Monday, April 30, 2012

Z Is For Zippy

Well, I made it all the way to Z with only a little bit of cheating!  I think it was easier this year than it was last year, which I suppose is good.  The posting action around here will be brief, if at all, this week.  Graduation Week is jammed with a thousand little milestones and every moment of my time is spoken for.  Which, unfortunately, leaves little time for the ole blog.  But I will be back with a vengeance next week!

Before I run head long into my party planning zone, I do want to recap my weekend.  My eye is clearing up nicely.  I really do think that it was mostly allergies, but I am using the antibiotic drops too.  I will not, however, be using the ones they gave to dilate my eye and reduce swelling. I had never had my eyes dilated before and I did not enjoy the experience.  (Particularly since it stayed that way for more than 36 hours!)  Thank you all for your get well wishes on Friday!

I got my eye back in working order just in time for prom!  It's one of my favorite school events of the year because everyone is all prettied up and shiny.  And my girls and guys did not disappoint!  It's always fun to celebrate the school year in a slightly different setting.  Plus, we were home at a fairly reasonable hour (as in before midnight)!

And Sunday, Amber, Casey and I got together to celebrate Casey's birthday!  We were planning on going to see our favorite local band but didn't feel like fighting through all of the bikers (there was a big motorcycle event on Sunday, too) so instead we hit up a local winery that was a little more relaxed.  We chatted, had fancy beer that tasted like grapefruit, and ate so much good food!  (Oh the cheese!)  I needed that time with two of my favorite girlies to ready myself for this week! 

Hope you had a great weekend too!  Do anything exciting?  I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Google

Stop making me cry while watching television.

Anyone else want to find Julie and make sure she takes Mark back?  Because seriously, Julie, national commercial equals one serious apology.  (And I refuse to believe that this is simply a made-up scenario and not real life.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

W, X, Y --Where I've Been: An eXplanation for You

Let me apologize in advance, but this entry is going to serve as W, X, and Y.  I know that's cheating, I promise, but it's the best I can do.  Yesterday, we had a great day of track.  A very hot day of track, as well.  I was already not feeling great, but I pretty much came home and went to sleep, whenever I wasn't sick to my stomach or trying to take down the swelling in my eye.  Because on top of a stomach bug, I seem to have also scored a prime case of pink eye or some kind of severe allergic reaction.  (Always the over-achiever!) 

So, today instead of going to the track meet with the little kids, I get to go to the eye doctor.  Not how I planned on the day going.  But at least it happened this week and not next, when I will be knee deep in graduation stuff.  And I am planning on taking tomorrow off to recooperate, and go to Prom.  One more week and my life is mine again.   (I think I can.  I think I can.)

Anyway, that's where I have been and that's where I'll be.  And I really just want to say how much I have enjoyed meeting people during the A to Z Challenge!  I can't believe I broke 100 followers.  I can remember the not-at-all distant days where I was pretty sure only three people were paying any attention to me at all.  I hope that you stick around too!  Summer is my favorite time to blog!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V Is For Virginia

I love a good road trip!  This year marks the fifth anniversary of our Annual Girls Road Trip!  And to celebrate, we are adding an extra person (hey there, Casey!) and a new location.  It's actually fitting that we celebrate this anniversary once again visiting Tara, since it all started back in 2008 when we went to see her in Charleston, SC.  That year, I swore that as a graduation present Amber would get to see the ocean, and with an assist in the lodging department, it totally happened!

 The next year, Amber was living in St. Louis (aka the STL), so I went to stay with her and a then-baby Butters!  We went to the spa, ate all kinds of goodness, raided Trader Joe's and checked out some art.

 In 2010, it was all about the beach again.  This time we headed to the Redneck Riviera, Gulf Shore, AL!  It was so much fun that we had to do it all again in 2011!

I am really looking forward Virginia!   It will be nice to all be together, which is always a good time yet happens so rarely, and we will be celebrating a certain little girl's first birthday!  Nothing says summer like a good vacation!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 4/25

1. William Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated on April 23rd...when did you last read Shakespeare? What's your favorite Shakespeare play?

I last read Shakespeare in college.  (I still read his sonnets in my classroom, however.)  Is it lame that I don't really have a favorite play?  I remember reading The Merchant of Venice in college and thinking that wasn't too bad. 

2. What food(s) would you recommend a foreign visitor try when they visit your home country?

I'm not completely southern, but I would have to say fried chicken with all the extras, with sweet tea and something completely sinful for dessert.  I don't know that it's uniquely American, but it's awfully good!

3. What's a lie you often tell yourself?

Tomorrow I am going to start working out.  I don't really mean for it to be a lie, and yet, I still haven't really done anything about it.  So, we seem to be at an empasse.

4. What's something you're good at that might surprise us? Remember this is a family friendly blog!

I am pretty good at basic home remodeling.  I can rip out carpet, patch drywall, and all manner of things like that.  If someone will show me how to do it, then it's on.  Which is good because I have several things I want to take care of this summer!
5. Who is your favorite animal character from a book?

I had to really think about this one.  When I was little, my parents used to read a Little Golden Book to me called Katie the Kitten.  They read it so many times my dad had it memorized.  (Seriously, he can still do parts of it to this day!)  Is it wrong for me to pick an animal with my name?

