Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One thing FINISHED!

Read that title and picture me throwing my fists up in the air in celebration while I shout "FINISHED!"

I took my Principles of Human Learning midterm tonight.  I feel pretty good about it overall, but more importantly.....




It's MARKED OFF THE LIST!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Major headway!  Major!  MAJOR, I tell you!

I have 8 questions to study for my Comps test on Oct 16.  I now feel extremely confidant about one entire question and quite confidant about another entire question (yes, entire!  not just part!)

I also finished reading about the awfulness that was our nation's beginning.  (I'm being sarcastic...I mean I'm not, because that's what I had to read about...but the fact that the author (and thus the professor for choosing this book) are painting it to the extreme would be an understatement indeed.)  The fact that I have zero respect for my professor (outside of the fact she is in the position of controling my grade)...

I still have two chapters to read about how Anglo-Protestants are at fault for everything our nation has ever done badly.  Then I am to write a letter to the State Board of Education proposing changes to the Social Studies curriculum...changes from this reading!  Lord, help!  (He already has...I'm planning to quote Pastor Gregg from Sunday's sermon!)

Buuuuut, I steered off topic.  I read one chapter (almost 50 pages) and prepared for two essay questions.  Success!

Now, I'm off to bed!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank you, Lord!

I just emailed my pysch professor and asked if my thesis outline could be turned in Oct 20 instead of Oct 13. (My comps test is Oct 16) and she said that would be fine! I almost didn't ask...because I didn't want her to think I don't think her class is important...but she was pretty supportive when the Comps test came up last week in class and I just decided to go for it. Praise the Lord!

It means the weekend of Comps will be the test and then working on my thesis outline...but it means I can take that totally off my plate until after the test!!!!

Praising Him!!!

Power Outage

We lost power at school on Friday.  Children enjoy hearing themselves squeal when lights barely flicker, much less go out altogether!  At first, the power was out for about five minutes.  They just barely came back on before they went off again...this time for close to an hour!  It was after lunch, but not quite dismissal time.  We do have windows, but due to the rain, it certainly wasn't sunny out.  The students did a great job of completing the assignment we were on, then we had fun by cleaning out our desks and our totes.  Children LOVE cleaning things!  It's amazing to me, because you know they don't like cleaning at home...but they absolutely love cleaning things at school.  We threw away old papers, wiped out desks, put books in their proper places, etc. 

All in all, they did great, but it was sure an interesting afternoon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bunko Fun

We had a ladies' event at my house last night.  Sheri, Dawn and Meredith did an awesome job planning it!  I was asked to provide the location and didn't have to do any of the other prep work...it was fantastic!

I really do need to get better at taking pictures! =( 

We had 15 girls by the end of the night.  Most were new to Bunko, but it's an easy game and all picked up on the rules quickly.  Sheri had planned 'get to know you' questions to ask before each round, so it was a great way for all of us to get to know each other.  Paradigm is growing so quickly that many people didn't know each other.  "If you found a $100 bill, what is the first thing you would spend it on?" and "If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?"  are fun questions with short answers...and then the head table's bell would ring and everyone was focused on those die!

We had lots of laughter and many talked about getting together for future game nights!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reflections

video
I thought this was interesting...
I know I've already written about being overwhelmed, but as that is my life right now and this is my blog, I'm going to write about it again.

My Principles of Human Learning midterm is Wednesday.

I have a major paper due on October 4 in Cultural Foundations of American Education. I am to write a letter to the State Board of Education proposing changes to the Texas Social Studies Curriculum. So far I've read about how Columbus was really a mass murderer in one book and in another I've read about how we should go back to our Anglo-Protestant roots as that is clearly the only people group the founding fathers wanted to give freedom. Oh, let me tell you. (I hate it when conservatives are portrayed as being idiots...one man does not speak for us all.)

