Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 257- Toys!

This iz GenRal.  Mom seid I could writ on the blogg for a minut.  I luv toys!  I have ducks, chrismases things, rope, alkehol, bones, soccur ball, and stuff.  Im spoiled.  I lik when they chew and squeek.  Mom is werking on my spelling.


General's father has been gone this week, and his mother is a workaholic.  Even though she feels guilty for leaving him alone all day, she has a lot of stuff to do and wants to stay completely up to date before progress reports are due at the end of the week.  General is mildly disappointed to spend more time alone than usual, and he misses running his dad around the neighborhood.  It's not quite the same with Mom because she walks and doesn't let him pee on the neighbor's mailbox.

The good news is that General is an imaginative pup, and he can entertain himself for hours.  His mother, ridden with guilt at her increased absence from the home this week while Father was gone, was ecstatic to find when she got home that he seemed to have had a good day.  How did she know?  The proof is in the picture.

   
His toys are usually kept in a little basket near the tv cabinet.  When Mom got home, they were scattered all around Puppy on the floor.  All of them.  The basket was empty, save for a bone and a tennis ball.  Mom chuckled to herself and was relieved to find that Puppy was not mad at her.  Rather, he had partaken in one of his most favorite of all activities (licking himself, eating, and running in circles round out the list)-- the toy relay!  Mom and Dad named this game after they saw him play it a few times.  It involves poking his nose through the basket, selecting a toy, dragging it out and playing with it, and then dropping it somewhere in the middle of the floor.  This step is repeated until all (or at least the majority) of the toys are out and ready.  Then, he runs from one toy to the next, playing for a short period of time at each stop.  Toy relay!

Thank you, toys!, you made my day.

P.S. I'm pretty sure you made puppy's day too.  Well, you and his bed.  It was dragged out into the middle of the living room again.  I think he had some "fun" with it, if you know what I mean.  Yeah you do!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 256- Finish Line

I have finally just reached the finish line of a marathon grading session.  I think I've done enough writing for the day :).  Ahhh... time for my pillow!!





Thank you, finish line, you made my day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 255- Quiet Moments

I'm not usually one for quiet time.  Shocking, I know.  I'm either chatting with someone about something, talking at someone with glazed over eyes, or sleeping.  In order to share silence with someone, I must be incredibly comfortable.  It is rare.

I also tell everyone everything.  This probably comes from that talking thing.  I wear my heart and my mind on my sleeve and my blog.  When something or someone is wonderful, I want to shout it to the world.  When I want to speak my mind, I usually do.  That's just the way it works.

I shared some special moments with a special someone today.  Quiet moments.  That's all I have to say about that.

It's rare to have something so special and special to have something so rare.

Thank you, quiet moments, you made my day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 254- DVR

Dear DVR,

Thank you for collecting the things I like and for storing them in a little box.  It's very kind of you to look out for me in this way.  While I know I could do better things than watch television, your assistance in my mindless entertainment really means the world to me.

I also wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your support of my laziness today.  I have been so insanely busy these past few weeks, and you understand.  You understand that I don't always have time to hang out with you, but you find all my favorite shows and record them anyway.  You let me save time and blow by commercials.  You don't judge me when I sit on the couch with you all day.  Rather, you simply cue up my shows and provide me with entertainment for as long as I need.  When I fall asleep on the couch, you let me rewind and start over without complaint.  You allowed me a simple sense of accomplishment today when I worked through your shows and increased your storage space from 44% to 60% free.  You'd never let anyone call this a wasted day-- I worked hard.

In closing, I'd just like to thank you for giving me create-your-own-marathon capabilities.  I can record 39 episodes of Law & Order: SVU or a Lifetime and LMN movie at the same time... two troubled teen movies in a row... woo hoo!!  You will allow me to watch Emmy red carpet coverage from multiple networks tomorrow.  What a dream!  And, of course, you'll have the fashion police ready and waiting on Monday.  It's just so nice to be understood.

XOXO,

Your (not so) Secret Admirer

Thank you, DVR, you made my day.

Day 253- Picture Day

"Sit up straight and smile big, honey!"

With that, my day was off and away.  The photographer let me see my picture right away and asked me if it I liked it or if I'd like to try again.  I assured her that it was probably the best we would get, waited for my ID to print (the key to many teacher clothing discounts!), and carried on my merry way.

