Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/29

1. Americans will celebrate Labor Day this coming weekend. Do you know what we're actually celebrating? (without consulting your friends Google or wikipedia, ahem) What's a project you're currently 'laboring' over?

Nope.  No answer for that first part without my beloved Google.  I know that I should, and I could probably make some kind of b.s. answer, but I won't do that to you.  As far as what I am currently laboring over, it would have to be my curriculum.  It's been a long time since I've worked this hard on something, and I'm really just barely getting started.

2. Labor Day also signals the unofficial end of summer for most of us...what summer food will you miss the most? If you're in the southern hemisphere feel free to substitute winter for summer.

I will miss watermelon the most.  No question.  And sweet corn.

3. A well known proverb states, 'It's easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission.' Your thoughts?

I think it is 100% true.  There's red tape and limitations attached to everything, so sometimes it's better to just go forward with what you have in mind and mend any fences after the fact.  If you were doing it with the right heart, people will probably understand.  Maybe.  Hopefully.

4. Food critic, film critic, book critic, art critic....which hat would you most like to wear?

 Can I rank them?  Film, food, art, book.  All of them fascinate me, but being paid to watch movies all day and write my thoughts on them, that would be a dream!  Food would be next, but I'm not a very adventurous eater.  That's Casey department.  I love books, but I don't really have time to read and I have a short attention span.   And I love art, but some of it I just don't "get."

5. When you were a kid, who (besides your parents) was your favorite adult?

I've always had lots of really great adults in my life, and it's only now that I realize how rare that really is.  My two aunties (so different, and both so awesome), my godmother (Linda), my grandparents (all four),  a bunch of really outstanding teachers.  They all brought special things into my life.

6. The astronaut, Neil Armstrong, passed away last week. He was regarded as a hero by many generations of people all around the world. Do we still have modern day heroes? What makes someone a hero?

I would certainly hope that we still have modern day heroes.  I think that heroes are anyone who goes out of their way for others, sacrificing things they may want or need in the process.  I can't help but think of all of the servicemen and women out there who do this every day without question.

7. I never get tired of __________________.

Ice cream.  Never ever.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

That whole film critic question has got me thinking about how many movies there are that I really want to watch and haven't yet.  I used to rent movies over long weekends (like the one coming up) and just binge on them.   I have a Netflix account and a huge wall of movies.  I guess I just need to get to it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Fail

I know I keep saying I will do better and then I don't write for a few days.  The tens of you that read this are probably disappointed in me.  But, such is life, I suppose.  One of these days I will get back to some kind of semblance of a schedule.  I can already start to feel things fall into a decent rhythm, so maybe that day will be sooner rather than later.  Until then, enjoy this hastily typed list:
  • I have a sinus infection, which I, of course, came down with over the weekend.  Antibiotics seems to be getting things back to normal, but it proves once again that children are just walking petri dishes.
  • Teaching children to sing parts (even if it is only two parts) has to be one of the greatest lessons in my patience and theirs ever.  Mine because I really want it to magically come together like on Glee.  Theirs because they have a choir teacher who can't actually sing harmony or play the piano with any consistent skill.  We shall learn together.  We will persevere.  
  • My niece is gets cuter, funnier, and smarter every time I see her (I have some new pictures to show you sometime).  I'm convinced she is a baby genius.  I may be slightly biased.
  • Vicks Vapor Rub Cream is pretty much the greatest invention ever.  And the only way that I have managed to sleep through the night the last two days.  Well, that and the mountain of pillows that are keeping me upright.
  • I have noticed that the people who are starting college look like absolute babies.  There's a special kind of horror you feel when you realize that the handsome guy across the way is young enough you could have taught him American History.  Bluh!
Anyway, what's been going on with you all?  I feel like I never get enough time to check out everyone's blogs or even reply to comments on here, but trust me, I read them all! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Come Over Here, Friday! Let Me Give You A Hug...

Oh people.  This has been a week.  I am blessed beyond measure and I am really, really tired.  Seven days of morning duty.  The first full week of regular classes and GED classes.  Overwhelming, but amazing.

Every single morning, before my feet hit the floor, I pray.  I pray for all of the things that need to be prayed over for my friends and fam.  Pretty standard.  But my new prayer has been for focus--focus on the things God would have me to say, be and do during the day.  And then I listen.  (Sometimes He lulls me to sleep again until the alarm goes off, not gonna lie.)   And I'm amazed by how much better my days have felt since I've been doing this.  It shouldn't be that surprising, but it is.

