Friday, July 16, 2010

Hey.....It's Another New Post and It's Only Been a Month Since the Last One!

Have you missed me? (Please lie and say you did.)


I've not forgotten about my blog, nor have I had a change of heart about my love of blogging but there have been some technical issues at my house recently. A few weeks ago, David had the land line cancelled. It feels so weird to not have a phone that has a cord!!!! As you may know already, we have dial up at home. We tried to find a simple solution. We bought an iPhone that had tethering capabilities. Don't ask me what that means, but after over a week of working on the computers at home, David was able to get it to work. I've found that I end up checking facebook and email on the iPhone instead of cranking up the computer. As for blogging, I've tried it on the iPhone with little success. I can still blog on my desktop computer but even with the tethering it still runs slow and there are some things that I'm still not able to do/see on the Internet. By the time I get situated, I'm tired. So there you go.....


I've been working a lot in my classroom, getting ready for the new school year. No, I'm not getting paid for all this time that I've invested but if you've been following my blog even a little, you know that I had over 135 boxes of stuff that I packed and inventoried when I moved rooms in May. I had to unpack all of it and find it new homes in the new room. So far, so good. I'm feeling pretty good about the progress that I've made. There's still more to do and I'm going to tackle that on Monday.


Well, as per my usual, I'm tired. Tired of working, tired of thinking. I'm going to go but hopefully you won't have to wait so long for my next post. I appreciate all of you for staying in there with me!

Toodles!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Movie Theater's Most Recent Scam--3D Movies


Okay, what is the deal with all the movies coming out in 3D? I think that there a few movies that do benefit from the 3D experience....Avatar being the most recent. But please tell me....what purpose does it serve to have Shrek 4 or Toy Story 3 be in 3D? Are you telling me that there are action sequences between Donkey and Shrek or Woody and Buzz that can only be understood and/or appreciated with 3D? I think not.


I have a theory.....I think that the movie industry is just trying to fleece us for two more dollars per ticket. And then...the audacity!!!! They ask you to recycle to your glasses as you leave the theater. I'm thinking....um..hello? Didn't I just pay $2 for my glasses and $2 for Raelynn's glasses? You want me to recycle them? I don't think so! I refuse to think that they need the extra money to make the movie. If you want to earn my trust, Mr. Big and Mighty Movie Companies, offer a reduced rate for those who come to the movies with their glasses from the last 3D movie we got fleeced at. That's what's I call recycling....not wearing a pair of glasses that someone else has already worn before me. That's not recycling....that's just gross.


Does anyone else get a headache from the 3D stuff? I can remember going to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (another worthless 3D movie) with Raelynn and wishing I could leave the theater because my head hurt so badly. I think that a 3D movie with lots of action could also make me feel sick to my stomach (motion sickness) but so far they haven't made any movies like that, so we'll never know. To me, I feel like I'm already paying an arm and a leg to go to the movies, I don't want the expensive experience leaving me feeling sick. Who pays to feel sick? Stupid question....I guess I do....since I can't seem to not go to the movies.


You know, if the movie companies want to impress me, they could make movies that include scents. I'm thinking that if I could experience that during a movie, I'd pay the extra few dollars. For example, "Eclipse" is being released next week. The book talks about how Edward (he's a vampire) smells so unique to Bella (she's a human.) And as you may know, Bella's scent drives Edward crazy and he has to keep himself from killing her everyday. That's a scent that I think would enhance my movie experience. If they can do all this fancy stuff with animation and special effects and 3D stuff, surely they can make a movie that smells. I'm just saying.......


So having said all that, I'm debating whether I should take Raelynn to go see Toy Story 3. I heard it was really good. Fortunately for me, the theater here offers the movie in 2D and 3D. Guess which one I'm going to see? That's right....the 2D one....I'm going to stand up for my principles....and use the extra money to buy popcorn. At least the popcorn will smell good and that's worth the extra money.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Over the hill? What hill? I don't remember any hill!

Hello dear and faithful readers (all 2 of you)-


It's been a little while since I've updated my blog. There are many reasons and excuses for this. Instead of giving you the sorry excuses, I'll just tell you that I've spent my time since school got out packing my classroom and enjoying summer. For those of you that are faithful readers, you'll be shocked to know that I ended up having 135 boxes o'crap from my classroom. That's right readers....I keep everything. And most often, I can find it if I need it. The problem seems to be remembering what I have. But that's another blog for another day.


Over the past week or two, I'd be out doing this or that and I'd think to myself, "That would be a great topic for a blog post." And then, of course, I get home and I'm doing a million other necessary things and I forget the brilliant idea I had earlier. So, just know that this post may include lots of tidbits about stuff, but it's not because I'm ADD, it's because I'm sure you're dying to get caught up on all the exciting events of my life.


Topic 1-Classroom packing

As I've said earlier, I packed 135 boxes of stuff. The last month of so, I've enjoyed a little game I like to call "Find the liquor store boxes before anyone else does." This game takes lots of talent and lots of cargo room in your vehicle. I have a moderate amount of both. I ended up getting lots of boxes and have lots of them left over. The teachers at my school are scheduled to start moving their stuff at the end of this month. I figure that if it took my two weeks to pack up, it'll take the rest of the summer to sort through it all and put it away. You'll be happy to know that while I was packing, I numbered and inventoried all the boxes so I would know what is in each one. We'll see if this helps me. Unless I packed a bunch of moving company workers, I'm thinking it'll be slow going. And of course, I'm assuming that I'll be the one that has to move all the boxes. I could be wrong on this, but again, that'll be something I'll find out later. I'm tired of packing and I'm glad that's over.


Topic 2- Extreme Logger

David's dad hauls logs and cuts and sells firewood for a living. Not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. David asked me to go and help him and his dad awhile back but each time we tried, things got in the way. This past Tuesday, I saw that there was no getting away from it. So I went. I lived to tell about it....but barely. I don't think there's any way that I could express how hot and tired I was when it was all over. Probably the worst part was that I got hit a couple of times with logs, as well as dropping them on my foot, etc. I wasn't feeling so great when I left, but I can wear my scars with pride. David likes to watch this show about extreme loggers on the Discovery Channel, and I felt like I was in my own personal episode. Let's just say that if I ever wondered if a job outside was a calling I missed, I now know for sure that it isn't. Education is the name of the game people. Unless you want to work hard and get hot and sweaty, you should go to school and get as much education as you can. This gives you many more options. That's all I'm going to say about that.


Topic 3 My New Toy

Starting in May, every two weeks we have a celebration in our house. First there's Mother's Day and then two weeks later is David's birthday, followed by my birthday two weeks later, and then followed by Father's Day a week later. David is very low key and practical. He doesn't like a big fuss made over him and doesn't want any presents. Really. Me.....I'm not that great of a person. I like a little attention and a gift is nice. David always asks me what I want and I never know what to tell him. This year I was ready. What I've been wanting is an iPod. In my mind, I'm going to start walking/running and it would be nice to have some music. David asked if I wanted one that plays video. Video? I hadn't thought of that. I ended up getting an iTouch. I love it. My friend Wendy gave me an iTunes gift card and helped me get it set up. I'm enjoying it.


Topic 4 Getting Older


So today is my birthday. Lots of people have wished me a happy birthday on facebook....that's always nice. You want to think that people think of you...and with facebook that's possible. I'm not happy about getting older. In my mind, I'm not that old. I don't feel old.....mentally. Physically it all depends on what I'm doing and how long I'm doing it for. A friend on facebook said to not be sad that I'm aging, but to think of it as getting better. And that's what I'm going to do....I'm going to get better.


You know really....many people die everyday. I've been fortunate in that my parents are both alive, my husband and daughter are doing well, and my brother and his family are great. But someday that won't be so. I should cherish and relish the fact that God has given me another year on Earth. Another year to spread His love. Another year to learn more about myself. Another year to love others. Another year to speak life to those around me.

And that's what I plan to do....after all, I'm not getting older, I'm getting better.


Have a great one......life your life with passion....this moment won't come again!!!!! (And tell your friends about my blog....I'd love to expand my readers...)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

87 is a magical number

Today's marathon of box packing was productive. I took many trips to the dumpster, so for those of you that think I'm a hoarder, think again. I know 87 is a lot of boxes. All I can say is that many of the boxes were small. I'm packing boxes as if I'm going to be the one that is carrying them. And in all reality, I will be moving them with the help of my husband. There were things that surprised me today....I have about 20 boxes of construction paper, card stock, and copy paper. That's a lot.


There were some things that I threw out. Yes, I threw them out. Curious about some of those items? Here are some of them, in no particular order.

