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In Style, Accidentally

Yesterday, while standing outside of my classroom waiting to greet my students, I overheard two young ladies (not my students) discussing something.

The conversation went like this:

Girl #1:  “I really like her hair.”

Girl #2:  “Who’s hair?”

Girl #1:  Points to me.

I had to insert myself into the conversation by asking, “You like my hair?”

I’ve been putting hot rollers in it lately…don’t ask me why…and it’s got a lot of bounce that I’m still not very confident about.

The conversation resumed…

Girl #1:  “Yes, it’s pretty.”

Me:  “Why, thank you!”

Girl #1, speaking to Girl #2:  “I like the way her hair is brown halfway down and then is blonde the rest of the way.  I’m gonna get my hair done that way.”

Me:  “Um…I didn’t do this on purpose.  It’s just my roots growing out.”



Apparently, two-toned hair color is the “in” thing now.

Who wouldda thunk that I would actually be in style…while the style was still in style…if you get what I’m saying.

This is a totally accidental thing.  I can assure you that if I’d tried to be in style, it would have backfired on me.

No Puking Allowed at the Hodgepodge

So, the title of this post is a little strange, I’ll admit, but you’ll get it as you read on.  Joyce, thanks for posting the questions, as always!

1.  When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.

I live fifteen minutes away from the ocean, so I can face it any day I want.  However, I will take myself back to the Alaskan cruise we went on nearly three summers ago.  There’s nothing quite like being on a ship with no land in sight.  If I were to select a word to describe how I felt out there, I’d have to say “minute.”  One realizes, when faced with endless miles of nothing but deep, blue water, how tiny one is and almost inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  Oh sure, I know each life matters to God, but I am one of many, and while I am small in stature, I am also small in number when facing a vast ocean.

2.  What are three sounds you hate to hear?

I do not like the sound of someone throwing up, people cursing (a difficult thing to avoid working in a high school), and someone crying in pain.  Ugh.

3.  This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don’t like or what doesn’t fit?

I try on before I buy because I don’t want to make a return visit to a store.  I want to know something fits so I can put it away when I get home.

4.  February 26th is National Pistachio Day…are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I do like pistachios…straight out of the shell.  I’ve never cooked with them.  In fact, I rarely cook.  LOL

5.  When did you last have to compromise with someone?  Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary?

It would be a toss-up.  The Mr. and I regularly compromise about where dinner is coming from at night.  We rotate food establishments because I don’t cook.

I also have to compromise daily with my students.  I’m learning which battles to pick, and quite honestly, many just aren’t worth the fight.  Certain things in my classroom are non-negotiable.  Others are less so.  Sometimes I’m happy, while other times I am not.  I am a control freak and would prefer that everyone do things MY way.  The reality is that life doesn’t work this way.  It’s been a hard lesson for me, but I’m slowly learning it.

6.  Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

I honestly do not think I have written a letter to an elected official.  I’d probably get some sort of form letter back.  Plus, I’d probably have nothing good to say to an elected official, so it’s best that I don’t say anything at all. 😉

7.  We ‘March’ into a new month at the end of this week…what’s something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

Two things are on my March calendar that will make me smile:  the arrival of my Chicklets for their respective Spring Breaks, and completion of my Reading Endorsement, which I plan on finishing within the next two weeks.  Oh wait.  There’s a third thing on my calendar:  my OWN Spring Break at the end of the month!

8.  My Random Thought

I wanted to update you on my fur baby, Aubie.

She had a rough few days, so we took her back to the vet, where she had an x-ray.  The x-ray did not show any cancer; however, the doctor could only take one picture because Aubie was in too much pain to extend her leg for a better shot of the shoulder area.  The vet is very concerned about how much worse she’s gotten since last Thursday.  Although she’s gained a couple of pounds, thanks to us mixing in wet food with the dry, her back legs are growing weaker because they are having to support the bulk of her weight.

I asked for and received stronger pain meds for her.  The first dose pretty much knocked her off her feet, and we cried as she seemed unable to get herself out of bed last night.  For the first time, she cried out in pain as we lifted her.  Once she got going, she was fine, but boy, was she stiff.  I read that one of the side effects of the medicine is dizziness and fatigue.  Poor girl.  She gave us quite the scare and was content to return to her bed after using the bathroom outside.

Regardless of whether she has an injury, bone cancer, or a nerve tumor, she hasn’t gotten better yet.

The Mr. and I have been in tears.  This is simply devastating to us.

We are praying, though…asking for wisdom about what comes next.  Hopefully, we will not have to make that dreaded decision.