I will be forever immortalized in this year's yearbook just the way I am... a few drops of awkward with a touch of twinkle in the eye.  As cheesy as it sounds, the whole thing just made me think about how I am in a job where how I look in this photo is probably about the least significant thing.  Sure, I still fuss over what I want to wear in the morning, and I still brush my hair (most days, not all).  However, I don't keep a mirror in my classroom, and none of that ends up really mattering anyway once my students and I are working to achieve something together. 

I try to live each and every day inside out.

When students look at that picture smiling back at them from the yearbook, me with my classic someone-hit-her-in-the-head-but-she's-still-grinning-like-a-fool look, I hope that they will remember all of the days they spent in my room with me smiling back at them.  I hope it will trigger memories of a place they could go every day to escape some of the turbulence of adolescence, a place where someone liked them and made them feel safe and taught them a thing or two.  I hope they'll remember encouraging words and fist bumps/high fives/whatever it was that I was "giving away for free" on their way out the door.  And yes, of course, I hope they'll remember how to read and write and think for themselves and that they will thank me in their acceptance speeches.

It is so nice to be in a job where I am valued just for being myself and sharing what I've got... even if what I've got shows up a little funny in a photo.

Thank you, picture day, you made my day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 252- 4th Hour

My 4th hour is not a gifted class.  They are a chatty class full of kids with tons of personality.  They definitely have that going for them, bless their hearts.  However, they do not seem to be the hardest workers.  They try to ask questions to delay getting to the real work (unsuccessfully, I might add).  I repeat directions for them many times and make sure to give them a lot of extra attention when they're working independently.  They keep me on my feet and bustling around at all times. 

I have been collecting and grading a bunch of work and homework over the past couple of days.  I've been disappointed with the quality of work turned in by many of my students thus far, and I had to have a chat with all of my classes today about my expectations.  I let them know (firmly but kindly, of course) that I would not lower my expectations to the level of their work.  Rather, they are bright young students who will need to raise their work to meet my expectations.  It was exhausting to spend the day being so firm and all business, but I know that it was necessary.  It is for their own good.  Really. 

I brought home more papers to grade tonight, and I was bracing myself.  I know that I have a great deal of work to do this year to prepare these students for high school, both with their language skills and in many areas that reach far beyond basic classroom "stuff."  I know that this will not always come naturally and that it will not happen all at once and that we are just at the beginning.  I have so many opportunities with these kids!

I must say, though, that I was really pleasantly surprised with my 4th hour.  While they may not be nearly as gifted as some of my other classes, their work as a whole was head and shoulders above most of the rest of my classes.  It was done neatly and completely.  They all wrote their names on their papers (I know that this may seem like a small thing, but it isn't, and I take my victories where I can find them).  They tried each exercise and handed in their best work.  They have a long way to go this year, but I'm excited to see what we'll be able to accomplish together if they keep this up.  I'm a proud teacher tonight. 

Thank you, 4th hour, you made my day. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 251- Anna**

Let me tell you something now
and let me tell you sweetly
That one of the sweetest gifts at school is when
a paper's turned in neatly... and done completely.

Many papers I saw today
I must admit were lacking
With all they lacked, I wondered
 are they really trying or are they slacking?

In each class, thank goodness,
there's at least one bright spot
A bright student with good habits
who gives it all she's (he's) got.

Today that kid was "Anna,"
who hands beautiful work in.
She beautifully finishes when I finish
and begins when I begin.

She talks when I want talking
and respects all of her peers.
She keeps her lips zipped when it's quiet time
and smiles from ear to ear.

Beyond all of these wonderful things, all there's really left to say
is thank you...

Thank you, Anna, you made my day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 250- Observation

My principal and department head observed me teaching for the first time today.  A coworker asked me if I was nervous when they showed up and snuck into the back of my classroom.  I can honestly say that I wasn't.  As cheesy as it sounds, I was excited to have them see me in action.  If I was doing well, it would be nice to hear that from someone else.  If there were things I could be doing better, it would be great to get that kind of feedback too.  Either way, I could work on becoming a better and more confident teacher.

I was absolutely delighted to receive an e-mail detailing what a positive experience this observation was.  I am lucky to have fabulous students, and I just want to do right by them.  It is wonderful to hear that I am on the right track and that my administration agrees with me that I am in the right place. 

I have heard the same piece of career advice many times and from many different mouths.  Find something you love to do, something that you'd do for free, and then figure out how to get someone to pay you to do it.  Done.  Teachers come almost free anyway!

Thank you, observation, you made my day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 249- Miss Universe Pageant

Heavily made up women prancing around in bikinis and stilettos are against many of the things I stand for, but I just can't help it.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a fascination with beauty pageants.  It's time for me to take a turn at a game I played with my students recently. 

