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When Last I Posted…

When last I posted, I was bragging on the Mr.’s many virtues…how he’d gone above and beyond the call of married duty by helping me straighten my hair after I’d burned my thumb.

That was Valentine’s Day when the post made it to my blog.

Lots of stuff has transpired since the beginning of that weekend.

Not big stuff…just the everyday stuff that happens in a person’s life.

The Mr. and I spent a lovely Valentine’s weekend in a beach town an hour away from home.

He happily obliged my one request…to go yarn shopping at the only yarn shop near me…

No, that wasn’t the Mr. posing, but by the time I’d purchased the yarn in the photo below, he could have resembled the guy above.  heehee

We ate a wonderful lunch afterward at a pizza place.  Wine is good…especially at lunch…on a Saturday…when the weather is gorgeous and you’re with your honey…

Then, it was time to go shopping.

Normally, I do not enjoy shopping.

That weekend was different.  We started out at the Under Armour outlet store.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

I’ve been walking with a friend after school two or three days a week, so the Mr. got me a few outfits.

Next, we visited the Michael Kors store.

Oh heavens.  This company knows how to make shopping fun!  The store was brightly lit, and every single one of the associates was young, well-dressed, and upbeat.  Every time I walked out of my dressing room with an outfit on, someone had something positive to say.  The comments were sincere, the smiles big.

I purchased a number of items and then headed back to the dressing room after the Mr. spied a dress that an associate was wearing.  We found it on the clearance rack, and I had to try it on…

It came home with me too.

My bag was quite full…

After visiting the BCBG store (not nearly as upbeat or bright and airy, by the way), I had my arms full of new goodies…

Later, after a brief rest, we headed to dinner…

Our plans to eat at P.F. Changs were nearly derailed when we discovered that one should make reservations if one wants to eat at a decent hour on Valentine’s Day.

We kind of snuck our way to a table on the patio and avoided a two-hour wait.

Ahem.

The food was absolutely divine…

All-in-all, it was a wonderful evening.

The next morning, we slept in a bit then headed out for a bit more shopping.  The traffic was horrid.

You can see how lovely the weather was though.  Winter teased us a bit.

I was so glad that I had that Monday off.  I needed the extra day to put away all of my goodies and recover from a delightful weekend with the hubby.

Reason #5,729 Why I Love Him

The Mr. truly is a patient man.

We’ve been married over 25 years, and he hasn’t divorced me yet.  That’s saying a lot.

He drives me crazy, that’s for sure…especially when he gets in a grumpy funk…but honestly, there are more reasons why I love him.

He grocery shops and runs out if he thinks I’m not eating enough for dinner.  He takes me out for dinner so I don’t have to cook, and he takes out the garbage and puts away dishes.  He even vacuums and washes his own clothes.

Yeah, I know I’m blessed.

A few weeks ago, he did something that earned him reason #5,729 why I love him.

It all started on a Monday (here we go again with a bad Monday story).

I was doing what I typically do and straightening my hair after washing it the evening before.

About halfway through, I went to lift my arm over my head to straighten another piece of hair when I felt the flat iron jerk from my hand.

I’d stepped on the long cord, unknowingly, so when I raised it, there wasn’t enough slack in it to accommodate the space I needed between the floor and my head.

Instead of dropping it immediately, there was a delay, and my thumb rested on the hot iron for a second or two before pain registered, and the iron fell to the floor.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

I’d done this before, but not this badly.

My thumb began swelling immediately, and the burning sensation stretched from the inside of my thumb around my knuckle joint down to where the thumb joins with the rest of my hand.

The skin on the inner part of my thumb was burned.

I began crying immediately and holding my hand.

The Mr. doesn’t have to be at work until later in the morning, so he gets to sleep in.

In other words, I’m the only person awake at o’dark 30.

I quickly ran to his room, though, and began sobbing, telling him my sordid tale.  I needed to know what to do because my brain was not fully functional.

He suggested aloe, which we didn’t have.  He suggested Neosporin, which we didn’t have.

For someone who has raised children, I found myself woefully unprepared for an emergency such as this.

Then, I did what any working woman does and begged him to help me fix my hair.

Mind you, half of my hair was in a clip…the straightened part hanging below the curly half.

The Mr.’s eyes weren’t working, and he told me to just go like I was.

Um…nooooooooooooo.

I wailed, “I can’t go like this.  Half is already done.”

He told me it would be fine.

Yeah, the man, despite twenty-five years of marriage, can utter stupid things sometimes.

Let’s blame the sleepiness.

Ahem.

I told him I’d call my friend, Megan, who lives in the neighborhood across the street from ours.

He poo-pooed this idea and glumly got up and trod heavily to the bathroom.

The man had no clue what to do.

The only thing I could do was provide verbal assistance.

My thumb was throbbing.

I couldn’t even grasp the clip to remove sections from it.  I couldn’t squeeze my hand together at all.

The Mr. never fixed Chicky’s hair when she was growing up.  Lesson to all you dads out there…do your daughters’ hair sometimes just in case you are called upon to fix your wives’ hair.

Just sayin’.

