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PMS and School Prep

I am so ready for menopause because, and just let me be blunt here, PMS sucks.

I really wish I could pick the timing when it hits.

Personally, I’d choose never.

I’d certainly never choose three weeks before school starts.

Ugh.

We have some personnel changes going on at my school, and one of the changes involves a close friend of mine.

She’ll be leaving to help another school…the principal of whom I am good friends with (waving to Carol).

I know they’re happy to have my friend, but, and let me be blunt again, it SUCKS.

I’m a cautious person who isn’t super confident where it comes to friendships.  I’ve had my share of one-sided friendships over the years where I’ve done the friending and other people have done the being friended to.

Do you know what I mean?

Not having my friend there to cheer me up just makes me sad.

To add to my sadness, I haven’t been feeling 100% the last couple of days.  I’m blaming my efforts to clean my classroom.  I’m praying I’m not getting sick, and I’m in fear of getting pneumonia again (remember two summers ago?).

The Mr. and I didn’t go out to eat last night because I just wasn’t up to it.

Down-in-the-mouth I was.

He came out to check on me, and that’s when I lost it.

I started blubbering…crying hard.  The stresses of the day had finally overwhelmed me.

As I cried, I told him that I knew the PMS was making things much worse than they really were, but then I kept crying.

Sheesh.

As Super Sis had said earlier in the day, we’re just hot messes.

Get it…hot…as in menopausal.

I wish.

On top of all that, I went school supply shopping at Office Depot this morning and was told that I could only buy a certain number of folders because they wanted to make sure non-education people got some.  She did let me get thirty, three times the limit…a deal for people who work in education.

Hormonal me was livid, but I was cognizant enough to stop myself in the middle of a rant, apologize to the clerk, and then declare that I’d write a letter to corporate.

To which she replied that it wouldn’t matter…that they wanted to sell to people not in education too.

Yeah.  Not the right way to answer.  There’s something called EMPATHY, which she had none of.

Ugh.

I left the store on good terms, though, because despite my PMS, I didn’t want to be seen at “that customer” who pitched a fit.

Ahem.

In the afternoon, I went to Office Max, a store owned by the same company that owns Office Depot, but they wouldn’t let me get my thirty despite my having gotten them at their sister store.  Apparently the new policy is to give teachers 10% back.

I wanted my folders.  At a penny a piece, ten percent isn’t worth it.  Being set for the school year is.

Talk.  About.  Mad.

I was still PMS’ing.

This was completely poor customer service…having confusing policies that not even the manager seemed empathetic about.

I left my stuff on the counter and walked out…

And drove to Office Depot…

Where I bought my thirty folders from a different clerk and only mentioned AFTER the sale was final about what had happened at Office Max.

The manager at this store is willing to acquiesce to patrons’ requests for duplicate items.

My PMS was in overdrive.

Talk about bad timing.

Ugh.

I’m declaring Friday to be a pool day.

I will relax.

I will try to find a cabana boy who will bring me a margarita.

I will cave in to my PMS leanings and do what I want for at least one day…or at least until it’s time to go to Small Group.

And I’ll pray that menopause hits soon…

Although watching the Mr. step back carefully, avoiding his crazed PMS wife is quite the sight…

Hodgepodge Bids Farewell to July

Is it really nearly August?  Someone please tell me how this happened?

Sheesh.

It’s also Wednesday.  My, how the days fly by, eh?  You know the drill.  Answer on your blog and connect up with Joyce!  Now let’s get to my answers!!

1.  Summer is like childhood. It’s full of warm memories and gone too soon.”~Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.

I agree!  I think that summer days seem to fly by much more quickly than cold, blustery winter days!

I loved days spent at the park (if you’re a personal friend I grew up with, you know which park I’m referring to).  It had a natural spring that was FREEZING and a separate, in-ground pool for those too chicken to get in the FREEZING spring water.  I spent many, many, many hours at the park, jumping off of the diving boards and playing silly pool games with my sister.

2.  Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix, etc? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this?  Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you’re out and about?

I love NASCAR and really want to go to a Daytona race.  I only live a few hours from Daytona.  I’ve been to a smaller race but was very scared that the cars would crash and I would die from a piece of debris flying into the stands.

Drama much?

heehee

I’ve grown up a bit and follow the drivers of NASCAR now.  I want to meet Jeff Gordan and Jimmie Johnson.  I even like Jr. since he’s on Gordon’s team.

