Showing posts from July, 2010

Day 226- Toothpick

+  =    

I adore movie theater popcorn soaked in butter.  When I am dragged to see a movie that I may not have picked for myself or when a movie turns out to be oh so bad, the popcorn is usually enough to save the day.  I have been bribed to see many movies this way.  The only downside is that I always end up with as much popcorn in my teeth as in my stomach.

We went to see a movie tonight for the first time in a while, and I was ecstatic to lick my greasy fingers and to enjoy my popcorn.  Even the pesky first piece that wedged itself between two of my molars was not enough to damper my excitement-- for a while, at least.  However, I spent the rest of the movie wiggling my tongue around between my teeth in order to set my little friend free.

Enter Mr. Toothpick.

The toothpick saved the day!  It released the kernel back into the wild and made my mouth feel all good again.  Mr. Toothpick's friend Ms. Toothbrush is itching to add in her two cents now.
Thank you, toothpick, you made my…

Day 225- Certifications

Almost five years ago, I started substitute teaching.  I realized very quickly that I had found my calling, and I hoped every morning that I would get the call (literally) to go into one school or another to play.  I was thrilled when teachers left me real plans instead of videos or study hall days and gave me a chance to try my hand at actual instruction.  Early on, I had an opportunity to take a long term sub job working with seventh and eigth graders who were on the lower end of the skills and behavioral spectrum.  They were not so sure about me at first, but I started to build relationships with them after a few days, and they started to let me in.  Then, it was over.  The principal found a certified teacher to take the job, and I was simply done.  When the kids asked why I was moving on and subbing all over instead of staying with them, another teacher told them it was because I was not a "real" teacher.   

I'm not sure why she did that.  I went home feeling a bit h…

Day 224- Orientation

summer vacation
officially ends
new job
new friends

room is
shaping up
must buy
lotsa stuff

teacher meetings
first day
think i'll
be okay

lunch today
principals great
big laughs
clean plates

guide books
school rules
so far
pretty cool :)

Thank you, orientation, you made my day.

Day 223- Katie Thompson

Math time!

Katie Thompson + "Heaven is a Place on Earth" - Belinda Carlisle= an exquisite remake

What a moving and beautiful driving/dancing/whirling lullaby.  It is a bubble bath in a song.  I heard it first tonight on SYTYCD,  and I'm sure I'll hear it at least a couple hundred more times before I move on to my next Flavor of the Week.

Ahhhh.... there's something so wonderful and honest about a song stripped down to a woman, a piano, and a flood of emotion.

Thank you, Katie Thompson, you made my day.

Day 222- Boyd

After a long morning and afternoon of planning and curriculum and state standards, Christy and I took a break for a quick lunch at McDonald's.  As we chatted over chicken nuggets and fries, I noticed that Christy was suddenly distracted, looking inquisitively over my shoulder.

"No, you don't really believe that, do you?"  I turned and saw an older gentleman grinning behind me.  I had no idea who he was or why he had suddenly joined our conversation.

"Oh yes, it's all true," I played along.

I don't remember exactly where he went from there, but Boyd somehow parlayed this into a ten minute conversation filled with jokes, multiple requests for us to keep smiling, and a discussion of how he has made his marriage work for 52 years and counting. 

"Isn't my wife a fox after all these years," he asked, pointing to a table of three lovely older ladies.  We agreed that yes, in fact, she was still quite a pretty lady.  We applauded his many year…

Day 221- Flat Tire

I must admit that I was less than thrilled to discover yesterday afternoon that I had a flat tire.  Tom took it off of my car and discovered that a nail was the culprit.  He put on the spare with plans to take in my tire today to be repaired.  This meant that I would spend today stranded at home with no transportation.

We've had visitors or been visiting somewhere for the past three weekends, and we've been all over the place for the past few months.  I've already been into school to get things together, and I'll be going in the next two days.  My summer officially ends on Thursday with my new teacher orientation.  After that, the school year starts, and life will be wonderfully hectic!

