To Ugly Sweater....Or Not?

Thursday 13 December 2012

Next Friday is Ugly Sweater Contest Day at my school/work. I actually want to partcipate in this event but sadly, I do not own a Hanukkah sweater. I have been eyeing this one over at but I am not keen on that price.

I also found these. My fav being the spin off of Kanye West's Golddigger- The Geltdigger. Classic.

Check out these Rabbi snowmen. Adorbs.

This is just more classy.

Again, all of these are in the ups of sixty plus dollars. I can't bring myself to spend sixty dollars on anything I will be wearing once a year.

Also, not sure if I could get this in time. It's sort of last minute at this point.  The idea of making your own has been thrown around a lot today. I like this idea but I am clueless on what to actually do. I don't really live in a jew friendly area so it's not like I can go to my local store and pick up some cute jewish decor to hot glue to a sweater. I have to go Macguyver on this and make everythign on my own.

I did this crudely drawn menorah in MS Paint. I was thinking, iron on transfer...but then I wouldn't really have a sweater I would have a SWEAT SHIRT.

I don't know. Stuck with what to do at this point.

Public Displays of a Message...

Friday 30 November 2012

I shoot a lot of black and white photos. Usually I plan these outings and travel to somewhere that I have scouted or passed in a previous travel and I take pictures. Sometimes I see something that is too good to pass up. I have a thing for handwritten signs left for the public. Especially if it is meant for someone in particular but it is left for anyone and everyone to see. There is something about the mystery behind the message and the willingness to have it be out in the open. It could mean so many things to passerby’s, yet mean something totally different for the actual person it was left. It just always intrigues me. Here are few I have shot recently. These were seen as I was driving and I pulled over to take the opportunity to document.

This sign was posted in a tree in a wooded area located right across from a stop sign in my neighborhood. One leaving my neighborhood would have to (or I would hope) stop at the stop sign. While waiting to proceed it would be impossible to miss this sign. It plainly stated. In all caps:

I want you
I need you
I love you

I pulled over after noticing this sign and went to photograph it with my mobile. It remained on that tree for about a week and then disappeared. I still wonder if the person saw it and knew immediately it was aimed for them. Were they happy to see this? Did this make them smile? Was it the perfect day for them? Are they happy now?

A few months ago I went to DC to visit some museums. I parked on the street and I had to stand around and wait while my travel mates found change for our parking meter. While standing around I noticed on the building I was leaning on had these signs in the window. We Can Hear You.

I suppose people are generally loud in that area. It was a nice part of town and kind of out of the way, as much as one could be in DC. Made me think and I loved the sign so here it is!

This lovely sign was left taped to the side of the counter in the entrance to the guidance department during the third week of my employment. Friendly faces left this for all to see hoping to encourage others.

This is a really nice sign made for Suicide Prevention week. Although it wasn’t random it is still noteworthy.

This is not a sign but it is hilarious. Quality answer on a worksheet given out by my husband the math teacher. 

This amazing sign was left on the door to the Guidance office at the school. I arrived early for work one day at 6:55 am. It was already taped there. Someone had to leave it after I left the day before because no students are allowed inside the building until after 7 am. Strange little card. The back of this card was equally amusing. It said something along the lines of "Give this card to someone to show you care". I suppose someone cares here. There was a website url as well but I was afraid it would be a virus so I never visited.

Yesterday while driving to pick up my husband from work. (We car pool). I was sitting waiting for a light and I notice a sign attached to a “No U-Turn” road sign that stated: Somebody fix me please 

Interesting…. I wondered if this was a plea for to fix the road sign itself? It appeared to be in working order. Or was this a different kind of plea. Either way, it had to be photographed so I sat through the light in order to get this done.

Part Three of Three in a Row! I Am The Messenger

Thursday 29 November 2012
Part three: I Am The Messenger

I really enjoyed The Book Thief and after reading the jacket about the author that he had penned a few other books. I looked up the most recent, titled: I Am The Messenger. It was, again, very vague in its description. I decided to just try it out. I really enjoyed this book as well. Lovely transition from The Book Thief. It is about Ed. Ed is an ordinary guy with an ordinary job and an ordinary dog. He likes to hang out with his friends and play cards on the weekends. One day he receives an envelope in his mail box that contains one playing card. On this card there are three addresses with a time written after.

