Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You can find me buried underneath the papers.

Jess wrote a great post today about how nobody does everything. Right now, I'm not doing much blogging. Which really kind of stinks, because I do miss it. But the fact of the matter is that I've been doing an awful lot of boring writing this week.

I could show you the 40 pages of review questions I've written in the past two days, but if this post hasn't already put you to sleep, that surely would.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What I Got To Do For School Yesterday

Perhaps my favorite field trip (I'm ignoring the fact that it's my ONLY field trip!) is where I take my physics class to a theme park to study all the different types of rides. We look at the roller coaster, carousel, free fall, and a water ride, take all kinds of measurements and then do all kinds of calculations. It's a great review of all the things we've been learning all semester. (And perhaps the best way to review for the semester exam!!) This time of year is perfect - the park was practically empty since it's early December.

This is the third year I've done the trip, and I've always booked it through an agency that puts together the entire program for us. However, the facilitator they sent yesterday was lousy, and I had to keep explaining to the kids what we were doing and why we were doing it.

Which made me realize a couple of things:
- I actually HAVE learned more physics than I thought I had, and
- I'm ready to put all my own stuff together and run the whole trip myself.

Well, not entirely by myself! Me & the other teacher who goes with me (who was an engineer in her former life and used to teach physics before she took a sabbatical & I got stuck with it and when she returned she didn't want it back!).

I am ready to stand on my own two (and our collective four) feet.

Because I need more work like I need a hole in the head!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Autumn, but not here

I took this picture last Thanksgiving while we were on the road. Beautiful, isn't it?!
(and if you think this is your backyard, it probably is. ;) )

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

Since 1993 (FIFTEEN YEARS ago!), Husband has woken up very early on Thanksgiving morning & gone to run a Turkey Trot race. Every year. No matter where we are that year.

This year marked the first time that a) we did not have infants, b) we were home, and c) we were not in a place with freezing weather. So we all went with him.

This pic was taken just after they started. It was a pretty big race this year - took 9 minutes before everyone crossed the start line!!

Once we'd finished watching everyone start, we still had about 7-9 minutes before we'd see Husband finish (it was a 5K race this year), so we amused ourselves around the finish line. The kids wanted their picture taken with the inflat-o-turkey.

Considering the race was at 8am, and dinner was going to be around 3-4pm, I had some time on my hands. Set the table with the good china:

Amusingly enough, it did not occur to me that I had forgotten silverware until it was almost time to eat!

Here's Husband ready to carve our first-ever turkey!!

The feast, for which we were truly thankful:

Happy Weekend to you all!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for these two turkeys.

(that's Bird on the left, and Bug on the right)

What amazes me is that they are almost 2 years apart, yet their hands are almost the same size.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bring It On Home

Haven't done a meme in a while, and this one is all the rage on Facebook right now.... and since I would never post something like this where my students could find it.... it can go here!

I have to say, I am always amused by these things. Some of the answers can be dead-on, while others make absolutely no sense. Looking at this list, though, I am amazed at how much influence Husband has had on my music. I can honestly say I would never have listened to (and even enjoyed!) most of this had he not played it for me.

1.Put your iPod on shuffle. (well, the iPod is hooked up to the stereo right now, and not anywhere near where I'm sitting. How about the nifty mP3 player on the computer? It will have to do.)
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from.
(Um, if you like this and want to play, consider yourself tagged.)

If someone asks, "Is this okay?" you say:
Copacabana - Barry Manilow

What would best describe your personality?
I'll Be That Girl - Barenekkidladies

What do you like in a guy/girl?
A View to a Kill - Duran Duran

What is your life's purpose?
Love, Liberty, and Disco - Newsboys
(ROCK ON!!!)

What is your motto?
Eat the Rich - Aerosmith
(Yeah, this isn't disturbing at all....)

What do your friends think of you?
You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
(And apparently conceited too!)

What do you think about very often?
Something About You - Level 42

What is 2 + 2?
Nothing But Flowers - Talking Heads

What do you think of your best friend?
Autumn Almanac - Kinks

What do you think of the person you like?
Come a Little Bit Closer - Jay and the Americans
(Well, that's appropriate.)

What is your life story?
Wrong Way - Sublime
(Hmmm.... this could be superficial & wrong, or deeply philosophical and right....)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Cotton Eyed Joe - Rednex

What do you think when you see the person you like?
Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks
(If you know Husband, you are probably laughing now.)

What do your parents think of you?
Gonna Always Love You - Muppets

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Shoot to Thrill - AC/DC
(Oh dear)

What will they play at your funeral?
Without You - Badfinger
(Kinda obvious, isn't it?)

What is your hobby/interest?
Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benetar
(Perhaps that's why we're at my funeral now...)

What's your biggest secret?
99 Luftballoons - Nena

What do you think of your friends?
Basic Instructions - Burlap to Cashmere

What's the worst thing that could happen?
1985 - Bowling For Soup

How will you die?
Big Ideas - Randy Stonehill

What is the one thing you regret?
Look Through Any Window - Hollies

What makes you laugh?
Take It Easy - Eagles

What makes you cry?
Movin Out - Billy Joel

Will you ever get married?
If You Want My Love - Cheap Trick

What scares you the most?
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence - Gene Pitney
(That's not fair! He'd scare anyone!)

Does anyone like you?
Finest Worksong - REM

If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Number 3 Roxbury Street - Captain Tractor

What hurts right now?
Funiculi Funicula - Luciano Pavarotti
(I've been instructed to tell you that I was the one who downloaded this song.)

What will you post this as?
Bring It On Home - Led Zepplin

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts on Excellence

Each week, I have a quote of some kind (usually from a scientist, but not always) on my board. My first year students have to write a response to it. This week, it was "Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude." Instead of a specific directive, I simply told them to respond to the quote. I thought some of their thoughts were interesting.

