Monday, January 31, 2011

Silence, Snow, The Bible, and Education

Join me in a brief moment of silence as I hope for a snow day tomorrow.

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Thank you for your support.  This time, my prayer isn't quite as selfish as it typically is.  Since I've had walking pnemonia and a lung infection, I spent most of last week going home and going to bed.  That meant that all of my grading sat in my basket and received no attention whatsoever.  Now I have a LARGE stack of grading that needs some attention and a limited amount of time to grade it in.

For those of you pointing out that I should probably be grading instead of blogging:  please note that I take two hours at home to myself just to relax.  I've found that I have a much better disposition and peace of mind if I will take that time.  Sometimes part of that time is devoted to laundry or general house cleaning.

Today, some of it has been devoted to getting my bedroom together.  My new bed arrived today and that meant I needed to move out the tables we were using for night stands to get the real night stands in place.  Now I'm washing bedsheets so I can make the bed for the first time and enjoy.

I'm also trying to figure out the layout in my living room.  We bought a loveseat, couch and big-man chair because I wanted as much seating in this room as possible.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to arrange everything to make the best use of the room.  Feel free to come over and advise.

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I've been reading 1 Samuel (not with as much dedication as I should have) and I've been noticing quite a bit about that guy named Saul.  He freaks me out...mostly because I'm afraid I see myself in him.  Sometimes I just take matters into my own hands and do what I want because it seems like the right thing.  I don't wait and "keep my appointments with God."  I throw spears.  At people.  Usually ones I love.

I had rather hoped characters like Samuel or David would reflect who I am. 

Saul wasn't always a villain.  David isn't always a saint.  There's a lesson to be learned there.  I'm praying I get it.

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English III has been working through Romanticism and they've just gotten to Gothicism.  I love it, because before I introduce what it is, we read "The Masque of the Red Death."  Then I ask the students to draw the layout of the rooms and explain the allegorical connotations of that layout.  It's hilarious to watch them get frustrated, yell, erase half of their papers and then determine that they are going to beat me at my own game.  Days like this are what make teaching worthwhile. 



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adventures in Home Ownership

Just a few weeks ago, it actually felt like we owned this house.  Today capitalized that feeling.  I've spent most of the day on my hands and knees scrubbing Orange Glo off the floor.  I also finally got around to removing the tape on the bottom of my bathroom cabinets, scraping away excess grout, sweeping all the floors, cleaning countertops, doing laundry, scrubbing other floors and organizing in general.

I'm excited to get this house together in a shape that is recognizable as a home, but I have an ulterior motive.  The rest of my furniture is arriving on Monday and I need to get some things together so Favorite can move our current bed into one of the spare rooms.  I also think it's a good idea to have floors cleaned before furniture arrives.

But I feel a pretty decent sense of accomplishment.  I'm proud of myself.  Now if I could only get that endless stack of papers graded.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nothing of Substance

My nights have been less than eventful here of late.  Even now, I'm posting this and planning to hit the hay in about 30 minutes.  I didn't realize how crappy I felt.  Despite that, I've felt really blessed for a number of reasons.  The teachers I work with have been so supportive and understanding.  Several of them dropped by to check on me and one even dropped by to make sure I didn't stay very long today.  She was pretty adamant that I needed to go home a rest.  How's that for awesome friends?

My dad informed me, after reading my blog, that of course he's my dad and he's willing to do anything I need him to do.  I'm telling you; I have a great support system.  My in-laws have also called several times just to check on me (Favorite is away on a hunting trip).

Tonight I discovered that Windex is amazing and it does remove Orange Glo from hardwood floors.  You wouldn't believe how different the small part looks that I finished tonight.  I was blown out of the water.  You also wouldn't believe the nasty crap that comes up after you use Orange Glo on your floors.  So gross.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.  Favorite and I are going to hopefully finish some things up for the house (as in ORGANIZE!) and I'm ready to have no obligations and sleep in for a bit.  I don't mean to be a whiner, but I'm really tired.

