Saturday, July 30, 2011

Connect the Dots

The following is a public service announcement brought to you by young Master Chase.  

I have lots of freckles. See!

And this is a growing freckle.

It isn't dark yet. Soon, I will be covered in freckles My head, my arms, my belly, my toes. And then I will become a super hero called Freckle Man!

30 July 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

27 July 2011

What Have I Done?

Open House
Back to School Night
Parent Teacher Conferences


Lunch Count
Pledge of Allegience

Community building
Bond forging
Lifelong learner molding

Informal Assessments
Anecdotal Records

Management Plans
Lesson Plans
In Case of Emergency Plans

ELL learners

Att i TUDE

Report cards

57 emails in July!
30 Kids per class
10 Snow days please?

Colds, flus, strep
Wash your hands!

Current Events



Phone calls

Read Alouds

Fractions, decimals, long division
Sound, light, energy
Family Life Education?

Promethian Boards
No more Overheads?

Continuing Education
180 Recertification points
in 15 months--oh dear

What am I forgetting?
Plenty I'm sure
But no worries because:

10 months
180 days
And then:


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

26 July 2011

Two Thoughts Tuesday: Conspiracy Theories

1) Take a bag of Hershey's Miniatures. The delectableness of the 4 candies can be ranked as follows:

Mr. Goodbar > Special Dark > Krackel > Milk Chocolate

Yet the quantity found in a given bag goes as follows:

Milk Chocolate > Krackel > Mr. Goodbar > Special Dark

Something is amiss here folks.

2) My iPhone has been acting all kinds of wonky lately. It started with apps freezing or crashing which, let's face it, as buggy as the phone is, that's to be expected really.  And the iPod will suddenly  decide to start playing my entire song library from the beginning when I'm in the middle of listening to an album. Those little annoyances were followed by a This accessory is not optimized for the iPhone message or some such nonsense when the phone isn't even hooked up to an accessory. All of this is odd yes, but fixable by a full restart.

Then the other night while I was listening to the iPod trying to fall off into blissful sleep, this is what I heard:

   He’s the doo doo one

Who likes all our doo doo  pretty songs

And doo doo he likes to sing along

And he likes to shoot his gun doo doo

But he knows not doo doo what it means

Knows not what it means

doo doo when I say

He’s the one

For those unfamiliar with iPhone sounds or my interpretation thereof, doo doo is the sound of voice control being activated. To activate voice control, one must press and hold down the home button which I wasn't doing as my hands were folded in yoga prayer pose in an effort to ensure a happy venture into dreamland. Voice control was activating itself! Which is annoying in general but particularly so in this case as every doo doo you see required me to open my eyes and press the cancel button to get back to the song--which then sped up super fast until the next doo doo,  I finally gave up and threw the phone on the floor and ohm'd myself to sleep instead.

Now, I find it to be a little too coincidental that the iPhone5 is slated to be released this fall and my iPhone 4's little quirks appear to multiplying exponentially as we near that date. I think Steve Jobs had a self destruct file installed on every iPhone that he activates with glee as we approach the release of a newer model. I mean all of these problems my phone has certainly couldn't have been caused by the 34 times a day I drop it, the sticky kid fingers that manhandle it, or that time I accidentally let it slip into my bubble-filled bathtub, can they? No. It is a conspiracy of the highest order. Clearly.

Monday, July 25, 2011

25 July 2011

The Method to the Madness is Even Madder

 I am not normal. I've accepted this.  I veer toward the kooky side more often than is acceptable in polite company. And I think I know why. See I imagine that normal, well-balanced people have brains that work like this:

Their thoughts flow smoothly from one idea to the next in a logical pattern. Whereas my brain's wiring is more like this:

A tangled mess--the thought goes in and then swirls and contorts in all kinds of weird directions and exits lord only knows where.  There is no rhyme or reason. No logic. Just chaos.

Take today. I was driving home from the gym, and I noticed my hands were shaking. My initial inclination was to blame this on the obscene amount of push ups I was forced to do on my toes. But then I remembered that I was so busy fortifying my defenses against an ant invasion this morning that I didn't get around to eating much for breakfast. The combination of food and ants made me of course think of chocolate covered ants, because--hello-anytime an opportunity to think about chocolate presents itself, I take it.

