Showing posts from October, 2010

Day 318- Bob Evans

This post is titled "Bob Evans" because I had an amazing tryst with some of Bob's food this evening, but the credit for the day really goes to my fabulous husband.  I don't want to repeat any subjects for the first 365 days here... so Tom and Bob will share some time today.

After having to pick me up last night and write my blog for me (yes, see the update on Day 317), I'm sure Tom must have been a little weary of my "Hey, I'm in college again for a night" behavior.  However, when I woke up this morning a little... ahem... under the weather, he did not show any signs of annoyance whatsoever.  Instead, he was kind to me all day long.

Tom took care of the dog all day without saying a word.  He got me water and tylenol and grilled cheese.  He tucked me in on the couch under the most comfortable blanket of all time and quietly went about his business around the house. 

I started to feel like a real person again this afternoon, and I decided that a turke…

Day 317- Girls Night Out

UPDATE:Thank you to my wonderful husband for updating the blog for me at 3 am.  I got all upset that the streak would be broken, and he came to the rescue.  Can you tell that he wrote it and not me? ;)

Tonight was girls night out and the night before Halloween.  We all dressed up as dominoes and went out in downtown St. Charles.  It was a great time.

We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and a lot of girl time.

Thank you, girls night out, you made my day.

Day 316- Engagement

another boy
another ring
another loving kind of thing

it took a while
but that's okay
because he made her smile today

another two
will become one
that wedding's sure to be so fun

good for you
you found a match
you caught yourself a perfect catch

and as for you
lovely miss j
welcome to the family!

It's only fitting that I write a terribly bad poem for the engagement of my dear friend who dragged me into a terribly bad poetry class all those years ago :). 

You two are an amazing couple, and we are over the moon for you!  From the bottom of our hearts, congratulations.  We wish you all the happiness life has to offer and can't wait to celebrate this momentous occasion in person!

Thank you, engagement, you made my day.

Day 315- "Let It Be"

I know that sometimes my extreme optimism may come off as naivety.  I get that.  People give me looks like, "Oh, isn't that sweet.  She'll learn."  Here's the thing, though.  I hope I never "learn."  I hope I don't grow out of this.  This optimism is what drives me and what I think will make me good at my job and what sends me full force forward on ideas that other people find reason after reason not to pursue.  It's easy to be negative and cynical, but it's not productive.  I believe that it is so much harder to be optimistic, even when you are given every reason not to be, but it is much more rewarding. 

I received some validation today, fuel for my fire.  I'd like to take credit for it, but I was the just facilitator.  My kids were the creators of the moment.  We are working on figurative language in poetry, which is not everyone's cup of tea. I gave them a warm-up with lines from three different Beatles songs, and they had to id…

Day 314- The Challenge:Cutthroat

Tom and I have long been followers of The Challenge on MTV.  If you've never seen it, it's not the easiest thing to explain.  Basically, though, it is a show in which former Real World and Road Rules (has that show even existed for a while?) cast members can extend their 15 minutes of fame for season after season of a physical competition program.  Each week's challenge is either extremely physically or mentally challenging... or sometimes both.  People form alliances and get voted out in all kinds of different ways.  That just depends on what the theme of the season is and what the twisted minds at MTV can think up to cause chaos with this group of twenty-somethings and thirty somethings whose only jobs seem to be to show up for The Challenge seasons every now and then.  Well, to be fair, I think they're all trying to make it in the entertainment industry... but I'm not sure that that's going so well for any of them.

Surely they all eat well and rest well and …

Day 313- Sue's Corner

I didn't totally get tonight's episode of Glee because I have never seen that Rocky Horror business.  After hearing a lot of the songs and what not, I'm not sure that I'm in a big hurry to see it anytime soon either.  My wish for Glee is that it will return to the Glee of yore with stronger plotlines and... ahem... slightly less mature content.  Does that make me sound like an old lady?  Perhaps.

