Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meal plan, 9/28-10/4

Sunday - Pizza from Little Caesar's at rehearsal
Monday - Tortilla soup and salad
Tuesday - Tuna Casserole and green beans
Wednesday - French toast and turkey sausage
Thursday - Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Friday - Focaccia sandwich and applesauce
Saturday - ?? I have a game, so I'm not sure yet what we'll have

I was planning on having hamburgers and tomato gravy this week, but I think I'll push it out a week.

Update on job happenings

So, I finally found my contract (it was still packed, oops!) and I spoke with my principal and vice-principal about the job situation.

Basically, at this point they have no idea how much FTE (full time employment) they have to cut. How much they have to cut with then determine who gets cut and by how much. If they only have to cut 1 or 2 FTE, they might be able to cut .2 FTE from a few people. If they have to cut 5 FTE things are going to be bad in our building.

There are four likely scenarios, with scenario 1 being the most unlikely:
1) I keep my job, unchanged
2) I get cut to half time
3) I get cut completely, but due to having seniority, am moved to another position and a less senior teacher loses his/her job
4) I lose my job completely

Obviously we aren't hoping for 4. And really, 3 isn't all that great either. I mean, sure, I'd still have my job, but I'd have to a) oust someone else and b) walk into a new school, new classroom, new kids and new subject area and pick up where someone else left off.

According to my contract, the board has to give 30 days notice to those who are being laid off. I'm going to check with my union rep to be sure I'm reading that right, that it's 30 days to the specific people being laid off, and not 30 days notice that there will be lay offs. If that's the case, and since they've said they won't be making cuts until mid October, I should have my job until at least mid November, which certainly helps.

Things in the district are not good at all. As we were talking, my principal said to me, "I feel you, I know where you're coming from. I'm not even sure if I'm going to have a job when it's all said and done."

In other news, it's supposed to be 92 tomorrow. The end of September and it's 92?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Please Pray

As some of you may have heard, either from me or the news, my district is in pretty bad shape financially. Things started coming out at the end of last school year, and it wasn't until August that the district knew just how bad things were. Our superintendent has since resigned, and we've begun to see cuts and rations within the district to save on money.

All along they've said we won't know anymore until after our first payday, when they have a chance to evaluate exactly where we're at with payroll. Well, tomorrow is payday. It is the first time in my life I've ever dreaded payday. Obviously I want my check, but it means that now the district will begin voting on where to make cuts.

They've said that they will try to make teacher cuts a last resort. They've already cut our custodial staff, and have begun to ration our copy paper. There is talk that our custodial staff may be cut back to 4 days a week, 32 hours, to save money. And then, of course, we all know that teachers could be cut.

Traditionally, cuts begin with the teachers with the smallest class sizes. That means that, should it come to teachers being cut, I am likely toward the top of that list as I know my class sizes are small. It could mean a reduction in my job, from .83 to .5 or something. Or it could mean a loss in job all together.

At any rate, we won't know anything until mid October at the earliest. I'm trying hard not to worry about it. There isn't much I can do to change what's going to happen, and financially we'll be fine since I can go back to subbing. We were smart enough when we moved to not get in over our heads, at least. I just hate the uncertainty of it all. If you would, please pray.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just call me Kramer

One of the best features of this house is that it came with a hot tub. Forget the fact that my allergies are 10 times better due to the electrostatic filter and lack of carpeting. Forget that we have a larger garage, extra bathroom, extra bedroom, and have doubled the size of our living room and kitchen. You can even forget the fireplace! The hot tub is where it's at.

Yesterday Ricky turned the hot tub on after work and we got in later that night. Ahhh! While it wasn't hot enough for me, it was nice and warm and it was wonderful to sit outside in the cool night air with warm water being jetted around my aching bones.

I'm pretty sure it's addicting. After a long day (I left the house at 7 am and pulled back into the driveway at 9:30 pm), the first thing I said to Ricky was, "want to get in the hot tub with me?" Tonight was even better - the water was hotter, I was more tired, and it was even more relaxing than last night.

I have a pretty good feeling where you'll be able to find me most evenings after a hard day's work!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Meal plan, 9/21-27

Sun - blackberry pancakes, made with the blackberries from a friend's yard
Mon - Cheeseburger pie
Tues - Pizza soup
Wed - Hamburger helper
Thurs - Lasagna
Fri - Burgers
Sat - Enchiladas (giving me time to find a decent recipe...or for mine to show up)

This week I'm making double of several things - the pizza soup, lasagna and enchiladas will be made in double portions and I'll freeze one for later use. The burgers are some patties I made a while back and will be pulling out of the freezer for this week. I also have frozen browned ground turkey for use in the cheeseburger pie, hamburger helper and lasagna. I love being able to make things ahead of time and freeze them. It saves me so much time!

Losing Recipes

I have the hardest time keeping my recipes where I can find them. Maybe it's because I have two different "personal" cookbooks going - you know, the cookbooks that come empty and you fill them up with your own recipes (or, in my case, the recipes I steal from mom and the grandmas). I have one that Mom made me where the recipes are all in plastic sleeves and I never lose those. I also have a recipe card box, and I lose those recipe cards so fast. I need to put them on the computer and print them off so I can have them in my book.

