Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 73- Canada

When my alarm goes off in the morning, I always respond with, "Five more minutes... just five more minutes..."  My husband, God bless his heart, always obliges and gives me that five extra minutes I need before I'm ready to start the day.

I wish Canada would just give me five more minutes too.

I have thoroughly enjoyed these Olympics.  In fact, I think this is the most I have ever enjoyed a Winter Olympics.  This is probably partly due to the fact that I have been able to DVR and catch every second of them for the first time.  This may also have to do with the fact that I have been sick and spent many hours on the couch with these sporting events as my only entertainment.  However, I think it is only fair to give credit where credit is due.  Nicely done, Vancouver, nicely done. 

Those crazy Canadians sure know how to throw a party!  The games started off shaky, with the failure of that pesky fourth torch arm to meet with the others in its full glory.  However, in true amusing Canadian style, these people were able to laugh at themselves and to even make that a source of joy.  I was truly moved by their gold medal winning pair skaters, the piece on Gander and its involvement in the events of 9/11 (oh my gosh, if you didn't see this, it's SO worth seeking out and watching), and, of course, Joannie.  Today's hockey game was as epic as they come, although I would have preferred an alternate ending.

In the closing ceremony, in their moose sweaters and Mountie outfits, those Canadians were just as cute as can be.  I adore Michael J. Fox and Micheal Buble.  The "Made in Canada" parade was simply precious.  Maple leaves and kooky canoers and "the always enjoyable giant inflatable beavers"- oh my!  I may live in the greatest place in the world, but boy am I glad to be your neighbor.  

The head of the Vancouver Olympic Committee summed it up best when he said, "Over the past sixteen days, we have experienced every possible emotion with you."  

It's a good thing I still have a few recordings left of events I haven't watched yet.  I think that's about as close to my five extra minutes as I'm going to get, eh?

Thanks, Canada, you made my day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 72- Justyna Kowalczyk

Since my family assimilated into this country a few generations before I was born, I was raised as an American.  I don't speak any of my ancestors' native languages, I haven't been to any sort of homeland, and I don't have any strong ties to my Polish and Irish roots.

I did have some samplings of culture while I was growing up, though.  My Grandma Ginny makes golumptious golumpkis (stuffed cabbage rolls) for every holiday gathering, while my Grandma Katie makes kruschiki (bow tie cookies)- two Irish ladies who are excellent Polish cooks.  We celebrate Fat Tuesday each year with Paczkis from the European Bakery in Jackson, a place my family has frequented since my great grandpa's first visit there 82 years ago.  Are you noticing a food pattern here?  My grandparents gifted all of us granddaughters with beautiful Claddagh rings, an Irish tradition.  I attended my first real polka this past summer and, of course, sampled various other foods.  Our family also has a tradition of attending a Polish Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve, where carols are sung in Polish and my grandpa tears up in rememberance of the past.  It gets me every time.

I have thought more and more about my roots lately.  I am constantly challenged in my classes to consider and reflect on who I am and why.  I am encouraged to think about issues of culture, and this leaves me wanting to know more about my own cultures outside of being an American.  My interest also grows as I get closer to having the means to actually travel to the places that my family comes from.  Over the past few years, my dad has been able to establish great friendships with relatives in Poland, and my parents have even had a few of them come to visit (which resulted in a greater knowledge of choice Polish alcoholic beverages).  How exciting would it be to travel to Poland and Ireland to visit?

Today, in the spirit of the Olympics, I had the opportunity to cheer for a Polish sister of mine.  Girlfriend won a hard fought 30 km cross country ski race to win the first ever winter gold medal for a Polish female Olympian.  I now have my very own cultural icon to look up to :).

Thank you, Justyna Kowalczyk, you made my day.    

Day 71- Tim Gunn

Since there was no new Project Runway this week, I got my Tim Gunn fix in the form of a bobblehead (a wonderful gift that I got for Christmas- thanks Manda!).  I had the idea to take good ol' Timmy to school recently, and my students have gotten to really enjoy him too.  He tells them to "Make it Work!" and to "Carry on."  He compliments them with the classic "Fabbbbb-u-lous!" when they're doing something well.  His last saying is not only my favorite, but it has also become my personal motto for the classroom. 