6. April showers bring May you have a green thumb?

I can grow anything as long as it doesn't have flowers.  And I remember to water it.

7. Speaking of rainy days...which one of the following activities would you most want to spend time doing on a rainy day---
  • sort photos and create albums
  • bake cookies
  • read a good book
  • hold an all-day movie marathon
  • organize closets, cupboards, or bookshelves
  • try a new recipe
  • fix something that needs fixing

 I would have to go all-day movie marathon, followed closely by reading a good book.  I will miss my mellow Saturdays for the next couple of weeks.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I can't believe we are finally to the end of the year!  I'm really going to miss my 8th graders, but I look forward to summer vacation and a new school year full of new things!

U Is For Uneducated

There are few things that get me on a soapbox like the term "education reform."  It's not like there aren't changes that need to be made to the American education system.  My problem is how these changes are made, and who is making them.  A politician has as much business legislating my classroom as I have negotiating foreign relations.  (Which is to say, none.) 

Just because something looks good on paper does not mean that it is practical or even particularly helpful.  I believe that mainstreaming has its place, but I also think that it is ridiculous to pretend that all kids are four-year university bound.  Because they aren't.  College isn't for everyone.  Some people don't need it to do what they want to do.  (This is where I would list off successful people who didn't go to college if I hadn't temporarily lost my will to Google.)  Some kids only need certificates to do what they want to do.  For instance, my sister will be graduating next week with her R.N. degree.  She attended a local community college, which has a nursing program that is ranked one of the best in the state.  When she gets a job, she will be making more money than I currently make.  Who am I to tell her that wasn't the right path?

Add to it that in my state, politicians are big fans of unfunded mandates, requiring more work of teachers and students, while stripping resources left and right.  The state has won't pay schools what they have been promised, but expect us to work miracles with less and less.  It just gets me all worked up!  (And let me just say that the people on the State Board of Education are almost as bad as the people in state legislature!)

Every day, I am faced with the intense needs of my students.  They don't all come to me ready to learn.  Some need attention, some intervention, and some need more than I can possibly provide in a school environment.  My work goes home with me every single day, even if there aren't papers to grade.  Doing this job is as difficult as it is rewarding and some days difficult wins out.  Some days I even think about doing something else, something easier on the soul.  But, I know I won't.  I am a teacher through and through, and you can't legislate that, no matter how hard they try.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T Is Also For Thirty

I am just over six months into my thirtieth year.  And so far, so good.  I feel like I am probably busier than I have ever been in my life, and even when I am overwhelmed, it feels good.  I've written before about how my actual thirty looks nothing like how I thought my life would be.  In all my imaginings, I was sure I would be married, have kids.  I thought I would have hit all of the "adult landmarks" people talk about. 

And outside of a house and a job, I haven't.  I don't know if I ever will.  But one thing that my thirties have brought me is peace with that.  No matter what happens, I'm okay with it.  I really and truly believe that this may very well be my best decade yet, come what may.  I am more comfortable with who I am and who I am not than I have ever been in my life.  For a girl who has been riddled with confidence problems her whole life (despite my attempts to pretend otherwise), that's kind of a big deal. 

I look at the kids I teach, even my seniors, and can't help but smile because they just have no clue.  They don't know how hard the next years will be, or how glorious.  Because they will be both. Living is simply the sweetest, most frustrating, most amazing thing.  And you can't see it until it's in the rear view.  But it makes me anxious to see what's next for all of us.

T Is For Tardy

I have a real post for the letter T, I just fell asleep before I finished it.  And since I am off to the senior picnic today, it won't be up before this afternoon!  Please accept my sincere apologies and check back later for the real post.  Thanks!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S Is For Sleepy

Like most of the posts this week, this will probably be short.  It seems last night that my allergies got the best of me, so I took a Benadryl.  And proceeded to sleep for the next 12-13 hours.  Guess I needed that.

Which means that instead of having hours before I am supposed to go out in public looking somewhat presentable, I now have an hour.  (And this morning, I am looking more than a little rough!)  But I can't miss a chance to go shopping (Thiry-One) for a good cause, The Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk For The Cure my co-workers are doing!  Fighting cancer and getting new bags?  Perfection!

When was the last time you shopped for a good cause? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

R Is For Roses

There's this stupid rosebush in my backyard that I have been trying to kill pretty much since I moved in.  It's not really on purpose, it's just that I have problem keeping things that flower alive and this rose bush is in the most inconvenient place ever.  My dad has cut it down, mowed it down, and it still comes back bigger and better than ever.  And because of that, I love it.  Persistence earns bonus points in my book.

And all I can think as I write this is that the stupid rose bush and I have a lot in common.  And all I can hope is that my Gardener rewards persistence, too.  Because some days I don't have much else going for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q Is For Quiet

Whenever I think about my personality, I think about this song.  I'm sorry about the Japanese subtitles, unless, of course, you speak Japanese, in which case, you're welcome!

