Thursday, July 28, 2011

Because I am a cat lady,

I am writing a blog about my cat.  I promise not to do this frequently, or to overload you with pictures of the adorable kitties, but today, I wanted the world to know how my wake-up calls go every morning.  Never later than 6:30 AM, I am woken up by sweet Artie.  Lately, it's been closer to 5, and he has been more persistent and harder to ignore than a newborn.  You'll see why in a bit.

poking around me
Usually, what happens is that the covers are pulled down from around my chin.  He does this with this teeth.  This wakes me up a bit, and then Artie proceeds to poke at me as if to see if I'm alive.  He does this with his whole paw, and will nose around just to see if I'm really there and ready to pay him attention.  If I show enough signs of life, he sits and waits patiently for me to wake up and pay him the appropriate amount of attention.

Patiently waiting for attention

The next step (especially if my alarm goes off and every time I hit my snooze), is to kiss my nose, my face, and nuzzle all over my face and arms.  It used to make me uncomfortable, but he avoids my mouth, and I've gotten relatively used to it.


kissing me

loving on me

And finally, relaxing and enjoying all the attention.
Did I mention, he purrs louder than a freight train the entire time, even when I'm not loving on him?  Oh, and he cries and cries if I ignore him.  In addition to all the nuzzling.  Silly kitty.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Confessions

July is winding down, and the last week of July means another week of confessions.  Here they are: nothing too scandalous for you guys this week.  I'm living a very wholesome life. :)

...I may be a cat lady at the ripe old age of 23, but I absolutely love snuggling in with all three of them in the mornings while I hit the snooze once or twice, then get up to start my day.

.... The Dirt Devil that looks like this


might be my newest obsession.  I found them on sale at Target, and since hot pink and boring black were my color options, I opted for the hot pink.  So far, it makes cleaning up cat food and kitty litter messes infinitely more fun...in fact, I don't mind using it all over the apartment.  A new way to make cleaning fun.

...I still prefer to clean when I have a large load of schoolwork/ homework to do.  I like to have my surroundings in order or "just so" before I settle down for the long haul.

....I secretly love wicker.  But not your grandmother's wicker.  Cute wicker.  Wicker like this.

                                              

I fantasize about it, and I want it all over my future permanent home, especially in my future baby's nursery.

...Middle schoolers in large quantities overwhelm me if they aren't in a classroom or school setting.  Working at the bookstore and having hordes and hordes of middle school students come in, several large groups at a time, really threw me for a loop.  I still love the age group, but boy did my stress level skyrocket with all of them in the store at once.

.... I really love living with a roommate, especially in this situation.  I have my own half of the apartment, and on the other side of all our shared spaces is her half.  It works perfectly for me.  I hope I never have to live alone for any extended period of time.




State of Education

Everybody knows that the state of education in the US is pretty terrible.  I mean, we're the richest county in the world, and somehow we can't figure out how to not default on our loans and we're only ranked 25th in the world for our math education.  This instance (where teachers aren't unionized and have no control over this) shocks and appalls me.  How is this supposed to help anything?  http://www.wmctv.com/story/15111127/2011-2012-school-year-indefinitely-delayed-by-memphis-city-schools-board

What do you guys think of this?  One of my friends is personally affected by this and says she will be living (on a diet of ramen noodles and anxiety) until this is taken care of.  Note: the school district did not notify teachers that they would be indefinitely without pay before this hit the press.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Triple Ply?

I just saw a commercial for Quilted Northern Ultra Plush 3-ply toilet paper.  I think this is overkill.  It reminds me of that commercial where the wife throws the toilet paper to the husband and it powders and crumbles all over him....TOO soft!  This also reminds me of my friend Kalena's hysterical story Toilet Paper.  I laughed so hard when I read this.  Of course, I was teaching the same families.  What do y'all think?  Triple ply-- a good idea?  Toilet paper preferences, anyone??

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are They Learning?