Two Truths and a Lie... can you guess which is which?  Yes, probably.

I spent (wasted?) two hours of my life today completely caught up in the Miss Universe Pageant.
I'll never watch another pageant again.
I have perfected my own pageant wave.

The stunning Miss Mexico was crowned the 2010 queen.  While she was not from the "beautiful island paradise of Puerto Ricoooooooo" (inside family joke), she was spectacular looking and one of my favorites from the beginning.    I'm not exactly sure what she'll do for the next year, but I know where I'll be sitting a year from today, anxiously awaiting the next round.

Thank you, Miss Universe Pageant, you made my day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 248- Baby Bailey

After a fun-filled weekend with my girls, I was absolutely exhausted.  I couldn't wait to take a nap on the plane ride home.  I settled into my window seat, ready for some excellent open-mouthed sleep.  Then, it happened.  A woman with a baby stopped at my row.  "Is this seat taken," she asked, pointing at the seat next to me.  No, no it wasn't.  Uh oh.

The little girl was screaming already, and I was asking myself how I always seemed to get stuck next to the talkers, the screamers, and the stinkers.  However, I took one look at the poor mom's frazzled face and realized that I needed an attitude adjustment.  I could see that she had brought snacks and toys and everything she could think of to make it easier.  The little 14-month-old girl had her own backpack full of stuff, for heaven's sake.  As I chatted with the woman, I discovered that she was on her second of three flights for the day, and she was fully aware that she was an undesirable seatmate.  Bailey, her daughter, was teething and needed a nap.  She also explained that the little girl had recently learned how to walk/run quickly and did not want to be in a seat.

I hope to be a mother someday, and I know that we live states away from all of our family and many of our friends.  I'm sure that I will be taking flights with little ones in the future, and I can only hope to rely on the kindness of strangers instead of dirty looks and loud, rude comments about a situation that I am trying my best to take care of.

Bailey Jean and I were fast friends.  She really wanted to give me her snack and sippy cup, and she really wanted my cup of ice water.  We compromised.  I drank the water and let her take the ice, which she immediately put on her sore gums.  Smart kid.  I pretended to answer a call on her cell phone, and she was delighted.  I wonder if she knows that it is just a toy but thinks that I was fooled... maybe she was laughing at me, not with me.  In any case, this stopped the screaming for a while.  She also took an interest in my tray table when I put it down, and she pushed it back up with her little hand.  We played this up and down game about fifty times.  Again, the tantrums were put on hold. 

I totally understand not wanting to be cooped up on an airplane all day.  I'd rather run around and eat all the snacks I want and take a nap too.  That Bailey sure kept me busy and entertained, and I think we were both better for it!  I'm sure I'll get some quality open-mouthed sleeping in tonight.

Thank you, Baby Bailey, you made my day.

Day 247- Arbor Girls Reunion

My Arbor ladies are three of my most favorite people in the whole world.  We had so much fun being reunited today... so much fun.  In fact, because of this fun, I feel that the most appropriate thing to do at this point in time is to end the blog here.

I was promised a dance party. 



Thank you, Arbor Girls Reunion, you made my day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 246- Cathy

"Are you ready for your fun weekend," asked Cathy.
"Yes!  Yes!  I'm excited."
"Are you leaving straight from school?"
"No, I have to go to a doctor's appointment after school to have my tb test read for my health form.  Then, I'll stop at home for a minute to pick up my stuff.  It's going to be crazy."
"Why don't you just have the nurse upstairs read it?  She can do that."
"Really?  Really?  Awesome."

And with that, I gained an extra hour I didn't think I would have, I get to spend some extra time with my boys, and my stress level is no longer at a code orange.  Oh... and I found out I don't have tb... woo hoo!  I'm off to Kansas City to reunite with my girls :).

Thank you, Cathy, you made my day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 245- Packed Suitcase

When I went to Hallmark this evening, I bought the cards I needed, paid, and left.  That's how exhausted I was after a long, fulfilling day at work.  I was tired just thinking about all of the things I had to do when I got home.

The outstanding news is that I had a million things to do because I will be gone all weekend... in KC... with my Arbor girls... woo hoo :).  My packed suitcase means:

1. I don't have to pack in a rush in the 20 minutes I have at home after my appointment (after school) and before I have to leave for the airport.

2. I am less than 24 hrs from "reunited and it feels so good."

3. I tamed my chronic overpacking tendencies and squeezed everything into our smallest bag.

4. After seemingly devoting my whole life to my job (which I LOVE, by the way) for the past few weeks, I am forcing myself to take some time off for some good old-fashioned fun with my ladies.

