Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 134- Sleep

It's been an incredibly busy week, up late each night (2 am last night!) finishing last minute projects and grading papers. 

Sleep has eluded me all week, but I've finally caught it and it's wonderful!

Thank you, sleep, you made my day.

(Written by Tom on behalf of Jessi, since she is sound asleep!)

Day 133- Job Offer

Oh, do I have a story for you! 

I was ecstatic to get a call for my first teaching job interview last week.  I scheduled it for this Tuesday during my plan period, and I was glad that I had the whole weekend to prepare.

Then, I got sick.  Really, nasty sick.  I basically slept through the entire weekend.  I woke up on Sunday with no voice and a nose that was spraying more reliably than Old Faithful.  I was nervous about the interview anyway, and this certainly didn't help.

As my voice began to come back, little by very little, I thought maybe I'd be ok after all.  Then we lost power in half of the house, the half including our bedroom.  You know, the bedroom where I got dressed for the job interview. 

So, on Tuesday, I got dressed in the dark and headed out to the interview armed with tissues, cough drops, water, and hand sanitizer.  I opened the interview by apologizing for my voice (or lack thereof) and assuring all parties involved that I had sanitized my hands before I shook theirs.  I got the laughs. 

I felt great after the interview and thought that I had, at the very least, been able to convey who I was and what I was all about.  If I didn't get the job, I told myself, it was just because they were looking for a different kind of person.  I was thrilled to hear yesterday that all of my references had been called, and I started to allow myself to believe that somehow, some way, this might actually just happen for me. 

I got the call on the way home today.  The superintendent introduced himself and told me that he had received a recommendation from the prinicipal to hire me.  Full of emotion from a day full of student goodbyes, I blurted out, "You just changed my life!"  He may or may not be scared of me now (or just find me completely awkward), but the rest of the call went well.    

Yeah, I'd say it's been a good day.  This Rudolph-the-red-nosed-girl with the hoarse voice (you know, the one who got dressed in the dark) wrangled herself a job. 

Thank you, job offer, you made my day.    

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 132- Friendship Bracelet

"See this bracelet, Mrs. Ferri?"  She pointed to a colorful yarn bracelet on her wrist.  "If I made one of these for you, would you wear it and never take it off?

"Well, I do have to shower sometimes, so I can't promise that I wouldn't take it off.  I would definitely wear it, though." 

She brought it in today.  She said she couldn't wait for tomorrow and wanted to make sure it was sized right.  As I tied the colorful blue, pink, and yellow creation around my wrist, she beamed with pride.

"Like it?"
"Love it!"

The goodbyes start tomorrow.  I'm probably going to cry, but I'm totally ok with that.  I am so incredibly lucky to have been a part of all of these lives, even if it was only for a short time. I have all kinds of fun things planned for the next two days, and I can't wait to spend the time enjoying my kids.

Thank you, friendship bracelet, you made my day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 131- Chocolate Milkshake

My milkshake serves an important purpose far beyond bringing the boys to the yard (see Kelis- "Milkshake").

Once upon a time when my mom was still my nurse and I was a wee little Jessi, I was violently ill.  I simply could not keep any food in my system, and I was miserable.  I was also underweight to begin with, and the weight I was losing was a huge concern for all parties involved.  My doctor suggested that my mom get me a chocolate milkshake to see if I could take that and use it as my reintroduction to foods.  Magic!

These days my wonderful husband plays nurse, and I have taught him the trick.  Since I haven't eaten a full meal in about four days, he was kind enough to go pick me up a Mickey D's chocolate shake tonight.  Work your magic, milkshake, work it!

Thank you, chocolate milkshake, you made my day.

Day 130- Hand Signals

I almost feel as if I am in a movie or a game show.  I have been presented with a list of challenges/tasks that stand in the way of completing my final week of student teaching successfully.  First, I woke up on Saturday with little to no voice and a nasty cold/infection, and it has been touch and go ever since.  Then, some kind of circuit blew in my house yesterday, leaving us without power in the front half of the house.  This half includes the bedroom and the outlet where our internet modem is plugged in, creating some additional unique challenges.  Finally, my dog has decided that he is obsessed with me once again.  And with barking.  Especially when the two of us are alone in the house after dark.

