Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winter Garden

     I planted carrots, onions, turnips, collards, and lettuce yesterday. I'll probably add potatoes, celery, peas, and cucumbers next month. According to the Farmer's Almanac Gardening by the Moon Calender, there are some good days in December for those.

     I've added a plant house to keep the dog out. Maybe I'll get to eat turnips this time. The last turnips that ripened in my garden were spirited away and buried in parts unknown. When I went out to harvest them...all I found were holes. I'm suspecting my eggplant, that just beginning to grow, met with the same fate. (I can't imagine a dog eat a raw eggplant. They're really bitter.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spiritual Journey

Some parts of my spiritual journey have been too deep, overwhelming, and suffocating to bring me peace (if anything they increased my stress level) while other parts have been too shallow to satisfy or refresh. Like Goldilocks, I need to find my "just right".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Year/New Toy

I am enjoying teaching again! The new school year is off to a great start.

I'm also enjoying my new cell phone (HTC Touch Pro2)! It's probably going to take a month, or more, to learn how to use all of the features it has :-)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Summer Goals, Harsh Reality

This school year is off to a great start. I did not accomplish all of my summer goals, but the few that I did have really made a dfference. I mapped out my year for social studies and the first three months of language arts. I made some important changes to my diet (added more veggies and protein), and I got a lot of much needed rest.

Even with all of the positive changes, my website still need updating. I still need to get ahead of the curve when it comes to planning (not just mapping), and at some point in my life I need to get a handle on household chores (cleaning, maintainance, and repairs).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who Are You

I saw this at Carabousmom and decided to take the "What Part of The Fairy Tale Are You" quiz.

My results are in:
You Are the Dragon

I am powerful and a bit intimidating. While you have a bit of a temper, your bark is much more vicious than your bite.

In general, you tend to be fair and even noble. You treat everyone with respect, and you try to do right by people.
However, if someone crosses you, you can get downright nasty. Your emotions can get the better of you.

You don't literally breath fire when you're angry, but enough. It's best not to make you bad.

I started to change the last word to "mad" but, after giving it some thought, decided "bad" was the best word choice ;-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Making up for all of the housework I failed to do during the school  year is going to take most of the summer, but it seems less and less overwhelming. I'm beginning to see pockets of progress. I now have three clutter free rooms.

Peace and balance are imortant emotional, spiritual, and mental states. All of the clutter and dust, combined with stress, was making peace and balance impossible to sustain. I can see why I'm beginning to feel and look better. I'm sure the extra sleep I've been getting, and the puppy's increased independence, is not hurting either :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Goals

Okay, here's the list:

  1. get back on the healthy eating wagon (following a dietary lifestyle based on ayurvedic guidelines) -- don't worry I still believe in Jesus (ayurvedic dietary guidelines have a lot in common with The Maker's Diet but no commercial aspects; only farmers will make money off of my new lifestyle)
  2. transition my hair from chemically relaxed to natural (styling is going to be my biggest challenge) -- Thanks to Wen hair care products, I LOVE MY HAIR!
  3. READ (leisure and professional) -- more actual books not as many audiobooks
  4. map the coming school year
  5. plan the first four weeks of the coming school year
  6. take several small (inexpensive) trips
  7. put three new routines in place to better organize and manage things at home - I hope I get this done because I'm tired of this problem being addressed on every list I've ever made

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PaperBack Swap

For those who are unfamiliar with PaperBack Swap , it is a great way to find new homes for books that aren't keepers and to get books you are interested in. Goodreads provides a similar service, but I prefer using PaperBack Swap because earning points to order books is a much faster and even exchange. With Goodreads, you pay the shipping charges when you order a book and not when you send one; however, you have to ship out ten books to earn enough points to order one.

Something New

Blogger finally has pages! This website is under serious reconstruction but will be open for business during that time ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are We There Yet?

I can't wait for the end of the school year! I have been living off of chocolate bars, Skittles, coffee, donuts, and fast food. My garden is growing; however, it will be a while before I can harvest anything. Face it, in the meantime, I've fallen so far off of the healthy eating wagon that I can't even see the wheel tracks. It's a poor response to my extremely stressed out life (it actually adds to it), but I can't seem to stop myself. The onset of summer break will cause most of the stress to magically disappear and part of my summer plan is to put a better stress management plan in place. I'm trying to at least increase and maintain the amount of water I drink ("teeny, tiny baby steps", "gotta start somewhere", etc...). That can only help. Right?


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

I don't litter, I use my blue recycle bin, and I try to get maximum use out of things before I throw them away, but it just seems like reconnecting with the Earth is a necessary (and enjoyable) step in becoming environmentally conscious.