"I can't want you to succeed more than you do," he tells my students.  

Thanks, Tim Gunn, you made my day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 70- Couch Nap

This has been a long week.  An excellent week, but a loooooooooong one just the same.  My kids are working on research papers, and even though I'm not teaching in the traditional sense of the word, I am most certainly working it.  I have a rotating queue of at least six students at any given time who are all looking for my attention, information, and expertise.  I am happy to have them look to me as a resource and to trust me as their teacher, and running around in this way makes my days fly by.  It isn't until the drive home that I realize that I am thoroughly and utterly exhausted.  

I've had all kinds of other things going on after school and at night this week, but today I was able to come straight home and allow myself the simplest of pleasures- an outstanding couch nap.  I melted into my favorite blanket, put on a television program I wasn't particularly interested in, settled the dog in nearby, and had a lovely eye rest on the couch.  I know what you're thinking- no nap can be considered totally great and truly successful without a little evidence of this succes on the cheek and the cushion.

Don't worry, I had a little drool to wipe away.  Ahhh... score one more for the simple things in life.

Thank you, couch nap, you made my day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 69- American Airlines

Tom got to come home early from his work trip :).
The airlines are not always my favorite, but today they delivered my guy home safely.

Thank you, American Airlines, you made my day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 68- Joannie Rochette

Courage.  Grace.  Triumph in the face of adversity.  This story has all of the things a great sports movie is made of.

Despite the sudden passing of her mom this weekend, Joannie skated on.  The raw emotion that she left on the ice truly touched my heart.  I forgot about the competition and the medals and the country she was from- all of it.  Instead, I saw an athlete take her soul out for a spin around the rink in honor of her mother and marveled at the strength she had to get through an entire program. 

The beauty of the Olympics is that they not only reignite my pride in my own country, but I find myself rooting for people from all over the world as well.  I know that the coverage has been a little heavy on back stories and fluff and a little light on athletics at times, but I find myself enjoying all of it anyway.  I think it's a wonderful thing to see hard work receive its reward and to see dreams come true.  These two weeks present so many opportunities for cheesy and sappy moments, and I love every minute of it.  I find myself replaying the Olympic theme from ten years or so ago ("One Moment in Time") in my head as I take in all of the moving and important moments.

In her Olympic moment tonight on the world's stage, I hope that Joannie was also able to share a more private moment with her mom.  She leapt from the screen into my heart, and I only wish I could have reached back through to give her a hug and to tell her what an inspiration she is.

Thank you, Joannie Rochette, you made my day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 67- Nestle Tollhouse

Whew.  Today was one of those marathon kind of days!  Luckily, I was still able to come home after school and class and everything else to "bake" some warm chocolate cookies to enjoy, thanks to the magic of Nestle Tollhouse.  What a treat at the end of the day :).  I might just have enjoyed a little cool dough as a warm up while baking as well... ;).

While I was looking for a picture of gooey chocolate loveliness, I came across this picture of bacon chocolate chip cookies- with a maple glaze.  Intriguing.  I've always thought bacon is a lovely addition to everything, but I have never thought of bacon on cookies before.  I may just have to unfreeze some and give this baby a whirl.  Until then, I'll enjoy some special time with my only partially clogged arteries.   

Thank you, Nestle Tollhouse, you made my day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 66- ABBA

Today I tested a theory I have held for a long time.

Question: What is a surefire trick to turn sadness into happiness?

Hypothesis: It is impossible to be or to remain sad while listening to ABBA.

Experiment: Today I was feeling a little down about Tom traveling this week.  Since being away from my husband makes me about the most sad I ever really get, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to test my hypothesis.  I watched the following video:

Results: I'm smiling and dancing (I'm a dancing queen, in fact) and singing.  While I miss my husband already and cannot wait for him to return, I do enjoy hanging out with my favorite Swedish buddies ever so much.  They really do know how to cheer me up :).  I will certainly  be a "Super Trouper," and listen to them instead of calling out an SOS.  I think everyone could use a little more ABBA in their lives.  I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.  Mamma mia!

