Monday, April 30, 2012

O is for One More Month

Before I left school today I changed out the calendar in my classroom to May.  One more month to go (or 16 more school days to be exact) until summer vacation!  I don't know who's more excited, the kids or teachers.  

I'm wrapping up my 19th year of teaching.  Every year at this time I'm counting down right along with the others til the last day of school.  It will take a few weeks to decompress from the last ten months.  By the time I've "thawed," it's generally time to do something for work, home, or livelihood.  I savor my summertime because I'll be back to work with the kiddos before I know it.  If I didn't get a little bit of a break in there it would be hard to come back and do another ten months with any vim much less vigor.

With state testing out of the way we can now begin to wind down the last few weeks.  Field trips, final projects/exams, graduations, and end of the year parties will keep us busy.  Another year has come and gone.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

N is for Nostalgia

As I was leaving the store today Caleb spotted a little piece of nostalgia on a shelf, and it immediately took me back to the days of my childhood.  If you grew up in the 80s you might remember the popular candy that was fun to eat, pop rocks.  Remember the shock you gave your mouth when the candy melted in your mouth?  The crackling and popping noise it made only added to the fun.  Perfect for when you were looking for a change of candy pace.  What about when you added them to a carbonated beverage?  You could explode the cap right off.

My favorite flavor pop rocks was the strawberry.  They now sell them in other flavors like Watermelon, Cotton Candy, Blue Razz. Bubble Gum, and (hello) CHOCOLATE.  I have yet to taste the chocolate flavor, but rest assured when I do you'll be the first to know.

You are never too old for pop rocks!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

M is for Mini Miracles

March. Walk. Run.  It was your choice.  Today, I joined the hundreds of others marching for babies at the March of Dimes event.  I decided to walk this one.

I was a little worried last night if I would be able to participate in the walk.  A couple of weeks ago my right foot started hurting.  It felt like a bruise on top right where my shoe laces tie and very painful to walk on.  I did manage to get in a couple of 2 mile runs the past couple of weeks.  The pain would subside during the run but returned not long after.  On top of that yesterday, I pulled a muscle in my leg from the teacher races during field day.  That night I went to bed early exhausted and in pain.  (Thus the reason for my 2 posts today since I didn't get one in yesterday.)  I remember just before falling to sleep saying a quick prayer for God to take away my pain so I would be able to do this walk today.

When I woke up this morning I felt no pain at all in my feet.  My leg was still a little sore but not bad.  I sat up in bed and put my feet on the floor.  I stood up and walked around for minute and still no pain.  Seriously, I had been dealing with this pain for 2 weeks and thinking of going to the doctor about it.   Amazing!  God is so great!  I have been thanking him all day for my mini miracle.

When I signed up for the walk I thought it was for 5 miles.  Turns out it was only a couple of miles.  I could have ran this one but decided to take it easy and walk.  I'm good to go now and will be ready to get a good run in tomorrow.

L is for Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons,
Make lemonade.
But what if there were no lemons?

There would be no good
To come out of the bad.
There would be no triumphs
After the challenge.

You wouldn't be the person you are today.
Stronger, wiser, better.

So when life gives you lemons,
Take every chance
To make your life better.
Because when the sour has left,
It's the sweetness that comes at the end.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

K is for Karaoke

I could not stop thinking about it all day.  We were actually going through with it.  Somehow my best friend, Sarah, had convinced me to enter a karaoke contest with her.  This is crazy I kept telling myself.  It had been years since I even attempted to sing in front of anyone.

Just then I had a flash back of way back when I dated Jerry, the reigning "karaoke king."   I like to think I had a brief stint as the "karaoke queen" back then, but it really didn't translate to anything outside of our karaoke bar.

I met Jerry shortly after college.  I had found myself at a particularly low point in my life.  One night I decided it was time to get out of the house.  I got all dressed up and headed out alone for some fun.  When I walked in the door of the karaoke bar all I could hear was the roar of the crowd.  There was some guy singing on stage, and I was mesmerized at how he grabbed the audience's attention. 

I walked over to a table set up in the corner of the room, grabbed a binder with the song selections, and sat down.  Next thing I know I hear someone yell, "Hey, why don't you get up and sing one next?"

