Saturday, March 31, 2007

I found it!

I know what you're thinking, "What was she missing?" Maybe you even scrolled down a little bit to see if I'd blogged about losing something. Nope, I haven't. You're in the clear!

There has been a smell in my apartment over the last couple of days. When I say smell, I don't mean nice fragrance. I mean ew, gross, spray the room freshener quick kind of smell. Like wet towels that have laid around for too long. Walking in the door of my apartment, I would be hit with "the smell." Not a pleasant welcome home, I assure you. I couldn't figure out what it was though. I had no wet clothes or towels lying around. I even got rid of the old towel in the shower and began using a new one...nope, that wasn't it, I was still smelling it! The smell wasn't coming from the laundry basket, so I knew there wasn't something in there I had forgotten about. It was the strongest in the living room! But there was nothing in here to smell! Ugh, what is stinking up my apartment?! The awful thing is, like with any smell, gradually you get used to it. I mean, whenever I walked in, I would smell it...horribly. But after searching for it and not finding anything, I would begin doing whatever and I would gradually become immune to "the smell."

Anyway, I found it! My trash needed taken out! I know what you're thinking again, "Duh, didn't she check the trash first." Well no, I hadn't mr. (miss) smartypants. It wasn't full. I hadn't thrown away something old and dead and gross. So it just didn't occur to me to check there. However, I have now taken it out and already the smell is dissipating.

Hooray for fresh smelling air again!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Patience is a Virtue...right?

There is one particular place in my life in which I am not being very patient, and the Lord is teaching me much. However, this particular post is about a much lighter topic.

I was driving to work this morning and needed to turn left, so I pull into the left turn lane. This isn't at a light, and I can't see because there are two fairly large vans/suvs in the opposite turn lane. I see a pair of headlights coming, but they're pretty far back so I decide to gas it and go. A heartstopping moment ensued followed by a heartrate that is just beginning to slow down. Two large cars were barrelling down the road! I hadn't seen them and they were probably doing 40. In a split second, lots of thoughts rush through my mind. What do I do? (I tap the breaks.) I've committed and they are in the middle and right lane...GAS IT! They both break (and honk) as I squeal by.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

To Do List

1. Grade papers

2. Make copies for Europe meeting on Saturday

3. Call parent and diplomatically explain that her child is failing because he isn't trying.

4. Go to Hometeams

5. Dance at WW (this is a maybe)

6. Wrap lingerie for friend's shower (Gotta love buying lingerie for someone else!)

7. Work with student regarding project for grad school

8. Go to shower wearing happy face

9. Shop for food for two events

10. Drop food off at necessary places

11. Go to Sugar Land for Europe trip meeting

12. Race inside the loop for preparation of first event

13. Leave Event 1 to go to Event 2

14. Leave Event 2, go back to Event 1

15. Do lunch with friends on Sunday

16. See Wicked! :)

17. Go to church

18. Start another week

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Teachers are to be observed at least once a year by their administrators. They are allowed to be in our room whenever they choose, but observations can only happen between the 3rd week of school and the beginning of April. I've been at two different schools and its been the same at both. They wait until a week before the observations are due and then cram all of them in. If you have only been teaching for 3 years or less, then the observation must be for a minimum of 45 minutes. If you've been teaching longer, then the minimum is vastly shortened to only 15 minutes. (She walked in today at 10:00 and out at 10:15.) Mind you, they can stay as long as they want no matter how long you've taught, but those are the minimums. All of this is a part of keeping teachers accountable. (Of course, it would be helpful to hear it at the beginning of the year so changes can be made...but I digress.)

I like feedback. We all like to be told we're doing well, but I really like to hear both sides. What are some things I can work on? What am I doing well that she wants to share with others? What are some things I'm doing that I may not be aware of? I meet with my administrator and go over her observational notes of the lesson she observed. There are several domains we're "graded" on with Excellent being the top, then Proficient, Satisfactory, and Unacceptable. We have to score at least proficient on all the domains or we go on probation. In that case, we go over our lesson plans every week, meet a lot more often, the administrator is in the classroom more often, etc.

I say I like it, and I do. But there's no stopping the butterfly feelings in my stomach when she walks in. No matter what I'm doing, I always feel as if I'm a bug under a microscope and need to begin performing.

Life hurts: God is Good

So there are times when I don't understand. There are times when life seems to have thrown a curve ball straight at my face (or heart.) There are times when all I have in me wants to groan, "Why?" I was talking with a dear friend last night and it was refreshing to realize....I'm not alone!
God is good. Why? Many reasons, but the specific one that I'm talking about right now is when He puts people in our lives that have just been "there" or are walking through the same situation we are right now and we can walk through it together. We know how to pray for each other, because we can understand!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

She came!

