nice view

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

i have a new mission in life, and it has a whole bunch to do with this.

photo from artec
in case you haven't heard, anderson has a talk show and it premiers in 12 days! i've been vaguely aware that the show was coming up soon, but i didn't realize how soon, and i also didn't realize how uninformed i was about it.

the picture above is from lincoln center...the allen room. that's where the show is being housed, and as much as i can't get over how soon the fun begins, i seriously cannot get over how incredible the view from the theater is.

this 90 x 50 foot monstrosity of glass overlooks central park, and i am in serious l-o-v-e with every bit of it. can you even imagine watching it with a rainy new york day as the backdrop? the lighting is completely fantastic and delicious.

and on a snowy new york day?

two words: oh. my.

it just might be too much for me to process.

around the studio
for the last two hours, i've been feverishly trying to determine how i'm going to balance getting all my school (squared) work done and squeeze in anderson at 4.

so far, the best i can think of is that i will lock myself in my classroom (with the lights off) at 3:59, i will hide under a desk, and i won't leave until 5:01. this solution is obviously not ideal, and i have never wanted dvr in my whole life because i'm not a dvr kind of person.

until now.

it might be time.

i've also never wanted to be part of a live studio audience.

until now.

it might be time.

okay, i officially sound like a middle-aged lunatic.

i need sleep...and a long weekend.


travel woes

Sunday, August 28, 2011

i am dying to go on a trip. i really want to take the girls to santa monica for a weekend because i know they'd love the pier, the beaches, and the shops. and of course the ferris wheel. and probably the roller coaster.
i'd also love to take them to new york (after irene is gone) and stay in a little tucked away boutique hotel on the upper west side so they can experience the greatness that is central park in the fall.
not sure i'll be able to take them on either of these any time soon, and i'm sure i'll find a way to pacify my wanderlust with a local getaway (oxymoron?)...and in the meantime, my mom was just offered the most incredible travel opportunity...beyond what i could have ever dreamed!

my aunt loves to travel, and she transports herself to southeast asia as often as she can...usually two to three times a year. she loves singapore, and i think that city (slash country?) owns a serious chunk of her soul. my aunt is a pretty cool, worldly lady who lives to travel and write.

she writes for the forbes/mobil travel guide and several other publications (she basically gets paid to travel and write about how fabulous traveling is), and she's also a college professor. a few years ago, she received a fulbright scholarship that took her to northern tunisia guessed it: write. she spent eight weeks chilling on the sands of the mediterranean writing about what she saw.

she's kind of my rock star academia idol (if there is such a thing), and i want to be her when i grow up some day.

she has invited my mom to go with her on her next adventure this november. leaving from houston, they would go to moscow, singapore, thailand, laos, and back home via singapore.

the only hitch is that my aunt would stay a lot longer than my mom, and my mom would have to travel home alone. i see this as a very minor problem in the equation, but since my mom is pretty much blind (did you know that?), there are some obstacles that might surface. i think all she needs is a travel buddy, and being the doting daughter that i am, i volunteered my services without thinking twice.

but after a second thought, i realized that her trip is in the middle of my school year, i would miss the girls infinitely, i have tickets to david sedaris, and the preponderance of what ifs quickly clouded my thoughts.

and now i think a trip to the beach - with the girls in tow - would totally float my boat.
negligible difference, right? only the expertly trained eye can determine which beach is in texas and which is in asia.

oh well - a girl can dream.

peace and pacific(ish) ponderings...


Friday, August 26, 2011

because you're dying to know, i'm going to tell you my dream from last night (you're welcome).

i moved into a beautiful, fully furnished, brand new three bedroom condo with vintage wood plank floors, 10 ft. ceilings, marble countertops, huge closets, two convection ovens, bosch appliances, an island with a reclaimed wood top, a farm sink, and my very own laminator, copier, and heavy duty glue gun.

it was connected to my classroom, and it had expectations on the walls instead of art. instead of drywall, there were whiteboards (which could actually be pretty fun). and there was border ev. ree. where.

i think this is nature's way of telling me two things: 1) it's been a long week; 2) i'm not allowed to go to school this weekend.

happy friday to you!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

that's how old the average kid in my class is right now. that means most of them were born in 1999, and that hits kind of close to home this year. cee was born in 2002, and 1999 is really, really close to 2002. too close for my comfort.

i can't imagine cee and jay growing up any faster than they already are. sometimes i feel like they grow an inch every time i turn my back. i have lots of friends with new babies right now, and it seriously seems like yesterday when cee and jay were trying baby food for the first time or getting their first fever or their first tooth or starting to crawl.