From there, I remembered an article that I had read that said that chocolate milk is the perfect thing to drink after a workout due to its combination of protein and carbohydrates or something. I am a bit fuzzy on the details. That got me thinking that if chocolate milk was good, then a chocolate milkshake should be even better. Which would be how I found myself drenched in sweat going through the Wendy's drive thru ordering a Frosty. Being crazy isn't all bad.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Evolution of My Religion

I was raised in the Catholic church. As a child, this didn't hold much meaning for me beyond the fact that I had to sit still and be quiet for an hour every Sunday. But ever industrious as I was, I found ways to pass the time. From my perch high up in the rear choir loft, I'd intently study the numerous seated backs that made up the congregation making a mental note of who was there each week and what they were wearing and how much they fidgeted during the service. My observations were so thorough that the church should have used them for their own record keeping purposes.  I'm sure that the Vatican would have loved to know that our reader was wearing the same dress that she wore three Sundays ago.

When I'd completed my tally, I'd move on to making faces at the babies and younger kids. This would pass the time until I'd end up getting one of them in trouble for giggling during communion. I can't be certain, but I believe this is where Catholic guilt first rears its head.

I'd usually spend the final 15 minutes or so coloring in the weekly bulletin with whatever ink pen my mother happened to have in her purse. Joyous were the days when I came across a red one or--wonder of wonders--a green one. But as the bulletin was not printed with the intention of being a coloring book for bored little girls, it did not provide much in the way of stimulation. There are only so many different ways one can color in loaves and fishes, though I did become an expert at turning crosses into all kinds of abstract shapes. I really feel like I had an artistic gift there that I let just slip away.

As a teenager, I appreciated the church more for its sense of community than for any spiritual guidance it gave. But more than that, I loved the ritualized nature of it all. The sense of calm that one gets from knowing what comes next. It was a safe haven. A place where no matter how crazy the outside world became, inside those walls everything stayed the same.  You can see how this might be comforting to a hormonal teenage girl and her ever-changing social structure. I was no Queen Bee.

Even beyond those tough high school years, when I was headed off to college and baby-stepping my way into independence, I found comfort in the ceremony. It set my mind at ease to know that no matter where I was, I could walk into a Catholic church and for that hour feel like I was home again.  The faces might be different, but the procedures were the same.  I found tranquility in the repetition.

Somewhere in my junior year, I began to pull away from the church. This could be justified by a myriad of excuses from course load to work schedules, but the truth of the matter is that I began to question the core teachings of the church--which isn't really the point of this post, but perhaps could be a story for another day. The point is that while I haven't missed the spiritual aspect of the church, I have longed for the community.  And the security of knowing that I can find a familiar home anywhere in the country by simply opening up a pair of double doors and making the sign of the cross.

And then it occurred to me: I still have that. Not in a house of worship for a Savior, but in one that honors the almighty latte: Starbucks. I can go into any Starbucks from sea to shining sea, and know what happens next, where things are, what I want to order and how it will taste when it arrives.  From inside the store, I'd even be able to pretend I was at my own local Sbux. This realization just opened up an entire bevy of identically sanitized options: McDonald's, Barnes & Noble, WalMart--the list goes on and on. I imagine it would be possible to move to an entirely new region of the country and never have to encounter or experience anything different at all.  Everything one does can be done in a familiar and unchanging environment. Now that's comfort. So it seems that I should quit my bemoaning of the generification of our culture, and instead rejoice in its providing me with a suitable replacement for my forgone religion. Glory be to the cookie cutterization of America.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

19 July 2011

Two Thoughts Tuesday: The Certainty Principle--Birthday Party Style

1) I have no doubt that Amaya will spend her entire life correcting this particular misunderstanding:

And yes, I kinda knew this would happen when I picked her name--I just didn't care. Bad Mama.

2) No matter how old a person may get, there will always be something a little mesmerizing about black lights...

as long as you keep them far away from hotel bedsheets that is. Cause that's just nasty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12 July 2011

Two Thoughts Tuesday: Things That Confuse Me

1) My daughter's enunciation.


Mama: Who gave you your stamp Amaya?

Amaya: Miss Rhoda.

Mama: Miss Rhoda?

Amaya: No, Rhoda!

Mama: Loda?

Amaya: Rhoda!

Mama: Whoada?

Amaya: Rho-Da!

Mama: Yoda?

Andy: Wilda Mell, Wilda.

Mama: Ohhhh Miss Wilda.

Amaya: Yes, you're right! You get a stamp!

2) Things people choose to put on their cars.