*green cherry tomato baskets
*colored art sand
*colored stones
*beads
*markers
*pencils
*cotton balls
*vinegar
*vegetable oil
*calculator that looks like a bar of chocolate
*notebooks
*Christmas decorations
*felt
*faux fur
*paper cups
*broken plastic baskets
*paint
*folders
*toothpicks
*chalk
*magazines
*plastic shoe boxes
*paper bags
*fold down sandwich bags
*aluminum foil
*wax paper
*plastic wrap
*soda bottles

Yes, that's quite a list. And that's just part of it. More work to do tomorrow. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blah

I'm tired of packing boxes. It's starting to make me feel overwhelmed. The end of the year is always bittersweet. I'm so glad to not have the everyday pressure of teaching, grading, test scores, etc. but my social connection to my teacher friends is hard to maintain outside of school. One of my dearest friends is moving to Kentucky. She was the first person that I met at school and the first person I ran into at Walmart that knew me. That's how I knew I was becoming a part of the community. When she told me she was moving a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I had been sucker punched in the stomach. I still can't believe she's leaving. It's very hard to say good-bye to someone that is instrumental in my day to day saneness.Anyway, I'm feeling sorta blah.....I'm hoping that tomorrow's marathon box packing adventures snaps me out of it. I'm afraid to say that things couldn't get worse. As some of you know, things can always get worse. In the meantime, I'm going to keep packing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If MacGyver Was a School Teacher, He'd Look A Lot Like Me


Does anyone remember the TV show, "MacGyver?" I think it was from the 80's. I don't remember it, but looking at this guy's mullet hairdo, I'm thinking I got the decade correct. Anyway, for those of you that may not know about this show, it was an action-type show and the star, MacGyver, could get out of any jam he was in with simple household items. Crazy stuff like he could build a bomb out of paperclips, glue, and a hairnet. Now that takes talent.
I mention this show because I am the self-proclaimed MacGyver of my school. See, I'm moving classrooms this summer and I've started packing up all my stuff. I've been teaching for 17 years at a total of two schools and a total of 3 classrooms. I've not had many opportunities to weed out my stuff. And I have a lot of it. I joke that I'm like MacGyver, because if you need something...no matter how odd it may be, I'm sure I have it. And I'm usually really good about loaning my stuff.
Please don't confuse the amount of stuff I have with the qualities of being a "hoarder." This is now a show on TV and I've watched it in horror. It's one of those shows you can't stop watching. I don't live in filth and I can throw things out. I'd say that I'm not a hoarder, but I keep more things than the average person and/or teacher. It's not a sickness worthy of an intervention...yet.
If you aren't a teacher, you may not know what kind of stuff can accumulate. Yes, I have the regular stuff like markers, glue, and scissors, but I also have some more rare and unusual items as well. What kind of things, you ask? Let me lay it out for you.....
Here are some things that I've found as I've started cleaning out my room: (Note that I have a hard time parting with any of this stuff so I guess that means I'll have lots of boxes to move.)
*glue: bottles of white glue, rubber cement, and glue sticks. Lots of glue sticks.
*scissors: kid scissors (at least a class set), fancy pinking shear-type scissors, large handled grown up scissors (at least 5 pair)
*string type things that bind: fishing line, twine, pink string, white string, clothes line, yarn in 18 different colors
*green cherry tomato baskets you get at the grocery department
*35mm film cannisters-many of these
*glitter: big bottles, little bottles, in pen form, in glue form
*measuring cups: at least 3 different types (including cups and individual plastic cups with the marks on them showing the different measurements
*vinegar
*vegetable oil
*wax paper
*aluminum foil
*plastic wrap
*rulers: clear and wooden (I have a class set of each) as well as a class set of Master Rulers, and laminated paper rulers that have the different measurements marked on the lines
*dice: white, red, green, as well as blank number cubes with the stickers you put on them. I also have overhead dice and large foam dice. I have a large container that holds all them.
*dried beans-about three different kinds stored in gallon size baggies
*baggies: snack size, quart size, sandwich size, gallon size, two gallon size, and the kind that don't have a zipper (which I hate)
*several large wooden dowels
*yard sticks and meter sticks-there are several of both in both wood and metal
*9 different sets of playing cards
*scales: balance, gram, spring
*folders: a multitue (and I'm talking MANY) in various colors: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, orange in both paper and plastic...also with and without clips and/or pockets
*magnets
*pH paper
*food coloring
*funnels-about 8
*stopwatches-about 9
*rubber bands-many in various sizes and colors
*empty soda/water bottles: 2 liter, 1 liter, pint, quart, gallon
*fabric scraps
*ribbons
*blank Christmas greeting cards
*calculators-a class set
*overhead clock/calculator
*overhead manipulatives: money, place value pieces, fraction tiles, ruler, spinners, thermometer
*dominos
*paper: construction, tissue, tracing, handwriting, lined notebook, copy, colored, drawing paper, card stock
*Tennis balls
*tape: masking, packing, painters, duct
*extension cords-about 9
*guinea pig stuff: empty cage, tubs of food, play castle, treats, play yard fence, food bowl, water bottles (2)--note that there is no guinea pig in my classroom or at my house
*cotton balls
*popsicle sticks
*Q-tips
*toothpicks
*pattern blocks (plastic and wood)
*clocks: wall, plastic Judy clock, class set of wooden mini-Judy clocks
*straws-about 800
*envelopes
*pens, markers, pencils (more than I can count of each)
*books, books, books
*file folders
*dividers
*plastic sheet protectors
*paperclips in various sizes
And all of this emcompasses about 3 shelves in one of my cabinets.....get the picture? If you need it, I've probably got it. But....can I find it? That, my friends, is the question....I don't have the answer for you but I can tell you that MacGyver (me) will keep looking.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Box Hunting Adventures

So today I introduced some of my friends to my most recent obsession. For those of you just joining us, the obsession I'm referring to is the acquisition of boxes. See....I'm moving classrooms. I'm also a pack rat. If you take the fact that I've been teaching for 17 years and I don't throw anything out, you can imagine how much stuff I have to pack. I'm trying to clean stuff out as I pack, but so far, I've mostly packed books. Throwing out a book is very hard for me. I think most teachers feel the same way. I haven't gotten to the other stuff like film canisters and fishing line. Those things will be easier to chunk. (I have plenty of those items that need chunking.)


Let's just put it this way....I've currently got 34 boxes packed and it doesn't look like I've even started packing. So you can imagine how many boxes I'm going to need. Which leads me to explain my extended drives to and from work.


If you've ever moved, you know that liquor boxes are great. They aren't too big, so that means that you won't pack them so full that you can't pick it up later, and the boxes are pretty thick since most of them hold multiple glass bottles. Our town, as best I can figure, has 5 liquor stores that I know of. Note that I said know of ....not, know. Three of them are on the main highway through town, and the other two are off the main drag. I've found myself driving the long way past as many of these stores as possible in the hopes that I'll come across some boxes. There was one time this week that I was going to swing through Krystal's for some breakfast, but I thought that instead I'd use some of that time looking for boxes, since I've never looked for them in the morning. I ended up being thrilled because I scored 13 boxes that morning!!!!


Just so you know, this new obsession means that I've got lots of boxes stacked up in my classroom. If you add to this that I've got a dear friend that owns two businesses and receives shipments daily and she's saving those boxes for me, then it's no surprise to know that I'm not "box poor." So my compulsion to look for liquor boxes hasn't been as keen over the last few days.


So imagine my thrill today when I'm going to lunch with some teacher friends and all three of them started complaining that they needed more boxes. I suggested that we swing by the liquor stores on the way back and maybe we'd get lucky. The only thing better than finding boxes for myself is finding boxes for others. So we swung by four of the stores and got 18 boxes. Score!!!! The only thing to dampen my spirits is that it was totally pouring rain and we all got soaked as we ran around getting the boxes in the car. We filled her trunk and each of us had two or three boxes in our laps. It ended up great though...each of my friends got 6 boxes and I got to indulge in my latest obsession once more. It was fun.


Don't think for a moment that I won't indulge my obsession again soon....after all, I still have about 1,006 more boxes to pack..... That means I still have many liquor store trips to make. You'll know it's me....I'll be driving around, slowly looking for the perfect box....which in this case means that it's cardboard. The rest is negotiable.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chum is to Sharks as Boxes are to Teachers That Are Moving

Boxes, boxes, boxes on the brain. I hate moving. I hate packing. I hate worrying about whether I'll find enough boxes. I've driven by some of the liquor stores in the hopes that they'd have boxes....so far I've only scored three. With the help of friends and family, I have acquired some boxes and I've been packing up my classroom for about a week now. Even though I have 15 or 16 boxes packed, I now realize I will need a ton of boxes. I've been doing well with my inventory. I pack each box carefully, then inventory the contents on a master list, label and number the box, then stack them by my teacher desk. I'm hoping this will help me know if anything is missing. And with the number of boxes I know I'll have, that's a distinct possibility.


In the meantime, I'll be cruising around town, looking everywhere for boxes I can use. And if I get bored, I think I'll use them like the people in the picture on this post. Now that sounds like fun!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Rant About State Testing

It's Friday and I'm so glad. This has been a long week....state testing is done and my kids worked really hard. It's a shame that so much hinges on their performance on these tests. There's no way that a test can show the amount of confidence a child has obtained or the number of new friends they've acquired. Those are important things. The test also doesn't show how much children are hurting and the kind of situations they come from. Sometimes it feels like we're treating them all like cattle. And they're not. Each one is special...has special strengths, special weaknesses, and special home life circumstances. Those are not things that can be tested. But no one asked me what I thought when creating No Child Left Behind. Sorry if I sound so bitter.....but I have to say-This legislation has really taken the fun and creativity out of teaching. It has added stress to the students, the parents, and the teachers. But it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. So I guess if I want to stay in the teaching field, I better find a way to live with it......


