Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 3/20

1. March 20th is the first day of she a lion or a lamb in your part of the world? 

A very cold lamb?  Right now, it's sunny out but I had to scrape ice off my windshield.  I am ready for at least slightly warmer weather.

2. What's the most dreaded task on your spring clean to-do list?  Do you have a 'plan of attack'?

If you saw my house right now, you'd realize I'm not kidding when I say the first item should probably be "Buy bulldozer!"  The musical has not been good for my marginal cleaning skills. 

3. 'em or hate 'em?  What's a favorite dish you make using peas?

Love 'em!  I make a pasta dish with peas and other veggies in it and it's one of my favorite things.

4.  Do you feel under appreciated?

I'm a teacher in a public school system.  So, yes.  

5. Have you been using Google Reader?  If so, what are you switching to now that GR has announced retirement?  If not, how do you read your favorite blogs? 

I haven't been using Google reader.  I pretty much just read blogs off my blog roll or from bookmarks.  Is that bad?  Was I supposed to have a reader all along?  Thanks, Google, for leaving me with nothing but questions.

6. Anne Bradstreet is credited with the following quote~

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;  if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." 

Agree or Disagree?  Why?

First of all, I love Anne Bradstreet.  I teach "To My Dear and Loving Husband" every year.  But as to the quote, I think that she's right.  If you don't have hard times, the good don't feel nearly as good.  Even though it rarely feels that way when you are dealing with the hard times.  

7.  When did you last 'spring for something'?  What was it?

I have really been trying to be careful with my money.  And if you know me, you know how crazy difficult that is for me.  I am a lavisher of gifts for others and for myself.  That said, I got a pretty nice haul at Sephora on our little jaunt to the big city a couple weeks ago!

8.  Insert your own random thought here?

This musical stuff is exhausting.  And awesome.  I will be ready for the last show to come, but I think I will miss it.  Sort of.  Good news is I won't really have much time to think about it.  Track practice starts on Monday.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What Happened Last Week

It really has been a week now since my quick trip to the city, but between rehearsals state testing, and parent-teacher conferences, there just hasn't a wealth of time to write.  For Christmas, my bestie, Amber, got me tickets to see Pentatonix with her at this great venue in the big city.  If you don't know who in the world I am talking about, they were winners of the last season of The Sing-Off (which NBC is bringing back later this year) and the stars of their own YouTube channel where they post their awesome covers.

I didn't take too many pictures, and for whatever reason I can't get the ones I did take to transfer from my phone, but hopefully I will get that worked out and be able to add them soon!  We had amazing seats--dead center, fourth row balcony and as good as they are on TV, Pentatonix is at least 100 times better in person.  Avi, their bass singer, hit notes so low they rattle your chest.  And Kevin, the beatboxer, was also pre-med at Yale educated and a cellist.  (He played while beatboxing for us.)  All of the singers in this group are so very talented, and the only downside was that Kirstie, the lone girl in the group, had been very sick and so she was singing altered parts for much of the show.  (But bravo to her for even being there, because I can't even begin to tell you what a baby I am when being sick affects my singing voice.)  Their arrangements didn't really miss anything though, because Mitch can sing a soprano part with the best of them.  He hit a note that was so high I'm pretty sure it could have shattered glass.  I just can't say how great they are enough, and if you get the chance to see them, go!

But the concert was only half the fun.  Amber and I were both able to get Friday off work, so we got to sleep in, have breakfast (Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera, I just can't quit you!), and get in some shopping.  We visited our mecca--Sephora--and spent a blissed-out hour just wandering around trying to decide what new things we wanted.  We also found some darling things at Naartije Kids for Miss M.  (You know you are officially an adult when you would rather spend your "fun money" on your niece instead of yourself.  It was so much fun!)  And we finished it all up with a trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Hacienda, home of the best margarita in the Midwest.  (As voted by me.)

But as fun as all this stuff was, spending time with Amber was really the best part.  We don't get to have those kind of days as much as we once did, so it was fun to just hang out.  We have such a groove when we travel together since we cemented our friendships by initiating the annual road trip.  It was exactly the kind of break I needed before embarking on the very busy last quarter of the school year!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 3/13

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money? Visited a casino?  Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?

I do play the occasional game of chance.  I haven't ever played bingo for money or bet on a horse, but  I have visited a casino (once because it was in our hotel in Puerto Rico and once for my sister's 21st) and bought a lottery ticket (when the jackpot gets up really high, I just can't resist!).

2.  Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage meal this St. Patrick's Day? Mashed-baked-hash browned-french fried...your favorite way to have potatoes?

No corned beef and cabbage for me!  But I do love me some potatoes.  I will eat them just about any way, but I think fries will always be my favorite!  (They are Miss M's favorite, too!)

3. What's the last thing you felt 'green with envy' over? 

I don't get seriously jealous very easily, but I often am a little envious of friends who get to travel.  It seems like several of my friends (in real life and online) have been getting to do some really fun things recently, and since I almost always have a little bit of wanderlust, I have wanted to go too!