Don't fear, I have not forgotten the point of these daily blogs, and this remains a positivity only zone.  I am not complaining.  Rather, I am simply laying out the facts that lead me up to these important words.

To Whom it May Concern (I mean you, oh creator of obstacles),


Tom's working on the power thing, I put up with the dog because he's so darn cute and funny (and I understand that he can't help but be obsessed with me due to my excessive awesomeness), so that just leaves one final thing.  How do I practice effective classroom management without a voice?

Quite well, I would say, if I were inclined to comment on such things.  My game plan:

  1. Step One: Draw funny symbols on the board that correspond to hand signals.  For example, thumbs up= Great work, my wonderful students!  You are doing an excellent job of staying on task.  Picture of had with slanted mouth and side to side motion lines= Warning.  You know and I know that you are not doing what you're supposed to be doing.  Picture a referee's handbook.
  2. Step Two: Include in the "Today I will" objectives on the board, "watch for Mrs. Ferri's hand signals and help a sista out by staying on task"
  3. Step Three: Ask one student per class to read the objectives out loud.
  4. Step Four: Once the giggling about your witty objectives subsides, introduce the hand signals and demonstrate.  More giggling.
  5. Step Five: Sit back and bask in the results of your plan.  Oh, and use the hand signals when the novelty wears off to reign students back in.
  6. Step Six: Pull out the sick voice when needed.  Students will feel bad and begin to look for/cooperate with hand signals again.

It is amazing what a few (school appropriate-- geez, get your mind out of the gutter) hand signals can accomplish.  Well, that and the fruits of four months of classroom management labor.

Thank you, hand signals, you made my day.    

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 129- Jet and Cord

"There may be places that he's not as talented as other people, but he's always made it up in try." Jet

Tom and I have gotten into The Amazing Race over the past few seasons, and there always seems to be an endearing team that we can't help but love.  This year, it's definitely the cowboy partners, Jet and Cord.  Those cowboys sure do crack me up.  In a challenge earlier in the season, they went from last place to first, even though they had to complete an extra challenge.  As one of them said on tonight's episode, they really do make up for what they're lacking with a whole lot of try.

This statement also reminded me of something my dad says that always makes me giggle.  When asked about his dancing ability once, he said, "What I lack in natural talent, I make up for with gusto and enthusiasm!"  I can't be certain, but I believe that this statement was followed by some sort of high kick or other attempted dance move.  Since he got the laughs the first time, this phrase has definitely been repeated.

I think, in a way, that this is also one of my personal philosophies in life.  I am confident that I have more talent for folding a fitted sheet than most people I know.  Beyond that, there will always be people in other avenues of my life that are more talented than I am at things.  However, one thing I have control over, one thing that I can be sure of, is the effort that I give to everything I do.  No one tries harder than I do, no one is more enthusiastic, and no one is more optimistic.

I needed this bit of inspiration as I go into teaching tomorrow with no voice.  Doggonit I am going to give tomorrow my best effort.

Thanks, Jet and Cord, you made my day.

Day 128- Couch

I was sick all day, but you and the fuzzy red blanket were my faithful companions.  We watched lots of movies together and had a good nap (or twelve).  I appreciate your efforts. 

Thank you, couch, you made my day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 127- Alicia*

When we started writing research papers in class, Alicia informed me that she had never finished and handed in a paper before.  How can this possibly be? I wondered.  However, after getting to know her better, I realized that it was probably true.  Not on my watch.  I decided that this girl was going to get the dang thing done, no matter what it took. 

It's a good thing that I had such resolve because it took a lot.  I had to find many extra times for her to go to the computer lab.  I had to push her every day, every step of the way.  I had to accept the paper wayyyyy late, but I did it because if she was willing to put in the work and eventually get it done, then darnit I was going to take it.  Sure, she lost a ton of late points, but something is better than nothing, and her paper certainly turned out better than nothing. 