The flat tire allowed me to stay at home today and be lazy without feeling guilty about it.  I hopefully got enough rest to nurse myself back to health as I enter into the hustle and bustle of our new schedule.  I snuggled with my dog for a long time and caught up on my DVR.  I sipped t…

Day 220- St. Louis City Museum

St. Louis City Museum: noun

1. a museum, consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis, Missouri 2. a whimsical, wonderful, magical place full of treasures of many kinds 3. a museum with "something for everyone" 4. stop two on the Thomas birthday tour 5. birth control
Related Words:
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (noun) Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (noun)
Sample Sentence:
We had a wicked good time today at the St. Louis City Museum.

Thank you, St. Louis City Museum, you made my day.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Tom Ferri!  Love you... you're my favorite.

Day 219- Run-ins

I can't wear inappropriately shabby clothing in public anymore.
I have to be more careful about getting accidentally tipsy at Friday night dinners.
I try to go to tween movies (yes, it happens sometimes) after tween curfews have passed.

No, this is not two truths and a lie.  I am happy to say that all of these things are true.  Why?  These are all signs that this strange place that we moved to a few years ago is really starting to feel like home. 

I remember my dad always teasing my mom when I was growing up that we could not go anywhere without her running into someone that she knew.  It was actually miraculous if she only ran into one person that she knew.  It was usually more like five.

Now that we have lived here for a while, and now that I have spent some time teaching, we run into people that we know all over the place.  I ran into one of my coworkers, a social studies teacher, this afternoon at the Daniel Boone historical town of all places.  We stopped there on our way ho…

Day 218- Sudafed

Dear Sudafed,

This may be a bit premature, seeing as I just took you moments ago.  However, you talk a good game.  You promise to not only make me feel better but also to give me a good night's sleep.  You have no idea how much it will mean to me if you follow through on these things.  I don't know how I can ever repay you.

Thanks for everything (I hope)!  Heart,


Thank you, Sudafed, you made my day.

Day 217- Christy B.

Wahoo!  I tackled my classroom for the first time today.  I moved mass quantities of furniture around and out of the room.  I rearranged desks.  I tore down old, faded posters.  I rearranged large file cabinets.  I moved tables.  I rearranged bookcases.  Christy was there in the trenches with me the whole time, my furniture lifting and idea bouncer offer partner. 

Christy is my cohort on the other eighth grade team, and she has already been such a wonderful resource.  As I begin to plan for this next year, I continuously find myself wondering who in the world is going to tell me things and how I will figure out the things that no one thinks to share.  I have found, in many cases already, that the answer is Christy.  We have already done a lot of collaboration and planning.  We've spent time chatting about all things teaching related and the intricacies of our school.  Christy has even agree to help me plan my first ever float trip next summer to fulfill a future goal (side note: …

Day 216- Who Dat?

From Wikipedia:

Who dat? is a chant of team support, used especially by fans of the New Orleans Saints, an American football team. The entire chant is: "Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?" "Who dat" may also be used as a noun, describing a Saints fan.

I think I'd like to jump on the Saints bandwagon.  No, it's not just because they won the SuperBowl this year.  No, it's not just because they beat the Colts in order to do so, although that helps.  I really want to be a part of the Who Dat Nation, and I really want to do the Who Dat chant.

I was watching the Real World (another reality television guilty pleasure), and the cast is in New Orleans this season.  Those lucky dogs got to hang out on Bourbon Street during the Super Bowl, and they participated in many a Who Dat? chant.  This took me back to one of my fondest memories of college.

It was the summer of 2004, and my roommate Lisa and I were Pistons superfans.  I put on my inheri…

Day 215- Granite Countertops

The Evolution of Our Kitchen

Step 1- Move in condition

Step 2- Holiday by holiday, we replaced each appliance with shiny new stainless steel.  We also added in pretty new light fixtures and curtains.  We bought a temporary island cart that eventually required minor surgery (the leg is stapled together) and collected dust and dog hair quickly.