And on that note...I'm out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2nd Post: Inspiration

So I'll be heading to bed in about 30 minutes.  Walking pnemonia makes me exhausted.

But before I left, I thought I'd share some things I'm really looking forward to trying.  First of all, I'm looking forward to going to a thrift store and picking up some old brass looking lamp to paint for my kitchen/living room area (or maybe I can jack one of the ones my mom used to have?).  I know I want a yellow lamp to go in the corner of this room of my house, but everything I've found online is about $200.  I'm not spending that for a lamp when I can pay nothing, prime and paint and get the color I want.

I also have an armoire I want to paint for one of the spare rooms.  I haven't entirely decided what color it's going to be (and since I won't be able to take on this ENORMOUS project until summer, it doesn't really matter).  I've toyed with the idea of navy or red.  Either one would look nice in the guest room and it will certainly dress up the piece.

All of my inspiration?  http://projectsbyjess.blogspot.com/  She's amazing.  She makes me wish I could sew (sort of...I still think stapling adds bling).  And her projects don't really seem ridiculous or over the top.  Granted, I could be taking on way more than I can handle, but I'm willing to give that a shot for some of the results she's gotten.

Today I Realized...

I'm 30 years old and I still need my parents.

Today, I took a half day off work to go to the doctor and my dad willingly drove me to the Urgent Care Clinic about 45 minutes away.  15-20 minutes later, I had a diagnosis (walking pnemonia with an aggravated lung infection), a shot and a bunch of antibiotics.

I'll be sleeping early tonight. 

But thank goodness for parents who realize their job isn't done when we turn 18.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Letter Series: Dear Upper Respiratory Mess

Dear Upper Respiratory Mess,

Leave me alone.  This is the THIRD TIME I've had you in the last month.  The.  Third.  Time.  I have no idea why you find my body to be the perfect host for your little Hamptons get away, but I'm done.

I like sleeping without coughing my head off.  I like breathing without randomly throwing up because I end up coughing so hard.  I especially enjoy tasting food which I can't even eat at this point because it makes me sick.

I don't know what your problem is or why I'm being targeted.  I do know that it's time for you to pick somewhere else to make roots.  I'm probably going to the doctor tomorrow, and even though that didn't work the first time, I'm hopeful that this time the doctor will hand you your packing papers.

See ya.

The Tired of Being Ivalid Teacher Who Cannot Expect Substitutes to Teach Julius Caesar

PS.  Theraflu is not amazing.  But it does clear my sinuses and send you into hiding for long enough for me to sleep at least an hour.  Forget that I've been in bed for 20 hours today.

Friday, January 21, 2011

She's My Friend

This friday at Kelly's Korner, Kelly is hosting Show Us Your Life:  Show Us Your Singles.  Originally, I hesitated to be a part of the posting, because even though I have a great something to post, my friend can be a little on the shy side.  But since she posted about herself first (click here to see what she said), I felt I could do a little more justice to her description.

This is Kate:

I've known her and her beautiful smile for the last 12 years or so.  We met in junior college and became good friends when we started singing together a year or so later.

Kate has one of the most gorgeous voices I've ever heard.  On top of that, she loves all things music and listens to a collection of artists that would keep the most eclectic of people entertained (although, I believe her favorite is the soundtrack from the Big Chill--something about learning all the words when she was 3...).  She probably has one of the coolest music collections I've ever heard.  Plus, she performed in community theatre (musicals) at a community college until she was about 20 (and she was good!).  And I also feel the need to mention that when we go, she's a karaoke staple.

Kate loves pop culture.  She is a trivia guru and would whip my butt at Trivial Pursuit if I didn't get to team with my brothers.  She likes to read and while our tastes vary on that front, she's recently picked up a book that's been on my "to-read" list for the last year (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil).  Don't be fooled by that title, though.  She loves chick-lit, most things funny and biographies in general.

