Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Which Is Almost Over)

It's almost the end of the year, and I couldn't let 2010 end without posting on my poor neglected blog. I really have been reading most of the blogs I always have, but days go by in between and most of the time I have been too tired by the time I read blogs to come up with a coherent comment, let alone post. As I said to my parents the other day, "The amount of vacation days for teachers is great, but the thing is that you NEED that many days to recuperate."

I am still enjoying my job, though--at least as much as I can remember of it after two weeks off. (American literature? What's that?) Most of my students passed and some failed, but the ones who failed were the ones who did not turn in their assignments or study. I can live with that. I used to feel personally responsible when my students failed, but I'm over that. The funny thing is, when I see my students in the grocery store--I am guaranteed to see at least one student in any grocery store in town--the ones who failed the semester seem just as happy to see me as the ones who passed. I feel that I've made some genuine connections with a lot of these young people, some of whom come to me for advice or just to talk. *sappy sentiment alert* I hope they remember something I teach them, but most of all I hope they feel that I value them and what they have to offer. For example, I really try to listen when they talk to me, individually or in class discussion, and although I'm pretty laid back about my classroom, I am adamant that they are not allowed to interrupt or insult each other. My heart was warmed when one student told another recently, "Hey! This is a no-put-down class!" Awkward phrasing aside, I'm glad they see it that way.

My children are doing splendidly and they enjoyed the Christmas holidays very much. I wish I could say they were not too spoiled at Christmas, but that's just impossible. Santa does limit his offerings so the toys don't completely take over the house. They get their stockings and three presents--big, medium, and smaller--which I explain is because Baby Jesus got three presents from the wise men and what's good enough for Baby Jesus is good enough for them. Also this year they got an extra present because I Santa thought one gift intended for Mr. Blue had not arrived yet, when it had (Justin had hid it and there was no tracking info so I didn't think it had come) and I Santa went out to buy some Transformers. So rather than return the Transformers, Santa decided that they got a present to share, because even though it was intended for Mr. Blue, they both like to play with it--it is an octagon shape that you can make mosaic patterns in, like so.

Anyway, they got new bikes, which they have been riding a lot. My brother and his wife got them Lite Brites (which I was relieved to see have a storage drawer for the pieces). Miss Pink got a matching T-shirt for her and her American Girl doll, and another doll from Target and a (plastic) pony. Mr. Blue got three sets of Trios, which are infinitely preferable to Legos for younger kids, and some Iron Man toys he likes from my mother-in-law. Besides the doll, pony, and Trios, my mom also got them clothes and shoes/boots, and she also does stockings that put Santa's to shame. We had a lovely time on Christmas morning at our house, then going for lunch at my parents' house at 1, followed by the present-opening and hanging out for the rest of the day. I didn't actually take a nap on Christmas Day, but that was all right since I've been going back to sleep every morning for at least an hour and a half after breakfast. Going back to school next week is going to be BRUTAL.

I was going to write about our experiences in 2010, and what goals I am planning for in 2011, but since I have rambled this much about teaching and my children's Christmas presents, I'll stop here and save that post for another day (and not one months from now).

Happy New Year to anyone who stops by and reads this! I miss commenting back and forth with my blog friends, so I'm going to make an effort to stay in touch better in the coming year.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Update of Sorts

Wow. I haven't had the desire to blog since the end of September. Sometimes I would think about it, especially after reading other blogs, but always ran out of steam. I don't want to quit, even if other things (like working and doing things for and with my family) are taking almost all of my energy.

Work is going well. I actually do love teaching--most days. We are already finished with the first two grading periods and I can hardly believe it's November.

I do have a few funny kid stories. Miss Pink was invited to be part of her school's math club. I don't know what they do except play a mysterious math game that I can't understand when she tries to explain it to me. What can I say, she doesn't get her math ability from me. Anyway, when she was talking about math to me one night, she said something about telling other people she was in the math club. "I'll say, "Yo, what's up? Math is COOL!'"

I didn't have the heart to tell her what most people think about math. (Hint: they don't think it's cool. Even if you try to sound like a rapper when you say it.)

Mr. Blue makes us laugh a lot. One night he was tickling his dad while we were sitting at the dinner table.
Justin: Liam, please stop tickling me.
Liam: That wasn't me tickling you, that was God's magic.
Justin: Okay, then, God, please stop tickling me.
Liam (in the deepest voice he can create): OKAY.

Today he was brushing my hair (quite painfully, I might add) and he said, "I love your hair. I love everybody's hair. Except the devil's." Oookay then. I guess I should be thankful he doesn't love Satan's hair.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coming Up for Air

The last two weeks have been very busy. I am trying to get used to being a mother who keeps her children fed and clean and read to, and a teacher who is available to her students before and after school while keeping up with all the paperwork, and a wife whose husband doesn't have to listen to her whine about how tired she is (at least not every day), and someone who is NOT going to end up on an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive."

Last night we cleaned the house (it doesn't take that long when we all pitch in) and the week got off to a good start. For one thing, the weather is cooler--it was below 60 degrees when we left this morning. Friday is the last day of the grading period: another milestone to celebrate. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

In Which I Explain How Much I Love My Job

Another week down! I have no idea how many weeks are left in the school year (I just know it's a lot, so why count?) and anyway, I feel like I'm getting in the groove. I am loving my job! It helps that this week we got the textbooks, so we could start teaching actual literature. Yay!

I love teaching juniors, too. I was right when I guessed that they would be much more cooperative than middle schoolers or freshmen (my two long-term assignments from last year). Yet the juniors do not have senioritis, so they still have some motivation to do the work. They also have to pass the TAKS test this year in order to graduate, which is another level of motivation.

The kids seem to enjoy being in my class, too. I know it's more important to be respected than to be liked, and this is something I have struggled with in the past ("If I punish this kid, they'll think I'm a MEAN TEACHER, oh NOOOOO!") but I also think that getting to know the kids and enjoying the things they say helps them WANT to be in my class and therefore they are more willing to learn from me. I love it when students share their thoughts with me, whether in class or in private; when they tell me about their extracurricular activities, whether that be sports, dance, or color guard; and when I manage to get the quiet ones to respond to my "good morning" as I greet them at the door.

My best compliment this week: the students were answering some questions that required slightly more higher-level thinking than just "What happened in the story?" and a few kids weren't getting it, so I was trying to rephrase the questions and lead them to come up with the answers themselves instead of just giving it away. One of the other students who'd figured it out herself said to me, "Oh my God, you are so patient. I would be screaming at them about now." I smiled and said, "Well, if I weren't patient, I'd need to get another job." More than once in my life I have felt as if I would never learn to be patient--when something comes easily for me, like my student felt about the questions, I have been like, "Why can't you just get this?!?"--and so this felt great, not just the compliment but also the feeling of being patient while not giving in to their transparent attempts to get me to just tell them the answer. I completely credit my children for giving me lots of practice in this area, by the way.

Labor Day weekend has been good too. Justin and I took Mr. Blue to my school's first home football game (Miss Pink was at a sleepover) and it was so fun. It was great to feel a part of the community, especially now that I'm a teacher (and also my ticket was free!) We ended up leaving at halftime, because it was Mr. Blue's bedtime and he was tired of sitting (relatively) still. He barely watched the game even though we had great seats right at the front, but he did like watching the mascot and playing with some other boys.