5.  Did I mention that I am less than 24 hours from our roomie reunion?!?!?!

Thank you, packed suitcase, you made my day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 244- Lead Singer Guy from Switchfoot

Oooh I am lucky.  I have lots of things to choose from today.  Tom is home-- yay!  I got to see the Goo Goo Dolls in concert tonight-- yay!  My boy Johnny is as cool as ever, and he is an incredible musician.  I had a great day at school-- yay!  All of these things are absolutely wonderful and made for a happy me.

When we got to the Goo Goo Dolls concert, I just wanted them to come out and play right away.  Tom and I have both been insanely busy this week, and we were hoping for a nice, long Dolls set followed by a good night's sleep.  When we found out that there was not one-- but two!-- opening acts, we saw our dreams of an early bedtime slipping away. 

The second opening act was a band called Switchfoot.  I recognized a few of their songs and realized that they've had a few hits over the past year or two.  While we found the music to be semi-entertaining, we found the lead singer to be incredibly entertaining.  He jumped off of the stage and ran around the crowd singing and taking pictures with people all the way along.  He jumped up into the cheap seats on both sides of the arena and literally touched tons of people in the audience.  It was really cool. 

I pictured him back in high school, when being part of a band that played big shows with the Goo Goo Dolls was just a dream.  I thought of him talking about what he'd like his band to be like and how he'd go out in the crowd and interact with the fans and give people a show.  All those cool things that he may have daydreamed about once were all the things he did tonight.  What a cool dude.

Thank you, lead singer guy from Switchfoot, you made my day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 243- Driveway/Runway

Tom usually gets the mail.  He likes doing it, and it is a part of his routine, so I have to leave it alone.  Otherwise, he finds himself standing at an empty mailbox scratching his head and acting all confused.  He's been out of town this week, though, which means I get the excitement of the mail. 

I'm not being sarcastic.  I thoroughly enjoy getting the mail too.

I had a marathon day, with school all day and a parent open house tonight that took me back to school for a few more hours.  I came home in between to eat and let poor General out... and, of course... to get the mail.  Since I met a bunch of parents today, I debuted a lovely new black dress.  My feet are still rebelling against anything that is not flip flops, and I tend to agree with them.  We compromised on some decent looking black wedge heels and added a bracelet and a necklace to complete the look.  Why is this important?

Well, thanks for asking.  This is the outfit that walked me down the runway to the mailbox.  Twice.  I totally rocked it.  My husband wasn't around to appreciate how fabulous I was today, but hopefully someone somewhere in the neighborhood enjoyed the look.  If our neighbors keep tabs on us the way we keep tabs on them, I'm pretty sure my runway walk was not wasted on them.  Even if no one was paying attention, I got in a good minute of supermodel time for myself on each walk.  Very satisfying.

Thank you, driveway/runway, you made my day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 242- Keith Morrison

A love letter... rough draft style



Dear Keith,

I was so excited when I found out that there would be a bonus Dateline NBC on tonight.  I sat down to frost a couple dozen cupcakes and watch my stories, and I was saddened to see that my bonus show was about a case I had already seen covered.  I almost changed the channel, but then I heard your voice. 

I love you.  Too soon?  I love your voice, Keith.  I could listen to you narrate just about anything.  If you read books on tape, I would buy them all and drive to the ends of earth just to spend more time in the car listening to you.  I love how you somehow end up posing beside a tree in each episode of Dateline, your leather jacket casually tossed over one shoulder.  I love how even though you cover horrible people doing horrible things, you make my stories interesting, and you are the bright shining spot of each episode.  I like how you cover all sides of an issue, but you send me little secret messages with your tone of voice so that I know what the truth is and what I should believe.  I love how you wear blazers with jeans... you're so professional but so casually cool at the same time.

You are hypnotizing, arresting, slightly creepy, and enthralling.  You can tell me any story any day.  I made my husband promise that if he ever decides to buy extra life insurance for me and then push me over the edge of a cruise ship/poison me with anti-freeze/knife me that he will get you to narrate my story, the investigation, and his trial. 

Oh Keith, you crazy Canadian, just keep talking...

XOXO,

Jessi

Thank you, Keith Morrison, you made my day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 241- Matisyahu

I found a new favorite American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician.  His name is Matthew Paul Miller, but he goes by the Hebrew name Matisyahu.  Yes, he beats out all of the other American Hasidic Jewish reggae musicians in the world to be my favorite.  That's big stuff.

