Sunday, November 30, 2008


National Blog Posting Month is a challenge. I am going to attempt to post every day through the month of December. We'll see how it goes! Depending on how it works out, I may continue with the challenge into other months.

The theme for December is "Thanks." I don't know if I will follow the theme or not, but I may do it now and again. So, expect daily posts for me through December!

What a fantastic holiday!

This was one of the best Thanksgivings Ricky and I have had in quite a while. Of course, it helped that he didn't have to work late - he was off at 2:30, yippee!!

On Thursday I putzed around the house, finishing up the things I was taking to our Thanksgiving celebrations, packing our bag to head out of town, getting the truck ready, etc. Then I headed out to Ricky's aunt and uncle's house for our first Thanksgiving. I got there just after Ricky, and we hung out with his family, enjoying their company and the good food. It was a small celebration this year, as a significant portion of his family was celebrating with the in laws rather than with us, but it was nice to catch up with those who were able to make it.

Around 4:30, we said our good byes and headed out. Next stop: Bend, Oregon! Since Ricky had Friday and Saturday off, we decided to head over the mountain to the cabin, where we'd have a belated Thanksgiving meal with Mom and Dad. We pulled into the cabin driveway about 8 and were greeted by warmth, a fire, and hot chocolate - yum! After relaxing for a few minutes and unloading the truck, we took the dog for a very chilly walk. Because the cabin is carpeted, the only way Jacko could be inside was if he was kenneled, so we wanted to be sure he got plenty of exercise.

Friday was a wonderful day of relaxation. Ricky and Dad finished off the burn pile, Ricky took pup for a run, Mom and I worked on the Thanksgiving dinner and took pup for a walk, and Ricky, Dad and I went to visit a family friend that I hadn't seen in years for a while. It was a very nice, relaxing day that ended with a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and several hands of pinochle.

Saturday we had a lazy breakfast of pancakes and eggs, then packed up the truck and cleaned the cabin. We headed out around 11, making a pit stop on the north side of Bend to visit a dog park. What a cool place!! 3 acres of fenced dog park, with hiking trails, all kinds of trees and rocks, and a nice open area for playing in the middle. Jacko had a ball, and when he was sufficiently worn out we packed him up and headed home.

Once home, we unloaded the truck then headed for Mom and Dad's (didn't we just see them?!) to watch the Civil War. For those not in the know, the Civil War is the annual rivalry football game between the Oregon State Beavers and the University of Oregon Ducks. The game is always big, but this year it was huge as a win for the Beavs would mean a trip to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately for them, they weren't able to do it and the Ducks crushed them by scoring more than 60 points. It was nice to just hang out, watch some football, and of course - eat leftovers!!

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a holiday as we did.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble Gobble!

That's turkey talk for "Happy Thanksgiving!" Or maybe it means "Please don't eat turkey!" - I'm not really sure! In any event, it's Thanksgiving eve and I'm taking a break from the preparations to count the ways in which I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for my husband. He listens to me, cares for me, is willing to make changes to make me happier.

I'm thankful for my puppy. As big of a pain as he can be, he is the best hugger/kisser/cuddler a mama could ask for. He is also a very nice, warm, natural heater.

I'm thankful for my job. Moreso this year than last, since this year it was touch and go for a while and I know my time with my students may be limited due to budget concerns.

I'm thankful for my home. We have a great new house that is perfect for us. Not everyone is so lucky.

I'm thankful for our renters. As strange as that may sound, they've made our first venture into landlordship very easy. I appreciate them paying their rent on time and letting us know of any problems.

I'm thankful for our families. We have two sets of parents close by who love us and are willing to help out when we need it, we have grandparents who love us and enjoy hearing about our lives. It's nice to know we're loved and thought of.

Our plans this year are different than in the past. We're spending Thursday afternoon with Ricky's family and then heading out to Bend to join Mom and Dad for a belated Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. We're both grateful to be able to get out of town for a little R&R for the weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love, as well.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The reason I love teaching middle school... that we always have great stories to share!

We had a dance after school today, and since I was hanging around anyway to go see the fall musical at the high school (more on that later), I figured I might as well chaperone.

First of all, I'd forgotten what middle school dances were like. The kids paid $2 to get in, and then they stood around - either against the wall in a line, or in a circle in the middle of the gym - and talked to their friends. Everytime a song started that they liked, they would all scream and start jumping up and down, then dance for about 30 seconds. After that, they were back to their standing-around-chatting-with-friends postures. Another teacher and I figured we probably could have just played the first 30 seconds or so of each song and they'd have been happy!