Today she handed in another paper, an essay, only two days late this time.  I was so excited that I could have jumped for joy and clicked my heels together.  Baby steps.

I think it's time to bring back the smiling monkey.

Thank you, Alicia, you made my day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 126- Bobby Pins

This morning I got up at my normal time.  I wasn't particularly tired or cranky or short on time.  However, I just plain did not want to do my hair. 

I must admit that this is a weekly occurrence.  When my hair is curly, I probably haven't brushed it.  If you see me with a headband, then I may have brushed it a little bit (or maybe not).  Clippy thing?  Mmm hmm.  Don't worry, I am not delusional.  I understand that when I spend five minutes (or less) on my hair, it shows.  I'm just not sure I care.

I do feel responsibility to be a professional at work now, though.  While the bed head look works just fine at the Depot (it ends up looking the same way by the time I come home anyway), it doesn't fly so much at school.  To this I say thank goodness for bobby pins!  With just a few little magical bobby pins, I can whip myself up an excellent schoolmarm bun or a business lady updo.  Here a pin, there a pin, everywhere a pin pin. 

Today I actually received quite a few compliments on my spunky (but not too spunky) five minute updo.  Mama's little helpers held it tightly into place as I clicked around the school.  I'm sort of wondering why I ever bother to do my hair.  If I eliminate this from my daily routine, I may just have time for breakfast part two.  Oh, the possibilities... 

Thank you, bobby pins, you made my day.   

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 125- Anna and 7th Block

Me: "Yeah, my last day with you guys will be next Friday."

7th Block: "Really?  Are you sure?  How about if you just stay here?  You could still come in every day."

Me: "I wish I could.  I have to find a job for next year, though."

7th Block:  "Work here.  You could teach sophomores and have us two years in a row!"

Me: "Again, I'd love that.  Unfortunately, the district isn't hiring."

Anna: "What if we pooled our money together, Mrs. Ferri?  I babysit a ton.  I make $8.50 an hour, you know." 

The funny thing is, she meant it. 

I don't need the kids to love me or even to like me.  My self confidence and feelings of worth as a teacher do not depend on it.  I want my students to respect me and to learn from me.  If I'm doing my job, then the rest will come naturally.  However, conversations like the one we had today sure do make me smile.  I adore those kids.

Thank you, Anna and 7th Block, you made my day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 124- Madonna Episode

The whole cast.  Like a prayer.  Gospel choir.  Kurt solo.  Sue Sylvester.  Vogue.  Cheerios on stilts.  Mercedes belts it out.  Borderline.  Jesse St. James.  4 Minutes.  Cone bras and track suits.  Female empowerment.  What it feels like for a girl.  Artie and Tina.  Open your heart.  Express yourself. 
Sue hair, Shue hair.   

"The Power of Madonna"

There is only one word to describe what I am feeling.


I am going to need a copy of this new soundtrack for my car.  I'll probably also need to buy one for the shower, as that is the other place where I do my best singing. 

Thank you, Madonna episode, you made my day. 

P.S. Thank goodness for DVR.  I'm sure that this episode will make my day a number of times for a number of days (months, years) in a row.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 123- Bath

Here's the thing about yesterday-
it was filled with work and not much play.
I lifted soil and mulch and blocks
and loaded tons of bags of rock.

In the winter I hibernate
and sometimes add ten pounds of weight,
but before I can start to frown
this job, in spring, it trims me down.

So I run around the store
We compare pedometers, and mine says more!
I see how much my muscles can take,
they don't complain, but sometimes ache.

In order to keep the pain away,
I thought, I'll take a bath today!
A good ol' soaking in the tub
will give my muscles lots of love.

My body is no longer sore,
for I'm relaxed down to the core.
Tonight I'll have a lovely siesta
and wake up ready for a fiesta!

Thank you, bath, you made my day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 122- ACM Awards

American Country Music Awards, that is. 