4.  What's at the end of your rainbow?

Not to get overly philosophical here, but I think what's at the end of my rainbow is hope.  I mean, if the rainbow is a symbol of God keeping his promises, then there's always hope to be found, right?

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank (June 12, 1929-March, 1945).  Anne's diary detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazi's during the war ranks as one of the best selling books of all time.  Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal?  Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?

I really want to journal, but I'm not very good at it.  (As evidenced by my infrequent blogging of late.)  But I have at different seasons of my life kept a journal.  I really enjoy looking back on things I was thinking or feeling (it's usually comical).  

6. What's an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow?

I really enjoy brightly colored things.  I have a couple of sketches that are very colorful, my favorite being a sketch of a street in Central America that I picked up at a charity auction.  I had to wrestle it out of the hands of another woman who was sure that she'd won it, but it hangs in my entryway and makes me smile every time I see it.

7.  Write a limerick with you as the subject.  You can do it!!  Just remember this is a family friendly blog...don't make me get out my wooden spoon. 

Dear Joyce,

 I am usually more than glad to play along, but this requires way more brain power than I have currently available.  If I get a chance, I will try to write one later.  (Form poetry always was my downfall.)

Love, Katie

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I only have the rest of this week and all of next to survive and the musical will be over.  I'm sure it is going to be great, we just have to make it 'til next weekend.  Prayers and good wishes are appreciated!  :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kelly's SUYL: On Being An Aunt

I've always been the kind of person who likes kids.  I think most are cute, funny, and fun to cuddle.  I love to listen to a little kid giggle over something.  I have not, however, ever really had the urge, at least up to this point, to have one that I am fully responsible for 24/7.  Let's just call it like it is: first, I'm single which puts a little hitch in the plans and second, I'm kind of selfish with my time.  I like sleep.  A lot.  I love quick trips to major cities without having find a babysitter.  I love spending the day watching a movie or reading a book uninterrupted.  Additionally, I am a teacher, so I deal with kids all day long. Junior high school kids. The last thing I want to do when I leave work is to have another kid to deal with.  Well, except for one.

You see, almost 14 months ago, my brother and favorite SIL gave our family its first grandchild, my first niece.  She is the most darling thing in the history of the world.  What?  You don't believe me?  Here's The Divine Miss M last week.

It's hard to tell, but she's wearing my sunglasses on her head.  Needless to say, I'm pretty much hooked on this girl and have been since the moment she was born.  For instance, I made a quick trip into the city (just got back a couple hours ago) and the best part of my trip wasn't the hour I spent in Sephora or lunch at my favorite restaurant.  Nope, it was buying this sweet girl a couple of new outfits.  (And I'm chomping at the bit to give them to her!)  I think she's the funniest, smartest, sweetest little person in the world.  (I'm hopelessly biased, but also right.)  While I still love that I can pass her off to her loving parents when she's feeling a little fussy or has a dirty diaper, she's pretty much it for me.  She's my favorite photography subject and the only little one I will let give me far-too-sloppy kisses!  

I can't even begin to think of all of the adventures we will have as she gets older.  I already have lists of movies I want to watch with her on our future sleepovers, books I want to buy for her to read, places I want us to go together.  You see, my aunties always spoiled me and made me feel so very special, and I will have no less for Miss M.  It actually makes me teary to think about how grateful I am to have her in my life.  I rang in the New Year with her asleep in my arms and it was the best one yet!  

Who knows if I will ever have kids of my own, but being an aunt is one of the best experiences of my life.   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 3/6

1. My real life friends came through with another question this week so thank you real life friends. When you've eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts? 

I always mean to, but I forget to do it once I get home. They usually offer pretty good incentives for completing them, too!

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts? 

In the type of warfare that happens today, women are on the front lines even when they aren't, because the "front lines" can be anywhere troops are.  I think that we have come to the point where saying they can't serve in combat was primarily a rule in the books, and not the reality for those in a war zone.

3.  In looking back at all the blog posts you've written, what's your favorite post title

I don't know that I really love any of them.  I'm never witty enough in the moment to come up with really funny or clever titles.  My titles are usually more about starting the conversation or capping what I'm talking about.  

4. What's worse-overly permissive parents or overly protective parents?  Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category?  If you're a parent where do you fall? 

I sometimes joke that if you want the worst-case scenario, talk to my mom.  She means well, but sometimes she's a little too into preparing for the worst.  I'm exactly the same way, so I get it and it doesn't really bother me anymore.   My parents were not overly protective.  I didn't ever have a curfew as long as I was truthful about where I was going and what I was doing, and I understood that even if I was out late on Saturday with friends, I would be getting up for 8:15 Mass.

5.  Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city...which one's your favorite? 

My favorite is probably moonlight with lots of stars, because it just awes me how beautiful the night sky can be.  But I am pretty passionate about the other three as well.  

