Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are you ready to ROCK... maybe not

Ok folks do you need another reason to love Rainn Wilson? Dwight is my alltime favorite character on The Office for being the most ridiculous, intense worst co-woker ever. He was also all too good in season 4 of Six Feet Under as the creepy mortician Arthur. So I was dancing the happy dance when The Rocker arrived Monday from Netflix.

I had high hopes for this over the top 80s metal band parody staring some of my favorites from recent sitcoms: Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), even Howard Hessman from WKRP was in this movie!

Aside from the many dick and fart jokes and the over the top outfits that always seemed to be the most unflattering, channeling Will Ferrel's mojo found the movie was a bit of a letdown. We wound up watching Jim Gaffigan's latest standup we had Tivoed afterwards and THAT was way too funny so the night was not a total loss.

My favorite line referencing why people go to Waffle House, "it's 2 am, but it's not too late to make one more major mistake tonight... the sign with it's burned out letters looks like a ransom note". HOTPOCKET!!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

"though much is taken, much abides"

This was the subject line in a email from Friday. Really, could the week ended on a worst note? It started with a 6:45 am Monday emergency faculty meeting to announce the suicide of a student over the weekend. Throughout the week it seemed making it to Friday or even Saturday would never happen.. and then to find out that my 2 year NCCAT seminar was ending with our August session (going fly fishing, so a nice send off).

While I totally understand that in an era of cutting back teaching positions, that paying for a teacher retreat doesn't make economic sense, but ending this opportunity and possibly NCCAT all together breaks my heart. All day Friday our cohort of 25 members emailed each other, state reps to beg for it to be spared. I saw frequently misdirected anger-filled emails to the incredible staff of NCCAT who had made the decision to cut the program (as well as others).

So after some thought I drafted a letter to all and cc the facilitators as well as the executive director of NCCAT. I felt that someone should voice that, "this decision was not made lightly, and that while disappointed I understood". Here's a small piece of that email that unwittingly set off even more discussion.

I cannot express how much being part of this group has meant to me professionally and personally. I know that the relationships we have made will continue on even without the physical meetings. If given the choice of ending Heart of Teaching or allowing the 21 teachers that are loosing their jobs at my school, I would choose to keep quality teachers where they can do the most good... especially after a week where many of us have played mothers and counselors to our kids. I know this decision was not made in haste as NCCAT keeps us in these roles.

I start this week with hopes of a less stressful and angst filled week. I am leaving for Destin, FL to visit family as of 2:30 on Friday. If I have ever needed a few days away from my daily reality, it's now. Here's to the 120 hour countdown 'till I can roll our of town with preschooler in tow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's Your Theme Song?

I often play all these lame ice breaker games on the first day of class and among them is to determine what is YOUR themesong. You know, the soundtrack of your life...what music motivates you to action.

Since my friend LauraC is running a half marathon tomorrow I thought I would leave her my personal playlist of what's always on my IPod at the gym. She once told me some her her running music and I had to laugh at the excess of 80s classics. What Up Rock me Amadeus! I especially the ones that are sing-long.

Happy Birthday and Half Marathon! May the heavens open up and not rain for the 2+ hours you are kicking ALL our butts! Here you go.. enjoy!

Get Up On It Like This- Chemical Brothers
High and Dry- Radiohead
Behind the Wheel- Depeche Mode
Battleflag-Lo Fidelity AllStars

And my secret push it to the extreme song- Public Enemy's Fight the Power

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Total Random and yet Funny Thoughts...

I texted Bill to find out if our son had worn shoes to school today. It appeared he had engaged in a mad dash through the house this morning trying to find ONE non-pee soaked pair. Yes, he had found hand me down shoes that look like Ben is going to give Enemim a run for his money to star in 8 Mile-Part 2

Nextflix movies that arrived today: Wow Wow Wubzy and The House Bunny. I don't know which I would consider more torture to watch.

Bill has definitely gone to the dark side. Check out this t-shirt he got Ben for the summer. The 1994 Bill I knew would have NEVER, EVER betrayed Steve Jobs like this... for shame!

