Tuesday, March 30, 2010

william wegman - ever heard of him?

oh wait, maybe this will help:

or this...

uh huh...you're nodding now, right?

well, it is *taks* season in the sixth grade language arts department, and this means it's crunch time. our classes read passages about wegman over the course of the last two days.

they loved the photographs - it made the artistic renditions more tangible for them.

today's learning objective was:

'create a summary about the passage titled william wegman.'

i had some really good summaries. and of course i have my favorite summary...the second sentence goes a little something like this...

"his first dog died, so now wegman is very interested in photography with dog heads."

oh how i love my kids. they totally get the concept, but sometimes putting it into the correct words trips them up just a little bit. baby steps - these are high level concepts and the fact that they grasp the concept makes me much happier than whether or not they can properly express it. i know that they know it. plus, they keep me smiling. :) they are some endearing little bundles.

in the meantime, cee became intrigued with wegman's art. she really liked this one for some reason:

after she saw it, she said, 'oh wait!!'

she came back to me less than a minute later with a beach towel draped over her head, and she said, 'take me to your leader.'

gosh i love that girl. and life imitates art.

jay is feeling kind of puny and under the weather. one of her friends had strep, so i hope she isn't coming down with that. :(

please keep the girls' papa jack in your prayers - he is having major back surgery tomorrow. this is the 2nd back surgery in about a year. he has m.s. and the hope is that the surgeon will be able to remove bone spurs. if there are no bone spurs, then that means his m.s. is simply getting worse and his nerves are causing the pain. there's no rememdy for that.

we are all hoping for the very best outcome for him.

please hope for the best with us. please?


images in this post can be found at the wegman online store...happy shopping. :)

wake up call

Sunday, March 28, 2010

this morning i woke up to cee gently stroking my head. love this. and it gets even better.

when i opened my eyes, her sweet little blonde-headed, snaggle-toothed face was inches from mine, and it had a huge grin across it. her eyes were twinkling...

she said, 'mom, you won't believe what the guy on t.v. just said.'

i asked what he said and her grin widened even more.

'if you can hear your little girls' footsteps, then you're rich!'

okay, i honestly cannot think of a single way in the world that would make a better start to the day.

she did follow it up with, 'he has a really big accent, too.'

it was joel osteen.

she was right on both accounts.

i am so, so incredibly blessed!!!


Friday, March 26, 2010

what do you think of when you hear 'sylvester'? i think of the feeble-minded looney tunes cat who never quite caught tweety...this guy:

however, i now have a new visage that comes to mind when i hear 'sylvester', and her name is *sue*...this gal:

i had yet another God-awful parent encounter yesterday, and i wanted to crawl into a tiny, snug hole deep within the earth and chug a liter of wine. but i didn't. instead, i sulked. like the mature adult that i am.

it is time for me to embrace my inner-sue sylvester...starting now! or maybe monday would be better.

on march 25 at 1:03 pm, i was all but verbally assaulted via phone by a wickedly crazy parent. i came within inches of saying, 'i don't get paid enough to listen to you talk to me this way!' and instead i went with the spineless, wussy, 'i'm sorry you feel that way. good-bye.'

and i hung up!!

i have never done that before (in my professional life). i mean, it is not proper ettiquette to hang up on someone. i felt really bad, but then i learned that i actually did the right thing. who knew it was alright to hang up on someone at work? not me - and now i am armed with a new weapon: the hang up.

it is only 18 days until the new season of glee starts, and i can hardly wait!! have you watched it? if not, you totally should. it more than rocks.

for inspiration, here are a few of my favorite sue sylvester quotes.

-'your delusions of persecution are a telltale sign of early stage paranoid schizophrenia.'

-'i'm about to vomit down your back.'

-'i'm about to projectile express myself all over your hush puppies.'

-'your resentment is delicious.'

-'i am going to create an environment that it so toxic, no one will want to be a part of that club. like the time i sold my house to a nice young couple, and i salted the earth in the backyard so that nothing living could grow there for a hundred years. you know why i did that? because they tried to get me to pay their closing costs.'

-'this is what we call a total disaster...i'm going to ask you to smell your armpits. that's the smell of failure, and it's stinking up my office.'

-'i don't trust a man with curly hair. i can't help but picturing birds laying sulfurous eggs in there and i find it disgusting.'