Saturday was...not so great. We got woken up twice, when Miss P was brought home from the sleepover (long story) and when Justin had to spend half an hour coughing up a lung. So we were both pretty sleep-deprived, but he still had to deliver some furniture pieces he'd built. I spent the day with a headache and the house looked like a bomb had gone off in it. Actually, a bomb might have been an improvement--maybe some of the dirt would've been blasted off the surfaces. I've never been a great housekeeper, but when I stayed home, I did do some cleaning. But last weekend I was recuperating from my first week of school and I didn't clean anything except the dishes and dirty laundry. So the house was truly disgraceful and I felt too yucky to tackle it. I did, however, manage to make some tasty chicken fried rice, so that was a win.

That evening, I complained about my face hurting, and Justin said, "Well, take some MEDICINE, then!" He said I always do that, and it's true. So I took a Claritin-D and slept wonderfully, and woke up refreshed, and all was right with the world. (Also, no one woke me up with his coughing.) I took another nap Sunday after lunch, heroically faced Wal-Mart to get much-needed groceries, and still had enough energy to muster the troops to clean most of the house. I still need to dust (seriously, I think nothing's been dusted all summer--hey, I wonder why I'm having allergy problems?) and vacuum, but it's mostly done, and we're having friends over for dinner tonight, and I don't even mind that I have to go back to work tomorrow.

P.S. If I already like my job this much, what's it going to be like when I actually get a paycheck?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School

Well, I survived the first week of school.
It was actually better than that sounds. I had a good week, even though I was REALLY tired every evening. I'll get used to it; I did last year. My students behaved well, and we're getting to know each other. I'm ready to start teaching my actual subject--we get our textbooks tomorrow--although I must confess the thought of making classic literature interesting to seventeen-year-olds is a little daunting. Oh well, I need to remember I don't have to be Super Teacher, but I can believe in and encourage every kid.

Miss Pink absolutely loves her teacher. We had such a great teacher for her first two years (her school loops K-1st and 2nd-3rd) that I was wondering if we could possibly be so fortunate again. And yes, we were. her teacher is super sweet, very calm (apparently she never raises her voice) and very organized, to judge from the classroom. Miss P came home singing about her teacher the first day. And Miss P has signed the happy book a bunch of times, so she's working hard and doing a great job.

Mr. Blue is in a new class at his preschool, too. He also likes school, and he has a new love interest. She happens to be the teacher's granddaughter, so he'd better behave himself. He heard another mom telling me that her son also likes this little girl, and Mr. Blue kept saying afterward to me, "I don't know why we all like T." Then he decided it was her "pretty dress." All I know is, he talks about her constantly!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Childhood Memories, Part II

Do any of y'all remember my first post about my childhood memories? I forgot I wrote Part II, so here it is!

1983: Mother finally gives in to Alison's begging and allows her to read Gone With the Wind. Alison reads it in one day, almost making herself sick. Wants to be Scarlett O'Hara.

1983-1987: Spends a LOT of time outside, riding her bike, exploring the "woods" behind their house, and even playing basketball. This marks the last time in her life she can be described as "outdoorsy" or "sporty."

1987: The boy next door, a good friend, is killed in a three-wheeler accident while Alison is at camp. Her parents don't tell her until she gets home after the funeral, which makes coming to terms with his death even more difficult.

1987-1995: Writes many first pages of awful historical romance novels ripped off of Jane Eyre and Gone With the Wind. Also bad poetry imitative of Emily Dickinson or T.S. Eliot.

1988: Gets braces off and, thanks to teen movies, expects every boy she knows to fall in love with her. This does not happen.

1988: Develops a massive crush on her 23-year-old volleyball coach. Devastated to learn he's engaged, but does not learn her lesson about crushing on totally unavailable/uninterested guys.

1988: Finally is allowed to listen to "light rock" station instead of just Christian music. The way is paved for a decade of bad musical taste that features the New Kids on the Block, Michael Bolton, and even Milli Vanilli.

1990: Father informs her that she needs to get a job because he had one at her age. Father has failed to take into account that she is below the legal age limit, but a yogurt shop in the mall hires her anyway.

1991: Takes driver's ed class, where driving instructor impatiently skips over the parallel parking part of the curriculum, grabbing the wheel and parking the car instead of teaching Alison how to do it. Yes, she's still bitter.

1991: Takes the driving test on her sixteenth birthday because it seems necessary to have her driver's license as soon as possible. Fails because she has no idea how to parallel park. Sets a personal record for "Birthday with Most Tears Shed."

1991: Learns how to parallel park and passes the driving test. Ironically, it turns out she doesn't really like to drive and (even twenty years later) will let anyone else drive whenever possible.

1992: Graduates from high school as valedictorian of her class. However, there are only six people in her graduating class, so that makes her accomplishment less impressive.

1992: Tells her father she's not sure she wants to go to college (because secretly the thought of being in classes with more than six people scares her). Father wisely does not overreact; instead he says fine, but she will need to get a full-time job. It takes approximately six seconds for Alison to decide she's going to college.

*End of childhood*


Monday, August 2, 2010

What I Learned This Weekend

I seriously am the worst blogger ever. I never update. Well, at least last week I had an excuse--I was attending professional development classes required for new teachers. It was slightly less painful than the eyebrow threading I had over the weekend.

Speaking of threading--I've watched people have it done at kiosks in the mall and intended to try it because I have really thick eyebrows. I do pluck, and also trim the longer hairs, but I haven't had the eyebrows waxed in a long time because a) money hasn't been exactly in excess around here and b) I don't want to risk having ALL my eyebrow hair ripped off by some woman I don't know because then I just wouldn't look like myself. So for $10 I decided to give it a try because at least they had pictures of eyebrows I could point to.

It HURTS, y'all. I mean, waxing doesn't feel like being tickled with a feather, but it's over really fast. The pain from the threading kept going and going.... And then she did my upper lip (with my permission, of course) and that was even more painful. Involuntary tears ran down my cheeks and soaked my neck. And I had forgotten that my skin gets red after hair removal, so I had to walk around the mall with  bright red splotches over my lip and eyebrows. Lovely.

On the positive side, I like how my eyebrows look! I think I'll go back to getting them waxed, though.

So what was I doing in the mall with time to try the threading? I had been invited by our youth pastor's wife to come on a girls' retreat as a mentor. Since it was only one night away from home and Justin can handle that much time without backup, I said yes. I figure I need practice bonding with teenagers. We went to a hotel and had pizza and devotions and went swimming and thank GOD the girls in my room didn't want to stay up all night--we crashed around 12:45. The next day we spent four hours in the mall. I think the last time I did that, I hadn't had Miss Pink yet. So I was embarrassingly tired on Sunday.

I am so old. Yes I am. Plus I did not buy myself anything because a) I do not really need any more clothes (although I cannot help feeling that there are never enough clothes, and I saw lots of things I WANTED to buy, so yay me for exercising self-control) and b) I want to spend any and all available cash to decorate my classroom. So the only money I spent was on having myself tortured.

And yet! The retreat was actually enjoyable. I got to know several people better, and it was fun not to have to do housework or get up to get anyone a cup of milk right when I had just sat down. The girls did not seem to mind having to stay with a grown-up--after all, I'm not their MOM or anything.