I hope that doesn't sound like griping.  I have a special place in my heart (or at least in my Tuesday nights) for that show, and I will watch it until the day twenty (or ten... or five... or two) years from now when it goes off the air.  I own every Glee cd ever made, and I have seen most episodes at least twice.  As long as there are kitschy songs and dances and costumes and as long as there is Sue Sylvester, I will be a hopelessly devoted fan.  Which brings me to my next point...

I friggin LOVE Sue's Corner.  Every time.  I wish and hope each episode that we'll …

Day 312- Hurricakes

Hurricakes: Noun
Cupcakes that appear to have been overtaken by a hurricane; disastrous yet deliciousApologetic "Oops I forgot your birthday cake" desserts created by your husband even though you weren't even mad at all in the first place because he gave you a lovely birthdaySticky cupcakes with tops that fall off when frostedOrigin: Jessica F. (creator of word), Thomas F. (creator of hurricakes)

Related words:

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (noun)
Griswold family turkey (noun)

Sample Sentence: Those hurricakes weren't much to look at, but boy were they scrumptious!

Thank you, hurricakes, you made my day.

Day 311- Hedgehog

There are a number of sayings about how families run, including "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and "Happy wife, happy life!"  Things run a bit differently in our household.  If our son General (yes, I totally realize he's a dog) is happy, we're as thrilled as punch.  When we decide to start having children of our own, I'm not worried about General getting jealous.  I'm worried that the human kids will be jealous of the time and attention he demands.

In keeping with this theme, Tom bought our dog a new toy today.  Pshhh... as if he needs a new toy.  General reminds me of "Prayer of the Selfish Child" by Shel Silverstein.

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my toys to break.
So none of the other kids can use ‘em…

The kid (ok, ok, dog) has more toys than he knows what to do with.  However, don't you dare call him spoiled.  He deserves them, yes?  He&#…

Day 310- 27

"I submit that all of us are nothing more or less than the sum of who we love. It doesn’t matter whether your family is whole, divorced or divided, the only way to achieve any kind of happiness in this world is by loving a handful of people. I believe we are marked by the people who love us, whether we like it or not, for the rest of our short lives on earth."


Today is a rare occasion.  It is something so rare that it happens only once a year or so.  No, I'm not talking about my birthday.  What's even more suprising is that...

I am at a loss for words.

I'm not a huge birthday person.  I LOOOOOOVE to celebrate other people's birthdays, but I'm just not all that into my own.  My parents always make a big deal and send absolutely lovely sentiments and lots of gifts.  Tom goes out of his way to do things for me that are special.  Amanda sings me at least one silly message.  When I'm lucky (like this year), I get …

Day 309- Super Casual Friday

After spending the week in button downs and dressy dress pants and heels for more than 12 hours at a time, sweatpants were a more than welcome addition to my Friday.  Nothing says a day off like good old paint splattered, frayed, worn out sweatpants.  And a t-shirt.  And no make up.  And wild unbrushed hair.  It ain't pretty, but it sure is nice every now and then.

On Sunday when I'm scrambling to finish all the things I need to get done this weekend, I'll wish I had gotten more done today.  However, this uber casual day was blissfully lazy and an absolutely wonderful contrast to the frenzy that was this week. 

I used to really embrace the idea of work hard, play hard.  I don't play so hard anymore (which becomes obvious each time I choose takeout, sweats, and Dateline on a Friday over any other extracurricular activity), but I sure do enjoy "nap hard" when I can and "relax hard" when I should.

Thank you, Super Casual Friday, you made my day.

Day 308- Marathon

Do you ever have one of those days where you think, "If I can do this, I can do anything"?

You get to school by 7:15, organize your life, and chase kids down in the hallway before school for their missing work.  You wrangle kids through a series of activities for their first "B" (fun?) half day of the year.  You do SSR and listen to a guest speaker and attend celebrations and advance a round or two in the team building hula hoop activity with your AcLab.  You play games with your kids with no missing work at the end of the day and win (oops... is that supposed to happen?) a rousing game of chicken foot.