Of course they're learning.  Measuring by ineffective tests, however, will probably never show adequate progress in the US.  I wouldn't recommend taking testing into your own hands like many in the Atlanta, GA area did, though.  This article just highlights a bit of the recent education scandal in ATL.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/opinion/sunday/17sun2.html?_r=1

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I've learned and/or been reminded of today...

I am a firm believer in learning something everyday.  It could be a simple fact about your friend, something from the National Geographic or Discovery Channel (can you tell I'm a science teacher?), some random trivia, anything, as long as the bottom line is achieved.  Learning.  Learning allows us to change and grow and be better.  I can't think of anything better than that.  Well, except maybe love.  Anyway, today has been a day of learning for me so far, and I only just finished lunch!  No, I'm not talking about grad school.  The things I learn every day as I work toward my masters are my fallback in case I can't think of anything else I've learned.  Here's a little list.

1) Fondant may look really pretty when professionals apply it to a cake, but there's a good reason I'm a teacher and not a baker.  I ended up being unable to get the colored and rolled-out fondant off the counter-top, so I tore off as much as I could at a time and tried to mend it together.  My cake looks like it needs some serious band-aids or stitches.  I'll have to get creative later to see how I can make it presentable so it doesn't embarrass me when I serve it.

2) I am an absolute grump in the morning when I'm tired and don't have any caffeine.

3) I can also add nursing to the list of things I'm really glad isn't my career.  Baby Bro had his wisdom teeth out today, and I so despise all the gross, nasty stuff about it and my tummy gets nervous every time he stands up because I'm afraid he's going to pass out or puke or something and then I'm gonna have to figure out how to lug this giant back to the couch.  Plus, the blood and bandages are kinda nasty.  Don't get me wrong, I can admire a good battle wound, but this....this was just plain gross.

4) Along the same vein, people on prescription dope drugs can be hysterical.  Bless my sweet parents and brothers for not making too much fun of me (to my face) for all the times I've had to be doped up.

5) I know email gets a lot of flack for being impersonal, but I think that's only when you don't know the person you're emailing well and/or don't have an active imagination.  I got an email this morning that absolutely made my day.  Sure, I would've preferred it came over skype (it was no worse than a letter), because I don't dare hope for an in-person visit.  I've got too long to wait.  I could hear all the voice inflections, the smiles, the bashful body language, the sarcasm, and the jokes just fine, even though it was coming to me through my computer screen.  So I've learned that email isn't always impersonal.

6) Robert Ivey, a Charleston figure-head, passed away yesterday.  It was saddening for me to learn of his death and subsequently think of the influence he made on the city and so many of my friends and people I went through school with.  Here's a link to the news: Robert Ivey News 2.

7) I learned that my jungle kitten has a knack for surviving in the wild.  For the last several days, he's been following me to the doorstep and hovering in the doorframe, then backing away before I close the door.  Today, I popped the dog's leash on his collar and let him hover until he was comfortable enough to venture into the "great outdoors!" A land of shrubbery, grass, and cedar chips awaited him!  My little tracker managed to hunt down three bugs and a giant dog poop in the five minutes or so we were outside.  Curious little bugger.

See? All of these are personal learning experiences, and none of them are necessarily things you would come across in a textbook.  There are lots of ways to learn and things to learn about.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

another week of confessions

...I am only writing this post because want these thoughts to be recorded, but feel like socializing and having to make a two sided conversation with someone else

...I love the military, but despise the necessity of deployments. why we just be neutral? We're not superheroes.

...I just watched Waiting for Superman and it really upset me. believe all of it because the bias is so clearly skewed. We have teachers unions here.

...I have a really sexy farmer's tan right now. and by tan, mean tshirt burn. it looks great with my freckles and ginger hair.

...I also have leftover sunburn, heat rash, skeeter bites, and ant bites from camp and the waterpark.

...This means have been scratching my peeling, bug bitten hiney shamelessly all week. feel like such a man.