Some of the first music I ever loved was country music.  I can still sing along with every song on the Randy Travis "Storms of Life" record thanks to my dad playing it on repeat when we were growing up.  I went through a phase where I wasn't so found of country, but my sister brought me out of it by making me listen to her Dixie Chicks tape so many times in the car that she wore it out- literally.  One day, probably around round 1,452, she popped it in, and we heard "wiiiiiiiiiiiddeeeeeeeeee opennnnnnnnn spaaaaaaaaaaces" all slow and horror movielike.  I pretended to cheer, but by then I was back in love with country music, and I was sad that the dang tape was toast too.

I was delighted to discover when I got home from a long day at work that the ACM Awards were on tonight.  I enjoy other awards shows for the glitz and the glamour and the "What will they do next?" moments, but country music awards are so much more than that.  They are filled with partying good times and wonderfully honest moments.  Country music has room for everyone- artists fresh off the farm, artists formerly known as Hootie, artists discovered on American Idol.  Short, bald men in tight jeans and women in ball gowns with gravity defying hair ("the taller the hair, the closer to God") and men in overalls and barefoot women all perform and are honored on the same stage.  Country music doesn't care, as long as you have a good story and  know how to tell it.

I enjoyed so much of tonight's show, but there were a few fabulous highlights:

  • Miranda Lambert's exquisite performance of "The House That Built Me"  I can't find it online yet, but here's the music video.  I adore Miranda and may just become as obsessed with her as I am with Martina McBride (in the least creepy way possible).
  • Brooks and Dunn in their final ACM performance of "My Maria"  Those guys still got it!
  • Brooks and Dunn on their retirement, "We're in therapy with Brett Favre.  We're trying to figure out how to waffle our way out of this." 
  • Carrie Underwood performing "Temporary Home" and graciously accepting her awards
  • Brad Paisley accepting an award soaking wet after diving into a pool just moments before.  And his paisley guitar.  I love his paisley guitar.
  • Tim McGraw-- my husband has a man crush.  It's funny.
  • Reba.  Something about her just makes me laugh (or everything about her). 
I could go on and on (even more than I already have).  I heart country music.

Thank you, ACM Awards, you made my day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 121- Productivity

I have a massive portfolio project that I have to complete in order to receive my certification this spring.  I have been working on it for a few months, and I have been working especially hard the past few days.  Today I got a lot more done, and I am really close to being finished with the whole shebang.  The due date?  April 28!!

It turns out I might just be a grown up after all.

Because I have gotten things done early, my professor will look everything over for me and let me know if there's anything I need to change, revise, or improve.  This is the second time this year that I have gotten a project done and ready to hand in EARLY.  For anyone who knows me, this is a big deal.  A huge deal.

So long, all-nighters full of panic.  So long midnight Mountain Dews (don't worry, I'll still come for you at lunch every day).  We had our time and our place, but I think I'll be moving on now.

I know what you're thinking, Mom and Dad.  If only she would have figured this out before that dang leaf project incident of '93.  Oh c'mon.  You know you enjoyed coloring with me until 2 am.

Don't worry, just because I'm a grown up now doesn't mean that I have lost my fourteen-year-old boy sense of humor.  When given the opportunity, I'll make sure you know "That's what she said," every time.  Thank goodness I'm a high school teacher.

Thank you, productivity, you made my day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 120- Boy from the Bus

The wheels on the bus may go round and round, but they sure do seem to stop a lot too.  Usually getting stuck behind a school bus on the way home is not an entirely pleasant experience, but today it actually was.

I know that different buses have different routes, and I'm pretty sure that the one I drove behind this afternoon was on some sort of route of cuteness.  All of the little kids that stepped off the bus were as precious as can be, and I couldn't help but smile as they ran home waving their arms in the air and jumping for joy with excitement for the weekend.  I felt the same way.

There was one little boy in particular that made me smile from ear to ear.  He was ten different kinds of adorable all at the same time.  The little man had on plaid shorts and a polo shirt, the perfect compliment to his little man crew cut. He was pint-sized and dark-skinned and oozed personality.  From the second he stepped off the bus, he was smiling wide, singing, and dancing.  He was shakin' it like "Single Ladies," with his mouth open so wide in song that I could see all of his teeth.  My heart really melted when I saw him stop his routine to pick up the papers another little one had dropped on the way down the street.  If it wasn't completely creepy and inappropriate, I probably would have followed all of the kids home to play in the beautiful weather.  Instead, I delighted in the charming little scene and carried on my (even more) merry way.

