Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Memory

I'm stealing this idea from Elizabeth, because her latest post reminded me of one of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas. When we were little enough to still believe in Santa Claus, our parents had a tradition that I've never heard anyone else mention.

On Christmas Eve, after it got dark, one of my parents would take me and DeeBee for a ride around town to look for Rudolph's red nose in the sky. No matter how cold it was, we'd roll the car windows down to listen for the sleigh bells and peer into the sky to find that glowing nose. No telling how many times we'd see a tower with a red twinkling light at the top and mistake it for Rudolph. But we weren't fooled by that - we were out to find the real thing. The adventure was always fun of course, but usually unsuccessful. Except for that one year.

I must have been about 5 or 6 years old, making DeeBee around 7 or 8. I remember that we weren't too far from the house when I looked up and saw a red light descending towards our house! I recall yelling, "Daddy, there it is! It's going to our house! Hurry and get back home!" I also remember Daddy smiling and chuckling and doing whatever he could to delay getting back to the house. (While one parent was driving the kids around, the other was home putting out the Christmas gifts that Santa "dropped off.") I didn't understand this until years later, so I was pretty frustrated that he didn't rush back to the house. When we finally returned home, my mother was there saying "Oh, you just missed Santa!" It was so real and pretty darn magical!

I was so certain of what I saw, that when I tell kids about it today, I don't feel I'm lying. My six-year old eyes saw what they saw. What an awesome memory and creative tradition my parents gave us!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

LiMINTless

Back in April, Stride Gum promoted a contest to rename their mint-flavored gum. The grand prize winner was to receive $10,000 and a year's supply of Stride gum with the new name on the package. Stride later closed the voting and ended the contest claiming a "technical glitch." Instead of allowing online voting to take place, they just randomly selected five entries and gave them each $25,000.

Addison entered with the name "LiMINTless." Stride sent her a box of gum with her entry name on it and an apology letter. At the very least, she has a lot of gum and a funny story. :-)

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Wild" Morning

We're having a rough go of it lately with our pets. Just looking out the backdoor window, I see two handsaws dragged out into the yard, a plastic container of what was probably fertilizer or weed killer (some kind of poison, I'm sure), and the water hose wrapped 4 times around the tree. The rest of the hose is in bite-size pieces throughout the yard. And that's Duke's handiwork just TODAY.

I don't think he made a good impression while Leigh, my father-in-law, was visiting either. Leigh was staying in the guest house out back, the little house with a door that doesn't always stay closed during a strong wind storm. Duke discovered that if he ran full speed towards the door, he could easily knock it open. And open it he did, and took it upon himself to drag many of my father-in-law's belongings out into the yard. Not all of the items survived, if you know what I mean.

And then there's the latest episode with Junior, that I'm still a little shocked by. Everyone knows he's mean and bites and stalks and attacks one or all of us every single day. I woke up this morning and turned on the TV to just lay in bed for a while. Junior walked up wanting to be petted, which I obliged KNOWING I shouldn't. I don't let him do this, but for some reason this morning I decided to be generous. I only petted him a few seconds before realizing I should just push him off, so I raised my hand to push him away...and in a split second he attacked me, biting my face in three places. It was so sudden I didn't have time to get him off of me quickly enough.

Once I did though, well...let's just say I got him to leave the room. The mirror revealed 6 punctures and enough blood to piss me off a little more. I felt pretty stupid letting him come near me like that, so I don't blame the cat. I still make the claim that he's a feral cat, and that we'll basically be living with a semi-wild animal under our roof until something "unfortunate" happens. Okay, I'm just kidding with that little bit of sarcasm...I'm not going to do anything to him. And I'm not scared of my cat at all, just still reeling from what happened this morning. Mostly I think it pissed me off because I'm vain, and I had to go to school looking like I had a major breakout. I thought about taking a picture and posting it, but like I said - I'm vain.