Nichole Nordeman even agreed with me about it this week on Twitter. At the time, I didn't really think it happened.  Totally thought I'd dreamed (dreamt??) it.  But when I checked back the next day, there the conversation was. Just one more reason why I love Twitter.  Where else in the world would that happen since Nichole and I aren't exactly having weekly duet meetings and ice cream?  (Though if we were friends, I'd like to think that's totally what we would do!)

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you pray for focus, you will probably get it.  Though what I am noticing is that God is now giving above measure so that I can do a little more.  Isn't that how it always goes. I've never been so tired, and yet so happy, in all my life.

Wishing you all a great weekend!  Promise things will pick up around here once I get my routines down.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/22

1. Aloha! On August 21, 1959 Hawaii officially became a US state. Have you ever been? Upon arrival would you prefer an orchid or a hibiscus to tuck behind your ear?

I have never been to Hawaii!  I have always wanted to go.  And I think I would have to go hibiscus behind the ear upon arrival.

2. Since we're talking tropical...what's your favorite food or beverage made with pineapple?

I love anything with pineapple.  My aunt makes a really great homemade pineapple ice cream.  So good!

3. Do you believe in soul mates? Explain.

I do, but I don't necessarily think that it has to do with a romantic connection.  I think there are people who come into your life that connect with you in ways that others just don't.   In my experience, those are the people who you have an almost second language with that no one else in the world would begin to understand.  You are lucky if you can have even one of these people in your life.

4. Share a memory about the house you grew up in.

When my brother and I were very small, I was maybe 8 and he was 5, we used to use the closet underneath the stairs as our fort.  I loved playing back there.  Sometimes we were camping, other times secret agents.   It's just a really happy memory from a house where there were many happy memories.

5. Are you comfortable with silence?

It depends.  I like silence sometimes when I am at home.  I will go hours sometimes with no TV or music.  I think sometimes you just need that to reboot.  I am not, however, comfortable with silence in conversation.  I have always been a talker and had a need to fill the space.  It's something that I am working on.

6. You spot a giant spider on your bedroom wall...what's your next move? (all spiders are giant, right?)

I grab a shoe and kill it.  Single girls do not have time to be wimps.

7. My idea of fun does NOT include ______________.

Camping.  My people don't camp.  I know some people really like it, but that is not me.  I love nature, and I enjoy exploring it.  But when I am done, I want to return to my house or a nice hotel and get a hot shower and something to eat that I didn't have to pack or catch.  I might adjust to an RV situation, but tent camping just isn't my thing.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am exhausted.  How is it that I eliminated things from my schedule and I am busier than I have ever been?   I am really hoping that once things settle into more of a routine, I won't feel so overwhelmed.   It has been full of good moments, and I really am happy with the way thing are working out, but it just a little much right now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday In The Park

I had the best Saturday I've had in a really long time.  It was one that I would like to put in a bottle and get out anytime I was having a crappy day full of responsibility and other grown-up things.  The first week back to school was relatively calm as far as first weeks go, but I needed that unwind time.  Luckily, I had some plans with some of my favorite people.  

For the first course, Amber, Cynthia, and I bought some winery lunch at Kroger (bread and oil, cheese, crackers, turkey pepperoni, and strawberries) and headed to one of our favorite local spots.  This particular winery has great sangria, and has the most relaxed atmosphere of any of the ones I've been to.  (And I happen to live in an area where there are many to choose from.)  We were joined by another friend and spent the unseasonably wonderful August afternoon shooting the breeze and generally just enjoying ourselves.

Once we had gone our separate ways, I ended up taking in the local county fair with Casey and her niece.  It was a beautiful evening, and while we watched her niece ride all of the rides, we might have also enjoyed some sweet tea and fair food.  Is there anything better than ribbon fries and fresh salt water taffy?  Here were a few of the pics I took.

Of course, I spent most of today in and out of sleeping because my allergies were really upset that spent all day outside yesterday.  I was a swollen eyed, wheezy mess, but it was definitely worth it!  And if that was great enough, I also am the proud owner of a working central air unit!  My trusty heating and air guy came and got me back to working order and though the window unit was keeping me cool, I am so happy right now!  Delilah is not as impressed.

