Saturday, May 28, 2011

Challenges...Part Two

Nearly two weeks ago I wrote about needing to challenge myself. And I’ve written almost nothing since, because apparently all I had to do was ask. Wednesday was “Spring Fling” at my work- it’s kind of like a fun fair, but before all the fun we have kindergarten graduation and a spring sing. We’ve spent the last two months teaching all the children four songs to sing for their parents, and all the hard work (mine and theirs) showed- it was awesome. But it was the kind of awesome that exhausts people. My boss asked me to make a slide show of our kindergarteners over the years they’ve been at our school so that was hours worth of assembling pictures and organizing them so they’d appear random but weren’t clumped and had good shots of every kindergartener. Also I had to help my kids find ways around the inevitable stage fright (yeah, six hours practicing in our sanctuary with anyone and everyone I could find to come “watch” us helped). Then for some reason I decided to teach my kids some basic yoga poses, and that has been a challenge to them and now I’m working out four times a day more than I usually do, so I’m sore just about everywhere. Plus almost every weekend has been something (mostly getting ready for Jamie’s wedding) and there was family drama I can’t talk about. Thank goodness for the long weekend- and for my travel plans. A few friends and I are going up to the house we rented for vacation last year for a long weekend of wine tasting, (hopefully) swimming, boutique shopping, and relaxing.
Apparently it was a matter of “ask and you shall receive”. Dare I ask for a new challenge now that spring fling is over?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Challenge!! Hooray for pictures, I have tons of them I think you’ll love, so I’m doing this challenge. But I’m not calling it “30 Days of Photos” because I want to be able to take breaks and blog other things without feeling like I failed.
Day 1: A picture of yourself with 10 facts:

1. I have almost no photos of myself because I’m generally the one taking the pictures.
2. I have dyed my hair a variety of colors since I was about thirteen- my current favorite is black, but for most of that time I’ve picked various shades of red (from strawberry-blonde to dark auburn and everything in between).
3. I’m trying to quit biting my nails, and I haven’t taken a nibble in two weeks.
4. I have always wanted to earn my Ph.D (in history).
5. My favorite holiday is Independence Day- this is because it’s my favorite holiday food, I love spending a holiday with my friends guilt free, fireworks are AWESOME, and my birthday is the next day so I get presents anyway.
6. I prefer wearing contacts but had them taken away by my doctor because I wore them way to much.
7. I love all animals, but for my own pets I prefer cats to dogs because cats are lower maintenance.
8. My hair only dries cute if I put it in a pony tail until it’s dry- this takes approximately five hours, which means I generally have to take my shower at like 6 pm since there’s no way I’ll get up twenty minutes earlier in the morning to do it then.
9. I currently have three loads of laundry waiting to wash, and I never get around to them because my SIL generally has something in the washer.
10. I love the Taste of Chicago (that’s where this picture was taken) in part because my family doesn’t really have any traditions and I like to feel like I’m doing something so many people have done before me.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Earlier this week I wrote a post that was a bit dark and depressing. I didn’t post it, because whenever I write those posts I like to sit on them for a few days before sharing with the internet. The gist of the post was that I was feeling like a failure as an adult. Once again I had been subjected to the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand my job. The idea that because I teach preschool, I don’t really teach, makes me crazy. Part of what I originally wrote was…
“In college, I was idealistic. I was convinced that I was going to become this fantastic teacher and I was going to inspire the next generations to pinnacles of success. I would arouse the interest of future history makers with my stories of the history makers of the past. I would never doubt the mark I was leaving on the future, because I would be able to see it in the eyes of my students.
Instead, I teach skills so basic most people don’t even realize they’re learned behaviors. I teach children to use the toilet. I teach them to wash their hands, a skill most of them won’t even hold onto anyway, if restaurant behavior means anything. I teach them not to pick their noses, to use silverware instead of their hands at the table, when to yell and when to speak gently.”
Then I rambled morosely for several paragraphs before ending with a challenge to myself. “I just wrote an assessment of a three year-old I could have written about myself, ‘She knows her strengths, but avoids activities that challenge or will allow for growth’. I need to find a way to challenge myself.” All I really needed out of that post was the final line. I need to find a way to challenge myself.