Camp Happy Days 2011- Too Cool for School

As usual, CHD was the highlight of my summer.  I'd been looking forward to it for months- since family camp in September, actually.  This year, I was blessed enough to have a fantastic wedding weekend at the end of camp to help me transition into the real world- more about that later.

Camp is a place where friendships and relationships become more meaningful than they do in the outside world.  You will form a new family- one you can pick, and one that's hopefully as awesome as your real family.  Or, if they stink, way more awesome than your real family.  You will experience the highest highs you've ever felt, along with the lowest lows.  My first year at camp, I was flabbergasted by the range of emotions I had no idea I could feel or express.  Most importantly, this is a year-round mission, but the week of camp provides our campers (kids with cancer and their siblings) with seven days of pure, unadulterated, FREE fun, normal, cool, exciting life away from cancer and its challenges and in a whole new world created by the camp staff, donors, and volunteers where they are faced with challenges like overcoming their fear of heights or limited mobility by doing things like climbing the rock wall, doing the high ropes course, parasailing, etc.

Oh, and one of the absolute highlights of all highlights at camp?  TEAMBUILDING!  This year, my favorite event was the three course meal we had to create.  We used the camp theme Too Cool for School, and Thursday was Study Abroad in Italy day.  Luckily, I had a little experience in this area.  Our task? Create FROM SCRATCH, using TEAMWORK, a three course meal in segments.  First, take all the grapes, pluck them from their bunches, throw them ten yards into your partner's funnel, then take all the funneled grapes, dump them in a baby pool, and proceed to make grape juice by a method of your choosing.  Hands, feet, whatever.  Next, all the grape juice needed to be collected into water bottles for storage and tasting.  The second course was pizza.  Using tubs of flour and water, we had to complete an obstacle course (one for flour and a different one for water) to transport both our flour and water to the "baking table" at the end of the course.  Here, our prized pizza chefs mixed, kneaded, shaped, and finally threw the dough in the air and spun it.  We earned top marks!  The final course was, of course, Italian pasta.  yummmmy!  First, we had to crawl through the spaghetti slip-n-slide, dodging the flying chunks of spaghetti, grab "the right amount" of spaghetti, put it in our spaghetti pot, then run to the sauce factory.  Here, our freshest tomato sauce was slowly transported, and the leakage was collected, to be drained into our spaghetti pot.  At the pot were our fabulous mixers, who made sure the sauce-noodles ratio was just right.  The final performance check, as this was a competition, was a tossing of the spaghetti by the teambuilding guys.  This, of course, resulted in a gigantic food fight as more spaghetti than I've ever seen was thrown, shoved into clothing, etc.  This was sooo much fun, but, being that I was slinging raw food, I didn't think it was a safe environment for my camera.  Instead, I'm going to offer you some of my favorite pictures from CHD this year and show you that, at least for the week of July 4th every year, Cancer doesn't win.

JM and Amanda in the shirts they made in two separate states to get pumped for Camp Happy Days University!

Amanda about to stand on top of the rock wall.

We made Uncle Sam in the Kickin Kitchen on 4th of July...sooo tasty!

JM posing on her way down the zipline

Meghan's counselors dressed as Lady Liberty and the Kat in the Hat


JM and Amanda hanging out with our good friend Becky

Chris Kotowski, ambushed by green team kids, losing the frosting fight



Kendall admiring herself at Glitz'n'Glamour while getting her hair and makeup done for Prom.

Me and Emma before prom

The cabin before prom

Teambuilding's intense! This sweet friend broke her finger and has a baseball sized bruise on her leg from playing angry birds, teambuilding style.



camp sees the best...and worst....of you
Dylan got to come for a couple of days!

precious Wyatt before the Balloon Ceremony

Zach and his counselor playing us some tunes
me with sweet Kayla

Meghan...perfectly on pitch as always. Tearjerker!

I could add so much more about Camp 2011, but I'll just let you guys experience it for yourselves in 2012...or at least donate to the magic via my firstgiving page.