In conclusion, I don't recommend eyebrow threading unless you have a very high pain tolerance, but girl bonding is good.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #185

1. This is what life does. It lets you relax and then plunges you into a terrifying roller coaster ride of uncertainty.

2. Will I remember to appreciate the moment?

3. Upon reflection I'm thinking summer is overrated.

4. I've been married for quite a long time.

5. Later, you wake up wishing your child would let you sleep longer.

6. How I wish I could go across the far and boundless sea.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having dinner out with my husband and kids, tomorrow my plans include helping get the church ready for VBS (we're going to Egypt!) and Sunday, I want to hear some excellent music & preaching!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing in My Sleep

Once upon a time it was my dream to write novels. I'm not ruling that vision out completely--but it will have to be in the future. Like maybe when I'm retired. I haven't finished any fiction since I had Miss Pink seven years ago. For me to write fiction, I have to have several hours of uninterrupted writing time every day. And we all know that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

 And you know what, I'm okay with that. The world can live without another novel. Teaching and parenting--those are things I can do right now that have both immediate and long-term positive impact on my family and my world. I think I'm a better parent and teacher than I am a writer anyway, and besides, when I do more serious writing again, I think it will be in the nonfiction genre. So...I'm fine with not writing the Next Great American Novel.

My subconscious, apparently, does not agree.

Every so often, I have these epic dreams that seem to last all night long and leave me exhausted when I wake up. Not only am I experiencing the plot twists and scene changes of these dreams--I'm also viewing them as a writer who needs to remember every detail to write the story down when I wake up. If I can just remember everything, I will have an instant best-seller on my hands. So I spend the whole night in intense concentration, crafting dialogue and naming characters, even replaying scenes that I want to change. No wonder I wake up exhausted!

All of which would be worth it if the dream really did result in a good novel. Because my biggest problem has always been in coming up with ideas (a problem; successful writers will tell you they ALWAYS have ideas percolating) so if I had a fabulous ready-made idea handed to me by my subconscious, I WOULD find a way to get it written.

Instead, my subconscious always comes up with something stupid. Trite, cliched, and improbable. I will spare you the convoluted details of what I dreamed last night, but while I was dreaming it, the "writer" part of my brain was thinking, "This is so cool! It's like 'Harry Potter' mixed with 'Twilight!'"

I promise you, I have no chance of becoming the next Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling. I just wish my subconscious would accept that, because it's exhausting to keep writing in my sleep!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Childhood Memories, Part I

Recently I picked up my copy of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It's one of my favorite books, full of little snippets of her experience. I decided to try to do my own version of one of the entries, titled "Childhood Memories." I wrote it in the third person, just like Amy wrote hers, and I tried to be as random yet specific as she was.

1975: Alison is born on July 10. Throughout her childhood she hears her mother talk about how Alison was due on July 4, but instead came six days late. Secretly Alison wished she had been born on the 4th, so she could have fireworks on her birthday.

1975: In November, Alison's father becomes pastor of a church and the family moves to Texas. The church has no money in the bank and they have to live in an apartment in the back of the church, but Alison doesn't seem to mind, judging from the smiley pictures of her in her red and white striped Christmas nightgown.

1976: The family buys a house that was previously owned by a divorced man with two large incontinent dogs, which is why they are able to afford it.

1976: Alison's first memory: lying in her crib soon after waking up and watching the sun stream in through the window. She notices a stuffed dog hanging on the edge of the crib and wants to reach it. She hears a voice as  a woman comes into the room. She doesn't have enough language to know that the woman is called Mama (although she recognizes the voice) or that the toy is called a dog. The dog becomes her favorite stuffed animal and is loved until it is threadbare.

1977: Begins preschool at Miss Scott's Preschool. In later life, remembers only two things from her three years there: the "Good Morning" song, and one instance of suddenly missing her mother (not on the first day of school) and putting her head down on her desk and crying inconsolably.

1978: Learns to read and from then on is rarely seen without a book nearby so she can start reading at a moment's notice.

1979: Alison's brother is born on June 19. Parents wisely reject Alison's suggestions to name him "Thompson" and "Sammy Liles, Jr." (both names of boys she has a crush on).

1979: Meets her cousin K. at her grandparents' house. K. is stealing butter out of the refrigerator and eating it. Alison thinks this girl is extremely strange.

1980: Begins first grade at school the church has started. Is the youngest child in the school and is treated like a pet by the older students. During a safety discussion, when the principal asks, "What do you do if you catch on fire?" embarrasses self by yelling out, "Stop, drop, and ROLL!" Confused and humiliated when everyone laughs. Mutters to self, "But I was RIGHT!"

1980: Meets L., who is one year younger, when their family joins the church and becomes best friends with her.

1980: Teaches self to write in cursive. Feels very grown-up.

1980: The church (and school) building burns one Saturday night. Wakes up to hear mother crying, on the phone, and wonders why they are not getting ready for Sunday School.

1981: L. begins first grade at the school. Second grade is harder than first, so Alison does not win all the awards for most work completed and highest average that she won the year before--L. wins them. Crawls under the table at the awards banquet and cries.

1981: Little brother won't get out of the way when Alison is swinging on the teeter-totter on her swing set; despite repeated warnings, he keeps walking closer. The metal seat of the teeter-totter strikes him in the forehead and he falls over. Although she knows she should feel guilty, Alison keeps thinking, "But I TOLD him not to come any closer!" Brother's head is fine. In fact, it is so hard he uses it as a weapon throughout their childhood.

1981: Feels compelled to learn to ride bike without training wheels when younger neighbor boy learns. Allowed to ride anywhere on the sidewalk on their block, which seemed (and turned out to be) perfectly safe.

1981: Church buys land and begins building. For most of the year, only sees father in the mornings when he takes her to school and when they bring dinner to him at the construction site (and church, of course). Has a wonderful time playing in the sand for the brick mortar and picking up metal circles punched out of the electrical boxes.

1981-1985: Wishes she could be Laura Ingalls Wilder. Plays for hours pretending to be living in a wagon and finding food. Dresses brother up in sunbonnet to be Carrie.Despite what he will later claim, he enjoys it.

1981-1985: Second favorite thing to pretend: school. Lines up her dolls and, when he will cooperate, her  brother. Manages to teach him the alphabet before he starts kindergarten.

1982-1990: Suffers from intermittent mocking by a boy named S., who is inescapable since there are so few students that they are together all the time. S. says such crushing (at the time) things as, "Alison has no common sense!" and pulls her hair and generally makes fun of anything she does. Mother suggests that he actually likes Alison, but that makes no sense to her. Prays, "God, I know I'm not supposed to hate anyone, but if I did, I would hate S.!"

1980-1988: The family doesn't have a television, because their denomination doesn't allow ministers to own them. Alison tries to keep up with TV references by paying attention when other kids talk about their favorite shows so she can pretend she knows what they're talking about. Enthralled when allowed to watch, mainly at L's house and when her family goes on vacation. Does not realize until adulthood how much better her childhood was for not being spent in front of the TV.

1983: The family buys a partially finished house in the country whose builder is going out of business. When the house is finished, they move in--on Alison's ninth birthday. Rather than feel cheated of a birthday party, she feels excited, as if the house is actually a birthday present for her.

Okay, I can see this is going to get long, so that's a good place to stop for now--age 9, halfway to 18, at a major transition--I think of my childhood as split into two halves between those two houses. I have good memories of both.