Finally- Days 27-30

Well, thirty days of song certainly became more than 30 days! Anyway...
Day 28. A song that makes me feel guilty- Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll. It's my job to protect little children and it's one aspect of my job that I take extremely seriously. I don't ever want to find out that any child ever under my care, my protection, has been hurt by those who are supposed to love them. I don't know that "guilty" is the exact right word for how this song makes me feel, but it reaffirms my conviction to care for the children in my life.

Day 29. A song from my childhood- "Step By Step" by New Kids on the Block. Seriously, I loved these guys when I was a kid. I had the "action figures" (yeah, they were dolls), they used to date my barbies. My room was decorated in NKotB posters. I loved them. This was my favorite of their top singles. (I should mention that this was 1990, I was eight.)

Day 30. Favorite song at this time last year- You know what's funny? It's actually a song I used above that I used to love but now hate. "15 Minutes of Shame" which I now hate because I listened to it way to much when I loved it. I'm not posting the video again though.
Bet you can't wait to see what's up next!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Um No!

I planned on finishing my 30 Days of Song challenge today. Instead I'm sharing excerpts from a news article I read...

"Kerry, who asked that her family's last name not be used, told "Good Morning America's" Lara Spencer that it was actually her daughter, Britney, who wanted to try Botox, a beauty treatment more normally requested by aging women than growing girls.
"We were getting into the pageants," Kerry recalled. "I knew she was complaining about her face, having wrinkles, and things like that. When I brought it up to Britney she was all for it."
So Kerry, a San Francisco, Calif.-based, part-time aesthetician and no stranger to Botox herself, having done the treatment on her own face, began injecting her daughter with the anti-wrinkle solution.
Kerry typically administers the Botox to Britney through a total of five shots, in three different locations on her face.
But can Botox really make a difference on a young girl who has not even had time in her life to develop the "worry" lines or age creases Botox is typically sought out to erase?
"The few times that we did it, it would lessen the lines," said Kerry. "They wouldn't completely disappear, she's a kid. And we don't do so much to where it's going to make a big difference."
But it's enough of a difference for Kerry and Britney to continue on with the treatments, despite the pain.
"It hurts sometimes," said Britney. "It makes me nervous. But I get used to it."
Kerry also takes point with critics in that same medical community who say the Botox could cause adverse reactions in her young daughter.
"I don't do enough on her to make a big difference," she said. "Just on the lines."
The potential for both emotional and physical damage makes critics like Dr. Sophy hesitant to prescribe or administer Botox to children, so Kerry must rely on her own methods to gain access to Botox for Britney.
"I do have a trusted source where I get it. He is a behind-the-scene doctor," she said.
The tough competition of the pageant world also prompted Kerry to try another type of cosmetic treatment on Britney, one that even middle-aged women find painful: waxing.
"I just don't think it's ladylike to have hair on your legs," explained Britney. "I did that one time. It was super, super hard. It hurts.""

Okay- first of all- No. Just no.
Second of all- mom don't try to pawn this off as the daughter wanted to try it. She flat out admits to suggesting it. Also- lady, you're the mother. If your kid wants to do something crazy/dangerous/stupid, you get to say no. That's why kids are raised by adults, not by other kids.
Third- seriously lady? The effects aren't that noticable because your eight year old daughter doesn't have wrinkles yet. You are poisoning her for nothing!!
Fourth- please note that REAL doctors won't even give her the botox. She's using a "behind the scenes" doctor. To me, that sounds like some guy who lost his license years ago for doing something incredibly dangerous/illegal, who continues to do dangerous medical stuff. If doctors generally won't do something- it's probably not a good idea!!
Fifth- does this eight year old kid even have hair to wax off? I'm betting not. Also- it hurt so bad the kid refuses to do it again. But she'll get botox. Stop. Just stop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30 Days of Song- Playing Catch-Up