Anybody want to sponsor a teacher to enjoy some fun at the races?  🙂

3.  What’s something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or do you think anything and everything is fair game?

I do not think everything is fair game when it comes to joking.

I fear that I don’t have an appreciation for a lot of what is called “humor.”  I think it’s because of my serious nature.

I often fail to find humor in things because I see the undercurrent of hurt that is masked by a joke.

So…just a few of the many things I think are too serious to be joked about…

religion
family problems
weight
IQ

Because I teach high schoolers, I hear many “jokes…” things said at someone else’s expense.  I just don’t like that.

It’s not that I don’t have fun and joke around myself, and I’m not perfect and hurt people’s feelings out of thoughtlessness sometimes, but many times, I don’t laugh when others crack jokes…just because.

No wonder I wasn’t very popular in high school.  Sheesh.

4.  July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?

I love lasagna but don’t really have a recipe to share.  It’s all about the sauce, if you think about it, so if you have a great sauce recipe, you’re pretty much set.

These days, I’d take a plate of spaghetti over lasagna simply because of my vegan lifestyle.  I’ve seen recipes for vegan lasagna, but more places don’t cook it.

5.  What’s a simple pleasure you’d miss if it were not a regular part of your life?

One of my simple pleasures is a nap…on a quiet afternoon…preferably when it’s raining outside.  I love my naps and need them to recharge.  With school about to begin in a few weeks, I’m going to miss my weekday naps.  There’s always the weekend though!

6.  If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?

Gosh, but it was a toss up!  I’d love to be the CEO of a company that publishes books, but I love technology as well.  I’ll say that I’d like to be the CEO of Apple.  Then, I’d get to have the latest and greatest in technology and have the inside know on what’s coming out in the future.

7.  August is just around the bend…bid farewell to July in exactly seven words.

How did you pass by so quickly?

8.  My Random Thought

Yesterday, I went to my school to meet with a new reading teacher.  She will be in the classroom beside me, and we’ll share a door.  I’ve been paired with her to help show her the ropes at the school.

When I walked into my room, which I had not been in since June 10th, I was dismayed to find my supply cabinet on a completely different wall from where I’d left it and two filing cabinets across the room as well.

Oh my gosh.  We were told they would be waxed around.  The cleaning people did a thorough job and moved almost everything!!!

I used my newly gained muscles and wrested these large items back to their proper places.  I also began setting up my tables and chairs.  Three and a half hours later, my room looked like this…

Teachers don’t have to report to school until August 12th.  I’m going to spend a bit more time before then finishing up my room so I can focus on lesson planning afterward.

Oh, and on the way home, I got myself a large sweet tea from Chick-fil-A…a reward for an unexpected work day!

Hitchhiker Scarf

As you saw when I posted pictures of my Vernal Equinox Shawl, I’ve spent a good portion of my summer knitting.

About a week ago, I finished another large project…my Hitchhiker Scarf.  The pattern is available on Ravelry.

I knit it for the final round of Quidditch in my Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  You might recall that I’m a Hufflepuff.  We complete projects that fit into prompts…all in the hopes of accruing lots of points to help our respective houses win the Cup (just like the books).

This final round of Quidditch was brutal.  In fact the entire term’s Quidditch matches were challenging.  You had to craft for certain teams and could not proceed to the next round unless you had crafted for the previous rounds.  Thus, the number of people making things went down each round.

Also adding to the challenges of each round were yardage requirements.  The final round’s rules stipulated that crafters use a minimum of 450 yards of fiber.

Oh word!

Hence, my Hitchhiker Scarf.

I dug deep into my stash for the yarn and selected Regia Silk.

I bought the yarn so long ago that it’s been discontinued.

Ahem.

What drew me to this pattern and the yarn was the casualness of it.

I love the color of the yarn.  I think that will make this scarf pair well with a pair of blue jeans and blouse or button down shirt.

I was only able to knit 37 pattern repeats and bound off on the 38th.  The pattern was super, super easy, and I had it memorized after only a few repeats.

As I played with the scarf, I tried out different ways of wearing it and discovered, to my delight, that it can be worn as if it is a shawl.  This pleases me.

If you’re looking for something to whip up as a gift, I highly recommend this pattern!

The Joy of Serving

My church has made the commitment to feed the hungry downtown one Thursday a month.  Different groups in our church sign up to prepare and serve dinner to a minimum of 100 needy individuals.