and now they're in 1st grade and 3rd grade. i think this is a question i'll ask myself a lot in the coming years...where did the time go?

where did the summer go? i feel like there is so much i wanted to do with them and so much that i promised them we would do and so much that we didn't get to check off our list.

coulda, shoulda, woulda aside...

school started monday, and they were seriously beyond excited about it...i was excited, too.

this was them on the first day of school, and i hesitated to post this because everybody posts a picture of their kid(s) on the first day of school. i love seeing everyone's pictures of their kids on the first day of school! everyone is so shiny and crisp and new!

i thought i'd wait and post a picture of them on the second day of school to separate myself from the crowd a little bit...but i forgot to take a picture of them on the second day.

they've been with their dad for the last two nights, and 'the fifth day of school' doesn't sound quite as groovy as 'the first day of school.'

a very sweet lady who i teach with sent her daughter off to college over the weekend. i cannot imagine how scary that feeling must be, and i will continue my attempts to convince the girls to live at home until they are at least 35.

the weird thing to me about being a parent is that i know what my kids look like in reality, but in my mind they still look a lot more like this...

 and this...

and this...

but then they say things that make them sound so not one and three anymore, but instead every bit of first and third. and before i know it, they'll sound eleven or every bit of eleventh.

and then i say things like, 'girls, just let me get one good picture...'

and they do, and i can't help but wonder where the time went.

i guess that's just what parents do, right?

i'm ready for the weekend with them so we have some time to kick back and catch up.

alright, back to studying.


the chair

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'orange ghetto chair is temporarily living in lab 198. that's a chair only you could love.' -fb post to the person who used to be in room 127 from the person who is now in room in 127.

ahhh, the chair with a face only its mother could love...and only in my school!

about four years ago, someone decided that a nice reward/welcome back to school surprise for teachers would be to buy some updated, ergonomically supportive chairs for our desks instead of the orange chairs we've all come to know and love.

i know i wasn't the only one who was overwhelmed at the loss. although i appreciated the gesture, i felt like someone had kidnapped my offspring in the middle of the night.

fortunately, we got our old chairs back, riots were avoided, and everyone was happy to have their security blankets. i'll never let mine go again.

someone else commented on the facebook post, 'i guess not everyone can lean like a cholo.'

these chairs have some serious tilt action...probably less by design and more by age. if you aren't expecting it, you might feel a little on edge sitting in the rides that take you way up high and then drop you at random intervals. the leanability is off the charts, but these chairs are relentlessly faithful. some might call them tempermental, but once you get to know them, they are harmless.

back to the facebook post from thursday.

that was one of the days that we had our computer labs open for parents who needed to complete online registration for their students. we had lots of people in and out of the computer labs. at one point, nobody else was in there with me who knows about the orange chairs.

someone came in with a gigantic drink in hand, plopped in the orange chair and got ready to register. approximately 20 seconds later, i saw the most incredible display of panic that i've ever witnessed. it was you-tube-able. the person barely leaned back in the chair, drink in hand, and the sly, orange chair played its card. this person thought they were going down for the count, and they were determined to save their drink in the process.

it was completely amazing.

this person didn't know the chair, and that was the main problem. the orange chairs are so loyal and would never hurt anyone on purpose. sometimes they'll test your trust, but they'll never let you down.

it was great (but exhausting) to get back into a routine last week. the girls were here and there, so i was able to get a lot done. i finally got to catch up with them on friday at one of my most favorite restaurants, and it seems that while they were gone, they learned a new photo pose.

they are so ready to go back to school. they keep asking me to start dinner, and they are willingly going to lay down at 7 tonight (their idea, not mine). outfits have been selected, supplies are ready to be put to work, papers are signed, and tomorrow will be a very exciting day!

i have to admit, i'm ready to get the new school year started, too!!


oh, anderson...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

...yet another of the many reasons i love him. if you can get to the 2:35 mark, i think you'll be right there with me.

today was kind of a long day, and i totally needed it to end with a good, hearty laugh!! thanks, ac.

(brought to you by the letter p...)