In the Family Fun magazine I was reading tonight, found a super idea to make a Passport for Errands. The Goal being teaching how the world works in a fun way and reduce whining on routine errand trips. Check! Included are pages dedicated to "sights to see at the supermarket" and "clearing customs" with stickers from the cashiers. File this under Future Fun in my Big Binder of Cool Kids ideas (yes it exists...did you even have to wonder)?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Be Cooler IRL than you are Online!

This has typically been my moto as to why am I the last person to get on Facebook. I have heard what a addictive, time-sucking activity it can become and figured I didn't need in. I now understand why I have gotten the hard sell from old high school, college, sorority friends to get my butt on FB. This is like a little daily mini-reunion with all the people who used to know you "back in the day".

The friends that know crazy stories about you or can vouch that you weren't always a super-cool savvy adult but a fatty, braces-wearing, frizzy-permed 8th grader waiting for life to happen.

Since I was home all day with Ben on Friday I took advantage of an extra long nap to set up my page and upload photos. I had to wonder how much info to put on my info page as in many ways you wouldn't recognize the mature, 2009 version, but in lots of ways I am the same ol' "making bad comments on the back row of class", crazy Heather that convinced you to to ridiculous stuff. I just now have to make sure I have a babysitter first.

I have gotten lots of messages back and most have a theme:

1. You have a kid? He so looks like Bill!
2. You are a teacher? Really... no one from my HS believes this without laughing!
3. You look nothing like I remember! This last one makes me smile as I will take that a code for my hard work and improved lifestyle has returned dividends.

It has make me happy to know where people that I spent way to much time with at some point in life are in 2009. How did the life they were waiting to happen play out? Are they married/single/divorced in a few cases? Who has kids and how many? Who still is living like it's last call at the Florabama (the BEST dive bar ever BTW). How has religion and politics changed them in ways I wouldn't have guessed.

My old DZ little sister had the BEST job description (she is a teacher too) and commented that she bet kids loved my class... THANKS... with her permission I had to use it to describe my job!

Teaching classes, monitoring halls, handing out belts, drying tears, breaking up fights, redirecting misdirected anger, aggression, etc., extinguishing fires, and generally raising children up in the way that they should go!

I'll take that sentiment and totally accurate description! For those who know me now as well as then that I'm glad our paths crossed!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Operation Tidy Up

I had to laugh as the comments on my post detailing weekend endeavors, "you had me at THEN I cleaned out the outside storage closet" Am I that predictable folks!?!

I think I have some rare disorder in which it gives me great joy to clean up/organize what I perceive to be chaotic/messy situations. Productivity is fruit of the Gods and gives me some whacked sense of worth.

At any one time I seem to be running in about 10 different directions or planning something 5 steps out. A friend at school mentioned having a conversation with me is like talking to a schizophrenic as I jump topics multiple times in a conversation.

Just to make you laugh, here is a picture of my desk at school. This is the way it ALWAYS looks (minus the flowers from Bill a month ago). Very neat and organized. I keep all these crazy rules about how I work, when I work, ok... for most life components in general.

Since I have this overwhelming desire to have control over mess my rules keep me sane and functioning, even if others think I am completely nuts. I bet you were wondering anyone who keeps a Mr.T picture on their desk has a few loose screws anyway, and you would be right.

One of my biggest concerns is that I am passing this behavior on to Ben. He is like me and picks up to the last detail willingly, even takes other toys from kids to "put them away". He recently told a friend her floor was dirty. Oh brother am I turning him into me?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend, What Weekend?

I think you can say I overdid it this weekend. It's now almost 10:30 on Sunday night and I'm finally finished with a full list of tasks to get ready for a insanely busy week. So here's what I got done in the last 48 hours.

Ben is MUCH better after using shameless bribery to get his to take his meds. We canned the Zoo today as he still has some cough. We DID go on a long walk to the playground and played in the yard most of Sat afternoon.