This was fun and I hope not too boring for you! Soon I'll post Part II.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #183

1. When it's quiet I am very happy.
2. I will start my job in what seems like a month (because I do have professional development classes to attend in about a month).
3. My heart is thankful for the people I love.
4. My birthday is on the tenth of July.
5. In the town where I was born, my in-laws live--yet we never met when I went back to visit. I met my husband when he moved to our area.
6. His trustworthiness is something I really love about my significant other / friend.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having Justin get home before 8:30, tomorrow my plans include taking the kids to walk in a neighborhood parade and Sunday, I want to enjoy some good BBQ at my parents' house and end the day watching fireworks!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I'll Be Doing This Fall

I don't really know why I haven't already posted this--so here goes: I have a teaching job for next year!

A couple of weeks ago, the head of the English department at the high school called me. I had been hoping to hear from her, since I had emailed her about the open position before school was out. A couple of weeks had passed, and I was getting antsy because I hadn't heard anything. I kept thinking, "I bet they're interviewing. I can't believe they didn't even give me an interview, after repeatedly telling me I am on their list!"

It turns out that that wasn't the case. In fact, they hadn't even interviewed anyone yet. The department head asked me a couple of interview-type questions, and then told me they didn't need to do an interview in person, because they had interviewed me for the long-term sub position, and she was putting my name in for the job. At this point I was wondering if that meant "putting my name in the hat with the other 100 candidates" (I'm not kidding; there are a lot of teachers looking for work) or "putting me in as their final selection." It turns out she meant the latter. The next week I filled out the paperwork, turned everything I could yesterday, and the board was supposed to approve the new hires last night. So far, so good!

I will be teaching 11th grade--American literature. I am excited about it. And thankful that the year of subbing worked out exactly as I hoped it would: I was able to get my foot in the door and prove myself so that the school would want to hire me full-time.

This job won't make us rich. But I know it's a step in a good direction--and I know I am meant to teach. With all the challenges teaching involves, I have learned that I'm a good teacher and I actually like teenagers (most of the time!) I'm ready to get in there and be part of the solution.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Sickness

Miss Pink is sick today--poor baby. She's asleep right now, exhausted after throwing up, having a fever, and, um, other things during the night. I slept in her room so I could be near her when she needed me. She has a twin bed, so I didn't expect to get much sleep, but I slept with my head at the foot of her bed and it was fine.  She has a very comfortable bed, probably more comfortable than ours. And we bought her mattress at Big Lots, so go figure. I hope she starts feeling better soon (and that we don't all come down with the virus--keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?)

Mr. Blue is at his daycare. To keep his spot for next year, I have to pay for two days a week during the summer, which is something they offer teachers. We love that school--Miss Pink went to preschool there since she was two, and he went there last year, so we definitely wanted to keep his spot. He hasn't gone since school let out June 3rd, though, because he wanted to stay home and hang out with me and his sister. Today he was happy to go, and all his classmates were excited to see him. They have a "splash day" on Thursday mornings with several kiddie pools. I'm glad he could go have fun while Miss P and I stay home.

Up until this, we've been having a good summer. On Monday, friends got us into the museum of science & history for free with their memberships, and yesterday we went to a free movie. We've been to a water park and have plans to swim a lot. I am staying firm with limiting TV, despite much whining from Mr. Blue. I remember when Miss Pink was in the same stage: she was only happy when watching TV or when she had my undivided attention, and I thought she would never learn to play by herself. Now she can entertain herself for a long time, so I know he will learn, too, if I don't give in to his demands for TV. I do, of course, give them both plenty of attention. Both of them love to be read to, which I enjoy, although I do wish Mr. Blue would sometimes choose books other than four Curious George books he's become obsessed with. Tonight when Justin gets home, I am going to the library to find some more Curious George.

Enough rambling...Miss Pink is still asleep, it's 10:58 a.m. and I'm already hungry. I hope y'all are having a good summer...or that your summer starts soon. It's VERY hot here--98 degrees F for the high. Whew!


Friday, June 4, 2010

On the First Day of Summer

On the first day of summer, the kids and/or I*:

  • slept in till 8 a.m. (hey, I'll take the extra two hours)
  • did not turn the TV on until noon, and then only for two kids' shows
  • did, however, stay in our pajamas until late afternoon
  • had a "Welcome Summer" party that involved making a playlist on iTunes, playing games like Hide & Go Seek, blowing bubbles in the backyard, and eating a snack of grated cheese, cheese crackers, grapes, Teddy Grahams, and a "drink" of strawberry yogurt and red Kool-Aid with a few grapes and chocolate chips thrown in for some mysterious reason
  • read a lot of books and went to the library 
  • took a nap (with the exception of Miss Pink, who never sleeps in the daytime unless she's sick)
  • did absolutely no housework
  • enjoyed every minute of our time together
*I'll let you figure out which of these activities were not my idea and which most definitely were!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #177

Wow, I'm posting twice in the same calendar week! I really am planning to write more during the summer. We'll see how that works out, especially since I am the chauffeur who drives my children to their many social engagements during the summer. But I can't be any more worn down than I am now. It's definitely the end of the school year, and the students' behavior shows it. Ten more days!--wait, nine and a half (the last day is a half day.) Oh well, I still love teaching--but there's a REASON for that summer break.

I haven't done the Friday Fill-Ins in a while, so here we go...

1. My children's laughter never fails to make me smile.

2. I'm looking forward to sleeping in when school is out. (And by "sleeping in," I mean "later than 7:30 a.m.)

3. Guitar-heavy rock music from whatever show Justin's watching  is what I'm listening to right now. No, wait, he changed the channel. He changes it every few seconds, like a typical man.

4. Potato salad must have yellow mustard in it!

5. The chopped beef BBQ sandwich I had for dinner was the best thing I ate today. (Very easy, too--I chopped up leftover pot roast, mixed it with BBQ sauce, heated it up, and put it on buns. Easy peasy.)

6. Today was challenging because I am dealing with parents who are questioning my decisions in correcting their children's misbehavior. Sixth grade parents are not like parents of high schoolers.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to putting a check in the bank (finally!), tomorrow my plans include going to a cookout with the other volunteers who help with the kids' ministry at our church, and Sunday, I want to see my extended family!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Talkety talk talk talk

I'm so glad y'all haven't forgotten me even though I never update anymore. It's not totally true that I don't have time to update--I do keep up with the blogs in my reader, although some days the posts pile up--but rather, I don't seem to ever have the mental energy to put coherent words together, since all I do all day long is talk, talk, TALK and no one listens to me the first time. Like this: Me: "When you are done with your quiz--no, DO NOT get up to get your quiz and walk in front of me WHILE I AM STILL TALKING--turn it in to the plastic tray and read chapter 15." Student: "Where do we turn it in?" Me: "Into the tray." Another student, quiz in hand: "Where am I supposed to put this?" Student: "What chapter are we reading?" (This is also written on the board.) Me: facepalm.

Did I mention they have been doing THE SAME ROUTINE  all year long? Sixth graders are spacy, y'all.

Anyway, I am not complaining. (Shut up, I'm not!) Or I wouldn't be if I got a full-time job. I've applied for several and haven't heard back from any of them yet. BUT all hope is not lost. Those interviews with the job fair? I got an average score of 5. Which sounds unimpressive--except that the scores were out of a total of 5. So both interview panels gave me a top score. That was a nice boost to my self-esteem. If I don't get a full-time position, it's not because I didn't do my best! The HR department will be sending the best scores to the principals, so maybe I'll get a nibble from that.

Also, the high school here in town has a job open. I am not one to be forward about self-promotion, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I emailed the head of the department, whom I'd gotten to know while I was a long-term sub there, and she emailed back that I am definitely on her list. So. Now I wait.