Ed goes to these addresses and at the given times and he learns about the people involved. He knows that he must do something for each of them to help them in some way. He has to discover who they are and what they really need and how an ordinary guy like himself, can even help? Through the course of the book you see Ed struggle with himself and this burden and you see him struggle to help people, even in the smallest way. You see how sometimes even a random act of kindness can really help someone and strengthen their soul and go a long way. As the story unfolds, Ed receives more cards and more challenges to help people. It was a beautiful novel, beautifully written. If you are looking for a nice light hearted read this may be the novel for you.

Book Two..Part Two of Three in a Row! The Book Thief

Wednesday 28 November 2012
Part Two: The Book Thief

I was very excited to make my first visit to my school library. As an employee of a high school I get to utilize the library anytime and check out whatever I fancy! It’s super convenient because it’s just right down the hallway! While I was reading Life of Pi I participated in a fun event called a Spooky Scavenger Hunt. It was a way to encourage teachers and staff to utilize our library. Two QR codes (see pictured) ---->  were posted each day that were linked to a book related trivia question.
You had to answer the questions to the best of your ability and if you were unsure of the answer you were to use the LIBRARY to find the answer. A winner was drawn every day from participants that answered both questions correctly.
 By Wednesday I was feeling pretty good. So far I had answered each question correctly and I knew the answers straight away. Thursday, question two was: Who wrote The Graveyard Book? Well, I had no idea! I was intrigued by the title so I stopped by the library and they had a copy. While checking out this book the librarian told me The Graveyard Book was a bit “different” because of its narrator. She then suggested a title that also had a strange narrator. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is narrated by Death.

 It sounded like an odd concept and upon reading the flap I was confused as to what the book was really about. Stealing books?? I talked to the librarian more and I found out that the book is about a young German girl during World War II who struggles with survival during such a hate filled time period. The young girl is an orphan who is placed with foster parents during this time and she struggles to understand how the Nazi’s could have such hatred. She struggles with trying to remain silent in a world where the violence is very loud. It’s a book about empathy, guilt, hatred, and love. I was very touched by this book and I have also thought of the characters and people I read about weeks ago. It was a lovely transition from Life of Pi and I recommend this if you are looking for a great read!

*illustration in the book thief

Three in a Row..Part One

 Tuesday 27 November 2012
Have you ever read a really intense book that makes engulfs your mind and soul? When you are finished you keep thinking about what you read and the characters and events? Then you pick up your next read and it’s a dull mystery and the entire time you are reading it you keep wishing you could go back and visit your old friends from your previous book?

Welcome to my world folks. I love a good book. I am also very aware that good books are few and far between. Sometimes when coming off of an intense, life changing read I will follow it up with something equal (or try to anyway..). Or if I read a horror novel I may read a few consecutively. Sometimes the transitioning is hard for me when reading, if I am affected by the book.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I am able to read two or even three amazing books in row. It is a very rare occasion but I am pleased to say that this has happened in the past month. It all started when I was sitting in the cinema with a friend. We decided to go see a matinee showing of Pitch Perfect. I love movie trailers so we arrived early and I saw the Life of Pi trailer, which announced at its ending, 'that this film was based on the best selling novel'. I was blown away by the trailer alone! After the movie ended (loved it, by the way) I went straight to my local store and purchased Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

At the time, I was just about finished with J.K. Rowlings lame attempt at adult fiction called The Casual Vacancy. I couldn’t wait to finish and start Pi. I just knew this book would be life changing. Guess what? It was. I was enveloped by this book. Everything was a surprise because going into this I knew nothing, other than they decided to make a film of this novel. I read. I laughed. I cried. I loved. I cried some more. I learned. I pondered.

Four weeks later, I am still thinking of Life of Pi. It really touched my soul.

I want to recommend this book to you but I can not give you a summary. My advice to you, if interested, is to just give it a go. Don’t read any reviews. Don’t watch the film. Don’t research this book. Just read. It is an experience and the less you know the more it impacts you.