Anyhoo, I had to explain E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G…including how to divide hair into sections, comb them out, and run the straightener through them.

I sobbed the entire time but was cognizant enough to hold the mirror with my left hand to check that things were being done correctly.

I even asked him to redo parts that he’d skimmed over.

I am an overachiever, lest you have forgotten.

Ahem.

Did I mention that I was crying?

Thank heavens I’d already fixed my makeup, but some of it was looking poorly by the time we finished.

The Mr. dropped the straightener a time or two.  He was completely freaked out by the heat…especially given what he’d seen me do.

Still, he finished and returned to the bathroom a few minutes later with the strict admonition NOT to go behind him and try to fix anything.  I couldn’t even if I’d wanted because I couldn’t grip the straightener.

I went to work looking like this…

I had no bandages…no aloe…no Neosporin.

It was not a great start to the day or the week.

Fortunately, or not depending on your perspective, a fellow teacher called me as I was backing out of my driveway.  He needed assistance with his car, which had refused to start after he’d stopped for breakfast at a local eatery.

Across the street from the eatery was a CVS and a Walgreens.  The CVS opened ten minutes early for me after I explained my sad tale to an employee, and I went to school with the supplies I needed.

My friend, Lydia, wrapped my thumb so I wouldn’t be afraid of doing something worse to it…

The Mr. texted me later in the day to check in on me.  He knew I was in a lot of pain but also knew how determined I was not to let it curtail my teaching time with my students.

Later that evening, I decided to take a bath instead of a shower.  I was so afraid of wetting my finger and, thus burning it more.

The Mr. helped me put a glove on, taped around the edges.

I then asked him to put my hair in a ponytail so I wouldn’t get it wet in the tub.

Oh word.  What a comical event to behold!  I wish he’d let me record him.

Have you ever watched someone who has never put in a ponytail try to manipulate the holder and hair?

He took the holder and wrapped it around the hand that held the hair instead of pulling the hair through the holder.

His first attempt resulted in the hair coming out right away.

The second attempt, while passable, was too low on my head.

I had also asked him to not pull the hair all the way through on the final loop.

Um, yeah.  That instruction went over like a lead balloon.

Still, he gave it another shot, and voila!  Success!

Rooster did a quick cleaning of the tub, and I was able to enjoy a bit of downtime de-stressing from the trauma of the day.

The Mr. continued to spoil me for the next few days.

He is such a blessing to me.

We’ve certainly had our problems over the years, but I am grateful that our stubbornness to keep things going has paid off.

He’s constantly adding new reasons for me to love and appreciate him.  I strongly suspect that we are up to 5,978 by now.

<3

Forever Awkward

I am awkward.

There’s no denying that.

I don’t know if it’s a lack of confidence or the desire to be proper most of the time, but I often find myself self-conscious.

Even routine activities manage to ensnare me in moments that I’d often like to get out of.

Take the other day.

I’ve recently begun walking, for exercise, again.

I’ve been walking with a friend, but on Sunday, she wasn’t available, so I set out on my own.  I queued up the cardio playlist I’d created last summer.  I didn’t, however, take my ear buds, so I played the music through the speaker on my phone, which I held as I walked.

I had a longer route planned…3.25 miles, I later discovered thanks to the MapMyWalk app I have.

Looks a little like Cupid, eh?

So, there I was, be-bopping along when the song Fergalicious came on…

Ok…so the lyrics aren’t exactly that great, and I don’t usually listen to her music.  It’s vastly different from the Christian tunes I usually play.

Ahem.

This song, though, has a good beat…perfect for walking fast.

I was making good time when I spied, down the street a bit, a younger guy about half my age.  He was doing something in his driveway and didn’t look like he was going inside before I was going to pass by.

Being the self-conscious one that I am, I was a bit mortified.

I didn’t want to be heard rocking out to “Fergalicious definition make them boys go loco.”

Ahem.

I did what any good 44-soon-to-be-45 year old should do…

I slyly turned the volume down.

ALL.  THE WAY.

Until I’d passed him and knew he was completely out of earshot.

Whereupon I turned up the sound again and resumed my Fergalicious walk.

Ahem.

The lesson in this?

Take my ear buds so I can rock out to Neil Diamond if I want.

Because his music is totally known for cutting split times.

<insert sarcastic face here>

Happiness in a Box

In the midst of my fatigue and tears Monday afternoon, I found the following in my mailbox…

The irony of the timing was not lost on me.

I eagerly dug into it and discovered that I’d received my Origami Owl order…the one I’d placed about a week before.

I’d been admiring these trinkets for a while now but finally decided to splurge on one for myself.

Selecting the charms was so much fun, and I took great care that each one represented a special part of my life…

I was thrilled when I’d discovered a “blog” charm.  The bone represents my love for my fur babies.  The maple leaf represents my Canadian birth and heritage.  Sunflowers are my favorite, and the knitting needles and yarn speak for themselves.  Of course, my locket wouldn’t be complete with the books, given my lifelong love of reading.

Probably the most important charm is the one that says “faith.”