But the best part of the whole dance was the following conversation I had with a student I'd never met before:

Student: Can you do me a favor?
Me: Possibly. What is it?
Student: See that girl over there? [indicating the bleachers]
Me: There are lots of girls over there...which one?
Student: The one in the black, sitting in the corner.
Me: Yeah....
Student: Will you go ask her to dance with me?

At this point I'm trying hard not to fall on the ground laughing. I look at this poor child and say

Me: Wait - you want to ask her to dance, so you're sending a teacher to ask for you?!
Student: [as if this is the most ordinary request in the world] Yeah.

I ended up talking with the girl for a few minutes. She didn't want to dance with the poor kid, but ended up agreeing to talk to him. When I looked back later, I saw that he was sitting next to her but neither one was talking. Ah, young love! I had forgotten how awkward middle school romances could be.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ten Random Facts

I'm attempting to make a concerted effort to blog more. Unfortunately, I'm a rather boring individual and don't have anything groovy about which to blog. So here are ten random facts about me.

1 - I would rather be cold than hot
2 - I am not scared of spiders (but my husband is!)
3 - I absolutely live in my crocs. It's kind of embarassing, actually.
4 - I take 300 mcg of synthetic thyroid everyday. When I first filled the prescription, the pharmacist stared at me then said, "this is the highest dosage I've ever seen prescribed to someone"
5 - I've never had a cast (for a broken bone)
6 - I love mashed potatoes but I don't like them with gravy
7 - I cannot draw to save my life
8 - Even though I am a total drama queen, I have social anxiety. I hate hate hate being in large groups of people and going to new places/being with new people. I like to be in control.
9 - I love Ling Ling brand potstickers
10 - I am nearly 28 years old and have been married for almost 6 years. I still sleep with my baby blanket. Sorry, Mom!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stolen from Airikuh

1. What time did you get up this morning? Noon (blush)
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film that you saw at the cinema? Wall-E
4. What is your favorite TV show? Uhhhh...yeah. I got nothin'. There's really nothing that I just can't miss these days.
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Breakfast sandwich or oatmeal, coffee
6. What is your middle name? Rae
7. What food do you dislike? Beef
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? High Kings
9. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Tacoma
10. Favorite sandwich? grilled cheese or tuna fish with SWEET relish
11. What characteristic do you despise in others? wow, that's a difficult question. I don't know.
12. Favorite item of clothing? Anything new!
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Australia to see Kristy, Italy (Tuscany), or someplace warm with a very blue ocean
14. Where would you retire to? Italy
15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? Uh huh. Apparently my birthdays aren't very memorable. One birthday Ricky took me to see The Good Shepherd and I couldn't follow it and I walked out feeling really stupid. Another birthday he took me to see Ratatouille, which I loved. We go to movies for birthdays a lot. A couple years ago I got my softball quilt, that was a pretty good birthday!
16. Favorite sport to watch? Softball
17. Furthest place you are sending this? If Kris reads it, Australia, if Maggie reads it, India
18. Person you expect to send it back first? Hmmm, not sure if anyone will repost it.
19. When is your birthday? Jan 4
20. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Total night owl. The only way I like mornings is if I'm still up when they roll around.
21. What is your shoe size? 9 womens
22. Pets? Jacko aka Jackopea, Boo, Boober, Pup, Pupper, Pooperbutt, Goober, Gooberpea, really is amazing he knows his name at all
23. Any new exciting news you’d like to share with us? Let's week is the end of the trimester AND the Twilight movie comes out. What a great week!
24. What did you want to be when you were little? A professional softball player
25. How old are you today? 27 going on 28
26. What is your favorite flower? Gerber daisy
27. What is a day on your calendar that you are looking forward to? Christmas!!
28. What are you listening to right now? The news
29. What was the last thing you ate? Spaghetti squash (aka Squish!)
30. Do you wish on stars? not anymore
31. How is your weather right now? Cold but clear
32. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Ricky-roo
33. Favorite soft drink? Diet Pepsi if I'm being good, chocolate coke if I'm being bad
34. Last place you ate out? Pix Patisserie for dessert. If you want to know about a meal, either Shari's or the pub. And Sellwood Public House for drinks.
35. Hair color? natural color? Dark brown. Currently? Shades of blond, brown, and purple
36. What was your favorite game as a child? Board game? hmmm...Clue or Go to the Head of the Class. With Grandpa, Battleship. Athletic game, softball.
37. Favorite season? Late spring/early summer and late summer/eary fall
38. Hugs or kisses? Both!
39. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate please!
40. Coffee or tea? Depends on my mood, and the day
41. Do you want friends to email you back? Of course!
42. When was the last time you cried? Sept or Oct, about the whole job thing
43. What is under your bed? Stuff I hide from the dog
44. What did you do last night? Went out with Ricky
45. What are you afraid of? not having enough money
46. Salty or sweet? Sweet most of the time
47. How many keys on your key ring? a ton - car key, truck key, house key, rental house key, parents' house key,several that I'm not sure what they go to...!
48. How many years at your current job? this is my second
49. Favorite day of the week? Friday and Saturday
50. How many towns have you lived in? two - Milwaukie and Newberg
51. Do you make friends easily?not really
52. How many people will you send this to?However many read the blog
53. How many will respond? I hate these questions
54. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? yes!
55 . What is the last book you read? The Twilight Series - I finished Breaking Dawn last week.