Unlike Winnifred, I am a little bit shy when it come to being around new people.  But I am rarely ever quiet.  I love to talk. LOVE.IT.  And I have a big voice.  I don't mean to, that's just how it is.  My parents actually had my ears checked when I was a kid because they were convinced I was hard of hearing.  I wasn't.  I was just loud.  (Which isn't a clinical diagnosis, but maybe it should be!)

Sometimes this comes in handy, like when I am singing.  I can fill a church, auditorium or classroom with very little strain or effort.  When I sang with the girls, we would always turn my mic volume to half of what theirs' was.  (This confounded many a sound guy! But I always promised them I wasn't bothered by it!)  This also means that my inside voice isn't always situationally appropriate.  It can make me sound angry even when I'm not.  And my whisper is almost always not so much.

Even if it makes other people crazy (especially my mother), our idiosyncrasies are what make us unique, right?  Do you have a quality about yourself that you don't mind but makes others a little crazy?  Surely I'm not the only one.  (Please?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P Is For Pedicure

I'm pressed for time today and was too exhausted when I got home last night to write.  We had a great showing at the track meet, but being on the go for an entire day was just a little much.  (Also, I strongly dislike measuring high jump!)  Today, I am actually going to be off for the eye doctor, and since I was already taking the day, I am also planning on getting a pedicure and my hair colored.  I figured it might be my last chance to get those in before the graduation time crunch gets me in a headlock, and I could use a little relaxation!

So, today's question is:  What do you do to relax?  I promise I will be back tomorrow with something that has a little more substance.  Well, as much as I ever do any way!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 4/18

1. Spring is in the air (at least in my neck of the woods) and the birds are singing...what's your favorite bird?

I love birds.  As long as they are cool and don't flap around like they have lost their tiny little minds!  I'm a big fan of the tall birds, like cranes, herons and flamingoes.  This guy was huge and let me get really close to him on the beach before he flew off.

 His feet were huge!  (Or hers.  I don't know how to determine sex in a giant bird!)

2. Speaking of you tweet? If so tell us your screen name and we'll come flocking to your Twitter site. Even if you don't let's all pretend here that we do-in 140 characters or less, sum up your week so far.
I don't tweet.  The last thing I need is one more piece of technology wooing me with its wonders.  I will totally sum up my week in 140 characters or less:   Successful at coaching track.  Won ribbons.  Earned day off for eye doctor!


3. Its been reported recently that employers are not only viewing the facebook pages of potential hires but they're also requesting your facebook password to have a look at what you've kept from public view. What say you?
While there's not anything on my facebook that would be objectionable, I don't think it is any of my employer's business.  And I wouldn't want to work somewhere that insisted on that. 

4. It's April and you know what that means-Major League Baseball is back in action. What's your favorite baseball movie? If that's too hard, what's your favorite sports themed movie?
Bull Durham.  Hands down.  At least where baseball is concerned.  In decending order after that would be A League of Their Own and Major League.  Sports themed movies are a much longer list, including Remember The Titans and The Blind Side.

5. Something else this season brings-asparagus. Yes please or no thanks? If it's yes please what's your favorite way to have it prepared?
I will eat it, but it's not my favorite. 

6. What drives you? (Don't you love how I sandwiched that one in between asparagus and jugglers???)
How sneaky of you, Joyce!  What drives me?  Ambition.  Fear.  Passion.  Hope. It depends on the day and the situation.  But lately, I have been clinging to hope with all I've got.

7. April 18th is International Jugglers Day...can you juggle?
I am a terrible juggler.  I would like to believe that I can, but the dropped items on the floor say otherwise.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Summer vacation cannot come soon enough.   

O Is For Opening Day

Today is the first day of track season.  I've been a coach for four years, despite the fact that I never ran in school.  (Or ever.)  If I wasn't a little short for my weight, I think I might actually enjoy running, but I fear we may never really know.  I only really became the coach out of a fit of rage (directed at the coach at the time) and took the position when it opened with my colleague to prove that we could do a better job.  She did at least run track.  I knew next to nothing.  But I was willing to learn.

Just the same, while track season is very short, it's one of my favorite things.  Because it is an individual sport, you get to actually know the kids who participate.  For some reason, I always get the job of measuring discus.  (And if you thought my running knowledge was limited, you hadn't seen me on the discus!)  We had our kids throwing the wrong size discus (they looked like dinner plates) and then wondered why they couldn't throw them.  Thankfully, a veteran coach took us under his wing and showed us the ropes.  He still gives us crap about that, though. 

There are so many reasons that I shouldn't be a track coach.  I'm round.  I'm prissy.  (I really want some cute boots for when it inevitably rains and the mud's deep!)  I still don't know all the things I should.  My hurdles coaching is something like, "Just run until you get to a hurdle, then jump."  But I will do it as long as they will let me.  And there's nothing like Opening Day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N Is For Nothing

I spent a whole weekend doing a whole lot of nothing.  I ate a lot of hushpuppies and fried potatoes, did a lot of baby holding, watched a lot of TV.  And it.was.glorious!  Because these next few weeks are going to be so full of event after event that I will gladly embrace the downtime.  (I might have even reveled in it a little!)