My small group took its turn last Thursday.

I’ll admit to a bit of trepidation at such a daunting task.

Over lunch last Sunday, we firmed up our plans.  There were a number of trips made to Sam’s Club for supplies…

David, my friend Barb’s husband, and one of our small group leaders, Tracy, met at the church around 2:15 and began preparing the sauce.  I got there at 3.  Others slowly drifted in after they got off of work, and we also enlisted the assistance of Barb and David’s son and Tracy’s daughter (they are engaged, by the way).

David prepared twenty-five pounds of meat for the sauce, adding his secret blend of spices to the mix.

He and Jim, another of our small group members, cooked up thirty pounds of spaghetti.

I opened the packages of noodles for David.  Please be impressed with my kitchen skillz.

LOL.

Tracy proved to be the master of the garbage disposal/rinsing station.

We all have our special talents, you see.

It didn’t seem like long before everything was ready, and we loaded up our vehicles and headed downtown.

As we pulled into the parking lot, something stirred in my heart because, in front of me, was a line of people waiting for our arrival.

I’ve got a confession to make.

I’ve led a somewhat sheltered life.

The blinders are slowly being removed though…every year more come off as I teach the neediest of children in the direst of situations.

Still, looking at the people in that line and knowing that we were providing what would likely be their only meal of the day…perhaps their best meal of the week…well, I just don’t know that words can adequately describe exactly what I was feeling.

We had a lot of help setting up our table, and each member of our group assumed a spot from which to serve.

Before we began, though, Tracy spoke to the group of people, serving up the most satisfying food they would inhale that day…God’s Word.

A special thanks to this amazing man.  Tracy and his wife have been godsends to the Mr. and me.  They repeatedly invited us to their small group late last Spring.  I didn’t really want to go because I’m painfully shy sometimes, but Tracy continued to find me at church, hug me, and make me feel loved.

That’s just who he is, and his wife, Lisa, is the same way.

After the devotion and blessing, we began.

This is when the fun commenced!

I know that sounds strange, but honestly, that’s what it was…fun!

As each person came through the line, I heard my friends, Jeannie and Barbara, both literacy coaches in my district and some of my biggest supports (not to mention mentors to me), interact in their sweet Southern way with each person as they served up the salad and dressing.

The Mr. and I served the spaghetti.  As each person stood in front of me, I greeted him/her as I would any of my students…looked the person in the eyes…and asked how he/she was.

Some looked surprised to be acknowledged so personally.  I noticed that people would stand up straighter after looking me in the eye.

We passed the plates down to Lisa and others serving up the bread, cookies, and drinks.

We didn’t skimp on portions, and the people in this group seemed genuinely surprised.

We had so much food that we encouraged them to come back through our line for seconds and thirds.

We began making to-go boxes for them.

We even served up spaghetti to the cutest puppy ever (don’t be judging).

Some of the members of our group interacted with the patrons as they ate.

It wasn’t long before the crowd began to disappear…where to, I have no idea.

We broke down the tables and made plans to go to dinner as a group.

We chose a Mexican restaurant.  I doubt I’ll be able to look at spaghetti for a while.  LOL!

Lisa took the leftover food to the Rescue Mission so more hungry souls could be fed.

First, though, we returned to the church to finish cleaning up and return the serving dishes and utensils to their proper homes.

We finally made it to dinner around 8:00.

The feeling was jubilant, and we analyzed things we could have done to make it better.

Overall, though, there was a feeling of joy.

We shared conversations we’d had with those we had served.

I cannot tell you what a bonding experience this was.

Over the last year and three months, I have grown to deeply care for those in my small group.

Each individual has his/her talents.  We celebrate each others’ triumphs and cry for one another when things aren’t so good.

I, who was hesitant to become a part of this group, do not know what I’d do without it.

They stretch me, as evidenced by our experience with feeding the hungry.

They pray for me, on a moment’s notice, as happened last week when I requested prayer when Chicky was interviewing for a new teaching position closer to her house.

Feeding the hungry was an extension of what we’ve been doing for each other for the last year…finding joy through being selfless.

It’s love in action, modeled by God Himself when He sent His Son.

The Legacy of the Table

Once upon a time, there were two sisters.

These sisters loved each other very much.

