Monday, December 29, 2008

I am a bad bad bad bad girl

I've missed so many days of blogging. Most of those days I've opened the box...then closed it again. Open. Close. Open. Close. You get the idea. I have nothing to say. Nothing interesting is happening, except that we had a lot of freaking snow and I about went crazy from being trapped in the house (thanks Dad for driving me around!) and then it warmed up and started raining and the snow disappeared within 48 hours.

But today, I do have something exciting - my Grandma is here visiting!! (and yes, I do know that the word "grandma" should not be capitalized in that case but I don't care) She was supposed to be here yesterday, but Northwest cancelled her plane due to "aircraft maintenance." Really I think my Indiana family wasn't ready to give her up ;-) Just kidding guys!

So she made it here, safe and sound, albeit a day late. We spent the afternoon eating hot dogs for lunch, chatting in the kitchen, and snoozing on the couch in front of the tv. She met our dog, who immediately took a liking to her since she'll sit and pet him for a while, and got the tour of our new house. It's so wonderful to have her here; Ricky and I haven't seen her in over a year. We have no big plans for the week, just hanging out, visiting and in general enjoying each other's company.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. Grandma gets up E-A-R-L-Y and we all know how much of a morning person I am. I need to get some sleep so I can at least get up in time to feed Grandma lunch! :-P (Just kidding Mom, the alarm is set for 7)

PS - Happy Birthday Lindsey!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Day-After-Christmas!

The past two days have been crazy-busy. Here's the update:

Wednesday daytime: Make cookies, clean house. Take cookies around to neighbors and wish them Merry Christmas.

Wednesday evening: Dinner at the in-laws. The first time the whole family has been together in a while. We ate and watched the boys open their presents. Uncle Joe had to get all of the toys out of the packaging - poor guy! Then we played 31, which I won, so I split my winnings between the two boys. $2.50 is a lot of money for a baby!

Thursday morning: Got up and went to Mom and Dad's for breakfast. Ricky insisted on taking the car, against my better judgement, and got it stuck in the slush about 100 yards (if that) from our house. Oops. We parked the car on the side of the road and took the truck instead. Opened packages with Mom and Dad, then ate breakfast, called the Grandma's, and hung out. I won $2 on my scratch it ticket, woohoo!

Thursday afternoon/evening: Went to Ricky's aunt's house with the rest of the extended family. Mostly hung out with Ricky's cousin and his wife, to whom we're very close but who moved to Medford. We used to hang out with them all the time but now that their 5 hours away we only see them a couple of times a year. Played 31 again and my mother in law won.

All in all it was a fantastic holiday, with lots of wonderful time spent with family. Now we're getting ready for Grandma to come visit for a week on Sunday!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Random Christmas Thoughts

  • Getting married in December is not smart. We have no less than 6 "First Christmas" ornaments. I bet people who get married in July don't get Christmas ornaments instead of the towels they registered for.
  • On the other hand, all of our First Christmas ornaments are different, and I really like them all, so that's a bonus!
  • I really like my new neighborhood. I went delivering Christmas goodies today and was invited in, offered cookies and homebaked bread, and got to know the people who live around me better. It was really nice.
  • New glasses for Laura! Ok, it's not really Christmas related, but I'm excited. Maybe it's more Christmassy since the new ones are RED?! Will post pics when I get the new glasses - it will be a couple of weeks.
  • Wrapping presents kinda seems like making my bed. I spend all that time wrapping them, and in just a few minutes everyone's going to tear the paper off anyway. What a waste of time and effort!
  • I need a tree skirt.
  • On the one hand, I'd like to make the skirt of my wedding dress into a tree skirt. On the other hand, it seems too fancy for our whimsical/silly tree. On the third hand...she had a wart! (TM Linda)
  • Maybe this means we should have two trees. A fancy tree and a fun tree. Hmmm.
  • The Christmas tree has really made our living room feel homey. I think the problem is part of our living room is empty so it just feels like a big cavernous space. I need to find something to go in that corner when the tree is gone to keep that cozy feeling.
  • Or I could just leave the tree up year round!