Anyway, what do you do? I know if I had a small child and the cat did this to him/her, I'd probably feel obligated to get rid of it. I think what bothers me is that we're taking care of an animal that no one else would have, and it's just kind of weird when they turn on you. So add one more story to the list of Junior stories. I sure hope Duke never bites my face, because I'm likely to lose half of it if he does.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The End!

Not really. Or maybe it is. I just can't think of a good reason to keep up this blog. The culprit is definitely Facebook. I'm on there everyday keeping up to date with what's going on in everyone's lives, and likewise posting updates about mine, that I'm not seeing a use for this blog anymore. So...

I got nothing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boo

I'm pretty sure I could have paid half of what these cost me to make, had I just opted for store-bought decorations. I'm hoping once I finish stringing the lights underneath, they'll look cute for Halloween. Right now, I'm not so sure...





Sunday, October 04, 2009

Marathon #2

Alan ran in his second marathon yesterday, the West Texas Crossroads Marathon in Odessa. He beat his 4 hour goal with a time of 3:39:07. But you know with Alan there's always a story...something always happens.

A little background...we're sitting on the sidelines yesterday (me, Naomi, Addison and Austen) waiting for Alan's finish, when we see this runner coming with a police SUV tailing right behind him. As he gets closer to the finish line, he sort of stops and grabs at his leg, so we think he's really having trouble with cramps. But he keeps on and actually speeds up and hauls butt across the finish. As he passes us, we notice his shoulder blade on one side is red and really scraped up. It looked like he may have been bleeding. He crosses the line and practically collapses into the arms of a couple people.

So just a couple minutes later here comes Alan, and as soon as he finishes and sits down he says, "have I got a story for you." Turns out, when Alan was at about mile 22, he's trucking along and hears this loud "whomp!" behind him. He turns around to see a guy rolling on top of the hood of a car, falling off, and rolling on the ground. This guy gets up and keeps on going. The funny part of the story is how Alan, although truly sorry for the poor guy who got hit by a car, is PISSED that he then got passed by this guy!

But all in all it was a good morning and fun to be there. Thanks to Addison (it was her birthday yesterday!) and Austen who came out to cheer Alan on:

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Wow, check out that gorgeous West Texas scenery!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Domestic Violence

Every bite Junior gets from another animal he fully deserves, I'm sure. But what he doesn't know is that those bites are expensive. The last time he was bitten ended in a $250 vet visit by the time all was said and done. For most pets, it probably would have been a third that much. But with Junior, it requires sedation due to his "demeanor." To translate, that means he's an asshole.

So this time we're a little wiser. Alan called the vet and explained what was going on. They remember Junior. They were more than happy to provide us with all the medications we'd need to take care of the problem AT HOME. So here we go again - oral meds twice a day to a cat who aspires to stalk, attack, and draw blood on his victims (that would be us) about every other day. On top of that, we get to insert ointment into his abscessed wound. Good times!

And regardless of the fighting and hissing and dodging of razor sharp fangs, we'll do whatever it takes to keep him around. I love my Junior Lou.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Please don't see me, please don't see me!

Poor Junior. Sometimes he just needs to get away.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Puppy adventures

Every day Duke finds something new to play with (destroy), and today was no exception. We don't know where the ads came from, but leave it to Duke to find something that will make a huge mess. He had some fun with the water hose and sprinkler, too.



His inside manners have been really atrocious, especially when someone comes over. But we recently discovered the training tool that gets him to stop jumping, biting, and barking without having to lay a hand on him - a spray bottle! It works wonders, and I don't have to feel bad. Even with all the messes, he's been an awesome puppy and such a sweet companion. And just look at that face.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Morning Glory

Once again this crazy vine grew up through the rotted out seat of this old chair. It's thicker this year and seems to take the shape of the chair. I wish I was a good enough gardener to plan something like this! And it's the only plant Duke hasn't dug up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Serenity now, serenity now

Earlier this morning I spent a half hour ranting and raving about the "disappearance" of one of my new shirts. I woke up Bailey and rooted through her room and closet, assuming she tried it on and then threw it on the floor or stuffed it in a drawer (which occasionally happens). I silently accused Alan of taking it to the cleaners by mistake with his clothes (thankfully he wasn't here or I would have questioned him). I considered maybe the dog took it, or that someone snuck in the garage and stole some clothes, or that it fell behind the washer and dryer. I mean, how do you lose a shirt? A sock, yes. A shirt, no.

