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On being stalked . . .

23 Sep

At school yesterday, I realized that I was being stalked.  In the copy room in the morning, I could feel the unwelcome presence.  In my classroom, later that day, I sensed something in the room with me.  Everytime I turn around, I get the feeling that something just ducked out of sight.  Behind that pillar, around the corner, but always, always following me.  The footsteps get closer.  Everyone around me has succombed to this stalker . . . do I stand alone?  Am I the last survivor?

Stay tuned to see if I, too, surrender to the first cold of the school year.

Weekends . . .

22 Sep

As a teacher and a parent, I have a love/hate relationship with weekends.  On the one hand, they are a break.  On the other hand, we tend to overfill our weekends to the point of crazy-making-ness.  This last weekend was one of those.  Greg was out of town (whine, whine, whine).  It was our bi-monthly Crafty Chix weekend.  Several friends wanted us to do activities.  I had to pick Greg up and the airport.  And, I needed to spend a good 2 hours in my classroom preparing for this week.  Somehow, all those things happened.  In the middle, we also dealt with changes in plans, sick friends, infected earring holes, organizing Halloween costumes, and a myriad of other little “life happens” stuff.

I’d say that going back to work would be a relief after such an impacted weekend but then I’d be lying.  Being a teacher makes a hectic weekend like that seem like nothing.

The good news is that we’re going camping next weekend.  That’ll be fun and I’m sure I’ll have no trouble fitting in a thorough cleaning of the motorhome and stocking up on camping food into THIS week!


It’s all just Ducky!

24 Aug


School starts tomorrow.  Am I ready?  Nope.  Will I be ready?  One way or another.  That’s life.  I know there will be an adjustment period for me as I swing back into teaching.  It’s one of those overwhelming jobs that will dominate your life if you let it.  I’m already trying hard not to let it.  I’m trying hard by trying not to take work home with me every single day.  I’m trying hard by making sure that those times when work MUST come home with me that I am scheduling it and letting Greg know about it so that we can plan on it and not have things interfere.  I’m trying hard by trying to take care of myself a little bit.  Yesterday, I went and had a manicure and pedicure and got my hair cut.

My husband said, “Wow.  Those 4th graders are going to be really impressed by your pretty nails.”  I shook my head sadly at him and said, “Honey.  It’s not for the kids . . . it’s for their MOTHERS!”  He doesn’t get the “impress the parents” thing — of course, he wouldn’t be impressed by that so that MIGHT be part of it!  🙂

So, if I’m not around much — please understand that my focus is elsewhere for a little while.  If I am around, then please be very impressed at how under control I am!  🙂 Have a good week, everyone!

And we’re off . . .

10 Aug

FMC on Hwy 41

So, we’re heading out today.  Of course there were snafus in getting ready — there always are, aren’t there?  This one involved being unable to get the motorhome to start.  Kind of a deal breaker.  A camping trip should involve an actual TRIP, don’t you think?  Anyway, our friend Scott came to the rescue and it turned out that the chain from the cruise control was wrapped around the throttle and holding it wide open . . . okay.  Didn’t know that sort of thing was possible but it’s better now.  You can see our route here.  Normally I’m an enthusiastic camper but the combination of heat (90+ during the day) and missing the Olympics has rendered me less than enthusiastic.  I know it will be fun.  Now, to go roust the boys so we can get moving.

Oh, Ruby won’t be coming camping this time.  It’s hot and there will be days when we are off all day doing things like boating so she’s spending the week with Greg’s Mom.  She’s already gotten a lizard and my mother-in-law is looking forward to Ruby’s serving notice on the gophers that are ravaging her garden.  It’s a win-win situation.  Besides, my mother-in-law adores Ruby and spoils her rotten!

Have a great week!

Moved to tears

8 Aug

As a teacher, as a mother, not much moves me more than stories about kids in danger, kids doing heroic things, kids rising above, kids showing us the hope and promise of the future.

So, is it a surprise that this scene and this little boy — looking even littler given who he walks with — moved me to tears as I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics?  Not hardly.

This little boy was a victim of the earthquakes in China.  He was trapped in his classroom.  20 of his 30 classmates died.  He managed to free himself and then set to helping rescuers to free more of his classmates.  When asked why he did it, he said that he was a class leader so he had to help.


What an amazing kid.

I love the Olympics.  I sit and cheer and cry and allow myself wonder and amazement at the accomplishments of the athletes.  I love their stories and I admire them so much.  So, I can’t believe that somehow we managed to book our camping trip for one of the weeks of the Olympics.  Poor, poor timing.  Sigh.

We’re off for a week of camping — a last hurrah before school starts.

A small panic-induced haitus

4 Aug

I am panicking just slightly at the realization that school starts in 21 days.  I’m feeling ridiculously unprepared.  I haven’t gotten anywhere near enough done this summer — my house isn’t ready, my kitchen isn’t finished, my dining room isn’t finished, my entry way is still a messy storage jumble, my school preparations are a joke.  We are going camping at the end of this week and I’m not ready for that yet.

Yup.  I’m in a panicky way.

I know that it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be.  My kitchen is very nearly finished — I really just need to finish the one strip of tile and finish putting everything away.  My dining room isn’t finished but we’ve ordered the new door and will get it around the end of this week.  Nothing I can do to speed that up.  While my house is still a disaster, it is way better than at the beginning of the summer.  I’ve completely cleaned my son’s room and will do my daughter’s this week while she’s gone.  I cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom and decluttered a LOT of junk from there.  Our entry way is still nightmarish but it’s better than it was — picking away at it slowly (too slowly! 🙂 ).  Progress is being made.

