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Bringing in 2012 With the Hodgepodge

It’s a new year, and what better way to begin anew than with a fresh set of Hodgepodge questions?!  Thanks, Joyce, for hosting!

1.  What are three words you would use to describe your 2011?

Hectic – I taught five grades from January through June, completed an entire teaching certification program (nine classes), and began teaching a new subject, reading, at a different school in August.

Adventurous – My family flew to Seattle, WA, and then jumped on a cruise ship to Alaska, courtesy of Coupon Queen and Grand Pooba.

Illuminating – Last school year, I taught at a Muslim school (I am a Christian).  Prior to that experience, I’d never had close contact with those of the Muslim faith.  Before talking to them, I had no idea what kinds of challenges they face in the United States.  It was eye-opening.  My year of illumination continued into the current school year.  Most of the students I currently teach come from a lower socioeconomic station.  In the last five months, my eyes have been opened to the host of problems that my high school students face.  These kids face everything from learning disabilities to “unique” family dynamics.  Watching my students face their difficulties head-on has been inspiring and illuminating.

2. Do you like shrimp? What’s your favorite way to have it prepared?

Yes, I do like shrimp, but I haven’t eaten it in over a year now…ever since I switched to a vegan diet.  I really never had a preference to how it was prepared…shrimp cocktails, shrimp scampi…it just didn’t matter.

3.  Is your house de-Christmased? If so when did you tackle that job? If not, when will the decorations come down?

Yes, my has been undecorated.  It took a couple of days…off and on.  I finished around the 29th or the 30th, I think.

4.  Do you like to watch scary movies?

No, I’ve never enjoyed watching scary movies, although the Mr. will tell you that our first date was to a scary movie.  What can I say?  I didn’t get asked out often, so I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity for anything.  I tend to have very scary dreams, so scary movies intensify my dreams.  Honestly, I see no point to scary movies.

5.  Ice skating~sledding~skiing~snowboarding~of the four listed which wintertime activity do you most enjoy?

I live in Florida.  We don’t do any of these activities.  Had I to choose, though, I’d say ice skating.  I’ve always loved skating of any kind.  I love ice skating Olympic events.  I fancy myself (in my silly head) another Kristi Yamaguchi.

6.  Did you have a childhood hideout? Describe it.

I don’t think I had a childhood hideout when I was younger.  I did spend a lot of time in my room, but what kid doesn’t?

7.  What’s a place or space that motivates you?

I would say that a place that motivates me is another teacher’s classroom.  Oh, not just any classroom, but the classroom of a FANTASTIC teacher.  Seeing what that teacher is doing inspires me to think outside of the box and get more creative with my own students.  It makes me long for the time when teaching will become more natural as well, so “hanging in there” becomes my mantra.  Time and diligence will help me be a better teacher one day.

8.  My Random Thought

I don’t know if any of you read my post a couple of days ago. If not, go on and skim over it.  My random thought is a follow-up.

New Year’s Eve, a stray dog wandered up to me while I was walking one of my other dogs, and he followed me home.  I didn’t have the heart to put him out, so the Mr. and I decided to keep him in the garage.

He slowly worked his way into the house, but after checking for fleas, we found a few ticks on him, so we put him back in the garage.

We were waiting until Monday when we could take him to the animal shelter.

A funny thing happened during those three days.

We began to fall in love with the guy.  The feeling was mutual, and he quickly grew comfortable with us, as evidenced by the next few pictures…

He followed me everywhere…even into the bathroom…

On Monday, the Mr. and I loaded him up and drove to the animal shelter.  There was a young animal control officer outside, but he told us the facility was closed.  However, after explaining our situation, the guy agreed to check the puppy for a microchip.  I wanted to get him back to his owner, if possible.

Well, the puppy didn’t have a chip, and because the facility was closed, we took him back home for one more night.

Meanwhile, the Mr. found two more ticks on the puppy, so we decided to take him to Banfield, the veterinarian facility that Pet Smart stores have onsite.  I had called ahead, explained how we’d taken in a stray, and the office manager had agreed to waive the $40 office fee.

The Mr. gave me strict instructions to find out the cost of getting him checked for ticks as well as worms.

It turned out that the few services we were willing to commit to were not too expensive.  He’s a healthy guy…a pit-boxer mix…a healthy 55 pounds…and about a year old.  The only problem he has is a case of hookworms, which we got medicine for.

The dog was so well behaved while he was being treated…

I took him home, and we watched him, growing ever closer but determined to detach ourselves the next day.

What was actually happening was that Rooster and the Mr. were bonding with the dog.

We decided to think and pray about keeping him and decide in the morning.  I wasn’t returning to school until today (Wednesday), so I could take him to the animal shelter.

When we woke up Tuesday morning, the Mr. tried to ease out the door.  Rooster and I were still sleeping, but I woke up in the nick of time, caught him and cornered him for a decision.

Financially, it wasn’t a good decision.  One more mouth to feed, one more hiney to vaccinate.

Then, the Mr. went to Rooster’s room and saw this…

The Mr. couldn’t say no.

Rooster had already laid claim to the dog.

He gave the okay to go shopping…

It was time for the dog to have his own collar and food bowl.

I think this little guy had known, all along, that he was home (as did all of my friends on Facebook as they followed the saga as it played out)…

Over the last few days, I couldn’t help but wonder if God was in this.  Out of all the people to follow, the dog followed me, and he instantly took a liking to me.  Aubie, Pele, and Molly accepted him easily, although Molly did have an issue the other night when he attempted to eat her food.  We’re now feeding them separately.

I know that some people might call us nuts for taking in another animal.

What can I say?  We’ve grown into a family that has a heart for strays.  We adopted all of our fur babies from local shelters.  Even the Mr., who pretends to be all tough on the outside, has turned mushy where it comes to our animals.

I hope there’s a special place in heaven for people who take in strays.  Not that it matters to me.  I don’t know that I need the extra incentive.  It’s just a part of who I am.

Oh, and what did we name him?

Well, Rooster asked for this privilege since, technically, the dog is his, and he’s never gotten to name one of our dogs.

After spending the entire day agonizing over a name, and I do mean agonizing, Rooster decided on the following, which we had etched on a tag at Pet Smart…

Our little guy’s name is Gambit, after the X-Men character.  I like the name because it means “risk,” which is what we do every time we open our hearts to an adopted fur baby.

Happy New Year to all of my Hodgepodge and other bloggy friends!

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