And I will.

Because each child is special to me......unlike cattle.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Everything Counts

"Mrs. Rosamond, does this count?" I can't tell you how many times a week I hear this question. My standard answer to this is, "Yes....(fill in the name of the asking student) Everything counts. Even lunch." Most teachers take this question as a code for "Do I really have to try on this assignment? Can't I just "phone" it in?" A wise man (this would be my husband) is the one who really introduced me to this concept. It sounds so simple, yet it's something we don't really consider.


This past summer, I was a participating fellow of the Mississippi State Writing for Thinking Institute. A whole summer dedicated to writing and the teaching of writing. And 6 graduate hours to boot. We wrote constantly, which makes sense since it was, after all, a writing class. Each day we had journaling time and then those that wanted to could share. The first week or so was difficult for me....I had a hard time finding my place.


For those of you that know me in person, you may find this hard to believe. Outside of situations in which I feel really comfortable, I have some social insecurities. Add to this that I tend to run a little on the paranoid side, well, it makes for some awkward situations. After a little bit, when I find my footing, I loosen up. So this past summer, I was looking ahead to an entire month of 8 hour days, five days a week with people that I didn't feel I fit in with. It was overwhelming. One of the gals there wrote and shared one day the story of how she and her husband adopted their son. She was skeptical at first, given that she and her husband were 50 at the time. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember this....the catalyst was a phone call from a friend asking if she and her husband would consider adoption. I think prior to that she hadn't really given it any serious thought. Of course, the story had a great ending and my friend is this incredibly wonderful mother to Sam, who started school this year. And it got me to thinking.....


What if she hadn't been home when the phone rang? What if she had never met that person that called her about the adoption? What if she had said something during the course of their friendship that had caused tension and they drifted apart? Would my friend Linda still have found her son? I believe in destiny and that the Lord's plan for our lives is perfect....if we would have enough sense to get out of His way....but still......did that friend of Linda's even have a clue of how that one call changed her life in such a major way? Did she have any inkling that she'd play such a vital role in this little boy's life? This got me to wondering...and as most people know, this can be dangerous for me.


It led me to write a pivotal piece that summer entitled "Everything Counts." I wrote it to the ladies of the summer institute but the essence was that everything we do counts, even the small stuff. The smile you share with me today may be what helps me overcome some sadness that I feel and thus enhances my teaching efforts that day. And a good day of teaching has no limits. If I can reach or teach just one student a day, I consider that successful. Once you touched a person's life, your influence continues through their life and influences those around them. It was a profound piece for me, and I believe is what helped me find my place among those ladies that summer....but what if I'd never written that piece?


You see.....it all counts.....it matters. All of it. The crummy day you've had and the following terse comment in passing with me may cause me to question myself, my motives, or dredge up some deep issues I've yet to deal with. My students, my family, all those around me benefit or hinder from my life. Am I speaking life or death to them? Am I going to consider the weight of my words and how they could be used to lift another or tear them down? Sadly, the answer to this is that we most often are wrapped up in our little lives and don't think how it will effect others. I'm really bad about this. I'm constantly trying to "get over" myself and see the bigger picture. All I can say in that regard is that I'm still a work in progress.


I am the sum total of all my experiences. Experiences that involve others. We are in constant contact with others, and we bounce little bits of ourselves off the other person to see what returns. If it's good, we continue in the same manner, always looking for increase. If our efforts return void, we look into ourselves and alter the parts that need changing. We are like hedge clippers for those around us. We spend our days, going through our lives, and we help prune those around us. Pruning is good, even necessary for proper growth. But as we all know, if you prune too vigorously, you can quickly injure or kill what you thought you were trying to help. I see this truth everyday in those around me. I often wonder if I'm speaking life or death to each person around me. Does getting road rage at someone that cut me off in traffic make me a better person? Does it help the other person become better? Sadly, the answer to both is no. And yet we fling out those pruning shears and not always think about where or how they will land. Death or life....which will it be?


So the other end of this is true too.....will a smile and a cheery hello from me be just what you needed at that moment? Were you looking for validation or for confirmation that you are here and that you matter? Did you walk away from our exchange better for the experience? I think this is one of the eternal walks we all traverse.....how to become a better person and encourage those around us.


Here I am world. Both parts of me exposed and open to love and hurt. Part of me is looking for my echo...how parts of me are taken by those around me....looking for connections with others...The other part is looking for you and how I can minister life to you. Me walking with you down your life's journey....Me helping you find life. Everything we do, everything we say....counts. The big stuff, the little stuff. Calls to your mother, helping a co-worker, saying thank you and please and excuse me, sharing yourself with others. All of these things are important and they all count. The job you take, the person you marry, the place you live in, the words you share with others, the amount of integrity you hold....all of this counts.


I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a teacher. Who I am, in part, is due to our interactions. Life or death? That is the question my friends....but the answer is still the same.......


Everything counts.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Twinkle Toes


Aren't these shoes great? I know what you must be thinking....how tacky, right? I'd have to agree with you there. But--- I LOVE THEM! Raelynn has recently been allowed to watch a little television on Saturday mornings and saw a commercial for these shoes. They are made by Skechers and are called "Twinkle Toes." How appropriate.
On a side note, my school district will implement a uniform policy next year. It's not been a popular thing. Right now it includes khaki and black pants and polo shirts in white, black, or goldenrod. Don't get me started about how hard it is to find a plain goldenrod shirt that is also in the polo style. You know why you can't find any? Very few people actually look good in this color.
One of the things I think we will struggle with is that she won't be able to wear the soft, fuzzy pants she wears now. Basically, if it has a button and/or zipper, she won't wear it. Guess what she loves to wear? That's right....sweat pants. And she won't be allowed to wear them next year. So, dealing with one fight at a time, I thought that I'd indulge her by getting her some shoes that show a little bit of her personality. So, a round trip to Tupelo for naught, I ended up finding some here in town. She loves them. I love them.
And guess what? They come in adult sizes!!!!!! Guess which teacher is going to have the tackiest shoes next year? That's right....this teacher!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Creative New Fad


So there's a new fad in my classroom. No, it isn't Silly Bands. That was SO five minutes ago. No....the latest fad in my classroom is to make your own paper cell phone. Someone started this....I think with a bookmark. They had a laminated rectangular bookmark and I can remember watching a couple of students hold them up to their ears and talking during lunch. Cute and very entertaining. Somehow, this wasn't enough to satisfy fifth graders with an appetite for communication.
The next thing I know, students are folding paper and drawing key pads on them. They customized their phones with designs on the outside and made neat display screen pictures. Most of these phones are flip-type of phones, but I did see one today that was a flip/slider phone made out of notebook paper. It's interesting to see students pretend to text on their pretend phones to students across the room that have no idea what they are trying to say. At one point this week, I had to outlaw paper phones. Students have been more concerned with spending their pretend cell phone minutes than to pay attention to important things such as learning how to compute volume of a solid shape, as well as calculating the solid's surface area. The phones didn't go away, they just went into hiding. I'd see them messing around under their desks and I can tell when they are "texting." I know this because it's the same way I look when I'm texting under the dinner table.
Today we learned about transformations in math. For those of you who may not know the lingo....this is translation (slides), reflections (flips), and rotations (turns.) Several activities and minutes later, I see that they are starting to get glazed over. In a flash of brilliance, I had students take out a piece of notebook paper and quickly sketch out their "dream cell phone." They then cut them out, and designed the back. They used this "prototype" as a model to demonstrate their transformations. They then reflected, translated, and rotated their phone and drew pictures of what it look liked. Did they get interested? Yes. Did they finish the activity? No. Will they still be working on it tomorrow? Yes. And now I realize that instead of getting these phones out of their hands, now everyone has one. A flash of brilliance? The jury's still out....I'll keep you updated.
In the meantime, you can call me on my cell phone. If you don't get me, you won't be able to leave a voicemail. My model of paper cell phone doesn't have that feature.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Having a Bad Day? Eat a Donut!