I am not very good with the waiting. It's good that I am staying busy with teaching. I'm also looking forward to summer...but not looking forward to not making any money since Justin's company is still running out of money before we get paid again...sigh.

Where was I? Oh right...I was NOT complaining! Miss Pink just joined Girl Scouts last month, and she loves it. She went on her first campout this weekend. At first she was uncertain about going without me (there wasn't enough room for me, and frankly I was okay with that, because I am not a happy camper, or indeed a camper of any kind). Justin was kind of like, "YOU NEED TO GO," because he feels very strongly that the kids need to try new things and get outside their comfort zones so they won't be paralyzed by risk like the woman he is married to. And then I shot him a Warning Look because Miss Pink and I are enough alike that I know you can't force a uber-sensitive and imaginative child to stop having anxious feelings and JUST SUCK IT UP and GO ALREADY. Try that, and there WILL be tears. Many, many tears. Instead, I said something to Miss Pink like, "Well, honey, we aren't going to force you to go. But I bet it will be a lot of fun. You love the outdoors, and everything they are going to do." [Here I recapped all the things that were going to be So! Much! Fun! Which also included a Spa Day, and I found that hilarious. A Spa Day in the wilderness! THAT part I would have enjoyed.]

And Justin caught on, and slyly said, "And just think about it: how are you going to feel when all of the other girls come back saying what an awesome time they had, and you will be the only one who didn't go? Will you be sorry you didn't go if it turns out it was a great experience?"

Well, she dithered a while longer and I kept repeating, "We aren't going to force you to go, but we think you should try it." Finally she decided to go, and then she got really excited about it, and just like her first day of preschool and her first day of kindergarten, couldn't wait for me to leave so she could get on with having fun. And she did have a lot of fun. She wasn't homesick at all, discovered many bugs and a baby snake (whaaa?) and can't stop talking about the s'more she made.

Oh, and when we asked about the spa day? She said tactfully, "That wasn't my favorite part."

And this is where I tear up, thinking about my baby, my little girl, who has her own interests, her own plans, and her own experiences, which are gradually taking her farther and farther away from me. It's my job to encourage her to take those steps...but oh, how bittersweet it is to let her go.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Even though I don't have the energy to post on my blog much lately, I do appreciate those of you who still check me out and even comment. When summer comes, I plan to do quite a bit of posting.

The latest news is that I attended a job fair today at a nearby school district. They're larger than the district I live in, and they have positions to fill, unlike many of the smaller districts who don't have the funds to hire more teachers. I had two interviews which will be reviewed by all the administrators who are looking for someone with my certification. The women from one of the high schools really seemed to connect with me; by the end of the interview they were asking me if I would be interested in teaching creative writing (answer: yes!) and telling me how many great things their school has to offer. So that was good.

The HR coordinator said there was a small chance a school might call us to come for a second interview on campus today, so to have a flexible schedule. Therefore, I didn't take a sub job this afternoon--but of course they haven't called. That's okay, because she said most administrators will want to finish the second day of interviews before making callbacks.

I'm still a little nervous, but I believe I did a good job. I'm glad I got a chance to interview because my personality and my passion for teaching come through so much better in person than on a resume.

Now here is a question for you (if enough of you read this before I have to decide). The interviewers were scoring us on a scale of 1 to 5 in various areas, with 5 being the highest score. Next week we are allowed to email the coordinator if we would like our scores. Should I find out? I mean, it won't make any difference if I find out or not--they'll either call me or they won't. I don't know if I want to know or not!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #173

I haven't updated in a while because...well, I haven't actually been all that busy--in fact, I took two days off this week--but I just haven't had anything I felt was worth saying. But there comes a point when you just have to update, am I right?

We are all fine. Justin found another shop after the fire (did I already mention that he found another place? it's been two months, and it feels like two years, so I don't remember what I've written about it), and he still has plenty of work, so he is working hard (and late, some evenings) to get make the builders and our bank account happy. I'm proud of my hard-working husband.

I took the kids to the doctor last Friday for their well-child visits. Miss Pink is 48 pounds and 48 inches tall--around the 30th percentile. She is happy and healthy, with a gap-toothed grin from the teeth she's lost, and has just started reading chapter books on her own (I am so proud!) At the last conference with her teacher, she said Miss Pink is way ahead of their class goals in her schoolwork. She also loves school and I'm so glad for that.

Mr. Blue is 38 pounds and I forget how tall, but he's in the 60th percentile overall, which is surprising, because he looks just as slender as his sister to me. He's a monkey right now who does mischievous things and then tries to charm his way out of trouble, the little stinker. I love it when he says, "Mom, Mom, I have to tell you something, Mom," and then when I assure him I'm listening, he proceeds to tell me something totally random that he saw on TV or that another kid told him.

I'm getting tired, so I'm going to go ahead and do the Friday Fill-Ins, which I haven't been able to do in quite a while.

1. Where are my magical house-cleaning elves? I want some magical house-cleaning elves!

2. If wishes were horses then Miss Pink would definitely own a horse as she wants one SO bad!

3. I'd like to see my children and grandchildren have happy, fulfilling lives.

4. When I was a teen, I thought forty was old. As I get closer to it, I would like to revise that opinion!

5. One of my mother's favorite sayings was "You're the kind of girl guys want to marry." (She was right. I'm just glad I picked the right guy to marry.)

6. I'd have a hard time doing without my cell phone.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing my aunt, my cousin, and my cousin's baby while they are in town, tomorrow my plans include scrapbooking, which I haven't done in two months and Sunday, I want to hang out with our friends while we practice a funny skit for a mother-daughter tea next month!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Macbeth 2: Return of Macbeth

This was written as part of an assignment called "The 32-Second Macbeth" in which my Pre-AP sophomores acted out the shortest version of Macbeth ever. Then groups took an act of the play and tried to get it down to 32 seconds, using short, punchy lines to capture the main actions and speeches of the act.

One of my students asked if he could write a sequel to Macbeth. Since I wasn't taking a grade anyway (this activity, while still good for their summarizing skills, was a reward for all the tests and papers they've been doing) I said sure.

Tell me if you don't agree with my that this young man is AWESOME.

                                            *              *               *

Witches: A twist of fate, to wake the late?
              Rebirth! Macbeth and Duncan again walk the earth!

Macbeth: Man not born of woman has failed to end me? My kingship is writ in stone, then! Today's king must step down, this Obama! So foul and fair a day I've seen once before!

Lady Macbeth: Resex me! Macbeth, die, for causing my insanity! (Macbeth dies)

Obama: Good thing he has free health insurance...(dies)

Lady: By their murders, I am now queen!

Macduff: Gather, army, kill the wicked queen!

Obama's Ghost: I'm Obama's ghost! Socialism!

Lady: Insanity! A little water...will never help! Goodbye, lit world! Out brief candle! (dies)

Macduff: Duncan, recrowned! Oh wow! It's Gary Coleman!

Gary Coleman: What you talkin' 'bout, Macduff? I'm Gary Coleman from TV's "Diff'rent Strokes." Bye! (Macduff dies)

Witches: It seems that everything has ended up the same. Fate must be real!

Witch 1: I always knew Gary Coleman would have something to do with it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Put Me In, Coach!