Sat- Up with Ben in the am, chores, yoga class at the gym, got lunch together and then worked outside for the next 4 hours (mowed grass, weeded and tilled all beds front and back, weed eater and blew off the driveway). THEN I organized the entire tool shed as I was putting stuff back. More laundry, picked up dinner, more laundry, mopped the hardwoods, watched Harold and Kumar and answered Facebook messages, read until I fell asleep

Sun- went to church (Instead of giving up something for Lent, trying to add something +), more laundry and chores, went out for lunch to use up expiring coupons, went to the gym to swim laps, got Ben up and went for a walk, started dinner and made a grocery list, went to HT and CVS, unloaded groceries, more laundry, steam cleaned carpet and stairs (Bill helped with this) and now ready to collapse.

So what did I NOT do in my spare time: grade paperwork, sleep over 6 hours any night, file insurance stuff, watch much TV or listen to TAL :-( (yet). Bill was a big help in entertaining Ben and getting him to bed both nights!

I am proud of getting alot done including finally setting up my FB page. Post coming later this week, but I will say as finding out that had I not met Bill in the Fall of 1994, I could have wound up a preacher's wife made me laugh out loud. Going to bed.. oh wait have to put laundry in the dryer and start the dishwasher again!

Friday, March 20, 2009

NOT Finished for Friday

I had really good intentions for this week to get alot done. My major item accomplished was the fruition of a long planned fundraiser at Chick fillet that raised another 250.00 for our club charity! Bring it on balloon animals and spinning the wheel of free food. I glad handed the crowd like a politician 8 points down going into election day. I have NO shame and will approach anyone much to my students amazement.

The rest of the week has been spent in multiple Dr offices (3 total involving all 3 Vinsons at some point this week) as well as putting out unexpected fires at school.

So my goals for the weekend are as follows:

1. Help Ben feel better!!! Poor little guy has bronchitis. Home today in hopes he will be better by Sunday. Camp Mommy to the rescue!
2. Steam clean all carpet in house as part of multi-week spring cleaning
3. File more insurance claims to the bureaucracy Gods
4. Till some compost and soil additives into my annual beds
5. Finally, I mean I am the last person on Earth, set up a Facebook account. I keep getting total crap from old friends asking if I live in this century? I doubt I will be on all day as my school blocks the site, but then I would have never expected to have kept up this blog. So here's to being "10 minutes ago" with technology.

If and only if, Ben is MUCH better we were planning a trip to the Zoo on Sunday. We'll see if he's better although looking at next week commitments, I don't want to tempt fate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

1 Beginning, 150 Endings!

I just finished Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather Mcelhatton. The author is definitely a Veronica and NOT at Heather (Chandler, McNamara, or Duke) to disseminate this level of creativity!

The tag line for this book is, "Choose Carefully. Change Everything" This is a do over novel that allows you to follow what is a funny, bittersweet, outrageous story all within the span of a 10 page saga of your life playing out.

I couldn't wait to start over as in my first life I dropped out of college, traveled with a cult to LA, decided to sleep my way into an acting career only to die in a freak random shooting in the drive through line at In and Out Burger.

Yeah baby... what else you got for me!

Since most of last weekend was spend inside with the cold rain outside, I indulged in hours of reading. In totally uncharacteristic nature I finished all 502 pages in one weekend.

I loved the show Six Feet Under for the same reason I really loved this book. Every life has value and meaning and sometimes it takes not knowing until the minute you die to figure it all out. A must read again!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tales From the Little Potty-Volume 5

This is the SHOUT-OUT version... Welcome to the club Nate! We are proud of YOU!

Last night while I was getting dinner ready Ben proceeded to strip down and start dancing in the kitchen. All to a get down on it mix of Marketplace and Tad from his Leapfrog fridge animal matching game. I'm so going to cut a record of this fabulous mix as there is nothing like Kai Ryssdal interspersed with moos and clucking.

He went over and sat on the potty and started talking about pooping. He started naming all the people that he knows and if they had pooped. Seeing this is still a major hurdle and I am really tired of poopy underwear, I asked if he wanted me to sit on the floor with him and read a book. YES, Mommy! So we sat, and sat, and sat. and then....

