Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am...

snuggled with the kitty in sweet hubby's chair, listening to the motor run.

thinking about what to wear to church this morning, since it actually feels like fall outside.

happy we won the game last night, but mostly because sweet hubby and my mama are happy.

dreaming up decorating schemes for my bedroom, which I'll probably paint over Christmas break.

wishing I had a ton of money to buy pretty curtains like these but thinking I'll end up sewing some (easier and cheaper) curtains instead.

marveling at the peachy-pink insides of the shells we found in grandma's boathouse last weekend, so incredibly shiny and smooth, strong yet delicate.

not really looking forward to re-organizing the pantry this afternoon.

hoping sweet hubby will keep his word anf clean out his side of the closet today.

looking forward to Sunday dinner.

preparing myself mentally to see grandma's "E.T." hand (she was taking Plavix and banged her hand....).

thankful that sweet hubby helped me take a bunch of random things to me classroom yesterday, including the sole surviving pepper plant from my birthday, which currently has 13 baby peppers growing on it (it's convenient that we are getting ready to study plant adaptations!) and basil plants that have been living in ziplock bags for a more than a month.

excited about trying to make 15 minute piñatas at school on Wednesday (with 6 successive groups of kids!), but haven't quite figured out all the details (we'll be using empty kleenex boxes, newspaper, glue sticks, candy, and zip ties....the real question in how to get the zip ties through the boxes, wrapped in newspaper, in order to quickly change the piñatas after they are busted open? Because the plan is to have lots of little piñatas with a zip-tie loop to be able to quickly hook on and off the next piñata. Lots of little piñatas means more kids can make them and break them. Any ideas? I'm thinking about asking my mama for an ice-pick to poke holes....Or pre-zip-tying them, and having the newspaper wrapping exclude the hanger-side....)

thrilled to be directing a wedding next weekend for a girl I knew when she was seven.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

more china?

but when we stopped by Grandma's house on the way home from the beach with my dad last weekend, we found a few treasures hidden in cabinets, closets, and drawers we thought we had cleaned out.

We found an old boy scout log book.

We found financial papers from 2001.

We found nice kitchen toys (I finally have a good ladle! Thanks grandma!).

We found 26 crystal wine glasses.

Guess I'll need to do some rearranging pretty soon. You know, like the next time we get snow days, or something.

But seriously? 26 more crystal glasses?

Is this an alternate universe?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

money talk (and other things, too)


Um, I hate money.

A lot.

I hate that it is so necessary for everything in life.
I hate that it is so hard to come by.
I hate that it is so easy to let go of.
I hate that it is somehow allowed to control so much of my life, my attitude, and my decisions.

I have been having a hard couple months with money. (Read: there is too little coming in and too much going out and not a whole lot of control being exercised in the few areas where it could/should be...)

Wait....let's back up....It's been a rough summer-into-fall with money.

In the past four months:
1. Sweet hubby's car had some major repairs done
2. My car had some major repairs done
3. We replaced a hot water heater
4. We had our house broken into, and had to replace a computer (the tv is just gone, folks, just gone, and we're using an older, smaller one in its place)
5. We apparently ate a whole lot of food and drove a whole lot of miles, judging from the combination of lots of grocery charges, restaurant charges, and gas purchases.
6. We depleted our emergency savings
7. We took a vacation or two that we really didn't deserve to take.
8. We sent some money to sweet hubby's parents, to help them buy a house. (No, we didn't buy a house for them. Just helped grow the down payment.)

So there is some honesty for you. Not very fun honesty, since recognizing a problem is supposed to be the first step in fixing it.