Step 3- Granite countertops!  Today we finally replaced the old turquoiseish laminate counters.  This also means a new faucet, a new undermount sink (yay! it was free), and a new garbage disposal that makes a lot less noise (we're hooking up the plumbing tomorrow because we had to wait 24 hrs. for everything to seal).  We also now have a permanent island that will be wired with an outlet for cooking ease :). 

Steps 4-5 will involve us tiling in a backsplash and replacing the sliding glass doors out to the patio area.  We're so excited about how everything is coming together, and this will making cooking/cleaning up that much easier and more…

Day 214- Taco Night

I fancy myself a blossoming cook.
I cook from books with stuff from Schnuck's.

I make other things without recipes.
I improvise and aim to please.

I plan each week's menu carefully.
I love to eat and cook with glee.

I try to add variety and indulge food wishes.
I love to prepare, as long as you do the dishes.

I eat out sometimes but then start itchin'.
I have to get back in the kitchen.

I pretend I'm on a cooking show.
I make reductions and simmer on low.

But... of all the things that I do make,
you'd never guess- for heaven's sake!-
that all it really ever takes
to ice my husband's metaphorical cake

is taco night.

Thank you, taco night, you made my day.

Day 213- Immanuel Lutheran Church Van Kids

I was driving home on 70 after a fabulous weekend in Kansas City with Miss Rebecca Morello, a great hostess and an even better friend.  Because of the fabulousness of the weekend, I was quite tired, and the fatigue of a long drive was setting in.  The monotony was broken by an Immanuel Lutheran church van cutting me off in order to swing around and pass a semi.  Luckily, I don't road rage at all.  If anything, I was thankful to have a jolt to my system to wake me up. 

As I stared at the long road ahead, the miles ticking away on the GPS, and the surprisingly pretty Missouri scenery, I suddenly noticed something else.  It was a sign.  No, not a sign from God.  A sign from God's children.  In the van window.  Written in marker.

Lint Licker, it said.

I chuckled.  We carried on for another mile.  Then, a new sign.

Frisk me!

I was laughing out loud now.  I couldn't see the kids, just their hands and their silly signs.  After a few miles, the van switched back over to the right h…

Day 212- Deer Creek Pool

It turns out that Kansas City is every bit as hot and muggy as the rest of Missouri.  Thankfully, Rebecca has friends and those friends live at apartment complexes with pools.  We spent the afternoon lounging around in a pool with a beach walk-in and a waterfall, margaritas in hand.  The tan I got while in Michigan last month was almost all gone, but the pool rescued my tan today too.  It was very considerate, that pool.

I'd like to say more, but our lovely day at the pool, along with a number of other activities, means that I have to choose sleeping over blogging at this time.  Zzzzzzzzzz.

Thank you, Deer Creek Pool, you made my day.

Day 211- Kansas City

Deductive Reasoning

I like Kansas City because it is in the same state as me.
I like Kansas City because it had a job that enticed my friend Rebecca to move from MI to MO.
I like Kansas City because now Rebecca lives in the same state as me again.

I also like Kansas City because Scout the Dog lives here too.
I like Kansas City because it is not Blue Springs, and it does not have hail and thunderstorms that make me pull over while driving to... Kansas City.
I like Kansas City because I'm sure it has many more adventures in store for us tomorrow.

Thank you, Kansas City, you made my day.

Day 210- Bottomless Cup

I was on a top secret mission this afternoon.  I wanted to pull off one birthday gift that is not on Tom's list.  Furthermore, I wanted this gift to be something that he would not return.  This was a tall order.  Once I had completed my mission, I decided to take a leisurely stroll around old downtown to look at the cute shops.  Perhaps this was not the smartest idea I have ever had, as the heat index today was over 100 degrees, and I was wearing clothes for my trip to the frozen section at the grocery store. 

Parched, I was.  And sweaty.  I crawled-- ok ok, I'm being dramatic-- I walked into a darling deli that might hold the answers to all of my problems, or at least the pesky parched one.  The man behind the counter took one look at me and ended his phone call.  I'm not being dramatic with that one.  It actually happened.  I asked him for a lemonade.  He gave me a cup that was so big that I had to use two hands to really hold it, an…

Day 209- Whispers and Lies

I was couchbound in the dark for the day with a terrible headache.  I started to get bored, but I felt as if I had whacked my head on a balance beam (yes, I know that feeling all too well) every time I tried to get up to do anything.  I finally decided to turn on the tv and risk the extra pain behind my eyes in order to cure my restlessness.  That's when I found it.