On October 13, I need to turn in a title, references and outline for a thesis paper within my Principles of Human Learning class. I am researching Vocabulary Instruction with English Language Learners. I never write outlines for papers. I just start writing...and usually do pretty well. This will be an extra step and while I appreciate the fact that it makes me stay on top of the research, it is something else on my plate.

October 16 is my Comps Test. I have a packet to study with 8 questions. There will be 3 on the test. Here is just a sampling:
"Develop a list of 6 books that you consider "The Best of Children's Literature" (this does not necessarily mean 'old' books like Black Beauty). Select two realistic fiction novels, two historical fiction novels, and two fantasy novels. Defend your choices and include in your rationale specific ways that these books meet the criteria for excellence in each genre. What age or grade level does each book seem best suited for, or does it defy such boundaries? What is it that places each of these books head and shoulders above the hundreds of other juvenile books that are available?"

Breaking it down...I have to choose 6 books (out of thousands). I have to know and understand the criteria for each genre. I have to be discerning with age and grade appropriate materials and be able to identify why these books are 'head and shoulders above the rest.' This is hours of work. This is only one question. There are seven others.

I am not a person that can usually say 'no' when asked to do something. So far I have said no to two different things. Yes, I'm actually proud of myself, thank you. (And the people I said 'no' to were very understanding and supportive about it!)

Morale is really down at work right now. Really down. I won't go in to details because this post has been long enough, but it's another thing weighing on me.

Looking over a calendar...well, I can understand why I'm overwhelmed. I just want October 16 to be over.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dad's Visit

Dad came in town on Tuesday night for business. He had a show to work Wednesday and Thursday as well as some appointments, but we were able to hang out in the evenings.

I am blessed that my family lives close enough to be able to drive down fairly often!

I took Dad to Lupe's to enjoy beef fajitas. Well, actually Dad took me to Lupe's! :)

Last night, we both got in late. He had a client dinner and I had grad school. But this morning, we got up and went walking.

Dad's dad just moved into an assisted living facility, so Dad caught me up on all the happenings. In cleaning out Papa's house, they came across many pictures that hadn't been seen in years. It was fun to have a family history lesson!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blogging and Recipe Update

I've blogged more this month than June, July and August combined. I find that interesting since those are the summer months. And I'm a teacher. Meaning I have more time in the summer...but whatever.

Everyone absolutely LOVED these rolls! Even people that don't like blue cheese thought they were wonderful. I think I'll try feta next time...just to be different.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pastry Brush, where are thou?

I bought a silicone pastry brush on Saturday. On Sunday, I went looking for it and realized I didn't remember putting it away. I dug through a pretty gross trash can to get to the plastic bags...no luck. I looked in the trunk of my car to see if it had fallen out...nope. I had finally handled a big stack of paperwork Saturday night, which mean the receipt had been shredded, so I have no idea if I actually paid for it...but either way, it's not here.

Emotions

I've been feeling lots of extreme emotions lately.

Satisfaction at the completion of a hard assignment.

Confusion in the midst of several changes at work.

Feelings of low morale at work while our uppermost administration makes some changes. One co-worker said it best, "The administration doesn't trust us, and we don't trust the administration." There is currently a chopping block set up and it feels as if most any one's head is on it.

Frustration with school and one of the classes' assignments. They don't seem to make sense. They also don't seem to show respect to all sides. As a believer in Jesus Christ, my flesh is frustrated when the world wants and demands respect from all, but does not give it to all...and Christianity and Christians seem to draw the short straw continually. I am aware the Bible talks about this, prepares us for it even, but that does not make it easy.

Loneliness...I'm struggling for community. A friend hurt my feelings pretty deeply several months ago. I'm not sure how to solve it...or if it's 'solvable' and if it is, what to do about it. It seems as if everyone is living a life that doesn't include me. I know that's not the case and at the moment maybe I'm having a pity party, but the hurt is there. Tears are welling up as I type this and since I'm not a crier, I'm not sure how to handle that.