-'dear journal, feeling listless again today. it began at dawn, when I tried to make a smoothie out of beef bones, breaking my juicer.'

and the list goes on...

isn't she fabulous and charming? she is full of warm fuzzies. and those are just quotes from season one!!

she says it like it is, and she doesn't take any garbage from anyone!!!

i wish that parent would have called and met my inner-sue sylvester. hmmm.

a girl can dream.

my goal for the weekend is to harness my inner-witch.

and buy some track suits.

we can't wear jeans every day, but there are no defined rules about track suits.

and even if there were, sue would not pay them any regard.

mean parents, bring it on. this lady will be staring you in the face...

(but be nice, okay? i'm kind of fragile right now.)

peace (ironic to end that way after declaring war, huh?).

p.s. - snoop is on larry king....sippin' on gin & juice.
*****lk: why the sunglasses?
*****sd: so you can see what i'm saying.

well done, please.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

stick a fork in me.

i am *done*.

that's all.

the end.

double goodness...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

today was a home run on the late passes!!! yippie!

here are the best late arriver notations of the week (and it's only wednesday!!):

student name: harry o.
date: 3/24/2010
time: 8:19 am
reason for being late: i was late getting into the car.

and numero dos:

student name: maddie m.
date: 3/24/2010
time: 8:33 am
reason for being late: i felt like sleeping in.

the end.

death of a....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

...day care.

i am so, so sad. the day care where the girls have gone for, like, their whole entire lives, is closing. i am super sad that it is closing, but i am even more sad about how the situation is being handled.

the girls go to the child care center at our church. conveniently, cee's elementary school is literally on the same plot of land occupied by our church. tons and tons of my decisions about their education have been made around my love of their day care.

i know change is inevitable, but i am not big on change...especially when it has a chance of massivly disrupting the routine my girls have known for the last 5-7 years (respectively).

the announcement was made yesterday: when i dropped the girls off, i was casually handed at letter explaining the casuality. the center will close in order to restructure curriculum and the staff. flatly said, this is their way of weeding out the 'bad' teachers and the families that they no longer want.

the kicker?

it's going to close on june 3 - the last day of school. i am fortunate that i have the option and luxury to attend grad school this summer and i will continue to receive my teacher salary. the majority of parents at the center have 'normal' jobs that include working through the summer. now they are left without childcare and left with 2 months to find an adequate placement where they feel confident in the care their children will receive.

i feel really (insert: selfishly) blessed that this is going to be a small inconvenience for me, and i feel badly for the parents who are going to struggle and juggle their jobs along with their children this summer.

i also feel really badly for the teachers at the center. several of them have been there for 3+ years and have had major roles in developing my girls' education, character, and personality. i have seen them get married; i have seen them get divorced; i have seen them lose family members; and i have seen them welcome new family members into the world. they are like our family for all practical purposes. and now they are left without jobs.

i know, i know.

miniature violin of waaahhhh.....

the economy...

count your blessings...(i am)

it is just such a surprise and a shock and a slap in the face.

apparently the leadership of our church had a lot to do with making this decision.

here is my bite of humble pie (it is bitter): i have never believed that politics and the concept of a business within any church could actually exsist: after all, it's a church. and voila, here it is, staring back at me with evil dart eyes.

there was no parent involvement in this decision. i haven't ever felt so helpless, and it stings even more that i am helpless in keeping something in place for my girls that has been a solid staple for them for....always.

i emailed a dear friend, and she showed every inch of her angel wings in her reply (i wish i had just half of her devotion and faith):

"i do believe that God allows us time to work through these emotions, to feel hurt and angry for a time. i also believe He offers us the freedom, permission and power to release that which is not good for us (even if it might *seem* right) and release that which does not lead us down the path of His choice."

good gravy. do you see why she has angel wings? they are golden, and her halo is extra glowy. she is one of the people who truly helped me survive the 2009 extravaganza. saying that she is a God send doesn't do her anywhere near ample justice.

i know (or at least i think i know) that this might not seem like a huge big deal in the big scheme of things to lots of people; but for me, it is huge. i counted on the center as a big piece of stability while our family went through the divorce. the center was a constant for cee and jay. and maybe now is the time for everyone to move on. maybe now is the time to uncover stones in parts of my life that i wasn't even aware of.

and how crazy is this on timing?? i am working on getting the girls alternate placements for the rest of the year because things at the center just don't seem stable right now (let me go out on a limb and say that things are outright volatile)...

i received an email from one of the directors at a child development center i am hoping will have an opening for jay...her email started with...