Of course, her love of a good biography might come from the fact that she teaches junior high social studies.  She loves her kids and isn't just a teacher who punches the time card and then leaves.  She volunteers her time with concessions, Beta, Track and a hundred other organizations that I can't even keep straight in my head.

Kate loves resell shops and is a fun decorator.  She has a great eye and has put together some really fantastic rooms in her house.  She laughs at all my jokes (which makes her a perfect in my opinion) and is, in general, entertaining company.

Mostly, she loves Jesus.  Kate isn't about walking someone else's walk there.  She's forging her own relationship with her Savior.  She works in our church nursery (she loves kids) and regularly participates in our Women's Bible study (I should also mention her mother regularly participates and is a great person.  Kate has a fantastic family!).

If you're interested, feel free to contact me or contact Kate through her blog link above.
(I made her wear that crown.  It was my birthday.  I don't care that I was 30; everyone wears a crown on my birthday.  But isn't she cute?!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Of Beards and Chops

For the last two months, Favorite has been doing this thing with his face.  He calls it growing a beard.  I call it the traveling vagabond goes rainbow person look.  But I'm totally willing to let you decide what you think.

What you can't see, dear bloggies, is that his beard hair is just as curly as his head hair.  It's bushy because it's curling back on itself.  Seriously.  Gross.

Anyway, he's been promising me he would shave it and return to his former polished glory.  So when he came out of the bathroom looking like this:


I starting praying for the beard to return.

Then I threw up a little in my mouth.

Thankfully, he continued in his original endeavor (after much whining, crying and begging to keep the "chops").


And before long, I had the Favorite I married.


And bloggies of the female persuasion, he also cooks, cleans and is talented in the art of house construction.  Cute and talented.  And no longer vagabond-ish.

At least, not for the next week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

House Picture Palooza

I promised you pictures a while back.  So prepare yourself for a quick, short tour of the (mostly) finished rooms of my house.  I'm not giving you a picture of the rooms that are still waiting.  Keep in mind, that will come and I will even update as we add things like lamps, blinds, etc.  The first picture you see above is Barky's bed.  He's actually laying in it right now, but a few minutes ago I couldn't beg him to sit in it so I could get a picture.  He wants me to look like a liar.

This is one side of my kitchen.  You can see my awesome cabinets and my double oven and you can kinda see the fridge.  Oh, and that awesome yellow tea kettle :)


This wall forms a V with the wall you just saw (with a pantry in the middle).  This is my sink and dishwasher and more awesome cabinets.


This is the island.  I tried to avoid getting my countertop in the picture because we are still in the process of cleaning and putting things where they belong.  Unfortunately, not everything has a place at this point in time.  I'm really looking forward to that time, though.


The vanity in the master bath.  I promise I'll put up pictures of my closet soon.


This is my living room, and that is the incredible credenza I was telling you about.  I put it together myself and I think it's such a classy looking piece of furniture.


This is the front room and the accent wall.  Favorite and I read A LOT, but I was shocked to discover that our books fit on both of these shelves with some shelf space to spare.  I got both bookshelves from Target and I think they look SOO good.  In the future, I'll probably have to buy two more bookshelves and put them beside the already existing ones here.  We really like books.

And that's it for now.  I'm not going to take anymore pictures tonight because I'm committing myself to spending a certain amount of time on here and then spending time doing other things.  I want to focus on eating better and reading the Bible on a regular basis...and keeping up with things so that Favorite's needs are met.  In our devotional this morning we discussed what we really desire out of each other.  That was his for me and I'm really praying that God guides me so I can follow through consistently.

Not sure if I'll post a blog tomorrow because I have a dreaded meeting (UGH!) and I'm going to check on a buddy in the hospital.  Maybe I'll throw up a quick update during my planning period.