Monday, August 15, 2011

i miss them already. i never sleep very good when they're too far away, and i'm pretty sure the opposite is supposed to happen.

i know they'll have a great week. after a sleepless couple of hours, i guess it's time for me to get this school year started. happy monday. :)


count down

Saturday, August 13, 2011

it's that time of year: the time when my calendar goes from looking like this...

to this...

and i love it!

don't get me wrong - i'm not showing you my calendar because i'm presuming that i'm the busiest mom who ever existed. i know there are other moms (and dads and families) who are much busier than me and are managing truck loads more than what i attempt.

it's just that i love the brand of busy that comes with each new school year. we are creatures of habit, and routine suits us perfectly well. somebody once told me that teaching isn't a real job, and i still laugh at that when each school year starts because i don't think that person would last a day in a classroom and still make it out alive. :)

the official count down is on for back-to-school. the girls leave tomorrow to stay with the grandparents for a few days, i start back to school monday, and i'm ready. but i might be pretty quiet on the blog next week.

have i ever told you about the people at my school? i work with a group of completely awesome educators, and some of them are practically like family. it's always fun to see everyone and figure out what we're going to do to make each year better than the last. you know that saying about do what you love and love what you do? well, i think co-workers should be incorporated into that, too.

enough waxing nostalgic...i have to tell you what keeps me marginally organized. it's this incredible creation right here...

(pens not included with purchase)

it has been my organizational bff for the last three years, and i used to look forward to perusing the shelves at borders for just the right one. no more of that (sadness).

one of my most favorite people introduced me to the beauties of family_time dot mine several years ago, and i'm carrying her spirit forward at school since she's devoted her self to the ranks of retired life all in the name of spending some quality time with her family. but i guarantee you her family_time dot mine calendar is still going to be packed to the brim (with fantasy football commissioner duties and reserving tables at bars).

i have to warn you that this is something you need in your life. it comes with instructions, but only so you can experience every ounce of its awesomeness, and not because it is overly complicated to use.

with next week's guarantees of super busy, i thought the quote at the bottom of my calendar page was completely apropos.

'balance is not a static state but is like a pendulum that swings from side to side...' ~judith hansen laseter

that's just another reason the calendar rocks. like your horoscope, the quote almost always applies to your life however you need it to. free interpretation...not an easy thing to incorporate.

on a side note, my new grad school class starts on monday and i have assignments due throughout the week. this will be my first real taste of melding school with school...i am a little apprehensive.

alright - the girls and i are off to sow our last-minute summer oats.

what's that? you want to see a picture of them? oh, okay.

this is them with their new 'thing one' and 'thing two' buttons from the ever-fabulous jftb (and football season tattoos...they couldn't wait).


plea bargain

Thursday, August 11, 2011

'please let Your will be the exact same as mine.'

yup - those words went through my mind yesterday, and immediately afterward i realized it was the plea of a former strong-willed child. i think it's supposed to be 'Your will be done.' period. oops.

i immediately apologized for my psychedelic nonsense and simultaneously said thanks because my strong-willed-ness had, in fact, been the exact same as that of the big guy up stairs.

my mom had surgery yesterday to repair a blocked artery in her leg (thus the pleaful prayer), and for some reason i was very nervous about it. she came through with flying colors (i'm fully attributing this to my strong-willed thoughts).

my mom had an awesome surgeon, and i'm hoping he'll be in my class this year (he looked about 11 and i bet he's a strong reader)...and i think we're both beyond ready to be back at my house (my mom and me...not the surgeon and their a comma for that? there should be - that could be a dangerous confusion!).

this was my bed last is called a sofa bed. hmmm...

i know, i know. it's not all about me...but at least my mom had some good drugs to help her sleep. me? not so much. in a few hours, i'll probably be asking, 'does this floor i'm laying on make me look unmotivated?'

there is something about hospitals that i have always loved...and i caught myself checking out all the gadgets and gizmos and enjoying the symphony of sounds that are part of a hospital's fabric (and found some of them to be more of a cacophony in the wee hours of the night) and counting how many wireless routers are mounted in the hallways (eight per side of each pod) and determining how many ceiling tiles there are per room and calculating the fluorescent to non-florescent lighting ratio.

i also wondered what people on bed rest do during fire drills and how many loads of laundry the hospital does each day and how much the electric bill is for a place like this in the heat of summer...i've worn a hoodie for the entire time i've been here, and i really wish i had a sweatshirt.

alright - it's time to start packing up our things. maybe that will make the paperwork get done quicker. which means we can pick up cee and jay quicker, and that makes everyone happier. quicker! it's practically instant slow motion...running through molasses.

our stay here has been great, and the only thing i would suggest for the hospital's improvement is the addition of this pain scale to their standard operating procedure manual. just for grins. :)

peace and polite pleas...

holy cows

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

remember bear hunts when you were a kid? well, today i took the girls on a cow hunt. the cow parade is in austin, and it was the last big thing we had to check off our summer list. yes, summer is quickly coming to an end. with our trusty map in hand, we set out early so we could avoid the heat.

