Monday, March 31, 2008

Good News!

I just saved a bunch of money....nah, just kidding!

But really, I did get good news today. I got a letter from HR telling me they are extending my contract for another year. I officially have my job back for next year, woohoo!

Update to New Nephew

Hark! He who was born a week ago has name!

Joseph Andrew is the name of my new nephew, now just over a week old. We are calling him Little Joe, or LJ, to distinguish him from his daddy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Today is my mom's birthday. I believe she said she was turning 39 :-P

Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!!

Our New Nephew

Janelle and Joe's baby boy was born Saturday, March 22nd. He is happy and healthy, weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz and 19 inches long. Apparently they are now thinking they screwed up her due date and she wasn't really due for another week or so. Everyone is doing well, although the poor baby doesn't have a name yet!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Things

I'm in the throes of a pity party today - I haven't had a day off in almost 3 weeks, I have two 12 hour days today and tomorrow, I've been working like crazy at both jobs, I'm just not where I need to be right now and I'm tired and frustrated. Since I've been focusing on the negative all day, I'm feeling negative and down, so I need to fix that. Instead of the bad things, here are a list of good things in my life:
  • Pup is healed and doing well
  • One of our players is hitting 470. That's almost 500 - that's unheard of!
  • Only two more classes to teach today
  • As of 2:45 I do not have to teach until March 31
  • I have Sun-Tues completely off. No school, no softball, nothing.
  • I have practice on Wed and Thurs, but that's it - no school!
  • I seem to have really good kids in my classes and so far things are going well
  • Ricky's car is still running. Barely, but for the moment it's ok.
  • We are (hopefully) buying Ricky's scooter over spring break
  • Friday is payday!!
  • It's not raining at the moment
  • Only 3 months left in school
  • I get the whole summer off
  • Mom has the whole summer off, too

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Food, Fear Factor Style

Today is the last day of the trimester, and my students asked if we could have a party. Sure, I said, with a devious grin. They expected food, and I delivered. What they didn't expect was for the party to have a theme of "nasty and nastier."

I stole this lesson plan from another drama teacher in the district who has used it for a while. It's a lot of fun while at the same time teaching the kids about realistic/authentic reactions, why we like them, and how to recreate them on the stage. The foods we've tried so far are
  • pickled pearl onions
  • caviar
  • liver pate
  • limburger cheese
  • anchovies
  • sardines
  • vinegar
  • clam juice
  • sauerkraut
  • dates

10 volunteers andraw the name of a food out of a hat. The only thing is, we don't tell them what it really is. One of my creative students went through and renamed all of the foods so now we're having things like sheep eyeballs and shredded monkey brains. Yum! While the kids know that's not what they're really getting, it certainly puts their imaginations to work. Once blindfolded, the kid gets his/her treat. It's a good time and the kids who are watching are having a fantastic time grossing the other kids out. In a game like this, everyone's a winner!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

But they don't go very fast!

We had our first road trip for softball this past weekend. Right after school Friday I jumped in the truck and headed from the middle school to the college campus. There were two accidents so traffic was horrid, and I was the last one there. As soon as I climbed on the bus we were off and away - 4 pm.

There were many, many problems with this bus. I can only come up with 3 nice things to say:
  1. The driver was really nice
  2. There was a bathroom
  3. It got us there and back again

And I guess those are the 3 most important things when it comes to a bus ride, but consider that Caldwell should be a 6-7 hour drive from Portland and then add to it the following facts:

  1. There were tv screens, but no way of playing any kind of shows
  2. There was no radio
  3. There was no navigational system
  4. The arms of the seats didn't go down, making sleeping very difficult
  5. Some of the reading lights wouldn't turn off, making it difficult to sleep
  6. Some of the reading lights wouldn't turn on, making it difficult to read
  7. The bus doesn't do more than 60 mph, less on uphills
  8. You have to go through mountains to get from Portland to Caldwell - i.e., lots of uphills

We arrived in Caldwell at 2 am local time, 1 am Portland time. 8.5 hours it took us, not including stops (we stopped for 20 minutes to eat and then another 5 minute potty stop). And no, there was no traffic and the weather was fine. After arriving at 2 am, we had to leave the hotel again at 7:30 for a 9 am game.