Meal Plan, 11/16-22

Sunday - Cast Party. It's a potluck, we're taking the tri-color pasta with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes that we love so much.

Monday - Chili and cornbread

Tuesday - Shrimp in punjab spinach simmer sauce with saffron rice and naan

Wednesday - Meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Thursday - Turkey roast with carrots, potatoes and mushrooms

Friday - Lasagna

Saturday - Moroccan crockpot chicken

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why weren't we cool when we were younger?

That is the question I asked Ricky tonight as we sat in Pix Patisserie SE and ate dessert in the very cool, super funky little bakery while Weezer played in the background.

Let me back up. Remember that Ricky and I started dating at 19. Our first date was in April 2000, when we were both freshmen in college. We were young, and poor, and - let's be honest - stupid. An exciting night out was going to Shari's, woohoo! Of course, as Ricky pointed out, the only place open after 9 in Newberg was Shari's, so we really didn't have many options.

Since then we've grown and changed and our priorities have changed as well. Now we're very interested in supporting local businesses, especially those that practice sustainability (aka are environmentally friendly). We go to cool places like Oak Bottom Public House and sing with the drunk faux Irishmen. We see bands no one has ever heard of in bars that you couldn't find on a map. We stay in funky hotels. We ride our bikes to the grocery store and use reuseable bags.

I remember when we were engaged and a lot of people looked at us like we were crazy. We were only 21 (heck, I wasn't even quite there yet!) when we got engaged, 22 when we got married (again, I didn't quite make it to 22; I was 21 and 49 weeks). So many people said, "but you'll be changing and growing. You won't be the same person you are now 10 years from now."

To those people I say, "you were right." I'm not the same person now that I was then. Neither is Ricky. And you know what? I'm glad. While not all the changes have been for the better, and while we've certainly gone through difficult times, we've managed to grow together, change together, so that each of our priorities - while different than they used to be - are still the same as the other's.

So tonight, as we sat in that very cool little bakery eating very yummy desserts in a very funky atmosphere, I wished, just for one minute, that we'd been this cool when we were younger. And then I realized - we've grown, we've changed, and it's the journey to this time that has made us this cool. Without the past 9 years, I don't know that either of us would be exactly where we are today. So we were young and dumb and totally uncool, but that's ok. We've made up for it in recent years, and hopefully will continue to over the next few decades.

9 Days: Confirmed

It has been confirmed - nine days will be cut from our school calendar. We don't know which nine days yet, but we will lose 9 days from December through June and will lose one day's worth of pay for the next 9 pay periods.

In February they will reevaluate to see if we have enough money to add days back to the schedule.

The rumor mill is still going strong - latest rumor is we'll be cutting 50-60 teachers from the district for next school year. I think I better update my resume.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rain Boots or a canoe?

I'm pretty sure Noah's Ark might be my best option, to be honest. The rain! Oh my word, the rain that has been coming down. I know it rains every fall/winter/spring, but this seems worse than usual. Or maybe we're just out of practice.