we started out in zilker park because...well, that's where the map started, i guess. the girls were so excited but that exhilaration soon turned to 'are you sure we're in the right place?' after aimlessly wandering through the park...for an hour...without seeing a single cow. like changing a propane tank, finding the cows in the park was something i was dead set on accomplishing.

we decided to head down town because i knew there would be cows there...we found lots more, and they were cuter than i could have imagined! there was the shady grove peace cow...

the love cow (which i thought was so marilyn monroe)...

jay was partial to the running cow (and cee loved this cow's shoes)...

and cee liked this vintage-y looking guy...

remember how i told you we couldn't find any when we first started? well, we later discovered that the installation isn't entirely complete. this guy (errr...girl) was fresh off the farm.

this one was fashionably high style.

but hands down, all three of us found 'moo-sey in the sky with diamonds' to be our favorite of the day.

they'll be in town through the end of october, and if you have a chance to catch a peek at them, i know you'll love them. i'm pretty sure we'll head out on another cow hunt whenever things cool off...we still have at least 20 more cows to see.

i head back to school next week, and i'll be spending the rest of this week taking care of some family things...this was a great way to say good bye to a wonderful summer, and i'm looking forward to a fabulous school year.

but i am really, really, really going to miss my free time with things one and two. a whole lot.

alright...that's all for now, tomorrow comes with an early start.


report card

Sunday, August 7, 2011

i got my grade for my 2nd class today - a! grad school has been a good 'walk a mile in someone else's shoes' experience for me because i am totally empathizing with how my own class of students feel.

1) thanks to the gre i will totally be able to empathize with the ones who get test anxiety. i finally got my official scores, and i did okay on the reading and math...i kinda kicked butt on the writing part (whilst taking names). ;)

2) i am totally the kid who needs to get a's. i fully understand the difference between needs and wants, and for me, a's are a true need. i have missed 3 points, and those 3 points are driving me bonkers. so from here forward, i don't want to lose any points. at all. no pressure, right? i have a whole new outlook on kids who need a's.

3) i am not very patient when it comes to waiting for my grades, and i think i'll be a much quicker grader this year. and i will never make a kid wait to see their grades or the grade book. okay - i say this now...things could change.

last week when i got my official BlogHer sidebar ad, i also signed up for google analytics. in layman's terms, it's basically a report card for how the blog is doing and what i can do to generate traffic.

i didn't realize how detailed the information would be, and i'm now rethinking analytics. but now that i know about it, and being the kid who needs a's, i kind of need analytics.

i am a little bit freaked out by some of the results it generated. i can tell what the referring site was for visitors, i can tell which posts attract the most attention, and i can tell what internet provider people are using when they visit. weird, right?

you know what's even weirder? i had 14 visits from the u.s. department of justice. that freaks me out a little bit. i'm not sure why, but i am sure i haven't done anything too terribly bad.

and finally, i can tell which countries are providing traffic. the most surprising? romania, bangladesh, denmark, south korea, and russia. okay - there are two more, and in all fairness, i have no earthly idea where they are...latvia and slovenia? where are you??

but don't worry - none of the analysis is detailed enough that i'd ever be able to know keep reading, okay? please? i'm practically begging you.

so...if i was having sleep trouble before, this new information is guaranteed to put that trouble onto the fast track at warp speed...all in the name of massive anxiety. therefore, i got a little 5 mg friend at the pharmacy today...ambien!! i am completely giddy about it, too!

alright, thing one and thing two should be home before too long, so it's time to roll out the welcome mat for my lovely little ladies.

peace and progress...

the keys to my heart

Friday, August 5, 2011

after i finished my to-do list for today, i decided i'd take advantage of my last opportunity to clean house before things get chaotic with the back-to-school madness. next week is filled to the brim, the girls are gone for the weekend, and it's time to tie up all the loose ends of my summer endeavors.

while i was cleaning, i found reason number 549,158 that i love having little girls. so tell you notice anything unusual about this picture?

oh - i'm not talking about the fact that my crosses are not centered over my piano or that my piano is not centered under my crosses (but i have added that to my to-do-before-school-starts list), and i'm not talking about the unframed pictures on the music rack (i'm still in search of the perfect frames for those)...or the magic 8 ball.

i'm talking about the daycare that's taken up residence at the intersection of baldwin and middle c.

i'm also talking about the zoo just down the street near low d.

i haven't opened the bench because i really have no idea what to expect. but i'd like you to know that i dusted around all of it because i wouldn't have it any other way. plus i don't want to disrupt the wildlife.

this hippo looks pretty vicious, don't you think?

for the record, those are either polly pockets or squinkies. whatever they are, finding them today made me smile.

i wonder what gems i'll find tomorrow.