Excellence is something you have and are, not something you do.... it cannot be obtained magically in exchange for temporary achievement.

Excellence starts with your attitude. You must be in the right frame of mind.

If someone is only doing their best some of the time, then they don't have an attitude of excellence.

Excellence is something that means different things to different people. (really?! oh the relativism!)

I suppose it was inevitable that someone went Bill-and-Ted on me:

I think he means you should try to BE excellent, not achieve excellence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Hiding

Bird: Smile Bug!

Bug: You can't see me!

photo courtesy of Bird

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hear that it's fall somewhere. Not around these parts, at least not yet, so I like to pretend that it is with these cookies. I like to bake them around Halloween time, although this a great pumpkin pie alternative around Thanksgiving as well.

1 cup softened margarine or butter (2 sticks)
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 15oz can canned pumpkin*
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 12oz bags milk chocolate chips

* For those of you who may be a bit more purist in your cooking, this is about 2 cups of your own homemade pumpkin puree. For those of you who want to learn how to do this, there's a great tutorial here.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (around 175C) and grease your cookie sheets.

2. Cream the butter & sugar until fluffy. I left my electric mixer in the picture because this is the only time you'll use it.

3. Add all the wet stuff (pumpkin, eggs, vanilla) & stir it all together.

4. In another bowl, add all the dry stuff (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon.) The original directions said to sift it, but I find that just stirring it all together works rather nicely.

Alternatively, do this first and have your little helpers stir it all together while you get all the wet stuff taken care of.

5. Dump the bowl of dry stuff into the bowl of wet stuff. I think you're *supposed* to do this bit by bit, but I just dump it all in there at once. You do have to be bit more careful when you're stirring so you're not breathing the flour, but it works.

6. Stir in the chocolate chips. I prefer to use all milk-chocolate chips, but the store didn't have 2 bags. So this is one bag of milk chocolate & one bag of semi-sweet.

7. Drop by teaspoon or nifty scoop onto your greased cookie sheets. I can get 16 on one well-loved sheet.

8. Bake for as long as they need. In my portal to Hades, that is 8 minutes, followed by about 2 minutes more sitting on the sheet that is now on top of the oven. You want the edges to be set, but not hard. Remove to wax paper/racks/foil to cool completely.

This will make a boatload (60-75, depending on size) of delicious cookies. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Modern Art?

"Mommy, look what I made!!"

Lovely, Bird, just lovely.

"Guess what it is?!"

This is always a dangerous game. I tend to see.... well, nothing that it actually is. (is it a house? no! it's you!) and then I have identity issues. (do I really look like a house?)

Thankfully, this time she took it easy on me:

"It's that thing that hangs in the back of your throat!!"

I can't wait until I hear about her using the word uvula in kindergarten.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alphabet Soup

What do you mean you don't recognize this person who's suddenly posting daily?!

A is for Age: 30

B is for Burger of Choice: triple-cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella) burger.

C is for the Car I drive: I'm a Toyota girl! (which makes it fun considering Husband is a Domestic car buyer.)

D is for your Dog’s Name: no real pets. Just Ellie (yes, her name and gender have changed!)

E is for Essential Item: either my cell phone or flash drive. All my school stuff is on the flash drive.

F is for current Favourite tv show: Gilmore Girls, Seinfeld (I'm interpreting this as currently my favorite, not currently on tv!)

G is for favourite Game: online? I'd say right now it's WordTwist or Pathwords. (no, not at all addicted to Facebook, what do you mean?) IRL, I like all kinds of trivia games.

H is for Home State: New York

I is for Instruments you play: um..... kazoo?

J is for your favourite Juice: pomegranate or cherry. or cherry pomegranate. perhaps a fruit punch.

K is for whose rear end I’d like to Kick: Today? people who don't properly use their turn signal while driving.

L is for the Last Restaurant at which you ate: CiCi's Pizza.

M is for your favourite Muppet: Kermit, Bunsen, Beaker, the Swedish Chef....

N is for # of Piercings: Two.... sort of. My ears are pierced, though I don't really wear earrings anymore. But I can get them in if i need to.

O is for Overnight hospital stays: Four. When I was 6 to have my aednoids out, when I was 11 to get my tonsils out, and then a few days for the birth of each child.

P is for People you were with today: Husband, Bird, Bug... scads of students, work colleagues... is it any wonder I want to hide in the Internet when I get home?!

Q is for what you do with your Quiet time: read, faff around on the computer, sleep, scrapbook, watch a cheezy movie...

R is for biggest Regret: I'm having a really hard time thinking of something here. I think that's a good thing.

S is for Status: sleepy

T is for Time you woke up today: 5:30 a.m. and then I graded papers.

U is for what’s Unique about you: this year, I'm teaching 5 different classes. Apparently, I'm incredibly multi-faceted & talented.

V is for Vegetable you love: carrots, water chestnuts

W is for Worst Habit: stress eating

X is for X-Rays you’ve Had: Lots, but only on my teeth.

Y is for Yummy food you ate today: pumpkin chocolate chip cookie

Z is for Zodiac: Virgo

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last night, Husband & I watched the new Indiana Jones movie. I have to say, I liked it. I wasn't sure how I would feel, considering all the bad reviews it got, but it is still Harrison Ford Indiana Jones after all. Considering it's been 19 years since The Last Crusade, I'm not surprised that this movie was set in the 50s instead of the 30s - and they acknowledged the passing of time & aging of the characters. (Not to mention that Ford STILL did most of his own stunts. Wow!)

There was one scene of the movie, however, that bugged me. As with all Lucas movies, there has to be a chase scene. This one was rather spectacular, and at one point involved Indy's sidekick fencing with the main Russain villain - while they are on side-by-side moving vehicles. (This is not the part that bugged me. I always thought fencing was cool. Wish I could do it!). No, the part that bugged me was when Mutt (the rebellious teenager) ended up straddling both vehicles at the same time. The camera panned back, and we are 'treated' to a series of shots of shrubberies aimed at the guy's manly bits.