They were each others’ main playmates, and they spent many, many hours coloring and playing games at this table…

Much laughter and, most likely, many arguments (as is the way with siblings close in age) were exchanged at this table as the girls grew up.

The table eventually came to reside in the eldest sister’s room, and it was there that this sister stayed up late many nights before her wedding writing thank you notes for the beautiful wedding presents that were pouring in.

Both sisters got married, and the eldest one was the first to have children.

Not long after her own daughter was born, this sister acquired the table.

It was time for a new generation to create memories.

The daughter and son that soon followed whiled away summer days coloring and playing games.  They built castles out of Legos and had Hot Wheels races off the table.  Many mid-afternoon snacks were enjoyed at this table, sometimes with Mama and other times with friends.

After a number of years, the table and chairs, which had been, by this time, whittled down to two from the full set of four that once existed, found their way to the attic.

The children had long outgrown them.

The daughter grew up, moved away to attend college, and began her grown-up job.

Meanwhile, the chairs and table sat, lonely, in the attic.

Until today…

When the eldest sister’s daughter requested them for her kindergarten classroom…

Where a new generation of little ones will begin creating their own memories.

They may find themselves like the original owner of the set, the eldest sister, whose happiest memories are tied to the fun experienced at this table…where a less-than-ideal home life may be offset, if only in small chunks of time, by the laughter shared with other little people.

The eldest sister’s eyes filled with tears when her daughter requested that she make that trip up to the attic, for she knew that the legacy of the table would continue.

Look Straight Ahead

The Mr. and I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago.  Our locale?  This place…

I do have plans, at some point, to blog about our adventures, but today, I wanted to focus on a little lesson I learned while on one ride.

During one of our visits to Epcot (I say “one” because we went there four different times…a story for another day), we used our Fast Passes for the ride Mission Space.

There are two options for this ride…green and orange.  The orange is the more intense option.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you.  Had it been my choice, we would have done green.  I get car sick and have issues with rides that mess with my head.

The Mr…well…he likes fast, thrilling rides.

So, we did the Orange option.

While you’re waiting, there are all kinds of warnings about not riding if you’re prone to motion sickness, not riding if you have heart issues (I don’t but feared I’d develop them after the ride), etc.

I kept commenting about being scared…so much so that the couple who were set to ride it with us started looking at me sideways.

Uh huh.

So we get onto the ride, and Lord Have Mercy!

I didn’t mention that I’m also claustrophobic.  Look at this thing…

Pictures courtesy of Google (I was too freaked out to take pictures)

What you do is sit in your seat, pull down the shoulder harness thing, and the Disney attendant closes you in.  Then, the control panel in front of you MOVES FORWARD to close you in even more!!!

I was a nervous wreck.

A video plays beforehand giving suggestions on how to deal with motion sickness issues.

I payed close attention, much like I do when flight attendants give safety instructions before a plane takes off.

The video suggested that the best thing to do during the ride would be to look straight ahead.  It said not to look to the left or the right…not to look down…not to close your eyes.

And then the ride started.

The ride is a simulation of a trip to Mars, beginning with takeoff.

The screen in front of you is your window outside.

I felt as though I was in a rocket on the launch pad looking up (because these thing are vertical).

My stomach dropped as we “lifted off” and entered the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Then, there was the floating feeling of weightlessness.

It was surreal.

It made my head feel funny.

Oy vey!

I felt a panic attack coming on but knew I didn’t want to cry out and embarrass myself.

I started breathing deeply and tried to talk my way through it.

Then, I decided to put my head down, close my eyes, and ride it out.

That is when I remembered the instructions in the video…

Look straight ahead…

Stay focused…

Don’t look to the left or the right.

I made the decision to trust the advice, and you know what?  I survived without an issue.

I did think the ride would never end, but I talked to myself as I do when I’m nearing the end of my C25K training (another subject for another post) run when I think I’m almost out of gas and can’t go another step.

When we finally landed on Mars and the ride ended, the couple beside me looked over and asked if I was okay.

I was.

I was so proud of myself for sticking it out!

As the Mr. and I talked about it later, I began to reflect.

I couldn’t help but see a tie-in between the lesson I’d learned with something I’d like to teach my students.

My students, struggling readers, often see their challenges as insurmountable.

Many have never passed our state reading exam and have always been in Intensive Reading.

They become overwhelmed with tasks and react in different ways.