I looked EVERYWHERE. Three times. During this time I had been doing laundry and had carefully checked the load of clothes that I put in the washer. Still nothing. I looked some more, and all the while I am absolutely fuming. You see, this has happened before - sometime last year right after buying some new clothes for school, I lost a shirt. I liked that shirt so much that I went back to the store and bought another one. And here I was again, the shirt I liked the most was missing.

So as I'm considering getting dressed and going to Target to buy the shirt again (I really liked this shirt - Bailey said it made my boobs look big!), I notice the washer has stopped and decide to check that load again. I take the load out piece by piece to place in the dryer, and there it is - in the washer. How I missed it the three previous times I looked through the clothes, is a mystery. Or is it? Sometimes you just gotta wonder if someone's trying to tell you something.

Something like, "CALM THE HELL DOWN!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nicknames

We have pet names, for our pets. Lots of names. Does that make us obsessed with our pets, or does everyone do this? Please say someone else does this.

For Junior:

Junior Lou
Mr. Lou
Mister
Satan
Big Sweet Kitty
Tubby
and when I'm tired of being attacked, Whorebag

Duke's only been with us a few short weeks and has already accumulated quite a few:

Dukester
Dukie
Dukies
Duuuuuuuuke
Duke-a-licious
Retard

It's probably good they don't know what we're saying.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

While it's still clean...

After taking these pictures, I kept trying to figure out why my room looks so dull compared to last year. And then I realized that all my walls in this new room are white. Dull, stark white.





It looks better in person, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pre-School (Get it?)

I blog. I blog too much. I don't blog at all. I'd say I'm in the latter stage right now. I've been busy at school the last couple of weeks and will be doing much of the same for the next three weeks. I guess you could call it "teacher nesting," where we prepare, prepare, prepare for the arrival of a new batch of kids. It's kind of exciting actually to anticipate what they'll each be like, what they'll be capable of, or what challenges they'll have. You can't imagine how much we enjoy talking about the kids behind their backs. It's like we get to gossip all day. It's also a good way to vent about the ones you just can't stand. Good times!

So this Saturday is Alan's triathlon. I have no doubt he'll do well, as long as his bike holds up. And then about two months from now he'll run in his second marathon in Odessa. I'm hoping to round up a local group to go cheer him on. In Albuquerque for his first marathon, it was just Alan, myself, and his dad, so I'm hoping for a cheering section this time.

Maybe I'll post some pictures of my classroom. I'm still a new enough teacher that I get excited (i.e., corny) about my room.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dukester

Well, let's see...we paid $25 for this lab/retriever mix named Duke, then promptly spent about $200 on food, supplies, a cage to handle him up to his future size, and a visit to the vet. I've since dug up every flower, plant and shrub in the two larger beds out back with no intention of replacing them for a while. What's the point? Duke digs and chews and eats everything but his poop (so far). I've also cleaned up quite a few "number ones" in the house, because we've still a ways to go before we master house training.



And so far it's all been worth it. He's just so darn adorable!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sixteen Candles

This will forever be my favorite photo of Bailey.



I like that it's personal and intimate, and that only the people who really knew Bailey at this age understand what they're seeing in this photo. Much has changed since the day I took this picture of her pouting on the trampoline for reasons only she understood, and I'm anxious, nervous, and excited to see what the next few years will bring. Happy Sweet Sixteen, Bailey!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Playmates?