In the next 25 school days I will have:  four track meets, two awards banquets, the senior picnic, two graduations, the after-grad all-night party, and. oh yeah, and teaching my classes for the remainder of the semester.  It's my favorite and my least favorite time of year.  Of course, those activities don't include events for my other job or my actual personal life (which I do occasionally try to have!).  I can't wait to share Casey's birthday and our Cinco de Derby party with you all.  Because sometimes, my life really is just about having fun like a normal single girl in the world.  (Which is a challenge in and of itself!) 

But, for today and today only, my word is nothing.  It doesn't make for a very good post, but it is tremendously good for my soul. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M Is For Movies

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the first movie that I remember seeing in the theaters.  My friend, Charlotte and I saw it together with her mom.  We couldn't have been older than first or second grade, but I still remember it.  Movies have had that kind of impact on me.  I've written it about it before, in fact.  During the 30 Day Challenge, I made a list of some of my all-time favorites.   And I even have a list of pretty famous movies that I haven't seen.  (It's my not-so secret shame, to be sure!)

Today, my office hosts a collection of well over 200 hundred titles.  Many are classics, some are stocked for viewing with the Divine Miss M someday, and a few I should probably be ashamed of.  (I openly admit that I frequent the $5.00 bin a bit too often.  I just can't help myself!)  I am many things, but I am not a movie snob!  Yes, I love Casablanca, but there's a time and place for Summer School, too.  It's nothing for me to watch three or four movies while I pretend to clean or do laundry on a leisurely Saturday.  Those are actually some of my favorite days.

Movies take us to places we may never see, into the experiences of characters whose lives we may never live.  And there has always been something so enchanting to me about that. Not just because I dreamed, like many other little girls, of becoming an actress.  Movies offered me a window into a world bigger than my hometown, and when you felt claustrophobic from the small minds of a small town, that was pretty much the best thing ever. 

What are some of your favorite movies?  Do you remember the first one you saw in a theater?  Your comments are the best part of this challenge!

Friday, April 13, 2012

L Is For Ledges

I've always been fascinated by things people fear.  Not in a mocking way, I promise, more in the same way that I love people watching.  It's interesting to know what makes people tick.  I knew a girl growing up who was afraid of sharks, and got nervous around any body of water, even though sharks are rarely found in freshwater, Midwestern ponds or the shower.  I mean, what causes our brains to imprint the things that panic us?  I'm sure there's some scientific explanation, but if you know, you don't feel obligated to school me.

I have two things that really mess me up.  One is ledges.  Heights don't really bother me, in fact, I love a good panoramic view of a city.  I've stayed in the upper floors of hotels without problems and been to the top of the Empire State Building without incident.  But I used to have panic attacks about looking over the edge of the church balcony.   One glance down on the rest of the congregation and I was a dizzy, short-of-breath mess.  I can't think of a single reason why.  I've never fallen over a ledge of any kind if you don't count being dropped off a diving board into the arms of my waiting swimming instructor by my mom as a kid.  (I refused to jump, so she helped.  And I still love swimming, so it didn't scar me for life or anything...)

My second makes even less sense.  I hate wind-up music boxes.  Can't stand them in a worst gift you could ever give me sort of way.  I have three beautiful NYC snow globes, and I have no clue what they play.  And if I have my way, I never will.  That is the kind of psycho music boxes bring out in me.  My grandma swears that this phobia is because I hated to sleep and they used to play a Winnie the Pooh wind-up toy in my crib.  I say it's because the high-pitching tinkling is Satan's house music.  I don't know who's right, but my friends will attest that playing a music box in my presence causes a high-speed come apart like no other!

Which leads me to you guys have any weird fears?  Yell them out in the comments!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K Is For Knights

In the immortal words of Bonnie Tyler, "Where have all the good men gone, And where are all the gods?"  (Ha!  Couldn't resist a Footloose reference!)   But, all joking aside, I do have a rather serious topic today. This is one of those rare moments where I may stray from being family-friendly, so be warned.  (But I promise not to get too far out of hand!)   I don't know what has happened to chivalry and loyalty in this world when it comes to relationships.  Where are the men of courage and honor?  Have those days gone for good?  If what I have been seeing is the norm, then it really makes a girl wonder if she even wants to be in a relationship.  And ladies, I'm not letting us off the hook either.  It takes two as they say, and it seems that a man who is looking to compromise a relationship (and himself) has no problem finding someone to do it with.  (Pun not intended, but just the same...)

But the question I really want to consider is why?  Why are we so willing to throw our morals to the wayside when lascivious activities present themselves?  Do we have to say yes just because it is available?  I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers.  You can check my dating background and see that.  But I'm just discouraged by men and women I have seen fall to the "grass is greener on the other side" mentality.  And I just don't get it.  Cheating is never excusable, but that's not to say it's not something a couple can come back from if both sides want to work at it.  But what's the deal with cheating in the first place?  It's become so common that we barely blink an eye at the news.  And that just isn't okay. 

I was raised in a fairly small community, and so my formative years were somewhat sheltered.  But when I think about the kids in my graduating class (of which there were a whopping 37), less than half of us had parents who were divorced and that was just in 1999.  But that is certainly not how it is today.  (And I live in the same community, in case you wondered.)  Maybe I am in the minority myself, but I believe that divorce is still a big deal, even when it is necessary.  But what I really find myself wondering is how can we turn the tide?  Is that even possible? 