I'm (finally) getting to update because I am through with my first long-term subbing job and I don't have anything to do during this teacher's conference period. I was always too busy during my conference period for the past seven weeks. It's hard to believe I was there for seven weeks, because the time just flew by. I honestly didn't expect to bond with the ninth graders as much as I did. While I was there, they became MY students and I got to know them so well that I was sad to leave them. Many of them told me they felt the same way; I got lots of hugs and compliments and a couple of notes that I will definitely keep, telling me that I am "awesome." Quite a few kids told me they wish I could be their teacher next year.

Believe me, I told them, I feel the same way. There is no way to know at this point what will happen. Our district is opening a new high school next year, so one would think it would be a great year to get hired. However, they have already hired the teachers for the new school (only 9th and 10th grades will start there next year) except for a couple of positions that they want to fill with coaches who also teach English. With half the students going to the new school, they may not need any replacements for the teachers who are going to the new campus. In this economy, everyone is keeping their jobs and hiring is tight in all the surrounding districts because budgets are being cut everywhere. I just have to wait and see--contracts went out recently, and eventually the administration will know which positions they need to fill.

Of course there will be a lot of competition for any jobs, but I feel good about my chances as long as there is a job to apply for. Subbing has given me an opportunity to get myself noticed, not just by the teachers I sub for, but by the heads of several English departments and the administrators who might be hiring me. Yesterday I happened to run into the head of the English department as I was leaving and said goodbye to her, and she told me (without me asking) that they would keep me in mind for a job. So that was good, because I had been feeling a little down about the future. I like to have my ducks in a row, and that just can't happen in this situation. (I know, welcome to Life 101.)

I don't just want a job next year just to have a job--although the money and the benefits are greatly needed. I remembered that I DO love to teach. And that's what makes it hard to go back to regular subbing. I got to teach for real again, and I want to go back to doing it, with all the frustrations and limitations involved. I want to know what I'm doing every day because I planned it (with the help of my fellow teachers, of course!) I want to BELONG in a school, not just visit. I want to see my students every day and know that I am making a difference with many of them. And I just need to remind myself that it IS going to happen. Maybe not on my timeline, but eventually all the good work I have been doing (which has not gone unnoticed) will pay off.

I feel like a player warming the bench dying to get in the game and show the coach what I've got. I know I can do a good job. But I need to wait my turn. Waiting and paying your dues can be tough, but I'm going to hang in there because at some point I know I will get my chance.

P.S. This was fun! Too bad I won't get to update at schools more often because they will take away internet access once they remember I am no longer long-term. I also MUST remember to post the short-short script written by one of my best (and funniest) sophomore students: Macbeth 2: Return of Macbeth.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cherishing Simple Days and Friday Fill-Ins #170

Tomorrow is Good Friday, of course, and it is a school holiday for me and Miss Pink. Normally I would keep Mr. Blue home too, but he has an Easter egg hunt at school tomorrow, so we will sleep in (hopefully) and take him to school around 10:00. It's supposed to be raining, so the egg hunt may have to be indoors, which will be interesting with the small classrooms at the daycare. Then Mr. Blue can stay at school for a special lunch, complete with treats, while Miss Pink and I leave to grab a bite of lunch and take a load of kid clothes to the resale shop.

Just a simple day. Funny how much I cherish them now that such days are the exception rather than the norm. Don't get me wrong on either side: I am so thankful I got to stay home with my children for a number of years, AND I love working now. It's just that a little break from the routine--a day which used to BE the routine--feels like pure luxury now.

And now for some Friday Fill-Ins!

1. All you need is love. Seriously, you can handle anything if you have love.
2. The silliness of my husband and kids fills me with laughter.
3. Each generation, as it grows up, rejects the ideas of the generation which came before.
4.Apathy is something I have a hard time dealing with (not in me, in others!)
5. A trip to a beach is what I need.
6. Give to God and you get back.
7. And as for the weekend, Friday night I'm looking forward to watching American Idol, Saturday my plans include planning the menu for next week and making gumbo for dinner and Sunday, I want to hide Easter eggs at my mom's house for the kids to find!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #169

1. "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug."--Mark Twain

2. Leave the bedroom when you wake up and shut the door quietly, please.

3. Up, up and away, in my beautiful balloon...

4. Probably at home is where you'll find me.

5. Ooh! What is that interesting-looking book I've been wanting to read?

6. Being organized is a good idea.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting a good night's sleep, tomorrow my plans include going to some friends' house to eat homemade chimichangas and Sunday, I want to celebrate Palm Sunday!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break and Teaching Updates and a Meditation on the Evolution of Romantic Love

Hello, friends! Have you noticed I haven't blogged in weeks? Yeah, I'm sorry about that. Last week was Spring Break, and I was too busy a) helping my kids have an active social life and b) cleaning my house (which was FILTHY, let me tell you) to do any blogging. Oh yeah, I went to the dentist, too. I live an exciting life, for sure.

The week before that, I was in the middle of teaching, including grading eleventy million quizzes and entering them into the gradebook so the 3-week progress reports would accurately reflect the students' current progress. (Or, um, the lack thereof. One of my students currently has an average of 13. Thir-TEEN. It is not actually easy to have an average that low. It takes superior ignoring-the-teacher-and-wasting-time-in-class skills to get that grade.)

And THIS week has also been busy, but good. I made the decision (very wise, in retrospect) to start the week after Spring Break watching the first half of the movie(s) of Romeo and Juliet. The students were happy because A MOVIE! That we can watch instead of all this hard READING and WRITING and THINKING! And I was happy because they were mostly quiet and I got more grading done. Plus, it was an easy way to remind them of the plot since they had gone a week, I'm sure, without using the academic part of their brains at all.

We watched Acts I and II of the 1968 Franco Zefferelli version. You may be familiar with it. This is what the actors who play the young lovers looked like.

It  was interesting to see how my 15-year-old students responded to a movie made 42 years ago of a 400-year-old play. I thought they wouldn't like the historical setting and costumes, but they mostly took it in stride. Also, they liked the lead characters. I have this theory that movies set in a particular period still bear traces of the decade in which the movie is made, and this one was no exception. Romeo has full-on Beatles bangs, and Juliet wears hers long and parted down the middle like a flower child. Interestingly, the actor who played Romeo looked a LOT like Zac Efron, especially with the hair. This, as you can imagine, caused some sighs and giggles among the girls in my classes. I realized that the actor, Leonard Whiting, is about my dad's age--60. These girls were oohing and aahing over a man old enough to be their grandfather. Ha!

We also watched the Capulet's party and the balcony scene in the 1996 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. I was surprised that so many of the kids didn't like it. They thought the modern setting was jarring combined with the Shakespearean language. "Mrs. Andrews, the old version is so much better!" many said. I have always liked the newer one, myself--I think it's a clever update and Leo was dreamy. (He's MY age, so at least I'm in the same ballpark as my eye candy!) I'm not allowed to show the whole movie, since it contains scenes with violence (in Shakespeare! Whodathunkit!) and drug use (not in the original text, but goes a long way toward explaining Mercutio's Queen Mab speech). I realized while we were watching the balcony scene--actually the swimming pool scene--that I first watched the movie at my bachelorette party. Almost thirteen years ago. And I felt old. Especially because my husband and I used to be like R & J in one way--our families weren't at war with each other or anything, but we could hardly bear to leave each other after a date. We'd say goodbye, kiss, and be unable to stop kissing for a while, stop and say we really should go our separate ways, think of something else to talk about, decide to really leave this time, kiss again...and repeat for a couple of hours.