Meanwhile, Chicky is making her way home on Friday.  Rooster may come home this weekend too.  He wants to see Chicky as well as spend time with Aubie.

The visit will be bittersweet.

Please hold us all in your prayers.  This is going to be a difficult couple of weeks, I fear, and I am so dreading it but, at the same time, leaning on the Lord for His strength.

Gambit snuggling up with Aubie…

Time – A Book Review

Ok…here I go again.

What I’m doing is catching you guys up on some of the books I’ve finished but haven’t blogged about.

The latest installment in my little “series” is about Time, by Roger Reid.

This is the third book in the “Caldwell” series.

It picks up where the first book, Longleaf, left off.

I’m going to be straight up when I tell you that I did not enjoy this book.

The topic, fossil hunting, is interesting.

The plot, however, was not.

Sure, I understand that the intended audience are young adults.

Still, I think the dialogue was somewhat juvenile, and the plot was superficial.

I don’t like the way Reid quickly wraps up everything at the end.

The boys in my class who have read it have enjoyed it, though, which says a lot.

Obviously, this book will appeal more to the guys.

It will also appeal to struggling readers who do not have the patience or confidence for long-winded, difficult prose.

Divergent – A Book Review

I’ve been a busy girl…dedicating part of each evening to reading the books that I order for my classroom.  I don’t feel that I can recommend books for my students without knowing what I’m talking about, so it’s only fair that I read them first.

A book I finished a couple of weeks ago was Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

The number of pages in this book can seem daunting…especially for my kids, who are struggling readers.

However, the suspense begins IMMEDIATELY, hooking the reader from the very first words.

Before you know it, you’re sucked in, and you CANNOT PUT IT DOWN!

Ms. Roth described every scene so well that I could see movies in my head.  There’s hardly a page that doesn’t contain action of some sort.

When I finished reading this book, I gave a book talk about it to my classes.

One of my boys grabbed it up, looking a little doubtful when I asked if he wanted to check it out of my “library.”

By the second day, he was asking to take it home, admitting that he was hooked.

This is part of a series.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book!

The Tenderness of Animals

God’s design is amazing.

He left nothing to chance, including the way that living creatures respond to each other.

Take, for instance, the case of my fur babies.

As I mentioned on Wednesday in my Hodgepodge post, Aubie isn’t doing very well right now.

She’s thirteen years old and is losing her ability to hear.

She also began limping last weekend.

We took her to the vet on Thursday, and she confirmed that Aubie has already lost a great deal of muscle mass in the leg that she’s favoring.

We also discovered that she’s lost five pounds since her last visit in July.

That’s not good.

The doctor suspects that Aubie has either strained her leg or that she has bone cancer.


We’re being cautious, though, and have begun giving her joint supplements and baby aspirin to relieve joint pain and inflammation.

If the limping isn’t better in two weeks, we will take her back for x-rays.  X-rays will determine if there’s any cancer in her body.

The Mr. and I are quite torn up about this.

We’ve had Aubie since Rooster was in kindergarten.

She and the kids have grown up together.

She represents a huge chunk of time in our lives.

One of the things are are doing to help her healing process is limiting her activity.

The way we are doing this is by moving her dog bed from one room to another.

This is where we’re seeing God’s design come into play.

When we put her bed in the living room, she gingerly got in.

The other dogs know that something is going on with her.  Loving her as they do, they want to be close to her.

The following are pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of days…

Look at Pele’s leg on her bed.  Poor Gambit.  He’s such a snuggler and just wants to be near her.

He crawled into bed with her this morning…

We would really appreciate your prayers for her.

We are absolutely heartbroken over what may be coming.

Our entire family is.

Aubie has claimed everyone’s hearts.

Grand Pooba and Coupon Queen took care of her for almost a year while we were building a house.  They fell in love with her.

During that time, Super Sis and her family fell in love with her too.  They decided to get a dog after watching their children interact with Aubie.

She’s been a role model for the other dogs in the house.

She’s been another mother to Pele and Gambit.

Molly hasn’t been so impressed with her, but they’re typical alpha dogs, so it’s understandable.

While we don’t know what future days hold for our precious Aubie, we do know that we’ll be keeping her as comfortable as we can and spoiling her rotten.

It’s the least we can do for everything she has given us over the years.

It’s Like Riding a Bicycle!

This evening, my school’s SGA sponsored a Skate Night.

The SGA sponsor, who happens to be my very good friend, had asked for chaperones, so I offered to volunteer.

Two of my students from first period showed up, and they bribed me to lace up skates by promising to read fifty pages tomorrow during silent reading time.

How on earth could a reading teacher turn down an offer like that!