Despite being discouraged of late, my faith has never wavered.  I simply do not know how people survive without putting their trust in God.

I added the locket to the long chain I’d purchased and was so pleased with the look I’d created…

I know that earthly things provide temporary happiness when compared with eternal blessings, but still…that moment of joy when I opened my bling was much-appreciated and much-needed.

 

Shaking Off the Glums

You know when you get a song stuck in your head, and it just WILL. NOT. GO. AWAY.

Yeah, that was me…yesterday afternoon.

I’ve been so dad-gum gloomy lately.

Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There has been such a fog of negativity hanging over my head for a while now, and I am sick of myself!

:)

Is it any coincidence that Shake it Off kept playing in my mind?

Over.

And Over.

And Over.

For fun, I googled “Shake it Off” and “teaching.”

I watched a number of videos and found this one…so cute because 1) It’s a high school and 2) The teachers’ and administrators’ personalities shine through (my favorite is the track coach)…

I’m seriously considering having a brain break in my classroom and letting kids Shake Off the stress they’ve been feeling lately.

I’ll have to tell the kids that twerking is not allowed.

*Ahem*

Music is one place I turn to when I need to lift my spirits, and this song fits the bill, both in the lyrics and the fun rhythm.

I am determined to beat the blues…even if I have to dance them away.

“I Used to Hate Reading”

Last week, I overheard a conversation during the break between 6th and 7th period.

One of my girls had just finished the third book in the Numbers series.  She’d been reading this series since the beginning of the school year.

If you haven’t read it, I’d advise you to.  It’s a good read…every single book.

She was a bit distraught because she thought there should have been a fourth book.  We had a brief discussion about this.

As I walked away, I heard her tell another student that she’d always hated reading…until this year.

I could not help but smile.

I always tell my students that they’ll start off hating to read but by January, they’ll be totally into it.

The trick?

Matching the perfect book to the student.

To do that, you have to read the books yourself to provide authentic recommendations.

The kids know if you haven’t read the books.

I’m honest when I suggest titles.  Either I’ve read the book, another student I know has, or I’ve read a good review.

My enthusiasm for books is like a virus that spreads.  Kids can’t help but be caught up in it.

I truly believe that one big reason why my students make learning gains is because they learn to love the process.

One of my former students came to visit me yesterday and complained about the reading log she had to complete in her current reading class.

She picked up my Book Notes sheet and said, “It helped me connect to books.”

Ahem.

Connected readers comprehend.

#truth

I think one of my greatest joys as a reading teacher is when I see students learn to love the craft.  When they come back to visit the next year just to borrow books or see what books I’ve recently purchased, I know a reader has been born.

Reasons Why I Teach

I.

Hate.

Mondays.

I recently saw this meme that expresses my feelings perfectly…

I went into today, a Monday, with a parent conference, IEP meeting, and no planning period.

This was how I looked…hopeful yet realistic…

I can’t comment about my two meetings, but they were…um…interesting.  Any time you are dealing with teenagers, you just need to expect the unexpected.

Midway through my day, I find out that I had been slated to grade the school-wide writing assessment, so I got to plan for a sub that would be coming the next day.

I was not amused.

In the middle of the day, my second class had a party to celebrate earning 2,000 Class Dojo behavior points…

The kids only got to eat after finishing their monthly reading probe…a progress monitoring assessment required by the district.

During my last class, the kids finished typing essays for the school-wide assessment…essays they had not finished during their regular English classes.

In short, Monday did not go exactly as planned, and I arrived home in tears…feeling quite overwhelmed…

I’m completely disillusioned by this profession.

Teachers care.  I know this.

I’m blessed to work for an administration that supports me.  My school is amazing.

I don’t think that the powerhouse (i.e. state government) that runs the education system cares, though.

For a naive person like me, it’s a difficult pill to swallow.

As I reflect on my day, God brings to mind gentler moments…

Sweet students from years past…

Christian, an amazing young man, now a junior, who I taught two years in a row and got me to read the Legend series.  He used to come into class with a broad smile on his face telling me of the large coffee he’d consumed each morning (i.e. he would be hyper that day).  :)

Faith visited me a bit later, returning Gossip Girl #3, which she’d borrowed earlier in the year.  She told me how she’s more focused this year and doing much better.  She told me she spent time with her mother last summer, and the healing process has begun.  She also hugged me three times during our conversation.  That was huge.  I cry when I think of it.

Billy visited me after that.  He’s a strong guy…on his way to college on a football scholarship.  I taught him four years ago when he gave way to his emotions far more often than he controlled them.  He always seeks me out with a shy smile.  He recently shared that he’s planning on going into graphic design in college.

These three young people came to visit me today, and my heart cried out during Billy’s visit, the last one of the day.  I told him that he was a gift from God.

These precious children are evidence of the impact I have each day on children’s lives.

I struggle so much with feeling overwhelmed by unreasonable demands of my time and energy.

I know, though, that when I stay the course, the payoff is immeasurable.

Christian, Faith, and Billy were today’s reminders of that…reminders of why I continue in this profession that has been a lifelong dream and one i refuse to give up on.

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