It saddened me that the movie resorted to cheap tricks, when previous iterations of this series didn't need to rely on such ridiculousness to garner a laugh. It reminded me of the later Muppet movies (Muppets From Space & the Muppet Wizard of Oz) that all of a sudden started using fart jokes and innuendos (sadly, I think Jim Henson would be spinning in his grave, and I don't think Frank Oz was even associated with at least the latter movie.)

Yet, it is a sign of the change in culture under new (younger) management. I hate it when movies play to the lowest common denominator, rather than letting the comedy naturally arise from great writing and/or acting. It's like the filmmakers insinuate that we are too dumb to understand anything above the base line.

Not to mention the fact that I think we're all called to a higher standard anyhow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Artistic Pumpkin Patch

If you've been reading here much, or if you just happen to know Bird, I bet you could pick out her pumpkin even if I didn't circle it:

I like to believe that she's an individual who likes to think for herself.

I already know she doesn't like being told what to do.

I love that she doesn't let common opinions sway her.

I do, however, dread her pre-teen and teenage years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In Which I Salute Scotland

It's Homecoming Week round these parts, and that means we have all sorts of weird dress up days at school. Yesterday was the Ultimate Sports Fan Day, the idea being that you dressed up to support your favorite sports team.

Ahem. I don't really watch sports. I don't even pretend to LIKE too many sports.

So, I started thinking it would be really fun to support a sport that is not all that common in the US. After some chatting, another colleague came up with the idea that we could be caber tossers.
After finding a "kilt" at Goodwill, some knee socks at Target, and grabbing a pool noodle from my backyard, I was ready to go!

I also drew a picture of the Scottish flag on my board, and played bagpipe music inbetween all my classes.

If I wasn't in their heads as being 'colorful' before, I bet I am now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips for Trips with Toddlers

In the past 2 years, we've taken 2 different summer road trips. In 2007, we spent two weeks driving around Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and then driving down the East Coast back to Florida. The kids were 2 & 4. Last summer (2008), we took a 3-week road trip out to the Grand Canyon. (You can read about it in reverse here, if you're interested.), and the kids were now 3 and 5.

Our survival was due to really good planning. I can subdivide the planning into three main categories:

For each trip, we only had one crazy 12-hours-in-one-day-drive, as that's how long it takes to reach the family in Tennessee. This only worked because we were staying at my in-laws house, and we did not have to drive anywhere else for a couple of days, so we had time to recover.

If you plan on driving every day or every other day, plan to be on the road only about 6 hours a day - possibly 8 if you're having a particularly good day, but that's really pushing it. Remember, you are on vacation so that everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

As far as WHEN in the day to travel, I found that we could get rather far if we immediately left when everyone woke up - it would take a while for the kids to eat breakfast in the car. That's a little exhausing, however, and not good if you are on a long vacation.

Next option - leave after breakfast, and get a few hours in before lunch. I found that it was much easier for the kids to entertain themselves (and/or each other) early in the day so they were fresh, but after they had some food and a little running around under their belts. And if we got on the road a little later than that, they would last a couple hours after lunch without whining as well.

We were usually not on the road for more than 2-2.5 hours at a time. After that, someone had to use the bathroom, or we were just wiggly.

Activities (in the car)
When I packed the car, I put a big box of books (that they helped pick out), magna doodles, coloring books (new from the dollar storel) and crayons in between the kids. I also packed 2 small bags of little plastic figurine toys & cars - they did all sorts of role playing in the back seat with those!

I kept some other things separate. Up front with me I had a bag containing things like markers, blank paper & rolls of stickers (the stickers got everywhere, but the kids had so much fun with them that I didn't mind). I had 2 magnetic books that came out when when we'd been on the road for 2 weeks already.

If I'm not reading, I like to do things like sudoukus or word searches. This past trip, both kids liked to do word searches as well - the dollar store always has puzzle books. For them, it involved mostly just looking for certain letters on the page, but they pretended they were just like Mommy.

We do have a DVD player, and we splurged a little bit on one that has 2 monitors, and can even play two movies simultaneously (though we haven't needed that feature yet!). However, in an attempt to a) encourage our children to use their imaginations & entertain themselves, and b) preserve our sanity in the midst of late-afternoon crankiness, it was not allowed to come out until well after lunch. Many times, it was incredibly helpful as we tried to do that last push in order to reach that day's destination before dinner.

Activities (on the road)
In the US, the first rest stop when you cross a state line usually features a welcome center. We stopped at lots of those - the bathrooms were generally nicer, and since it's a welcome center, it's a tourist spot. They have all sorts of maps & brochures to help people plan your visit - we'd always let the kids pick out a couple and then they could read them in the car, draw on them, and it was nice for them to have something new to look at. Sometimes they even had coloring pages especially for kids!

Make sure you have plenty of snacks - and a good variety of stuff as well. It doesn't always need to be crackers - things like raisins & dried fruits travel very well & are a bit healthier. I found some tasty granola bars that had yogurt on top - dairy & grains! Carrots, little grape/cherry tomatos & celery (if yours will eat it - mine won't!) will travel for a while without refrigeration. I also brought those individual servings of fruit (don't forget the plastic spoons!).

Pack your food into a cooler, but make sure you figure out if you will regular access to ice, as that will affect the food you can bring. Remember - most places do have grocery stores if need be.

Keep in mind that if you are doing very large distances in a single day, your children will NOT be interested in sitting down at a rest stop & eating lunch. And really, who could blame them? Personally, I was always willing to let them run around the rest area & burn off energy - they could always eat in the car when we were on the road again, and that would keep them occupied for a while.