Ok, time for me to get ready for the big Christmas Eve celebration. I can't wait for Jeremy and Joseph to open their gifts...because I can't wait to play with them, too!

I'm blogging because I'm not sleeping

And I'm not sleeping because...well, sometimes I just do that.

Every now and again, usually once every couple of months, I have a night where I just can't sleep at all. I mean, AT ALL. I lie in bed doing everything I know to go to sleep but it just doesn't work. So that night I end up staying up all night. I'm not trying to, I just do. Those are usually fairly productive nights - I clean, work on craft projects, do laundry, organize closets. Ricky, my wonderful husband, is completely oblivious to it all and is generally shocked to find me up when he gets up for work. How he sleeps through me tossing and turning for hours, then getting up to cook, run the vacuum, load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom and other middle of the night tomfoolery I will never know. Actually, I do know - his mom used to do the same thing!

Anyway, it's 5:30 and I've baked a batch of cookies, got the holiday Dollar Tree plates washed and ready to pack with goodies, finalized the change of address card I'm going to slip in our Christmas-turned-Holiday cards, made new address labels, and made cards to give to our neighbors along with their goodies plates, and loaded the dishwasher. I've also done a load of laundry and am about to fold a load, start another load, and begin to pick up/organize our office. Then I'll unload the dishwasher...and let's hope I can keep all this going until 10:45 when it's time to leave for my eye doctor appointment!

Christmas cheer!

Yes, I really am blogging at 2 am because I finally found my Christmas spirit. Nothing like waiting until Dec 23 to find it, but find it I have.

Today was somewhat miserable, to be honest. I finally got out of the house to do my Christmas shopping (thanks Mom and Dad!). That wasn't the miserable part. The miserable part was that the mall was crowded, the parking lot was a disaster, and the mall was so. blooming. hot. I don't know how you people in cold weather climates do it. I had my wool coat and boots on over a sweater and jeans with a scarf, hat and gloves so I could stay warm outside. Once inside I had to take off the scarf, hat, gloves and coat, and I was still roasting. Blah.

But the good news is that I got my shopping done and came home all excited about Christmas. Yay Christmas! Ricky and I spent the evening decorating and wrapping. I decorated while Ricky wrapped - well, while Ricky attempted to wrap using the kraft that I use for homemade wrapping paper, then got mad at it, threw it on the floor and resorted to gift bags and tissue paper.

I cleaned the living room and have a batch of cookies in the oven. As soon as I clean up the kitchen I'm off to bed. I can't wait to spread the Christmas cheer to friends, family and neighbors tomorrow!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Apple pie

I don't like pie, but I like pie filling.

Today is so boring at home. We've gotten loads more snow - it comes up to the dog's chest in the backyard, maybe higher now because we've gotten more since the last time he went outside. It is so deep that he refuses to go off the deck. Which means he also refuses to "go" off the deck. Good thing we were planning on getting rid of the deck.

Anyway, with the weather like this, I don't really want to leave the house. Not that I could, since Ricky has the truck at work and the car is pretty much buried in the driveway. But being stuck at home sucks. I've been doing a rotation of cleaning, reading and watching tv. And with that comes eating. Unfortunately, I'm getting bored with the food we have...until I remembered that we have apple pie filling from my canning adventures with Catherine this fall.

Yum, that's some good stuff. Hit the spot, just what I needed. Hot, sweet, spicy, fruity. It was a great snack, and now it's got me thinking. I could make some chocolate pie filling. I could make pie dough cookies. I could make...well, all kinds of things. Of course, I only have a cup of butter, so I'll have to prioritize. What sounds good? What sounds good...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cabin Fever

First of all, could someone please tell me when I moved to the midwest? This is getting ridiculous! I don't mind snow...for a day. But we're onto a week now of snow and ice and I'm tired of it. There's a reason we haven't left the pacific northwest, and it's not because we love the rain.