Whispers and lies may seem like a silly thing to enjoy, but you have to understand that this was Whispers and Lies, the Lifetime movie.  It was so awesomely bad that it was kind of awesome.  Usually my favorite Lifetime movies involve beauty queens or cheerleaders or Texas or babysitting (or sometimes a combinations of all of the above).  While none of these things were present, Whispers and Lies had all the makings of a classic LMN movie. 

First, the star of the movie was once-popular-t.v.-actress-turned-only-relevant-now-in-People-magazine-weight-loss-articles Melissa Joan Hart.  The synopsis begins, &qu…

Day 208- Kenda

If you can make a 1 1/2 hour long talk about insurance even the slightest bit interesting, and if you can keep me awake during this talk, you just might be special.

I spent four hours at the administration office today doing all of my official paperwork and learning about all the benefit options.  Kenda was my tour guide through the insurance, benefits, and retirement portion of the day, and let me tell you, this lady has spunk!  She was a tall, thin blond who introduced herself by letting us know that if we tried to e-mail "Kendra" instead of "Kenda," it just wouldn't work.  That's not her name.  She filled the navigation through dental plans and healthcare with wacky examples about her gardening injuries and bone density.  I was thoroughly entertained.  She asked if anyone had any questions and then continued chattering away without actually taking questions.  I was amused.  Then, she answered all kinds of silly questions that she had already answered fiv…

Day 207- UMSL Tenure Committee

I was blessed to have a truly outstanding professor for my student teaching, Dr. Nancy Singer.  My first contact with her was in an advising appointment before my first semester at UMSL.  She was perfectly pleasant and helpful, and she really put many of my returning-to-school nerves at ease.

I was excited, then, to discover that she would lead my student teaching seminar and be a resource during my student teaching experience.  What a great resource she was!  She gave great advice, responded quickly to e-mail, created a schedule for our class that involved minimal trips to campus, and exercised great compassion and flexibility when I needed it after the passing of my grandpa.  She also forced me to complete pieces of my massive portfolio project throughout the semester by counting sets of standards as class grades.  She also read and edited all of the standards I didn't have to turn in for class, which I know was a lot of extra work for her.  I was so proud and relieved to get th…

Day 206- Meatfest

I admire vegetarians.  I really do.  I love and appreciate animals, and I appreciate all efforts made to give them long and happy lives.

That being said, I also love meat.  I just can't allow myself to make the connection between the animals running around and my dinner plate.

We had the ultimate meatfest tonight.  We made another trip to Bacana, a Brazilian style steakhouse.  At this fine establishment, there are men circling the restaurant with skewers of all different kinds of meat-- sirloin, garlic steak, pork, brisket, bacon wrapped chicken, sausage, and more.  There's also a fully loaded salad and side dish bar, and there are grilled bananas and pineapple.  Each table has a little card with "yes" in green on one side and "no" in red on the other.  As the men circle with their skewers, you turn the card to yes if you're looking to score some meat and no if you're full and/or taking a rest.  Our card was on yes for quite some time.

Needless to s…

Day 205- Montelle Winery

I don't usually even like wine very much, unless it is from a box.  I do not have the most sophisticated adult beverage tastes.  However, how could I resist this?

We took a winding, scenic drive out to Augusta today to the Montelle Winery.  We started with a tasting, and it turns out that there are actually quite a few wines that I like after all.  I usually go for the sweet and fruity stuff, and that's a lot harder to find in restaurant type situations.  However, today... jackpot!  I had a little something peachy, a little raspberry, a good dose of sweetness, and even a wine that tasted like Christmas.  Seriously, it had a Santa Claus on it, was named St. Wenceslaus, and tasted like the smell of Christmas.  This was confirmed by the gentleman pouring my drinks, and he said that people heat it in a crockpot around the holidays to drink and add fragrance to their houses.  Christmas in July!