P.S. I saw Mamma Mia! on Broadway with my whole family.  I know, I know, how lucky can one girl get?  It was incredible.  If listening to a little ABBA can cure one person's sadness at any given time, imagine what would happen if we sat the whole world down to see the play.  World peace, anyone? 

Thank you, ABBA, you made my day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 65- Board Games

A few haikus (because it's been a little while...)

Red and black checkers
fill the board up one by one.
Connect four!  I win.

A one or two, please
closer and closer to home      
Sorry!  Back to start.

General and Spy
Advance, retreat, BATTLE!
You captured my flag :(

Thank you, board games, you made my day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 64- Fresh Cut Roses Candle

I indulged my inner 80 year old lady tonight by spending a Friday evening cruising around a Hallmark store.  I love our little Hallmark just down the street.  I find myself looking for reasons to send cards just so I can go into the store and look around and buy things.  Tonight I found a sale on Yankee candles that was just too good to pass up.  The candle I bought is called "fresh cut roses," and that scent was just too good to pass up too.

It reminds me of bath time at Grandma Katie's house.  She'd say "Skinnnn the rabbit!" and just like that, I was in the tub.  There were always bubbles and salts and all kinds of nice smelly things.  I would soak until I was raisin material, and then I'd giggle with glee, knowing that the best was yet to come.  Upon exiting the tub and drying off, I was always presented with a big powder pouf.  It smelled like- you guessed it- roses.  Before I was allowed to powder, my grandma would make sure to remind me, "Powder your face before your bum!"  It never occured to me that this same pouf would be patted all over my bum and my face about one hundred times throughout my childhood.  I'm not even sure that this realization would have stopped me.  Either way, I'd come up smelling like roses (pun totally intended). 

Thank you, fresh cut roses candle, you made my day.        

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 63- Men's Figure Skating

Despite the fact that I was terrified that my dad would try to give me a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut in my sleep (he's probably still hoping I will give in and go for this- not going to happen), I have always thoroughly enjoyed women's figure skating.  Dorothy and Peggy and Kristy and Nancy and Oksana and Michelle were all idols for little me.

It wasn't until this year's Olympics that I really started to take a liking to men's figure skating too.  I swear I remember it being terribly boring in the past... all black costumes and a focus on nailing as many jumps as possible in the absence of artistry.  Don't get me wrong, I think Scott Hamilton seems like a real stand up guy, but the skaters of yore just seemed to be lacking that special something.

The guys that I have been watching the past two nights have, if I may borrow a phrase from the 90's, all that AND a bag of chips.  Spray tans and feathers and Phantom and glitz and glamour and Jimi Hendrix... the drama, the drama, the drama!

I enjoyed Patrick Chan and his endearing smile.  There was another guy, a Frenchy whose name escapes me, who had absolutely stunning spins unlike anything I have ever seen.  I adore Evan Lysacek, with his Dancing With the Stars meets Jersey Shore look and persona.  And who could forget Johnny Weir?  Oh, that Johnny Weir is a pretty, pretty lady.  I don't mean any disrespect by this, and I think he may actually like to be called a pretty lady.  What he and these other men do is totally challenge the notions I have of masculinity and femininity by combining incredible athleticism and glorious artistry in Ken doll costumes made from the dreams of six year old girls.  Fabulous.

The only thing that might make this even better for me would be a dance battle on ice between Johnny and another skater of his choice.  Wouldn't that just be grand?

Thank you, men's figure skating, you made my day.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 62- God

I know what you might be thinking.  If I was going to mention God, maybe I should have done that on ohhhh, I don't know, day 1.  The truth is, each and every day I thank Him for the many blessings in my life, but today I am just so thankful that I want to do it "publicly" too (for you four-dare I say five?- faithful readers out there).