Some get distracted, looking around to find something more interesting to do.  Oftentimes these students begin causing distractions.

Others use avoidance tactics by closing their eyes while putting down their heads and giving up.

I’m going to tell them the story of this ride I “survived.”

I’m going to use the same pieces of advice to encourage my students to stay the course…to trust me by looking straight ahead and staying focused on what is in front of them…not feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in front of them…staying in tune with the goal of landing safely in the land of reading literacy.

With the new format of a tougher state test, they are going to need every piece of advice they can get!

A Little Hodgepodge, a Little Reflection

I’m back at it…participating in the Hodgepodge.  I’ve been off the grid a bit with this here blog, unable to bring myself to pen the many thoughts of my summer life.  Honestly, I think I’ve just needed some distance from the laptop.  I’m beginning to come out of the rest-induced fog, though, so here I am!  Play along by joining up with Joyce!

1.  When I look at the sky I feel________________________________________.

When I look at the sky, I feel small.  Honestly.  I know that I am but a mite in the larger picture that God has designed.  Not that I am inconsequential, mind you.  I just know that I am but one speck…one pixel…in His masterpiece.

2.  If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

If I had to run for political office, I would run for Governor of the state of Florida.  My first mandate would be to require every single law-making official to spend a month in a teacher’s classroom.  Oh, not any classroom, mind you, but a classroom comprised of the very neediest children…children who live in poverty…who are lucky to have one adult living at home…who have reading problems…who go to school hungry.  I’d like these officials to take notes on how hard the teachers works to engage these children…how much money out of their own pockets the teachers spend to feed, clothe, and educate the students in the classroom…how much time the teachers spend outside of their contracted hours to research lesson plan ideas, contact parents, and make exemplars for students to follow.  As leader of this state that ranks very low on test scores, I expect that this would be the best mandate ever, and no longer would the lawmakers pass ridiculous ordinances that are unattainable because, perhaps, the lawmakers would be knowledgeable about what really happens in a classroom.

3.  What scent makes you think of home?

Home, for me, is where I currently live, thus the smell of dog makes me think of home when I’m away.  heehee

4.  How often do you take a step back to think about where you’re headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

I reflect CONSTANTLY!!  As a teacher, I won’t grow if I don’t!!!  I reflect on my teaching practices and everything else associated with my profession.

On a personal level, I am constantly reflecting on myself…namely the example I set as a Christian.  That’s the hardest for me because I desire to show people what a life led by God looks like.  I fear I’m not always good at this.

There’s a fine line you can cross between self-reflection and critique.  I don’t believe that God intends for us to down ourselves.  That’s where I struggle because of my desire to be perfect.  I think that learning to self reflect without being negative is key for me.  (I’m whispering, “Good luck with that” to myself as I type this.)

5.  July is National Ice Cream Month…besides a cone, what’s your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

Well, I can’t have ice cream because I am lactose intolerant and a vegan (although the hubby and I found sorbet in “France” at Epcot, and we ate it with a cone…delish!).  With that said, my favorite topping would have to be chocolate syrup, which I also cannot have any more, unless it’s vegan.  Still, what a wonderful way to top off this treat!

6.  What might your autobiography be called?

I really like this question.  It’s one I’ve used with my students before and one I’ve considered a time or two for myself.

What would my autobiography be called.  Hmmmm….tough one to answer.

Autobiography means that I get to come up with the title for my own life, so it’s about my perception and not someone else’s.

Hmmm…

I’ll go back to the motto I’ve assigned for my life…

Bloom Where You are Planted
(Or Wither Up)

My Very Honest Attempt at Life and the Antics that Make Me “Me”

7.  Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of flying.  I can and have done it, numerous times, but I always hold my breath as well as the side arms…tightly…until each flight is finished.  I think it’s incredible that humans invented a way to move, across the sky, without coming down unless purposeful about it.  The stories of plane crashes have scared me over the years, though…hence my fears.

8.  My Random Thought

I cannot believe that by this time next month, I will be finishing up my first week back at school.  I know the next few weeks are going to fly (pun intended) by, and I’m nervous, as always.  I’ve given myself until the last day of this month to revel in the summer before settling in and getting down to work.  Teachers don’t have to report back until the 12th, but there are a lot of things I can do from home.  So, if you’re looking for me this month, you’ll probably find me in a prone position…on my couch…taking advantage of my opportunities to nap in between bouts of laziness.

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