Softball wise, though, the trip went well. We won 3/4 games and came to some conclusions about lineups, players, and our team. It was a long weekend, but worthwhile.

I am happy to report that the trip home was much shorter. We made it in 7 hours, including a couple of potty stops, and I was walking in my front door at 8:30 Sunday evening.

Up next, a van trip to Canada.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On Commitment

It seems that every day our society is getting more and more selfish and worrying less and less about commitments made to friends, family, coworkers, teams, clubs, and other entities to which we may make commitments. I'm not sure people even really know what commitment means anymore. And it's happening on every level, to every degree, in every age group.

Yesterday one of my 8th graders came to me and said she was too scared to play her part in the play and she wasn't going to do it. The play is 1 week away. It is completely voluntary; kids who don't want to perform don't have to audition. She wanted desperately to play this role, she won it through our audition process and now, with 1 week to go, she says she's scared and won't do it. Thankfully I had another student who was willing to step up and take on the role with such short notice, but wow...really? You just won't. There was no remorse, and she said she's always been scared to perform and she gets nervous. knew this 3 weeks ago and you asked to be in the play anyway??

Then, not 8 hours later, one of our players informed us that she would be leaving early from a game day to head to a friend's wedding. We've known about this for a while; she's in the wedding and, at that point, had to leave our double header after the first game to get to the wedding. We said fine - what else were we going to do? Now she's concerned that she won't make it in time and will have to drive like a maniac, so she came to us and asked if we could move the game time up to give her more time to make it to the wedding. Um, no. We cannot ask another coach to change a game time so our player can get to her friend's wedding. There are too many hoops to jump through, too many people who would need to give their approval - and instead of approving it, they'd simply laugh at us and say "nice try." When we said we could not change game time she told us she would be leaving at X time, regardless of where we were at in the game.

You know, my best friend got married during softball season. I told her from the beginning that I couldn't guarantee I'd be there and to pray for rain. Luckily it did rain and I got to attend, but I never would have committed to anything more than a maybe because I'd already made a commitment to my team. I never would have dreamed of asking my coach if I could miss a game or two to attend a wedding, even if it was a family member! Family and friends know me, and they know not to try to make plans during season.

Add onto that all the stories I've been hearing lately about people falling "out of love" with their spouse and deciding it's time to move on, and I'm just sick of people. Every marriage is going to go through rough patches, but the stories I'm hearing are of people decided after just a couple of weeks that the romance is gone and they're going to move on. Huh? Two weeks? A month? Really? That's enough time for you to throw away the commitment you made and start over?

I'm coming to see that a commitment means very little to people these days. Generally, commitments come with all kinds of loopholes and exceptions, rendering them useless. We have become a horribly selfish society, and I'm not liking it at all.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meal Plan, 3/2-8

Someone said to me the other day, "Laura, why do you post your meal plan online? No one else cares what you're eating for dinner." Well, I realize she's right, but I don't do it for anyone else. I do it because 9 times out of 10 I am at work and realize I can't remember what I planned for dinner that night so I don't know if I need to stop at the store, or get takeout, or what I should be getting hungry for as the day winds down. So really, it's so that I have easy access to my own brain, because I'm no good at remembering things. I can remember the weekly lunch menu of my daycare provider from my childhood*, but I cannot for the life of me remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone what I decided Sunday we should have for dinner tonight!

  • Sunday - DIY. I had toast, Ricky had homemade nachos
  • Monday - Ravioli, pesto and chicken
  • Tuesday - Ricky says he wants to bbq. We'll see if that comes to fruition. If not, we'll have french toast.
  • Wednesday - Thai peanut chicken
  • Thursday - I have no idea
  • Friday - Something on the road, probably Subway or something equally healthy from a fast food place. We're headed to Idaho for a tournament. Yes, we are playing softball in Idaho in March, we are crazy.
  • Saturday - Ditto Friday, though we'll be eating in Caldwell, which is second in crappy restaurants only to LaGrande.

*In case you care, our lunch menu was: Mon, PB&J; Tue, Mac & Cheese; Wed, Hot Dogs; Thu, Fish Sticks (blech); Fri, Pizza. Why I still have this useless knowledge in my head I do not know.