You have a brief lunch with your coworkers in which you finally get some medicine for that headache that has been plaguing you all morning (the one that you are too stubborn to let get the best of you during happy fun time with the kids).  Then, you are back at it again in your grade level PLC.  You get a quality test made and coded to reflect the appropriate state …

Day 307- Team 8-1/8-2 Lunch

I think it should be quite clear by now that I adore my job.  However, I also cherish my break time for lunch.  Sometimes being with other adults for a little while is just what I need... so we can act like 8th graders. 

Teaching can be an isolating profession, as I spend my day surrounded by kids who are half my age (literally).  I adore them too, but let's face it... they watch Hannah Montana and listen to Justin Beiber.  I need some time with my colleagues now and then! 

This is a long and tough week with parent teacher conferences and a 3-in-1 kind of day tomorrow that will be a bit of a frenzy.  Our students are acting the way you might expect students to act during this type of week.  I was getting a wee bit irked by the time 1 o'clock rolled around, and I was happy for a break to give myself an attitude adjustment.  We all started lunch with a little bit of venting, and then we were off.  If today's lunch was a game of Jeopardy, the categories might have gone some…

Day 306- Grandma D.

I ate an entire BBQ dinner tonight (provided by our PTO before conferences) and did not get anything on my shirt.  I didn't even have to wear my blazer that I brought just in case.  BUT... that's not even what made my day today.  It must have been an alright day.

Grandma D. is not my grandma.  She does not belong to me.  Her grandson does, though, for one hour a day.  He is truly a special kid.  As always, I don't want to say too much because I'd like to protect his privacy in case anyone is actually reading this thing.  However, if I told you what this kid has endured and the circumstances that he deals with, you wouldn't believe me anyway.  It's like that.

Despite his disabilities and disadvantages, Grandson D. has blossomed in my class.  He earned an "A" for first quarter, and I was thrilled to give it to him.  He does his work (and hands it in!  on time!), participates, listens, asks questions, and all that other good stuff.  He is an amazing arti…

Day 305- Evaluation

I handed out my first set of report cards today.  Put another milestone into the books!  I thought a lot about the grades I gave, and I asked my students to reflect on a few different things in their warm-ups at the end of the quarter.  We also looked at class averages and set goals for this quarter.  I had students write their own goals accompanied by carefully constructed responses about how they plan to reach these goals.  I am optimistic for this new quarter and hope that at least some of them will take all of this to heart and really push to do better.  However, as my Tim Gunn bobblehead so aptly says, "I can't want you (them) to succeed more than you (they) do!"  At the very least, all of this work I have put in should come in handy for parent teachers conferences this week (here's the paper where your child wrote that he should get a "C" for effort because he didn't try as hard as he could have and had some late work... busted).

I received my fir…

Day 304- Diamond Ring (and the Boy Who Goes With It)

I haven't seen it yet, but these are quite pretty.

A diamond ring (and the boy who goes with it) have made one of my friends very happy this weekend.  Her left hand is a bit heavier, and I'm sure her heart is oh so full.

I want nothing more than to see the people I love happy, and that is most certainly the case here.  Congrats, guys!  We are ecstatic for you and CANNOT WAIT to celebrate :).

And to the boy who gave the ring... nicely done.  We all know how much she loves shiny things!!

Thank you, diamond ring (and the boy who goes with it), you made my day.

Day 303- St. Louis Bread Company

You call it Panera.  Here they call it St. Louis Bread Company.  It was started in Missouri, and they want to stake their claim to the franchise, darnit.  Anyway...

Tom and I don't really celebrate cheesy Hallmark couple days (even though I'm obsessed with Hallmark).  I've always told him that I would much rather have him be nice to me on some random day because he wants to than spend lots of money on a "holiday" because he feels obligated. 

Today was a meeting of these two worlds.  I got up with the dog and poked around the kitchen, only to realize that we had forgotten to get anything to make for breakfast this morning.  Tom got up a little while later and came to the same realization.  I didn't use to be that into breakfast, but now that I make a point to eat it every day before work, it's a must.  Tom sensed right away that this was the case and started to brainstorm what we might get.  We decided on STL Bread Co., and he was off.