The final and only thing I will say to you is: I love Richard Parker. Read the book and you will know what I am talking about <3>

Freaks and Geeks

Monday 26 November 2012

Hello again. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I was back and then I was MIA for again. It’s been hectic. I had a major life change recently. I got a new job! I had been very unhappy for quite some time at my old job doing accounts for the medical office. I was interviewing on the sly for about two years. I had a very narrow pool to interview in, the Board of Education for my county. After countless interviews and lost hope I was given a position at a high school. My first day was October 1, 2012. It has been a huge change for me.

Instead of waking at 7 am and arriving at work at 9 I now have to rise at 5 am!!!! I struggled with this the first week but now I have adjusted and I quite like it. I am off and out the door at 2: 40 every day and get home by 3:30. I have so much time now. To relax, work on things and just hang out. It’s very nice.

Before a bunch of you start spouting off about how I get summers off and all of those days and breaks that teachers get I say to you: Whatevs!

I am considered a 12 month employee in Guidance. I do NOT get summers off. I don’t even get Spring break off. Most of the days teachers and staff have off I have to report just like Administrative/Principal positions. I do get Winter break off and this past week for TGiving I got Black Friday off so it still has more perks than my previous employer. I will say, this whole “working” thing. It’s for the birds. If I have an opportunity to move into an 11 month position and have a month off in the summer, believe me, I am taking it.

Another big change with the new job is working with students. I did a lot of tutoring while working at the medical office but it was all college level tutoring. High School students are very different. Even though they may look older and mature they are, in fact, CHILDREN. I learned this quickly and am adjusting to this whole being in charge thing.

*drawn by a student
A big shocker that I found upon arriving at High School is the little groups people bunch into. I am an adult working in a high school. I DO NOT attend high school. It’s so funny to see how every has a clique. Even as adults. I am the odd man out right now. Even as November is ending. I have been trying. At my old job I was the head of a Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K) club. I have done several RAKs here and attempted to make friends. I greet everyone I see, every time. I have never been ignored so much in my life! I find it comical and sad. I talked this over with one friendly co-worker and was told that this is a “huge family who has been together for some time and everyone just needs to get adjusted to me coming in, especially mid-year,” Strange. I guess I really am, back in high school.

I have tried to get in with the music and theater nerds but they are tight knit. So far I am waiting to hear if I can help on the Spring production. Someone has to let me in somewhere right?? Eventually.

Lastly, the biggest change with my job is the decrease in stress levels. My former employer was very hectic. It was very difficult to take a vacation or any time off. I have not had an actual vacation in the past 9 years. The most days consecutively that I have had off have been 3. Tops. I had awful benefits. The management and communication was lacking, the company going downhill, I was frustrated every, single day. I was constantly worried about the future of the company. I felt like I was going mad. I would actually cry sometimes on Sundays because I knew I had to go back to that place on Monday and start the week all over. I couldn’t sleep and felt tense all the time. This new job, it’s more relaxed. I don’t feel so stressed any more. I can actually sleep. It’s a whole new level of living.

So that’s my big excuse… what’s new with you??

"There's No Place Like Home"

7 May 2012
So what have I been up to the past year?? Well, I have been baking a lot of cakes, singing a lot of songs, playing a lot of guitar and reading a lot of books. If you are interested in ALL of the cakes of the past year check out my cake blog located on the right side of this blog, click on the link and off you go!

The only new, new thing that is going on is Community Theatre.  I have been into theatre since childhood. I took a lot of theatre in high school and did a few show cases as Anne Frank and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
There's a local theatre in the town of my high school. I have always gone to the shows and wanted to join up and be apart of things there. I never had time. Then I moved two county's and about an hour and ten minutes away so I really had no time. Recently I made time. It took a lot of emails and getting to know people who knew people but I finally was granted an interview to get in on a show for back stage work. I was incredibly nervous because I really wanted this to happen. I had a lot of pre-meet emails with a gentleman called Austin. I was to bring a portfolio of my work. I was terrified. I do a lot of art but my idea of a portfolio is to upload a picture taken from my smart phone that was sent to the Facebo_k.