We discovered that stopping at a McDonalds with an indoor playground was a great option (I favored indoor so we would be in the AC as we were traveling out in the desert). Dh would buy a drink, we'd have our peanut butter sandwiches, and the kids would run all over the playground. Most McD's also have water, so we could refill drink bottles, etc. I'd make a sandwich for the kids to eat once we got back in the car.

In the end, the best tip I have is to remember to enjoy yourself. Remember that you have a general plan in mind, but it's okay to rearrange things. And that will happen when you are traveling with small children. Remembr to take lots of pictures!!

(Check out Antique Mommy's carnival for more travel tips!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Silly Seven

I've been in a bit of a writing rut lately, and there are two things that can possibly get you out of that:

- procrastination (blogging sounded like more fun than writing a math test)
- somebody you don't know (thanks Eileen!) tags you for a meme (and you're happy to do it because it turns out that now you feel even more responsible to give fokls something to read)

So, on the off chance that I haven't lost all my readers, here are seven possibly unknown, potentially weird facts about me.

1. In middle school I discovered I liked to light things on fire. Hmmm.... that's probably not much of a surprise, is it?

2. I was a Girl Scout until I graduated high school. Because that was one of the ways I could regularly camp & continue to safely light things on fire. Actually, I might still be a Girl Scout; I don't think they really kick you out at any point, do they?!

3. My college degree is in Forensic Science. Remind me to tell you one day how I ended up teaching. (No, it's not so I could then legally buy chemicals & light them on fire.)

I should probably stop talking about fire.

4. I met my Husband in a bathroom. (oye, the shameless self-promotion!)

5. I love to go out to eat at restaurants that serve you bread. Because then I can fill up on the bread and bring half my dinner home to enjoy another night.

6. If left to its own devices, my natural body rhythm is to sleep from 11pm - 8am. Which doesn't fit in so much with the teaching of high school.

7. I've been snow skiing three times in my life. Each time, I had a fall so spectacular that I should have suffered permanent head damage, but thankfully didn't. (You in the back? Not a word!!)

If you'd like to play, consider yourself tagged! Leave me a comment so I know to go take a peek.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Pumpkin

Bird's commission:

Husband's rendering:

Pretty good, huh?!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Colored Fire

At the thought of fall, some people's minds turn to autumn leaves and pumpkins.

My mind turns to lighting chemicals on fire. Seriously, some compounds on fire are simply beautiful.

I am in awe.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Not all Relative

Imagine the scenario: a student (not mine) disobeys a teacher (not me), and the teacher writes him up. The principal disciplines the child - i.e. talks to him & doles out the consequences. The parent of the child then calls the principal - to ask if he fully investigated the events leading up to the infraction. Because, you see, her child is normally such a good child, and he was just frustrated by what was happening, so he acted out.

Did you catch it? The parent was justifying the child's disobedience simply because he was frustrated. It was okay, just this once.

Except it's not. Disobedience and disrespect are just that, and they need to be dealt with appropriately. I can guarantee you that if I were frustrated with my superior and disrespected him, the consequences would be a lot greater than demerits or detention.

Frustration is part of life. At some point, we all have to deal with people and/or situations that frustrate us. Usually more than once. It does not excuse or justify misbehavior. As parents, it's our job to help equip our children to deal with these situations in an acceptable manner, not to try and get them out of the consequences.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

When Geeks Marry, this is what happens

"So, were you biologically attracted to me?"

"Well, there was certainly some chemistry between us!"


Thursday, September 25, 2008

The First Time I Cleaned the Oven in a Embarrassing Number of Years

Note - this actually happened last... April I think. Finally finished polishing it up & posting it now. (Yes, pun intended.)

I am a creature of habit. You can always find me in the grocery store in the moddle of the afternoon on a Sunday. Which is why it was so odd to find me there on a Tuesday night, muttering to myself as I searched for oven cleaner.

You see, one afternoon, I decided to make bagel chips. I have no idea why we had all the bagels, but they were going to go stale before we could ever finish them.

I'd never made bagel chips before, but it seemed simple enough: slice very thinly, and dip in a bowl filled with oil & any spices you deem necessary. (Mine included lots of garlic & Italian seasoning, in case you were interested.) I might have gotten a little carried away with the olive oil, and some might have dripped off the pan and into the back of the oven.

I mention this because I was running late and took the bagel chips out to a friend's house without cleaning the kitchen first. When it came time that evening to start cleaning, I completely forgot about the oil in the oven.

About two weeks later, Husband decided we having frozen pizza for dinner. No, this was not the first time we'd used the oven since the oilspill, but apparently it was the "magic night."

As he opened the oven door to put the pizza in.... WOOSH!!

From the other room, I could hear a few things:

Bug: Fire! Fire!
Bird: Get away from the fire Daddy! Fire is hot! Stop, drop and roll!!

Husband: Amuses himself by closing the oven door, watching the flames die a little, then opening it & watching them reignite.

Bird: Get AWAY from the fire Daddy!! It's HOT!! Stop, drop and roll!!

She was getting more than a little panicked at this point, so he grabbed the fire extinguisher and put an end to the madness.

Now, if you've never seen the aftermath of a fire extinguisher.... it's not pretty. There's a powdery white chemical residue covering everything within a 4-foot radius of where you sprayed.

Once we sprayed the aforementioned oven cleaner, it took about 2 hours for it to work its magic. I have to say, I was pleased by how quickly all the chemicals, grease, and grime came out. I was horrified by how many paper towels it took (my apologies to the rainforest!).

But my oven is very sparkly now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Toot, Toot!

My regular chem class is a little surprising this year - there are only 15 of them (my Honors is bigger, for once. 25! eek!), half of whom are seniors. It makes for interesting dynamics because a) they're chattier, and b) their work is... haphazard at times. I'm glad they decided to challenge themselves in their last year of high school, but it does keep me on my toes!!