The actual music that he makes is outstanding.  It's hard to describe the blend because there are so many different things going on to make it unique and wonderful.  Wikipedia calls it "the contemporary styles of rap, beatboxing, and hip-hop in general, with the more traditional vocal disciplines of jazz's scat singing and Judaism's hazzan style of songful prayer—more often than not all rolled into a dominant background of reggae music."  Hmm.  Yeah.  I don't know what it is, but I like it.  It's as simple as that.

I'm also a sucker for some good lyrics, and the lyrics to this strange yet awesome mishmash of styles are meaninful and inspirational.  They read like poetry.

One Day

sometimes I lay
under the moon
and thank God I'm breathing
then I pray
don't take me soon
cause I am here for a reason

sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around
because

all my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we don't wanna fight no more
there'll be no more wars
and our children will play

one day

it's not about
win or lose
we all lose
when they feed on the souls of the innocent
blood drenched pavement
keep on moving though the waters stay raging
in this maze you can lose your way (your way)
it might drive you crazy but don't let it faze you no way (no way)

one day this all will change
treat people the same
stop with the violence
down with the hate
one day we'll all be free
and proud to be
under the same sun
singing songs of freedom like


one day



Listen to it here!
Thank you, Matisyahu, you made my day.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 240- Homemade Donut Holes

biscuit dough + hands rolling with love + hot oil + assorted sugars and cinnamon =


Saturday morning breakfast balls of heaven

Thank you, homemade donut holes, you made my day.

Day 239- Fratteli's

After an extremely fun and exhausting week, I wanted a lovely dinner with my husband and the subsequent food coma that went with it on the couch.  Someone must have waved a magic Ferri wand because I got my wish :).

Tom and I had a tasty dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Italian place, Fratteli's.  He got the ravioli with extra large meatballs.  It was so plentiful and delicious that he sheepishly admitted halfway through the meal, "Wow, I think one ball is enough.  I'm going to have leftovers!"  I, of course, had the roasted chicken canneloni.  I always think that I should try something else, but this stuff is so rich and wonderful that I can't bring myself to order anything else.  The canneloni are topped with both red and white sauce, and there's always enough of this creamy goodness left for me to circle the plate a few times with a piece of bread (and a few inappropriate finger swipes, perhaps).

I just woke up from my food coma induced couch nap, and it was a great pregame for some sweet dreams.  And I'm off...

Thank you, Fratteli's, you made my day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 238- Phil*

I made up a game to play with my classes that I was all kinds of proud of today.  It was kind of like a human version of mouse trap, with each student triggering the next one into action all around the room.  Every single student in every single class participated, and they all survived.  I got them to read poetry and shout out rules and look things up in books and figure out where everything was in the room.  What's more, they were attentive, the volume level was low, and they actually enjoyed themselves.  Yesterday, I promised each of them at least thirty seconds of fun in Comm. Arts this year, and many of them shared with me that they got their thirty seconds in today.  To this I replied, "Wow, you got your thirty seconds already?  I may be able to deliver you double the fun then!  Let's try for a minute."  I sure do hope I can come through on this promise.

The best part-- well, the second best part because this post is titled "Phil" after all-- was that they totally got it.  When I asked them why we had played the game, they talked about following directions and learning and working together and participating and all of the things I had hoped for but didn't think they would actually deliver back to me.  I got my gift, and it was even tied up with a bow.

Phil was the bow.  I thought the game would make my day, and it did, but Phil was even more delightful.  This kid has enough personality and spunk to fill ("Phil"?) five kids.  He is my 100% guarantee that I will not have a boring day this year.  He is a Dennis the Menace type boy with a twinkle in his eye and a string of witty remarks waiting in line to come out.  With this type of kid, I feel as if a teacher could go either way.  I could definitely see how someone might be a bit annoyed by his constant posing, face making, and joke cracking for attention.  However, I'm too amused to be annoyed.  Instead, he is like the class mascot, and we reference him occasionally as if he is another resource in the classroom.  He loves this, of course.  His real name (no, it's not Phil... did you notice the *) makes his whole schtick even more comical.  I do hope his parents come to Open House next week because I'd loved to see where this guy comes from.  I hope when he is on SNL someday that he will remember our class and get us some tickets.

Thank you, Phil*, you made my day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 237- First Day of the Rest of My Life

I've had a lot of "first day of the rest of my life"s.  Today was another one for the recordbooks, as it was my very first day with my very own students and my very own classroom.  They're mine... all mine!