During Spring Break, I started a square foot garden. I did it in hopes of reducing my produce bill and, if it's readily available, actually eating more vegetables. I've wanted to do this for a long time and felt it was now or never. I started from seeds, and I have to admit it has been exciting to see plants breaking through the soil's surface. It was easier than I thought to get started (meaning I probably forgot to do something that was vital to being a successful gardener :-(


Sunday, April 04, 2010

                    Happy Easter!!!

Who Are You?

Funny Mrs.Chilli should mention Audrey Hepburn today (see here). I recently had one of those accept yourself moments when I asked myself which Hepburn archetype lined up with my personality. Audrey or Katherine. Honestly, I'd have to say I am most like Katherine Hepburn. I'm extremely independent. Don't mind getting dirty. Men are drawn to me (haha ;) by respect not lust. I have a friend who has a nice balance of both...I guess she's Lauren Bacall.

Today, I found the following description of Katherine Hepburen here:

You are smart, a real thinker. Every situation is approached with a plan. You are very healthy in mind and body. You don’t take crap from anyone. You have only a couple of individuals that you consider ‘real friends’.. You teach strong family values. Keep your feet planted in them, but don’t overlook a bad situation when it does happen.
Yes, I tried taking this test before I read the description. Guess what... I AM Katherine Hepburn, and I am just fine with that description.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The school year feels like a strange hybrid of a marathon, a sprint, and an obstacle course. From the moment we set foot on campus on that first teacher workday to the last day of school, teacher are racing to teach and reteach all of the standards to students who frequently lack the foundational skills needed to master the material. Yes, we get breaks along the way, but that time is spent trying to repair and patch up personal responsibilities we have often neglected.

I know spring break is less than a week away, but I really needed a break. On Thursday, I made the decision to take Friday off. Before leaving work, I had the opportunity to laugh and talk with some of my student who had stayed after school for math tutoring. Their work was done and they were busy being children. They shared their thoughts on things, made silly jokes, and laughed, laughed, laughed. The next day at work (yes, I went). I started each core by having students share something good from the day before. I shared the following:

"Sometimes teachers become so caught up in the work of teaching, and preparing for testing, that teaching is no longer fun. I would like to thank _________, ____________, and ______________ for reminding me how much fun it is to work with middle school students. I came to work today because of the fun we have as we do our work."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Dog Training

My current adventures with Max have me looking for a faster, effective way to teach him to stop mouthing people's hands and arms and to stop jumping on them. I'm not a fan of the "remote collar" and I'm not putting in enough time or being consistent enough for positive reinforcement to nip this in the bud quickly.  I use some of Cesar Milan's techniques (like entering and exiting before allowing the dog to do so), but others (like rolling him when he makes teeth to skin contact) seem to make him behave aggressively. 

Today, I picked up a business card belonging to a trainer who uses the many of the same techniques as Milan. Coincidently, I also came across this funny skit by comedian Charlie Murphy on The Dog Blog. (Murphy does use profanity, so consider yourself warned,). While the clip is meant to be funny and exaggerate the things shown on Milan's show, it does serve as a reminder that this type of training is not based solely on positive reinforcement.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


On Thursday morning, I was being observered by two beginning teachers and someone from the district office because the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Curriculum is so impressed by the work I do with the struggling students and special education students in one of my language arts classes. Later that afternoon, my room was being observed (by someone else from the district office) because of the seemingly horrible job I am doing with a special needs student in that same class. Please excuse me, but I'm a little confused by all of this. I realize different students have different needs, but I'm getting mixed messages. Maybe the problem with education boils down to the fact that the people in charge really don't know what they want or what it looks like when they get it. Hmmm?.

Happy Valentines Day!

Looking for someone to love or someone to give love to has lead people to do desperate things. Ultimately, we all want to experience love. Love is something we have the power to create based on what we think, say, and do. It is a choice we make on a daily, moment by moment, basis. What better day than today to choose love!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who Dat!

Way to go! Congrats to the New Orleans Saints and the people of New Orleans!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Plum Lovin

Janet Evanovich never fails to entertain! In Plum Lovin' she once again caused me to laugh uncontrollably while driving alone. I'm sure passers-by were wondering..."Break down?" In this installment of the Between the Numbers volumes of the Stephanie Plum series, Stephanie helps Diesel solve one of his "unmentionable" cases in exchange for one of Jersey’s most wanted. For her part, she acts as a relationship expert to make sure five challenging cases have a happy Valentines Day, while Diesel has to diffuse another unmentionable’s powers.
This one was too funny, and Diesel gets sexier by the minute!