Until then...let me know what you think of the pictures :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Post Number Two: Paranoid

I don't normally post twice in the same night.  Unfortunately, I have an unhealthy paranoia I need to talk about so maybe I can stop thinking about it.

I'm terrified I'm going to do something to severely damage my house.

I don't mean a couple of scratches in the floor or a dirty countertop.  I mean that when I read those reviews about the Orange Glow 4 in 1, I was terrified that I had done irreparable damage to my hardwood floors.  I cleaned them almost obessively today just to make sure they are ok AND I made Favorite compare the floors in one room to the floors in another room.  Thankfully, he said they looked the same.

We've also had a leak under the kitchen sink that just has me completely going nuts.  Water sat in the bottom of the cabinets for a couple of days, and while we did get it mopped up before it caused any permanent damage, I now have all of these horrible thoughts.  I'm terrified that water is leaking through the walls and underneath the cabinet.  I called my dad to freak out about it and he pointed out that water would be pouring into my basement if that were the case.  Good news; it's not. 

Does that stop me from going over to the cabinet and obsessively touching spots that were there from the previous leak just to check if they are damp?  Um...yeah.  No.

I can't help it.  I feel like I've been blessed with all of this great stuff and I'm somehow going to ruin it.  If you saw/experienced my trailer you would totally understand why I'm so paranoid.  I just want things to stay nice.  I want to take care of them.  I don't want to replace things in this house for the next 30 years.

So I'm going to try to calm down.  And I'm going to try to sleep.  And I'm going to try to refrain from calling my dad AGAIN so he can tell me that I'm freaking out over nothing.

Beware of the Reflection

I'm excited because my house is really starting to come together.  I plan to post pictures (maybe tomorrow?) because I finally brought my camera cord to the house.  High-five :)

Anyway, Favorite moved some furniture today so I'm starting to figure out what I want to keep from the trailer and where it's going to go.  So far, I've put something in a room and I'm going to have Favorite move to the other room because I think it'll be a better fit.

I spent the second part of my day doing a bit of shopping.  I'm currently on the lookout for a mustard colored container that says "Coffee" on the outside.  I ALMOST bought one from Target today, but it was cream colored (picture below).

If I can't find what I'm looking for in the next few weeks, I'll probably go back and get it.

Anyway, I also managed to get some nice framed mirrors (also at Target).  That means I won't have to go to school guessing that I look ok.  I put my make-up on in a little hand mirror, but it'll be nice to see my whole outfit.

As I was pushing my cart through the store, I was thinking about hanging these mirrors and not really paying attention to anything in particular.  I saw a Target employee and moved over so he and the TV he was pushing on the cart would have plenty of room to get through.  Then, before he got by me, I jumped, freaked out and tried to avoid hitting him.  Why would I have such a ridiculous reaction to someone who was on the other side of the aisle?

Because I saw him in my mirror.

The one in the cart.

I have no justification for this incident.

Really, you don't have to laugh so hard.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Couple of Unpaid Reviews: Shark Steam Mop and Orange Glow 4 in 1

As you well know, Favorite and I recently built a house.  I'm very careful how how I take reviews because some of them can be helpful and some of them are just not indicative of the type of experience you, as a consumer, will have.  Take for example the reviews on the hardwood flooring we used:  two people reviewed the product and hated it while one person thought it was great.  Personally, I think we've had a good experience with it.  Was it a perfect experience?  No.  But the overall experience has been good.

That said, you may learn something from my reviews or you may believe I'm out of my mind. 

Shark Steam Mop
Let me start by saying that I think the Shark is awesome.  It does exactly what it says it does.  It takes up mud and cleans junk off the floor (including any nasty cleaner build-up) but does seem to just push dirt around if you didn't get it up previously.

Here's the problem.  The Shark Steam Mop is only approved for use on sealed hardwood floors.  I have sealed hardwood floors.  The problem is that the cracks and seams are not sealed so you have to be careful with the use.  I read some reviews that indicated that the Steam Mop could actually warp your floors with continued use and I do not take that lightly.  I also read that it could remove the finish from your floor.