Barbara Bush came and read to our school today. Each grade level prepared a small presentation around an assigned theme. Students were then allowed to ask her questions. It was a lot of fun!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yay for Weekends!

Friday night I had dinner with friends I hadn't seen in awhile. One married couple, one engaged couple and myself. Lots of wedding talk, and there were some occasional "I want that" feelings on my part, but no one did the awkward "We need to find you a man" conversation starter, so all in all it was a good evening. After I got home, I started reading a new book. (Something I only allow myself to do on weekends or days I'm not in school, because I will stay up too late reading.) I stayed up until 2am, but slept until after noon, so it was all good.

I played 4 games of softball Saturday. It was absolutely beautiful enough to not be hot, with cloud cover, but not chilly. I played catcher all 4 games and the only hitch was getting pelted in the shin (Thanks Greg!) :) While I can feel my muscles today, I can still walk without groaning (a big step up from last time!) A group of friends went out to dinner afterwards and had great conversation and laughter. Home to do more reading (again until after 2am) and finished the book! (The guy died, they didn't end up together...sad.) Up this morning and headed to another outside event, this time spreading Easter eggs and carrying flats of water and Sprite all over the place. Free lunch and home to take a nap.

Thank you God for providing a time outdoors in Your creation and a time for laughter with friends!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Even Better!

So the week just got topped off! I'm not going to go into detail, but let's just say that I'm REALLY ready for the weekend. I'm even ready for Monday so that it will be a fresh start.


All I want to do right now is cry. Okay, I admit it...I'm being emotional and don't have a real reason right now to feel that way. But I do anyway. I want a hug.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Today passed with no major incidents. Finally!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I was nervous for a reason, because today brought "it."

I was at work at 6:45am. I'm not a fan of arriving at work when it's still dark. I get quite a bit done, but not nearly enough. Grades have to be inputted today and I'm not done grading everything. Students arrive as usual, but morning work is different. Due to a famous visitor coming on Tuesday, we have a presentation to prepare for and our class needs a star prop. So we're cutting out stars, outlining them with glue and then sprinkling glitter. Everyone must be finished in five minutes, because that is all the time we have. Then they grab a book, 2 #2 pencils and head down the hall to take a standardized test that determines how much English they have learned this year. Another class of students comes in my room to take a similar test. 2 hours later, after many requests to go to the bathroom, the whole group is finished and we switch back.

The entire grade level jets outside to the hardtop to practice the presentation for the famous visitor. 15 mintues later, we're back in our homerooms. Students write in their agendas and go to the bathroom (not usual for this time of day and students do NOT react well to "not usual.")

We switch classes. I have my partner teacher's homeroom now. She got a new student today. We began a project just before Spring Break. Two students were absent because they were "sick." I went over the entire project with the three students, explaining it in detail and answering all questions. Not a complete reteach of the lesson I did for the whole class though, because there just wasn't time. A lesson to all parents: it really does make a difference when a child is absent (and when you move in the middle of the year!) While I'm doing this mini-lesson, an unknown student bent in the paper mache hot air balloon model a student had completed last year for their project. No one admits to doing it. I go off on the class for respecting property and taking ownership of actions.

It is lunch time. I go out with two co-workers because I am going to lose my sanity. We are late getting back.

Finish teaching and switch back. So now I have my homeroom again. We cut out the now dried stars and tape them to a ruler. Our prop is complete. Graded papers are supposed to go home today. Along with averages. This is the "Wednesday folder," but I am behind in grading, it is the end of the grading period and whatever the parents see on the Average sheet is what they will see on the report card that comes home next week. But I'm not finished grading. Students go to ancillary and I rush to finish grading because I'm not done with my teaching partner's class either. I get hers finished but not mine. Class comes back and we're hurrying to file graded papers, get flyers in the "Wednesday folder" and get averages on sheet to go in folder. They call for 4th grade to dismiss. Finally I say "Tell your parents it will come home tomorrow. We're already late and you need to go home." That hasn't happened in 5 years of teaching.

A student stayed after school to play games with me because he is Student of the Week and that is what we do on Wednesdays. He was absent Monday though. While he had time to get his parents to sign the permission slip last night, he didn't have time to get a friend's parent to sign he stayed after by himself. Not a good situation for a teacher to be in. Another teacher joined us to play Sorry and we had lots of fun...that problem solved.