I had a really great day.

My lessons went well.  I'm pretty sure that my first hour was a bit too tired for my perkiness and that they may think I'm crazy.  I'm totally okay with that.  It happens.  Plus, I am kind of crazy.  All in all, I had heard that we have a wonderful group of kids coming through this year, and I believe it.  I'm sure that a few times a few of them will be less than wonderful, but I'm okay with that too.  It's all part of the experience.

I thoroughly enjoy my coworkers.  I feel as if I have known many of them for years already, and I really think that I belong to this crazy, quirky, fun group of people.  They have showered me with multiple welcome bags of goodies and supplies, answered my many questions, helped me figure out how everything works, stopped by my room to say hi, and been more welcoming and loving than I could have ever expected them to be.  People stopped by all morning to wish me luck and checked in all day.  At the end of the day, one of the other eighth grade teachers came into my room on his way out to let me know that he was happy that I was there and that he was excited to have someone like me around.  How awesome is that?  I was touched.  The feeling is mutual.  These people rock.

My family and friends remind me over and over again how wonderful they are too.  I have received countless messages, e-mails, notes, and best wishes.  I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am and by the number of incredible people that I am lucky enough to get to call my friends and family.  I hold their words close to my heart and carry them with me all day.

Finally, my husband is one hell of a guy.  He sent me a cute boquet today (thanks, Dad, for teaching him how to be a teacher's husband) and left me a card in my lunch.  He helped with dinner, asked about my day, and let me bounce ideas off him for all the things I want to do in the next few weeks.  He is such a trooper, and I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am to have him as my partner-in-crime.

To say that my cup runneth over would be an understatement.  I'm trying to fit a 2-liter worth of blessings into a shot glass.  Sometimes when Tom and I are at the mall/movies/a restaurant, he rolls his eyes and scoffs at the tweens, and I say, "Welcome to my world.  Welcome to the rest of my life."  Today I say welcome to the rest of your life, Jess, you lucky, lucky Bulldog (our mascot, of course).

Thank you, first day of the rest of my life, you made my day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 236- Julie P.

In some ways, it feels like the night before my wedding.  The stressful stuff is behind me... the planning, the decision making, the whole finding the right one for me thing.  When I woke up on my wedding day, I wasn't nervous or scared or stressed.  Sure, I felt a few little butterflies, but that was not the feeling that took over me.  On my wedding day, I was pure excitement and happiness. 

I've put in the work for this whole teaching business.  I've planned and organized and decorated and spent countless extra hours in my room.  Much like my wedding, the planning has really been taking place my whole life.  The only thing that was stressing me out today was that two of my classes were not showing up at all in the new gradebook program.  I had no rosters and no idea whatsoever how many kids I had in my third hour or my ac lab.  This led me to wonder how I would take attendance and get organized and make it through the first class with these mystery students.

I expressed this concern in a meeting this morning with my mentor/department head, Julie.  Within ten minutes of the conclusion of our meeting, I was holding the two missing rosters in my hands.  That's how Julie rolls.  What a relief!

That means that I get to feel all warm and fuzzy.  Sure, I'm guessing I'll have a few butterflies.  However, the feelings that are already taking over are happiness and excitement.  I am once again experiencing the pure joy that comes from the certainty of making the right decisions for myself.  I truly hope that I can approach the next 30+ school years this way.  To be continued... :)

Thank you, Julie P., you made my day. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 235- Perro Bilingue

The saga of our "child rearing" practice continues...

It turns out that Tom and I are really great "parents."  Our dog is bilingual.  Yup, we're pretty pleased with ourselves about this one.

Our General LOVES to talk walks.  He loves them so much that sometimes he'll run into the kitchen and tug at his leash in the hopes that we will get with the program and take him out for a walk.  When Tom turns to him and says one of his most favorite phrases in the whole world, "Wanna go for a walk," he explodes with happiness.  This is funny and cute... but it can get a little out of hand at times.  If you ask that dog if he wants to go for a walk, you better mean it.

In order to avoid issues and false alarms, Tom has started spelling out the word as if we have a toddler on our hands.  He'll casually say, "I think maybe General and I will go for a W-A-L-K later."  We share a secret smile and look at our silly clueless puppy.  Well, we used to.  Then, somehow, General learned to spell.  Kids sure do grow up fast, don't they?

In order to solve our newest problem, we decided that we had to move from spelling to Spanish. 

"¿Quiere pasear?"  "¿La caminata?"   