 I hope you all have a great Monday!  (Because if you expect great things, sometimes they come true!)  Feel free to fill me in on what you did over the weekend in the comments!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Cool Stuff I Saw On The Internet

  • My cousin in a genius.  Like a Big Bang Theory kind of genius.  No really.  Need proof?  Read this article.  I don't know how you feel about the space program (and nothing personal, I don't really care), but I think the idea that he could help create a fuel that fits in a backpack and get us to Mars in weeks is pretty awesome.
  • I love So You Think You Can Dance?.  My complete lack of dance skills is well-documented here, but there's something about a well-danced routine that really moves me.  There are so many dancers I have fallen in love with, but Kherington and Twitch remain two of my favorites.  And last night's episode reminded me of one of the Mia Michael's routines that I just adored...

  • Have you all been to Gypsyville?  If you haven't, you should totally check them out.  I love their style in clothes and design!  And so does Miranda Lambert.  And we all know how I feel about her.  
  • And did you know that there's a show on that is basically musical chairs?  It bewilders me beyond belief.  Is this what we have come to America??  What's next?  Pin The Tail on The Donkey?  (No link, just a free rant.)
  • And just because it's Thursday and I can, you should totally check out one more video.  And since I'm also picking, it should be this one...(I promise it will make you smile, even if you are getting tired of the song.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/15

1. I included this quote (attributed to William H. Danforth) in my blog post yesterday... "The best cure for a sluggish mind is to disturb it's routine." When was the last time you 'disturbed your routine' and how'd you do it?

I'm back to work, so I am ten kinds of disturbed right now.  Getting up early, teaching new classes, adjusting to staff changes (including not have my mother in the building with me for the first time in my teaching career)'s crazy!  But when the dust settles, it will become the routine and the breaks will be what breaks it up!

2. What's your favorite fried food indulgence?

Fried foods are my love language.  But I'm trying not to eat them very often at all.  My favorite will always be french fries, but I have a soft spot for a well-made fried pickle or potato skin.

3. Did you have an allowance as a kid? What did you do with it? Do you give your own kids an allowance?

I didn't really have an allowance.  Mom and Dad just gave us money if we needed it, though they did award money if you did a little something extra around the house.  I think if I had kids, I would probably give them an allowance, but who knows?

4. What's something you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about how to put together my Common Core curriculum map.  I'm making progress but, I really wish I was done with all of them, so that I could start putting together more lessons.  It's a process, though, and I will see it through.  (I am repeating this as much as necessary.)

5. Is there anything you feel too old to do anymore? If so, what?

I am too old to stay up all night.  I was never that good at it (I like to sleep), but I know after every Project Graduation that I don't have it in me to let my inner teenager lose anymore. 

6. What's a song you think has a great first line?

"Hold on to me as we go, As we roll down this unfamiliar road..."  Home by Phillip Phillips.  I don't know that it's my favorite ever or anything, but it's the song that I am listening to a lot recently and am using to keep my focus when things seem out of control.  

7. Who are you writing to/for when you create a blog post? In other you write, who is the audience in your head?

I'm just talking to you all--my people.  I talk like I am talking to a friend, because I am.  I've "met" some of the coolest people blogging, and they are always the audience in my head when I write.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's Tuesday (because I am working ahead) and I'm already exhausted.  I don't know that I like what that means for the rest of the week.  I welcome any warm thoughts or prayers that you want to shoot out to the universe in my favor.  :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's the Last Day!

Hey, my people.  I'm a little late in posting today because it's my last day of summer vacation which, of course, means that I slept terribly (head cold) and didn't even take a shower until 1 PM.  However, when I did take that shower and put on clean clothes, I went to the grocery store because I was starting to have to make inventive meals again.  (And not in the Food Network way.  In the what do I have that I am put some peanut butter on way.)

I always seem to greet the end of summer with such mixed emotions.  I am sad that another summer has come and gone and I have gotten to less than 20% of what was on my "List of Thing I Have To Do This Summer."  But, I'm excited about the new school year.  There's been a lot of changes in staff and in what I am teaching and how I am teaching it, and I'm just ready to get to it, you know?  I'm ready for the adventure that awaits.

My goals for the new school year are pretty simple.  And I know that you are dying to hear them...