I found myself scrambling to get pictures from social networks, I called my Ma and my Ma-in law and asked them to photograph everything I ever painted or created for them. I printed them at a local photo shop and stuck them in a really nice picture album I purchased, last minute and showed up to my meeting. I was expecting an older guy, Austin, but I walked in to meet a 17 year old boy, completely adorable and incredibly nice. We became fast friends and he along with a stage director were less into a hard core portfolio and laughed when I told them of my scrambling a photo album together. They were impressed with my work and offered me a job as head painter on an upcoming show. I was ecstatic to say the least.

After this meeting I had an audition for Wizard of Oz. It was on a Monday night and I had prepared for this audition for two whole months. Prepared monologue and a song. I practiced almost every day, in the car, with the original vocals song, with instrumentals, mic'ed and not mic'ed, anywhere, everywhere. I was incredibly nervous because I am not very competitive. I don't like that during an audition you are performing in front of a bunch of people who ultimately want you to fail so they can have the part you want. I wrote to Jim. My favorite musician of all time and a person I look up to. He gave me some amazing advice. "Practice until you know you can nail the beginning because once you get that it's smooth sailing after, nerves are good-use them, have fun, because if you aren't then what's the point?...etc"

I felt better and I did. I nailed the audition. Unfortunately, I didn't get a part (I only asked for background anyway). I am very familiar with this theater and I had just gone to see a musical there and every one cast in Wizard was recycled from this musical that I had just seen. Funny huh? I asked a friend that I know is in this community and he explained it's pretty tight knit. You need to infiltrate to get a part. You need to make friends, become familiar with people and just keep trying. Which is what I plan on doing. I am head painter for Into the Woods and I was recently offered to do sound design and run sound board for Wizard of Oz since I became fast friends with the Department Head of Sound at the theatre.

Right now it's a lot of work, all volunteer and a lot of travel but I enjoy being a part of something in the arts and creating with other talented people.

Also,  I am planning to try out again for To Kill A Mockingbird in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!
Either behind or on stage I am happy to be involved and my goal is to work up to a medium part on at least one show. I love it so much it would be a joy.

*quote from Wizard of Oz

Guess Who's Back...Back Again..?

6 May 2012
Hello! Have you all gone?? I feel like I am hearing myself echo in here. In the past two weeks I have been reflecting on Blogger. This started because I had three Blogger friends ask me about this blog. Why did you leave? Are you ever coming back?
Upon reflection, the answer is, I am really not sure why I left. I guess got busy and/or the lump of time I carved out to blog had to be rescheduled and probably a little bit of laziness. As time went on I checked back in and wanted to say something but I felt like I didn't know what to say. What would people want to read? Would they even care?

This brought me to reflect upon why I originally started a blog. I was having horrible insomnia. After trying OTC meds and then a prescribed sleep med, which I hated, I decided to try therapy. In therapy I learned that apparently, I cared way too much about what people wanted to hear and tried to alter everything for each person, so much so that I was losing myself. This blogger was an idea from my therapist. Write for myself. Be myself.

It started out as a very negative place, full of only things and people that annoyed me and was titled "The Winter of Our Discontent". It was completely anonymous and dark. It turned into "Penny Lane" turned into a place of laughter and love and music and fun and ME. I ended up making some really amazing friends along the way.

I decided to come back and write again for myself. Just write what I feel. Just be me. If you read it you read it. *If you don't, don't (*I am so incredibly excited that I just used the phrase "If You Don't Don't in a sentence because it happens to be the title of my favorite song of all time."

I never had a huge amount of followers and I didn't really ever have a rhyme or a reason for blogger other than to entertain myself, I suppose and if I ended up entertaining someone else along the way it was an added bonus.

I looked over my last few posts. The last dated 8 March 2011, over a year ago. I can honestly say, not much has changed in life. I am still hanging out with the Hubs, I still love music and it is still a centerpiece of my life, I still love Jim Adkins,I still play guitar, I still love art and expression, I still work in accounting, I still watch a ton of movies, especially documentaries and indies, and I am still trying to out read myself on my "Number of Books Read" every year. Sadly, my numbers are declining, although my page numbers are increasing (larger books).

So with this said I'm back. No rhyme, no reason, just me. Hanging out. I hope you stop by and say hello!

*blog title: Eminem-Without Me

Blog Content © 2009-2010 by Penny Martin. All rights reserved. | Design © 2010 by M.C. "Rabbit" Chadwick and RabbityThings.Com™