This worked well for a few days.  However, it turns out that between our excellent parenting skills and our genius child's talent/skills, it only took General a few days to learn Spanish.  Ahhh... a curse and a blessing.  When we realized that General was now responding to Spanish as well, I almost peed my pants laughing.  We spent the rest of the night subtitling his every move in his newly learned language and chuckling at how terribly clever we are. 

Oh, and don't worry, the puppy got his walk.

Thank you, perro bilingue, you made my day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 234- Meatballs

Oooh!  Haiku!



Perfect pasta pal
Oh, great balls made out of meat
The cherry on top


All covered with cheese
On top of spaghettiiiii.... mmm
I found my meatballs


Shaped by my own hands
Baked to a perfect brown crisp
Meat art on a plate


Thank you, meatballs, you made my day.

Day 233- Chelsea Clinton

This is not about politics. 
This is not about status or celebrity.
This is not even about a Vera Wang dress (although it was stunning).

This is about the lovely Chelsea Clinton and the fact that mentioning "lovely" and "Chelsea Clinton" in the same sentence used to make people smirk.  It used to.  This is about a girl who went through the most awkward of phases coming out on the other side of things.  Score one for those of us who had braces or glasses or wore really high waisted pants or had big frizzy hair or were too skinny or too fat or too short or too tall or were told that we were too something or too everything.

I read this week's People today with a cover story about "Chelsea's Dream Wedding!"  In the article, I was reminded of Chelsea's formidable years through a series of pictures of her life.  The poor girl lived out her most awkard years in front of a merciless, looks-obsessed country.  According to the media, everything about her was wrong-- her hair, her skin, her face, her body.  Sure, she was not model material by any means, but the girl never signed up to be judged and picked apart like a piece of fried chicken at the Jackson County Fair.  She was just a girl at the most unfortunate stage of her life thrust into a national spotlight.

That Chelsea was not visible in the wedding photos.  Instead, she was replaced by a radiant, confident, powerful woman.  I couldn't get over how captivating she looked-- her own antonym.  I was impressed by how successful, independent, and well-adjusted she seems to be, despite her famous/infamous parents (depending on which side you may take).  I was impressed by the fact that she and her husband opted out of the three-ring-circus-celebrity-packed-event that they were expected to have and went with a more intimate affair, seemingly centered on a celebration of their love and commitment.  I was impressed by the acceptance and blending of faiths and families.  And yes, if I'm being honest, I was quite impressed with the Vera Wang gown.

I hope that inside Chelsea is celebrating like one of those guests on the old Jenny Jones "Look at me now!" shows.  I also hope that through all of the scrutiny about her looks, she realized that her intelligence and strength were really attractive qualities, even if no one could see them in a tabloid photo.  Her wedding spread in People was like her ten year class reunion with the media, and she came out smelling like roses and looking like a million bucks.  She gave hope to those of us who went through (or might still be in) ugly duckling phases that we can be beautiful Vera Wang clad swans someday and have dream weddings too, dangit!

Thank you, Chelsea Clinton, you made my day.    

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 232- Back to School Bash

In case I have a whole lot of fun and don't post later... (which better be the case --haha)

I'm going out with some Bwell beauties (boys banned) for a buh-bye summer Back to School Bash.  Boy oh boy I can't wait for a boisterous and bouncy bee boppin' time.  Surely this will be the highlight of my day.

Thank you, Back to School Bash, you made my day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 231- That Burning Smell in the Kitchen

That burning smell in the kitchen saved the day.
That burning smell in the kitchen alerted me when the smoke detector did not.
That burning smell in the kitchen kept a little oops from becoming a big oops.

Tom was away tonight for a work event.  I realized when I got home that I had forgotten to get out the hamburger to thaw, and I would have to wait a while to make my sloppy joes.  I made myself a little snack in the oven to hold me over, and then I went about my business.

Later, it was time for dinner.  While I was making my joes extra schloppy, I threw some sweet potato fries in the oven.  I used the same pan that I had used earlier in order to save dishes.  I ventured into the living room while everything was cooking, but I was soon bewildered by a burning smell coming from the kitchen.  I checked the joes.  They were fine.  I checked the fries.  They looked fine too.  I decided that maybe there was something stuck on the pan from earlier on that had burned a little, and I went back into the living room.

That burning smell would not give up.  "Come back," it said to me.  I explained it away.  It persisted.  I went back into the kitchen and opened the oven again, scratching my head.  Fries looked fine.  As I stood there, puzzled, it finally dawned on me.  I saw a little something beige peeking out from under th pan in the oven.