Sadness...a good friend of mine is hurting deeply due to situations completely out of her control. And I hurt for her. I know prayer is powerful. I've seen its results...lived them...believe in them. But I want to do something more than pray and I just don't know what to do.

Overwhelmed. Grad school is kicking my tail. I know it's over soon. I get that. But it's not over right now. And it's not just the semester of classes, but the Comprehensive Examination I have to take in the middle of October before I am eligible for graduation. UH stinks when it comes to anything administrative and I constantly feel behind the curve when it comes to being prepared.

Loss and transition...my assistant principal is moving to Fort Worth. She's already gone most days of the week, usually in school one or two days every other week. She's officially gone in December. She is the glue that keeps our school running. Don't think I haven't thought about following her!

Drowning...the medical bills have started in again. I sat down to pay bills last night and quickly felt as if I didn't know which way was up. I've had to stop saving money, because those funds are needed to pay bills. I've never had debt before and do not like how this feels.

Like I said...extreme emotions...and none of them have been very good. I'm frustrated, confused, overwhelmed and feel as if I don't really have an end in sight. Not true, I realize, but my feeling nonetheless.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mystery Rolls

I found a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman. She's like my personal cookbook. I don't have to flip pages. I just type in a key word or click on a category and skim for something I like.

Becca asked me to bring a snack of some type to class so we'll see what people think about these!

Fall Leaves and Temperatures

I know it's a little early in the season. I mean, it's not even officially 'Autumn' according to the calendar.

But I want it to be.

I want cooler temperatures.

I LOVE Fall decorations.


I see little scarecrows and pumpkins and mums and hunter green and burnt orange and rust red in the stores and I imagine my house covered in them.

I'm ready for crisp breezes and long sleeve shirts and boots and pumpkin spice wafting through my house.

I'm ready for fall.

So...I redesigned the blog colors with Fall in mind.

I might be able to wait until next weekend to decorate for my all time favorite season...but I doubt it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dinner for the Neighbors

It's been on my list for awhile.

I've been a little nervous to actually do it. I mean Jesus would want me to and people think Jesus is weird. Hospitality? In your home? With kinda complete strangers? Who does that in today's day and age?

But I want to have them over. I want to get to know them. This home may be temporary, but why should that stop me? I've been here a little over a year and so far I know almost all my direct neighbors by name and all of them by sight. I know what a few of them do for a living and can chat with the little old ladies as they move down the sidewalk with their walker and their dog attached to it. (Something that never ceases to stop my heart's beat for a moment!) But I don't know much more than that. I want to change that.

I'm not sure how or when...but soon.

Why would it be a big deal? I mean, they're neighbors. I live near them. But it's not like I have anyone's phone number. I don't know their last names. And it's a little awkward to go knock on their door and say, "Hey, want to come to dinner?" So I'm hoping to do it casually. When I see them in passing. Now the decisions of what to serve, how many of them to invite (there are 7 in all, plus me) and also trying to figure out if any of them already know each other!

You can make fun at my inner conundrum if you'd like.

But I still want to do it.

Spending a Day Off

Yesterday was Fall Holiday in HISD, so we didn't have school. However, the building was open (which doesn't happen...like ever) so I was able to go catch up on a few things. I couldn't stay late on Thursday afternoon, so didn't have lesson plans finished, papers graded or copies ready for next week. That's never a good feeling, so I was glad to get in and accomplish quite a bit.

Then I ran to UH. As I posted about earlier, I'd been given the wrong textbook. I drove around for awhile...Have you ever tried to find parking on a college campus?! And then was able to handle the book. They gave me my money back and I purchased four of the five books I do need for this class. Yep, I said five books. I still need to buy the other one. Gotta find it in paperback first...I wasn't willing to pay for the hardback version.

After that, I walked across campus to the building I meet in for classes so I could turn in paperwork for a test I have to take in October. Turns out, I wasn't able to do that...I didn't have all the correct papers with me, so something to do another day.