Several people have asked how Junior and Duke are getting along, or rather how Junior is reacting to us bringing a large crazy puppy into his domain. This pretty much sums it up:

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Duke thinks Junior is awesome. Junior thinks Duke is another target.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Bears

The San Francisco Zoo was nice, but no better than some other zoos I've been to, especially the San Antonio Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo. I purposely didn't post pictures from our zoo visit, because honestly who likes to see someone's zoo photos? They're really boring if you ask me. However, I thought this was pretty cool. We got to watch two grizzly bears play and wrestle, up close and personal:

video

And while I was standing there watching this, I thought back to the night at the tent cabin in Yosemite. I'd mentioned that we'd been given "bear aware" warnings, which included not having anything in your car or tent with a scent - chapstick, water, deodorant, you name it. Everything had to go in the lock box outside the tent. Here's the picture again so you can see the lock box.



So about 3:30 a.m. I woke up to a sound right outside the tent, less than a foot from mine and Alan's pillows. Something was banging on the lock box. HARD. As I lay there, I tried envisioning a really strong raccoon, or fox, or coyote...anything but a bear. And then I heard a loud "sniff." Oh Lord. And then what sounded about another 10 yards a way...a low moan. Oh my. There were two of them, whatever they were. And then "it" walked over to the tent right next door and started banging on their lock box. Once my heart stopped racing, I eventually fell asleep. Scary, yes...but exciting, YES.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Oh Dear

So I used to have a large, mature Mexican feather plant that somehow survived under my care for the past three seasons. It's now a place for Duke to spread out and chew on his rawhide. Two feet from this feather plant are, I mean were, three good-size pittosporum shrubs that had finally matured enough to grow together in pretty mounds. Two of those shrubs have now been split down the middle, because why in the world would one walk around shrubs when you can barrel through them?

And do you see the leafy remnants on the lounge chair in the foreground? Before yesterday, I had a purple potato vine that was coming back to life and really thriving in a cheap plastic pot. Duke felt it best to rip it out of the pot, and then make several trips to the chaise lounge with a mouth full of leaves and stems. There's also a fern that he knocked over, so it remains to be seen if that plant will survive.

At 11 weeks, he's maybe a third his full size and weight. I guess I better get hanging plants and large enough pots that can't be knocked over. And I guess I have some plants to dig up and toss.

A year ago I'm pretty confident I would have freaked out, as any normal person would have, right? But it's all relative. There have been bigger fish to fry for a while now, and Duke's puppy adventures are small beans. And he makes us laugh, which is so nice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New Addition


Hi. I'm Duke. You'll be hearing a lot about me, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

San Francisco

I could live there, for maybe a year or two. I've always wanted to experience that kind of lifestyle - that cramped, New York City kind of lifestyle where you do a lot of walking and use public transportation and have so much variety all around. I want to step out of my home, walk around the corner to a coffee shop with sidewalk seating, read the paper (of course I'd have to start reading a newspaper for once in my life), and people watch. Or I'd be so inspired by all the fit, athletic types running up and down the hilly streets that I'd throw on my running shoes and join them. Maybe.


Not the best photo, but I was in the car as we headed down Lombard Street, "The Crookedest Street."

I think what I like about San Francisco is that it doesn't feel like a big, concrete, polluted city, yet it has all the positive amenities such as dining, things to do, events, etc. It feels clean and pretty. Maybe it's all that white Victorian architecture that I'm "blinded" by, or the hills or the marine atmosphere or the sunsets...I just like it. I'm a fan.


Sunset at Pier 39.

Okay, back to our trip. I had high hopes for this part of the vacation. How could anyone, especially teenagers, not be wowed by the sites and sounds of this city? I've seen the shows they watch on MTV and VH1 - San Francisco should be right up their alley! What I thought was clean and pretty, they thought was dirty and gross. What I thought was entertaining, they were offended by. Riding the trolley and the metro with smelly, obnoxious sorts was not their cup of tea. Okay, perhaps it was a little offensive when the fat old man in the cut-off shirt and protruding belly bumped into Keena and said, "Get out of the way you piece of meat!" Ouch. Or the beggars along the sidewalks of Fisherman's Wharf who yelled out profanities for reasons only their schizophrenic minds understand.