Now? We watch TV until we're ready to crash, talk for a while in bed, give each other a quick kiss, and zonk out. Not exactly the stuff of deathless romance, but I'm willing to bet that if Romeo and Juliet had lived and had a couple of kids, they would be the exact same way.

However, I did go home and lay some smooches on my honey, for old times' sake. Even if he looks nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio or Zac Efron, he's still the only guy for me.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #167

1. I am so looking forward to sleeping in next week during Spring Break!
2. We are going out to eat later.
3. When you get grumpy, count your blessings.
4. My family is a big part of my life.
5. If you need anything don't hesitate to ask me.
6. I wish I was going on a trip.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching American Idol with Miss Pink, tomorrow my plans include getting my hair cut (finally!) and Sunday, I want to hang out with my mom and dad because they were out of town last weekend.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I just feel so...wrong

Last weekend I bought an article of clothing endorsed by Miley Cyrus.

ACK. I can hardly even admit it.

It's a T shirt emblazoned with the British flag and it was marked down to $3.00. And I haven't bought myself anything in so long. So I HAD to buy it, really.

There were several other London-themed shirts in Miley's "collection" at Wal-Mart. Why, I wonder? Because she's been there? Well, I HAVE BEEN TO ENGLAND TOO, MILEY (although not to sing to thousands of screaming fans). England doesn't belong to you!  And I am going to wear my T shirt and not mind that my $3.00 helped you make your 150 million or whatever you end up making this year.

At least I didn't buy the one that looked like it had a black lace bustier on top of the T-shirt.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

64 Questions I Got From Facebook

Hey, everybody! It's been a busy week again--how would it not be with 170 students to teach, many papers to grade, and a standardized test to administer?--but I enjoyed it and am ready to go back next week. I really think I am going to miss being in the same school, knowing what I'm going to teach (because I planned it!) and being around "my" students--they are great kids.

Well, that's about all of an update I can manage right now. Here's a meme I got from Facebook and filled out the other day but never got around to posting. (The answers about "right now" were true then!)

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
My hair.

2. What does your favorite hoodie look like?
It's plain black--I need to get a more distinctive one, I guess.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
 Was it my husband or one of the kids? lol. Either way, yes!

4. Do you plan outfits?
Yes. Sometimes when I'm supposed to be paying attention to something else.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?
Uno cards and a 9 volt battery (they're next to each other on the desk.)

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
I honestly can't remember.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
No. By now I've met all my students.

9. What are you craving right now?
The dinner on the stove: bean soup and hot rolls.

10. Do you floss?
Yes, but I skip every other night or so. Bad Ali!

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
...Patch Kids.

12. Are you emotional?
HAHAHA. Have you MET me?

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
Yes. And also backwards, when I had frequent insomnia.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
Both. Mmmmmm.

15. Do you like your hair?
 Yes. Some days more than others. Right now I will like it better when I get a haircut.

16. Do you like yourself?
Yeah, I'd say so. (It wasn't always the case.)

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
Sure, if he was buying.

18. What are you listening to right now?
The music to Yo Gabba Gabba.

19. Are/were your parents strict?
Define strict...

20. Would you go sky diving?
It would be a cold day in Hades.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?
No! I hate the texture.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?

23. Do you rent movies often?
No, because Justin and I are too tired to stay up two more hours after the kids go to bed. We sometimes rent family movies or TiVo movies and watch them when we get time.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
I live with a seven-year-old girl. There is blue glitter nail polish and a rhinestone pin shaped like a treble clef an arms' length away, and many other examples nearby.

25. How many countries have you visited?
One: England.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?
Yeah, when I was a teenager. We used to call people late at night and tell them they were on the air to win a radio contest.

27. Ever been on a train?

28. Brown or white eggs?

29.Do you have a cell-phone?
And a cell phone bill.

30. Do you use chap stick?
My lips don't get chapped very often. I use my husband's Carmex when they do.

31. Do you own a gun?
Not personally, but my husband does.

32. Can you use chop sticks?
Sadly, no. I always intend to try but get too hungry when the food comes.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?
My husband and kids. Later I am going to my book club with several friends.

34. Are you too forgiving?
I don't know what this means. As a Christian, I believe I am required to forgive "seventy times seven."

35. Ever been in love?
I am.

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
He is working and then we are going to King Tut, our favorite Egyptian restaurant.

37. Ever have cream puffs?
This past Sunday, they were served at a reception and I had my kids try them (they weren't too sure because of how the cream puffs looked) and then they loved them.

38. Last time you cried?
When someone told me they were praying for us after the shop burned down.

39. What was the last question you asked?
"Miss Pink, where are you?"

40. Favorite time of the year?

41. Do you have any tattoos?

42. Are you sarcastic?
No, of course not *said in a sarcastic voice.*

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?
No. In fact, I have no idea what it is.

44. Ever walked into a wall?
Yes--I'm very clumsy.

45. Favorite color?

46. Where do you want to retire?
Wherever my family is.

47. Is your hair curly?
Not at all.

48. What was the last CD you bought?
I don't recall.

49. Do looks matter?
You have to be attracted to someone if you want to have a lasting relationship.

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
Maybe. If I really believed he was repentant and he proved he would do anything I asked to rebuild my trust. But it would take a long time.

51. Is your phone bill sky high?
I don't know; my husband pays it.

52. Do you like your life right now?
Yes, I love my family and I am having fun teaching.

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?
No; it's in the living room, so we turn it off before we go to bed.

54. Can you handle the truth?
I want to be told the truth, but break it to me gently.

55. Do you have good vision?

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people
I don't like the word hate, but I do dislike more than three people.

57. How often do you talk on the phone?
A couple of times a day. I don't like long phone conversations.

58. The last person you held hands with?
Miss Pink, when we were crossing the street across from her school.

59. What are you wearing?
A magenta knit dress and black footless tights.

60.What is your favorite animal?
As a pet, dogs; otherwise, horses.

61. Where was your profile picture taken at?
My living room. I need a new one; the walls aren't even that color anymore.

62: Can you hula hoop?
Not well at all.

63. Do you have a job?
I am a substitute teacher.

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?
Thank-you cards for people who blessed us with some money... and I hate that this is the last answer of this set of questions.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Wow, I made it through my first week as a long-term sub. It was an adjustment to start working for pay in September, because I had been a SAHM for seven years, but when I started subbing, I took a day or two off every week and caught up on housework and errands (and naps...but don't tell anyone). Then I stepped it up to working every day I possibly could (except the snow day and of course Presidents' Day) and that was another level of multitasking. Now I'm fulfilling all the responsibilities of a classroom teacher, all day every day, and it is a lot more work than regular subbing. I am busy every minute of the day except lunch, because I use any minute of down time to grade papers, plan the next lesson, record grades, provide make-up work, answer emails people who want me to do things I have no idea how to do, go to meetings, etc. The learning curve is steep, but the good thing is that I do enjoy doing this. You would think that would be a given, but I honestly wasn't sure I would like teaching again because I had a hard time when I taught eighth grade. Now I am having more fun with the students. I still don't like having to be the Mean Teacher (some students weren't too happy when they got bad grades on homework they had neglected to do and/or did a bad job on) but I am determined to get a thicker skin and make this my profession for life.

Today was Mr. Blue's birthday party. I can hardly believe my baby boy is four years old! I don't have the pictures on the computer yet--maybe I'll get to that before Monday.