Thank you, boy from the bus, you made my day.   

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 119- Project Runway

I have absolutely adored this show since the very first season, and I have followed it from New York to LA and back again.  I am in love with/awkwardly obsessed with Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, each season's designers, and, most of all, TIM GUNN!!!!  I would very much like to visit Mood (the fabric store) and touch lots of things.  I would also like to accessorize myself with the Blue Fly wall.  To top off the day, I would, of course, have my hair and makeup done in the Tresume salon.  Ooh la la!

I can sum up what made my day today in just six words.







You got a rough start there, Timmy, but you made it work :).

Thank you, Project Runway, you made my day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 118- Asparagus Bundles

Okay, I know I already gave kudos to Trisha Yearwood and her fabulous cookbook once this week.  If I'm being honest about what  really made my day today, though, I have to give her a shoutout again.  This week's score now stands at Trisha 2, hunger/sad tastebuds 0. 

The recipe of the day was for asparagus bundles.  Butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, asparagus, bacon, and more... what's not to like?  My husband, who is not a big fan of asparagus at all, had a second helping.  I suppose this just goes to show that a little bacon and butter can sell just about anything.  Go ahead, post me on  I'll just have to work extra hard at slinging soil this weekend :).

Trisha's crockpot mac 'n' cheese is up tomorrow.  Could she possibly go 3 for 3?  My magic eight ball says all signs point to yes.  I should probably hunt her down and force her to be my friend.  This lady really gets me.

Thank you, asparagus bundles, you made my day. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 117- GLEE

Hi, my name is Jessi, and I am a  total gLeek. 

I have been counting down the days until the return of this show since one second after the season finale.  I have both soundtracks from the first season, and I listen to them obsessively in my car.  I also know all of the words to all of the songs.  Sometimes I even belt them out without the cds.  I have watched every second of every episode, scoured the internet for every preview I could find leading up to this season, and scheduled a debriefing with many of my students and my CT before school tomorrow to gush over tonight's episode.  I have come to love Glee as much as I love popcorn.  I know.  This is serious.  Here are a few highlights from tonight (although, let's be honest, the entire episode is one giant highlight): 

"Now that we're dating, I have to work so much harder to pretend I'm listening to her."

Sue (after cutting off a boy's ponytail) "There.  You no longer confuse me with your shemale looks.  I'm going to donate this to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  They can use it to plug the holes in their trailers."

"I'm getting out of Ohio soon.  I got a full ride to a little school called the University of California, Los Angeles.  Maybe you've heard of it.  It's in Los Angeles."

"I like to give impromptu concerts for the homeless.  It's so important to give back."

"Did you see what Rachel was wearing today?"
"I know, she looked like Pippi Longstocking, but like... Israeli."
"Her sweaters make her look homeschooled."

"Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?"

"Well, Rachel, if I weren't ignoring what these ladies were saying out of an overwhelming sense of deep repulsion, I would probably hear them encouraging you to go for it with your Carmel High beau."

Just when I thought I couldn't love Glee any more, they added Idina Menzel into the mix.  Idina and Kristin Chenowith guest starring on the same show?  Oh my word.  Sue Sylvester's vogue... are you kidding me?  Happiness overload. 

I can't wait for the Madonna episode next week!  No... really... I can't wait.  I think the Glee page on facebook will probably send me some previews, and I'll get to watch those obsessively until next Tuesday.

Thank you, Glee, you made my day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 116- Chicken Piccata

It turns out that Trisha Yearwood is more than just a wonderful singer.  I saw her on tv recently promoting her new cookbook, and the foods looked absolutely delicious.  I don't mean to be rude, but after looking at her husband (Garth Brooks), I decided that I just might be able to trust Trisha as a cook too.  She also said something that went straight from her mouth to my heart, "Butter.  The thing that makes my food so tasty is lots of butter."  Since the time my roommates caught me drinking a bit of garlice butter in college and made fun of me/were totally disgusted by me, I am constantly on the lookout for vehicles to deliver delicious buttery goodness into my diet.