School preparations are similar.  Have I spent as much time as I wanted to at school preparing?  Nope.  Not even close.  But, I have done some organization.  I’ll spend a couple of days there this week and some time with one of my 4th grade team this week and I’ll be feeling a lot better about all that, I know.

So, thinking outloud here, I’d really like to get my living room completely clean — hey, I can get that done today.  It will probably only take me an hour or so.  I would like to get all the rest of my school stuff to school so my house is less cluttered.  Again, I can get that done today another hour, tops.  The biggest project I’d like to accomplish this week on the house is to finish the kitchen and get the entry back to a semblance of order.  I also have to clean my daughter’s room.  (See the panic building again . . . )   Okay, I’m off to make a list and get organized . . . no way around it now.  Summer is nearly over and I have to get my butt in gear.

So, don’t expect much posting.  I will try to post some pictures now and again.  I’ll still be reading blogs. And, I’m sure I’ll feel better in a short time for the focus on getting things DONE.

Happy August!

What am I doing wrong?

27 Jul

Ever since I was a child, I have known that there was a grown-up way to speak and that it included liberal use of swear words.  As a child, I spake as a child and did not start using swear words — around grown-ups — until I was given permission by my parents.  Hey, I was a good kid that way.  But, since then, swearing is something I am quite comfortable doing.  Oh sure, I keep it to a minimum in certain situations — I don’t, for example, swear much around my children.  I don’t swear at all around students at school.  I know it has its limitations. But when I’m with my friends, my husband, alone . . . I swear.  I swear, I swear!

As a writer, I was taught to write with multiple voices.  My personal writing is like my own voice.  My more formal writing is just that: more formal.  That said, when I used to make my living as a technical writer at Stanford, I was never asked to please make my writing less formal — even my formal voice is relatively personal and approachable.  The Queen of Jargon, I was not and am not.

Still, I am surprised that my blogging voice is so . . . safe.  Look at these ratings:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

blog readability test

But here,  with you kind people, here, I speak plain English with a minimum of swearing.  One of these sites mentioned that the only bad word I’d used was “poop.”   I don’t know if there is even hope for me.  I guess my English teachers who taught me to write in a formal, yet straightforward way would be pleased.  I just never thought that my personal voice was a personal voice that was speaking to little kids . . . did I steal Mr Rogers’ voice?

Oh, woe is me.

A little peace

7 Jun

Pretty flowers

This week — let’s be honest — this month and a half has been insane.  The end of school might seem like a gigantic joy for a teacher but it is so much work.  I teach 5th grade and our students are moving on to the local Middle School next year.  There is so much extra work around that.  Today, I will go in and fill out report cards and then prepare the academic awards for the end of the year.  We are on a countdown to our Advancement ceremony on Thursday — the last day of school.  There is so much to do with that — rehearsals, learning songs, all the students carrying all their chairs to the MP room at the same time so that we have enough chairs in there.  Oh my.  So much to do and think about.  Wheeee!

In the middle of all this, my family wants my attention.  I need a break.  Last night, we took Ruthie to her flute lesson, got the oil changed in my car, and we met friends for dinner at a fun, noisy pizza place.  It was perfect.  A couple of glasses of wine, some good food . . . just perfect.  I got a glimpse into the reward of summer.

This will be my first summer that I am not teaching summer school.  I am so happy.  I know, however, that no matter how much time I have, there is not enough time to do everything that I want to do.  Irritating, that is but true.

I’m reminding myself to take moments.   So, when I saw these tiny pink blossoms outside the oil change place last night . . . I took a moment.  Macro photography is wonderful — you immerse yourself into a tiny world.   There is a “Where’s Waldo?” aspect to this picture — find it and get the perspective you need to know how tiny and how pink I had to make my world last night in order to find a sense of peace.

Kitchen Update

9 May


Greg has installed nearly all the handles we picked out at IKEA.  I love them.  They add a real finishing touch to the cabinetry.  This weekend, he’ll finish that up.  My mother-in-law and I will probably finish the painting.  I will clean everything within an inch of its life and — floor or no floor — we’re moving back in.  My family is so done with eating out that it isn’t even funny.

The only thing I’ll be missing is my morning visit to our local coffee shop.  Jenna Sue’s has become our regular breakfast place — me and the kids.  We leave the house extra early.  I get a “triple mocha, non-fat, no whip” with either a mixed berry scone or a cranberry muffin.  Ruthie gets a toasted bagel with butter and sometimes strawberry jam if she’s feeling wild.  Gage gets a morning bun or a piece of their amazing coffee cake.  I hate to think what all this eating out has done to our budget but the reception and greetings we get there every morning are so worth it.  Still, even in the mornings, I’ll be okay with skipping the amazing mocha that someone else made me and the friendly welcome I get there in order to get a little extra time and my own kitchen back.  I can still go to Jenna Sue’s on the mornings I go in early for staff meetings!  Once a week ought to give me that small town time I crave!

And, I make a pretty mean triple mocha, nonfat, no whip myself!

They do know!

2 May

Raven . . . toe tapping

There is a long running joke that I have with my family and my students about my Raven friends. The joke is that when they see me with my camera, they are gone in a flash. However, if I have no camera, then I can get very close to them, they’ll say and do amazing things (tap dancing?). Other birds do this to me as well but none so well as my Raven friends.

Well, according to an article that my husband sent to me yesterday, they do know. My only hope is that they say that the birds can learn that something isn’t a threat after all. Maybe, the ravens will figure that out about my camera. Fingers crossed!

For more great bird reading, visit Consworld for the latest edition of I and the Bird!  And, if you still want more nature stuff, the Festival of the Trees is being hosted by 10,000 Birds.  Now you have reading material for the entire weekend!  Hurrah!