Oh my word, I missed a lot of days lately!!
Day 25. A song that makes me laugh- I wish that there was a youtube video of this song, or that playlist had a version of this song. It’s called “Use Your Words” by Stuart Stotts. Sadly, I can’t find it. Instead, here are the lyrics.
Johnny knocked down Haylee’s blocks
Pachia bit Renee
Carlos took off both his socks
Vang won’t let Sam play
Holly ripped the dress up clothes
That Kayla tried to wear
And Nick scratched Emma on the nose
I think there’s no blood there
I roll up my sleeves and wade back in
Time to say my favorite phrase again.

Use your words I say it every day
Use your words in a thousand different ways
Use your words that’s my constant theme
If I have to say it one more time I’ll scream

Ryan’s lying on the floor Jose starts to spit
Galen’s kicking at the door Tasha tries to hit
Most days it’s not like this but sometimes it’s quite bad
I’d be so happy if they could just say to me “I’m mad.”
I’ll keep trying until it all comes real
And they can say exactly how they feel.

Don’t hit
Be gentle
Stop That
I’m done

I come home from work at night and I read the daily news
Stories of international fights just give me the blues.
If only we teachers were the ones who ran the earth.
We’d all know exactly what world peace is worth.
I’d tell the world leaders one and all
What they should have learned when they were small

Day 26. A song I can play on an instrument- sadly none. I used to play the clarinet in elementary/middle school, but I stopped at the end of seventh grade and haven’t played more than a few notes ever since. Unless you count singing as playing an instrument, then I can sing almost anything I can hear once or twice as long as it’s somewhere between second soprano and second tenor range.

Day 27. A song I wish I could play on an instrument- many things, as I often wish I could play an instrument properly. Forced to pick, I would say…either “The Imperial March” or “The Star Wars Theme”.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day...Whatever I'm on now

Cause I'm not going to bother looking it up since I know the question.
Song I want played at my funeral- Kellie Pickler's "Going Out In Style"

So today I went to Jamie's wedding dress fitting. It was super fun, but the plan was to go to the fitting, then do some mother's day shopping (not me, I'm done, but Kristin wasn't), then lunch. After that I suggested going to see Jamie's new house (she's moving as part of getting married, they're renting in Winebago). The next thing any of us new, we were at her old apartment (in which much fun has been had) packing things up because she's moving in a week. After that Kristin and I plopped on her bed and made Jamie try on all her clothes so that we could make her get rid of stuff that didn't look good on her. Which was great because we made score cards (like in ice skating) and rated her clothes' performance!

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day 23

A song I want played at my wedding- I am a giant dork. My processional music would clearly not be "The Wedding March" (since I don't like it), instead I would probably pick "Theme from The Inner Light". Just after 4 minute mark the music changes, that's when I (the bride) enter).

Also, my first dance would be to the Theme from Enterprise.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

30 Days of Song Day 22

A song I listen to when I'm feeling sad. Here's the thing, I don't really know what this means. Because does it mean a song I listen to when I'm feeling sad and I want to wallow in that? Or a song I listen to when I'm feeling sad and I want to lift my spirits? Just in case, I'll share both...
If I want to really wallow in "sad" I like "Tonight I Want to Cry" but I LOVE "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I know that's a weird choice, but it's a song that reminds me of my dad, because he really liked both the group and the song. In fact, a few months after my dad died I was in the baby room, just me and like three babies (all over a year, I think) and this came on the radio and I sat down and cried (right there at work, even Kristin's only seen my cry like twice!) and the babies crawled in my lap and gave me baby hugs. One even patted my back!