At any rate, it is raining like crazy and our street and the parking lot at work are flooding. Apparently the drains can't keep up with the demands of Mother Nature. So I've decided that, as a canoe isn't all that practical, I really need to invest in rainboots. I found the following at Target, but I can't decide which pair to get. Anyone want to vote?

(also available in black and white argyle)

Rumor has it...

...That our school board cut the 9 days necessary from our schedule to make ends meet tonight. That means that, if all was calculated accurately, it should preserve jobs. We all are hopeful that this truly is the last step in the cutting process that has had everyone in our district on edge. It certainly doesn't take away the fear of next year, but at least this way everyone would have time to find new jobs.

This is not confirmed, but it's what's passing through the grapevine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

...Inspired by Candace...

I am... alive

I think...often. Usually late at night.

I phone number

I win the lottery

I wish...I knew the future

I had...a cool car

I hate...empty moments

I fear...dying

I feel...bored

I hear...the furnace kicking in


I crave...home

I search...for my car keys every morning

I wonder...why I can't be organized in all facets of my life

I regret...regretting

I family. All of them, even the crazy ones.

I care...about my students


I am not...spatially aware, at all

I believe...there is good in all people

I chocolate every day (and I do!)

I the rain, on the stage, to make people laugh

I the top of my lungs

I harness the memories and the feelings

I win...and when I don't, I'm a sore loser

I lose...and I pout

I play...softball

I never...say die (Goonies, anyone?)

I can usually be found...procrastinating

I need...more coffee

I am happy life

Meal Plan

Sun - Ricky's belated birthday dinner at Mom and Dad's
Mon - Pizza
Tues - Double stuffed chicken with spaghetti squash supreme
Wed - Chili
Thurs - Tuna Casserole
Fri - Breakfast
Sat - ?? I haven't figured that one out yet, maybe Mexican of some sort

We were supposed to have dinner at Rick and Cheryl's on Monday evening with the rest of the family (Janelle, Joe, LJ, Tawnya, Jeremy) but Janelle and Joe both are working late so we've had to postpone. We're hoping to do it sometime this week, as we need to draw names for Christmas, so maybe I won't have to come up with something for Saturday!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I'm as bad as the retail stores, I think. I could gladly go from Halloween - which was total bummer this year since costumes were banned at our school - straight to Christmas. Do not pass go, do not have a turkey, forget Thanksgiving all together. Apparently the stores feel the same, as the aisles are filled with Christmas candy and decor. And I happily wandered through them today, imagining how we would decorate the front of our house.

My readiness for Christmas may be heightened this year due to a few things. For one, the weather is very wintery. Well, Oregon wintery. It's dark and gray and rainy. And I mean RAINY. We're getting our first hard and long rainfall of the year and that always makes me ready for Christmas.

Secondly, we have room for Christmas this year!! In the past we've had to move furniture to cram a tree into the living room, and then it's crowded and squishy. Not this year! We have ample room for a tree in the new house and even tossed around the idea of having two trees - one in the kitchen and one in the living room. I think we'll probably stick to one, but knowing that we have options is amazing. We also, for the first time, have a fireplace on which to hang our stockings. Now if only I could figure out how to hang them, as we don't have a mantle.

And, of course, our anniversary is right before Christmas. This year we're headed to Seaside to stay at a bed and breakfast for two nights on our anniversary weekend. I am so ready for an out of town vacation - I can't wait!

So bring on the Christmas music, the Santa Clauses, the evergreens. And, whatever you do, "Please Christmas don't be late!!!"

Misleading info

Apparently the information we got on The Watch List (see previous post) was not entirely accurate - at least, I didn't interpret it correctly. In fact, we have NOT been named persistently violent. This is, in reality, only our first year on The Watch List. We must make the list for 4 consecutive years before being named Persistently Violent. So, if the trend continues - and of course, we're taking steps to be sure we're off the list next year - we could be persistently violent in 2012.

It is frustrating though that letters went home to our parents stating that our school has been labeled as persistently violent. It's just not true. It is also frustrating that we're in a catch-22 - if we know about the weapons but ignore them, there are no referrals written, and therefore we don't end up on the list. If we know about them and take steps to be sure it doesn't happen again, thereby making our school safer, we end up on the list and labeled dangerous when, in fact, we are less dangerous than before the referrals were written. It is also frustrating that this has happened because many of our kids live in dangerous areas. They bring the weapons to school because they feel they need them for self defense in their neighborhoods and at the bus stops. Sad, but true.