San Francisco is different, and you either appreciate those differences or are turned off by them. And honestly, after a year or two I'd probably be turned off. For now, I hope it's a place we (meaning Alan and I) visit from time to time.


If you ever go to San Francisco, you must cross the Golden Gate! It's a must-see, up close and personal. So beautiful!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yosemite

Our first night at Yosemite we stayed in a tent cabin in the valley. Finding our tent cabin at 10:00 p.m., after checking in at the park office and getting our keys, was a bit of an adventure. I found it humorous, but not everyone agreed. Keep in mind we had just been given many "bear-aware" warnings by the park rangers, as we began our trek in the dark to find our site. We literally found our tent using our cell phone lights. (A tent cabin is basically a canvas tent with a wooden frame, built up off the ground with wooden floors, with beds and one electric light.) I thought it was fine, but the girls hated every moment. That was a sentiment they had many times during the vacation, but that's a whole other post entirely.



What I didn't realize until the light of the morning, was that we were surrounded by the beautiful granite mountains that bring many people to Yosemite. I stepped out of the tent and saw this:


Half Dome.

And this:




I'm no Ansel Adams, but this is my shot of El Capitan with Half Dome in the background.

I was awestruck. Again, not everyone shared my feelings. After breakfast, we took a tour of the valley floor on an open-air tram...very nice and lots of interesting facts, but I was glad it was only two hours. We then left the valley and headed to our lodge which was right outside the park, about an hour away. We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge, which was just awesome. We were there three nights, and while there we rode horses, mountain biked (me and Alan - mostly Alan), lounged by the pool, hiked to see the Giant Sequoias (again, just me and Alan - Bailey and Keena were not wild about exerting themselves on this trip), and treated the girls to facials at the lodge's spa.


There's something about those big pink helmets that make the girls look 10 yrs. old.


This horseback ride was not your average, simple trail ride. We went over steep, rocky, narrow paths and crossed several creeks. It was pretty adventurous! We all agreed this ranked nearly as high as the rafting as the most memorable part of the trip!


We enjoyed one "dressy" night out for dinner during our Yosemite stay.




I had to take a picture of this bloody mary I had poolside. The best I've ever had!

One of the highlights of the entire vacation was the all-day whitewater rafting on the Tuolomne River. The girls and I had never been rafting, but we were big fans shortly after getting started. I could have settled for a half-day, but perhaps all the strenuous activities in the higher elevation were getting to me. I was pooped, and the rafting was hard work. My back is still not happy with me. Anyway, before we began the rapids we practiced some strokes and maneuvers and the ability to follow directives from the guide. We practiced one maneuver that the guide said was rarely necessary, but important to know. So I think our favorite part of the rafting was when we actually had to perform the maneuver to keep everyone from falling out in the middle of a Class IV rapid. It was exciting and kind of scary, but so fun afterwards! (This is not a picture of that maneuver!)


You can't even see the other rider in the front right of the boat. She's getting an ice-cold splash in the face.

We got back to the lodge around 7:30 p.m. to discover they were still having trouble with a water main break. Too bad, it meant we had no water in our hotel room and they had to move us to the luxury suite for our last night. Darn it. :-) This was a $700/night suite, so needless to say we were wishing the water problems had occurred earlier in the week!

The next morning we left for San Francisco, which I thought would be another highlight of the trip. What was I thinking?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Los Angeles

We began our trip in L.A., so that's where I'll start. Not long after we landed and found our hotel in Garden Grove (which we soon discovered was an inconvenient part of L.A. for us to stay in, yet cool that we've been where Sublime sang about!), we headed to Hollywood. Some things you just want to say you've "been there, done that," and that was the thinking behind walking down Hollywood Blvd, driving through Beverly Hills and down Rodeo, and seeing the Hollywood sign. It was cool and I'm glad we experienced it, but I can't think of a reason to go back. That sounds worse than I mean for it to.