The Other Queen

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory is story of Mary Queen of Scots and her ultimate execution under Queen Elizabeth. As usual, the characters are well-researched and well-written. I understood their motivations even if I disagreed with them. Because I love Gregory's work and find this time period interesting I enjoyed this book. I take a long break between each book because the treachery and beheadings can get old. I don't how the Tudors dealth with the constant distrust and stress.

I finished this audiobook, but it was difficult getting through it. It was well-written, I simply could not enjoy the ride.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use Your Words Not Your Hands

Ms. E., an older woman whose opinion I usually respect, recently made a comment about domestic violence that has troubled me all week. I can't recall exactly what celebrity she was talking about, but she made a comment that this person had "only been slapped" )by a male in her life), and no one would have thought a thing about it if it weren't for her fame. She went on to emphasize that it was just a slap which, in her opinion, was no big deal. I was struck dumb by this woman's comments. I should have spoken up in defense of women everywhere, but I was just so shocked that any woman could honestly believe such a thing. Ms. E has been married and divorced twice. It saddens me to think that my dear friend may have been a victim of this type of violence.

Time Outside

A respite from the torrential rain.

Click here for more Six Word Saturday.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week 2

Max had a great day on Thursday! Excercise seems to be the key life ingredient that he is not getting enough of. Just as I figure this out, a week long stretch of rain is about to begin. REALLY? REALLY!?

In the classroom

As the teacher, I spent the first week after break tightening the reigns on students behavior. As a group,We spent the first week, reviewing rules, procedures, and routines. It was a great week. Next week will be interrupted by an assembly, two days of district testing, and a holiday. REALLY!!?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Audobook Challenge

For the past two years I have started several book challenges at the beginning of the year and only complete one by years end. Last year I didn't post reviews for each book, but I did listen to the number of books required to complet this challenge. With this being a year of love and acceptance for me, I am accepting the fact that one book challenge is enough for me. I will, however, make sure I post reviews this year and write a wrap-up post.

Challenge Guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.
2. There are four levels:
  • Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.
  • Fascinated – Listen to 6 Audio Books.
  • Addicted – Listen to 12 Audio Books.
  • Obsessed – Listen to 20 Audio Books
3. Audio books only.
4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

I am participating at the "Obsessed" level. It  will be no problem because I listened to about that many audiobooks last year. (I stopped putting them in the sidebar when I reached 12.)

My Audio Book List will appear in the sidebar (under the Audio Book Challenge button) and be update as I complete and begin new books.

Six Word Saturday

Work on Monday, students on Tuesday!

Friday, January 08, 2010


This week during puppy training class, Max tried to bite the trainer! He has become a very strong-willed dog. This CANNOT continue. If you follow the Cesar Milan at all (it seems like everyone does) , then you know that the root of the problem is me. I personally admit that I'm doing quite a few things wrong:
  • Inconsistency during training
  • giving him too much freedom
  • not being a calm-assertive leader
The last item is the most important and the one I am having the hardest time correcting. Currently, I know I am not sending out a calm-assertive energy; I'm sending out an energy that screams frustration. I am frustrated with my job, my neighborhood, and Max. Saying I have to rise above these things and be the leader I used to be, can be, and am meant to be is easier said than done right now. Regardless, I am not giving up. I'm addressing each of the issues listed above and tightening the reigns on Max. I have also signed up for some one-on-one training sessions for Max and I.

(I am sure that the bulleted items are showing up in my classroom too, and I will be addressing them there too.)

Sunday, January 03, 2010


I am exhausted, but determined to post something today. Max is a 22 week old bundle of energy and, if you haven't figured it out, I am a low energy person.

He is still nipping. It feels alot like biting if you're nipped :( I'm trying the "withold attention" approach when he nips, but it is slow going. Everyone tells me to work him hard to burn off as much of that energy as possible during the day. Let's just say our 4 1/2 mile walk wore me out, but he was still jumping around and ready for action. When he is not running, jumping, and nipping, he is humping everyone or thing in sight. He was neutered two weeks ago, but the humping remains an issue.

Back to the point of this post...My resolutions this year are pretty general yet necessary.
  1. Socialize more
  2. Use my camera more
  3. When I exit a room in my house or get out of my car, do one thing to leave it in a better state than it was when I entered. (It could anything from doing dishes to throwing away mail left on the counter.) It would be nice if I could do this with every situation or person I encounter, but I figure I'll start small and work my way up. Truthfully,this is a sneaky of admitting that I failed (once again) to keep my house cleaner last year, so I'm still working on that ;)

Gotta go. Tomorrow we try the long walk with Max wearing a weighted doggie back pack (per vet and trainer advice). I figure he can also carry my water, B12 and pain pills ;p