After the tasting, we bought an entire case of wine between the five of us (Mom, Dad, Gran…

Day 204- Visitors

THEN:  When we were living in Seattle, our tiny 600some square foot apartment, 11 month long rainy season, and red-eye flight necessitating distance from friends and loved ones did not exactly reel in the visitors.  The beauty of the city and the fresh seafood just weren't enough of a draw. 

NOW: We live just a short flight or a long/semi-long drive away from most of our favorite people.  We live in the same time zone as a lot of family, and we're close enough to the others that they don't have to "get used to it" during a visit.  We have guest rooms and fun midwestern excursions and close proximity to a city that people seem to end up in for one business or pleasure reason or another.

WHAT THIS MEANS:  Visitors!  Tonight our second visitors of the summer arrived (the first being Miss Ashley on her way down to TX).  My parents and Grandma Katie are here to play for the weekend.  We get to play host/hostess and use some of the extra rooms that we don't have m…

Day 203- Rain

Dear Rain,

I have been looking forward to your visit for quite some time now.  I patiently waited for days as the weatherman promised your return with no results.  I watched my lawn brown and tamed my frizzy hair in the 90 (yes-- literally) percent humidity.   

At long last, we met again today.  First thing this morning, I was delighted to find you soaked into the back steps when I let General out.  You were kind enough to let up so the lawn could be mowed and some errands could be run.  When we could no longer stand the humidity, you came back to greet us on the way out of the grocery store.  I wasn't even mad.

It was good to see you again.  My lawn and I would like to thank you for your assistance and for the enchanting times we spent with one another today.  We hope see you again sometime next week!



Thank you, rain, you made my day.

Day 202- Marriage

Tom and I don’t have a song. We have a lot of songs. Our whole relationship has been full of important songs. How do I love thee, Thomas? Let me count the ways in a two-disc-twenty-song soundtrack.

Volume One: The Wonder Years
1. “The Gambler” Kenny Rogers

I’m not going to lie… it was not love at first sight. In fact, I think my sight may have been a bit too impaired for any kind of love (yours too, buddy). We met at Scorekeeper’s, a popular Michigan bar after being introduced by my dear friend Rebecca. We danced, we exchanged a few slurred words, and I went home thinking nothing of it. I’m still not sure if you chased me or if I chased you (although I’m pretty sure you were chasing me), but we both knew where to find each other that spring. Each Saturday night ended with “The Gambler” at Rick’s All American Cafe surrounded by our best friends in the happiest of moods.

2. “Anything but Mine” Kenny Chesney

Finally, after overcoming a few obstacles, we started dating. You told me that you…

Day 201- Yellow Bedding

We moved into this, our very first house, about two and a half years ago.  We had lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Seattle for a few years and then a hotel here while we were house shopping.  Most of what we owned fit into a few big suitcases.  When we walked in on our first day of home ownership... well, we found a leaky toilet and a flooded bathroom, freaked out, and wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into.  After that, we realized that we only had enough stuff to fill about one room in the house.

I was excited to have multiple bedrooms because I have always wanted to have a cute guest room of my own.  I think part of this comes from wanting to have my own place that is big enough to actually have a guest room.  Another part of it has to do with wanting guests and visitors to cook for and entertain.  I love playing hostess.  I think the last part probably has to do with my obsession with Pottery Barn catalogs/Pier 1 sales/Target wanders.

When we started to fu…

Day 200- Oberweis Lemonade

Oh, bad poetry, it's been a while...

Lemonade, My Day Was Made

It was time to get my fix
of that lemon, sugar, water mix.
As I strolled around the juicy section,
I felt a sudden love connection.

It would have been easier to rhyme
had I chosen Country Time,
but the one that looked so nice
was a big glass jar of Oberweis.

And love it was right from the start
it was just right-both sweet and tart.
Man, this stuff did quench my thirst.
I drank so much I almost burst!