Or then again, maybe I'll just fall asleep on the couch like I did three nights this week.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #164


1. Johnny Weir is someone I had to Google--and it turned out I'd heard of his costumes, I just didn't know his name.
2. Shamefully, I have not watched any of the 2010 Olympics (largely because my husband is not interested).
3. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was overcome by the urgent need to earn a living.
4. Treat yourself to something nice if you get an urge.
5. Having sweet dreams is a lovely addition to a good night's sleep.
6. What does it take to keep going when you don't know where you're going to get enough energy to do everything that needs to be done?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to putting the kids to bed, tomorrow my plans include going to a baby shower and (later) a birthday dinner for my dad and Sunday, I want to get ready for my first day teaching 9th & 10th grade English!

More Friday Fill-ins here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Still Numb

I don't know how to write this except to just write it. On Thursday night we had a record-breaking snowstorm for our area, and during the night the snow caused the roof of my husband's cabinet shop to collapse and somehow started an electrical fire. The fire department put it out before morning, but we didn't hear Justin's phone while we were asleep, and we didn't know about it until yesterday morning.

Some of the cabinets, the computer, the van and the covered trailer were, thankfully, salvageable. The main thing is to finish the couple of jobs that were in progress (one of them involves three complicated cabinets that the builder is withholding $45,000 until they are installed). It looks like Justin and his partner may be able to lease a shop from a man in our church to finish these jobs. We were down to almost no money in the company due to this builder refusing to release any money, so it's only thanks to family that we are able to even take this step. We could really use your prayers for strength and peace and hope that better things are coming.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I feel like I haven't had time to check in--and that's because I haven't. Last week I worked 4.5 days and then left on Friday for a women's retreat on a ranch in East Texas. It was a good experience and I even rode a horse for the first time, which I enjoyed. (I chickened out on the zip line.) But after I got back on Saturday night, we had church and a Super Bowl party to go to. All that sounds fun and it was but I didn't have time to do everything I usually do on the weekend. I then went back to work on Monday. I was supposed to sub the second half of the day for the teacher going on maternity leave, and spend the morning observing her classes and planning ahead for when I show up to take over. Instead, a lot of teachers called in and there weren't enough subs. I ended up subbing in other classes, then running back to Mrs. S's class when they did find a sub. I subbed in the afternoon for the Pre-AP English I classes. I had to go to the grocery store after school and I was exhausted last night. It doesn't help that I've been waking up an hour early the past few mornings.

I don't think I should go into all the details here, but things are still tough here with the business and adding nervousness about doing a good job in this position isn't helping. I would be thankful if you would pray for me.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Case You Didn't See This on Twitter...

I got the long-term sub job!

The assistant principal called me back on Monday morning (the interview was on Friday after school) to offer me the position "if I was still interested." I've never said yes so fast, except maybe when Justin proposed.

I'll be teaching mostly 9th grade English, regular English and Pre-Advanced Placement, plus one Pre-AP English II (which another teacher will help me plan for). I get to teach Romeo & Juliet, which I'm excited about because at least it's about love and that keeps teenagers at least somewhat interested. One week is the statewide test. I'll start once the teacher has her baby (she said, "I plan to keep teaching until the school nurse makes me leave") which should be the middle to end of this month, and so I'll be done the first part of April. Next week I'm going to sub for her while she has her doctor's appointment.

I wasn't sure at all that I was going to get it. All weekend, I kept thinking of how I could have answered the questions more smoothly. And the teachers (the one I'm subbing for and the department head) were polite, and they nodded and smiled when I answered their two or three questions--but that happened at the last interview I had, too, and I didn't get that job. never know.

This will really help--I'll be making more money and getting my name in front of the right people when they are hiring for the new high school or hiring replacements at the OLD high school. I am grateful for the chance to show what I can do.

Remind me not to complain when I'm tired from working every day, okay?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #161

Yay, it's Friday (or it will be by the time y'all read this!) Before I do the fill-in, here's some exciting news: I have an interview! No, it's not for a permanent job--but it may lead to one. It's a long-term sub job for 9th grade English, and getting experience at the high school will definitely improve my chances of getting a permanent gig when the new high school opens in the fall. Plus, it's 50% more pay (which is only fair since I'll be doing all the grading, lesson planning, paperwork, etc. that the regular teacher does). There are apparently a lot of people who try for these jobs and I'm lucky to get an interview. Please say a prayer, cross your fingers, chant or burn incense for me--but don't sacrifice any goats. Unless you need fresh goat meat. But don't make a big mess just for me, is what I'm saying.

Oh, shoot--if you think sacrificing a goat will guarantee me a job, go ahead and do it!

Here's the fill-in!

1. Wouldn't it be easy if kids listened and obeyed everything we said?
2. My marriage is better than ever!
3. I love the taste of salty and sweet things together--like chocolate-covered pretzels, or crispy fries dipped in a milkshake. Mmmm, now I'm getting hungry.
4. My husband is flipping through channels in the living room.
5. The first thing we're going to do is talk about everything we've got going on.
6. The rain outside goes drip, drip, drip; all night long. (it really is raining; hopefully it won't become ice by morning).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to making the kids pick up all their toys so I don't have to look at them all over the floor, tomorrow my plans include getting some scrapbook pages done with my group and Sunday, I want to celebrate 10 people getting baptized at our church!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind: #1-5

I ran across these questions over at The Wonder Worrier's blog and immediately decided to answer them, too. Like her, I'm going to do five at a time, randomly, whenever I want to blog but don't have something specific to write about.

Because I know you are all so interested in MEEEEEE.

No, seriously, I like reading other people's answers to these types of surveys, so if you decide to answer, post a link in the comments! And remember, like the original source said, these questions have no right or wrong answers.

1.  How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
I really do think I would be the age I actually am: in my mid-thirties. I like this age (well, I wouldn't mind being 32 instead of [gulp] nearly 35). I feel more confident and self-aware than I ever have been in my life. I've always been an "old soul" who never felt truly young and carefree even when I was. Of course, some days I feel about 80, but on the whole I embrace my current age.

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Copying Steph again here: I really want to say that never trying is worse. Carpe diem, and "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," and all that. In reality, I have always dreaded failing--to the point that I deliberately avoid things that I'm not sure I'd be good at. If it doesn't come naturally, I don't do it. This is not something I like about myself, and am taking steps to change. For example, in a week I'm going on a women's retreat, where I have promised to do two things I've never done before: ride a horse, and go on a zip line. I'll report back. It may be... interesting, to say the least.
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
Well, sometimes you just have to suck it up and do some things you don't like. That's called maturity, or "acting like a grownup." I don't have much sympathy for people who blow off their responsibilities because they weren't feeling excited about their job or their marriage every day. There's something to be said for sticking it out when the going gets tough. But the tradeoff should be that you balance that with things you DO enjoy. For me, that involves remembering to savor the everyday moments that make up my everyday life, like letting the kids pile on top of me on the couch, or making time for a hobby I enjoy.

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
Absolutely, because I talk a LOT. I hope my actions back up my words, however. One example: I hope my children don't say after I'm gone, "Mom talked a lot about loving us, but we never really felt she meant it."

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
I think I've answered this before in a post, but am too tired to look it up. I'd like to end child abuse, because I think it contributes to so many of the world's problems. If every child could go to bed loved tonight, what a different world it would be.

That's all for now! I'm looking forward to answering the next 5 questions!