I gushed about the cookbook so much to Tom that he was nice and surprised me with it last week.  What a guy (although there is something in it for him too)!  We couldn't help but oooh and ahhhh at just about every picture on just about every page as we flipped through.  Asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon?  Yes, please!  Key lime cake?  Sounds like a piece of heaven.  Hot corn dip?  Sold to the belly waiting for its next food baby.

Tonight we tried our first Trisha recipe, chicken piccata.  It was pretty painless to make, created wonderful aromas in the kitchen, and was delightfully crispy and buttery.  I always enjoy adding a new recipe into my arsenal, especially when it doesn't break the bank or my budgeted evening cooking time.  I enjoy it even more when my husband smiles at me with sauce all over his face and tells me he likes it without a hint of a lie in his eyes.  I may just have to keep this Trisha gal around for a while.  I get it, Garth... I totally get it.

Thank you, chicken piccata, you made my day. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 115- Iced Tea

a warm day
a refreshing drink
the clink of the cubes
floating, rolling, cooling
the first taste of summer

ahhhh... thirst quenched.

Thank you, iced tea, you made my day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 114- Tail of the Pale Pink Dragon

I dragged my husband off to a play at school tonight because a few of my kids had parts in it, and I had even more students on the stage crew.  Although Tom was a good sport about tagging along, I was worried that I would have to go see some awful movie to make us even for the two hours of pain and suffering he would experience.

I'll probably still have to see a bad movie with him in the near future (because I can be bribed to do just about anything for some greasy movie theater popcorn), but it most certainly won't be in retaliation for tonight's play.  We were both pleasantly surprised to thoroughly enjoy the show (Tom being much more surprised than me, of course).  It was a cute little Shrek-like story acted by high schoolers who were really invested in their performances.  It was funny and lovely and just what we needed to escape from the stresses in our lives, if only for a bit.  We were happy to fill a few more seats in the audience for these kids who have worked so hard.

Thank you, Tail of the Pale Pink Dragon, you made my day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 113- Edwin Brzezinski

Today was multicultural day at school.  I must say I was a bit skeptical about this at first.  Although West is more diverse than the area I grew up in, it's certainly not a mecca for all cultures.  However, I was impressed with the assembly that the school and the kids put on.  I'll spare you all of my cheesy and terribly cliche thoughts on this.  Let's just say it was delightful.

There was also a whole setup in the little gym all day.  We were encouraged to take our classes down and to let them explore all of the booths set up to represent different countries.  I took my small class of juniors and seniors down after lunch since they have a split class and seemed to need a little break from reading this afternoon.  I wandered around from booth to booth, occasionally pausing when something caught my eye (hello, beautiful quincenera dresses!).  When I got halfway around the gym, I noticed a cute little man waving me over to his booth.  I checked behind me to make sure he wasn't motioning to someone else, but, sure enough, he was waving at me.

I laughed to myself when I got to his Poland booth.  That's funny, I thought to myself, I don't think anyone has recognized that I'm part Polish just by sight before.  The man introduced me to his wife and quickly started in with showing me all of the little treasures he had on the table.  He had me hold some traditional little wooden Easter eggs and showed me a few other things.  The whole time he was talking to me, I couldn't help but think how much he reminded me of my grandpa.  He really sealed the deal when he said, "Here's something you'll recognize," and pulled out a a Polish Barbie.  He followed that up with teaching me how to say "How are you doing?" and "Give me a kiss," in Polish.  At this point, I was totally cracking up, and I was certain that my Grandpa had chosen him to speak to me.

When my new friend Edwin and his wife started to talk to me about Polish Christmas traditions, I had to fight back tears.  At the end of our chat, the Brzezinskis gave me a brochure with information on trips to Poland and encouraged me to take a trip there one of these days.  Ok, Grandpa, I promise I'll make it there.

Thank you, Edwin Brzezinski, you made my day. 