I think this picture of Bailey and Keena was taken at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Just 'cause!


Rodeo Drive kind of looked like streets of Paris.

While in the L.A. area, we drove to San Bernardino for Alan to try hangliding. This is a picture of Alan flying tandem of course, and I could be wrong but I think they were about 2000 feet up? He's glad he tried it, but I don't think he feels the need to do that ever again. It was fun for us three girls to watch, though.


After the hangliding, we drove to Venice Beach. I don't even know a word to describe it - bizarre is the best I can come up with. I've seen and heard about Venice, but nothing on TV or in the movies could ever compare to actually being there. It's just so WEIRD. You spend the first 20 minutes or so walking around laughing, pointing, with your jaw dropped half the time. And then it just gets creepy, dirty, sad. (I don't have good pictures, because I wasn't about to pay anyone just because they were painted silver or walking around in nothing but an American flag speedo.) I think you have to keep a good sense of humor to enjoy it, but frankly I couldn't wait to leave and wash my hands!

The beach itself, however, was beautiful and clean.

Sunday we spent at Universal Studios Hollywood, and I think it's safe to say that we were all a little disappointed. Universal Studios in Florida last year was awesome, with lots of thrill rides, water rides, etc. The one in Hollywood had way more 3D and 4D experiences than a person like me who gets motion sickness easily can handle. There was ONE roller coaster, if you really want to call it a roller coaster, and ONE water ride in which we barely got wet. So really, I can't say a lot for a theme park that we gave $250 to (before food) and only moderately entertained us.

The next day however, we spent at Santa Monica Beach and had a great time! The beach was beautiful, and except for how bone-chilling cold the water was, it was too short a day:

Does Alan look cold? :-)

The girls played in the waves and tanned, while I spent a lot of time walking up and down the beach and taking pictures of Alan surfing for the first time. By the way, if we ever move remotely close to a beach, Alan's first priority will be buying a surf board. He's absolutely hooked:

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So after a few hours at the beach, we packed up the car and began our very long drive towards Yosemite. I was ready to leave the city for the mountains, and Yosemite did not disappoint. I'll post those pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aaaawww...

Hard to believe that this rotund, often grouchy and sometimes vicious cat...


...was once this sweet little kitten:


I found Junior's kitten pictures while going through some old CDs today. I took this when he was a few weeks old, before I had a digital camera, and when I was still retarded when it came to taking pictures.

When we first found Junior at around ten days old, I was taking classes at UTPB and had to drive home most days between classes to bottle feed him. We also had to teach him to go pee and poop, but that's another story. Anyway, one day I came home and couldn't find him. He couldn't walk yet and his crawling skills weren't great, so imagine how confused I was when he was missing. Finally I found him ON THE COUCH curled up underneath a pillow. I can just picture those tiny, razor-sharp claws digging into our couch as he climbed all the way up.

He'll be four years old this summer, but we have enough "Junior" stories to fill a decade. Many of those stories leave people wondering why we allow him to live with us! But if you had been there from the beginning, when he fit in the palm of your hand, and when he was bottle-fed and burped like a baby, you might be hooked like we are. And you'll probably never see it for yourself, but he really does have a sweet side. :-)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Good Beginning

We had a fun, relaxing time at DeeBee's in Oklahoma and came home on Saturday. I should be more clear when I say "relaxing," because what I really mean is lazy. I haven't sat and vegged that much in a really long time. It was nice and went by too fast.