Suddenly all eyes turned toward me, and a microphone appeared out of nowhere.  My mind quickly turned to jelly and my knees went weak.  I thought, "Sure, I could sing along with my favorite songs on the radio, but in front of everyone?"

As I sat there with that deer in the headlight look the guy I had been so mesmerized with when I walked in came over introduced himself and said, "Come on!"  He took my hand and as we walked on stage together a confidence I had never known before took over.  We must have sang at least ten songs together that night.

I was interrupted by a cell phone going off and it brought me out of my daze.  It was Sarah calling to make sure I hadn't changed my mind.

"I don't know, Sarah" I said.  "I don't know if I can do this."

"On no you don't!" Sarah replied.  "You are NOT backing out!  I'll be over at your house in ten minutes." she said, and abruptly hung up.

Ten minutes later Sarah arrived, and I knew there was no backing out...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

J is for Junk drawer

Yes, I have one or two.  A drawer where junk accumulates that I don't know what else to do with or is simply absorbed because I'm too lazy to put things where they're supposed to go.  As I was rumbling through my kitchen junk drawer searching through the bazillion pens to find one that still writes, I stopped to take a quick inventory of what it contained.

Amongst the mound of pens and pencils I found the following items: Keys (duplicates and some I have no idea what they open), screws, nails, six screwdrivers of various sizes, 13 pennies, a medal from one of the kid's sports games you wear around your neck, electronic cords that goes to some sort of technology, one tablecloth, progress reports and report cards, a 6 piece Cambridge Demitasse spoon set (never been used), an old cell phone, some pay stubs, and an unused condom.  I probably should explain that last one.  Now, don't get too excited.  It's for the ultrasound probes my husband uses with his ultrasound machines.  Oh, the things you stumble upon in the junk drawer.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I is for Ice Cream Man

The children call him Mr. Dan.  Mr. Dan is our neighborhood ice cream man.  When I hear the infamous ice cream truck jingle coming through the neighborhood I know it's Mr. Dan armed with an endless supply of frozen treats.  You can hear his truck as it turns onto the street and within a matter of seconds children come out of nowhere.

As soon as Mr. Dan stops his fire engine red ice cream truck a crowd gathers around.  On some days I even slip out and gather around Mr. Dan's ice cream truck with the children.  On the outside of his truck displays a yummy selection of treats.  Bomb pops, fudge bars, ice cream sandwiches, sundae crunch, big dipper, double lemon chill, and even the favorite push up that I loved as a kid are some of our choices.

As I sit here writing about ice cream, I can't help but wish that Mr. Dan would make his appearance.  I would love to have one of those delicious, chocolatey fudgsicles right about now.


Monday, April 23, 2012

H is for Humidity

Humidity.  My least favorite word.  You may think you know what humidity is, but until you have lived through it in the South you have no idea.  I'm talking about full blown 100% humidity. 

One reason I despise the humidity here is the way it attacks my hair.  It may be great for the skin, but it's horrid for my hair.  You see, I have thick slightly wavy hair, and all it takes is a hint of moisture and it doubles in size. 

I'm also remembering last summer when I decided to start running.  Why I chose dead in the middle of summer to begin running is beyond me.  I think the heat and humidity must have fried the part of my brain that caused me to think straight.  If I didn't get out and run before 7:00 a.m. then it was night runs for me.  Of course, it didn't really matter humidity wise except that it was a lot more bearable to run in 80 degree weather with 100% humidity as opposed to 100 degree temps and 100% humidity.

It's springtime, and I've been enjoying my weekly runs outside.  Today was especially nice with 71 degree temperature, a light breeze, and no humidity.  I live for these days.  If I could find a place like this year round it would be heaven on Earth.  So, I'll enjoy these few and far between days for now, and thank goodness I joined a gym while I still had some sense. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012

G is for Giving

Today at Mass the priest told a thought provoking story about Giving.

He came from a family of eleven children.  If you have children at all then you know the sacrifice and money it takes to raise a small family.  I can only imagine what it's like to raise eleven children.  Anyway, I would like to tell his story.