I'm just talking out loud here.  I invite you to join me in this discussion, but I ask that you play nice.  We all are entitled to our own opinions and gracious knows I don't have all of the answers.  I'm anxious to hear from you...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J Is For Juggling

Before you even get started, if you want to read something on the same topic, but written so much better than I could ever dream of writing, go here.  It's fine.  My ramblings and I will be here when you are finished.  Moving on...

I've always loved a full calendar.  There was just something about writing in the appointments of my teen and college life in onto each pristine month that just made it all so official.  Even though I now enter most of them into my phone, my love for overbooking, keeping myself busy endures.  I, too, am a first-born, people pleasing, overachiever.

But here's the truth of the whole thing...I am the girl who can't seem to say no.  (And not in a fun way! tee hee!)  And the really confusing thing is that I'm not really that great at juggling it all.  It will all get done, and it will probably all be fine, but I routinely bite off more than I can chew.  And then feel lousy and stressed, and take it out on perfectly lovely people.  And I wish I knew how to stop. 

I get that the simple answer is to just say no more.  I wish it were that easy.  It seems like my job and pretty much every area of my life demands a little more of my time with each passing day.  And I don't even have a husband and kids.  (Seriously, ladies, I don't know how you do it!)

Since I live my life in school years and not calendar years, my goal for the 2012-13 year is to live in the present more.  I want to prepare ahead as much as I can so that when the big events come, I can spend my time enjoying them instead of stressing about them.  This is just one of the reasons why I have decided not to work an extra job this summer, even though I have been offered a couple different options.  The money is nice, but my sanity is more valuable.

Am I the only one who does this?  Surely not.  Make me feel better about myself in the comments.  (ha!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 4/11

1. Have you ever played golf? Any interest in playing? Do you have a significant other who loves to play? Did you watch The Masters this past weekend?

I have never played golf or really had an interest to do so, minus a few years of my misspent youth when we hung out at the country club in the summer trying to get boys to pay attention to us.  I do get a kick out of watching my brother practice and hearing my cousin's stories about throwing clubs and whatnot.  I like the sport just fine, I just don't really think that I have the patience to play it.  I did, however, watch some of The Masters this weekend, mostly because I did not have control of the remote after Easter dinner.  (And we couldn't get the Cards game at Grandma's.)   There was also a lively debate about whether Augusta's membership should include IBM's new CEO or not amongst the family.   (I'm firmly in the should camp!  Big shock, I know.)

2. Hats are back in fashion this do you feel about wearing a hat? (fyi-I'm not talking baseball caps) When was the last time you wore one?

I love hats, but I have a hard time finding ones that fit my giant head!  (Thanks, Dad!)  I need to get to shopping though because we have a Cinco de Derby party coming up and hats are a requirement!  (If you didn't know, the Kentucky Derby is on May 5th this year!) 

3. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 meaning proficient and 1 meaning "I'd starve", how adept are you at using chopsticks?

I'd have to go with a 2.  I just never mastered the art.  Probably my general lack of coordination.  Friends have tried to show me and everything, as most other people I know are proficient!

4. Has technology taken over?

I think the short answer is yes.  Which is all good and fine until something stops working.  Then you'd think it was the end of the world!

5. In the course of a day how often do you look in a mirror?

Not very often actually.  I usually get busy and forget.  The only exception would be if I had to run to the restroom or something.  Then I usually check.  This week I may be checking more often because I have yet to master how to make this new hairstyle look even halfway decent!  Which has caused much wailing and whining as I get ready in the morning...

6. Tulip or Daffodil?

Tulips!  I think they are just the most beautiful flower and they come in so many vibrant colors.  They are one of my favorites to photograph because their colors are just other worldly.  I feel the same way about irises.

7. I am proud of myself for __________________.

Is it sad that this question really tripped me up?  I mean, it's not that I'm not proud of myself at times, but I'm having a really hard time coming up with one event. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I can't believe that my seniors graduate in less than four weeks!  That means that crunch time is upon me.  I feel more prepared than I have in past years, which means that I am actually getting better at this, or that I am definitely forgetting something.  I'm betting on the second one!

I Is For Interruption

I wanted to take a break from more topic-based things and just do a recap of my little Easter Break.  Hope you guys don't mind!  But let's be honest, if you do I am still going to talk about it.  I mean, it is my blog after all!  ;)

Friday, I had a rather disappointing day shopping.  I just wasn't really in the mood, everything I liked wasn't in my size, and I wasn't feeling very well.  Complete shopping fail.  (I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever been there.  Am I right, ladies?)  Saturday, I mostly just lounged about until it was time to get ready to go to Holy Saturday Mass to see my SIL join the church.  The service was long, but very beautiful.  (Despite being raised Catholic, I had never been to the Easter Vigil.)  Which brings us to Easter Sunday!  After Mass, I spent some time in the absolutely gorgeous outdoors taking a few pictures.