6. Dr. Seuss's birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What's a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years? Explain. 

My parents read to me a lot.  One of my favorites was a Little Golden Book called Katie the Kitten, for obvious reasons (how cool to have your name in the title of a book, right?).  My dad read it so much he can recite it.  Books played a huge role in my childhood.  I am the only one of my siblings that seems to have inherited my parents' love for the written word.  I remember spending whole days reading as a child.  I was a big fan of The Babysitter's Club books and of the spin-offs.  (Babysitter's Little Sister featuring Karen anyone?) And thankfully, I still love to read.  

7.  To quote Dr. Seuss...

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." 
from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Share something funny you've recently read, seen or heard.

Yesterday during class, a group of my 8th grade boys had me in tears laughing at their live commentary while watching The Sound of Music.   They are always a pretty funny bunch, but their dry sarcasm about the whole thing was just too much!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am really trying to scrimp and save as much as I can to get some things paid off.  But I'm allowing myself a little break in the next couple of days to do something fun, and I can't wait to share about it next week!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kelly's SUYL: A Day In My Life

First, I feel like I should just say "Hi!" since some of you are probably new.  I'm Katie---a single, 31 year-old teacher in the Midwest.  I feel like everyone probably thinks their own days are pretty boring, and I am no exception.  Right now, I'm in the middle of prepping for state testing next week and the school musical and the beginning of track season at the end of the month.  So, this is what a normal Friday looks like right now:

5:40 AM - Alarm goes off.

6:15 AM - I finally get up hitting snooze a few times!  I've had the worst time getting going this week!

6:15 - 7:25 AM - Shower, find something to wear (depending on my laundry situation, which is typically sort of dismal), eat breakfast and get my hair and makeup finished

7:25 AM - Grab something for lunch and I am out the door off to school.  No early music rehearsals on Friday mornings before school so I have some time to get myself together once I get into the building.

7:35-7:55 AM - Get things ready for today's lessons and take care of anything that still needs attention from yesterday.  (For instance, this morning I reviewed the testing schedule for next week and started making notes of any questions that I needed to ask for clarification on, since I volunteered to post the schedules in the hallway for our students.)

8:00 AM-9:35- Bell rings and we're off!  Today, my two sections of American History students reviewed a section they had done summaries of earlier in the week and we looked at some pictures of World War II propaganda posters online, which we will be discussing in-depth next week.

9:35 AM-10:25 AM - My planning time. Today, I was focused on getting things together for the hallway testing schedules, on ordering paper fans and umbrellas for the musical on Amazon, and getting good news about being able to take a day off next week for a special event!  (YAY!!)

10:30 AM - 11:10 AM - Choir time!  Today, we worked on things for spring concert, including Coldplay's "Fix You", "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles, and Bon Jovi's "Living  On A Prayer."  I like to do a mix of contemporary songs and more traditional choir songs.  All of my students also have Jazz standards or Broadway pieces that they work on as solos.  (This is in addition to anything they are working on for the musical, which more than half of the choir is part of!)

11:10 AM - 11:35 AM - Lunch.  This is usually time I spend in my room reading blog posts and doing anything to just give my brain a break for a few minutes.  I also prep for anything I need for my afternoon classes if I haven't yet.

11:40 AM - 12:30 PM - Music Appreciation.  Currently, we are studying Jazz music, so we are watching a concert featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald.  I love it, the kids tolerate it.  Next week, we are moving back into a musicals segment.  (I'm thinking it's time for Singin' In The Rain for this group!)

12:35 PM-2:10 PM - My two English sections work on some testing prep stuff together.  We've been working on test-taking strategies, and a little last-minute practice on the interactive whiteboard adds a little fun to all the work!

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM - I rule over a study hall this hour.  My subjects are always a little fractious on Fridays.  We are all pretty happy when that bell rings for the weekend!

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM - Except I don't get to go home yet.  The director and I work with different groups participating in the musical on Friday afternoons.  She takes the K-5 kids to rehearse music.  Today, my group is fitted for costumes while we work on choreography for the three biggest dance numbers.  If everyone is picked up on time, I am finally out the door before 5:00.

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM - Because have the morning duty short straw next week, I decide to finish up the testing schedules and get them posted instead of going straight home.   By the time I get everything finished I'm out the door a little later than I planned, but I'm ahead of the game for next week!

5:30 PM - Phone rings.  Mom wants to know if I want to meet her and Dad for dinner at a local place, their treat.  Free dinner that I didn't have to cook?  I'm all in on that. Brush my hair and I am out the door again!

6:30 PM until I crash for the night:  Recently, my sister and I have been having dinner together on Fridays and just hanging out.  Now that she's working midnights at the hospital, I don't get to see or talk to her much until the weekend.  But this has been a long and somewhat relentless, so I will probably chill solo, watch a little TV or a movie (love hulu and Netflix!) and go to bed early!

Just another day in the life of this not-so wild and crazy single girl!  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is up to!