I have not had that experience, but I also don't use it every day.  I have noticed that it doesn't shine my floors and seems to leave a streaky finish.  Due to the possibility of warping, I'm going to discontinue use with the exception of once a month or so (like I said, takes build-up off like nobody's business).

Orange Glow 4 in 1
Steer clear.  Seriously, not a good product.  The first time I used it, I thought that it made my floors shiny and gorgeous.  Then I had I walk across them to go to the bathroom.  I'm not really sure where it came from, but there was an awful grit from the product.  The second time around caused the same problem.

I read several reviews that indicated people have severely damaged their hardwood floors with this product.  That fact alone is worth keeping in mind; however, it did not damage mine.  Like I said, the Shark takes off residue like a beast so that's probably where I was saved.

I can tell you that I will NEVER use this product again.  I do not want to run the risk of ruining my floors and who wants to feel weird grit when they walk across their floors?

Tonight, I'm going to try Pledge Hardwood Floor Cleaner.  It has received some really good reviews and my flooring indicates that anything that is safe for sealed floors is good.  I'll let you know about my experience.  If it's bad, I'll probably break down and spend the money for Bona--although the reviews for it are really about the same as they are for the Pledge product.

In the end, I think you have to find a product that works for you and gives your flooring the look you want.  Happy cleaning :)

UPDATE:  Pledge Hardwood isn't good, either.  Both products seemed to leave a residue that makes my floors look really bad after a while.  After talking toa  professional, and cleaning these floors for a while, I recommend Windex:

Source
Good, old fashioned Windex is actually pretty impressive if used with a microfiber cloth.  If you aren't a fan, then try straight or diluted vinegar.  Those are the only things I use on my floor now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Go ahead. Be jealous.

Last night, I came home to my husband in the kitchen.  The man made me homemade French Onion Soup, Chicken Alfredo and garlic bread.

He brought me yellow roses.

He served me. 

And then we watched a movie on our enormous television (which arrived Tuesday.  Did I tell you about that?).  Barky laid on his bed in the living room (because I swear he likes it) and sometimes played with his new raccoon (stuffed...without the stuffing).

It wasn't a red carpet night.  But it was the first night it felt like we actually own this house.  It was the first night the kitchen felt like mine (even though I realized I needed to put another bar stool together because we can't both sit and eat).  I didn't feel like I was sitting on borrowed furniture.

It was awesome.

So I'm spending today cleaning and putting things in the awesome credenza.  I'm still a failure regarding the camera cord (or you would've gotten pictures of the roses, dinner and Barky laying in his bed), but I can show you an internet generated picture of this gorgeous piece of furniture:
Again, keep in mind that isn't my living room, but that's my credenza.  Isn't it beautiful?

I'll also be cleaning floors, doing laundry and putting things away...well, within reason.  We don't have all the closet organizers yet and my laundry room isn't put together yet, either.  I'm really looking forward to that aspect because it's going to change the entire look of the house.  I realize that sounds like a blanket statement, but it's going to house a dresser that will hold Chris' cold weather gear (and give him a junk drawer--but that's another story).  The laundry room will also have a place to hang clothes when they come directly out of the dryer which will make that room seem a whole lot more organized that it is now.  I'm looking forward to it.

But I better get crackin'.  Tonight is Branson night with Bro. and STBSIL (soon to be sister-in-law).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confessions on a Thursday Night

Epic fail regarding my resolution to put others first.  Epic.  Favorite called today to ask if I could go to Lowe's to get some more staples so he could finish the trim.  My response?  I don't really feel like it.

UGH.  Obviously, selflessness is going to take a little more work on my part.

On another note, I'd like to sing the wonders and praises of baking soda.

Baking soda, you ask?  Why would she be so excited about a simple household good?