Because of the crazy warm temps, Mom's clematis is already in full bloom.  This purple one is my favorite!
While I was taking pictures, my little brother was practicing his golf swing.  This causes my parents' outside cats to go absolutely nuts chasing the balls all over the yard!  They also would try to sneak them back into the garage when he wasn't looking.  It was pretty funny!
Don't believe me?  Here's your proof...
There's no real narrative for this cake.  I mean, my grandma made it for my cousin's birthday (we celebrated his and my SIL's 25th), but mostly I just liked how it looked (and tasted!).  It being the cake...and the picture, for that matter!
It was a very good weekend, even if it went by entirely too fast!  Good news is that it's only 29 days until summer vacation!  (And how could I let a post go by without this sweet face!  She had a very happy 1st Easter weekend, too!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

H Is For Happy

First off, welcome to Week 2 of the A to Z Challenge!  I can't believe how many new people I've "met" already and we are just getting started!  If  you are new here, welcome to the party!

Now let's move on to the letter of the day.  I'm just going to come out and say it--sometimes, being happy is hard.  Even if you have no real reason not to be.  And for someone who is prone to letting complaints pass her lips much more often than praises, I think it's high time for me to talk about just what makes me happy, and to do it in list form, which is always my favorite!

Things that make me deliriously happy....
  • German potato salad
  • My whole family gathered together in one place
  • This face
  • That song I loved but had forgotten about coming on
  • I no longer drive an 11 year-old minivan (though I am thankful to have had it in my hour of need!)
  • Drive-thru ice cream places
  • Milk Duds
  • We Bought a Zoo (watched it over the weekend and loved it!)
  • A good haircut  (getting one today, in fact!)
  • A long nap in the middle of the afternoon
  • Planning for vacation
  • Pedicures!
What's making you happy today?  Tell me all about it and let's all practice being happy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G Is For Games

Yes, as in The Hunger Games trilogy.  I'm normally not one to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to these books for a couple of reasons:  1) I don't particularly care for fantasy and 2) I don't enjoy reading something just because everyone else is.  And I'm pretty serious about this.  I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books or the Twilight series.  (And while I might someday read Harry Potter, you can't count me out on the sparkly vampires.)

I've had the books on my shelves at school since last spring, and from time to time someone would check them out and tell me I should read them.  But I didn't.  In fact, it wasn't until a week or two ago, when the build-up to the movie was at fever pitch that I really even gave it a second thought.  So, I picked up book one, The Hunger Games, and preceded to read it in slightly less than 24-hours.  Let's just say that despite the gore level a little beyond my comfort zone (I'm kind of a wimp), I love it!  I've finished Catching Fire since and am almost done with Mockingjay.  I can't get enough.  And I managed to start a bit of a family reading thing, because my dad and my SIL have both read the whole series as well.  (My SIL may have even read them aloud to my niece.)

They are well-written, vivid, with just enough twists and turns to make you want to keep reading.  Of course, most of you probably know this because I feel like the last person alive to discover how good they are.  The only thing that has me annoyed is that everyone is trying to make this a story about a love triangle, when that not really the point.  To do that takes away from the real story, one of Katniss Everdeen, a literary character worth looking up to.  (And we could use a few more of those!) 

Have you read the books?  Is there some other series you absolutely love?  (I will say that P just might be for one of my other favoritesm Percy Jackson!)  Let me hear all about it in the comments.

Wishing you a great Easter weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

F Is For Fair

This has been the first post all week that I had no clue what word I was going to use.  I had several thoughts, ranging from Faith to Frustration to words that are better left unsaid on a blog that's trying hard to stay PG.  But like all good ephiphanies, the word finally came to me in the middle of my morning shower--Fair. 

One of the mantras on repeat at school is that equal isn't always fair.  And while I know that this is intellectually true, some small part of me screams "And why not?"  I want things equal and fair.  I want my friends who are praying for a baby to get one, those who are sick to get well, and the answers to a million big and little prayers to come in the just the way that I have been asking for them because goodness knows that I have all the answers.  (ha!)  But at a conference that was not at all about religious matters, the speaker said that fairness is everyone getting what they need to be successful and that means everyone's paper looks a little different.  There's no place for comparison at the table because what is best for one is not necessarily best for another.  And it is not the students' job to make that call.  It's the teacher's.  Hmmm...couldn't possibly be a lesson in that right?  (God's sense of humor is sometimes too much for me!) 

So on Good Friday, as we mourn the death of Jesus Christ, we wait with hope.  Hope for Sunday morning, for something better, for something more.  And we remember that the cross wasn't a place for fairness.  Jesus died sinless and blameless for our sins, for my sins.  There's nothing fair about that.  But the Cross was necessary for our survival.  If there had been no death, there could be no resurrection. 

One of my fondest childhood church memories is of the Good Friday mass.  If you've never been to one, it's somber and a little strange, but I always waited for the ending with baited breath because I knew that meant Ms. Lewis was about to sing.  And when the time came, her notes rang loud and clear in the pin-drop quiet church:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Almost ten years later, I can still hear her voice so clear in my head that it gives me the chills.  No, I wasn't there in the physical sense, but the beatings, the exhaustion, the cruel torture of the cross, He would have done all of that just for me.  Jesus would have done it all for you, too, even if you were the only one to be saved.  Fair didn't even cross His mind. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E Is For Easter Break

By the end of today, I will officially be on break.  We didn't take a Spring Break because our school is getting out in early May, but we are at least getting a little extra time around Easter.  And I have big plans for my days off. 