Anyway, Oregonians don't do snow well. We get so little of it that every time we have a "snowstorm" (and I hesitate to use that term knowing that my midwest family would laugh in the face of this little blizzard we're having) people freak out. No one goes anywhere, they load up on bottled water and canned goods at the store, people drive on perfectly dry pavement with chains. It's awful.

Apparently, though, there is one group of people who do worse in the snow than we do - southerners. The husband half of our friends at Simple Metamorphosis is a southern boy through and through and hadn't left the house all week due to the conditions of the roads. Having been locked in the house the past week was getting to him, so they called and we made plans to go out with them last night. We were fortunate that the snow had mostly melted and all we were left with was a wet road. We had dinner at Monteaux's Public House and then went bowling. A good time was had by all, and we got home before the latest installation of white stuff hit.

It is once again snowing...or it might be raining ice, I'm not sure. It hasn't quit all day and I don't like it. I hope it will go away soon and we can return to our previously scheduled program of gray skies and rain. Never thought you'd hear me say that, did ya?!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drugs and free shipping

Good news!

I got my medicine. Wahoo! Hopefully by tomorrow the eye will be feeling much better.

More good news: Dec 18 is Free Shipping Day. As of yesterday over 200 merchants are participating. If you order online they will ship to you for free and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. I think I know how I'll be Christmas shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm irritated.

First, I had to go to school today. My street was still frozen. It was fine, I got to work and back just fine, but still. Every other freaking district was closed. AND we had a two hour late start, so my classes were a whopping 26 minutes long. AND they closed school for tomorrow, which was our last day before break, so we had school for one partial day this week and I won't see the kids again until January 5th.

But on top of all that, and the thing that is really irritating me, is that my eye is broken out. I have herpes on my right eyelid. I've had it forever, and I've learned to manage it. I can tell when it's breaking out before any blisters are even visible, I know what triggers it and how to prevent the breakouts. In fact, I hadn't had a breakout in about 3 years.

My doctors have always allowed me to call in and tell them I need my prescription, so they call it in for me and I get started on treatment. This has been going on for 20 years, I know what it is by now and I know the symptoms. So when I woke up this morning with that familiar old itchy ache, I knew what was happening and called the doctor.

We played phone tag all day and finally I learned my doctor wasn't in but they were talking to the doctors covering for her. Then they called back and wanted to know my symptoms. THEN they called back and wanted to know if I could make it to the office in the next 15 minutes. When I told them I couldn't guarantee it, what with rush hour beginning and the icy roads, they told me if I couldn't get there in 15 minutes then they couldn't see me today and I'd have to come in Wed morning.

"But I have to work," I said. Too bad, was the response. We'll call in a prescription for you, but only if you'll come in tomorrow morning. Fantastic. So I made an 8 am appointment and then called Ricky to have him stop by the pharmacy on the way home.

They never called the stupid drugs in. So now, here I sit in pain, unable to even get started on treatment because they didn't do what they said they'd do. We even checked multiple other pharmacies in case there was a mix up. You know, in case me telling them 3 times specifically which pharmacy to call, address and all, wasn't clear.

I see the covering doctor in the morning and I see my regular doctor on Friday. You can bet they won't be too happy to see me. I am itchy, uncomfortable, red, swollen, weepy and cranky. In the span of 14 hours I have gone from 0 blisters to 3. I can only imagine how bad it's going to be by the time I see a doctor tomorrow morning.

The only good thing is that our district has already cancelled school for tomorrow so I don't have to go in. I'd hate to try to teach with the discomfort and disfigurement afforded by herpes.

PS - my apologies to those who've already heard me rant about this multiple times. I'm getting crankier by the hour.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And we're back in the game!

*bonus points if you know what movie featuring a certain recently deceased actor my title is from.

So, it snowed. And it snowed. And then it iced. And then it warmed all the way up to 31 degrees today. Yeehaw. So it was cold all forking day.

And then...and then...AND THEN! We lost power around 6 this evening.

So now it's cold, and we have no power, which also meant no heat, no hot water, no appliances, no tv, no computer. Nada. PGE said they were working on the problem but had no idea of when we'd be back in business.