I did warn them, however, that if pictures or videos made the internet, I would dock their grades fifty points.


I got myself all ready…

Please admire the knit green sock.  That was one of my projects about three years ago (before I got my teaching job…during the job-hunting days when I had TIME to finish projects!).

Then, I carefully stepped onto the skate floor.

I was nervous.

Falling is not something I do gracefully.

I rolled slowly at first, leaning into the first turn.

I wasn’t about to brave picking up my right foot to cross it over the left.

Not yet.

It didn’t take long before I was hitting my stride.

See, this girl had an ace up her sleeve.

When I was a youngster, and going to the skating rink was THE thing to do on the weekends because parents wanted someone else to be responsible for this kids for a few hours, I spent many hours learning to skate.

In fact, my mom signed me up for lessons.

Yes, they had skating lesson way back when.

Sometimes, I got to stay later and skate with the older kids.

Oh, the memories.

The longer I skated tonight, the freer I felt.

Soon, I was making those turns with ease, crossing right leg over left.




I’ve been under a lot of pressure these last few months but especially the last couple of weeks.

I let myself go, listening to the music and just being me for a change.

My students were duly impressed, I think.

My feet were sore when I pulled off my skates a couple of hours later, but the pain was worth it.

It’s been quite a few years since I stood up on wheels.

I discovered that, although I am not exactly the most coordinated person you’ll ever see, skating, for me, was familiar and took me to a time in my youth when life was,if only for a few hours each Saturday, fun and fancy free.

Mountaintop Hodgepodge

Wednesdays do roll around here quickly, don’t they!  It’s a great way to mark the passage of each week…putting us one day closer to the weekend!  Play along by joining up with Joyce!

1.  When were you last ‘on a mountaintop’?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

Let’s see…as a teacher, I often find myself on mountaintops as I watch students begin to grasp concepts.  However, I’ll dig a bit deeper and say that completing the previous Reading Endorsement class, which required the creation and approval of three very comprehensive lesson plans, was a bigger mountaintop experience.

My final class in this program, the practicum, began on Monday.  I have until May 19th to complete it.  I’ve set my goal as finishing by the time I begin Spring Break…March 25th.  Lofty?  Yes.  However, I love that feeling of climbing the mountain and reaching the top.  Completing this certification…300 hours’ worth…might just result in another afternoon of dancing to my Wii “Just Dance” game.

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

Yes and no.  Certain bills come out of my check, and I’m slowly paying off some of the debt that has piled up over the years.  However, I do give myself room to play a little.  I love getting my nails done every paycheck, and takeout is big right now.  I’m too exhausted to cook, and with it being only the Mr. and me with both kids away at college, it’s just not worth it.  Plus, we eat completely differently (he eats meat; I do not).

My advice to those starting out on their own is to keep a tight reign on your credit card spending and pay off debts every month.  We used to do this.  I wish we had been more religious about it.  I’d probably be staying home right now if we had maintained our original habits.

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Cherries Garcia…pick one.

I do like cherries, but I prefer them straight from the produce section.  No desserts for me.  Just rinsed and in a bowl, plain as can be.

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don’t know?

I don’t know if this is the smartest decision.  People can be very passionate about their beliefs, and without knowing a person very well, you could unintentionally insult them.  I’d tread lightly as far as these topics go.

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?

I prefer to be the passenger, in the front seat, when we take road trips.  I get very car sick if I’m not in the front.  I also like to sleep while traveling.

My most recent road trip was when I came home from visiting family during Christmas.  I’ll probably be on the road in May when it’s time to bring Rooster and his stuff home for the summer.  That is one road trip I am looking forward to!

6.  If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?

I have a lot of red and black in my closet.  These are my school’s colors.  I also like to wear black pants.  They can be dressy or casual depending on the style, but they are always classy.

7.  Who’s your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

Gosh, but I really don’t know a lot of senior citizens!  I spend the majority of my time around the teenagers I teach and my coworkers, who are definitely not old enough to be considered seniors.

8.  My Random Thought

I would appreciate if you guys would say a prayer for my oldest dog, Aubie.

She’s not doing well, of late.

She woke up this past weekend limping, and that limp has not gotten any better.

She’s thirteen years old, almost completely deaf, but just as sweet as can be.  She still has spunk but is a nervous thing.  This limping thing isn’t making matters any better.

On top of that, she’s not eating very well.

The hubby and I are extremely worried.  We don’t want to lose her.

We’re probably going to take her to the vet in a day or two.

I am really hoping her limp is from the cold weather that has hit Florida recently.