I finish grading. Teaching partner and I input grades into computer system that is slow from all other district procrastinators.

I have a headache. I'm ready to cry and hit something. The day isn't over yet.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What will tomorrow bring?

Today was a weird day. We had a discipline issue happen at the end of the day yesterday that we needed to finish dealing with this morning. It took over an hour. As time allowed throughout the day I was working on a project that is worth 1/4 of my semester grade for my graduate school work. I've known about it the entire semester and procrastinated...I know, I know. I didn't leave work until 4:45 to get across town to campus. Class starts at 5:00. I walked in at 5:30. He had already collected the projects and passed out the midterms to those in attendance.

At 6:30 we took a short break. I turned in my project and asked to see my midterm grade. Remember the really easy test? He asked me to follow him to the hallway, never a good sign. While he's flipping through the pages to find mine, he comments, "If I'd been asked, I would have said your grade would have been one of the best." Another not so hot sign. It was a 38/50. Basically meaning that I got all the "real" questions wrong. It also means out of 300 points for the course and 285 required to keep an A, I only have 3 leeway points left.

I hadn't studied for the test...not really anyway. I've taught for 5 years. I had an opinion with experiences to back up each one for every topic we discussed. I'm interested in the content of the course and fairly knowledgeable regarding it. Another student and I are the main talkers in the class, with different perspectives due to teaching different aged students, but both with a heart for teaching and children. Basically, I went in cocky and arrogant.

Yesterday wasn't so great. Today included another humbling experience. I'm a little afraid of what tomorrow will bring...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Missed Opportunities and Celebrity Sightings

So I've already established that I was in Arkansas for the weekend. In the Little Rock airport, on my way back to Houston, my friend and I were standing at my gate chatting. Well tonight I found out that we should have been standing at her gate chatting because Mario Lopez was on her flight and hanging out at the gate waiting to board. Now most American girls had a crush on Mario when he played Slater on Saved by the Bell and a lot of America watched him on Dancing with the Stars...but it's not like I would fall over at his feet. I'm just not the starstruck type. However, it's fun to be able to say "I saw ____________." The chuckling thing about this is that this same friend had seen Mark Wahlberg just last week!

My celebrity sightings are George W. Bush speaking at my high school graduation, and Barbara Bush coming to the school where I teach. I've never run into anyone from Hollywood before.

So, who have you seen?

Not Just Another Monday

Something happened today that hadn't happened to me in 5 years. It used to happen quite often in high school, summer jobs, discretionary days and twice in college. However, it hasn't happened at all in my teaching career...until today. I woke up after I was supposed to be at work. Our duty hours are 7:15am - 3:15pm. That is when we are supposed to sign in and when we are allowed to sign out. Students arrive at my door at 7:40. There have been times when I arrived at 7:30 or even 7:40, but today was completely different. Today my teaching partner called me at 7:44 and woke me up! Talk about heart-stopping. I never know what happens on days like today. I literally do not remember hearing my alarm go off. I used to blame it on the alarm. "It didn't go off." or "I set the time, but must not have turned it on." It has happened often enough in my life now to realize that it went off just fine. I turned it off and went back to sleep with absolutely no recollection of having done so!

I signed in at 8:33am today and walked into my classroom shortly thereafter to applause. Quite humbling, I assure you.

What a way to start the day after Spring Break!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Topics of Intrigue

I flew to Arkansas this weekend for a girls' weekend. 4 of us that went to college (in Arkansas) together got back together for a time to hang out and catch up. This is our second annual and we've already planned next year's it is becoming a tradition. We scrapbooked for hours, which I loved because no one in Houston will do that with me! We also got pedicures, had a picnic outside amongst a field of blooming dafodills and, of course, stayed up way too late talking. A few of our topics included alcohol, tithing, interracial marriage, support of the military, and submission. (There were a few others too, but I would begin blushing simply typing them.) However, I digress...It was interesting how, with 4 women who all grew up in Christian homes, we had differing opinions on almost every issue. Not necessarily 4 different opinions each time, but still. It was also inspiring because at least one of us had done research on each topic and were able to direct us to verses regarding that specific topic. However, we left the discussion wanting all topics researched fully. We split them up and will report back to each other. I think this is a perfect example of three things.
1. Iron sharpens iron
2. Scripture is our only measuring tool (not society or how we were raised)
3. It doesn't matter how much time passes since you've seen your girl friends, it feels as if you've never been apart.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tequila and Salt

This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where you could read it every day. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone, that you don't even know exists, loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

And always remember....when life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over!