Since we were cold and bored, we headed to the in laws' house just a couple minutes away. We stole their tv in order to watch Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. Don't worry, they didn't mind, they weren't even home. About 9 we came home. Still no power. A call to PGE informed us that they were working on it but did not know the cause of the problem and had no estimate of when power would be restored. Awesome

I set about packing a bag to head to Mom and Dad's for the evening. Hey, it was 46 degrees in the house and I have to work in the morning! Ricky decided he was going to tough it out. As I was getting ready to walk out the door...the lights *really* went out. You see, up to that point we'd been in a "brown out," meaning we had just enough power to get about 35% out of our overhead lights. All of a sudden, lights out completely. Ricky said, "that must mean they know the problem and they're fixing it." Sure enough, a call to PGE confirmed we'd have power again in 15 minutes.

So here we are, back in the game with power. What a day!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I screwed up. I decided to do NaBloPoMo for the first time in a month when I knew I'd be out of town for a couple of days. I don't know what I was thinking! Oh well.

Ricky and I returned from our anniversary adventure today. We spent the weekend in a bed and breakfast in Seaside, OR. We had a wonderful time and the staff at The Gilbert Inn were incredible. Jeannie, the owner, was so welcoming and hospitable and Kathy, the "Jill of all trades" cook/houskeeper was delightful as well. The food was delicious, the room comfy-cozy and the amenities were icing on the cake - snacks every afternoon, chocolates on our pillows and a 32" flat screen tv with cable!!

It was a wet weekend, but we enjoyed holing up in our room, gazing out at the ocean raging across the street. We even made a trip to the outlet mall and walked the boardwalk a couple of times. After all that rain, it snowed! What a sight, snow on the beach. Yes, on the sand itself. It was beautiful, peaceful, and calm...until we realized we'd be heading home in it, and it hadn't stopped yet.

Travelling home was a little precarious, with it snowing to beat the band in some places and the pass thick with ice. Four wheel drive and some careful and slow driving saw us through it, though, and we made it to our next anniversary destination, Oswego Hills Winery. I received a gift certificate to be used there in a Secret Santa exchange, so Ricky and I took it and stopped for a tasting on our way home. We had a wonderful time and came home with a bottle of Merlot to be enjoyed on Dec 14, 2009.

After finishing at the winery, we headed home to pick up the pup from my parents' house. Dad and Jacko-pea were on their own this weekend as Mom had flown to Indy for the funeral of my beloved Aunt Snooks. Dad and pup had a good weekend, with Dad working on Jacko's manners and engaging him in his first ever snowball fight.

We're home now. The ground is covered in snow and we've been enjoying hot beverages all evening. Tomorrow is a snow day, so I'll enjoy sitting around the house watching trashy tv while Ricky is at work. I may even make a trek to Safeway (it's less than half a mile to walk) to pick up a few things. My new rainboots will be just the thing for a walk in the snow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're not cool anymore

Or rather, our favorite pub isn't cool anymore.

Wednesday nights at the pub used to be when the Bridgetown Morris Men came to the pub. We loved going on Wednesdays to listen and sing (especially The Old Dun Cow - we love to yell "Macintyre!"). So last night we went, all excited about getting to see the guys and sing along...and they weren't there. Wednesday nights are now trivia nights. While it was fun, it just wasn't the same. On the upside, it did give me a great idea of what to do with the kids on our last day before Winter Break - you know, the day when they are all bouncing off the walls because it's our last day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I heart shoes

I've always had a hard time buying clothes. I have broad shoulders - so much so that when I was born Dad was sure I was going to be a linebacker...until he realized I was missing the boy parts! Add an athletic frame to that and you have a recipe for disaster for clothes buying. Nothing ever fit quite right, even when I was young and thin(ner) and in good shape. Over the years I've learned what brands, cuts, fabrics and shapes work best for me, but I still can have a difficult time finding clothes that fit right.