My last stop of the day was to recycle all the items that had been in my trunk for about a month...just waiting for me to be anywhere near the recycling plant.

Home at 3:45...about the time I would have arrived home if I had actually worked yesterday. But not having kids is a nice break and accomplishing errands is always a good way to mark things off a list.

Now to pay bills, clean the house and do some baking! But first...Lupe's for lunch. Mmmmm!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If you can hear me, clap once.

Every teacher has a bag full of tricks for getting a group of students' attention.

The classroom may get too noisy during group work. The assembly hasn't quite started yet, but the conversations sure have! Going home...oh, the woes of dismissal duty. I HATE DISMISSAL DUTY! Yes, I just shouted that out loud in my head. It's the end of the day on Thursday. We don't have school on Friday. I should be ecstatic, but instead my eyes are almost crossed from the pain of this headache. Why do I have a headache?

There are more than 200 students in the cafeteria during dismissal and that is my assigned duty station. I have no control over the number of children. I am asked to keep them quiet and get them safely on their bus or day care van.

Typically, when an adult says (in a regular voice) "If you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, clap twice" it takes just a moment to have a completely silent room...even a large room. Not so at dismissal. The caucophony of sound is beyond anything any child cares to change. They feel as if they are free and they do not care to be restrained. There are approximately 6 adults in the room. Some of them care about the noise and the dismissal procedures. But sometimes, we just want to chat and don't pay attention to the din of sound echoing around us. Hey, it's the end of the day and we're tired, too.

My throat hurts from trying to project my voice to be heard. My head hurts from the noise and frustration of trying to get all those kiddos safely (and quickly) out the door.

Any teachers out there? Can I get an "Amen!"

7:11

I've seen several FB statuses about looking at the clock and it being 9:11. I'm not saying that has never happened to me, but I don't remember it. I do however, look at the clock and see 7:11 quite frequently.

I remember a time when I was 7 years old and my sister was 11 years old. We both got a kick out of our ages being 7/11 and joked about selling slurpies to the public. I know it's a little thing, but we laughed about it and I still smile each time I look at the clock and see 7:11.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Private Eye

I'm a crime show junkie...I admit it. I've never been in to the reality television. It just seems stupid to me. (Can we still be friends?) But the crime shows...I love them! My newest faves are White Collar, Covert Affairs and Rizzoli and Isles, but I also love CSI: NY, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. Oh and how could I forget Criminal Minds! Derek Morgan, you are my husband. You just don't know it yet!

I DVR all of them (oh, the DVR...how I love thee!) and love catching up on multiple shows at once while unwinding from a long week.

So yes, I love the crime shows, but I have found myself turning into an investigator in my personal life. I don't mean asking nosy questions. I just mean in general observation skills. I'll start noticing the cars around me and practicing how long I can memorize their license plate. What if they commit some heinous crime and the police need to find them and I'm their only lead!?

I know. I'm a nerd. It's okay. I've embraced it.

This morning a big truck was a little too close to my bumper. There was plenty of room for him to go around, but apparently he didn't want to. I changed lanes and we ended up being next to each other at a red light. I made a point to see it was a RAM 2500, gray in color and when he pulled out at the light, he had one of those attachments at the back with (what looked like) a motor of some sort to run a machine. I couldn't see the plates and then noticed he was turning...into the fire station. So first thought, ok...he's a fireman (um, is he hot? Man! Wish I'd gotten a better look, because there is just something about a man in uniform!) Then I thought...I'd better pay attention this afternoon, because if the fire station has been blown up, I want to let them know I saw something suspicious.

Yes. Yes. I have a sickness.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If it weren't screwed on...

I have several tupperware containers of vegetable soup in my classroom fridge. Hi...have you been in Houston lately? Yeah...don't want to eat hot soup. Blech, blah, nope.