  • Spend more time thinking about the craft of teaching.  I actually resigned two the extra positions that were taking up much of my non-teaching school time for that purpose.  I really want to focus on what I am teaching, why I am teaching it, and why it's important for my students.  
  • Be more organized.  Every year I say this, and every year I don't seem to make the kind of progress that I want.  I'm going to try harder this year and see what happens.
  • Think before I speak.  Everyone is not looking for my input.  (Even if they should be.)  And I may suffer from that condition where I say things out of anger before I really think about how it sounds or what I mean.  I'd really like to work on that.  (Jesus would like me to work on it as well.)
  • Stop stressing out about unimportant things.  Enough said.
Fellow teachers, what are your goals for the year?  I would love to hear them.  And if you aren't a teacher, maybe you could just share your goals for the second half of the year.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's Friday Already?

If you are visiting from Kate's blog, I wanted to take a minute and say Hi!  You can learn more about me in general from the About Me tab.

Well, I have survived my first week back to an almost normal work schedule.  The kids start at the end of next week.  I'm more excited and terrified than I have maybe ever been (and this is my tenth year)!  Changing over to the Common Core and teaching two subjects I've never taught before is a lot to manage.  And that's not counting my side job teaching GED prep classes.  But I feel really good about all of it at this point!

And if that wasn't enough, I have actually managed to lose a pound this week.  I'm still not sure how I am going to fit working out five to six days a week into my school schedule (though I do have a workout partner starting this fall), but I'll manage.  For the first time ever, it is actually important to me, and when something's important, you make it work.  One thing that I have noticed is how much more energy and focus I have since I've started working out regularly.  However, I'm also ready for bed by ten, too.  Guess I burn up all that energy during the day, huh?

You'd think since this is my last long weekend before I start back to work officially on Tuesday that I would have big plans, but I really don't.  I'm probably going to be really boring and spend most of my time continuing to clean my house.  I have all of these things I want to do around here, and while most of them will have to wait until the funds become available, that's not true of all of them.  So maybe I'll make some progress.  Who knows?

Well, I'm just not that interesting today.  Sorry if you are new here and hoping to be dazzled by my brilliant prose.  I promise sometimes I actually talk about important and interesting things.  Anyway, I can't wait to meet all of you that are stopping in!  Leave a comment and tell me what your plans are, or just say Hi.  Wishing you a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/8


1. In an effort to combat obesity, the mayor of NYC has plans to ban the sale of large sugary drinks (anything over 16 oz.), initially in restaurants, movie theatres, and street carts. Corner stores would also be affected if they are defined as food service establishments. You can read more here . Your thoughts?

I'm all for choosing a healthy lifestyle.  That said, I also believe that we don't need government to establish laws for every facet of our lives.  Some things are just not their business.  And sometimes, you just really need a Route 44 Cherry Limeade no matter how many calories are involved.

2. Art festival, music festival, food festival...which would you most like to attend?

Music.  There are so many really amazing ones, but I just want to make sure that it isn't one that requires me to camp out like some hippie.  I've said it before and I will say it over and over and over again, my people don't camp.   (But God bless you if your people do!)

3. What are you irrational about?

HA!  I'm irrational pretty much all the time about something.  Once I get keyed up, I will create the most ridiculous worse-case scenarios I can dream up, and proceed to freak out as if they are actually happening to me.  When I said that I needed Psalm 27 as my life verse, I wasn't kidding.

4. Do you feel confident you'll have a comfortable retirement?

Not if my state's politicians won't keep their hands out of the retirement system!  I do not what to teach middle school until I am 80!!

5. What's been your favorite Olympic moment so far?
(Not ever, just in the 2012 Summer games)

I loved the Fab Five (or Fierce Five, as some have said), Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin winning gold and Oscar Pistorius.  I have a new favorite every day it seems.  But the moment that really stood out to me was Jessica Ennis coming across the line at the heptathlon.  Her joy was evident, and to win in front of her home just really moved me!

6. What would you label as the messiest room in your house?

Right now, all of them.  Living out of my living room is not doing much for my cleanliness.  Not that it's ever really that clean around here...

7. Do you follow your heart or your head?

My heart tends to take off running and my head usually has to catch up.  Sometimes neither of them are that great with the decision-making skills.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Do you watch Bunheads?  Because seriously, I am a little in love with it.  Amy Sherman-Palladino makes me love Paradise almost as much as Stars Hollow.  Stacy Oristano (Mindy from FNL) is so funny!  And Sutton Foster?  She's my Broadway hero.  Need proof?