Growing up in a household of eleven children there was always a competition of some sort with each other.  Whenever the phone or doorbell rang there was always a race to see who could get to it first.  One day the doorbell rang and he was the first to get to the door.  When he opened the door there stood a grubby looking man wearing a baseball cap, tattered shirt and unwashed jeans with holes in the knees.

Nervously, the young boy asked, "May I help you?"  The grubby looking man answered, "Is the man of the house home?"  The boy replied, "No."  The man asked, "Is the woman of the house home?"  The boy replied, "Yes, just a moment."

He left the man at the door and ran to find his mother.  He found her in the kitchen cleaning up from lunch and said, "Mother, there's a bum at the door!"  Curiously mother went to the door.  She asked the man how could she help him.  He replied, "Do you happen to have anything I can eat?"  Mother looked at him and said, "Wait right here."

She went back to the kitchen and the boy saw his mother open up the refrigerator and take out the last two meatballs that she had saved for him.  Carefully, she unfolded the meatballs from the paper towel and proceeded to cut them in half.  She placed them in between slices of bread and made two meatball sandwiches.  Next, she grabbed his last soda.  It had been in the fridge all day getting nice and cold.  Mother placed the sandwiches in a brown paper bag.  She then reached into the cookie jar and pulled out a handful of the delicious chocolate chip cookies she had baked.  She placed the cookies in the bag along with a juicy, red apple.

Mother returned to the door and gave the man the brown paper bag lunch along with the soda.  She said, "This is for you.  You are welcome to stay and eat here if you want."  The man said, "No, I have a train to catch, but thank you so much for your kindness."  Then he turned and walked away down the road.

When she closed the door the boy asked his mother, "Mother, why did you give that man my two meatballs and my last soda I had been saving?"  She turned and said, "Because that was Jesus."  "Jesus?"  the boy said.  He opened up the door and looked down the road, but the man had disappeared.  "What do you mean that was Jesus?"

His mother looked down at him and replied, "Jesus said when you feed the poor you are feeding me, so we fed Jesus today."

After church was over I drove home and asked my son Caleb what he thought the lesson from Mass had been today.  He said, "I think he was telling us we need to share."  I agree.  Such a wonderful message.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

F is for Field of Dreams

Every spring kids from ages 4 to 22 years old with all disabilities come together to play ball.  The challenger baseball field is located at the Field of Dreams park in Bossier City, LA and is handicap accessible.  The Challenger League of Bossier City allows boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball like millions of others children who play this sport.

My son Nicholas is 17 years old and has been playing in the Challenger League since he was six.  Nicholas has Down Syndrome and is unable to play in a team sport like other kids his age.  Had this program not been organized in my area he may never had the opportunity to play.  I am very appreciative of this wonderful opportunity.

For my son and our family this is not just about him playing t-ball or baseball.  It's a wonderful time for us to spend time together as a family and make friends with other families.  Everyone is able to get involved.  I especially like being one of the "buddies" out on the field cheering and helping anyone who needs assistance.  Nicholas looks forward to going each time and having the chance to socialize and enjoy himself.

The picture below shows Nicholas with his friend Jessica.  If you go to a challenger league baseball game this is what you will see.  Friends saying hi and giving each other hugs and high fives.  I am so proud of each and everyone of them.  We look forward to participating as long as we can.  Until then, let's PLAY BALL!


Friday, April 20, 2012

E is for Ewww!

Recently, my cat decided to bring in a surprise.  I was in the kitchen preparing lunch for school when I noticed the cat coming in from the pet door in the laundry room.  I glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw Comet rush past me with a bird in his mouth.  I totally freaked!  He dropped the bird, and it fluttered around on the floor with it’s broken wing.  Comet stopped it with his paw.  He lifted his paw, and the bird started fluttering toward me.  I screamed and ran the other way.  Comet decided he liked this game and caught it again. 

At this moment my youngest son decided to wake up from all the commotion going on.  When I told him to help me with the bird situation he just stood there and laughed.  Suddenly, I ran and grabbed the broom.

When the cat dropped the bird again I took the broom and tried to sweep it out the back door.  After the first sweep the cat ran to the bird, picked it up by the mouth, and took it to the pantry.  My "OMG" expression just made Caleb stand there and laugh even more.  (Notice there is also no help from the husband either.  He’s still in bed!)