'though transitions are times of great stress...they are also times of great character.'

how completely perfect is that!?!? it reminds me that i can't judge anyone in this situation because i haven't walked a mile in any of their shoes.

the lesson i taught at school today revolved around the saying, 'there are two sides to every story.'

so very apropos.

perfectly timed.

the light bulb begins to glow: moment of clarity!!

when i started this post earlier tonight, i was tense and anxious and generally icky.

writing is seriously therapeutic for me...writing tonight has made me feel so much better, so much more at ease.

there is a time and place for everything that happens, and the reasoning doesn't reveal itself until it is good and ready.

i feel like the 'reasoning' has just releaved itself to me!!

ahhh - how i love figment soup.

this little light bulb wouldn't have clicked on if i weren't writing this post.

thanks so much, jenn, for keeping me accountable for completing this post tonight.


(your angel wings are really sparkley, too. and they are (obviously) pink.)

with that, it's time for me to hit the hay. (i didn't sleep a wink last night because i had the day care situation weighing so heavily on my mind)

happy tuesday evening, and may the oompa loompas be with you!

(we are watching charlie & the chocolate factory right now)

peace, love, willy wonka, and plenty of golden tickets...

hide and seek

Sunday, March 21, 2010

where do i even begin? hmmm....

the girls are playing hide and seek and i am cracking up at them. i can't decide which parts are the funniest, so i'm going in head-first.

1.) whenever one of them is hiding, they always make a mysterious 'thunk' , 'bump', or 'bang' that totally gives away their general vicinity.

2.) sometimes they get so into hiding that they erupt into a flury of giggles.

3.) once they are hidden, they yell, 'go!!!' (thus giving them away).

4.) they definitely bought into the concept of 'if i can't see you, you can't see me'...

sometimes the evidence is very subtle...(where's waldo?)

and other times the evidence is blatently obvious...(please tell me you see waldo)

5.) the pups don't help their stealthfulness, either. of course you can't really explain the concept of the game to hank and browning, so if the seeker just follows the pups, they'll find their 'hidden' prize.

6.) the counting. oh, the counting. cee goes from 1-100 fluidly. jay is *so* ready for kindergarten. she can add, she can subtract, she knows tons of sight words, and she is already knee deep in the emergent reader category. however, when it comes to counting to 100 she isn't quite there just yet. her counting goes like this:


twenty fiiiiiiiive...

sixty niiiiiiine...


it is so stinking cute to me. she is dead serious about her counting process. she totally gets to 100; she just gets there in an unconventional and unique way.

7.) my biggest worry now is that they are going to team up on me and hide. quietly. patiently. endlessly. i only fear this because i did this way too many times when i was their age. and as the rules of karma go, 'what goes around comes around...'

8.) love, love, love these girls.

9.) on an unreleated note, today is the last day of our spring break. i didn't accomplish everything i'd hoped to, but it was still a productive week of r&r. i *so* needed spring break to breathe and refuel for the rest of the year. not that i am counting, but if i were, then i would tell you that there are 51 work days left in this school year.

10.) just thinking about the rest of the school year makes me kind of anxious. the dreaded taks test. the never-pleasant onset of 12 year old hormones. the hair-raising thought of any future parent meetings (please no, please no, please no, please no). i am totally looking forward to seeing all my school friends again, that is for sure. it's great to work in a place that you really, really love with a group of people who are really, really awesome.

that's all i've got for now.



Friday, March 19, 2010

i caved.

we went.

had fun.

got some cute pics.

stayed out til 9...

way past my bedtime.


dress rehearsal (aka why my laundry load is ridiculously huge)

sipping a cool drink while waiting for the action to begin...(i love this pic of her and so wish that i could take genetic responsibility for her eye color)

this face clearly illustrates that she is disgusted by the following: the scary man outside this window making cigarettes, excessive mohawks, trash on the streets, people with too many tattoos, war, the economy, poverty, world hunger, global warming, animal abuse, and the concept of the 'skinny jean' (a girl after my own heart).

she scored the best seat in the house and had a good night at sxsw.

we are going to pick cee up this afternoon.....i have missed that little dumplin'!!!!!!

is it seriously already friday? i'd like to propose a spring break mulligan, please.

more later...

spring break

Monday, March 15, 2010

in case the title didn't give it away, i am on spring break this week! absolutely no plans. loosely translated, this means work in the yard, catch up on housework, paint rooms that should have been painted a year ago, organize closets, and make major donations to my local goodwill.

cee is with the grandparents, and this means *lots* of time with jay...yippie!!! i never get much jay time. even though she has decided that minding is optional, i am looking forward to all the activities she has planned for us.