I'll take it home and freeze it until December...or January...when we might have a few days of cold weather.

So today I ran to McDonald's...it's the only drive thru place close enough to school where teachers can run and be back in time to eat and still pick up our students from the cafeteria on time.

I pull up to the pay window and see the car in front of me drive off. Not pull forward...drive off.

I pull forward to the 2nd window and see Happy Meals, multiple drinks, etc and say "I think that might be theirs" and about this time the SUV started to back up. She had been just about to pull out of the parking lot. The embarrassed mom rolled her window down and laughingly said, "I don't know where my mind is today."

We've all had those days before I think!

What happened to etiquette?

I know there are definitely things about "old-fashioned" etiquette that no one misses. Ladies unable to breathe from tight corsets or practicing their posture by walking around with books on their heads.

But there are some things that etiquette is good for. =)

I once read from Ann Landers or Dear Abby...I can't remember which, that etiquette is there to help society interact.

Most ladies like it when a man opens the door for them. We'll call that chivalry, but it falls under the etiquette umbrella nonetheless.

I teach my students to walk through an open door, but to put their arm on the handle to hold it open for the person behind them. Some children like to try to beat the closing door and dash inside, then the door slams into another person or closes in their face. We don't need a door man, but simply each holding it open for the person behind us.

Sometimes it seems our society or our generation has let etiquette go with the excuse of "This is who I am...deal with it."

People are perpetually late to a meeting or event with a predetermined start time. Or invite someone else without asking the host/hostess providing the meal. RSVPs don't seem to mean anything. One might say yes and then no show, say no and then come or simply never reply at all. Have you ever provided a meal for people and had unexpected guests? Or spent money and time only to have fewer people? It's frustrating, isn't it?

I realize this is a soapbox for me, and yes, I'll step off it now.

Oh wait...one last thing. I've also noticed that the person being affronted is frowned upon when reacting as if something is wrong. I don't understand that either.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wrong book

I just realized the textbook I have for my online class is the wrong one.

We didn't need it for our first assignment, so I haven't pulled it out until now.

I bought it from the campus bookstore...walked in, told them the two classes I was taking and she handed me two texts. I didn't pay attention to their titles, just paid for them and left.

Now, I'm hoping they'll take it back and give me the one I really need!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sniff, Sniff...Mmmmm!

After surgery this summer, I stumbled into bed and slept for a little over two hours. Mom was a gem and ran to Walgreens to pick up my prescriptions and Sam's for some food. When I woke up, I smelled something heavenly in the kitchen. She had brought home one of those ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens and was cooking some fresh green beans. I wasn't supposed to be eating much, but the medicine needed me to have something on my stomach heavier than applesauce.

My mouth began watering immediately upon inhaling...even as my eyes weren't quite open while walking down the hall towards the kitchen. I hadn't eaten anything in about 24 hours and the smell of that chicken...Mmmm! That chicken and green beans were wonderful!

I ended up having about three small meals in the span of about four hours...all consisting of chicken, green beans and applesauce. Maybe an interesting combination, but I still remember its yumminess!

Do you have a meal like that? I don't mean a holiday meal...we all have those. I mean a meal that you attach to a specific event and now that item seems to taste even better?

I bought a rotisserie chicken today at HEB. I put all my other groceries away, but couldn't resist slicing off a piece of golden brown deliciousness!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Seeing Stars

I was getting in my car last night after leaving a restaurant. The large SUV next to me was pretty close. The driver was in it and the car was in reverse, but wasn't moving. The driver was chatting on the phone, but I wasn't sure how much time I had to get in the car or if I should wait. After realizing she wasn't moving, I decided to go for it.

It had been a long day at work and kind of a tiring week, so I was pretty weary. I'm not sure if that's the reason or if the closeness of the vehicle or my unusally high heels. Whatever the reason, I really whacked my head on the roof of my car as I was trying to get in. It is swollen and now 12 hours later, I still have a headache.