Well, my dear bloggies, baking soda can do just about anything.  I found out this evening that it can be used to clean ceramic top stoves.  I got home and there were hideous and unsightly rings on my BRAND NEW stove.  I thought, "Oh good grief.  We're breaking all of the new stuff."  Is it just stuff?  Yes, but we're going to be here for a while and I'd like it to look nice for at least the first year.

I just said, "Lord, I know stoves are a stupid thing to pray about, but help me find a way to clean this oven."

Sure enough, the first website answer I got:  "Try baking soda and scrub!"

And it's clean.  And shiny.  And amazing.

And I praise God for my shiny stove.

Just like I praised him for my new wallet when I was 8 years old (it was my first testimony at church).

After all, every good and perfect gift is from Him, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Bigger Picture

Last year was a strange year.  It was a year of firsts for Chris and I--some good and some not so good.  It was a year I don't entirely want to put behind me (like 2009), but the difficulties we faced in 2010 created deep bruises that may not heal in the near future.  On the upside, we built a home together and learned more about each other than we ever would've in any other circumstances.

My heart is tender for 2011.  God has really been speaking to me about the focus of my life.  Because of the things we did in 2010, much of my time was spent focusing on my own bruises or successes.  It's time to move on.

Clearly, life is not about me.  It's about a Creator who sees us through when we don't even think we can breathe.  When I sat down to write this, Joseph's words to his brothers came to my mind:  "I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don't feel badly, don't blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives" (Genesis 45:4, The Message).

And those are my thoughts for 2010--what may have been considered harm, God means for good.  If nothing else, it has made me less self-centered.  Last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about myself and my situation.  It's made me less materialistic.  We are like a vapor, and it's so necessary to focus on the things that matter.

Sure, I still like to hunt for the perfect pieces of furniture for my house (Speaking of, bought an AWESOME credenza online.  Solid wood.  Looks just like the one I picked out in a furniture store--but was $800 cheaper).  I still take "me" time.  But I'm trying to be more in tune with others.  I'm trying to show up and call just because I know it matters.  I'm trying to be a better friend, a better co-worker and a better wife.  I'm trying to say thank-you every time and you're welcome when I hear those words myself.  I'm trying to hand out more praise--particularly when people have really been putting in an awesome effort.  I'm trying to smile more and compliment often.

So far, I haven't lost any weight.  This sudden burst of concern for others also hasn't cleared any acne scarring.  But my heart is amazingly whole.  So I'm going to try to make it overflow.

"I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!"
--Deuteronomy 32:3

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Half is a Hope; Second Half for Teachers

I can't lie to you.  I'm trying to blog, but all I'm thinking about is snow.  Snow, baby, snow.  Because if it snows hard enough, I get to sleep in.  And I like sleeping in.  A lot.  And I can spend tomorrow getting house stuff together and mopping my bathroom floor so I can pick up the glass.

What glass?

Well, the glass from the mirror Favorite and I let fall off the wall.  Yes it happened.  No, we should not reference or discuss the incident ever again.  The good news is there was minimal (superficial and non-noticeable) damage except to the mirror.  The mirror is no more.  But it had black spots in it so I don't see this as an issue except we won't be able to get our money back.  Oh well.  Worse things have happened.

------------------------------

You teachers out there...if you had the opportunity to create a class for Senior level students who are in a Title I program (lower reading capabilities, lower writing capabilities--probably 10th grade and lower), what would you do?  Keep in mind that your options are completely open.  You can focus on technical writing or reading.  You can introduce critical thinking skills or organization in writing skills.  Just leave your thoughts in the comments.

I am struggling to offer suggestions to my department chair because I know that many of these students will not go to college.  They are required (in my state) to take four years of English to graduate.  Yet I realize that some of them will actually go to college.