The day after my wedding, as we were driving to the airport, I had a good, joyful cry.  I was completely overwhelmed with how incredibly thankful I am to be me, and it took 24 hours to really process the absolute peace and happiness I was feeling.  What a day I had!  What a wonderful family!  What amazing friends!  And the cake and the dancing and the singing and the flowers... and my husband.  The greatest feeling was knowing with absolute certainty that I had found my perfect match and that I was well on my way down the right path in life.

I've been happy since I was born on a sunshiney morning, but I have probably only had that kind of post- wedding powerful moment of extreme elation twice in my life.  The other one was today.

There was no life-altering earth-shattering moment.  Rather, I had a series of little moments today, moments I have been having every day since I started student teaching.  Students who had never talked in class before participated for the first time and had fun with my lesson.  Some kids from the seating chart class came to see me after school to hand in work (!), and they actually smiled and chatted with me in the process.  Maybe I'm doing better with them than I thought!  My supervisor came in to observe me and told me that during part of my lesson she was so pleased that she wanted to hug me.  She also told me it was a stellar lesson, and I could quote her on that.  Quoted.  These are such small things in the grand scheme of my life and my career, but this is a day I will never forget.

I think that today I may have transitioned from auditioning to be a teacher to actually becoming one.

I thought this feeling would come when I got my first teaching job or my first teaching paycheck, but those things aren't really what make a teacher.  As I drove to meet my husband for dinner tonight, I had the realization that I have finally found my calling.  This teaching thing is going to stick.  I am living God's plan for me every day now, and I will get these little rewarding moments for the rest of my life.  My heart was so full that it may have spilled out of my eyes a bit.  Each day I am growing closer and closer to the woman I was meant to be.  As my faith in God grows, so does my faith in myself.  I've had a lot of practice putting words together, but I just can't figure out how I can possibly describe this feeling.  I only hope that everyone is lucky enough to get it at least once in a lifetime, and you'll know what I mean.  I've been blessed enough to have it twice.

It's amazing what happens when you learn how to block out all the noise and just listen.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. " Jeremiah 29:11

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Thank you, God, you make my every day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 61- Sensible Yet Sassy Shoes

I don't think I'm that short, but my dress pants often tend to disagree.  I can't tell you how many times I have found a pair of pants that fit perfectly except for the extra inch of length. 

Enter sensible yet sassy shoes.  On the eighth day, God created the wedge heel. 

This fall, I found a black pair and a brown pair of wedge heels at Aldo that kind of rock my world on a weekly basis.  They are just high enough to get my pants to the right length, but they are comfortable enough that I can wear them all day with no problem.

Today I was on my feet alllll day introducing a research paper to my students, and my feet still liked me at the end of the day.  I have also come to enjoy the click of the heels, as they announce to the school that this shorty is a teacher and not a student. 

Finally, it is certainly satisfying to find a pair of shoes I can walk successfully in all day that don't look orthopedic.  It has never been my goal to have students leave class gushing about my fashion.  This does not concern me.  However, I do hope that my students never leave class laughing about my fashion.  That's just distracting.  My little brown wedge heels with their shiny little buckles are, if nothing else, not offensive.  Mission accomplished. 

Thank you, sensible yet sassy shoes, you made my day.   

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 60- Dr. Finkenbinder's Office

On the 15th day of February my dentist's office gave to me

Fiiiiiiiiiive magazines
4 rounds of cleaning
3 flossers flossing
2 friendly hygienists
1 brand new toothbrush

...and a report of zero cavities!

I know there's an extra line in there, but I have zero cavities, not one :).

Thank you, Dr. Finkenbinder's Office, you made my day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 59- Depot Family

The Home Depot was supposed to be my own silly little casting against type.  After years of playing with silk and lace delicates, I thought it would be funny to throw on an apron (orange is sooo not my color) and sling some mulch and soil.  Somewhere along the line, this part-time-paid-to-play-hobby-while-I-started-back-to-school turned into something more.  I found a Missouri family.

A coworker at the Depot once confessed to me that he kept another job (even though it had worn out his body to the point of no return) so that he wouldn't have to tell people that he "just worked at Home Depot."  I must confess that on more than one occasion at the beginning, I made sure to let others know that my job there was "only a little part time thing," and I was working on my Master's.  What a foolish girl!