Here's the plan to fix this overspending problem, or at least to hopefully make it manageable again:
1. (done) refinance home loan. Monthly payments have been lowered beginning Nov. 1. That's this month, coming up, with a lower payment.
2. (done) new credit card, with cash/miles rewards instead of the old Target visa, which no longer gives us 10% discount cards. The monthly limit on the new card is lower, so we'll have to be more careful about when and where we spend on it.
3. stop taking vacations to places that aren't free (um, right. Should have been doing this all along.) Our next getaway weekends are planned for visiting friends (and staying at their houses) and to the beach (where the house is in the family).
4. stop eating out so often (this one has a lot to do with sweet hubby). We are working on making meal plans that recycle ingredients (that sounds bad) and involve cheaper foods. However, I insist on having fresh vegetables pretty regularly and sometimes our schedules seem to make cooking ridiculous. We have a bad habit of buying good food and it going bad before we eat it, due to poor planning on our part.
5. stop giving money to random things at school. Do you work in a school? Do you have 25 million things that all the other teachers seem to be donating money to ALL THE TIME? "Please bring 3 dollars to wear jeans on Wednesday" and "How much can you contribute to the United Way" and "Can you donate $5 to give an underprivileged child a gift certificate to the book fair" and "Can you give to this" "Can you give to that" "Please give" DRIVES ME CRAZY. As if teachers don't earn small enough salaries to begin with, then spend their money on their students buying materials, they are also asked to give money to a million other things at school. The plan: Part 1: think ahead on the materials front, and ask parents to save things and send them in as they can. I can find some storage space in my classroom....And I can afford not to buy the totally random stuff that being a fun teacher requires. Part 2: Say no. I simply will not be participating in giving to things that are not near and dear to my heart just because I feel pressured to do so at school.

6. Save, save, save. It seems there will be very few new clothes this fall, very few decorations, and the Christmas gift giving list will be trimmed as tight as it can be trimmed.

7. No more emergency spending! (Life, please cooperate. Water heater, thieves, cars, I am talking to you.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

please pray

Please pray for the family of Terry DeVoe, who unexpectedly left this world for heaven on Wednesday.

His family is hurting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

out of the darkness

In April, a kid I knew from church committed suicide. He was 21, in college, brilliant, well liked, and apparently extremely lonely, sad, disturbed, and so much more.

He was never taught to seek help.

He was never taught to share the really hard stuff with others.

He was not old enough to have lived through really tough things to see that there usually is a light at the other end of the tunnel.

He was not old enough to have experienced the suicide of a loved one.

He was not thinking clearly enough to consider how hard every thing would be for his mama afterward.

He was not thinking clearly enough to consider how hard every thing would be for his daddy afterward.

He was not thinking clearly enough to consider the old folks at the nursing home he used to play music for, or the guys in prison he used to mentor, or the friends who counted on him for company.

He was not at a point in his life where he felt close enough to Jesus or anyone here on earth to feel the need to stay here.

Suicide is a scary answer. It terrifies those who are left behind.

Suicide is a sad answer. It induces weeping for months and years afterwards.

Suicide is a permanent answer to what are often temporary problems.

Though I did not know this kid well, his death has impacted me on a level that I have a hard time explaining.

Some days I feel as though I have been selected to be a prayer warrior for his mama. I had been feeling that way for a few weeks, remembering his mama to God, asking God to help her feel accompanied through these mont of adjustment, these months of inconsolable forays into the world that no longer contains the kid who made up her days for 21 years. Though I don't know the mama very well, either, I have felt a real sense of need to pray for her.

Sweet hubby and I were sitting at lunch on Sunday when we received a text message from our Godmom about the Out of the Darkness walk going on that afternoon.

There was no hesitation. Of course I could skip an afternoon nap to walk with his mama.

And God was all over that invitation.

His mama had prepared lanyards for us to wear, not knowing how many people would show up to walk with her in her son's memory.

She did not have any extras.

She had prepared exactly the right number.

She had thought she would walk alone, but prepared to be accompanied.

Twelve of us walked together in a sea of people remembering their loved ones, all touched in a terrible way by suicide.

And while I'm sure it was good for that sweet mama to know that she is not the only one to suffer through this, she was present enough to recognize how awful it is that so many people have had to suffer through what she is suffering through now.

If you have a minute, please say a prayer for Elaine. She needs the extra strength. She needs the comfort that only Jesus can offer her, whether she is able to ask Jesus herself right now or not.