After class on Monday one of my senior girls asked me if I remembered a former student. I did (yay! memory still intact); I taught him chemistry, and then he was in my very first section of physics. I mention this because that first year of physics was a class that kicked me to the curb - content wise. There were so many days I told them I'd get back to them with answers to their questions, run home, get Husband to explain it to me, and then go back and explain it to them.

Anyhow, to make a long story short (too late?!), she told me about a conversation she'd had with him. She told him that she was in my chemistry class, at which point he told her, "Pay attention to everything she says. You will never again hear anybody explain anything so well."


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A week? Really?

Wow, I can't believe it's been a week since my last post!! I also wish I had something really spiffy to show for it.

Wait... I am filling the minds of our youth with knowledge and logic! That's got to be worth something, right?

In all seriousness, this 5th prep (in other words, I teach 5 different classes) is really kicking my proverbial hiney. And my real rear end too. I have seriously spent every spare moment this week either teaching, grading the fruits of my labor, or preparing new offerings. Which means I am writing more than ever. Just not here. I kind of miss it, but with very little going on that would come across as interesting.

How boring can this entry get?!

(You really shouldn't have asked. Some day I might answer that.)

Anyhow, I think I have just enough time to type out my grocery list for tomorrow, so I'll get on that....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Can't get the song out of my head

You might have heard a bit about the nifty new particle accelerator over in Switzerland - you know, the one helping us learn more about the Big Bang. (ahem).

Anyhow, here's a nifty way of explaining what it does. I think I might have to show it to my physics class.

An Entry from Bird's Dictionary

Bird and Bug have been playing with their (really big) Legos this morning. So for the past 15 minutes or so I've been looking at all kinds of towers & houses. Then Bird came up with quite a winner:

"Here's my house Mommy! This is the part we live in, and this part is for tramping."
Ummm... whaaat?
"This is where we go tramping!"
What is tramping?
"It's what Mommies & Daddies can do."
(Now wondering what she's picked up at school....) Bird, I don't understand. What is tramping?

So, she came up right next to me (because clearly I am slow!) and whispers in my ear:
"When we go on vacation."

Ohhhh - CAMPING!!! She'd built a house with an RV attached!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm Still Waiting for Hamlet

Since Bird has started Kindergarten, her interest in writing has increased to levels I didn't know existed. Mind you, there are plenty of times she has no interest in writing letters the correct way, but she's still writing all the time.

Considering she's 5, she doesn't really understand the concept of spelling yet. Therefore, she is really just writing whatever letter pops into her head. This past week, she's managed to write 3 words. Completely randomly:

I'd love to say she's my little chemist. I wonder. She still tends to write all her numbers backwards though.

How is this statistically possible?! Yet we couldn't find anything in her room that she could have copied from!

Even better, it was on the board in my classroom. Lovely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What goes on behind those doors?!

When Bird started preschool last August, her teachers celebrated when she began talking in class in October.

Bug, it seems, does not have that issue! Apparently, if he acts even remotely quiet, he might require hospitalization. Or maybe just some really good meds.

Let me back up a bit... I received a phone call from Bug's teacher in the middle of a Chemistry class. (note to self: turn up ringer volume! I'm still amazed I heard it from the depths of my tote bag.) She was calling to let me know that Bug had been feeling strangely quiet, had a slight fever (only 99F), and was complaining that his ear hurt. She was about to feed him snack, and said she would call me back to let me know how he was doing and if he needed to go home.

After I gave her Husband's cell phone number & asked her to bother inform him instead of any new developments, I just started emailing him myself. (After I finished explaining today's lab to my class and got them started, in case you were wondering. No free time for them!).

Husband decided to just go to the school and pick Bug up, since his job is a good 45 minutes away. When he arrived, he ran into several people who commented to the effect of "Oh, I hope Bug is okay/he seemed so sad this morning/I guess he's not feeling well!!"

I bet you can guess what Husband found in Bug's classroom. That's right: Bug, without a trace of any problem! Husband asked him about his ear. Bug's reply? "Yes, my ear hurt. It not hurt now!"

I mean, what is this kid doing that one slightly quiet morning on his 4th day of school is cause for alarm?!

Alternate closing thought: WHAT THE HECK were these people thinking, calling me for a 99F temperature?!?! (I know, I know, better safe than sorry...)

Monday, September 1, 2008


Apparently, I just need some really good prompt ideas for blog entries these days. (In reality, I just need to make TIME to write again.)

Grabbed this from Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer this morning, in honor of Labor Day.

How long were your labors?
Bird - 10 hours
Bug - 5 hours

This has always been my answer. The more I think about it, though, I think Bird's was closer to 5 hours.... I will explain myself in the following prompts.

How did you know you were in labor?
Bird & Bug - water broke. I loved it. No question whatsoever that there was a child on the way!!

Bird's water broke in the classic style - there was fluid gushing everywhere. Thankfully, we were in front of Target at the time, so I sent Husband in for lots of bags so that I wouldn't wreck my car.

That was the only indication with her, however, as there were no contractions. And there weren't any for quite some time.

Bug, however, in his eternally helpful manner, plugged up the leak with his head. So although *I* knew they'd broken, the nurses at the hospital did not believe me. Even though I had contactions every 6 minutes - and coming more & more rapidly as time went on.

Where did you deliver?
At a hospital. Very happily. They have medication.


With Bird, even though my water had broken, my body was not interested in actually expelling her. I ended up on a pitocin drip, and they very nicely gave me the epidural before they started that. That drip started around 1am, and she was born around 6am (hence the 5-hour labor)

Bug was a whole other story. The triage nurses didn't believe I was in labor, since their little test strips did not indicate my water had broken. No matter how many times I'd told them I'd done this once already, they implied that I'd probably just lost control of my bladder and didn't know it.