The thing is, I've come to realize what an honor it is to be counted among the group of people that work in good old store 3022.  When a coworker couldn't afford to fly home to be with her ailing mother, the orange apron folks made it happen.  When another was diagnosed with cancer, the store rallied, and many of her expenses were taken care of.  When it came time to volunteer in the community, Team Depot had more members than I could count.  Where there are tears, there are hugs and encouraging words.  Where there is joy, there are fist pumps and shared smiles and whoops of laughter.  Where there are football games, there are coworkers exchanging bets for pops and friendly insults. 

We aren't measured by what we make or what we drive or what we can buy.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I believe that we are measured by what we put out into the world and what we give.  Man, these people know how to give.

Today I was greeted by every single person I passed when I walked in the door at work.  If you've ever been in a Home Depot, you know that this is a lot of people.  I was handed a new custom made apron, made by one of my coworkers, that was glittery and flowery and pretty.  I heard, "Hey, Stranger, nice to see you!" and "Yay, we work together todayyyyy."  People asked about my student teaching and my husband and my life, and they genuinely listened when I answered.  They shared stories about their kids and laughs about happenings around the store. 

They accepted me into their family long ago, even before I realized I wanted to make them mine.

Thank you, Depot Family, you made my day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 58- Croissant French Toast with Strawberry Syrup

I'm not a big breakfast person.  I used to LOVE breakfast so much that I would eat eggs or pancakes or french toast for dinner if I was allowed to.  Somewhere along the way, I stopped loving eggs and started just tolerating them, along with many other breakfast foods.  However, I'm proud of myself because I've eaten breakfast every single morning since I started student teaching.  I really do think it helps to start the day out right.  Especially when this breakfast is Croissant French Toast with Strawberry Syrup. 

I found this recipe in a cookbook a few years ago and marked it with a post-it.  Every time I would flip through the book, I'd pause on the page and stare longingly at the picture, wishing that its contents were on my plate and then in my stomach.  Since we were sort of celebrating Valentine's Day today, we decided to finally try this special breakfast.

Even though I've only recently found my way back to breakfast loving, I've always loved Saturday mornings with Tom.  This is usually the lowest stress time of the week for us, and we can spend as much time as we want at the kitchen table with coffee, food fuel for the day, and coupons.  I know this makes us sound like we're 75, but I enjoy it just the same.  Because it's such a low stress time, we can even operate in the kitchen together, dancing and singing and cooking and having a jolly time.  This fabulous breakfast really set the tone for the day- delicious, carefree, and all around lovely.

After breakfast, we watched a lot of Olympics, had a mini dance party, exchanged a few little gifts (although I'm not a big VDay fan, I can't pass up a gifting opportunity), had a delectable dinner at The Melting Pot mmmmmm, and played with our dog.  What a great day!

Thank you, Croissant French Toast with Strawberry Syrup, you made my day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 57- Classmates

Once upon a time...

 I wrote a fun lesson plan in which students would compete to write the worst poetry possible and to be inducted into the Bad Poetry Hall of Fame.  When it came time to teach a lesson to a small group of classmates last year, the lesson came out to play, and it was a hit.  I taught it again to my students during my internship, and it was popular once again.  In fact, one little girl even said something to me like, "I see what you're doing here... we're writing poetry AND having fun.  You're tricky."  The magical lesson earned the respect of my CT that day too, and she told me she'd like to use it in the future.

Yesterday I noticed that a classmate of mine had posted on our student teaching discussion board that she was in desperate need of materials to make an upcoming poetry unit more entertaining.  So, of course, I gave a brief description of the lesson and said I'd be happy to send my materials if it sounded interesting.  Today an e-mail popped up in my inbox to let me know that someone had responded.  And then another one.  And another one.  And another one... and so on...  Some of the classmates I taught the lesson to told me that they remembered it well and had already planned on using it in the next few weeks in their student teaching.  The others asked for my materials and said they're excited to incorporate it too.  It is so special for me to be acknowledged and respected in this way by my peers and mentors.  It is refreshing to deeply enjoy my work and to be able to pass it on.  The thought of students all over the area enjoying poetry set to the tune of my lesson plan is nothing short of overwhelming.

