Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Relationships: Best Friends

Here is the third installment of Relationships.  This post features some of my closest friends.  I have many good friends but only a few best friends.  Not including family or high school girlfriends the individuals in this post are very special people in my life and here's why....

Gina...Ahhhhh Gina has taught me many things such as the benefits of having many pairs of sunglasses and TJ Maxx, as well as when and where the next sale might be happening.  She has taught me to enjoy a glass of wine and that the Andrea Bocelli Live in Tuscany DVD cannot be watched too many times!!!  Gina taught me the benefits of having an Aerobed handy for impromptu slumber parties and the importance of making and keeping plans.  She introduced Rascal Flatts to me and keeps me current on my country music. 

Cory (on the right)... Though he may not know it, Cory has taught and continues to teach me so much.  He has taught me to live for today and take opportunities when they come.  He has shown me that distance and time do not change the love friends have for each other.  Cory has taught me that you don't need to be a product of your environment and countless one-liners.  Cory taught me about Mac Dre and to watch out for reckless eyeballs.  He taught me that sometimes a King Cobra and a friend can make for a fabulous evening. 

Jessica...One of my oldest friends.  Jessie has taught me to enjoy breakfast - random but we would always have a really great breakfast at her parents house when we were kids...I will never forget those.  She has taught me to never be cheap when it comes to shoes and turned me on to the show Parking Wars.  Jessie has taught me that you can be a fashionista and sweatpants kind of girl all at once.  She has taught me that some relationships can always pick up where they left off months before and all about Janet Jackson and toffee nut lattes.  She has seen me through ups and downs and will always be a best friend of mine.

Shamonica... A newer friend of mine who has taught me a great deal.  Shamonica has taught me to laugh and take a joke.  She has helped me become more assertive and helped keep many a creep away at various bars around Oakland.  Shamonica is a hardworking mother and loyal friend.  Her children are a very special part of my life and so is she...I lover you.

Lance... He has taught me all I ever needed to know about BROADWAY and performance.  He has helped me be a better teacher and given me advice about everything from lesson plans to wine pairings.  Lance has taught me the importance of staying true to yourself and how to do my best Dream Girls moves on the Wii.  Lance is a daily reminder of the importance of being healthy, living life fully, and to seize the day. 

Marissa.... VEGAS!  My best friend what can I say.  Marissa has taught me the benefits of a good bath and to always wash my face before bed.  She told me about the fabulous Bare Minerals foundation that I have been using ever since she made a random trip to the bay 6 years ago.  Marissa taught me that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.  She has taught me to laugh at myself and say what I mean and mean what I say.  Marissa has been a person I can talk to about everything - shampoo, politics, boys, and taxes!  She has taught me that I am not perfect and that's just fine.  Marissa has taught me the importance of keeping in contact with friends in far places.  Marissa is my best friend and I cannot say enough great things about her...I love you M. from Doghouse.

In the spirit of friendships and music
Now playing Friends by Whodini

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Weeks Loves...

I am just wrapping up my week long vacation and will begin summer school on Monday.  This whole week has been filled with doing things I enjoy and spending time with a few of my loves.  All the things that I am loving this week have to do with summer....

 I spent a few suntanned afternoons by the pool with the one and only Mr. Burbank, my co-worker and love.  He went to LA for the summer to help train new teachers.  I will miss our pool time.

Monday night was spent with Julia & Tina watching the very entertaining Ashley Hebert and her shenanigans on The Bachelorette.  I'm tryin' to get all my Julia time in before she moves to Portland. 

I love this big floppy hat that I have!  It's made by San Diego Hat Company.  It can be folded up and it keeps its shape.  It is a wonderful hat for vacations because it travels well!

I am also loving BEACH HAIR.  I am thinking I need to re-perm my hair for the summer so that I can just let it dry and be wavy.  Right now my curls have fallen out a bit and I have been wearing it straight instead of curly.

Ahhhh the MAXI DRESS.  I simply cannot get enough of these dresses.  They are comfortable and appropriate for so many occasions.  They can be dressed up with heals or worn to run errands with some flip flops.  LOVE

Havaiana flip flops are next on the list.  BY FAR the most comfortable and durable flip flops I have ever owned.  I bought one black pair and one brown pair two years ago and haven't had to replace them yet.  They are soft and comfortable.  LOVE

I don't like feet but I think that cute designs on toe nails are fun for the summer.  Last year I had a cute little flower on my big toe...nothing special just adds a little extra something.

I have made the transition into summer mode!  I am loving that summer is here and look forward to many afternoons spent relaxing by the pool.

Now playing... Summertime by Kenny Chesney

"Perfect song on the radio
Sing along 'cause it's one we know
It's a smile, it's a kiss
It's a sip of wine, it's summertime
Sweet summertime"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Relationships: Family

This installment of Relationships will focus on my family, as they have played a major role in making me the person I am today.