While Tom was gone, …

Day 302- Bad Poetry Day

Bad Poetry, Oh Noetry!

On this blog I have been known
to write a few bad poems.
So then it only makes sense
the today I did dispense
advice on how to be a terrible poet.

Sometimes to learn just what to do
they need to learn the what nots too.
I provided lots of examples,
and then they wrote me their own samples
of the most awesomely bad poems.

Last night I made some brackets,
today my students made a racket.
Bad poems yesterday they did write
and today they did recite
until there was just one winner/pair per class.

In their awfulness there was no shame,
rather a Bad Poetry Hall of Fame.
You see, the worse today was better
even for the best go-getters.
Happy Bad Poetry Day!

Students joked and laughed and played,
but then they felt oh so betrayed
when they realized "Oh, noetry
We're having fun writing poetry!"
Which they thought wasn't possible.

Hopefully when it comes to next week
they'll be much happier to speak
about all the things they feel,
though now the poem…

Day 301- Brandon*

This kid cracks me up on a daily basis.  I have him early in the morning, a time when many kids are still acting like sleepwalking zombies.  He, on the other hand, comes in ready to go and full of personality. 

This morning was a bit stressful.  There was a major issue in one of the bathrooms that resulted in the flooding of one of our main hallways downstairs and total chaos.  Luckily, my room is down a different hallway, and I did not have any of the toilet water in my area.  However, there was all kinds of drama in our downstairs common area, as many kids were trapped on one side or the other of the river flowing through the halls.  Once I saw that all of my students for that hour had made it to my classroom, I went in and shut the door.  I figured the last thing anyone needed was 25 more kids freaking out and running around the hallways in the mess.  The room was abuzz with students gossiping about what exactly had happened and trying to get to the door to pick out at all the goi…

Day 300- Warm Spiced Cider

Start with one mug of cider.
Add a loving husband.
Have loving husband add a dash of cinnamon and microwave for 45 seconds.
Cider comes out piping hot.

Warm.  Fuzzy.  (The cider is warm... I'm fuzzy.  I don't think I would drink fuzzy cider.  Then again, I love it so much that I just might.)

Mmm... it tastes like fall and heaven.  I'm not totally sure what either of those things would taste like, but this is certainly what I would imagine.

Thank you, warm spiced cider, you made my day.

Day 299- Sam and Quinn

Glee Tuesday!

Glee has been a little... ahem... mature for my taste lately.  There are many things from tonight's episode that I can't really discuss with my middle school students, and the content has gotten a bit dicey at times. 

Luckily, Sam and Quinn came to the rescue this evening with their duet of... well, "Lucky."  As Santana said, it was "So frickin' sweet."  It is refreshing to see young love depicted in a nice, innocent, slow moving kind of way. 

I hope to see Sue Sylvester and Puck back next week!

Thank you, Sam and Quinn, you made my day.

Day 298- Dettlings

Do I really need to explain why this made my day?  Okay, okay.  I'll give you one word.

Dear Diane and Dan,
You rule.  Your silly pictures brought back lots of fond memories of football Saturdays (pot roast sandwich!!) and Drinks on the Links and Euchre tournaments.  You make me smile :).  I hope that one day we will live in the same place again or that we will make enough money to fly to the same places frequently.  We miss you!  XOXO.
Jessi (Rainbo) 
P.S. I didn't forget you, Buddy.  You're my favorite.  Shh... don't tell your parents.
Thank you, Dettlings, you made my day.

Day 297- Fall Break

Fall Break is a beautiful thing.  This break came at such a good time for me.  Last week, I finished the first quarter of this first year of teaching.  I made it!!  More than that, I loved it.  Sure, I had a few stressful days here and there, and I am already learning from mistakes I have made, but I am still as happy to be doing this job as I was in August.  Score!

