Saturday, June 11, 2011

Breaking the monotony


The more time I spend living in hotels, the more I realize how much money I spend on little things. Thankfully, my company does pay me a per-diem allowance to live on, but I'd much rather save that money up and spend it on something fun when I leave Oklahoma! So lately, I've been trying to minimize the expenses that tend to add up, starting with my daily Starbucks habit.

My favorite part of the morning... but there had to be a better way!
When I'm teaching, I like to take some time for myself in the morning to chill out before I have to be in front of people all day. I've taken on a new class this cycle, which has made me rely on this morning ritual even more. I would leave my hotel room for SBUX by 6 AM, and spend almost $6 on my oatmeal and giant iced green tea. A relatively small price to pay for sanity, but then I got to thinking... I do this about 20 of 30 days a month, and that's $120 I'm paying for oatmeal. So I bought Irish oatmeal, dried cherries, brown sugar, and a box of green tea (under $15) and decided to try making my own. And honestly? It's better than Starbucks! I mean it tastes the same, but now I can get a little extra sleep, multi-task as I get ready, and watch MSNBC and Skype with Jeremy until I leave at 6:40. Saving $100 extra a month isn't bad either.


I am lucky enough to work with one of my best friends, Amber, while I'm in Huntsville, but when I'm at a training event, it's just me and my fellow instructors. Don't get me wrong, they're awesome and we have a great time together, but the testosterone levels can get to me sometimes. That's why I was so excited to hear that our company was flying her and others from our Alabama office to do some work at our training event! I am so used to just collapsing in my room after training and doing my nightly reports, but this week we broke up the day-to-day by doing the girliest things imaginable- watching chick flicks, painting our nails, and screaming 'NSYNC lyrics obnoxiously in the car.

Friday was her last night in Oklahoma, and even though it sucks that she had to leave, the timing of her trip was perfect. Some of the students I am teaching right now are all in a band together- called Battlesight Zero- and they happened to be playing a show the night before Amber had to go home. I have a bad habit of singing Justin Bieber during class (mostly just the "Baby, baby, baby OHHHHH" part) and begged them to sing it at their concert. Although they refused during the week, they surprised me at the show with a great rendition of it... and unfortunately, my singing drowned them out on the video I shot. Here's the band singing a quick version of Amber's favorite song, Bed Intruder!

Not only did we get to have fun watching these guys play, but we got to see a lot of my other students who came to support the band, and I got to introduce Amber to so many of my friends. When we were about to leave, Amber said (and I quote), "I can see why you love your job so much." I can't think of a truer statement. Getting to interact with my kids, to have little jokes with them, have them come visit my classroom long after they've taken the course, and especially seeing them as individuals with so much talent, it's the most rewarding thing I could imagine.


Since the rest of the blog is so long, we'll keep this section short today. Amber and I took a road trip to Oklahoma City for dinner- BJ's Brewhouse has her favorite pizza ever. Pizza sounded good to me, so I ordered it as well- just in vegan form. Deep dish, no cheese, no butter crust, with extra tomatoes and basil. It looks like it could be boring (like tomatoes on bread...) but I swear it was phenomenal. The crust had a ton of flavor, and the tomatoes and basil were super fresh. And without all that cheese, I still had room for Jamba Juice on the way home!

So hungry, I started eating before I remembered to take a pic!

Friday, June 3, 2011

After Arizona

So I've been on hiatus for the past 2 weeks without meaning to... "busy" doesn't begin to describe the workload here on this training event! Since my last post, I was able to take a few days to visit family in Phoenix- a fantastic and much-needed vacation- but in the process, had to check in and out of my hotel home. Here's how it's going:


After the mess I created in my last room, I decided to try and turn over a new leaf when I checked back in to the hotel a few days ago. The front desk threw me a curveball, however, and since there was a conference going on the day I got back, all the rooms were full... except one. A handicap-friendly room. Now to don't get me wrong, the extra space has been great for the most part- but I should note that the room is not only wheelchair accessible, but "little-person" accessible. The counters are dropped, there are two peepholes (one at a normal height and one below the doorknob), and there are stools under every sink. Since the bathroom is enormous (partly because of the bench...) the kitchen is a bit smaller, and includes the tiniest dishwasher I've ever seen. Overall, the room is a plus... and I'm finally on the first floor (and not the 4th!)

Note that the microwave is wider than the dishwasher...

There hasn't been much time for play in Oklahoma... hence the lack of blogging these past few weeks! Thankfully, my trip to Arizona came at the perfect time. I stayed with my aunt, uncle and 4-year-old cousin Sofi in Scottsdale for a few days, and it was just amazing. We walked every morning, shopped as much as possible, visited family friends I hadn't seen in ages and met extended family I didn't know existed. Some of the best times I had were with Sofi, who I hadn't seen in over a year. She is currently experiencing an affliction commonly known as the Bieber Fever. We watched his movie, listened to the CD constantly, and forced his likeness to interact with the Barbie cheerleaders.

Me, Sofi and Biebs


I kind of left the food section of my last blog on a bad note- as I recall, my tempeh-and-quinoa dish was plain inedible. I had another unfortunate tempeh incident after that; soy sauce + Bragg's liquid aminos + sesame dressing = way too much salt, and I had to toss it in the garbage after two bites. Confidence shaken, but needing a good tempeh fix, I busted out my pre-marinated coconut curry variety, and put it on an english muffin and paired it with raw spinach. It was, in a word, perfection. Cheating? Perhaps... but until I learn to replicate 1892 East's recipe, I'll stick to what I know.