So I love a good donut. Who doesn't, right? I love them so much that I can remember going into a Krispy Kreme shop and after watching the evolution of the donuts while hanging onto the glass, thinking to myself that going to a donut shop would be a great field trip. I never did take the trip, but I did enjoy the donut.
When I lived in Key West as a kid, we had one donut shop, Mr. Donut. It was great. That was back in the day when grocery stores didn't make donuts, so you had to get them fresh from the donut shop. Eventually, this place went under. In the later years of living in Key West, a Dunkin' Donuts shop came to town. Yummy. It was within walking distance of my house, so I would justify a "walk" and then end up at Dunkin' Donuts. While I was there, I HAD to support the local businesses, so I'd get a donut and eat it on the way home. I figure the calories were cancelled out by the walk. Ridiculous, I know. But really, when you are grasping at straws so you can justify something, you'll accept just about anything.
Here in Starkville, we have one donut shop, Shipley's. It's not a bad place. It's just on the other side of town, so I can't really "swing" by for a random donut. In our advanced age of technology and all, our grocery stores now make donuts but I only eat those out of desperation. I'm a fan of the "real" donut. You know...the ones from a shop, not a grocery store.
So imagine how great my day was when a student brought me a "happy" to school. She and her mother had stopped by Shipley's so mom could get donuts for her co-workers. She thought of me and I had a donut of my own with which I could start my day. When your day starts with an unexpected gift, especially a donut, you just know that things are gonna be great. I'm trying not to think about the fact that it was Monday today and that the kids were groggy and the fact that I had several students absent also had something to do with it. I'm going to attribute it all to the donut.
So, today I say.....if things are looking down for you and you aren't diabetic...you should sample a donut. Your mouth will be happy and you'll thank me for it later. Feel free to tell me how I was right, but if I'm in the middle of eating a donut, you should try again later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hotty Toddy? What The Mess????

So today was a really nice day. And I'm surprised by that. Not that I'm in the habit of negative thinking, but a day of riding in the car and then riding bicycles isn't my idea of a good time. David suggested yesterday that we (me, him, and Raelynn) spend the day riding bikes at Sardis Lake. He sweetened the deal by saying we'd eat breakfast in Winona and then go to the Cracker Barrel in Batesville for lunch. Well, it worked. I hate to say that I'm a sucker for Cracker Barrel. But more about that later.


We left bright and early this morning and got on the road at a decent time. We made it to Winona in pretty good time and David decided to stop for breakfast at Waffle House. Yummy! We used to have a Waffle House here in Starkville, but like many eating establishments, it left, I think, in part due to bad service and management. Anyway, I got two eggs over medium, toast, sausage, and their famous hashbrowns that have everything on includeing the kitchen sink. I'm not kidding....I'm not sure of all the ingredients, but I know it did include: onions, green peppers, tomatoes, ham, cheese, jalapenos, chili, and white sausage gravy. You may think this sounds pretty gross, but for someone like me, it's joy on a plate.


We got back on the road and headed to Enid Lake. David had suggested that we check out the three lakes in the area: Enid Lake, Grenada Lake, and Sardis Lake. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Enid Lake was. We rode our bikes around the dam and on the lower side where the spillway was. We stopped a couple of times to look at different stuff. The weather started cool that morning, but the temperature got up to seventy and it was breezy out. The wind was a little hard to ride through when it was pushing against us, but it was still pretty pleasant.


After Enid Lake, we drove over to Batesville for lunch. Cracker Barrel. Enough said. I don't know who thought of this place, but they were a genius. Good food, great atmosphere, and shopping to pass the time while you wait for a table. We were able to get right in without waiting so that was good. For lunch I had a meatloaf sandwich on sourdough bread with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. I also had a side of coleslaw and a side salad with buttermilk ranch dressing. Yummy. After we ate, we browsed the shop a little bit. I found a great gift for my mom for mother's day and David found something for his dad's birthday. I also found a great necklace and earring combination. I topped the shopping trip with the purchase of four peanut butter buckeyes. (Which I shared.)


After lunch we stopped by Sardis Lake. It looked sort of like Enid Lake, only bigger, older, and more crowded. We chose not to ride on the dam since it had traffic and it was really windy. Instead we took the bikes down to the lower lake. We rode around there awhile and stopped a few times. After a bit, we decided to head out to Oxford. Being that I live in Starkville, Ole Miss is our top rival. I've heard that the campus and city of Oxford were beautiful. I've never been there. We weren't too far away so we went.


David had visited the campus before and we rode around looking at stuff and found that we rode in circles a lot. MSU has a complicated road system and Ole Miss is no different there. They do have about 100 more stop signs than we do. Anyway, the campus was real pretty but it felt like everything was smushed together, so I think that MSU is nicer.


On our way back to the historic section of Oxford, we stopped at a dive called Phillip's Grocery that had a sign advertising the best hamburger in the country. It had lots of atmosphere and Raelynn enjoyed walking around the restaurant looking at all the stuff on the walls and everything. I had a cheeseburger plate with their seasoned fries. Raelynn had a burger too but she doesn't eat french fries so we got fried pickles instead. They were very yummy. (I don't think it was the best burger in the country though....) While we were there, I noticed that one of the waitresses had on a shirt that said "Hotty Toddy" on the back. I know that this is part of the fight song or something for Ole Miss but no one has been able to tell me what it means. I asked the waitress and she said she didn't know what it meant. It just was something they said when playing a team. She said she thought that it referred to a "Hot Toddy" which is a hot cocktail. Why would the name of a drink be a part of a fight song? Are the Ole Miss Rebels a bunch of drunks? I don't get it. After that, we drove through the historic section of Oxford and looked at the beautiful houses. So gorgeous. We went to the downtown area of Oxford and we walked around the town square. It was very pretty. It has a New Orleans feel to it. Lots of brick buildings with balconies and details in the iron. There were lots of restaurants and up scale boutiques. Again, very nice. A little too nice. The town was pretty, but I had the feeling it was sort of snotty and stuck up. Oxford looks like a place that thin, rich people live. I am neither, which is why I probably didn't feel comfortable there.


So after that we made our way home. Nothing exciting there, which is good. That would have meant that we broke down or something. I spent a little time reading my new People magazine that had two interesting articles: one on Sandra Bullock and her cheating husband Jesse James and one on Miley Cyrus and how she's moving past playing Hannah Montana. Both of these sadden me. One: I've always been a fan of Sandra Bullock. It's too bad that her tattooed husband had to go and mess around with that crazy looking woman. I mean....come on....you're going to have explain to me why he would ditch his gorgeous and successful wife for that freak show. I don't get it. The other story....well.....I'm almost ashamed to admit that I like the Hannah Montana show and I purchased the Hannah Montana movie. I'm glad she's branching out, but it's going to be hard to imagine her as anything else. It's like Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Potter or Robert Pattison and Edward Cullen. Don't mess with a good thing.


Anyway, we made it home and I'm tired. It's been a long and full day. One I'm sure I'll remember for a long time. And if you can shed any light on this "Hotty Toddy" thing....I'd appreciate it. That's the only thing missing from an otherwise perfect day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Life Is Too Short To Not Wear Glitter


I'm just going to start by saying that I came this close to not blogging tonight. As my regular readers (all 2 of you) know, I have STUPID DIAL UP at home. This is not out of choice, mind you. Apparently, I live in a black hole that doesn't get high speed Internet service through satellite or cable. I think we may be headed toward getting a cell phone that we can "tether" our computer to sometime soon. The incredibly slow speed at which I surf (more like limp) on the Internet keeps me from being able to download or upload anything. It's very frustrating. Anyway, I had a real good title for this post that would only work if I had the picture that I somehow managed to get at the top of this. Without it, it wouldn't work for me. And we both know, if it doesn't work for me, it doesn't work for you.
Having started like this on a tangent, let me apologize up front for this post. I have no idea where it will go. I've had lots of ideas for a post and none of them have "stuck." I just feel like blogging so I'm hoping that something will grab me and make for interesting reading. If it isn't interesting, lie to me.
I'm feeling better this week, and I ought to for all the doctors I've seen this week. Being a teacher means that you spend all of your vacation time getting to the doctor and dentist and taking care of all the business you normally can't get to because you have a classroom full of charges that can't be left alone. If you have a desk job somewhere, you can go get a cup of coffee or soda and go to the bathroom when you want. With my job, I can't do the first thing and the second thing can only be done if I take 24 people with me. So yes, I have a bladder of steel. I can hold it for hours. And it's only taken me 17 years to get there. My first year of teaching I had 5 urinary tract infections. In addition to that I also contracted strep throat five times. No lie. I now have an incredibly strong immune system. but I digress......
I've not been feeling well for the past while and over the break I went to a specialist and had some tests done. They didn't find any infection, no damage, no cancer, and no ulcers. He upped my current medication so I'm hoping that will do the trick. Next week will be the test....I tend to feel worse under stressful situations. And my job is stressful, even on a good day. So for those of you wondering, I'm good and the Lord is to be praised!
So what else have I been up to? Today, I went to a Rural Voices Radio selection committee meeting from around 10 until 2. When I came home, I checked in with David who was doing some much needed yard work at my parents' house. His dad, step-mother, and aunt had come up to visit, so I quickly went home and went to cleaning at light speed. I got lots done before they got here. When they left, I helped David sow some grass seed in our pasture and then I used the rake to smooth it all out. Talk about a workout. I came back in and cooked some supper (salad, mixed veggies, and Hamburger Helper) and then washed dishes. I hate washing dishes. I then enjoyed some of the extra special features on my new DVD, New Moon. Yes, I'm excited about that. I met a friend at Wal-Mart last night at midnight to get my copy. I was home by 12:25. If for nothing else, I'm glad I'll be able to watch the movie with subtitles. I think that movie makers should take into account that there are many movie lovers out there that have hearing disabilities. How much harder is it to provide subtitles that can be seen with special glasses? Or at the very least, provide a pair of headphones for those like me that need more assistance. It would be nice so that the people that go to the movies with me wouldn't have to answer my questions of "What did they say?" or "What? Huh?" Anyway....no one asked me, but I'm just saying is all.......
In other news, I've decided to wear glitter everyday. I used to wear it just on Fridays as a way to celebrate the end of the week, but now I'm thinking that life is too short to wait for my fun on Friday. I will still continue to wear it full out, no holds barred on Friday. For every other day, I'm going to go on the understated glitter in my eyeshadow and liquid eyeliner. I'll wear just enough to make people wonder...."Is she wearing glitter or is she just naturally sparkly?" It makes me feel good and I'm hoping that it reflects light that won't show my wrinkles. Again, if you don't like it, lie to me.
Anyway, looking back over this post, I can see that it's all over the place. Please hang in there with me while I get back into my groove of blogging. It's been awhile. I'm hoping it'll get better with time. If it doesn't, lie to me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Latest On Me and My Weird Conditions......