Anyway, a while ago I posted that I lost my meatloaf recipe. Yesterday, while looking for my berry cobbler recipe I found the meatloaf recipe. Today, while looking for my chicken enchilada recipe, I found the berry cobbler recipe card. I suppose that means tomorrow I'll be looking for something and find the chicken enchilada recipe!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weight Loss and Clothes Wearing

Well, I'm finally doing it. I am back on the wagon and losing weight. It feels good, and it's easy - I just work out with my players!

This year Carrie and I are blessed to have two additonal coaches. With four of us, each "specialty" area gets its own coach - I'm with the pitchers, Kimmy tends to the catchers, Carrie takes the infield and Allan tackles the outfield. Having so many coaches on staff, and having pitchers that don't hit, has made it possible for me to take the pitchers for about 90 minutes each practice to do some endurance training/conditioning and pitching, as well as work on specific pitcher issues, like how to cover the plate in the event of a passed ball and which base to backup when.

Each day we spend about 30 minutes doing cardio and abs or some sort of core strengthening. We vary it - we run, play soccer, do yoga and pilates, jumprope, all kinds of fun things to keep it from getting stale. I work out with the girls, and am working toward being able to run an 8 minute mile by Jan 1, as I am requiring them to do.

Losing weight and feeling good has made it a lot easier to start dressing cute again (I'm pretty sure that's a major grammatical error, but I don't care). If I can find the time to photograph my cute feeling self, I will start posting on the fashion blog again. I've been getting lots of compliments at work, and that's really nice and helps drive my desire to be put together on a daily basis.

Speaking of which, I better figure out what in the world I'm wearing tomorrow and hit the hay! It's been a long day and I need my beauty rest.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Meal Plan, 9/14-20

Since I'm back to work, and have a crazy schedule* for the next 6 weeks, I'm back to posting my meal plans on the blog. This week we're "pantry cooking," meaning we're cooking with as much stuff out of the pantry and freezer as possible. My grocery list this week consists of sour cream, tortilla chips, tortillas and milk.

Sunday: Taco Stuff
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Marinated chicken and pasta salad
Wednesday: Hamburger Helper and acorn squash
Thursday: Tortilla soup
Friday: Chicken, biscuits and gravy (we'll be eating around 6, Dad)
Saturday: Coconut shrimp

*My crazy schedule - while I don't have to be to work until 10 most days, I have softball practice directly after school and rehearsal for A Murder is Announced directly after practice. I will be leaving the house with both a sack lunch and sack dinner most days, so most of our meals need to be highly portable. This week I have rehearsal Mon, Tues and Thurs from 6:30-9. Good thing I get to go into work late!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crisis averted!

A week or so ago I woke up around 5:45 am in a panic, as I do every morning, sure that I was late for school. When I realized that I really didn't have to be up for a couple more hours, my attention turned to the sound of rain outside, which caused a groan from me as I still needed to replace my windshield wipers. I thought, well crap, there's one more thing I have to do before I leave this morning. Then I rolled over and headed back to dreamland.

When I did get up, about 7:30, the first thing I noticed is that the sun was shining, the birds were chirping...and it was raining. At least, I could hear the rain. I went to the kitchen to look out the sliding glass door to see what in the world was going on, and as I headed for the kitchen the sound of the rain got louder. Being that it was 7:30 in the morning and I hadn't yet had a cup of coffee, my first thought was, "oh no, it's raining in the kitchen!"

Of course, it wasn't really raining in the kitchen. Instead, a part of our fridge quit working and the water was streaming out of the water dispenser as if an invisible glass were being held under it.

We got the water mopped up and shut off, and then Ricky set about the business of trying to figure out how to fix it while I set about worrying how in the world we were going to buy a new fridge on such short notice. We'd planned to buy a new fridge eventually, but I wasn't ready to shell out the $1200 for the appliances we saw at Home Depot!

Well, today Ricky got the fridge fixed. The part has been replaced, the water turned back on, and we do not have a lake in our kitchen. The funny part about the whole thing is that we never use the indoor water dispenser. We both think the water tastes funny. We do, however, have an unnatural love for our icemaker. I'm very glad we won't have to do without.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The verdict is in

The story on my prongs - it's just me. I am apparently a total klutz and don't know it. I had another reputable jeweler check out my ring, and she said the workmanship and materials are both good. She did mention that I could probably have the head set lower so it wasn't as easy to bash and catch on things, and we may look into that. But otherwise, it's just me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back on the wagon

It's amazing. With this new schedule, I have so much more energy. I feel like a completely different person. Although, if we're being honest, I'm not sure if it's the schedule or the new dosage or medication, or both. No matter, I have more energy and patience, and that's a good thing!