All gone :(

When I was home in January for a wedding, my mom sent several different kinds of venison sausage back with me. They had a bunch...she's not a fan, 2+2= Alyssa came home with some great grub! I LOVE venison, and I especially love venison sausage! I've fixed it off and on over the last couple of months...wanting to savor it, not wanting to fix it when I'm dashing out the door, etc. Today was the last of it though. I've had some each day this week and have really enjoyed it. I could have saved a piece for tomorrow, but I probably won't be cooking tomorrow since I'm leaving town for a few days, so I fixed it all today. Deer season isn't until November...I'm sad.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Zero Motivation

I have a project due in grad school next Tuesday, but I have absolutely no motivation to work on it. It isn't a hard project. It is fairly time consuming, but not difficult. I have to read 15 journal articles about a topic of my choosing, write an individual summary and a reaction/critique of each one. I have found about half the articles, mostly about vocabulary and vocabulary development, but don't really feel like working on it anymore...hence I am posting on my blog.

What are the odds?

I have lived in my apartment for a year and a half. I still get mail for 4 or 5 past tenants occasionally. Some of it "real," but mostly credit card apps, advertisements, etc. However, I find it interesting that past tenants have my same last name. Two in fact! What are the odds? Now, granted, the two former tenants could have been married and living here at the same time. None of the mail comes with both of their names on it, so I have no way of knowing, but that is possible. There are 641 people in the city of Houston with my last name. But I only know one of them...and we're not related. So what are the odds that two of them formerly lived in my current apartment?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So I went out to dinner with a friend last night. We were told the wait was about 30 minutes, so we wandered over to the bar, ordered drinks, and 30 minutes later with no table in sight for us, an appetizer. We were starving! Now I drink things fairly fast. Not because I'm a lush (promise!) but because if something is in my hand, I'm going to be drinking it. Call it Freudian "hand to mouth" or whatever, but I drink things pretty quickly. So my mai tai was gone in about fifteen minutes, with no ill effects. Whereas my friend had ordered a similar drink and when we left the restaurant 3 hours after we arrived, she still was not finished with it...and asked me to drive home!

I find this amusing simply because...well because I do. :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

My Schedule for Today

Wake up about 10:15

Email for a little while

Make a few phone calls

Eat breakfast out on my patio

Take a hot bath to help my softball soreness

Lay down at 12:30 for a nap

Wake up at 4:30

Email for a little while

I have yet to get out of my pajamas, though I am going to Galveston for dinner tonight, so it will happen.

I love days like today!

I'm Stubborn

Yes, I have known this about myself for awhile. However, it creeps up sometimes and makes me do or think things that I later find amazing (and NOT in a good way!) I'm not a big fan of a certain person. This certain person puts me on edge and, quite frankly, makes me angry on a fairly regular basis. I then think mean thoughts about this person. Instead of taking responsibility for my thoughts, however, my mind goes even deeper into sin, because I put all the blame on said person! This is something I continuously get onto my 4th grade students for doing. "He did it!" or "She said!" Ugh! I don't often compare myself to a 10 year old, but this weekend I was acting like one.

Good times!

It is Monday morning, and I didn't have to set my alarm clock. That is bliss!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I took a midterm last night in my graduate work class (Literacy Assessment.) This is an example of one of the questions and possible answer choices: L.M. Anderson et. al (1985) said which of the following... A. If they were in a fight, would Batman or Superman win? B. I don't think I should have ordered this color of carpet. C. Seatwork for first graders is not wise for their developmental growth. D. You can only order original recipe chicken when you go to KFC.

Obviously, my professor is not a fan of standardized tests. He is probably told what to give for the midterm and final. I am a fan of him as a professor! In future classes, I will definitely say, "Sign me up for him!"

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mars and Venus

I was meeting with a guy friend tonight to go over some stuff. During our discussion, friendships came up. Specifically guy/guy friendships and girl/girl friendships. I'm not trying to be stereotypical here, but for the most part, girls are more relational. My guy friend and I were comparing how we each react to a problem in our lives.

Me: I call my mom and three girlfriends. With each call, I hash out the entire situation. I want their advice, their input, their sympathetic sighs or frustrated groans, their exclamations of indignation on my account. I want all of it. I leave each call feeling renewed, invigorated and ready to face life again. (Yes, even feeling that way after each conversation, I STILL call the others!) Now there are other women in my life that will hear part of the story, maybe even all of it, but those 4 will hear it every time. Why do I need to call 4 different women? I'm glad you asked! They each provide a different relationship.