LOVE her!  And if all of that wasn't enough, there are so many of the actors I adored in Stars Hollow popping up in Paradise too!  Kelly Bishop's character, Fannie, would make Emily Gilmore lose her mind!  With each new episode, I think "This was the best one!"  I know a few of you have been watching too.  Thoughts?  Opinions?

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Brain Is Mushy

I'm in the middle of a three-day workshop on the Common Core Standards.  And then, I have another workshop for my other job on Thursday.  My brain hurts from all of the thinking, and we are really just getting started.  If any of you wonderful teachers have any resources you love, especially if you teach middle school language arts or social studies, please feel free to share.  I will sing your praises through the halls and in my classroom, I promise.

And I have a meeting to secure my loan for the AC unit I need tomorrow.  Would covet your prayers for a quick and relatively painless process where that is concerned as well.  Hoping to have it all over and done with in the next couple of weeks.  This is when it is less than fun to be the single girl.  I hate having to figure out how to handle all of this on my own.

In much cheerier news, this morning was the first morning that my legs didn't lock up at some point while exercising.  It was also absolutely delightful outside at 6 AM.  So much so, that if I would have had more time I would have walked farther.  One day down, six more to go.

I know this has been absolutely fascinating, but it's all I have.  I promise I will try harder when I'm not about to fall asleep at the computer.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

I didn't really intend to be absent again.  But then, I didn't really plan for my entire heating and air unit to go to its eternal reward, either.  It has not been a particularly pleasant week.  Well, that's not really true, because I actually had fun staying at my parents' for three days, and my trusty AC guy came through with a window unit so I could move back home and not die of heat stroke.  As I said on Twitter this week (you should follow me, if you don't already), even when things don't go as we hoped, there are blessings to be had.

In fact, while I wasn't here pounding away on my keyboard, I went to lunch two days in a row with my mom and sister, bought one table and convinced Mom to get another for me for my birthday (which isn't until October), and got some new school clothes on super sale.  It was a good time!

Today has been pretty sweet as well, though somewhat unexpected.  LuLu and I got to church just before the service started and were immediately guilted into singing in the newly-formed choir by my dear friend (but maybe not for much longer), Sandy.  I love to sing, but it was an experience in sight-singing because I only knew one song (we sang five or six),  But we winged it okay, I suppose.  Apparently, we are now in for the duration, which makes me laugh.

The rest of the day post-lunch and WalMart has been spent prepping for the start of school.  While I won't have students for another ten days, I have workshops and prep starting tomorrow.  That beginning of the school anxiety is already creeping in, but I am trying not to focus on it.  The important things will all get done, and those that don't probably aren't that important anyway.

Finally, I thought it was time for a little weight loss update.  I didn't get my exercising in last week like I should have with everything else going on, but I'm hoping to improve this week.  I don't know that I really lost much, but I have felt better.  And I think that's what really matters anyway.  Wishing you all a great Monday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/1


1. I'm joining my daughter1 in the 101 in 1001 challenge. Essentially you create a list of 101 things you hope to do or accomplish in the next 1001 days. What's one thing you'd put on your list?

I think my big one would be to return to NYC!  I haven't been there since 2000.  And there are so many shows I would love to see and things I would love to do!

2. How many remote controls do you have in your house? What's one item in your home you wish could be operated by remote control?

In my whole house, I have four.  One item I wish I could have on a remote control is the AC unit, which has been giving me fits this summer!

3. What does having it all mean to you? Is it attainable?

I think having it all is the idea that if you work hard enough or attain enough success, you can have all of the things you want.  I think this is attainable to a degree, but if you are a driven person, I'm not sure that you can ever really be happy.  

4. What's your favorite movie soundtrack?

There are a lot of really great soundtracks out there, but the two that immediately came to mind were The Big Chill (which I learned when I was four) and Love Actually.  My Best Friend's Wedding got a lot of play for a time there too.  

5. Describe the best view you've seen from a rooftop.

I would have to say that it was either the view from the Empire State Building or from the World Trade Center (I was there in 1998).   Being able to see the entire city was just incredible!

6. What's your least favorite thing about summer?

The sweaty miserable weather!  It's been ridiculous here, just like in the rest of the country!

7. Our weekly Hodgepodge falls on the first day of August. In ten words or less sum up your July.

So.  Very.  Hot.   

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I can't believe that I am officially back to work next week!  While I still need to do a great deal of prep, I'm actually starting to get excited about everything that awaits!