I'm getting into a new routine, and I like that. I'm a bit of a creature of habit, so routine is good for me. Being awake enough in the morning and evening to get through my routine is also good! I've gotten to where I'm picking out clothes, pre-tracking the next day's meals, and packing my lunch and snacks the night before. In the morning I'm able to get up (it seems my body wants me to get up around 7:30, since that's when I naturally wake every morning) have breakfast, and get ready at my leisure, double checking my lunch and snacks and being sure I've got everything packed up. Beginning tomorrow, I'm also going to get some working out done in the morning. I don't think I'm quite organized or motivated enough to go to the gym before work, but I do have a workout DVD that I can do in the living room.

Additionally, I'm looking into classes our gym offers, as well as classes offered by Providence. There's a yoga class at the hospital near our house that I'm thinking of trying. It doesn't start until November, so I've got some time to decide.

All that to say, I'm back on the wagon as far as living a healthy lifestyle goes. I feel less stressed and better than ever. I'm eating healthy, getting some exercise in, and in general I think I'm just more pleasant to be around. I haven't felt this good in a long time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The smell of a campfire

Why is it that campfire smell lingers on a person for days? We had the annual softball camping trip this weekend (Friday night-Saturday afternoon) and even after two showers, I still smell of campfire!

Not that I'm complaining, I like the smell, it is just so strange to me.

A sad prong song

I am notoriously hard on jewelry. I don't know why, but rings and I just don't seem to get along. I managed to crack the back of my birthstone ring twice in high school, and broke a couple of prongs on it as well.

When we got engaged, I made sure to get a super thick ring. I knew that I would crack the back of it if it was thin, so we got the thickest ring we could find. My super thick platinum engagement ring is flanked by two very thick gold wedding bands. I figured, no problem, all this thickness means it won't get broken!


While I haven't broken the shank (hallelujah), I have managed to break prongs. Multiple prongs. More than anyone else I know.

All was well, for a while. I wore my ring everyday, even slept in it, taking it off only for softball practice and games. It was fine. Then, I started coaching, and I began to have problems. I wasn't taking my ring of for practice or games anymore, because, well, I wasn't the one playing. I began to break prongs. First, the jeweler replaced the head of my ring with the biggest, thickest prongs they had. I managed to break those, too. Then they switched the gold prongs for platinum. You guessed it - those have broken, too.

It got to the point that Ricky forbid me from wearing my ring anymore. That was probably ok, since we also found that I'm allergic to it about the same time. I get a wonderful scaly rash under my ring. Recently, though, I tried wearing it again. I've been wearing it regularly for a few weeks now and, what do you know, I broke another prong.

When Ricky forbid me from wearing my ring, I began asking for a new one. Something with no prongs, like a bezel set or tension set ring, or even a pave setting. Then we learned about "blood diamonds" and decided we didn't want to invest in another diamond ring. I decided I wanted a blue topaz, the birthstone of December, our anniversary month. We didn't do it, though, because it seemed silly and frivolous to invest in a new wedding ring for me when mine is perfectly good, beautiful, and something I love.

But now, if I add up all the money we've spent fixing prongs on my ring, we could have very easily purchased one of these rings that I love
All this to say that I once again managed to break a prong. The price to fix it has gone up since the last time, and I won't have it back until Tuesday. Looks like it may be time for us to seriously consider something new. It seems silly to keep paying $30-45 each time I break a prong when, if I wear my ring regularly, I average at least one a year, usually more.

Oh, and the jeweler's advice? "Quit wearing it." Uh, ok. Maybe I should also be seeing a second opinion on that one!

My latest favorite picture

Jacko-pea at the beach

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Waking up before the alarm

We all know the feeling - you wake, for whatever reason, peer bleary eyed and the clock...and groan. You've woken up before the alarm, with not enough time to really go back to sleep. For me, that usually means 30 or so minutes. Just enough time for me to drift back to dreamland and then



This morning was different, though. With my new part time salary comes the only good thing about being part time - a part time schedule. I've always said that my dream job would not start until 10. Well, my wish has been granted. I do not have to be to work until 10 am, and I work until 3:30 each day. In the words of a friend's daughter, Halle-freakin'-lujah!

I set the alarm for 8 am. Around 5:45 I woke up in a panic, sure I'd overslept. I've always had to be at work between 7 and 7:30, no matter which district I was in, so being able to sleep until 8 felt sinful. After peering bleary-eyed at the clock, and convincing myself that yes, I really could sleep until 8, I managed to go back to sleep Until 7:30.

But for what is probably the first time in my life, I wasn't angry that I woke up 30 minutes before the alarm. It felt blissful to know that I could lie in bed for a few more minutes, snuggled up to Ricky. Or I could get up and putz around the house for a while, have breakfast, and get ready for work at my leisure. For the first time in a long time I wasn't rushing around the house, throwing on the first clothes I saw and skipping a shower because I woke up too late. I even left the house early, had time to stop at Safeway to pick up a Lean Cuisine for lunch, and got to work early!

I think I'm really going to like this new schedule!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to you...

Just a quick note to say "Happy birthday, Dad!!"