I want to expose them to books they will find enjoyable.  I want them to see that there are benefits to being a good reader.  I want to expose them to different types of writing so they can see that writing matters.  But I'm not really sure how to do any of this stuff.  My greatest fear is that we will create a curriculum of stuff they "need" without making it pertinent or interesting.

All feedback welcome...encouraged...begged for...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hello, Captain Obvious

Do not do something stupid knowing it's my job to keep you in check and then mouth about how I called you out on your stupid behavior.  Seriously.

And learn to conduct yourself in public.  Fifteen or not, now is the time to learn how to be around other people without being a general annoyance.

Oh, and diplomacy, a skill you won't have to employ for another 5 years (because we apparently don't require high school students to act with any), means you can sit in a room with someone you don't like without causing problems.  I've managed to do it and it hasn't even affected your grade.

That's all.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Musings

I don't know if this will become a weekly thing, but I thought I'd give you a brief glance into the things that run through my mind over the course of a day.

*  I've become "that" teacher.  It wasn't something I did on purpose, but while explaining the concept of "pun" to my classes, I might have suggested that Shakespeare laid the ground work that allows the phrase "That's what she said" to be born.  My students thought that was hilarious, but I did not in any way encourage them to add that phrase to the end of every sentence.  Just covering my rear end.

*  I might have also introduced the Crazy/Hot scale to my students.  In all fairness, we discussed how Lady Macbeth far exceeded the Crazy/Hot scale...so it was classroom appropriate (and it was a teachable moment.  Who doesn't need good dating advice?!).

*  I hate my arms.  I've been contemplating rejoining Weight Watchers and getting another good look at my arms this evening just reminded me of the necessity of that membership.  Don't get me wrong, my thighs and stomach are fat, too.  I guess I can just deal their obesity better than my expanding upper arms.  Gross.

*  I love notebooks and pens.  I cannot explain my overwhelming affection for office supplies.

*  I found a specific pair of pants at Kohl's that I really love and I would buy them in EVERY color if Kohl's would offer more colors.

*  Shoes are awesome, but I always want my shoes to have a feminine element.  I don't want to wear "manish" shoes.  I don't really care what that says about me.

*  I'm not doing anything spectacular at the moment, but I'm really feeling good about being a teacher.  I still have a lot to learn and I'm still not fantastic about anticipating how much we'll actually get through in a given class period, but I feel like the students are getting what I'm laying down.  Of course, a few more lessons with "That's what she said" and the Crazy/Hot scale and I'll never lose their attention.

*  Barnes and Noble still haven't shipped my books.  So I bought two different ones at the actual store while I await their arrival--Ordinary People (Guest) and Diary (Palahniuk).

*  I gotta drink more water.

*  Favorite and I didn't get to do devotions together this morning, and I actually missed it even though we only started it this week.  Funny how attached you get to things.

*  I'm sleeping in on Saturday.  And looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

DownTime

It's a relatively low-key night here house the House house.  I did a bit of staining, fixed myself a stellar meal of cheerios and did the laundry.  Here's to going to work with clothes on.

Tonight's a rare night, though.  I get to relax a little bit.  As I was watching my dog stare at me (because he desperately wants to be allowed on the new furniture.  Not happening), I realized how exhausted I've been.  Don't roll your eyes and sigh at me.  I'm not complaining.  I just hadn't realized how much I'd been consumed in 2010.

I'm ready to relax a little bit, but I'm not really sure how.  Suggestions?  My go-to relaxation technique used to include a good book and a bath.  That doesn't cut it anymore.  I'm not a "happy pill" sort of girl.  I'm not likely to indulge in 3 glasses of wine a night, either.

What I realized tonight as I was staining a door frame was that I want to go back to being content with the way things are going in my life.  That's what I missed in 2010.  That's where I left my relaxation.  It's funny, though.  We've built a house this year which is supposed to take the stress off (trailer dwelling can be disturbing).  We've really enjoyed each other's company (Favorite and I) because he's truly my best friend.