As a reward for all of our hard work, teachers and students all got this past week off.  This was my first experience having an actual fall break, and I took advantage of every minute of it :).

watched a friend's band play.  I'm the newest Torn fan!spent two days doing whatever I wanted (which turned out to be a little bit of something and a whole lot of nothing)had a little CGR time with Tom (you know-- church, Gingham's, relaxation).slept in-- until 8 sometimes :)cleaned my house... including a deep cleaning of all the bathrooms.caught up on laundry.  And my DVR.  These were both quite exciting.cooked lot…

Day 296- Michigan Football

Michigan football is more than just football to me. 

Today I will get together with family and friends and relive more than twenty years of shiny, sparkly memories.  We will eat, drink, dance, cheer, and be merry.  We'll laugh and high five and simply enjoy the fact that we are in the same place at the same time.

There are many times in life, I must admit, when I wish I was somewhere else.  I want to be on a beach or reunited with my family and buddies or at home with my dog and my husband.  I daydream sometimes about what I would be doing if I could be doing anything I want.

These daydreams often lead me to the Big House on a cool fall day.  I'm sitting or standing in my seat just before a game begins, with Tom on one side of me and my parents on the other.  I feel little wolverines dancing around in my stomach, as if I will be the one running out onto the field.  The anticipation is almost more than I can bear.  It is magnified once the music is pumped into the stadium and …

Day 295- Afternoon with Grandma

I feel about afternoons with my Grandma Katie the way Mitch Albom felt about his Tuesdays with Morrie.  She's the kind of person that I like to call an inside out person.  She is equally as stunningly beautiful no matter which way you turn her, inside or out.  I'll have to tell you even more about her one of these days.

I could sit and listen to my grandma tell stories all day.  In fact, today I got to do just that.  We started with a lovely lunch at the Beach Bar.  I got the tomato soup that I dream about on a monthly basis (and can now actually make at home), and she got the crab bisque that makes her drool.  We chatted about Grandpa and my teaching and, of course, many of her entertaining stories from the past.

After lunch, we headed out to Flavor Fruit Farms.  The drive from point A to point B was nothing short of spectacular.  I remembered a conversation I once had in Seattle with some coworkers.  Our friend who had lived in Washington her whole life was talking about how…

Day 294- Bruno Mars

Every now and then, I hear a song so sweet that it makes me sigh softly and wish that it was written for me.  How do you like that alliteration?  (Sorry... English teacher... can't help myself).  Anyway, the song that has been melting me lately is "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars.  It is uptempo enough that it's not completely sappy, but the lyrics are just incredibly nice and thoughtful. 

Tom and I made another one of our long journeys back to The Mitten today.  This is another one of the perks of my fall break, as we will be taking in the UM/MSU football game with family and friends on Saturday.  AND I AM SO FREAKIN' EXCITED!!  DID I MENTION I AM EXCITED? In an of itself, the drive is not necessarily part of what I'm calling a perk.  However, Bruno Mars and his wonderful song made the long drive (which was even longer today due to a massive tree planting session in Indy, mind you) much more enjoyable.  I chased the song around the radio, trying to find …

Day 293- iPhone

After almost five years together, my Zack Morris phone and I finally had to part ways. 

It was a not so little pink flip phone that served its purpose and served it sort of well.  One fateful afternoon last week, I was carrying it to my classroom on my laptop after a meeting, and it slid off the computer and onto the floor.  Oh, the horror!

I had been resisting getting a new phone for a long time.  I was and still am scared about what one of these new smart phones might mean.  I don't want to be "that girl" who is constantly pulling the phone out to do all of the stuff that these phones can do.  I'm still not even totally sure what exactly this phone can do.  I think it might be able to launch a spaceship and operate a microwave remotely... or something like that.

My new iPhone came in on Monday, and Tom was more excited than I was.  Again, I am a little scared of the implications of this little machine.  However, today I finally allowed myself to be "that girl…

Day 292- Grilled Cheesus

It all started when Finn made himself a grilled cheese on his George Foreman.  Coincidentally, I had a grilled cheese for dinner tonight too, and it was quite tasty, but that's neither here nor there.  Anyway... Finn burned the grilled cheese and thought he saw the image of Jesus on the bread... hence Grilled Cheesus. 