My mom... From my mom I have learned to love unconditionally, enjoy life, speak proper English, cook, be creative, patience, trust, forgiveness and to lend a hand to those less fortunate than I.  My mom has taught me that the best things in life are free and to save more and spend less <--- something I am still workin' on!  My  mom taught me to enjoy reading and to ALWAYS proofread my work before I press submit.  She taught me to say I love you to loved ones often.  Mom taught me that you're never too old for a snuggle session and a warm blanket.  My mom taught me how to throw a fabulous party and how to be a friend.

My dad... From my dad I have learned to work hard, play hard, cry when things are sad, cry when things are happy, be firm when necessary, think before I react, brush my teeth twice daily, give to those in need and love my work.  He has taught me the importance of having one of those nifty screwdrivers with all the different shaped thingys on them and how to throw a baseball.  Dad taught me to do things carefully and correctly the first time, measure twice and cut once.  He taught me how to check my oil and tire pressure, make sugar cookies, and wear my retainers every night.  My dad taught me to take care of others and give second chances.

My sister... KC has taught me to take a joke and laugh often.  She taught me to be assertive and give my honest opinion.  My sister has shown me how to be tough and girly at the same time.  KC taught me that home perms can turn out fabulous and the importance of a good hairdryer.  She has given me tips of keeping myself safe and how to maintain a good tan.  Everything I know about make-up and cosmetics I have learned from her and she has also helped me laugh at myself.  She taught me to go all out for theme parties.  She has become a wonderful and loving mother and by doing that shown me the unconditional love and support that only a parent can give to their child.  KC has taught me to look out for those important to me and how to throw a good party.

My grandparents... Pops, Grammy, Mimi, & Popi taught me many things.  From them I learned tolerance, acceptance, and creativity.  I learned how to garden and make lasagna, play cards and dominoes.  They taught me the importance of a good handshake and a proper introduction.  From my grandparents I learned the importance of past experiences and the impact that they have on our lives.  I also learned to keep things neat and tidy and how to make a homemade pumpkin pie.  From my grandparents I learned how to put my face on and say please and thank you. 

My aunts and uncles... Baba, Layla, Greg and Tally have also taught me a lot.  They taught me to have strength and courage.  Tally helped me learn to read and is such an inspiration to me.  Layla is always teaching me about the latest gadgets and anything having to do with health and fitness.  Baba taught me to do magic tricks and be generous.  Greg taught me the value of hard work.

My nephew... Though only four, Marco has taught me so much.  I could list all the things that I have learned from him but it would go on forever.  A few things he has shown me are the importance of a nap and a good hug.  He has also a constant reminder to live life to the fullest and play often.  From him I have also learned a different kind of compassion and love than anyone else has taught me.

Now playing... Moondance by Van Morrison
As song that will forever remind me of my parents.  I love you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MOSAIC Camp - Last Day

Our last full day at camp was Thursday.  The day brought all of the week's learning together.  The kids started off by attending "Conflict Resolution College" and learning the steps to solving problems.  Mosaic has a creative way of looking at conflicts: It's not me against you, it's you and me, together, against the problem.  The kids practiced the steps to conflict resolution:
1. Stop and take a breath
2. Talk using I statements
3. Listen
4. Empathize
5. Plan a solution
 Once they completed all the courses in Conflict Resolution College the received their diplomas!  The afternoon brought on the ultimate challenge.  During "Peanut Butter Booger Fire Snot River" students were forced to use all the tools they had learned this week to problem solve.  Our night was wrapped up with yummy burritos, a final campfire, and a candle lit solo walk.  During the final campfire, students who began the week shy and timid were singing camp songs at the top of their lungs and dancing alongside their new found friends.  While my students will leave camp as individuals, their path is now lighted by what they've learned in this place, beneath these trees, and amongst these friends.  All the kids returned home happy, TIRED, and maybe a little bit dirty!  They have learned so much and grown up a lot as well. 

The highlight of my week was having one of the cabin leaders tell me what one of my students said about me.  The high school cabin leader came up to me and said,
"Your student speaks so highly of you.  Her face lights up whenever she sees you and she says
'Ms. Graham is like an angel and she is so pretty when she wears her hair down.  I  love her so much.'
Then the high school student said, "I wish that when I was in school I had a teacher like you."

And that is why I am a teacher.

Oh the places you'll go... Enchanted Hills Forest

As you know, I was in Napa the past few days at camp with my students.  This camp is located in the Enchanted Hills Forest.  As the students explored new parts of the camp and did their daytime activities, I did some exploring myself...and here is what I found.

Trees as far as  the eye can see
A sweet little tree house protected from the sun
Creative carvings....
Quiet pathways...
 The Enchanted Hills Forest is a magical place.  It is peaceful and calm, a wonderful few days away from the  hustle of city life.  Until next year Enchanted Hills Forest.

Now playing... Dance and be Free by Brett Dennen