, so I don't know about my current temperature, but I'm achey and cold (a bizarre sensation for this polar bear) and all I want to do is curl up in bed and watch the Super Tuesday results roll in.  I go back & forth between wanting to have meaningful discussions with folks who vote for people like Santorum, who insists that all forms of birth control are unethical and that a woman impregnated by rape should consider it a "gift," and wanting to never discuss politics with people on the opposite end of the spectrum.  The older I get, the more capable I am of the former (in college, I would pretty much shriek and burst into tears whenever someone said they supported the death penalty).  Ultimately, I do support everyone's right to vote and make his/her own decision.  I just hope the majority of people do so while keeping the greater good in mind.

Speaking of Republicans, have you seen this picture of Callista Gingrich?  OMG.

picture + funny caption found here

Wish me luck healing from this mean, mean virus/flu/whatever it is, and may the Super Tuesday voters make conscious choices. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Very Special Weekend

I'm trying not to let the fact that I was so rudely awakened by a scary earthquake at 5:30 am detract from the incredible weekend I just had.  Normally I'm not that sensitive to earthquakes, but this one was a bit ferocious.  And let's be honest: it didn't actually wake me up, cause I had been up for hours with the beginnings of a gnarly virus.  But it sure scared the bejeesus out of me.  Oh Monday, why are you so cruel?

My weekend was full of things like sunshine, wine, exercise, friends, delicious meals, beer, and cute kids, but the most important event (by far) was the 2nd birthday of my favorite little guy, Jude Freitag:

Cari and JJ had a few of us over for grilled tacos, wine, and birthday boy kisses.  Jude was mostly just concerned with his brand new wagon, but I did get to sneak in a few snuggles.

"try," he commands, as he attempts to feed me his ice cream

On Sunday, Matt and I had his son Jasper, and we met up with the Freitags once again at one of my favorite breweries, Pyramid, for lunch.  I balanced my salad out with some cheesy pizza twists, you know, just to keep things even.  After lunch, we headed to a neighborhood park so Jasper could play while we took in some sunshine.  Here's my handsome man atop the monkey bars:

I took advantage of the weather and went for a run before we returned Jasper, and then rewarded myself with a delicious (Pinterest-inspired) meal: garlic & basil linguine with corn and arugula in a creamy sauce.  I improvised the whole way through it and it turned out great!  For my mouth, although maybe not so much for my hips . . .

And now I'm off to spend the day sick in bed with aches and chills and prayers that this does not evolve into a stomach virus.  

I love you, Jude!  Happiest birthday :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Goals

This whole monthly goal thing has been so much more approachable (and successful!) for me than New Years' resolutions or anything else long term like that.

30 (ish) days is such a reasonable amount of time to stick to something and/or accomplish something worthwhile.  In February, I had three goals:

                     1. Stick to running plan
                     2. Submit poems or manuscript to at least 6 magazines/presses
                     3. Read two books

I did beautifully with goals #1 and #2--I've been running every other day (increasing distance) and I sent poems off to four magazines and two presses.  As for goal #3, I read The Help and am in the middle of The Hunger Games.  I've read Hunger Games before, but I wanted to refresh my memory before starting the second book in the series.  The Help was tremendous--I didn't want to put it down.  Plus, it was inspired by someone I worked with at Tulane!

If only my reading wasn't being derailed by the New Super Mario Bros for Wii addiction we have going on in this household . . . .

The tricky part about monthly goals is that they kind of keep building on themselves; it's not like I don't want to keep up with running, reading, and submitting poems in March.  And yet, I need a few more goals!  So the months become a bit more difficult.  But in the best possible way, I think.  Here are my (new) March goals:

                    1. Read 10 short stories
                    2. Write a short story
                    3. Save $400 
                    4. Try 3 new recipes

We'll see if goal #3 is feasible, but I sure would like to try.  I think it will involve close contact with and lots of budgeting (an area in which I know I need improvement).  As far as writing a short story goes, it's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it's so intimidating to me; writing fiction is an entirely different game than writing poetry.

Here are some free printables from Pinterest that I think will help in goal-setting for any of us trying to be more organized in our approaches:

If you're setting monthly goals, tell me about them and/or leave me your blog link!