So here's the latest.......


I went to the doctor yesterday morning at 6:30 AM. Yes, it was that early. To top it off, it takes about 40 minutes to get to this doctor from where I live, so I was up and out by 5:30. YAWN! My mother took Raelynn the night before since I'm sure she didn't want to woken up at the literal crack of dawn that morning.



David drove me to the doctor's office. This particular procedure is done in their outpatient facility and if I had had it done in Starkville, I would have had to go to the local hospital. And I would have had to wait. And wait. And wait.


Once inside, they had me put on the hospital gown and get into the hospital bed. There are two things that I liked....one....they let me keep on my clothes minus my shirt. Undergarments, pants, socks.....that was a relief. The second thing....the sheets and gown were soft. Really soft. Softness counts with me. They put the needle in my arm for the drip I was to get later. They gave me some really good sleep meds because the next thing I knew, David was in the recovery room with me. Outside of a sore throat, I felt fine.


According to Dr. Williams, everything looked normal. No obvious cancer, no ulcers, no damage to the esophagus. He did take a couple of biopsies of the lining to check to see if there were any infections within the folds of the lining. He said this was a normal procedure. He tends to think that some of my constant vomiting is due to sinus issues. He did find a hiatal hernia but that it wasn't bad. He increased the acid medication I am currently taking once a day to twice a day and wants me to come back in a couple of weeks.


So good news, of sorts. It still makes me think......what is causing the constant coughing and vomiting? I need some answers. And yes, I know that losing weight would help many of my conditions.....I just wish that it was something I could tackle and be successful at. Any ideas?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Update--Of Sorts

Hi Everyone.


It's been too long. This I know. I hate with things get so hectic that I can't do the little things that bring me joy, like blogging and sleeping. Life has been busy, as it always is. You'd think that by now I'd be able to manage it all. But I'm thinking that's what life is all about. Learning how to manage things. Big things. Little things. Important things. The not-so-important things. I know I've been away for awhile, and I've missed blogging. I'll get you up to date on things in my life. The big things. The little things. And all the stuff in between.


1) School has been busy. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were starting this school year. This time of year is rough. Everyone is ready for the year to be over and the breaks away from school are few and far between. I know how the kids feel. I'm right in there with them. We are currently on spring break and I'm hoping to live it up. And by that I mean sleeping and getting caught up on school work.


2) David is feeling better. A few weeks ago he was in serious back pain. I've never seen anything like it before. He missed a whole week of school, which for either of us, is huge. We never miss school. I think his back is feeling a little better and he's up and moving around again. It was a long week. I love my husband and miss him when he's not around. I made sure I told him that when he came back to the land of the living.


3) Although David is feeling better, he's now behind the 8 ball with school work. He needs the computer so I haven't had much time to check facebook or blog. Someday I hope to have high speed Internet.


4) I'm going to have some medical tests done this week. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm not feeling well. A year or so ago, I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux disease. For anyone that doesn't know what this is, in most people it's basically regular heartburn. With me, it's been bad. For the past several months, I've had really bad acid reflux. I cough constantly and then the gag reflex catches and I end up vomiting or dry heaving. This happens several times a day. After one particularly bad school day of wretching over and over, I made an appointment with my doctor. This of course was after much research via the Internet. I'm convinced that I have a hiatal hernia. This means that part of my stomach has bulged (I hate that word) about the valve that closes things off and I have a constant flow of acid up and down my throat. For the past I don't know how long, I've sounded like I've been smoking several packs of cigarettes a day. My voice is shot. The doctor put me in touch with some specialists and suggested that I have a scope done. This is when they stick a camera down my throat and into my stomach. I'm not sure I want to know what they are looking for. After that visit, I went to my ENT doctor for a sinus infection and he was surprised at the test that was going to be done. I get the feeling they're looking for early signs of cancer. I'm not sure what the solution is since I'm already taking several acid reducing medications. There is a surgery to help this condition, but I've not met anyone yet that thinks that is a good idea. I'm putting it all in God's hands and letting Him take care of it. Your thoughts and prayers during all of this would be appreciated.


5) I've seen a movie or two lately. (This is the part of this post about the not-so-important stuff.) I hate this time of year because there are no really good movies. The main seasons for big movies are summer and Christmas. I may have mentioned this before, but I've worked a few times at a movie theater. I loved it. Best job I've had so far. This spring break I will be watching my Netflix movies and wait patiently for the DVD release of New Moon. Last year when Twilight was released on DVD, I waited for my copy at midnight of the release date at Sam Goody's. This year, Sam Goody's is out of business. I see that Wal-Mart has signs advertising the release of this movie. Do I go at midnight? I'm not sure. I can tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I'm rereading the series again to get in the mood.


6) I went grocery shopping today at the evil Wal-Mart. I was surprised to find that they are now carrying the foaming dish soap again. They had this stuff and we used it all the time and wouldn't you know....they stopped carrying it. They've also started carrying the 100 calorie packs of yogurt covered pretzels too. This made me happy. This is not the case for the fat free hot dogs, Welch's Dark Berry powder drink mix, and now my black forest ham is gone. What's with that? I get very frustrated that I can't get all the stuff I need at the same place.


7) I'm not sleeping in as much as I'd like this break. It doesn't help that we had to observe Day Light Savings (or are we returning to the correct time? I don't know which is which...) All I know is that I LOST an hour of sleep. This does not bode well with me. Of course being the break, I'm staying up later than I should so I guess that's the vicious cycle of it all.


8) I have lots of cleaning goals for the break. Clothes need hanging, folding, and then putting away. Clutter needs organizing. Sigh......this seems like one thing that I may not be able to accomplish. After all, I'll be trying to get caught up on my sleep, right?


Well, I"m sure there are other things that are going on right now, but most of them are things that I would share with you because they would bore you. Now that I think about, the above list may do that anyway.


Gee.....now that I look at it, it seems like my life isn't too busy. But trust me, it is. I'll write again soon when I have some news. And if no news comes by, I'll just make something up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hello, world....Remember me?

Yes, I'm still alive.


Yes, lots has been going on.


Yes, my life has been crazy.


And finally......


Yes, you should hang in there with me....spring break is next week and I'll get caught up on my blogging.


Side note....please be in prayer for me...I go to have some tests run next week to see if I may have esophageal and or gastro-intestinal cancer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Weird Condition

I feel like blogging. I feel like sleeping. I feel like running away and then alternating blogging and sleeping. Okay, I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest.


You've probably been wondering about what I've been up to. I'd like to say that there's something interesting going on, but now that I think about it....sometimes something interesting is also stressful. So right now....no new and interesting stresses in my life. Just the same old stresses.


This is a sign that I'm getting old, but I must complain a little about my ailments.....

As you may or may not be aware, I am currently living with Meniere's disease. Basically, I have hearing loss and continual ringing in my left ear. I went and checked a little while back to see if I'd be able to get a hearing aid. It seems that MS has this program where they will pay for your hearing aids if it helps you work. Since I can't hear the kids, I figure that I'd be the perfect candidate, right? Wrong! Apparently, it's one of those situations in that I'm not "sick" enough to require help. Great. So the solution is to just ask people to repeat themselves. I've found that smiling and nodding gets you into trouble if you don't know what people are talking about. It seems that people expect you to listen when they talk. But that's not the latest complaint....


Awhile back, my ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor diagnosed me with Acid Reflux. I've been taking medication for that since then. For the most part, it worked. And then something happened sometime last fall. I started coughing with the acid coming up and vomiting several times a day. It's gotten a little better now and then, but lately things are getting too much to handle. It's a horrible thing when you have to stop teaching, grab the trash can, and run into the hall to vomit. Mostly, it's either dry heaves or mucus. (Can I just insert here that I'm not a good vomiter? It always feels like I'm choking. And when the vomiting session is over, I look like I've been choked by someone.) I spoke to a friend that had similar symptoms and she said it sounded like her diagnosis....hiatal hernia. Basically this means that part of my stomach has bulged above the sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus. I tried to get into the local Gastrointestinal doctor in town, but found that they wouldn't give me an appointment unless I had been referred by my regular physician.(I read this as one of the doctors needs to make a car payment....) And to top that they told me that the Gastrointestinal doctor was on vacation for three weeks. So, to get the ball rolling, I made an appointment, saw my regular doctor, and got little information that I didn't already know. (Apparently if I lost weight, it would help. My question...what won't losing weight help? And if I could lose weight, wouldn't I have already done it?) He recommended that I make an appointment in Columbus with doctors there since the procedure I'll need to have could be done there at their outpatient office. The procedure is basically where they sedate me (not totally asleep but more or less awake and comatose) and them inserting a scope down my throat to look at my stomach and esophagus. There is a surgery to correct the hernia but as it turns out, it is rarely done. I'm not sure what I'll need since they mostly treat this with medication and I'm already taking some. So in the meantime, I'm just vomiting several time a day. The good news is that I can feel when it's coming. Just know that if you see me holding a trash can nearby, you should stay away. Especially if you have a weak stomach.