it is sxsw week (south by southwest) - a huge music festival - this week, so i will be avoiding the big city at all cost. the city shuts down an entire portion of downtown to accommodate all the hoopla surrounding the festivities. my friend katie is ├╝ber connected in the music scene, so i will live vicariously through her. katie's blog is really entertaining - you should take a peek if you have a chance. she posted some of her favorite off-the-wall band names, and i couldn't resist sharing them:

-we were promised jet packs
-gay sportscasters
-get cape. wear cape. fly.
-john dear mowing club
-the bike is a pipe bomb
-love of diagrams

these made me chuckle. where do people get their creativity for this kind of stuff? perhaps from impairing substances. :)

i finally figured out my camera that is on loan to me. i wasn't happy at all with the picture quality or resolution. i finally broke down and downloaded the user's manual. what a novel idea. here's jay enjoying some quality time in her room without having to yell at a certain someone to *get out of my room!!!* ah, the peace...

(the big brown blob is big brown browning)

(the yellow walls are what will become a calming shade of light blue in the very near future)

i'm still working on that 'profound post'. i have a high school friend who passed away last week. he's the source of my desire to write this post. it turns out that i am not a eulogist, but i still want to write something to honor his amazing life.

very green

Friday, March 12, 2010

i am green with envy right now.

in december, i was introduced to the blog of 'the pioneer woman', aka ree drummond. what an amazing lady! she cooks like nobody's business, gives advice on decorating, offers insight on keeping up with your home and family, and celebrates photography in a way that i love.

more than anything, though, she is an amazing writer! i can sort of imagine what having a conversation with her might be like because she has so much voice and personality shining through in her writing.

just reading one of her recipes is enough to make you like her. exploring her blog further, you just might actually fall in love. i had no idea that she had any brothers (i knew she had a sister named betsy because of the recipe 'cooking with my punk-ass little sister'), but i stumbled on these stories earlier this evening. for best results, i recommend reading them in this order:

1.) the dallas affair
2.) meet the parents
3.) the oyster incident

i laughed so hard!!

the balance of emotion, humor, heart, and soul that she puts into these pieces are inspiring to me. remember my last post? profound? i do have something really profound that i am working on right now.


if only i had pioneer woman's mad skills to get me through my writer's block...

...ahhhhh. a girl can dream.

in the meantime, i hope you get some good laughter courtesy of my muse.

peace, love, and 'turkey-damn-butt-hell-ass'...


Thursday, March 11, 2010

i have something really good to say.

it's pretty profound.

profound is by no means my strong suit.

the concept and idea are both there;

i just need to find words that are soulful enough to express what needs to be said.

it starts like this:

in the blink of an eye, the universe puts life into perspective.

stay tuned...

shrinking wonder

Friday, March 5, 2010

i was at the store today buying the essentials to carry me through the weekend (wine). i thought, 'wouldn't it be nice to pick up something fun for the girls?'

so i did.

shrinky dinks!!

whoever invented those shrinking wonders is sheer genius.

i will be the first to admit that i am still much more fascinated with them than the girls, but they do enjoy them quite a bit.

their kit came with 5 sheets of shrinkables. this worked out well for me because they each got two to themselves, and this left me with one of my very own!!!

i cannot remember what we 'did' with them after they shrunk back in my day, but now they come with bracelets, lobster clasps, jump rings, necklaces, etc. oh. so. fun. what did we do with them??

it doesn't take much to put a smile on my face...combine me with my girls, a weekend of fun ahead, and some sheets of plastic that warp into hard candy shells when exposed to heat...and you've got one happy person.


new dog, part deux

Thursday, March 4, 2010

alright, enough with the anticipation...

the new dog is...

(drum roll, please)


so here's the scoop. the girls' dad had them for the last two nights. he sent me a text tuesday night that he was 'so over browning escaping'. mind you it was 9:30 at night.

who was the super trooper who made a late-night run to rescue the stranded pooch?

yeah. that'd be me.

i won't lie - he wasn't hard to find. i drove into my old neighborhood, followed the trail of trash cans that had been toppled over, honked twice, and browning came lopping right up to my car. he hopped in, we came home, and the rest is history.

the trash trail was so classic - i so wish i would have had my camera with me.

the only problem plaguing me right now is how on earth i am going to afford the tab he's gonna create from his dog food. he is a mongo cow right now!!! i might start him on medifast. big, big boy.

someone supersized him.

regardless, the girls and i are both thrilled to have him home with us. hank is pretty happy, too. i think it's about time to purchase him a manly man collar since he's now a permanent fixture here...

the girls are playing dress up right now - they both have on very fluffy former flower girl dresses. they look precious. except somehow they both found empty wrapping paper tubes and are currently beating each other over the head with them. in the fluffy dresses.

perhaps i should go stop the madness.


new dog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

got one...

found him...

sweet stray...

loves trash...

smells bad...

finders, keepers...

losers, weepers...

love him...

hank, too...

more later...

peace out...

pics later...

the end.