Day 112- Folders and Binders

I've already professed my love for to do lists.  My adoration for collecting things does not stop there, though.  I also get quite the cheap thrill out of filing things away into pretty folders (or even not so pretty folders) and binders.

When I discovered that I would need to hand in a binder with my lesson plans and materials at the end of student teaching to be reviewed by my professor, I was flabbergasted.  "Just one binder?" I said, "What happens if I have four or five?"

I have a folder for everything in my personal life too.  There are folders for recipes and certificates and papers from the past.  I make folders of magazine clippings of decorating ideas and snacks for kids and projects for the future.  One of the first things I did when we bought our first house?  It was imperative that we have a notebook/binder with color coded post it tabs that contained paint chips and descriptions of bedspreads and prioritized lists for spending.  I dominated that binder, oh yes I did.  I even made a folder of dream kitchens for my mom once I found out that my parents will be redoing their kitchen in a few years.  Was she a bit caught off guard and overwhelmed by this?  Perhaps.  Likely.  Will she be thankful when it comes time to plan that kitchen and she finds the perfect options in my folder (especially because I have found a few hundred more things to add)?  Uh... yeah.  Obviously. 

Today, I got to three hole punch all kinds of things to put in one of my binders.  I got to snap the little rings open and shut and make labels and flip through to admire my handiwork.  It was delightful.

Thank you, folders and binders, you made my day.    

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 111- Hallmark

I love that my neighborhood Hallmark store
is right on my way home,
although I'd travel an extra fifty miles,
for this store I love to roam.

Around the store I walk and walk,
searching for new treasures.
I love to find and send good cards
it really is my pleasure.

Thank yous, stickers, holiday treats,
and bags and books and candles,
All this place has in store for me
is almost too much to handle.

Every time that I walk in now,
I'm greeted with a smile.
Those ladies know me by first name
and don't mind if I stay a while.

They even send me coupons
to lure me back to the store.
Shh!  Don't tell them I'd come anyway!
Just let them send me more.

Today, I gave them a bunch of my money.
I know- oh my, oh dear!
But what's a couple of dollars
when it helps to spread so much cheer?

Thank you, Hallmark, you made my day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 110- End of the Stack

I never thought I'd get to you.

Lessons, handouts, outlines.

I pictured you off in the distance, out of reach.

Countless days in the lab.

I read hundreds of pages, wore out a pen, filled numerous rubrics, and gave a few stickers.

Grading, grading grading.

Finally, at long last, I have reached you... the elusive end of the stack.

Thank you, end of the stack, you made my day. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 109- Winning Bracket

I filled out two brackets this year, one for a possible cash prize and one just for fun.  It's a good thing I like winning as much as I like money because I didn't win any money, but...


My bracket, STL GTL, dominated.  In this crazy year of upsets and Cinderella teams, I actually picked two of the Final Four teams, and I had Duke as the winner.  I was cheering, as always, for the underdog to win.  It would have been heartwarming to see Butler have their "One Shining Moment."  Can you imagine if that buzzer beater shot had gone in?  Epic.  However, you know what else is satisfying? 


Sure, I will not come away with a cash prize, and I saved my skills for the just for fun bracket.  The thing is, though, winning is fun.  Tom would just like it more if this fun had led to a contribution to our vacation fund.

Thank you, winning bracket, you made my day.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 108- Outback Steakhouse

We goofed.

Tom and I did not realize that all of the grocery stores in the area would be closed for Easter.  Does this happen everywhere?  I never noticed before.  Whoops.

Thank goodness our friends at Outback Steakhouse stayed open today.  Apparently they don't take Easter quite as seriously in fake Australia.  No rules, just right.

We enjoyed a lovely Easter feast of steaks, veggies, and bread.  It could have been much worse.  After all, I was afraid we'd have to make a go of it with the frozen chicken patties and jalapeno poppers we have left in the freezer.  While those crazy folks on Top Chef could have made a masterpiece with what we have in our freezer and pantry, a top chef I am not.  Good cook?  Yes.  Food artist?  Not exactly...  chicken patties for breakfast tomorrow?  I may be thanking the grocery store on Day 109...