I might just live happily ever after.

Thank you, classmates, you made my day.  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 56- Morgan

Morgan reminds me a lot of myself when I was in high school.  She's a good student and a classic goody two shoes.  She does her work well, hands it on time, and answers questions in class.  When I grade her papers and assignments, I often find myself smiling and really enjoying what she has to say.  I've been wishing and waiting for her to share this personality with the rest of the class and to really come out of her shell. 

Today the shell cracked.  The students were working in groups to rewrite Shakespeare into modern English for a performance next class.  Morgan was in a trio with equally delightful kids.  As I circled around to check on the progress of the groups, I heard her group discussing how they might potentially incorporate a Glee style song into their scene.  Then, Morgan shared loudly and with the utmost enthusiasm, "I've always wanted to be in a dance battle!  Really, it's my dream."  The other kids loved it, and Morgan beamed with pride as she was accepted as the lovable girl that she is by all of her peers.  She and her group proceeded to choreograph a dance battle into their scene and to discuss possibilities for their soundtrack.

I can't wait for next class.

Thank you, Morgan, you made my day.    

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 55- Parents

My parents are pretty darn great.  When I got home from school today, I found a package from my mom waiting for me.  Imagine my delight when I opened it and found that it was full of stickers (even some scratch and sniff!).  What a great surprise :)  This is a gift that will keep on giving to my students and me for weeks to come...

I traveled back to school an hour later for my first experience with parent teacher conferences.  I wasn't totally sure what to expect, but the night went really well.  The parents we saw tonight were cute and sweet and funny and endearing.  There was a mom with the most adorable southern accent.  There were a few couples with kids who are spitting images of them, and we didn't even have to ask who they belong to.  There were parents who asked for advice and for help, and there were parents who were there admittedly just to hear once again from eight different teachers what a wonderful job they have done in producing children.  It warmed my heart to see so many parents take time out of their schedules to show genuine interest in their children.  I can only hope tomorrow will go just as well.

Thank you, parents, you made my day. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 54- Snow Day

snow day: noun

  1. A gift given by Mother Nature to teachers and students, especially mid-week, especially before two long days of parent teacher conferences
  2. A day on which public schools or other institutions are closed due to heavy snow
  3. Sledding/snowball fight/hot chocolate/snuggle day
  4. A time to catch up on work and relax
  5. What you don't get in warm weather climates/the real business world
  6. Bad tv marathon day
  7. Accident avoidance holiday
  8. A really bad Chevy Chase movie

Related words:
Spring Break (noun)
mental health day (noun)
three day weekend (noun)

Sample sentence(s):
"I'll see you tomorrow, Mrs. Ferri, unless we have a snow day.  Maybe my snow dance will work- woo hoo!"

Thank you, snow day, you made my day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 53- Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Sometimes the best recipe for glee on a cold winter day is... well, a good recipe. 

Even though my mom was devoted to being an amazing teacher the whole time I was growing up, and even though this required her to spend hours at school and at home lesson planning and grading papers, she still made time to put dinner on the table each night.  It was important to my parents that we all sit down for dinner together every night.  These dinners required complicated scheduling around practices and meetings and rides and parent teacher conferences and sporting events and a million other things.  Yet, somehow my parents were able to pull it off, night after night and week after week.

I remember leaving school after long days of classes and clubs and practices and activities and wondering the whole way home what would be waiting for us.  The guessing game would end as I took my first step in the door.  I was always greeted by the most wonderful aromas- lasagna, pecan chicken, pork chops in sour cream, manicotti, taco pie, cheeses, sauces, zucchinigreanbeansasparaguscorncarrots and vegetables galore...  No matter how incredible or awful each day was, I could count on any day getting that much better when I sat down to the table with good family and good food (or "good eats," as my dad would say). 