Charles (Caitlin's boyfriend), Caitlin, and Bailey


Alan and DeeBee

Bailey left for church camp the day after we got back, so Alan and I are childless this week. This always leaves me with mixed feelings - glad for the alone time with Alan but somewhat restless when my "mom" duties aren't needed. I'm filling the time with household chores, cooking, yard work, a little swimming, and some reading if I can get into my book. I'm not very chipper this week, which I'm 99% sure can be blamed on hormones, but nevertheless...keeping busy is key. We've only been home two days, and I'm so ready to leave again for vacation.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On a break

I've been busy and preoccupied with other things, and have let this little journal here take a backseat. Monday we leave for Oklahoma for a much-anticipated, relaxing stay at my sister's. A week later Bailey leaves for church camp, and a week after that is our trip to California (Cali, as Bailey calls it). Somewhere in the middle I plan to move my classroom, paint the living room, and cook, cook, cook. Cooking is one of the many things that I let take a back seat during the school year. And reading. And socializing. So I hope to do more of all three this summer.

I also used to blog more. Maybe some of the above will provide something to blog about.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hide and seek

If you have a cat and a suitcase, then I'd bet money the two have met. Cats love suitcases and dresser drawers.



When we get home from a trip, we leave the suitcase out for a couple of days so that Junior can play in it.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

10 days!

Just stuff. That's my reason for not blogging. Nothing exciting or life-changing, just stuff. School is simply crazy right now, partly due to activities and deadlines, and partly due to the OVERWHELMING discipline issues. They fight, hit, kick, argue, bicker, tease, cry, tattle, cuss. I'm gonna hurt someone soon. Here's a sample of what my kids did this week to a teacher:

Student to teacher: "They're talking about you."

Teacher: "I don't care if you call me names."

Another student: "Okay, then you're stupid and ugly."

After a full day everyday of playing mediator, police, counselor, and maybe teacher, I'm tired. The summer break is a time to get away, refresh, forget. Otherwise we'd never come back!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Earth Day

A couple of weeks ago on Earth Day, I passed out large newsprint paper and told the third graders to write "Why I Love the Earth" at the top. They were to artistically demonstrate that statement, and this was a time when I did NOT give them a choice on whether or not the statement applied to them. I'm no tree-hugger, but I was determined to force a love for Planet Earth on these kids whether they liked it or not! The wall outside my classroom is now decorated with all of their posters, but here are a few samples:






Did I mention it was an interpretative assignment?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Procrastination

Love the job, hate the grading. It's time to get settled in front of the t.v. and start my weekend. Joy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Swimming

I'm on my way to go swimming - my latest workout of choice. I won't make any claims that this will be the exercise I'll stick with long-term, because when have I ever stuck with something? But a workout with no impact, no sweat, and no weather issues is tough to beat! The downside is not knowing if a lane will be available, although so far it hasn't been an issue.

I was a little self-conscious at first, because there's no telling what I look like swimming. I've been comfortable swimming since I was pretty little, but I never had to swim with "form." So far, it's really relaxing in a butt-kicking kind of way. I can only do about 10-12 laps right now, while Alan does about 27. Show off!

Anyway, I'm enjoying it for now, and it's an awesome workout!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring has sprung

A little excitement here tonight. We're having thunderstorms hitting about every 20-30 minutes, and each time there's been heavy rain and/or these little beauties:



Aren't they cool? Can't remember the last time we had hail this size...



I have to admit that when I opened the front door to start recording and was hit with this, I was a tiny bit spooked. Especially since we were also in the middle of a tornado warning.

video

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Amateur Gardener

Seems that most of our long distance friends and family live in areas where winter hasn't gotten the message that it's time to move on. And then there's us. We don't have the scenery that most of you have, but I have to say our weather's hard to beat sometimes. (Wednesday's high is expected to be 92.) My plants, the very few I have, started coming up several weeks ago and survived a couple of mild freezes along the way. This Salvia plant comes back bigger and better each year.



The Rose of Sharon in front of the guest house is not much to look at right now, but it just came out of nowhere last year...those quirky acts of nature are usually my favorite. Kind of like last year when a Morning Glory vine started growing up through the rotted seat of an old wooden chair.



And I think this is the first time I've ever planted tomatoes. I bought two different varieties just to see how each one does. I placed them on the scorching hot west side of the house. I eat some version of tomatoes almost every day, so I don't see these going to waste. We'll have salsa all summer long!