Perhaps that's why I turned to shoes. I love shoes. Never once have I been too fat for a pair of shoes. Never once have they pulled in the wrong way or gaped in the chest. Shoes are forgiving, not to mention cute. Ricky doesn't understand my need for shoes. He's a manly man, he has 3 whole pairs of shoes. He hates that I love shoes because he doesn't understand the need for multiple pair. I can't explain it to him. It's a sickness, an addiction. Perhaps it should be added to the DSM*.

My love of shoes explains why I went out looking for a cute pair of brown shoes and came home with not one but two boxes. When I was putting outfits together this weekend I realized that my brown shoes were completely falling apart and not fit to be worn anymore. That's a problem, since I have about 4 pair of brown slacks, calling for brown shoes. So I headed out to Famous Footwear to look for a pair of functional, yet cute, brown shoes that wouldn't break the budget. To my delight (and Ricky's dismay) they had several options, and a BOGO sale to boot! I came home with yet another pair of plaid shoes (that makes 3) and a cute pair of T-strap camel and chocolate wedges.

The addition of these two new pairs to my shoe family brings me to a total of 20. I have every color imaginable (with the exception of yellow, I'm still looking for a good yellow pair) in varying heel heights and dressiness. I have sandals, wedges, tennis shoes, rainboots (yes, I got a pair!) and crocs. What can I say, I just love shoes!

*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Illness, published by the APA. The Bible of pyschology and psychiatry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today I have nothing exciting to say

Really. I got nothin'. I'm actually really boring. And bored. So instead of doing a regular post, I'm going to do a meme about names:

1. ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): Samu Tacoma
2. GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Chocolate peanut butter Croc
3. NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Purple Dog
4. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Yellow Coffee
5. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers): Wilbur Robert or Robert Wilbur, in which case I'd probably be Billy Bob, which seems appropriate for Nascar
6. STRIPPER NAME (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Vanilla Nerds
7. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Sorensen Stockholm
8. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Summer Daisy
9. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Strawberry Tshirt
10. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Coffee Willow

Monday, December 8, 2008

A show worth watching

In this era of reality trash tv, I have found a reality show worth watching. And it's on Fox, of all channels!

Secret Millionaire takes multi millionaires out of their homes and puts them into a situation where they live in poverty for a week. They have none of their normal posessions, just some regular, ordinary clothes and a week of welfare wages - in the case of the first episode, $150. Then they are sent to live in poverty, befriending the people they meet and getting to know them, with the end goal of giving away at least $100,000 of their own money to the people they deem worthy. The show both breaks your heart and warms it. It really is worth watching.

Thanks, Self!

I got a ton done around the house yesterday and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I cleaned our bedroom, something we'd been needing to do but hadn't gotten around to. Not only did I pick up, but I also really cleaned it - got the dust mop and vacuum out and went to town. I cannot believe the amount of dog hair our pup sheds. It's amazing. I swept up so much hair again yesterday from all over the house, you'd have thought we have more than just the one.

In addition to making the bedroom all sparkly clean, I washed, folded/hung, and put away about 75 billion loads of laundry. Ok, so more like 5, but still, it was a lot. I am now sporting a very full closet and still have about 3 loads to do!

So thanks, Self, for getting off your lazy butt and cleaning the house. It feels good!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today I am thankful for friends

Last night I had the joy of hanging out with my friend and college roommate, Amy.

Amy and I have been friends for about 10 years now. Wow, it's hard to believe it's been that long! We were roommates the first time our sophomore year of college, and again our senior year. We have lots of great memories together, held places of honor in each other's weddings, and went down the same career path. We don't see each other all that often anymore, as she and her husband live across town and we're all crazy busy, but we do make time every couple of months to hang out and catch up.

I hadn't been to their house, or "the project" as it's lovingly known, in quite a while so I hadn't seen many of the changes. Last night I made the trek to their neck of the woods to see all the updates and catch up with Ames. We had dinner at McMenamin's Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, someplace I'd been past many times but had never stopped to eat. And we caught up on life, love, and the joys of being a middle school teacher.