(guess who??)

how to...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

...stay sane as a teacher: assign a writing project and wait for their creativity to deliver lots of laughs!! here are a few of my faves for today. remember, these are written by 11 year olds.


how to get a job

first you look at all the job listings, and next you find jobs you are able to do. when you have found the jobs you can do, find the jobs you want to do. after you know what you want to do, you can apply for the job.

when you apply for the job, you may or may not get it. if not, you could apply for another job you want. if you didn’t get any of the jobs you wanted, try a job you don’t want but are able to do. you may not want the job but at least you will get one. that is how you get a job.


how to moonwalk

first you put your feet together on a slippery floor. next you move your left leg back and lift your heel. then you put all your weight on your left foot. then you slide your right foot backwards. when your heel reaches your left foot, begin to raise your right heel and lower your left.

now your right foot is behind you. so you slide your left foot back. then just keep repeating that and you will do the moonwalk. at first it won’t look right but with practice you will get faster and make it look good.

first do it with socks on a slippery floor. when you get the hang of it, you will find that you can do the moonwalk anywhere. just like *mj*.


how to read a book written by another person

to read a book written by another person, first that person must find an idea to write about. then they write about it (duh). next they send their book idea to a publisher. after that, their book might be published.

so, if the author’s book is published, it is sent to a store or to stores. then you go to a store that has the book. now you may read the book, assuming you can read (hey, you made it this far).


and that, my friends, is what makes me love my job as much as i do. among my other favorites today were:

-how to make a goat dinner
-how to become a vampire
-how to trick the police
-how to get in trouble at school
-how to get a free turtle
-how to earn lots of money


my students absolutely rock. that's all.

the debacle of my interpersonal skills

Monday, March 1, 2010

have i ever mentioned how much i dislike conflict and confrontation?

for some reason, i am currently frequenting awkward situations that make my blood pressure sky-rocket and my heart race (in the fight-or-flight way with a heavy emphasis on flight).

i have had exceptionally yucky parent meetings over the course of the lasts 2 weeks. these put me in a dismal state of mind and leave me second-guessing my every move.

not to generalize, but parent communication as a whole has been rather frustrating this year. have i ever written about helicopter parents? it is a fascinating concept. i am not entirely dissing this concept, but i think that every child should be allowed the opportunity to learn from their mistakes (within reason - i would not, for example, condone a child learning about the power of cars by playing in the heavy traffic).

it's a delicate balance.

i will be the first to admit that although i *love* seeing the enormous grins on my girls' faces when they receive a trophy, there is a huge part of me that wants to instill the value of competition within them. sometimes there just needs to be a winner. how else do you teach them to reach for the stars? why encourage them to only reach for mediocracy?

this style of parenting is also called 'over parenting'. it's all about removing every possible obstacle from your child's path. at its worse, it can involve parents communicating with college professors about grades (on behalf of their child) and even parents contacting their child's boss about employment decisions (on behalf of their child).



i digress.

i have a situation that's been brewing since last week involving an incident in my classroom. let's just say that i hope the parents of this girl (college age) are not the helicopter type. in the same breath, i can't help but wonder if the subject of this turmoil has been so heavily over-parented that consequences for actions have never been a part of reality. it's hard for me to distinguish between someone who's been enabled their entire life and someone who's truly in the process of learning from their mistakes. tomorrow this episode will be resolved (hopefully).

when you combine the recent slew of icky parent meetings along with the classroom distruptions of the last week, then you might understand why i feel like my interpersonal skills are dying a slow and painful death. life is a two way street. if all these 'issues' are coming up surrounding me and my classroom, i do think that some of 'it' has to do with me. i am the common denominator. the frustrating part is that i can't figure out exactly which part (or parts) is me. if i could pinpoint it, then i would fix it a heartbeat.

either way, wish me luck tomorrow. hopefully the wheels will be put into motion for a happy return to a satisfying state of harmony again.

spring break, i know you're just around the corner. please don't think about leaving that corner, okay? i really need you this year!!!

p.s. - check out this photo gallery on the evolution of the dorm room...makes me wish i was in college right now. :)

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