POOP! A big potty dance and stickers all around. He refused to put his pants or undies back on so he went commando the rest of the night. Ben so earned it, even it is wasn't the most pleasurable dinner entertainment!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Student was Published on NPR!

About two months ago I submitted an AP Gov student's essay to This I Believe, a weekly segment on the show All Things Considered. It had been our closing activity for the course. I figured it would be a total long shot to be accepted and that likely our class would be the only forum ever to hear their work. Guess not!

My student was contacted that her essay was published in it's entirety on the NPR site. While they are not going to read it on the air, I am proud that of the essays submitted to this national NPR show they picked hers to publish. Check out her essay titled Is Mac n'Cheese Yellow Better than Pink Flamingo?

Before I even knew this awesome news, as I was sitting at church Sunday I thought about this class of Seniors about to graduate. I had just heard that St. Francis will be the site of my school baccalaureate services in June and there was a call for church members to provide the reception.

Of the over 1000 kids that have passed through my doors I will miss a select group from this class more than any other. I feel through teaching and knowing so many from NHS for the past 3 years that I have watched them mature from gangly 15 year olds to seniors about to embark of a great new chapter of life.

Students like Eileen are rare so when you get the chance to know them, it makes your day, semester, and career.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Best Export from SC Since Stephen Colbert?

I admit that my love of early bird cafeteria food as well as watching 60 minutes every week puts me in the dorky column of my age group. 60 minutes almost always has a good interview or expose story. I trust their fact checking and was very grateful that they were reporting on the Bush Administration and Iraq when most of the media had turned their head. This little seen movie The Insider is a personal favorite for superior acting as well as commentary on how 60 minutes in a rare incident let CBS Corporate dictate refusal to air a controversial story exposing a Big Tobacco whistle blower.

Last night they aired first interview that current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has ever given. The interview is front page news this morning as he talks about when he thinks the recession will end and signals for recovery. He also talks of mistakes the Fed has made in the bailouts (AIG in particular) and how the Fed works in general. I often say when teaching Monetary policy in class that the Fed chairman has as much power as the President and yet he is an unelected little-known position.

Bernanke is from rural Dillion, SC. SOUTH CAROLINA! WHAT??? In the interview they reveal that his own childhood home has been foreclosed on by later owners. His is truly an Outliers story as he went on to Harvard and MIT from humble beginnings.

The funniest part of this story (if there was a funny part) was Bernanke's recount of working at South of the Border in high school. You know South of the Border, the tacky tourist attraction along the SC/NC boarder that you literally see billboards every 2 miles for starting in Maine along the interstate.

It is a really good interview and gave me a much better understanding of one of the most powerful people in the US. check it out here

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Believe it or Not... A Kids Movie Review

One of the things that drives Bill nuts is my lack of interest in most kids programming. For what it's worth when you don't grow up watching lots of cartoons and movies it's a little hard to suddenly start in your 30s. Luckily Bill LOVES and has already planned movies for Ben's entire childhood. He picked up Pinocchio earlier this week and I (yes I) suggested we watch it with Ben tonight.

For the most part Ben watched and was into the story. He was a little wide-eyed at the whale but quickly started talking about all the fish. Bill and I kept a running tally of all the items featured in this classic from 1940 that would never fly today: kids smoking cigars, parents spanking their children, handling an axe, boys turned into animals.

Bill and I were talking about all the other Disney classics (most that we own) and what was scary then and how it compares today. Bill does a really good job and screening and picking appropriate media for Ben. For that I'm glad I married someone who truly is a kid at heart.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Channeling Tim on Comedy Central

Friday night is typically catch up night for the Daily Show and Colbert Report. The accusal of CNBC of being asleep at the wheel is about as close as I have ever seen the Daily Show pushing an agenda, even more so that at ANY point of the Bush years.

Wow to watch as Stewart openly accused CNBC of contributing to the financial mess. Over the last week he has even hinted that some at the network have benefited financially while thier viewers lost billions taking thier advice to heart.