(Also, this is the song of my childhood. If you spout nonsense about it being about drugs in my comments, I will stab you with a spork.)
If I want to lift my spirits I listen to Queen. Science proves that you can't listen to Queen and be sad. I like both of their most popular songs- "
We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You"

Also- "Eye of the Tiger"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun Times & Day 21

I got off work early today and went to pick up the menus for Jamie's shower. I had been told they would be ready tonight, so I drove 25 minutes to pick them up. Only to be told they weren't ready and I can go get them TOMORROW night. Uh...gas costs $4.39 (at best) in my town, I don't really want to be in my car for almost an extra hour. When I go back tomorrow, I'm going to try to convince the nice manager that he wants to comp me some corn chowder for the hassle.
After that, I met Sarah for supper at Panera and then a shopping trip to Michael's. Dinner was great, they have this new chicken chowder I really liked. I had fun shopping with Sarah too. I'm a terrible shopper, I like it so much that sometimes I forget that others might want to wrap it up, so I wondererd through the whole store at a snail's pace (we were in there an hour and a half!) picking out wedding stamps (to make cards for my friends). Plus somehow, buying things for my class and some stuff to make a necklace for Kristin's mom for mother's day. Yet, despite the fact that I had fun, I might have had more fun if we had done what we usually do (hang out at McDonald's) becuase then we just sit and talk, and it feels less like trying to run errands and "fit in" hanging out.
30 Days of Song- Day 21
A song that you play when you're happy- I am generally pretty happy if there's good music on, but one of my favorite not-angry songs is "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble. The music is so bubbly and happy, and even the message is a happy one. I don't know, I just really like it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 20

A song you listen to when angry-
Before you click play, remember what I told you yesterday- I have been cheated on, more than once, all of my best "angry" songs are angry break-up songs that are generally about cheaters.
Taylor Swift's "Better Than Revenge"

Monday, May 2, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day 19

A song from my favorite album- I think this is one of the things that we're losing. No one has a "favorite album" any more, instead we download singles from iTunes or other sites and create our own cds with songs with a sense of unity and order that appeals to us as individuals. That said, I'm going to pick another favorite song, but I did pick a song from which I downloaded most of the album. Carrie Underwood's "Songs Like This" (actually I'm surprised that more "kick is cheating behind to the curb" songs, because this is actually an issue I have dealt with more than once. And indeed, my response is ALWAYS a swift kick out of my life.

Bin Laden

I already wrote about this late last night, as I watched it unfold. I shared with you someof my initial thoughts. Perhaps you were able to read between the lines of exhausted scribblings and see my relief, my worry, and frankly my guilt. My initial thought was that we had just murdered a man. To be sure, he was an evil man, and man that committed terrible acts, and inspired evil and hatred in others. Yet even as the news showed pictures of hundreds of people (maybe even thousands) celebrating his death, I wanted us to pause, just for one second, and really think about this. Our government ordered the murder of a man, and that to me is a sobering thought. I don't say that it was wrong, just that perhaps, must maybe, we don't need to jump right to celebrating it.
However, as I have had time to think, to reflect, and to better understand what happened, I recognized that based on the description of what happened, Bin Laden COULD have choosen to surrender. President Obama didn't send in drones, or attack from the sky killing everyone in the compound. He ordered in people who were able to take "care to avoid civilian casualties" and had Bin Laden decided not to fight, I have to assume that those soldiers had at least been told to accept his surrender. This wasn't "murder" this was one more act of war, in a war we didn't start. That said, I still can't rejoice over the death of a man. Because before all the other words that describe him, the most basic word is "human".