I walked over to the pantry and when Comet released the bird, I quickly swept it toward the door again, feathers flying everywhere.  Ewww!  Comet once again came after the bird and took it back to the pantry.

After the third attempt at last I was able to get the bird outside.  Sadly, it didn’t make it out alive.  I closed the door and turned to find Comet looking for that bird.  After a few minutes he gave up, marched over to his favorite spot on the floor next to the wall, looked up at me, and gave a quiet meow. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

D is for Divas for Davis

On April 28, 2012 the Plantation Park Divas for Davis team will be walking to raise awareness and money to battle against premature births.  Little Davis and his family are the Ambassador Family for the Northwest LA March of Dimes this year.  Davis was born at 26 weeks and weighed just 1 lb. 10 oz. Although Davis was born very sick, he is now a healthy toddler.  The March of Dimes helped make this possible.

The Divas for Davis team will wear our purple shirts tomorrow at work as we get ready for this important event.  We proudly support the March of Dimes, Davis and his family, and other families with premature babies.      

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

C is for The Chase

He was perched on the windowsill enjoying his usual afternoon siesta when out of nowhere a blur of chocolate fur came bounding toward him.  Roxy awoke him with that loud, annoying bark she was famous for.  She stopped when she realized she had Comet's attention.

Ears perked up, Comet looked over at Roxy, meowed, and you could practically read his mind.  "Really?"  "We're doing this again, huh?"  Roxy responded back with a sharp bark, "Yep," and the chase was on!

Comet suddenly darted off the windowsill with Roxy in hot pursuit.  They made a quick chase around the room when out of the corner of Comet's eyes he spotted the back door open.  Running at full speed ahead, Comet made a beeline past the pool and through the white picket fence.  When he made it to the other side of the fence, to the carpet of lush, green grass, he came to an abrupt stop, laid down, and waited.

Roxy was familiar with the routine.  Stop. Bark. Run a complete circle around Comet. Stop. Bark. Wait.

When the moment was right, Comet sprang up and took off like a bolt of lightening away from Roxy.  Roxy, not wanting to be outdone, made one last attempt.  As she begin to close in on Comet she noticed him slowing down.  It was time to make her move.  At that exact moment Roxy bounded on top of Comet, flipping him to his side, and bit him on the tail.  Comet reacted with a sharp "Meow!"  As soon as Roxy's nose was in striking distant the claws came out.  Comet quickly attacked with his left paw, and then plopped smack down in front of Roxy daring her to do that again.

Roxy, realizing defeat made a final bark as to say, "You win" and retreated.  It was not over yet.  Next time...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

B is for Boss

I don't mean to brag, but I have an awesome boss that I work for.  The environment I work in is both challenging and rewarding.  It takes a special person to become a teacher, but it takes a very special person to become a principal.

The greatest strengths I have observed with my boss are fairness and her ability to communicate.  No matter what situation she encounters she is able to think through a decision before presenting it.  She is constantly stressing teamwork to all her employees and models what is expected. 

One other important thing.  I can't forget to mention all the jean days we get during the year.  This may seem minuscule, but jean days are something most of us at work look forward to.  It's the little things that count. ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A is for Army Wives

I've decided to attempt the A to Z blogging challenge.  The goal is to write a blog post every day, one for each letter of the alphabet.  While most people probably begin this challenge at the beginning of the month, I decided not to worry about that and just start today.  I'm not even going to worry if I skip a day.  The goal for me is to write when I can.  So here goes...

I have to admit.  I have an addiction.  Every Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. everything stops for Army Wives.  Anything that has to be accomplished has to be done by 8:00 because once Army Wives begins there's no cleaning, no laundry, no kids, no husband. (You get the idea. No interruptions!) 

It all began six seasons ago.  They had me at hello.  Claudia Joy, Denise, Pamela, Roxy, and I'll even include Roland, the Army husband.  It brings the reality of war, and the daily struggles of Army Wives.  If you want drama, you've got it all in Army Wives.  If I had the opportunity to meet the writers of Army Wives though I would have to tell them to bring back Pamela.

And, just when I thought I could control my addiction along came Once Upon A Time.