It seems like most everything in my life right now is running just a little bit behind.  My to-do list is piling up in a way that makes me wake up in flop sweats in the middle of the night.  It's like I can feel it staring at me with its ticking clock and mounting demands.  It's really kind of annoying.  I mean, if I am going to have a million things to do, the least my brain can do is give me a good night's sleep, right?  But instead I wake up at 3:00 thinking about work stuff and and side job stuff and just life stuff in general and it's all starting to push me just a little to close for the edge for someone with six weeks left in the semester...

What was I saying?  Oh, yeah.  I really need a break.  I'm hoping to not just do the laundry or scrape the hairspray off the bathroom surfaces.  I want to take pictures (it's supposed to be pretty this weekend), and hug on my niece, and just breathe for a minute with no other plans or intentions.  And I want to especially celebrate what Easter stands for with my family.

Are any of you getting a little extra time off?  Got big plans?  Well, let me hear all about them in the comments!  (I am hoping to have a little time over break to spend more time visiting some of your blogs too!  I've gained ten followers just this week, and I haven't done a great job keeping up with everyone!  But I promise I will get there!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D Is For Divine

During last year's A to Z Blog Challenge, I did little introductions of some of my friends who are frequently mentioned on this blog.  It's my habit to talk to you, my people, as though you are a part of my life, even though most of the people in my real life don't read my blog.  (I'm quite serious.  My mom doesn't even read it!)  Well, since most of the introductions of my friends were done last year, that leaves only the newest people in my life to introduce, and today's is simply divine.  Or to put it more precisely, The Divine Miss M!

I've never waited for anyone in my life with as much anticipation as I did the birth of my niece this January.  And like any true diva, she made as grand an entrance as possible.  When she finally arrived just short of midnight on January 22, I knew that I had never seen anyone quite as perfect as she was.  Though I have already written about my own plans for children (or lack there of), it doesn't mean that I don't love babies.  There's nothing as sweet as cuddling a newborn and from the moment I held her in the middle of the night in that hospital room, I was hooked. 

If you know me in real life, or even have been reading very long at all, you know that I am a camera person, and Miss M has become my favorite subject.  I get a little grief over it, for sure.  My grandmother swears that she won't know her Aunt K if I don't have my camera in front of her face, but all I can think about it how amazing it's going to be to document her life.  I want to take all these pictures because one day, she will be big enough to want to see them.  And photographing people I love is kind of my love language.  (Trust me, you should see how many years of pictures I have on my hard drive!)

I'm already planning all the things we will do together.  I have wonderful aunts who spoiled me in a million different ways, and I can't wait for the day when she will be big enough for sleepovers and movie nights.  I've pinned a whole folder full of craft projects and special things we can do together.  I'm already anxious for the day when she's big enough to take to the theater to see her first musical.  We have plans.  Though she's too little for them right now, I have no doubt in a blink of an eye, she'll be big enough for all our adventures.  And I, for one, can't wait!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C Is For Curious

I've seen this little meme going around so, in case you are new here, or if you are just curious, here's a little more about me!  My friend, Crys, answered it last week!  You should stop in and tell her "Hi" too!

I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What do you pick?

Produce: Bell peppers (orange/yellow/red)
Bakery: A fancy bread with all kinds of grains!
Meat: probably don't know this, but I am freaked out by raw meat.  But I have handled chicken breasts with varied success, so probably that.
Frozen Foods: Ice Cream
Dairy: Cheese

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
Well, your question seems to be flawed because there's no way I am going somewhere with only three articles of clothing!  I don't leave the house for a regular day with less than three articles of clothing.  But, if I had to choose, I would say jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops

If I was to listen in on your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
  • "Please keep your hands to yourself"
  • "Really?"
  • "Lilah, stop it!"
  • "So, do you understand what I am saying?  Or are you just staring at me for fun?"
  • "Run!  Push all the way to the line!"  (track coach)

What three things do you find yourself doing every single day? What things would put you in a bad mood if you didn’t get to do them?

Setting my alarm for a half hour before I have to get up so I can afford to snooze, eating breakfast (which I used to rarely do), and checking Facebook.  (Sad, but true.)

If I didn't get to have an hour or so to wind downat the end of the day, time to check my blog, or a chance to talk with my mom or one of my friends during the day, I tend to be in a bad mood.

If you had a three hour block where no one was around, what 5 things might we find you doing?
  1. Watching movies
  2. Checking Pinterest or my blog
  3. Reading
  4. Scouting new music on iTunes
  5. Taking a nap!

You are headed to the zoo, but it looks like it might start raining. What three exhibits do you rush to see first?

This would be tragic because I love the zoo, and always have!  We went there all the time growing up! At the zoo closest to me, I would want to see the giraffes, the bears, and the gorillas.