Sunday, May 1, 2011

You Guys, We Just Murdered A Guy

Sorry if I don't make a lot of sense tonight. I'm writing this as it unfolds on MSNBC, and perhaps I'll feel differently in the morning.
On September 11, 2001 we went to war against terrorists. They declared war first. But we’ve had a terrible, decade long war. A war that should never have been against any one country, or even a group of countries. Osama Bin Laden is not the leader of a country. On September 11, 2001 no country declared war against us. But we did. We declared war on a government that rightly swore they had nothing to do with September 11. I am glad he clarified that we’re not at war against Islam, and that Bin Laden wasn’t an Islam leader.
As I waited for the president to speak tonight, I was AIMing a friend. Here’s some of what we had to say (I edited out some generic comments)-

Christina Zastrow 9:48 pm did we kill him? or did he just die?
Chris 9:48 pm
havent said yet
Christina Zastrow 9:48 pm
because we aren't really supposed to assassinate people
Chris 9:49 pm
oh well
Christina Zastrow 9:49 pm
you don't care as long as he's dead?
Chris 9:49 pm
I don't know. Im going to wait for Obama to explain
Chris 10:14 pm
I also wonder if we really just made a martyr.
Christina Zastrow 10:14 pm
yeah, i'm pretty sure we did...the more i hear (especially the way they are talking about it) the more mixed my feelings become
Christina Zastrow 10:21 pm
i want to hear how it happened, so that i can figure out how i feel about it
Chris 10:29 pm
hm shot and killed
Christina Zastrow 10:29 pm
did he just say that we feared he might die of natural causes before we could get to him?
Chris 10:29 pm
Christina Zastrow 10:30 pm
oh good lord
"Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy" Keith Olbermann
Chris 10:46 pm
well, I like the fact that it was in a firefight rather than a drone in he couldve been captured if he had allowed himself to
Christina Zastrow 10:48 pm
yeah, it makes it seem less like murder/assination to me- not that i don't know that it's what we needed to do, but after the whole torture thing, i think we need to stand even taller to earn back the reputation i want us to have
Chris 10:48 pm
but I am worried about retalliation
Christina Zastrow 10:49 pm
Christina Zastrow 10:50 pm
i'm not sure that the news people have thought this through- they were talking before about people uniting (as in various groups in the area uniting WITH us), but i would be more worried about some groups uniting AGAINST us
the way many people would unite against someone who killed Oprah
Christina Zastrow 10:51 pm
well, he's not exactly a political leader like Obama- he's more of a lifestyle leader, so...

Can We Slow This Ride Down A Little?

Because my weekends are goingby in a whirlwind of crazy and have been for weeks, and will continue to do so for months to come. Yesterday for instance I had brunch with the Olsons (my favorite family), drove to Aurora for a stampin' party with Sarah (hosted by another high school friend), and worked on stuff for Jamie's wedding shower.
Today, my mom and I took Nick, Nataly, and Mandy to the zoo for Nick's second birthday. Wait, just in case you didn't catch that, let me say it again- NICK'S SECOND BIRTHDAY. Like, seriously? Because I'm pretty sure it's been about six months since I graduated from AU and he was two weeks old when that happened, so...somebody screwed up their math, and for once I don't think it was me! But we had a lot of fun at the zoo. We got to see the rhinos (Nick was scared of them), the okapi (Nick loved her), the bison, the lions (they were awake, which is rare), and a bunch of other things. Then I spend $37 on hot dogs for lunch for five people! Also, when we were looking at the camels, the tram went by and the guide said "Over here on the right we have Christina, a breeding female [camel]." I was standing on the right between the tram and the camels. Awesome. We also went to the farm zoo (which we'd never done before) and the kids and I petted some goats. Then Nataly said "I want to go back to the grown up zoo" so we left. I would show you pictures, but when I'm done with the song thing, I'm going to do a picture challenge, so you'll have to wait.
30 Days of Song (Days 17 & 18)
Umm...did I mention how busy I was this weekend? So I didn't post the yesterday. Sorry.
Day 17. A song I hear on the radio alot- I actually don't listen to the radio very much, because my commute is litteraly four blocks, and if I'm going anywhere else, I listen to my mp3 player, but I do feel I've heard Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" quite a bit lately, so I guess that's my answer.

Day 18. A song I wish I heard on the radio- Again, I don't listen to the radio much, but one song that I really enjoy that I wish I did hear on teh radio is Katy Perry's "One of the Boys".