They finally gave me a bed, since I knew I wasn't leaving the building without a baby. (To be fair, the place was full, and they did give me one as soon as it was available). And since I was in triage, I got to feel the contractions EVERY STINKIN TIME THEY CAME, as they are not allowed to give you meds.

Remember, they did not believe I was delivering that night, so nobody was checking me either. Husband was finally able to convince someone that I was threatening his safety. Which I suppose was fair. I did tell him that I could pull his pancreas out through his nose so he could feel what I was feeling.

Amazingly enough, I was 8cm at this point (I'd only been in that bed for 2 hours). That got them hopping! I was in a room in 10 minutes, and about 9cm. The triage nurse redeemed herself - the epidural guy was waiting for me in my labor room.

Let me tell you - I HELD STILL. And he hooked me up. I hit 10cm aobut 5 minutes later.


Who delivered?
Doctors. And just barely with Bug, as he really was in a rush to get out a month early.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today is my Birthday

Now I'm an official grown up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

But Can I Find a Snorkel & Flippers that Match My Purse?

Apparently I spoke too soon.

Once the eye passed us late yesterday afternoon, it began to rain. It is now almost 7:30pm the next evening and it hasn't stopped yet - that's over 24 hours of rain, folks. Our pool has not flooded, but I do have about a standing inch of water in the front yard.

The wind has picked up considerably again this afternoon - so much so that I was incredibly nervous driving home, and schools have been closed again for tomorrow.

Fay, GET OUT!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wet With Cabin Fever

Thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay, we've been out of school for 2 days now. Thankfully, neither day was really warranted for where we are (And be assured that our hearts go out to those whose lives have been drastically changed by this storm. There are folks who are going to need a LOT of help after all this.)

But seriously, the storm path has pretty much looked like this:

So the school boards keep shutting down the schools! I can't blame them, but there's only so much time you can stay indoors before you begin contemplating putting yourself on ebay.

A friend and I decided to combine forces. There is some weird law of nature that says the more kids you combine, the more they will occupy each other & stop annoying you. (up to an unspecified limit!). Since our kids are essentially the same ages, it worked well.

We baked lots of chocolately goodies (krispy treats, chocolate chip cookie bar, cheesecake cheeseball, and chocolate pudding pie, pictured here)

The girls played Barbies.

Lots of dress up.

Pop in a movie when we can't think of any more indoor stuff.

Toss the kids outside when we can't take the running around anymore!

They're ingenious - check out their rain shelters!

Checking out the storm that isn't there (this was while the eye was over us).

The storm inside was far greater than the one outside!!

The eye has passed us, so we are back in wet, rainy conditions. Schools are supposed to be open tomorrow, though. Fingers crossed - we are not out of the woods yet, since the storm is going to pass back over us AGAIN (remember that road sign?!), but we are in good shape for now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hurricane on the Horizon

Well, it's starting to look like Hurricane Fay is headed straight for us!! Granted, it's still a little early and she could still head in another direction, but I did stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few things. It helps to be a little prepared. Thankfully, although the stores are full of people, we do not seem to be in panic-buying mode yet.

I think I'm most worried about losing power for an extended period of time. I am slowly emptying our ice dispenser into Ziplock bags & stashing them all around the freezer. Then the icemaker will work all night long making more. We're eating our dinner out of the fridge/freezer tonight!

School has been cancelled for tomorrow, so now the dilemma is... what to spend the day watching? There are Olympics, but a well-selected list of movies could be just as fun. So far, I've thought of The Wizard of Oz, Twister, and Joe vs. the Volcano.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Rest of the Week

I seem to have forgotten that this is MY blog, and that occasionally I do like to talk about MYSELF. Because, quite frankly, it eases the need to endlessly talk off other people's ears about me.

I have all sorts of jumbled thoughts in my head, yet they seem to be unable to come out in a coherent format. The reason for that will eventually become apparent. Therefore, we will revert to a bullet-point list. Without the bullets. Hopefully not without points.

* My first day of school went quite well. Even with five completely different classes. I managed to maintain the light-yet-serious tone, conveying that they are about to have their heads spun in all kind of direction, but that they would love it. Or at least tolerate it.

* Amazingly, I have not lost anybody from my roster during the past week once said speech was made. (The two who dropped before they even got to class don't count.). We are nowhere near the end of add-drop yet, though.

* In an unprecedented move, I convinced a student to JOIN my regular chemistry class. I am still reeling with shock.

* Thursday & Friday were the high school retreat. Once we have the business of Wednesday out of the way, it allows us time to grow together as a group, dig a little deeper, and try to lay a strong spiritual foundation for the year.

* Translated: Retreat involves lots of group games, potentially gross stuff, and lots of bonding because the groups are comprised of students from all four grades. We also have lots of worship times - singing & listening to a speaker.

* Friday night, I chaperoned the all-night senior party, as they needed another female chaperone. At one point, we went bowling. I still have it!! *bragging warning* Scored a 147, 164, 156, 167, and 135. I was pretty tired by the last game. Wondering if I can somehow use bowling skills to start hustling on the weekends.

* I managed to grab about 4 hours of sleep this morning, but even I can't rationalize sleeping past 11am.

* I am continuing to feel very positive about this school year & the new administration. This next week will be the true test of us all, and I know it will be painful. But it has to be done.

* I am not looking forward to doing lesson plans tomorrow. Ouch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First Day

The morning started off like many others - dark and quiet. I heard my alarm clock for the first time in a couple of months. Can't say that I liked it, but it was necessary or I never would have gotten out of bed!

By 6:15 I had woken up enough to see if Bird was up yet - by some small miracle (or is it Murphy's Law?) she was still sleeping in her bed. Naturally, I spent a moment watching her breathe (even though she's five, it's still as pretty as when she was an infant) before pouncing on her.