What four (live) television shows do you wish would gift you free tickets?
  1. Ellen 
  2. The Voice
  3. Dancing With the Stars 
  4. So You Think You Can Dance

If someone offered to buy you a triple dipper ice cream cone, what three flavors would you choose?

I’d pick dark chocolate, strawberry, and rocky road!

Imagine you lost your purse at a retail store. When you go to pick it up, the cashier asks you to name five things that are inside it to prove it is yours. What do you say?
  1. Black and pink floral pouch with a pink zipper from my SIL 
  2. Green faux gator wallet
  3. Pink polka dot makeup bag with a cupcake on the zipper 
  4. "Shopping Is My Cardio" notebook
  5. 1000 ink pens loose in the bottom

Imagine you are at a job fair. You’re asked what careers you would like to pursue. Assuming you had the talents for said careers, how would you respond? (List four.)
  1. Singer
  2. Writer (of what, I don't know)
  3. Interior Designer 
  4. Psychologist 
If you could speak with your 16 year old self, what four things would you say?

1.  You are going to be a teacher, no matter how hard you try to say you're not.  And it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
2.  You aren't fat now, but you should probably get into working out.
3.  Your life is not going to turn out how you plan, but that's what makes it beautiful.
4.  Don't worry.  You won't peak in high school.  Your best years are yet to come.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B Is For Bravo

I miss performing.  I have been a singer all my life, and outside of singing the National Anthem for my high school from time to time, this is the first time in a very long time that I haven't had a place to sing for people.  I know what the girls and I used to do was worship and not performing, but it filled that place for me.  I'm not supposed to say that, it's supposed to be all about worship and it was, but I took pleasure in the idea that we sounded good, too.  I miss applause.  And even compliments, though I am terrible at accepting those.  I am actually a little shy, especially one on one, and I always get embarrassed.  Give me a whole room, and I will be nervous, but get passed it, though.  Give me one person paying a compliment and I duck my head like a little girl. 

I miss the atmosphere, too.  Not talking really talking about the worship setting here, but even farther back, to my actual theater-style performing roots, which I did as a child and through my teen years.  I love that feeling of butterflies right before and that glorious moment right after when you know that you nailed it just like you'd practiced!  The laughter of the crowd or the tears, and that wild applause after the final number.  If you've ever done it, it's easy to see why they call what you catch performing a bug, and why it is so hard to get out of your system.  There's no real cure for it, even time does't do it for some of us.

I guess that's why teaching appealed to me, partly anyway.  Between the hours of eight and three you may finding me singing or doing goodness only knows to gain the attention of my fickle audience.  And what worked for the last show may not work for this one.  But when you have them, when they settle in and really listen and beg for one more chapter, it's pretty great.

But I will always cherish the years of my life from seven to twenty, when time was something there was to spare and the stage was the most comforting place I knew.  And I will always, always think life needs just a few more opportunities for applause.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Is For Answers

First off, hello and welcome if you are stopping by from the A to Z Challenge!  Second, I did not win the Mega Millions even though I'm sure I would have been the best millionaire ever.  All my big plans will just have to wait....but onward to today's post...

So, Wednesday night, I had dinner with one of my oldest friends.  We had a wonderful, funny time catching up (two glorious hours of uninterupted dinner conversation) and went on our merry ways swearing we would get together more than just once every six months or so.  This is especially sad when we live just miles apart, but we both agreed to try to do better.

Old home week continued on my trip to WalMart, when I ran into another woman that I went to school with.  She works there and we tend to chit chat anytime I'm there, but as she was checking out my assorted items, she asked the question that most people tend to ask someone of my age, "So did you get married?  Do you have kids?"  My standard answer to the kids thing is, "Yep.  I have 80 of them and I get to send them home at 3:00 pm and do whatever I want for the rest of the day."  And that's true enough.  My students are like my children.  I love them with all I have.  I adore my niece, and my friends' children, and have great plans for all of the fun things that Aunt Katie will do with them.  But, I've said it before and I will say it again, I don't know if I want kids.  I would never say never, but the older I get, the more I feel like maybe that's not the life I am supposed to lead. 

The marriage thing is a little trickier.  I mean, to put it bluntly, it's not like any guy has asked me to marry him.  I've  never been the kind of girl who has suitors a mile wide and twice as deep.  I'm more of a "I can count them on one hand" sort of girl.   And besides, rumor has it, that unless you are some mail-order bride, a la Sarah, Plain and Tall (Katie, Short and Round does not have the same ring to it), you have to date someone first and I am not exactly great at that part.  That whole situation used to bother me, as well, but it's not really something I think about all that often anymore.  Sheena told me once that any guy who decided he wanted to be with me would have to be pretty great, because living alone as long as I have makes it hard for me to want to give up that level of independence.  And she was then, and is still, completely right.  I know how to live alone.  I am not bothered by it.  Sure, I have lonely times, but doesn't everyone?  I would never say I didn't want to get married.  If that man came along, I would jump in with both feet, but I am not waiting for it to happen either.

I love my life, crazy and funny and busy and full of all the things that life brings.  I love it just as it is, but am open to whatever comes.  And I wouldn't trade it for anything.  (But I'm pretty sure I would've been so much better at it with the MegaMillions!  HA!)