We anxiously watched this week's Daily Shows with the pinnacle being the Cramer vs. Stewart showdown. The fact that All Things Considered did a piece today on the feud says volumes. To me this was the best comment of the night by Stewart as a Principal chastising Cramer his naughty student:

" this is like Sherman's march through their companies financed by our 401k"

I also liked the taped piece revealing a much calmer, rational Cramer being a total hypocrite for doing the very things (selling short and recommending ways to artificially deflate stock) that he called out companies for doing.

When Stewart said, "I need Mad Money Cramer to protect me from, like you in that video, the one who knew in the ins and the outs of the business Cramer", I had to cheer.

Cramer also mentioned he is working with Congress... WTF? You are a freakin' TV personality with a series 7 license, regulatory powers you DO NOT have. What's next, Nancy Grace giving advice to the Attorney General or Wolf Blitzer entrenched in the Dept of Defense because his show is called "The Situation Room?"

I don't watch any of the above "kicking a** and taking names shows" for the very reason that they entertainment, not news worthy.

Bill thinks Cramer was sent out to clean up CNBC's very public mess and to serve as their whipping boy. The best thing for CNBC is by Monday for this feud to be out of the news cycle. Cramer's mea culpa was totally for show and staged to boot (as well as Stewart's obvious rehearsed condemnations.)

Thank you Stewart for pulling a Russert for old times sake. We are all better for a "fake" news network reporting what the real one missed.

Finished for Friday- Obama Version

Greetings from a state where it was a sunny 83 on Wed and 38 and raining today.

Since my school is attempting in save money by not turning on the air today is the polar extreme to wishing I had been teaching in a tank top on Wednesday.

I'm all for budget cuts but keeping the heat and air on should rank somewhere ahead of keeping an electiveson Feudal Japan with 6 kids (true from my old school).

Ok... gotten some kick butt stuff done this week so I can play this weekend.

1. Obama corner up in my classroom! I tried SO hard during the election to play both sides, but now he's the real deal it's natural to keep a shrine dedicated the current President, Right? Most proud of my authentic Washington Post dated 1/20/09

2. Organized and ran the NHS new member interest meeting on Wednesday. I planned for 75 interested kids. I stopped counting at 110. It's going to be alot of work this spring to read applications, essays, and recommendation letters. Think I'm old school? The application is 10 pages long and has a how to sheet attached. Either I have really high standards or I'm just a freakin' masochist to read all that.

3. Finished off plans for NHS Chick Fillet fundraiser on Monday night. Bring it on balloon animals and a big spin the wheel of free food we are doing!

4. Taxes DONE... but painful, have calls to make to avoid a 2009 repeat.

5. Set up more Dr appointments, checking on insurance coverage and certifications. Have I ever listened to SO much bad elevator music!

BIG HUGE Accomplishment- Decided and enrolled Ben for fall preschool. Post about the finalists earlier this week. I feel awesome that this is off the 2009 table.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I couldn't decide which to make the main post today, so just some things that have been rumbling around my head in the last 24 hours.

Prayers and Thoughts to the people in rural, southeastern Alabama. One of the towns involved is one I pass through on the way to Destin, FL. The story is unbearably tragic and unfortunately indicative of the extreme stress many are under.

Interesting story on what happens when the FDIC takes over a bank on 60 Minutes this week. Check out the clip below.

Among my duties teaching with Duke TIP this summer is driving the van to pick up the kids from the airport. Wish I could say this is a first, but did the same at my high school job working for my mom's daycare. Bring it on short-bus kidos!

Signed my contract with the new preschool today and I am now totally convinced Ben will be making a hemp tote bag for me and likely Bill too. Every teacher that passed through and introduced themselves looked like they had attended Woodstock or at least owned the Best of Joni Mitchell box set. Everyone was very, very welcoming and excited we were joining the "family". I went back out to the playground with the Director and just pictured Ben playing outside. We are so in the right place!

Tonight I had to laugh at Ben and Bill both working on their computers (or Ben's version Car Puter). I'm sure Bill was looking at something technical and Ben was playing a shapes and letters game.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

D-Day in Little Chairs

No there won't be a storming of Normandy beach, but I think after the last 2 months of visitations and sitting in too many little chairs to count we qualify for combat pay. We made our decision last night on the eve of the lottery. Here are descriptions of the Two Finalists. Both schools run 8:30-3 are tuition is the same.