Amazingly, when she's waking up she still stretches just like she did as a baby. And when I whispered in her ear that "Kindergarten starts TODAY!", she was sunny side up in an instant.

Everything about the day seemed bright and sunny to her. She even ASKED me to take pictures, rather than run from the room screaming "No more!!" A bit concerned over the size of her tote bag, she complained it was too heavy. I suspect the straps are still so new they are slippery, since I'm pretty sure she can handle carrying 10 pieces of paper.

It was very strange having someone in the backseat all the way to school, considering that normally I jettison the kids off partway. But it was nice having someone to talk to.

When we got to school they had the red carpet all rolled out and the music playing. (Really, they did! We try to celebrate the first day as much as possible.) The school mascot was out & roaming about, and we took our picture with him.

The elementary school has a tradition of starting the first day in the gym - it's the only place that will hold all the kids and at least one of their parents. It was neat - we pledged to the flag and sang a few songs together.

Eventually, they began dismissing everyone to their classrooms. They save kindergarten for last. Mainly because they ALL had parents, and we were all armed with cameras.

I was allowed to go with her as far as her classroom door. She had no problems waltzing right in.

I'm amazed at how one can feel joy, pride, and pain simultaneously.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Either a Really Big Clock or my Heartbeat

Tomorrow is the first day of school. I'm not sure if I'm more nervous about teaching, or about bringing Bird to kindergarten. Pretty evenly split!

To quote the song from Les Miserables that's been stuck in my head all day:

Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store.
One more dawn...
One more day....
One Day More!!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

If this is the Pings, I'm not so sure how the Throbs will feel.

Today I took my baby Big Girl to Open House. We brought her copiously labeled supplies to her classroom so she could meet her teacher and set up her pencil box at her table.

We were not going into the room totally uninformed - Bird's teacher sent a lovely postcard last week, so we (as in Bird & I) looked up her picture on the school's website.

Last year Bird hung onto her Daddy when she went to her preschool open house. This year, I showed her the door to her classroom, she stepped in, glanced around, and made a beeline for her teacher to go say hi. To say I was shocked is a bit of an understatement! Though it quickly gave way to warm pride.

Her friendliness did not extend to her classmates yet; she didn't acknowledge any of them, choosing instead to play by herself in the middle of them.

Seriously, when did she get old enough for this?! And how am I supposed to take her for real next week?!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Part of the 'fun' of preplanning is all the wonderfully long faculty meetings to catch up on policy, protocol, and general information. This year is no different in the sense that we have had a meeting every morning, yet the way in which they are conducted has drastically changed this year. We have a new principal, and the difference between this guy and the last one is.... amazing. Night and day.

It's made me realize how lazy I've been in certain things. Okay, I knew I was lazy, but didn't care - and nobody else did either.

It's made me realize several things about good leaders:

- Leaders create teams, naturally fostering teamwork.
Yes, we all work well within our departments. And yes, many of us are friends across 'enemy lines.' But this guy has us working even harder to improve communication amongst each other.

- Leaders have information, and they share it with you.

We all have questions. He actually has ANSWERS! Sometimes, he even has answers before we ask the question. Not only that, he shares them with us. Honestly, it's nice just to be respected as professionals.

- Leaders do not want busy work.

Paraphrased quote: Do this (yes, he was more specific then) with your lesson plans. If I find I'm not reading them, I'll let you know & you can stop.

Furthermore, our meetings have agendas, and although he is not truncating helpful discussion, he is on a mission so that we can get back to our classrooms and get some work done.

- Leaders ask you to do an incredible amount of work.... and you find yourself WANTING to do it for them.

Seriously. We received quite a pile today, and nobody has complained. Including me!

I have incredibly high hopes for this year. We have a school culture to improve, and it seems like our ship finally has a captain.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He Does Make Me Laugh

Husband: What are you doing?
Me: Labeling Bird's school supplies.
Husband: Didn't you already do that?
Me: I thought I did. But apparently you're not supposed to label the box; you have to take all the pencils out & label each one individually.
Husband: How many pencils are there?
Me: 48. And then there's all the crayons and markers....
Husband: Do you have to label the plastic bags too.
Me: I don't think so. I hope not!
Husband: Because if you do, we could look into nicknaming her Ziplock.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Their Interpretation


Bug: Goodnight Mommy!!
Me: Goodnight Bug. (actually looking up from my book to kiss him) Bug, where's your pajama shirt?
Bug: I don't want to wear it.
Me: Oh honey, you might get very cold tonight without a shirt. Go put one on.
Bug: Okay! (runs off)

(a few minutes later)
Bug: Goodnight Mommy!!

I look up to see a boy in his pajama shirt, but now with no pants.

* * *


Bird: What does my shirt say?
Me: Daddy's Little Girl
Bird: (incredulously) Daddy was a little girl???!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another Beginning

It's that time of year again: Preplanning - preparing for another year of school. No, I have no idea why we HAD to come back to work on a Friday; I would have preferred one more uninterrupted weekend, to tell the truth. One less day to wake up to my alarm clock. But that is not to be.

I thought this picture (which I found here) was singularly appropriate. Mainly because of the 8 tentacles, and how I sometimes wish I had 8 hands of my own. (or should that be 6 hands and 2 feet? whatever.)

Over the summer I learned that I will be stretched in an entirely new direction this school year - mathematics. In addition to the 3 different chemistry and 1 physics class that I already teach, administration has seen fit to "gift" me with a section of Algebra I. Never mind that I have never taught math. Never mind that I really don't understand why people don't understand math. (that's the part that actually concerns me most.) Never mind that without this class, I will not be classed as 'full-time', even though I taught the same classes (and the same number of sections last year) and retained full-time status.

I could start off the year bitter and worried. Truthfully, I feel neither. Not to say that I haven't been angry at the situation, or felt little more than a doormat at times as this mess unfolded, but the situation isn't changing. Therefore, I must change the way *I* look at and deal with it.