Don't worry, though, I won't be sad
once all the lemonade's been had.
I'll keep on my happy face
when I turn that big ol' jar into a vase!

Thank you, Oberweis lemonade, you made my day.

Day 199- Independence Day

In the world of commercialism and in the country of the United States, we're pretty good about forgetting the true meaning of holidays.  They become about gifts or overpaid athletes or meals or tv specials (don't get me wrong, I enjoy all of these very much, but still...).  However, the beauty of the Fourth of July is that people still seem to grasp what it is about, and they celebrate accordingly.

Today in church we sang "America the Beautiful."  That was nice.
Tom and I had ribs tonight, and we have been BBQing all weekend.  That was nice too.
We heard and saw fireworks alllllll over the place.  Also nice.
We get to spend an extra day together tomorrow while Tom gets paid.  Obviously nice.
We exercise our freedoms and rights daily and are more than thankful to live in a country where we can do all of these things and realize our dreams to the fullest extent.  "Nice" just isn't enough for this one.

One 4th I remember with fondness was when Manda and I …

Day 198- S'mores

Even a cheap old grill can learn new tricks.

See Tom roast marshmallow. 

See Tom set marshmallow on fire.  Burn, marshmallow, burn!

See Jessi.  See Jessi enjoy s'more.  See Jessi's signature "Mmm, this is good.  Oh, do I have chocolate on my mouth?" move.  Messy, messy Jessi.

See General in the window.  General's eyes are green with envy.  Silly puppy.  S'mores are not for puppies.
Thank you, s'mores, you made my day.

Day 197- Fireworks

We haven't even set off any of our fireworks yet, but they are already bringing me joy.  We stopped on our way home from dinner to pick up a few things, and the first bit of amusement was that we were buying our fireworks from the same lot where we bought our Christmas tree.  Gotta love Missouri.

It was also comical to watch Tom run around the tent all excited and googly-eyed about fireworks we could only dream of in Michigan.  He was especially excited to buy some of the things that are illegal in our home mitten state, and he gleefully wandered in circles around the tent like a kid in... well... a fireworks store.

The final bit of funny came on the car ride home.  I told Tom that I was really excited that we got a bunch of those snapper things that make a popping noise when you throw them on cement.  Those are my favorite.  I also expressed disappoint, however, that they didn't seem to have another one of my childhood favorites.

"Remember those things that came in strips…

Day 196- Summery Dinner

Tonight's menu was a good one!  Our weather here has been so nice this week.  We've only been in the mid 80's, and it has actually been cooling down at night.  We have been taking advantage of this by doing some major grilling and enjoying lots of summer foods. 

Today's Specials

Chipotle Lime Chicken
Southwestern Cornbread Salad
grilled bananas
grilled pineapple

We covered all of the food groups in the most delicious and summery of ways (plus, it was pretty healthy too).  If you have never tried grilled bananas, you really should.  They're so good that it's bananas! 

Grilled Bananas Recipe

1. Cut off the ends (leaving peel intact).
2. Grill the bananas until the peels turn a darkish brown color and the insides are soft.
3. Gently slice the peel and scoop out the warm gooey goodness.
4. Eat.
5. Sigh with satisfaction.
6. Repeat steps 4-5 many, many times.

It's just as easy as that.  The salad was a whole lot more involved, but it was totally worth it.  Als…

Day 195- Store 3022

Today sort of felt like the last day of high school.  I cleaned out my locker.  I discussed my future plans and the next step in my life with all kinds of people.  I said so long for now to a lot of friends who have been important to me over the past few years.  We promised to stay in touch, and I sincerely hope that some of them really mean it.  Inevitably, I will lose touch with many friends, but I will look back on this time and these people with great fondness.

No, clearly this was not my last day of high school, but it was the end of an era.  I had my last shift ever at the Home Depot.  This was just supposed to be a silly little job while I was back in school.  Yet, on my first day, I was anxious because everyone at the store seemed to have known each other forever.  I was worried that I would never fit in and be a part of it all.  However, after a few lunch break conversations and some friendly (most the time) in house Big Ten rivalries, I was folded into the family.  I proved …