School 1- PRO-Amazing program that feeds into a charter Montessori school until grade 8, many of their students go on to the top magnet and charter high schools in the district. Well run, newer facility, multicultural and diverse population, this is a place that fosters education and it shows in every way

CON- lottery for admission, 40 minutes away (would likely put our house on the market to be closer), very inflexible to work with my after school on meeting/appointment days, no field trips until Kindergarten, application process requiring more documentation than I had to have for grad school that is indicative of what it would be like to work with this school day to day, office staff was not friendly and open, school seems that they really push the kids early for early academic success

School 2- PRO- Extensive outside environment perfect for a child who loves to be outside, large garden the kids work, green school with alot of focus on the environment, same weekly options as School 1 (Art, movement, Spanish, Music, but also PE/Games), similar Montessori program and materials, field trips starting at age 3, closer to my home (would not immediately be considering moving), willing to work with me on a week to week basis for after school care, they have a Montessori programs starting with 18 month olds (thinking our future children), Staff and Director was very, very open and friendly, summer camp options

older facility, drop off is a traffic nightmare (although teachers walk the kids from the front door so you can drop off at the door without parking), will now have to consider our options for magnet/neighborhood schools for kindergarten (magnet is very competitive here and neighborhoods constantly get rezoned), kids are not as "pushed" academically in my opinion

We talked over all our options last night and voted unanimously for Option 2. My selling point also included knowing a family already there. Ruthie and I are going to enroll our boys in the Water Week Camp for them to get to know each other. At the end of the day having a friend on day one of a new place is worth any of the cons.

Also the outside environment begs you to come play and explore the outside. We made our decision based on what fits BEN now, not in 2+ years. I hope we have made a good, solid, supportive choice. I know in my heart we did.

I never checked the lottery this morning. It doesn't matter if we won a spot and it wouldn't/shouldn't come into play if we are happy with our decision last night. Here's to a MAJOR decision off the table for 2009 and to the reason for all the stress!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You Have to be Kidding Me !?!

I prosmie NOT to unleash the fury in a multi paragraph post, I too tired at it's not even 9 am yet, but needless to say finding out that folks that forclosed on a home will get a tax credit made me want to scream! I actually asked the tax prep lady to repeat herself as Bill was hitting me saying, "why did you ask, did you really want to know?"

After owing double what we did last, Bill said it best, "Damn, could we be any more screwed this year. Our 401ks, 529, IRAs are all down 40% and we still owe!" In all fairness we have our jobs, savings for what it's worth, and our house. We do not owe on cars or credit cards so in comparison we are living like Kings compared to so, so, so many.

Doing our own taxes went out the window when we bought a house and added more complex investments. There are just some things I will happily fork over money for the luxury of a few hours compared to weekends of time. Luckily we have used the same very reliable person for the past 7 years and even she couldn't get us off the hook this year.

Without belaboring a point that frankly we are all in, I hope you will check out Laura's contest for listing to a recent edition of This American Life. She does a much more fabulous job encourging you to listen and then enter her contest than I ever could. If you REALLY want to know how I feel about this whole Economic mess, then read the comment I posted. I warn you, pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink as you'll be reading a while.

In all seriousness, do check it out, very worth your time as a tax-paying citizen who is suffering in your own ways during this recession... or should we call it depression?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Make it Work People!

Today is one of my all time favorite days for Civics... the day of the Inaugural Ball and the Big Bureaucracy Rap Off. The inaugural ball is simply a boring President poster turned into a Cereal. Want some Delanos or Bush Bites? The kids all bring in samples of President's favorite foods and we pass around the boxes. I am upping the ante this year and also having groups present their Bureaucracy raps for the ball entertainment.

Before you want to submit an entry I must warn you that the topics (regulatory commissions, independent agencies, and gov't corporations) would make Chuck D give pause how to get down with his bad self. At least the kids remember a little more.