My mom has known me the longest. (Yes, I realize I'm stating the obvious here.) She sometimes knows my emotions and reactions better than I do because she's an outside observer. She has no problem calling me out on things; even knowing sometimes that information will hurt. She's not always gentle, but always loving. She's also a prayer warrior. I know when I mention something to her that she will have a scripture reference for me and that she will pray.

These are in no particular order:
Friend #1: We have history. We went to college together and roomed together for a long time, too (in and after college.) Our schedules don't always mix and she now lives 1/2 a continent away, but she's the one outside of family that knows me the best. As people, we're pretty different, but she's the one I can call at 2am, and I know she won't care. She's the one that will do anything, even the insignificant and inconvenient things, to show me she loves me. She's always supportive, though she sometimes has a blind eye to my faults. What can I say, she loves me! (It's mutual!)

Friend #2: We have very similar personalities. Sometimes we're too sarcastic or "cut and dried." We can help each other soften that while at the same time understanding where the other is coming from. She recently got married, but we've still continued to draw close as friends. I love her dearly and really appreciate the effort she has put into maintaining our friendship. I understand (as much as I can) that it is difficult to do that when your life changes as much as getting married causes it too! We both point the other toward the Lord and in so doing, we grow in life together.

Friend #3: My wise friend. I go to her when I need truth spoken into me. She loves me. She tells me what I need to hear and always has scripture to back it up. She points me back to my Savior. She prays for me, edifies and encourages me, and often has me in stitches I'm laughing so hard. She's a great friend that I rely on quite a bit. We talk about what the Lord is teaching each of us, boys, work, boys, day to day things, hurts, heartaches, joys, boys and just life in general. She is my confidante and one I confide in quite regularly!

Him: maybe he calls one friend.

Just another way guys and girls are different.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Favorite Cookie?

No more Girl Scout cookies :(

I only buy Samoas (excuse me, Carmel Delites) because they're the best! I only buy from students that ask me. Which means, I usually only buy 2 boxes. They are already gone this year. I have only allowed myself a small number each day to drag out the yummy goodness as long as possible. They are so good!

Relaxing or Lazy?

I didn't do a whole lot this weekend. At least in regards to getting something done. I went to dinner with some friends and attended a praise and worship event at church on Friday. Saturday I slept in, watched some CSI online, played softball, then went to dinner with some friends. Sunday I slept in, worked out, read a book and went to church. I did laundry last Saturday that is still sitting in the basket waiting to be folded. My dirty clothes are now on my bedroom floor because my basket is full of clean clothes. I didn't go to the grocery store, vacuum, dust, or even make my bed, much less study for my midterm that is Tuesday. So was this a relaxing weekend or a lazy weekend? I'm not sure...

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Commission and an Eye-Opening Compliment

I was commissioned this evening to get married. Let me back up. A group of people went to a foreign country. Out of that group, a smaller group went to dinner one evening. We had such a great time that we decided to continue the tradition upon our return home. We gathered a few times as a small group for a meal at different homes. Out of this group of 6, there were 3 men and 3 women. One woman got married last November. One man is getting married next month. One of the single men told me tonight that it is my duty to uphold the pattern (girl, guy) and get married because the other girl has been emphatic that it is not her time to do so. He even went on to say that I was holding up 3rd guy from getting married (because the one telling me to get married is not ready either...) Hello!!! I mean, really!? I'm going to stand on the grounds of being a lady here and say it is the man's job to pursue. I can hold my own in the world of flirting, I can give hints (subtle or otherwise) but when it comes to pursuit, it is "his" job. :)

This evening was interesting. Not five minutes before the previously posted conversation I was told by a friend that I have "changed a lot" over the course of the past few months. I am now "friendlier and more open." I wasn't outwardly aware that I had been cool, distant or closed off; however, I am not overly surprised at this observation. The past 6 months were a difficult time in my walk with my Savior. I was struggling and because I was struggling I was reacting badly to some other things in my life. I am now doing better in my walk with Christ and therefore life is going better. Isn't the parallel amazing?

Happy Day!

So today I am wishing Dr. Seuss Happy Birthday (posthumously, of course.) He would have been 106 today. He was 87 when he died. Sam Houston's birthday is also today! He would have been 204!

I am also wishing Texas a Happy Independence Day! Texas has been free from Mexico for 171 years! That's a long time!

I'm sure there are many other things that happened on today's date in history. If you know them, please feel free to share.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

That's a new one!

A student just raised her hand during a standardized test that determines whether or not she is promoted to 5th grade and said "Miss, I gotta spit."