It's always fun to catch up with friends, especially those with whom one has such a long and rich history. Thanks, Ame, for the fun evening. I had a blast.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's the thought that counts

Poor Ricky. Not only does he have to deal with my whining about how I don't feel good, but then when he tries to make me feel better it backfires.

Thursday night I mentioned that chocolate chip cookies sounded really good, but we didn't have any chocolate chips and neither of us felt like going to the store to get some. So Friday when I came home from work, he told me he had a surprise for me in the oven. Chocolate chip cookies!! What a great husband.

Unfortunately, they were hard as a rock. It took me a good 15 minutes to eat one, it was that hard. It tasted good, and it wasn't burned, just hard. He left them in the oven after turning it off and I think the hot air sucked all the moisture out of them. I felt bad for him; here he'd tried so hard to do something for me, knowing I've been exhausted all week, and then the cookies were rock hard.

I did eat them for breakfast this morning, however. Dunked in a glass of milk for a while helped the chewability a great deal. Thank you, Ricky, for making me cookies to cheer me up!

Tired of being sick and tired

I am tired all. the. time. It sucks. I am sick of it. I also don't feel good probably 25-30% of the time. End of the week is always worse than the beginning, but even Mondays suck. I go to bed at 11 and get up 8. I leave for work at 9, arrive at 9:30, and leave by 3:30...and when I get home I fall asleep on the couch. I live for the weekends, when I can get up late (yeah, I know, I don't get up all that early during the week) and take naps in the middle of the day. The weekends are also the only time I tend to get any housework done because I'm so exhausted by the end of my work day. Imagine what I'd be like if I worked full time!

Don't worry, I've already got a Dr appt scheduled for the 19th, and yes Mom, I have an order at the lab to get my blood drawn on the 12th. Hopefully my thyroid is just out of wack (what else is new?) because I feel crappy.

And now, at 2:18, I think I'll take a nap because my eyes hurt and I can barely keep them open. I've only been up for 6 hours, but hey...that's a long time for me!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Camping out

I love to camp. Ricky and I don't do it nearly often enough. I love all of it - cooking over a fire, making smores, the campfire smell that gets in your clothes, sleeping in the cold air, bundling into the sleeping bag. Love it.

Well, I've discovered something almost as wonderful as camping. Last night we turned the heat in the house way down and made a fire in the fireplace. The fireplace is just strong enough to keep us warm in the living room - as long as we wear a sweatshirt and have a blanket close by. This is something we'd like to fix at some point, maybe getting an insert so we can better heat with wood.

Anyway, the crackle of the fire and it's warmth was fantastic, but the best part was when I went to bed. I'd been sitting in front of the fire for a while so my sweatshirt had a faint campfire smell. It was cold in the house, so I bundled under the comforter, and it was wonderful. The cold and the smoky smell made me so comfortable, I was asleep within minutes and stayed asleep until about 7 - the first time I haven't woken up in the middle of the night in ages.

Today, I am thankful it is Friday, and I am thankful for a wonderful Thursday evening and a fantastic night's sleep.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


That's how I feel today - blah. It's been one of those weeks. Not a terrible week, but nothing great either. We started a new trimester at school, which means for the first week I teach expectations, procedures, etc. 8 times over the course of two days. It sucks. The worst part is this is only the 2nd of 3 trimesters - I have to teach all this stuff 8 more times before the year is over!

Then today on my way to work I realized I had a large-ish hole in the thigh of my pants. Awesome. Of course, I was in a position where there was not time to turn around and go back home to change, no time to stop at the store before class, and I had nothing with me to make even temporary repairs. So I spent the day hoping and praying that the hole wouldn't get any larger (it didn't) and that my students would be kept blissfully unaware (they were).

The theme of December is thanks, but I'm not feeling very thankful. I have a headache, I'm tired, and it's only 7:45 in the evening. All I want is a hot cup of tea, a fire, my blanket, and either a book or a movie. Instead I am getting ready to load the dishwasher and go for a bike ride with my dog. Blah. No thanks from me today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Ode to Sandy

Sandy, my ray of sunshine
Sandy, I want to make you mine.
Sandy, I love thee well.
Sandy, come sit for a spell.