Thank you, Outback Steakhouse, you made my day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 107- My Hard Head

Usually when people talk about being hardheaded, it's a bad thing.  It means that someone is stubborn, willful, or unable to yield.  Today, however, I was glad to be hardheaded.  Literally, I was thankful to have a hard head. 

I was roughhousing with General and chasing him in circles around the downstairs of our house.  He seemed as if he was tiring of our playing, so I sped up and ran ahead of him so that he could chase me.  Unfortunately, I underestimated his speed and competitive nature.  As he jockeyed for position with me around the turn, he knocked me out Korean speed skater style.  I thudded to the floor so loudly and painfully that Tom did not even laugh.  Yeah, it was that bad.

I have a large gash across my arm, a thumb that hurts to bend, and a headache (possibly a bit concussed... who knows).  Yet, I am quite thankful to my hard head for cushioning the blow.  I'm sure my other softer skulled friends would have been out for the count.  This hard head has gotten me through a traumatic drop on a credenza as a baby, many failed beam dismount attempts, and now a nasty fall on our beautiful living room wood floors. 

You can reserve your jokes about how these head knocks explain a lot ;).  Perhaps I should wear a helmet anyway.


Thank you, my hard head, you made my day.

Day 106- St. Maarten

A morning text from my dad:

Detroit 45 mins late.  No gate agent!  Just ran through Atlanta airport and made connection.  Whew.  Now off to paradise!

I have always known that I have good parents.  I knew this every time they sacrificed things for themselves to make sure that we had pretty new Easter dresses or piano lessons or all the books we could read.  I knew this every time I saw them in the stands at a track meet for four hours in 20 degree weather or in the crowd at a ballet recital where I was only on stage for two minutes of a two hour show.  I knew this every time they sat down to read with me or talk with me or play with me, only to have hours of work to do once I went to bed.  I knew this when I applied to and attended the University of  Michigan without any kind of stress about how it would be paid for.  I knew this when we were able to throw one heck of a party for everyone we wanted to invite to celebrate our wedding.  I knew this when they taught me not to lie, how to work hard, not to quit, and how to love.  I could go on and on.

I'm at the point in my life now where I can actually appreciate my parents as human beings and as friends.  I recognize how much they have given of themselves in order to set us up to go after everything we want out of life.  I better understand what they have endured and who they are.  I can fathom the amount of work that they have put into their marriage for themselves and for their kids.  I see how incredibly hard they have worked to be able to live the lives that they decided that they wanted more than thirty years ago.  

With all of these understandings comes the joy of seeing my parents bask in the rewards and fruits of their labor.  Now that they're pretty sure that my sister and I will turn out okay, we can simply enjoy each other.  Now that they're done paying for all of our junk, they can simply enjoy themselves.

This week in St. Maarten, my parents will lay in the sun, read lots of books, eat fine meals, sip cocktails whenever they want to (starting at breakfast, maybe), and, most importantly, relax.  As my dad said, this place is their own personal paradise.  It has no place for cell phones or e-mails or late nights grading papers and preparing weekly reports.  It will force them to sit back, relax, and just plain have a good time together.  I can't think of two people who deserve this more.

My dad's text today made me grin from ear to ear as I pictured him in one of his silly Hawaiian shirts (or snoozing on the beach with his mouth open) and my mom in total relaxation mode, looking carefree and twenty years younger than any other woman her age in a bathing suit or sundress.

Thanks, St. Maarten, you made my day.

P.S.  I'm certain you made theirs too!    

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 105- Outside Class

We were sitting in the classroom
when my CT had an idea.
How about we take the kids outside?
Oh yes, oh mama mia!

What would be a better place
for our fine students to read
than oustide underneath the sun?
Oh, they'll like this, yes indeed.

What a delight it was today,
a first for me to teach
there outside, in beautiful weather,
like being on the beach.

As the rays shone down and then the wind
softly tousled all of our hair,
we looked around and were pleased to see
students smiling everywhere.

Thank you, outside class, you made my day.