I am a teacher. Although I never purposefully set out on this path, it is where I have been lead, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am in the position I am SUPPOSED to be in. For whatever reason, I apparently need to brush up on my algebra skills. This is not a bad thing. I also need to acquire some algebra teaching skills, but that will come. My prayer is that they do not come at the expense of me teaching my other classes well.

I do look forward to today - there are plenty of friends that I have not seen over the summer, and it will be fun to catch up. We have a new high school principal, and although I have met him once, I want to see more of how he acts in groups. There are plans afoot that I wish to know more about.

Besides, there are not many jobs in which one receives a fresh slate once a year. It's my duty to create the masterpiece upon it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Spin

Uncle T is a very tall guy, which is what makes this game so much fun!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I can't be the ONLY one who thinks about these things. Can I?

Regardless of the fact that their pictures are EVERYwhere, there are some Disney princess movies I am okay with the kids watching (Cinderella), and some that I still don't want them to see (Sleeping Beauty). And if I haven't let the kids see it, chances are that Husband hasn't seen it either. Which is why we found ourselves on the couch watching Sleeping Beauty after the kids had gone to sleep.

I had forgotten how much I LOVED this movie. I love Medieval things anyhow, and the combination of the Medieval/Gothic drawing and the classical ballet music is just gorgeous!!

But that's not why I'm writing. I'm writing because of Prince Phillip. You see, he's the first prince that's slightly more useful than a strip of cardboard. Even Husband noticed when we first saw him in the movie. I mention this because the conversation that followed... well...

Husband: He talks? Do the old Disney princes really talk?
Me: I always liked Prince Phillip. He has all his Princely Parts.
Husband: Princely Parts? He's a cartoon.
Me: But, he's got character! He has personality! He actually does something to save the Princess & win her heart! (I was trying to avoid specifically mentioning slaying the dragon since we were nowhere near that part of the movie.)
Husband: Don't all princes?
Me: No! The Prince in Snow White didn't have to do anything but kiss her. He didn't even have to find her - the woodland creatures find him & drag him over to her bed. He's no better than a Ken doll.
Husband: A Ken doll?
Me: Yes - as in Barbie & Ken. You know. Ken dolls have no Princely Parts.
Husband: They don't?
Me: Of course not. He's just a pretty piece of plastic with the personality to match. And so was Snow White's Prince.
Husband: I can't believe you're ranking the Princes. Or this crazy system.
Me: It's really quite simple.
Husband: Well, what about Cinderella's Prince?
Me: Hmmm.... He's better than a Ken doll since he actually wanted to find her, but he loses points since he made the Grand Duke do all his work. Let's say he's... a Uni-baller.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bug Logic

(Yes, the typos are on purpose. That's how he talks.)

Bug: Mommy, I want to nuggle. (crawls up into my lap)
Me: (happily snuggling my arms around him) You're my little baby Bug.
Bug: I not a bady! I not two years old! I three years old! I big boy!
Me: How do you know you're a big boy?
Bug: My feet! (sticking them out & showing me) They're very big. They don't touch the floor though.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Fun

The results surprised me too.


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Friday, July 25, 2008

We Love Cows!!!

Two Fridays ago, two of our favorite places were giving away free food & drinks: 7-11 and Chick-fil-a. Naturally, the kids & I had to make the rounds!

7-11 was easy - all you had to do was go in and get your free 7.11 oz Slurpee (mmmm.... Slurpee). In order to get our free food from Chick-fil-a, however, we had to dress up as cows.

How do you like my tropi-spotted cows?! Funnily enough, the kids' costumes are from several different birthday parties. And yes, I admit that Bug's wearing puppy ears, but at least they were spotted. I think they count. As for Bird... she remembered how the cows dressed up like bunnies at Easter. There was no talking her out of those ears!!

And yes, we may have visited both places for lunch & dinner. Separate stores, of course!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where Did the Time Go?

I realized a few things this morning:

* I haven't blogged in 2 weeks.
* Today begins my last official week of summer. (or is it tomorrow?)

So, for the few of you who are still out there.... I'm still here!! And while I did not necessarily plan this Blog-cation, I did enjoy it. One of my favorite things about summer is the opportunity to truly let my mind wander - almost free from any kind of obligation.

While I have done some (not enough) housekeeping & organizing (all sorts of stuff has been boxed & taken to thrift stores), I've also been reading as many books as I can get away with reading, logging in lots of Internet time, and playing with the kids. We've been able to see friends more often than normal, and that is always refreshing.

And as summer starts to wind down, I find myself wanting to establish regular habits again. Well, some regular habits. And part of that is writing here. Although I started this blog on a bit of a lark, I've surprisingly come to like it - quite a bit!

So, although posting will perhaps be sporadic in this last week, I will certainly be here more often!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Email of the Week

Thank you for joining the ***** Fan Club! You will be receiving your ***** coupon in roughly one week. In the meantime, stay posted for more ***** treats sent your way and enjoy the satisfaction of belonging to something tastier than yourself!

What I want to know is.... when did they find me to taste me? And how did they manage that without me noticing??!!

(oh, I fear the Google engine hits now!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Camera in Dangerous Hands....

On our recent adventures I let Bird use my old camera on occasion. Most of the time, it was when we were in the car & she needed a little something to do.

It's kind of odd what a 5-year-old finds interesting.

There were about 20 pictures of her shoes. This particular pair is a set of the silver gilttery shoes you find at Target. They were already well worn & split by the end of the trip.

Also note the lacy socks - we must always look our best!

A shop display in Colorado (Manitou Springs). I'm not sure what she was trying to focus on.


One of the 100 or so pictures of me in the front seat. At least here I look thoughtful, like I'm trying to solve all the world's problems.

And, of course, Bird herself. I think this one is my favorite.