But the nagging tenseness (I don't care if it's a word.  You totally understood what I was saying) remains.  Maybe I need a little more sleep and a few more nights of plopping in the recliner and chilling.

Or maybe I just need to let Barky up on the stupid furniture (at least, that's what his begging, little eyes are saying to me right now).

PS.  Before you call the ASPCA, know that I bought the little dog a brand-new bed for the living room just so he would have his own place to lay.  He'll get used to it, and I'll get to enjoy my new (expensive) furniture.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Aspirations and Books

Sometimes I wonder how the Pioneer woman does it.  She blogs, writes cook books, takes pictures and manages to run a ranch AND homeschool.  I managed to get out of bed and get ready this morning only to get to school and somewhat get material across. 

When I got home, I fix a couple of hotdogs and called myself good.  I'm sure her homemade chili would've tasted better, but I'm good with the hotdogs (and they were quick).  But that doesn't stop me from being jealous of all the things she seemingly does with ease.  Simply put, I want to be the Pioneer Woman.

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Since I seemed to put it by the wayside last year, I thought I'd try to randomly update what I'm currently reading throughout the year.  While I'm still awaiting the delivery of a couple of these books, I thought I'd go ahead and give you a quick glance at what's on my shelf.

Currently reading:


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I decided to read this book at the suggestion of another blogger I really appreciate.  So far, I haven't been disappointed.  At first I was a little confused.  Then I was astounded and now I'm mesmerized.  It's one of those books that makes you ask the question, "What's the point of this?" only to turn around and say "I have to know what happens to these people."

The last book of his I read was The Unconsoled.  Frankly, I don't remember really liking it (but, in all fairness, I don't remember much about it).  After this experience, though, I'm going to check out The Remains of the Day.





A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I am awaiting its arrival from Barnesandnoble.com and I'm really disappointed that the delivery has been delayed.  It was another suggestion from the same blogger listed above.











A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This is one of those books that I've heard about for years but never did managed to pick up.  I'm rectifying that situation as soon as Barnesandnoble.com manages to get their deliveries together.

Of course, I'm also willing to be excited about a book that Anna Quindlen pitches because I happen to think she's a fantastic author.


I'll attempt to update my feelings about each of these books in turn.  I've decided to put up a "What I'm Currently Reading" section on my bulletin board in my classroom (and I'm getting rid of my Word of the Week thing).  I'm hoping that if the students know I'm actively reading, they'll be more willing to discuss books with me and even read more.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolute

What is it about a new year that draws people to make resolutions for their lives?  It seems to be one of the times of the year when the unrealistic isn't just expected, it's encouraged. 

It's not that I believe people can't lose 100 lbs in a year; I just wonder if declarations of that nature are really beneficial for people who may be easily discouraged.  Of course, that doesn't mean I don't/won't make them.

So here are my resolutions:  unrealistic and all.

1.  I want to learn more about Jesus.  I don't know what form this resolution will take.  I know that I will probably facilitate another women's Bible study some time this year.  I know that Favorite and I have committed to doing morning devotions together since we don't see each other for the rest of the day.  I'm looking forward to it so far.

2.  I'm going to take PCOS more seriously.  I may talk about it a little more on here and what it has meant for my life.  I'm setting a small weight loss goal of 20 lbs for the entire year, because this syndrome makes it difficult to lose weight.  However, I do know that losing even 10% of body weight can restore normal hormonal function (per information I've read).  So I'm going to set small goals and work toward getting there without getting absolutely crazy in the process.

3.  I'm going to simplify.  I need some order and consistency in my life and that may mean giving up some things.  I don't know what those things are or even if I'm expected to give up actual activities at this very second, but I'm open to what God has planned for me.

And that's about it.  There are some private goals I'm keeping between myself and God--and I'm definitely challenging myself to bring more things to Him and leave them there.

I am curious.  What are your goals for 2011--realistic and otherwise?