Monday, October 10, 2011


disfrutando un día de flojera, con la gatita sentada encima de mis piernas por la quinta vez hoy.

feliz que mi esposito lindo es bueno para arreglar cosas, como mi maquina de coser que no quiso funcionar....solamente necesitaba una parte muy pequeña, que compré por $2.13, sin tener que pagar a alguien abrirme la maquina.

esperando a mi esposito lindo que necesita volver de su último clase, un grupo que está aprendiendo a tocar saxofón.

contenta que mi esposito lindo me informó de su 80 en la primera prueba (examen) de teoría, y también que ya está recibiendo tutoría de su profe para sacar una nota mejor en la proxima prueba.

cansada con el día gris y tanto flojera, pero feliz que no tuve que ir a la escuela hoy. A veces uno necesita un día personal para sentarse en su casa y no sentirse obligada a hacer nada, especialmente no lavar las sábanas, ni la ropa, ni hacer la comida, ni lavar la loza, ni desempacar la maleta.

sonriendo con el olor de salsa de manzanas que viene de mi cocina, hecho de las manzanas que buscamos en las montañas este fin de semana.

viendo noticias tristes de una niña que se mató por accidente con una pistola que encontró en el auto, y pensando en la tontería que es tener una pistola que una niña de seis años puede acceder.

pensando en pintar mi pieza, pero no puedo decidir en un color, sin tener que cambiar muchas cosas que ya están allí....amarillo? morado? rojo? (no, no rojo)....azul? gris? no sé todavía. Sé que es solamente pintura, pero el mover todo y desplazar a todo será mucho más que simplemente pintar. Y esposito lindo no pinta.

lista para empezar a cocinar una sopita de sobre para mi esposito lindo, que está en su clase pensando que va a tener que llegar a cocinar, aunque yo no he hecho nada hoy....quiero sorprenderle con la cena lista, después de su día largo de clase y trabajo.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

apple picking

So much fun! Sweet hubby and I are in the mountains for a weekend getaway and spent the afternoon picking apples, drinking cider slushies, and eating cider doughnuts.

And my personal favorite came from the bakery where we had lunch before the apple picking extravaganza.....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

long week

And long weeks are not nearly so fun as long weekends.

It was hard to adjust back to school, getting up super early after a tiny bit of jet lag and a the action packed traveling that was the family trip to Colorado. And I had a migraine, too, and one of my best friends broke up with her boyfriend, and I barely saw sweet hubby all week.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit at school to try some group work activities that could have gone a little better. But I stuck with it and the third day of group work, the kids actually worked a little bit better with their groups, paid a little bit more attention to what they were doing, and seemed to settle in a little more to the expectation that they would problem solve within their groups, rather than interrupting whatever group I was working with at the time.

This year at school (all six weeks of it so far) has been both rewarding and frustrating, but overall feels mostly frustrating. I woke up this morning with a long list of ideas swirling around in my head, and started writing them down. Two pages front and back of things that I either need to do or should have done at least three weeks ago, along with some ideas that are intended to problem solve other things that have been going on in the classroom. Yikes. That is a whole lot. So I also started a list of things that we've already done in the classroom that show we are making progress. It was shorter. But it was also written single space, and was more of a bullet-style list, since we've already done those things and I don't need to remember the details of each idea. It definitely helped me see that we've made some progress this year, compared to what we were able to do last year. And while I have this super long list of things that should have been done/could have been done/need to get done, I also have a relatively good grasp of time management when I am at school, combined with the ability to tell myself that what doesn't get done can be done tomorrow and what is most important needs to be done first.

Actually, I think I need to revisit that time management plan and get back on the wagon. I was really good about that my first year teaching, pretty good at it last year, and in general, this year, I've been truly struggling with prioritizing the to-do list.

I'm officially asking for help monitoring my time in the classroom. I'm going to ask my partner teacher and the other teachers on my hallway to make sure I leave the building by 4:30 each day. (I get there before 7:00. That is a sufficiently long day, especially when I am not paid for 2.5 of those hours.) And I usually have a pretty good habit of leaving schoolwork at school, although this weekend was clearly an exception. I spent several hours yesterday sewing eraser-bags for my students to hang from their desks, hopefully large enough to hold a white-board and marker, so that we can stop fighting over who gets to pass out the materials, which is driving me nuts.

So no lie, I'm feeling overwhelmed at school. We're all trying our hardest to use instructional strategies that let students have more control over how they are learning. Getting them to the point where they can simply go and do this, however, is apparently a long process that requires a great deal of work from the teacher. Currently, it is difficult to see the results in the classroom. Making the list of things we've already done this year, though, in only six weeks, compared to the little bit of this process that we did last year, is helping me to feel better about where we are going. I'm overwhelmed, but hopeful.