Monday, July 11, 2011

11 July 2011

Just Add Water

And you'll get two happy kids:

Who somehow

manage to 

have fun despite

The Man

and his darn pile of Nos. And I'm not really sure why Loudon County codes apply to a water feature in Loudoun County--but being the rule following citizen I am, I feel I should at least give them a quick glance. Now could someone tell me where on this great green earth Loudon County is?

*PS I really don't like that last sentence. Of course something applicable applies. But that's more of a word nerd thing.  

Thursday, July 07, 2011

7 July 2011

Live and Let Live

For years, that old adage has been my life's guiding philosophy.  I find it beautiful in its simplicity: accept that everyone on this planet has her own ideas of what is right for her that may not match my own, and that's okay. Better than okay really as I think the world would be a dull place if everyone said and did the same things. And though her choices may be something that I would never, ever consider for myself, I acknowledge her right to make them. Just as I believe that I have the right to make choices that others would never, ever consider making for themselves.

This maxim has served me well over the years in sticky situations varying from eating with people who insist on putting ketchup on their scrambled eggs to the stay at home mom vs. the working mom debate. I understand that my choice to stay home with my children was what was best at the time for my family, and that Betsy Ann's choice to go back to work was what was best for hers. Her choice in no way invalidates or belittles mine--they're just different. And now that I'm going back to work, Mitsy Sue's decision to remain home is not in competition with mine. They're parallels. Two paths that reach the same destination: the creation of a loving home for our children. No judging or catty remarks necessary.

So yes, on the surface Live and Let Live seems to be an admirable sentiment to aspire toward. But upon closer reflection, I find it to be a little too passive for how I truly want to live my life.

Do I want to:

live my comfortable life and just let others live scrambling from day to day to feed their families?

live my life loving my children and just let other children suffer from abuse and neglect?

live my life working for a fair wage and just let others work for pennies an hour in horrid conditions? 

live my life without experiencing bigotry and just let others face discrimination based on the color of their skin?

live my life free to love and marry whomever I choose and just let others be denied the same right?

No. I don't. And while I understand that I am only one person and cannot begin to heal even the smallest fraction of the world's ills,  I do know that tiny acts of kindness can make the day a bit brighter, even if only for the briefest of moments. And to that one person, it may make all the difference in the world. 

And so I am changing my personal mantra from Live and Let Live to Live and Lift Lives. I will aim everyday to not only let others exist, but to do whatever I can to make that existence ever the slightest bit happier. Easier. From returning a shopping cart for a harried mother to donating time and resources to worthy causes--big or small--it all matters. Not just to that mother, but to me, too. Because the more grace I share with others, the more I collect for myself. 
Live and Lift Lives--perhaps mine most of all.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

5 July 2011

Two Thoughts Tuesday: What's Really Important

1) Friends. Friends are important. Not only for the human members of the family:

but for the canine ones as well:

And bonus--the harder they play with their friends, the longer they will sleep in the following morning. Everyone wins you see.

2. People who have looked at my photos from the lake comment on how happy I seem there. Not that I'm not happy here, but it's a different kind of happy I guess. A peaceful one. A comfortable one. It feels like home. And I think one thing that brings out that Laura is that I don't feel the need to impress anyone at the lake. I just put on some clothes, pull my hair back and go.

I am thinking that I'd like to bring some of that carefree attitude back to NoVa. Since I can't run around barefoot in my bikini here, the other option is to stick with the natural hair look instead of spending 30+ minutes drying and straightening everyday. But, since I am home in the land of real housewifesque women, and I'll have to go to work, I need it to look a little more 'styled' than it does at the lake. But I need your help as I have never tried to embrace the curly before, so I am not sure the best way to go about it. I do plan to ask Akram when I see him later this week, but I imagine he's going to grump at me a bit because he likes to make my hair paper thin, straight and glossy. Anyway this is what my hair looks like when I just add conditioning lotion, a little mousse and then let it air dry:

Which is ok I guess, but I want it to look a little softer--I don't like the crunchiness that comes from too much mousse. Nor do I like the wet look of gels.  And I don't want to spend oodles of time with a curling iron as that kind of defeats the purpose of embracing the curly. But, I don't want the frizzies to take over either. So--what would y'all suggest? Am I asking for the moon? Maybe I should get a perm? Or should I just be happy with ok?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Dear Jeanne

Even on vacation, I am a model pupil. See:

And not only that, but I'm teaching the young'uns how to be gym rats too...

That's right--tree pose on a rocking dock. We go hardcore here.

Can I have a cupcake now?

2 July 2011