All I know is that she is a much-loved member of the family, and it breaks our hearts to see her suffer.



A 5’2″ Vegan Goes Up Against the Car Dude

Oh my.

We had the holiday off from school, so I took the opportunity to take my car to the shop to find resolution to my broken lock and misfiring tire sensor issues.

If you recall, these were not originally problems when my car broke down a few weeks ago.

Just like a person who leaves  a hospital with a different ailment from when they went in, so too did my car leave with a different sickness.

Despite having lesson plans to write and assignments to work on for my final Reading Endorsement class, I sat, for three hours at the auto repair shop, reading and hoping that I wouldn’t have to face a fight regarding WHO was going to pay for the repairs.

My thinking has been that since the parts weren’t messed up originally, I shouldn’t have to pay.

The auto place had other ideas.

After being unable to figure out why my tire sensor wasn’t working correctly, I told the guy to focus on the door lock issue.  For me, it’s become a safety issue.  I cannot unlock my driver side door without inserting the key and turning.  Seriously?  I live in 2013, and this should not be happening.

The repair shop manager went back to whatever he was doing before emerging an hour later to tell me that they had found the part…for $215…but that they were going to “cover the cost.”

Dang straight.

We walked outside, and he asked if they could order the used part.

Didn’t matter to me…as long as everything worked afterward.

Before leaving, I asked him if they were going to fix the sensor.

That’s when the unpleasantness began.

He hemmed and hawed, claiming that he thought we’d agreed not to worry about it.

To which I responded by apologizing if I’d misled him, but that what I’d actually done was prioritized the items in the order of importance and quickness to fix.  I needed to go home to work, and they’d spent two hours trying to fix something they still didn’t have the answer for.

He then told me, “We’re eating the cost of the door lock in good faith.  We don’t actually know that these parts weren’t working before you brought the car in.”



If you’ve never seen a 5’2″ 105lb blonde get mad, well then you weren’t in that parking lot.

I immediately responded, firmly but pointedly, “I know those parts worked because I drive the car every day, and YOU can take that on good faith because I DO NOT LIE.”

I suggested that he should be concerned about fixing what his business broke and keeping a customer who takes THREE cars to be fixed there HAPPY.

Looks like my car won’t be getting fixed on Saturday as planned.

They have to do some research about that sensor.

I will get this car fixed.

The relationship between this mechanic and my family will end with that.

I already have the name of another place in town that stands behind their work.

10 Assignments in 10 Days

On Wednesday night, I worked my fingers to the bone and turned in my final two assignments for my first ESOL class.  This is one of five classes I have to take to obtain the second certification I need to be considered fully qualified to teach Intensive Reading.

My instructor, a fabulous woman who, up to that point, had provided feedback a mere hours after I’d submitted every other assignment, did not let me down.

During my planning period on Thursday, I checked the status of those assignments and was relieved and thankful to discover that both had been approved!!  Whew!  Part of the ninth assignment had taken me a little while to think through, and I had not been entirely confident that I wouldn’t have to redo it.

I happily printed out my certificate…

I had completed ten weeks’ worth of assignments in ten days.

Overachieve much?



God meant it for good because on Tuesday, I’d received an email from the lady in charge of scheduling the practicum for the other certification program I’m going through, and the final class offered this school year begins on the 18th.  That’s Monday, folks!

I responded immediately that I wanted to sign up for the class.

If you’d asked me a couple of months ago if I thought I was going to be able to finish my Reading Endorsement before the end of the year, I would have said no, and that I didn’t want to overstress myself with FCAT coming in April.

I do feel, however, that this is the right time.

The practicum involves writing three more hellacious lesson plans (the same kinds that I wrote in the previous class), filming them, reflecting upon them, and sending in one of the recordings for my teacher to preview.

I’ll have until May 16th to complete the course.

I’m hoping to be finished in a month…by the time Spring Break rolls around.

I’d love to be able to truly enjoy that week off without having this class looming over my shoulder.

We’ll see if I can manage it.

Until then, I’m grateful for the push that the Lord provided…using my natural tendencies…which allowed me to finish one class much sooner than expected so that I can focus more of my energy on the nerve-wracking and scary final class.

Because I Love You

Dear Students,

Take a look at this…

Because I love you, I placed another order for books.

Although I’ve already read The Giver, the copy was not mine, and another teacher borrowed it.  I wanted to have my very own, complete set, so I bought this one to add to the other three in the series.

The other two books come highly recommended by the 100 Book Challenge group on Facebook.

I can’t wait to read them so I can do book talks with you.

Nothing says love like a book order!


Mrs. Auburnchick

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