This set off a sequence of events for Finn and the rest of the cast of Glee centered on the idea of religion.  The episode tackled all kinds of different ideas about faith and God and spirituality and really dug down into different perspectives.  It was a brave and interesting thing to see on secular television!

This episode also featured a number of instant classic songs that I can't wait to sing along to in the car.  I absolutely loved "Only the Good Die Young," "Papa, Can You Hear Me," "What if God Was One of Us," and "Losing My Religion."  Through the Mercedes gospel version, I fell in totally in love with "Bridg…

Day 291- Mini Thanksgiving Dinner

Here's another one to add to the list of the million things I absolutely adore about fall.  All summer we try to eat relatively healthy and to grill and to stuff ourselves with lots of fresh foods.  That's wonderful.

Many of my favorite meals are a little heartier, though.  In the fall, we transition into full on hibernation mode, and it becomes increasingly acceptable to eat things that are saucy and cheesy and rich.  Oh yeah... that's the good stuff.

Tonight's menu was one of my favorites, and it was made possible by fall.  We had a little something we like to call mini Thanksgiving.  The main and side dishes in mini Thanksgiving change from time to time, but they're always... well, Thanksgiving related.  Here are tonight's specials:

cranberry pork chops
green bean casserole
smashed sweet potatoes (I'm just now trying to perfect this recipe)
peach cobbler ala mode

Buh-bye swimsuit season!  Hellooooooo hibernation fifteen.  Look, even the ghost is …

Day 290- Fall Bin

The orange bin sits patiently in the basement for much of the year waiting to be discovered.  Once fall rolls around, it seems to glow, the magic inside radiating out.

I opened it today, in the midst of football games and a pumpkin latte.  I've been waiting for this all year.  The 60-degree weather and the October page of the refrigerator calendar were no longer whispering-- but shouting-- it's time!

As soon as I opened it, I inhaled deeply.  The sweet and spicy pumpkin smells were released, and it was only a matter of minutes before they conquered  this house in the name of fall.  The spiderweb tablecloth, jack o'lantern doormat, and little wooden dracula spoke of fun days to come.  The candles and the leaf dishes filled with potpourri rounded out the aromas and the decor. 

I try not to let myself get too wrapped up in things, but oh how I enjoy my fall things!!  I sat in the middle of them all for much of the afternoon.  The candles were all lit, and Dracula and I share…

Day 289- YGOD

The doorbell rang this afternoon.  We were kind of scared.  When the doorbell rings, here's what usually happens.  I send Tom to the door.  I'm not sure why he always goes... I think this is partly because I often stay in the living room to hold back the dog.  This may also be due in part to the fact that I will stand and make listening noises for as long as someone wants to talk to me, and this has led me into many long, undesirable conversations at the door.

It's really the lesser of two evils, though.  If Tom is the one at the door, he will buy something.  It doesn't matter what it is, and it doesn't usually take very long to convince him.  I hear a bit of chatter, he goes for the wallet, and then he comes back sheepishly with his newest coupon book/cookies/random cheap fundraising item.  His "best" purchase was a cookbook that we later discovered was filled with VEGAN ONLY recipes.  Have you met me?  We got rid of it.

It was a whole different story th…

Day 288- First Hour

Today was officially the last day of first quarter, and my first hour still offically thinks I'm insane.  I am chipper and full of personality at 8 o'clock when we begin every day.  They are not.  I dance around and entertain and do everything I can to draw them out and get them involved.  They look at me.  Seriously.  It's like a staring contest sometimes.

I'm not sure that it's even because it's first hour.  This is one of my laziest classes and is full of a whole bunch of kids who just don't care a whole lot or try a whole lot.  They're too cool for school.  The difficult thing is that each and every one of my lessons is tried out on them first, but it is often not until second hour that I truly get to see how the lessons will work and how the day will go.

All of my late work was due by the end of the day yesterday, and I wondered what in the world I would do with all of my kids today.  They were having parties in a bunch of their classes, but I real…