Sandy, can I keep you here?
Sandy, you help make things clear.
Sandy, you do too much.
Sandy, you truly are my crutch.

Just a very silly way of saying THANK YOU to my favorite custodian, Sandy, who goes above and beyond the call of duty when cleaning the theatre. She has been known, on multiple occasions, to not only vacuum and sweep, but to straighten the things in my office, clear of my couch, and clean my desk. Sandy, you are my knight-ess in shining armor!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On Reading

The first word I read was "pork," or so the story goes. I don't actually remember it, to be honest. Apparently, we were at a Chinese restaurant (Lani Louie's, how I miss thee!) and I was looking at the menu and then burst out with "Mommy, that says pork!" and by golly, it sure did!

I've always been a reader. We have pictures of me sitting at my little play desk "reading" before I could actually read. Mom and Dad used to read to me all the time - lots of things, but I especially remember The Little Engine that Could, The Pokey Little Puppy, and The Night Before Christmas. Hey, it was a way cool pop up book, of course I loved it!

As I got older, I began to read to myself. I was reading before I started school, which meant I "got to" leave my classroom to go to the next grade up for reading and spelling. I loved reading anything and everything - Amelia Bedelia, Mrs Piggle Wiggle, and later, The Baby-Sitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Judy Blume, not to mention cereal boxes, the TV Guide, and anything else that crossed my path. I would read pretty much anything and everything.

We still read as a family, though. I distinctly remember reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe around the dinner table. We'd pass the book around after we finished dinner, each taking a turn, reading a chapter a night. To this day, those are some of my favorite books. I reread them about once a year.

In the late elementary/early teen years, I would ride my bike to the library in the summer and check out 10-15 books weekly. I flew through books, rarely stopping to do anything else. I would read while I walked to the bus stop, read in the car, read before bed. I read between classes, between softball games, before practice. I loved to read.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. The reading scores at my school are not good. Most of our kids are not passing their state reading tests. Many of them don't like to read, because they struggle with it, and most of them did not have the joy of parents who read to them or with them when they were developing readers. While I think I'm a natural reader, I was lucky to have parents who fostered that love in me, who showed me that it was a good thing to do with my time. I'm sure there were times growing up when they wished I didn't love it quite as much as I did, but I know their encouragement of my reading is what helped me be the student I was.

Reading is so incredibly important. It opens doors in people's lives. It allows us to learn about other places and times, to discover new ideas, to escape into someone else's world. I cannot imagine living life without the joy of reading. And so today, I thank all the people who take the time to read with children. People like my parents, who read with me when I was little. People like the teachers I work with, who make time for reading in their class periods, to help teach our students just how important it is. People like my mom, who volunteer for the SMART program, helping kids who struggle with reading.

With that, I'm off to read another chapter in my latest book.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today I thank the Brits

As I was driving to work today, I began to think about what my first NaBloPoMo blog would be about. The theme is thanks, and while I don't have to stick to the theme, I thought it would be a good challenge for me to try.

And as I was driving, I was also enjoying a delicious egg nog latte, and I thought, "Boy, I really love egg nog! I wish I could thank the person who invented it!"

Well, apparently it's one of those things that's been around for so long that we don't really know who invented it. However, from the research I've done, it appears to have originated in England, so today I am thanking the Brits for inventing egg nog.

I've loved egg nog for as long as I can remember. We go through tons of it every holiday season, about a gallon a week, as Ricky and I both enjoy the tasty winter beverage. What's funny is that when I was growing up I had no idea egg nog was an alcoholic drink! My grandmother always mixed it with 7 up, or else we drank it straight. No one in my family is a big drinker, and of course as a child your world view is shaped by the people you spend the most time with. I think I was in college before I realized most of the world drinks egg nog with some form of spirit - sherry or Madeira in England, rum in the US.

Ricky made it for me once with rum in it. Even now, as an of age adult, I still prefer it straight. Or heated with coffee. Mmmm, egg nog!