In case you were wandering I too present my rap about the CDC, IRS, and FED to the tune of the Bestie Boys "You have to Fight for your Right to Party". Needless to say, many are horrified and have never seen a teacher beat box all in the name of education. This brings me to my post title today. Last week one of my students asked if I watch Project Runway as I say Tim Gunn's famous line anytime we are working on a big class project.

I do ALOT of projects to try and jazz up the class and help them find the "Hot Senate Action" that lives buried deep in my subject. Here's a picture of my wall of fame. You NEVER get too old to see your work on display!

I would invite you to my class, but you would have to come with your own desk... I'm all out. speaking of desks on mine is picture of Mr T. A gift of a past student who gave me the best of all complements, "You are the Mr. Hand (Fast Times..)of my Life." At least he didn't compare me to Mark Harmon in Summer School.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Could Addiction to Goat Cheese be Considered A Vice?

This is a book review and local day trip review wrapped into one fantastic package for your reading pleasure.

I finished The Book of Vice, Very Naughty Things and How to Do Them by Peter Sagal last night. Laura wrote a great review so I won't rehash the finer points but to say I liked Sagal's point of view and sense of humor (as well as an SAT vocabulary to boot) through the book. In particular the gambling chapter references a must see Vinson favorite Vegas movie, The Cooler. A funny, short read although not life changing, but then I didn't expect it. One of the most humorous comments was in Praise for Vices comment by fellow Wait, Wait commentator Mo Roca, "If you want to feel like a badass... but you're a neurotic germaphobe goody- two shoes, this this is the book for YOU!"
We did the unspeakable in parenting today, knowingly made plans that skipped Ben's nap. We debated waiting to head out to Celebrity Dairy for Open Barn day, but since he tends to sleep later on weekends, we got there when they opened at noon and as expected he was too wired to sleep later. But... what a beautiful, warm, spring day to see a working farm in action. We toured the barns, petted too many goats and newborn kids to count, clucked like chickens over near the chicken bus, checked out a really big pig, played on a big rope swing, ate a picnic lunch on the large shaded front porch swing, and then picked up some fresh cheese to enjoy at home.

Since no nap was on the horizon, Ben and I took a long walk with the dog to the park while Bill caught a new movie in our weekend tradition to trading time alone for ourselves and to spend one-on-one with Ben. He was still talking about goats and the chicken bus as we were tucking him in. Note to self- Put Ben in rain boots next year. Tons of mucky muck to clean up. We all rode home shoeless!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Finished for Friday

Teenagers = Preschoolers

This week has seen a snow day, 2 hour delay, and early release/professional development day. Before ye non-teachers say, "what is she complaining about, she didn't have students the typical 40 hours this week", but I kid you not I am worn out due to no consistency. Get anyone (from babies to the geriatric ward) off their schedule and all hell breaks loose. So with that being said, I got the following items accomplished:

1. Conferenced with all 96 students I have this semester for fall recommendations (short and sweet and signed off. Due to budget cuts AP Gov is likely getting axed this fall, as well as many electives district wide :-(
2. Wrote an article and pulled pictures for upcoming local newspaper publicity for our NHS fundraiser
3. Set up AP Gov Study sessions for kids taking the Exam. Doughnuts will be involved
4. Sorted and delivered Toddler stuff to a friend. Also took inventory for what I need to pick up at a future consignment sale I'm going to later this month.
5. Played bunco, met a friend for dinner to finish my summer job paperwork, and have almost have finished Book six

With Bill gaming tonight Ben and I are meeting up with our Friday Friends to play and catch dinner. I hope by end of day to on my couch finishing my book and starting my In Treatment Season 1 recap in preparation of upcoming season 2!

With really nice weather forcasted we are planning a trip to a local dairy for their Open Barn weekend. Kids get to see how a dairy works, feed goats, and enjoy a picnic on a lovely spring day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Wet" Dreams at 36 inches

Catchy title! I bet you would think there she goes again with her life mantra, "a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste". NO! It refers to a week long 1/2 day camp I am signing Ben up for this summer entitled Water Week. We found out over the weekend that we have been accepted at one of our top 2 choices for preschools. Even if we don't go to this school, you can still sign up for camp. We are leaning towards Heartwood Montessori even if we don't get into the other top choice for several reasons... post to come once the other makes their decision on the 11th.