In fact, I enjoyed this time and these meals so much that I was always content to take the piece that no one else wanted.  You know the first piece of casserole out of the dish that falls apart and looks like a mess (but tastes the same)?  That was my piece.  Slightly burned?  Yup, I'll take it.  Extra sloppy?  That has my name on it!  It became a running joke in my family that whenever something got a little messed up, it went to me.  Maybe this explains a lot about me...  I digress.

This idea of family dinners every night is definitely a tradition that I will carry into my own family.  Even though I'm too busy to catch my breath sometimes, it is important to make time to eat well and spend some QT with my boys.  I'm not going to lie, sometimes we eat at our t.v. trays in order to catch up on the DVR, and sometimes we scarf down dinner in order to get to other things.  However, I still make an effort to cook five nights a week, I continue to take the portion no one else wants, and this time is our time. 

Tonight I made chicken cobbler casserole, one of our favorite dinners.  I'm not one to toot my own horn very often, but I must admit that it was scrumptious.  Our house smelled amazing, our stomachs were full, and our conversation was delightful.  A hearty meal and a hearty laugh can warm even the coldest of days :).

Thank you, chicken cobbler casserole, you made my day. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 52- Google Commercial

Google totally gets me. 

Love Story

Click on the link to check out their Super Bowl commercial.  It's a love story made by a series of Google searches, and it is brilliant and sweet and charming and lovely.  I adored every single little thing about it.  My favorite part is when the person starts typing in "long distance relationships" but changes it to "jobs in Paris" instead.  It kind of reminds me of when I changed my "long distance relationships" search to "jobs in Seattle" :).  I haven't come so close to tearing up at a commercial since the Sarah McLachlan animal ad...

I also wonder if I can think up some kind of cool assignment for my kids where they can write a story through Google searches.  Hmmm... that might be worth exploring!

Thank you, Google commercial, you made my day.   

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 51- Praxis

I don't usually like to brag, but today I might just have to brag a little bit...

Pass Praxis?  Check.
Earn score > average range?  Check.
For once, do better than expected on a standardized test? Check.
Receive certificate for ETS Recognition of Excellence? Check.
Better than top 15%? Check.
Finish a few questions away from a perfect score?  Check.
Make a list in order to check things off and make a point?  Big.  Fat. Check.

I always thought I was good enough.  Now I have proof that I'm smart enough.  Now doggonit I just need someone to like me (and give me a job come May).  I'm one more step closer to a dream :).

Thank you, Praxis, you made my day.

Day 50- People Magazine

There's something about the experience of going to my mailbox and finding real mail that no computer generated program can ever replace.  Sure, it's fun to have a litte message pop up in my inbox, and the words dancing across the screen can be powerful.  I can instantly access information on the internet about whatever I want to know- news on current events, sports highlights, recipes, celebrity gossip- you name it.  However, there's just something to be said for finding a newspaper full of coupons waiting for me every Sunday, a stack of cards on my birthday or around Christmas or another holiday, and the glossy pages of a magazine waiting to share new things with me.

One piece of mail I can count on weekly is my People magazine.  For over five years now, I have been able to look forward to the delight of People waiting for me when I get home each Friday.  I know that the pretty lady on the cover staring out of my mailbox has been airbrushed, sometimes beyond recognition.  I know that more than half of the information inside serves no real purpose to anyone.  Yet, I can't help but enjoy paging through the beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes mixed in with stories of real people in their real clothes who are heroes among us, or who are losing weight, or who are doing something special in the world.  It's relaxing.  Plus, I can always complete the crossword, and that makes me feel smart.

In today's issue of People, I got to see pictures of stars in their Grammy dresses (and Ga Ga in her hula hoops), I got to read reviews of movies that I might just end up renting now, I got to see profiles on winter Olympians, I got to read an inspiring story about a couple who adopted five brothers and sisters from an orphanage, and I got to relax my mind for twenty minutes.  And there was a cologne sample that smelled like future Tom.  Tomorrow I will tackle the crossword (and by tackle, I mean quickly complete in order to feel like a genius).

Thank you, People magazine, you made my day.   