Anyway, I'm sure this isn't the post you were hoping to read, but you have to take the good with the bad....and I'm sure this is a bad post. That means that the next one will be better. Thanks for sticking in there with me. In the meantime, your prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Like Looking in a Mirror

Hi Friends....

I know, it's been awhile. I'd love to blog more so if you want me do that....send money. I guess I'm going to have to be independently wealthy before I'll have time to blog daily....Oh well...I can dream.


Today's post is about a dear friend of mine....Kamille. I met Kamille a couple of years ago at an Open House event. All I can tell you about that meeting, other than it was predestined, was that neither of us forgot that night. In the spring, our district hosts an open house for the upcoming grade(s) to see the school they will be at next year. (Side note....our district has one school for grades K-2, one for third that will join my school next year, one for fourth and fifth, one for sixth, and so on.....) Well, most teachers don't like those evenings when you feel like you're being put out on a meat market, but I find that I really enjoyed them. It always felt like I was in an E.F. Hutton commercial...I'd answer someone's question, and everyone would stop and listen to my response. This is a huge boost for those of us that like being in the center of attention. In case you didn't know....that's totally what I'm about.


Well, after it's over, some of the teachers will compare experiences to judge how things went. I relayed the questions asked of me by potential parents (especially from Kamille) and found that no one had the same questions that I had. Especially from Kamille. It's not like she asked me anything really personal, but her questions were nothing like "How much homework do you give?" or "How do you differentiate your instruction?" Those are common questions. No....Kamille was more concerned with me. What kind of person I was.....What I believed in.....I remembered her name and had a feeling that we'd be seeing each other again. And I was so right.


By God's divine wisdom, her child was placed in my fourth grade classroom. Her child is a gem...the kind you wish you had more of. The kind of kid that you look at and feel like you were the same type of kid when you were that age...... Also by God's divine wisdom...I looped with this group of students so I have this wonderful child again.


Ah....so many memories. Kamille was the first parent that I remember calling me on my cell phone. She was the first parent that I programmed in my phone. I vividly recall her calling me one day as I was shopping in Wal-Mart. I pulled over to the side and we talked for a long time. That's huge for me because being stuck in Wal-Mart when I don't have to be isn't my idea of a great time.


As I've gotten to know Kamille, I've really connected with her. She and I are so similar in many ways. We have the same sense of humor and find the same things funny. (Side note here...she introduced me to Bon Qui Qui and I'll never be the same.) She is like me in that she also has just one child. People with only one kid are different kind of parents than those that have more than one. You see....we have all of our "eggs" in one basket. We can't afford to let things get messed up. After all, we're talking about the person responsible for putting us in a home when we're older. But anyway, she gets me and I get her.


I've spent some time with her in the last few months and I thoroughly enjoy myself. We always have lots to talk about. Kamille is one of those people that is bigger than life. She lives life with such passion. I'd like to think that I'm the same way. When she loves, she does it with her whole being whether we're talking about friends, family, or food. Her laugh is infectious and beckons you in. She's just so down to earth....she's good, solid people.


I'm sort of sad though....at the end of this year, her child will move to another grade and another school. Their lives will go on and I'm sure that we won't spend nearly as much time together. I'd like to think that I'll still be in her heart....I know she'll be in mine.


I love you Kamille! Thanks for all that you do and all that you are.....I'm so blessed to know you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Evil Wal-Mart Strikes Again


I'm really torn here....do I blog about how Wal-Mart has once again proven how evil they are or do I simply ignore the store and shop at Kroger instead? Sadly, I feel compelled to complain about Wal-Mart yet again.
I've blogged about Wal-Mart before. One post was all about how they've changed the layout of the store and now it appears that they carry LESS stock than before. I've also been known to say that Wal-Mart is part of a conspiracy to get me to buy things I don't need. They space stuff out in the store and/or put things in obscure places in the hopes that I will wander aimlessly around the store and randomly put items in my cart. And I have to admit, it works. Sometimes I go to Kroger. Both stores carries items that the other one doesn't have. I end up going to Wal-Mart simply because that's where my pharmacy is and I don't like going all over town to run errands. So I'm stuck. It looks like I'll be complaining again about the store that I feel is pure evil.
Let me illustrate. Like I just said, there are items at Wal-Mart that you can't get anywhere else. And there are items you CAN get everywhere else but I don't like to because I already said that I don't like running around town doing errands. A couple of Saturdays ago, I did my regular shopping and noted how low the store seemed on regular albeit random items. Imagine my surprise when a week later I go back to the store and find that they STILL don't have the items I require. So what's so important, right? Let me tell you....
1) Welch's Dark Berry powdered drink-This is exactly like Crystal Light but in a very yummy flavor. I don't like grape, but this drink is good. It has cranberry, grape, and blueberry. What's funny is that I don't like those flavors individually but together....well....it makes my mouth sing. That is....when I can find it. Wal-Mart doesn't have it now. And if I'm wrong (and Lord I hope I am) it looks like there isn't even a label for it on the shelf anymore. Geez Louise!
2) High fiber, whole wheat fajita sized tortillas-I found these by mistake awhile back. They are low in Weight Watcher points and taste great. Can't find them these days.
3) Nabisco 100 calorie count packages of yogurt covered pretzels. They have chocolate covered but I don't really like those. These taste great and have been my morning snack for the past couple of weeks. Now they've disappeared. I'm not sure what to do.
4) Progresso High Fiber Creamy Tomato Soup- I normally don't eat this brand, but I tried it awhile ago and it was good. (Side note: I don't like regular tomato soup. The creamy kind reminds me of Spaghetti-o's.) David really likes this so I buy it for him when I can find it. Lately, that has been too often.
5) Soup at Hand creamy tomato, basil, and parmesan soup. This is a great thing to eat when you're on the go. You don't need bowls or utensils. Again....I haven't been able to find it lately.
6) Weight Watchers yogurt-I miss this yogurt because it's a pretty big container for the low points. I'm all about getting as much food as I can when I eat. I had to settle for the Wal-Mart brand. You see? It's a conspiracy, I tell you.
7) Fat Free Hot Dogs- I found that Oscar Meyer makes a hot dog that is low in points. I usually keep a few of them on hand. Hot dogs make for easy and fast dinners on nights where I get in late. Now those hot dogs are nowhere to be found. The buns used to not be there, but they've made a comeback. What would be nice would be if I could have both of them together at the same time.
I'm sure there's a few other items that come and go on the shelves of Wal-Mart. These are the ones that directly affect me. You'd think that I'd be walking all around Wal-Mart looking for the items that have been in question today. If I did that, I'd be giving Wal-Mart exactly what it wants. Another mindless individual putting stuff in the cart. To combat this, I just put whatever is closest in my cart. That'll show them. I can't be had.
Anyway....I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my rants about the corporate superstar that we call Wal-Mart. I've tried to quit but I can't. I have a Wal-Mart problem. I just need some way to break this pull on me and start shopping somewhere else. Until then, I'm the one with the cart that is wandering around looking lost. Chances are I'm looking for some random item that will disappear soon from the store.
PS-This post is dedicated to one of my faithful readers-Audrey H. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Chaos Is Making My Eyes Hurt



This is not my desk. However, it feels like it could belong to me. I'm so busy that I just don't have time to put things back. I end up with stacks of stuff everywhere. I can usually find things, but it's a stressful situation trying to locate a piece of paper in the chaos. What I need is like 3 weeks of working in my classroom with no phone calls, no kids, and lots and lots of trash bags. I've used the snowball analogy many times to describe teaching. I really think it's true. No sooner do you get something done and right behind you is another snowball rolling down the mountain. If you're not careful it will run right over you.

Today, the chaos that was my room made me physically hurt. It truly pained me to look at all the stuff I had going on. It was raining today....kids are like walking barometers. When the weather changes, they do too. Science fair boards were due at school today. In the rain. I had like 6 kids come in late so I had to start over with my announcements and teaching several times. It was well into the morning before everyone showed up. Progress reports went home today. I tried desperately to get all the grades in that I could so that they would bring up their averages. To grade and enter information in the computer takes time. When the kids are here, I'm trying to help them. They take all my time. There's no time to clean up, put stuff up, find stuff I'll need for next week.....it just never ends.