Here's the description: Prepare to get wet! Everything water including relays, squirt bottles, ice cube melting contest and final day.... washing the school bus! Can we say Ben's fantasy at this age.

On top of all this while I was playing bunco last night I asked if anyone knew a family at this school I could talk to? Lo and behold someone had put her 3 kids at this school with glowing reviews. Her son is only 6 months older than Ben so should this all play out, it's a nice set up to let him get to know Max better and likely do the week of summer camp with him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happiness Project

I stumbled upon a new blog I may add to my blogroll. At first, looking the picture of the author made me think... you are moving ever closer to the worst self-help book imaginable, but I really liked her Wednesday Tips. This post about ways to keep yourself motivated to exercise. This post especially seemed one to read as I have not been diligent the last few weeks to go to the gym as much or even religiously walk the dog the mile I have done since a puppy, including the day I gave birth no less!

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I love the way I feel, especially since my weigh loss that makes the task less onerous. But I still have a really hard time seeing that my hard work pays off. I intentionally work out at a gym where I won't feel self conscious but still think I can always do more, push myself harder. In my head another mile on the elliptical or more reps with weights are somehow going to produce the immediate results.

One of the things I want most for Ben is for him to be grounded in self worth and find positive outlets for his emotional health. I recently picked up the book Raising Cain in hopes that as we make the move to a new preschool this fall that we are also instilling in him self esteem and independence. What better gift could any parent give their children?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day Kinda...

We woke up to no power around 5:30 this morning. One of the joys of this house is that we loose power anytime the wind blows the wrong way. Definitely not something you would ever find out from your realtor! Ben was crying, we were running into furniture, and the house was freezing.

Luckily the power came back on my mid morning plus Ben's daycare was open so I decided to take him in for my own sanity and to get a stack of DBQ essays graded in peace as well as start the weekly to do list. I picked him up right after nap and we spent the rest of the afternoon outside enjoying the snow.

I feel a continuation of the lazy couch potato I was yesterday watching Tommy Boy and Employee of the Month coming on after Ben is down. Maybe there will be a Will Ferrell marathon on ..a trifecta of brainless bliss!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cold Outside = Warm, Yummy Food Inside

I haven't posted any of the recipes for weekly crock pot dishes I have made lately. I am blowing off getting out of the house for ANY reason given that it's cold, raining and likely going to freeze over tonight. I DID go to the 8:30 service this morning so I get SOME credit today. I am staying in curling up on my couch with fireplace on with my book and Sunday paper in a matter of minutes.

Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash-

3 lg stalks of celery- sliced
1 sweet onion-chopped
1 butternut squash- chunked (I used TJ prepared)
1 bag of brown lentils- Love me some Lentils fixed anyway!
4 cups water + 1 can broth (I used Chicken stock as I had it on hand)
1/2 tsp of dried rosemary
salt and pepper

Top with shaved Parmesan/Romano cheese and parsley

Directions- Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker for 8 hours. Serve with garnish.

Heather's Clean out the Fridge Hope it's Good Soup-

Make if you dare... I basically wanted to clean out the fridge to wipe it out before I head to the grocery. I figured I'm loosing less than 5 bucks if it sucks!

1/2 bottle of V-8 juice
2 cups of cooked Kashi Pilaf
2 cups of cooked, diced chicken
2 cups of Chicken Stock
1 bag of TJ frozen Soyatash (soybeans, corn, and red pepper)
a little chopper onion, cilantro, salt and pepper

Dump all ingredients into the crock pot and simmer on low until you want to eat it... like about 5 hours from now. I already had corn muffins I made to use up milk although I am thinking a grilled cheese might be good too.

Either of these soups pale in comparison to the quite yummy meal we shared with friends last night at Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse. Very good although for what I ate they made a MAJOR profit on me. That's all right as Bill and Matt made up the difference plus in true Heather and Chrissy style we had coupons!