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 49- Poncho Kid

Dear Poncho Kid,

Lots of students were dressed up for "Tourist Day" today for Spirit Week.  I got a good chuckle out of all the fanny packs and socks with sandals and oversized Hawaiian shirts.  But you, you were the best of all!

I spotted you when I was greeting students in the hallway between classes.  I've never really noticed you before (even though your locker is right across the hall) because you aren't talking loudly or participating in PDA or wearing a hood or listening to an iPod.  However, today the crowds parted, and there you were- a real life Ugly Betty in your festive knit poncho.  The vibrant reds and yellows caught my eye, and I couldn't help but giggle as I noticed that your yarn cape and your sombrero were both about five sizes too small.  I'm not sure what kind of tourist you were supposed to be or where you were going, but you traveled with me for the rest of the day.  Every time I thought about you and your little poncho, I had a little laugh to myself under my breath. 

Your spirit and sense of humor are fabulous.  Our school is lucky to have you, whoever you are.

Thank you, Poncho Kid, you made my day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 48- Burn Relief Cream

If you were thinking that yesterday's blog was a bit lackluster... well, I'd have to agree with you.  I have a good excuse, though, I promise.

Last night I made chicken fried steak for dinner.  Delicious.  In the process of making it, I accidentally dunked my middle finger into a pot of extremely hot oil.  Not so delicious.

Yesterday's blog was a one handed effort to be positive while I whimpered in pain with my other hand dipped in a big ol' glass of crushed ice (The majesty of the crushed ice continues!  Although, it turns out you're not supposed to do that for a bad burn).  I'm just glad I didn't break my streak of positivity and blogging.

I fell asleep last night clutching an ice pack.  I woke up this morning with a warm pack and a throbbing finger.  I sit here now typing pain free with TWO hands.  Yay! 

Thank you, burn relief cream, you made my day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 47- Seating Chart

I seating charted one of my classes today.  Yes, I used seating chart as a verb. 

Creating an effective seating chart for a class full of talkers is an art.  It's like designing the perfect Battleship board, where each ship must be placed just so in order to outsmart the other ships and gain control.

I've always been good at Battleship. 

Once I separated the ships, everyone sailed along more smoothly.  I can't wait until my navy starts to work together successfully as a whole.  For today, I'm just proud of my troops for graduating from basic training : ).

Thank you, seating chart, you made my day. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 46- Sandy George

It's time for a math problem.  First, think of the most special thing you can.  Got it?  Ok, now multiply that by a million.  Don't have a calculator?  Don't worry, I'll give you the answer.  On the other side of the equal sign, you'll most certainly find my Aunt Sandy.

My Aunt Sandy has many names.  To three amazing children, she is Mom.  To the man that she met at a disco many years ago, she is Wife.  To others, she is Knitting Queen, Showtunes Enthusiast, Wolverine Diehard, Belly Dancer, Sandy Candy Maker, and more.  To Amanda and me, she is Peach.  She definitely is a peach, but this nickname comes from some other place I can never remember... some sort of obscure children's television reference from the 80's, I think.

One of my earliest memories with Peach is also one of my favorite.  My grandparents took my sister and me on a trip to New Orleans with Peach and my cousin Lauren.  After a long day of sightseeing, we went back to our hotel, changed into our jammies, and got ready for bed.  We didn't go to bed, though.  The commotion outside our window and the jazzy music of the French Quarter were enough to convince Peach that the day was not over yet.  I attended my first New Orleans parade that night.  In my pajamas.

We've shared so many moments since then.  We had campouts in backyards with my cousins, Clue for hours, and freshly popped popcorn.  We played bumper boats and ate cupcakes for dinner and made projects.  We've been from Bay City to New Orleans to New York City and had fun all along the way.   

My Aunt Peach surprised me with flowers today.  It was as exciting to open these as it was to open that 500 piece Barbie accessory set she got me twenty years ago, and this time the gift was not purchased just to annoy my parents :).  How lucky am I to receive such beautiful flowers from such a beautiful lady?

Thank you, Sandy George, you made my day.