So what's the solution? Take a day or two off? I've been sick and I'm still hacking and coughing so I know I need to rest. However, I don't think people realize that to be absent means that I have to spend 2 to 3 hours writing lesson plans and getting materials ready for a substitute. And you don't know who your sub will be so it could end up being a waste of time. So...no....taking time off isn't an option. Give up? Nah....that's not what I do. I'm known for my perseverance. I'm very long suffering. Change professions? I don't think so. What else could I possibly do? I can't envision myself not being in the classroom. No...there's no big solutions right now. There are, however, some small things I CAN do. Slow down. Breathe. Prioritize. Breathe again. And yes.....I should get off the computer and get some work done. That's what I was just getting ready to do!

Until next time........

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

Well, Pooey. I hate when life gets in the way of the important stuff like sleeping. And TV. And blogging. But no really.... things have been really busy. But then, when are things just quiet and dull for me? Answer? Never!


Raelynn had her ninth birthday party last weekend and I'm really glad that's over! I like parties, but I just don't feel really great about planning and executing them. I can "ride herd" and patrol behaviors at kid parties, but the rest is a little more than I've had experiences with. Anyway, Raelynn wanted to have a party with all of these "older" friends. No one at the party was her age. They were all around 2 years older than her. It's hard to plan a party for someone who loves Strawberry Shortcake when every guest wants to scream inside at the thought of My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake or some other similar character. My solution was to plan a scavenger hunt. The kids had a good time being driven all over town and getting their pictures taken and being videoed doing all sorts of embarrassing things. And Raelynn enjoyed herself too so it all ended well.


I've been sick too. It's been awhile since I got a cold or the flu but I've got a nasty case of bronchitis. The cough is about to kill me. I went to the doctor, got some meds, but as anyone who's ever had this can tell you, it's the sort of thing that keeps lingering. And so I just plow through. No sick days. Just keep going forward.


The paperwork is piling up. I spent all weekend doing Raelynn's party (and paid dearly for it later--I was exhausted) and then trying to get better on Sunday. I slept and lounged a lot. So I'm a little behind in grading. Not a good thing. When I look over my shoulder, the work is still piling up behind me. I have visions of myself being very much like a hamster in one of those exercise wheels. Run like crazy, but you never get anywhere. Do you know what I mean?


So you might be asking why I'm blogging if I have so much to do. The answer is because I want to and I miss it. A small part of me hopes that someone else misses it too. I promise, something more witty will be posted soon. I just need some time. And lots of paperclips and grading pens. Did I mention I have papers to grade?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Friend Who Started It All

Hello everyone....have you missed me? I hate when things get so busy and stressful that I don't have time to blog. Occasionally someone will tell me that they read my blog and that they miss getting more frequent updates. Awwwwwwww....that just touches my heart.


So on to today's subject: My friend Wendy D. Well....where do I begin? First, her birthday was this week so major birthday shout outs to her! She's a wonderful friend and I'm very blessed to know her. She is one of the most giving and caring people I've ever met. She is really selfless and will do anything for a close friend. Seriously.


I met Wendy several years ago. He has one biological son and daughter. When her son was in the fourth grade, they adopted a girl from Russia. She was also in the fourth grade. At the time, I had a student that was bilingual in Russian and English so it only made sense that her new daughter would be put in my class. I had heard that this might be happening from Wendy's son's teacher earlier in the year. She (the teacher friend) told me that one of her student's families was adopting a child and they because of the Russian connection to my student, the child would be placed with me. Several months went by and nothing happened. And then it did.


I gladly accepted this member to our class. I remember Wendy doing everything she could to make her child feel comfortable. I can only imagine what it feels like to go to a new country when people don't speak your language and you're only 9. I had several interactions with Wendy in the next months. We talked a lot about how to make her new daughter's transition easier. I hope I was able to be a part of that smooth transition.


At the time, I was a looping teacher. That means that I take one group of fourth graders and move up to fifth grade with them. I got Wendy's daughter in March of her fourth grade year. Her son was in someone else's fourth grade class. Of course I looped up with her daughter and got the bonus of having her son in fifth grade as well. Both of them are darling people. Fifth grade flowed smoothly. Wendy is one those parents that you can always call on to help in the classroom and with parties and stuff. You couldn't ask for a better room parent. I don't know what I did to deserve her, but I was grateful for her.


Then several years went by. We met up at the Fourth of July fireworks where we all ended up camping out on the same soccer field. It happened several years in a row. It's now a regular thing. In that time we also went to their house to go swimming in their pool. Good times. Her youngest daughter was coming up to fourth grade. We were both hoping that I would have her in my class. (Side note here....it's really nice when you make connections with a family and you can have multiple children from that family in your class.) Initially her daughter wasn't placed in my class. All I can say is that Wendy made miracles happen. Her daughter ended up in my fourth grade class. And I love her. Just like I love her other kids.


Somewhere in the fall of 2008, I saw Wendy at school. I think maybe she had come to eat lunch with her daughter that was in my class. We got to talking about my latest obsession at the time....the Twilight books. It turns out that Wendy was an even larger fan of Twilight than I was. I didn't think it was possible. Wendy and one of her friends made arrangements to rent out a movie theater for the midnight premiere of Twilight when it came out in November. I was able to go with her. (We went to see the movie many more times after that.) Since then, Twilight has brought us closer together. We share the obsession.


Sometime the following spring, I introduced Wendy to my friend Kathy....the stalker I wrote about a few posts ago. We immediately hit it off. Since that time, we've been pretty close. A week doesn't go by that we don't go and eat, hang out, or watch a movie. As a bonus, all of our kids hang out together. And the Twilight obsession continued.....


When Twilight was released on DVD this last spring, it was Wendy that I stood in line with at Sam Goody's for my copy. And it was in Wendy's van that we all went to so could watch the deleted scenes from the DVD of Twilight that we had just bought. We literally laid in the van and watched part of the movie in the parking lot.


This past summer, Wendy, Kathy, and I took a road trip. We had a great time in Birmingham. We shopped and ate and ate and ate. We shared many laughs. There are stories that I could never tell, and I hope they would never tell on me.


This March, Wendy, Kathy, and I are going to Atlanta for a Twilight convention. Yes, you read that correctly. (Side note here....Kathy watched Twilight and New Moon with us but she's not a huge fan like we are.) Kathy is going to hang out and be lazy while Wendy and I are going to enjoy ourselves with all the craziness that is Twilight. There's no one else I would ever dream of going with. Or for that matter.....probably no one else would want to go with me. Either way, it works.


So....long story short....Wendy is a dear, dear friend. She is kind and funny and generous. She loves her friends and is very loyal. And she's the one that started the Twilight obsession...and for that, I'm so grateful....


Happy Birthday Wendy! I love you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Feelings Exactly

Enough said.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Much Needed Burial


Happy Sunday y'all! It feels nice to know that I won't be going to work tomorrow. Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr. for your work that now gives me a day off. It's going to be a long time until spring vacation, so I'm going to enjoy every moment tomorrow....probably by grading papers. What else is new, right?
So it's the New Year. Or at least it was. I've made New Year's resolutions before. Some I've kept, others...not so much. I'm not one for public (or privately for that matter) sharing my resolutions because if you mess up and break one of them, people tend to let you know about it. Quickly. I already have enough acceptance issues, so I don't need the extra pressure, thank you very much.
But I will share with you that I'm hoping to make some changes in my life so that I'll be healthier. I'd like to live longer, and more fully enjoy the time I have left. One way I know to do this is to exercise.
I'm one of those people that refuses to join a gym. Now granted, I don't have all the weight equipment at my house, but I can get the same results by walking or running at home. I'm not a stranger to exercise and healthy eating, I just don't enjoy it. You know you're getting old when you talk about your peak years as being so far back in the past. That's not good.
BUT....a few years ago, I joined Weight Watchers. It was successful for me. I lost around 50 pounds in a matter of 3 months. I was running every day and being very careful with what I eat. I kept a food journal and had a strong support group. I would even say that it bordered on obsession....watching what I ate and exercising every day.
And then things changed. Since then, I've not had the same OCD spirit with healthy living. When we moved to Mississippi, I found that my running exercises really dwindled down. There are many more bad weather days here. To compensate, we took my mom's treadmill. She wasn't using it and said we could have it. I tried really hard to walk on the treadmill while I watched TV. The treadmill wasn't some fancy type.....but man it was loud. I say "was" because it has died in my living room. It was a hit and miss situation. So now what? Join a gym? Walk/run outside? These are the questions that I ponder while sitting on my couch. I'm pretty distractable, so it's not surprising that my mind wanders and I forget to exercise.
What is the proper burial for a dead treadmill? Do you hang on to it because it's too bulky to move? Do you keep it for scrap parts that can be used on other projects? Do you throw it away? Again, these are questions I ponder. So far...I have no answers. I need to exercise and my treadmill is broken. I guess I should suck it up and just do what I tell my students to do....
"Be a creative problem solver."
Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hangin' At The Huddle House

Hi everyone! Many apologies for not posting more this week. Many thanks to Mrs. LaFrance, who mentioned this to me. (More about Mrs. LaFrance in this post....) I don't think people understand that when they tell me they read my blog, I get all fuzzy inside. Most people don't leave comments when they read, so I just figure no one reads it. Basically, the more people read, the more I want to write!