It turns out that the potholder I had used under the snack pan somehow stuck and made it into the oven under the dinner pan.  Oops.  Apparently these guys are not supposed to accidentally go in the oven.  Lesson learned.

Thank you, that burning smell in the kitchen, you made my day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 230- Omaha Steaks

"A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart."

That's true.  It's nice.  However, I believe this statement can be revised to fit me better.  For me, a true friend is someone who knows me well enough to surprise me with steak.  I adore my friend Lisa for a number of reasons, and I have outlined some of these on this very blog.  She is truly a gem.  

The most recent reason for my adoration of Miss Lisa came in the form of a box of Omaha steaks on my doorstep this afternoon.  There are bacon wrapped filets and green beans and potatoes and apple desserts.  She sent this amazing gift to congratulate me and send her best wishes for the school year.  Silly girl... doesn't she realize her friendship is the gift?  Cheesy, I know.

Don't get me wrong.  I sure do appreciate those steaks.  I can't wait to enjoy them :).  Tom thoroughly enjoyed playing with the dry ice from the shipping cooler in the sink while making spooky noises.  Everyone wins in the Ferri household.

Thank you, Omaha Steaks, you made my day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 229- Milk

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a big fan of milk.  I wish I liked it, but I just don't.  I hope one of these days I can get over that and start drinking it and grow nice strong bones.  I've heard it does a body good.  Until then, I eat as much cheese and yogurt and dairy stuff as possible and hope for the best as far as the bones are concerned.

Anyone who knows me definitely knows that I have a phobia of expired foods.  I think this can be traced back to one incident in particular.  I was sitting in my closet eating cinnamon swirl toast and playing Barbies (at a somewhat embarrassing age).  The toast tasted a little funny, but I was preoccupied.  After 1 1/2 pieces, I decided that something was definitely wrong and could not be ignored any longer.  My fears were confirmed when I actually looked at the toast and discovered mold.  I was horrified.  And there you have it... the birth story of my phobia.

When you put these two things together, there is a special place in Jessi crazy world for expired milk.  Ick.  Tom will drink the stuff until it is almost curdling and has a noticeable odor.  Barf.  I was saddened/grossed out to the core to discover expired milk in my beautiful stainless steel refrigerator this week.  This was made worse by the fact that I could not bring myself to pour it out (ohhhh the smell), so all I could do was sit and look at it and wrinkle my nose.

It was finally replaced today with a brand new milk that is more than a week from any sort of expiration situation.  I was able to eat my Cap'n Crunch with total peace of mind.  All is right in the world again.

Thank you, milk, you made my day.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 228- School Supplies

Staplers and tape and paper, oh my!
Markers for $1?  What a steal!
A fairy (Ferri) wand, oh yes!
A desk organizer?  What fun that will be!
Scissors, let's run!
Clock radio/cd player/radio?  Just dance!
An apple paper tray, I die!
A label maker?  The possibilities!
Color coded carts, roll on!
Target Target Target-- Supermarket Sweep!




I didn't take a picture, but I would imagine I looked something like this.


Ok, ok, maybe it was more like this.

                              

The exclamations are what they really should have printed on my receipt.  It's a good thing my grin is as big as the bill :).

Thank you, school supplies, you made my day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 227- Peach Wine

I have been getting a bit frustrated lately because my computer has developed a habit of spontaneously shutting down.  This often happens when I am right in the middle of doing something, and that is just no fun.  I suppose I should admit that the reason it does this is because I accidentally pushed it off the couch a few months ago, and it got a little banged up.  Oops.  The fact that this is totally and completely my fault makes the total shutdowns irk me that much more.  I might not always react in the most pleasant ways.

I have had quite a bit of practice dealing with this occurence, as the restarts are happening more and more frequently.  I finally decided I needed an attitude adjustment today.  When the computer failed me in the middle of an e-mail, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.  Instead of whining, I wined.

Yes, that's right.  I set down the computer gently.  It has been through a lot since the Humpty Dumpty incident of '10, after all.  I walked calmly to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and poured myself a glass of wine.  I'm not usually a wine drinker, but we had a delicious bottle of peach wine from our very own Augusta, MO winery in the fridge.  I poured some for Tom, we clinked our glasses, and I knocked back the smooth peach loveliness. 

I let my computer rest for the remainder of the afternoon/evening, and I am hoping for a full reconciliation tomorrow.  For now, I am using Tom's laptop and still enjoying the lingering wine buzz.  Computer shmumputer.

Thank you, peach wine, you made my day.