delirious nostalgia

Thursday, August 4, 2011

sea world: we came, we saw, we conquered. and the girls successfully earned rights to a t-shirt that says, 'i sat in the splash zone (four times) and didn't even get wet.'

that's gotta be a record right? it was hot, we had tons of fun, and i have never wanted so badly for a whale to completely drench me with its tail-splashing antics.

it just didn't happen.

but this made it completely worth the effort because they were captivated from the front row...

i had a great time with three of my favorite ladies and we made some great memories.

i got back home to a new trend on facebook. something about 'you know you're from ______ when _____.' funny, slightly nostalgic, and memorable. i'm from a tiny small town in west texas, but not the west texas where el paso or ft. davis are...i'm from the west texas closer to lubbock, and it really isn't quite as west so much as it is a little bit north.

it was so fun looking back at what everyone wrote about our fabulous little slice of heaven, and even though i had hoped to give you a top ten list, i realized it was probably kind of generic when compared to other small towns in texas. therefore, i proudly present to you my top one list. here is the one thing that i think sets my small, 'west' texas town apart from other small texas towns:

1. we had a boot legger named one-legged mary (there's only one way to get that exact nickname).

that's all. :)

i felt like the charlie sheen of insomnia today (minus the gold teeth). i got zero sleep last night. or the night before. or the night before that. and probably the one before that, too, but i've officially lost count. why is sleep playing the elusive game with me? i didn't sign up for this, and i would really like to opt out of this whole 'how long  can you stay awake' episode.

in the midst of my awakeness last night (or was it this morning?), i swear a commercial was taunting me. some person was singing praises about a fabulous new sleep product called alteril and practically gloating to me about how wonderfully it could make a person sleep. who does that at 4 in the morning? it's just not right.

i didn't google it last night because i really thought sleep was going to take charge at any moment (it didn't), and this morning when i found the website, i realized that i'd first have to order it and then wait approximately two days (at best) for it to arrive.

because i need sleep muy pronto, i'm putting lots of stock into this little combo instead:

did you ever see failure to launch? zooey deschanel plays kit, and at one point she says, 'i want to sleep, but i can't...'

she goes on to tell us that there's a bird outside her window (a mockingbird), and that's precisely where our commonality ends.

there's no bird outside my window...and i'm not sure why i can't sleep. but it's driving me completely crazy because i really, really want to sleep.

speaking of birds, do you remember my bird nest from june? well, my sweet friend jftb told me not to knock it down because the birds would come back year after year for as long as it's attached to my porch. guess what!!

a) she was right, and b) there is a fresh new batch of babies in it as we speak!

i learned my lesson last time, and i'm not going to paparazzi them this please trust me when i tell you that they are in the midst of their 'two days of cute' phase as we speak. i don't want to unnecessarily rush them into their 'let's flee the nest' stage.'s time.

come on, sleep...let's do this.


whales, insomnia and running records

Monday, August 1, 2011

i'm on the very downhill side of my second grad school class. this one seemed to go by a lot quicker than the first, and although i'm really, really ready for school to start, i'm worried my time management super powers are going to slap me square in the face somewhere around the first week of september.

in the last four weeks, i have used about 40 different literacy assessment tools and written five literacy reports on different aspects of literacy acquisition (well, i'm almost done with the fifth one - i'm going to read it one more time before i submit it) to prove that i'm a competent, wise and worthy assessor.

i am slightly delirious. it seems that my new fun 'habit' is to just not sleep the night before a major assignment is due. it's not that i'm staying up all night trying to figure things out or organize the paper in my mind. it's just that i simply can't sleep. eyes-wide-open, staring-at-the-ceiling, painfully *awake*. ugh.

therefore today i have been a walking zombie.

on the bright side, i have a two week break before my next class starts.

tomorrow we are heading south for a couple of days of fun in the sun and quality time with shamu and crew. i think i'm more excited than the girls. a sleep-deprived me is not a good thing, and i hope i can catch plenty of zzz's tonight so i'll be able to match their off-the-charts energy.

i'm hoping we'll get to do a little hill country shopping, too, but i haven't told the girls that part...yet.

their bags are packed (although i haven't done the last-minute dummy check...i do this because 6 times out of 10, jay packs nothing but stuffed animals and diet cokes), i have my packing list made, and the bachelorette finale is on.

overheard during their packing conversation:
jay: cee, why do you have a ball of yarn and tape in your bag? do you really think you'll need that?
cee: well, it's just that you never know. we might see casey anthony.

as always, she makes a good point.

(add another reason to the list of why i do dummy checks)

peace and...sweet, restful dreams...

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