Lots has gone on since the last time I posted. Raelynn's ninth birthday was this week and we celebrated a couple of times. My parents took Raelynn, David, and I to Pizza Hut for her birthday. She loves the place. She loves pizza. On her actual birthday, David and I took her to Applebee's in a yearly birthday tradition. If it's your birthday, we'll go out to eat and you get to pick the place. She likes the macaroni and cheese at Applebee's. When looking at the menu, I see that they serve Kraft macaroni and cheese. Basically, I'm paying lots of money for the same stuff that I buy in the blue box at the store. But no complaints....it was her birthday and she had fun.


Another reason I haven't posted is because of work. Work is always there, and nothing slows down. I'm not complaining, just stating fact. I'm sure you don't want those boring details, so let's get to the "random-ness" that is my blog.


Tonight for dinner, David, Raelynn, David's dad and step-mother, and myself went to Huddle House to eat. Since we've moved to Mississippi (about 7 years) it's been a weekly thing, all year long. They come over and we go eat. Usually, they are here when I get home from work. (They live about an hour away.) We usually eat at a few places: the Chinese buffet restaurant, The Three Pigs (new bar-b-que place in town), assorted Mom and Pop restaurants, and Huddle House. Tonight we went to Huddle House. As I was sitting there looking at the menu, I started to think about the evolution of my love for breakfast. Mind you, I don't love breakfast everywhere, but I won't turn a meal away. But I digress.....on to our story....


When I was young, I really fought with the notion that I had to eat breakfast. My mom would get my brother and me up, and then we'd sit at the table and eat cereal while she got ready. I can remember throwing out most of the cereal, and still wanting to try another box of cereal the next time we went to the store. At some point (probably middle and high school) I just started to make what I wanted for breakfast. This mostly consisted of easy to grab stuff, but I was known to eat left overs from the night before. (I still do this.) I only ate breakfast because my mom made me. On Saturdays, that was a different story. My mom would cook us something, usually an egg mcmuffin. I like those and I like egg sandwiches. My mom makes really good ones. But if she had offered me eggs and bacon, I'd eat it, but it wouldn't be my favorite.


My mom is very talented in the kitchen and can make eggs anyway you want. I can remember my dad eating eggs with runny yolks and sopping it up with toast. I thought this was gross. Totally. I've also watched my dad eat some combination of biscuits, butter, and golden eagle syrup. He'd mix the butter and the syrup together until it was blended and then use the biscuit to sop it up. I've never tried this, never want to.


When I became an adult, I would go to a restaurant if I wanted breakfast. In Key West, I'd go with my family to B's restaurant and have a breakfast sandwich. My parents would get an egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on Cuban bread with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and then press it in a Cuban panini press. I would eat a BLT on Cuban bread. Very yummy. But still no eggs.


Then.....something in me snapped. Since moving to Starkville, I've really enjoyed eating breakfast. If I'm in a rush, I'll go to Krystal's and get a breakfast scrambler. This is a cup of grits with egg and cheese on top, and a sausage patty on top of that. Delish. If I have time, money, and patience, I go Huddle House or Starkville Cafe. I look forward to eating a yummy breakfast that now includes eggs. And runny eggs at that. I had such a meal tonight.....let me expand on it.


When I got to Huddle House, I looked at the menu and thought that maybe I'd order something from the dinner menu. I mean, after all, it was dinner time. (Well, more like 4:00 but work with me here...) I looked all through the menu and nothing looked as good as their breakfast platter. This is what I had: two eggs over medium, two pieces of white toast in which to sop the eggs with, two sausage patties, grits, and hashbrowns that had cheese, onion, tomato, ham, green peppers, and jalapenos. I enjoyed every mouth full. The food was good and the service was okay....for Starkville's Huddle House. But that's another post for another day.


So now my tummy is full and I'm enjoying just sort of sitting here.


Now on to some much overdue business....


I promised more information on Mrs. LaFrance. Mrs. LaFrance is the library assistant at my school. I met her a couple of years ago when she did some subbing for a teacher that left in the middle of the year. She is a hoot. She's very outspoken and very spunky. I like this about her. After the subbing, she took over for the library assistant that left in the middle of the year. She's done a fabulous job! She's friendly with the teachers and has just the right amount of fiestiness to deal with the kids. She can take a call from me about AR, check out books, and keep a room of unruly fifth graders from acting like hooligans. Talented, I tell you. Anyway, she reminded me today that she's been checking my blog since I told her that I'd write about her. I've been busy, but when Mrs. LaFrance speaks, people start moving. (She's not mean, just very funny and confident in what she does.)


You might be wondering why I keep calling her Mrs. LaFrance. Please know that she DOES have a first name. When you teach, you can't really holler the person's first name down the hall. (It's almost like we're keeping our first names a secret.) A lot of teachers at my school simply call each other by their last name, and skipping the whole premise of the Mrs. part. I can't do this to Mrs. LaFrance. It would sound too weird. In fact, there are two people I work with whose last names I really enjoy saying. The first is a teacher named Zuege and the other is Mrs. LaFrance. I've even incorporated her name into my regular speech. Kids bug me all day about going to the library to trade in their books. I know that at some point, Mrs. LaFrance is going to snap due to stress. I'm just hoping that I won't be there to witness it. Anyway, it is very common for me to say the following to my students: "Don't make Mrs. LaFrance get LaMad at LaYou." I've even added the "La" part in front of the other librarian's name. It just sounds good.


In future posts, I'll try to include some fun stuff about the people I work with. They make my job fun. The only thing that would make it better is if I had a decent breakfast platter before work each day. But alas, I can always dream......

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Very Own Stalker

Before you go and get nervous for me, know that this post's title is sort of joke between me and my friend Kathy S. She is a self-professed stalker. It was one of the first things I knew about her. I'm sure you want to know more....read on....


I started this blog several years ago as a part of a summer class I was taking. Everyone in the class set up a blog and we read lots of children's literature and then summarized them on the blog. When that class was over I sort of forgot about the blog. A long time later, I was either talking to a friend that is a fellow blogger (LT) or I was reading her facebook page and she mentioned that she blogged. I read some of the stuff that she wrote and I thought it was so funny. I then thought that I'd give blogging another chance, and three years later, here we are.


Over the years, I think I have found my voice in my blog writing. I encounter people every once in awhile that read it, and I always feel good when they tell me that they follow it. In the beginning though, I didn't have a large following and I can't even begin to tell you what I wrote about. Most days, I don't give it a second thought. And then I met Kathy.


In the summer of 2008, I received my class list of students I would teach that fall. I think I look forward to finding out who's on my list just as much as students look forward to finding out who their teacher is. I try to make students and their families feel as comfortable as possible, so I contact them early. I make my phone calls and then I send a letter. I can remember talking to Kathy. She spoke fast. Really fast. She mentioned a little about her son and asked if she could send me some more information to me in the mail. Boy, did she ever. I have to say that the info she sent was helpful. I knew from the beginning that she was a dedicated parent. We made contact again, and she requested that she come to my room and help. I gave her a regular time and day and she's been faithful.


Sometime around open house last year, Kathy admitted to me that she had been "stalking" me. Apparently, she Googles her children's teachers to get more information. I don't blame her. Having information that can help your child is important. She admitted to me that after she Googled me, she found my blog. I immediately searched through my mind to remember what I had written about. I think she found it interesting. At least she told me she did. :-)


So, fast forward to now. I looped up a grade so I am teaching the same group of kids this year that I taught last year. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, it has more advantages. So a bonus to my looping was that Kathy spent another year working in my room for me. It's gotten to the point where I have a hard time doing stuff if she doesn't show for whatever reason. (I think that in one and half years, she's only missed two or three Thursdays...all with a good reason.)


Kathy and her husband have been very generous to me. They own a couple of businesses in town and have taken care of me and my class. There's nothing that I need (or want) that she hasn't come through for me. There's no way I could ever repay her kindness and generosity. And if it couldn't get any better, I've gotten to know her much better and she's become one of my dearest friends. We have lots of things in common and I totally get her personality.


She is a HUGE MSU football fan. When she found out that I had never been to a college football game, she quickly fixed that and invited me to a game. She spent time explaining the rules to football and as long as I cheered for MSU and didn't even hint that they'd lose, we were okay. Kathy is very loyal....not just to her Bulldogs, but also to friends. Kathy is also slightly on the OCD side of things. This is one of the things I love about her. She knows who she is and how she has to have things in order to function. She likes to be in control of things....she always drives when we go somewhere. I get such a kick out of that. And of course, I'm happy to let her drive. (I don't like to drive.)


She is a very special person and I'm so glad that I've gotten to know her. She still reads my blog, and was quick to tell me that I "forgot" to include her in the shout outs. I explained that the shout outs on my blog were a result of a facebook status I had written. She felt sort of left out that she wasn't represented, so I told her I'd devote one whole post to her. And since she's my stalker, why shouldn't I? I mean, I have to give her (and the public) something interesting to read......

I love you Kathy! Thanks for being such a great friend!