Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yellow Dogs at 25 Degrees and 55 MPH

At approximately 4:30 this morning, I rolled out of bed and began getting ready for a long day. Today was out District contest day. As I headed out the door, I took a peak at the thermometer and found it to be about 21 degrees. Let me just say... that's cold!!

After several trips to my house last night... (I'm staying at the parents because it's so cold at my house... my fire building skills aren't that good) I managed to end up in the car with a blanket, my ski gloves, a jacket, scarf and hat.

I arrived at the school at 5:30 am... with time to spare before our 6am departure time. I finished up my lesson plans, made sure I had all of my forms filled out and together, and patiently waited for the kids to arrive. About 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave, my teaching partner came in my classroom and told me that the bus driver wanted to talk to us. Oh great! It seems that our bus, a "pusher" (that means a flat nosed one, which will run an astonishing 65 mph) was not working properly... so, we had to wait for another bus.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we were finally able to load up on another bus. As I climbed aboard, the bus driver looked at me and said "This one isn't working right either, we're going to have to stop at the bus barn and get another one."

So, about 30 minutes after we were supposed to, we finally made it to Williston to pick up the rest of our riders. A quick loading and we were off for Madison, Florida (I know, don't tell me that Chiefland is closer to Madison, it's not a good topic with me) Now, for those of you who haven't rode on a school bus lately, the fastest that the old buses will run is 57 mph. So, we drove 57 on the interstate from Gainesville to Madison. To make it worse, there was no heat on the bus (thank goodness for the blanket) which meant that it was probably a good thing that everyone was having to double up in the seats.

Needless to say, we were about 45 minutes to an hour late and for the entire last hour, I had students telling me how bad they needed to stop. (Fortunately, I wasn't the only adult that agreed we had to keep going) We finally made it to the contest, and things started to calm down. And while it wasn't our best day, it was one that reminds me why I do what I do.

You see, I do what I do because of days like today. Watching students push themselves to be better, seeing them step oustide their comfort zone and make new friends, and even learning that if they want to win, they have to try harder are the things that I value about my job. I can honestly say, if I were stuck in a classroom every day, I couldn't make it as a teacher. And I guess, that even if I have to get up super early, or freeze on a yellow dog, I can't think of anything more rewarding!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good News and Thank Yous

Just want to say thank you for all the prayers today! Grandma went into surgery around 2:30 and by 5:00 Mom called to report that she was out of surgery and was expected to be in a room by 6:00. If everything goes well tonight, she'll get to go home tomorrow. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

25 Random things...

So, I stole this off my facebook, but I thought it was pretty interesting. The way it works is like this, you list 25 random things about yourself that your friends may not know.
  1. My favorite soft drink is orange soda. Lots of sugar, not very grown up, but defiantely my favorite.
  2. I have an odd book fetish, if I buy a book that has a sequel, I have to get it in the same format, for example, all hardcover or all soft cover... I know... weird
  3. I started collecting china when I was in high school. I currently have two different patterns that I pick up whenever I find a piece. (Ebay is an addiction!)
  4. I would rather have hot tea than coffee... and I really like flavored teas.
  5. John Wayne is my all time favorite actor... I watch the same movies over and over... especially if I can't sleep... something about them makes me relax enough to sleep.
  6. After watching Hatari I now want to go on an African safari... just to see a rhino!
  7. I have prescription glasses... don't wear them all the time, but I do have a pair.
  8. I am a New York Yankees fan... especially Derek Jeter... mainly because my Daddy is a Yankees fan.
  9. I love fresh flowers in a house... I think they just make a room feel better!
  10. One of my life goals is to write a book.
  11. I love history... especially American History... probably should have been a history teacher!
  12. My favorite M&M's are the peanut butter ones... because the Green Girl is their spokesperson and I love peanut butter!
  13. The only college football teams that I will not cheer for are FSU and Tennessee... something about bleeding Orange and Blue just won't let me!
  14. I talk to my mother at least twice a day... sometimes more!
  15. I think brown eggs taste better than white ones
  16. I like goat milk... as long as it's fresh... the one from the grocery store doesn't taste good.
  17. I am a pack rat... but I can normally find what I'm looking for in my mess!
  18. I believe that high thread count sheets are worth the investment... and every bed should have a down comforter!
  19. I love cold weather... as long as it's not so cold that I can't get warm...
  20. I want to see all 50 states before I die... so far, I've been to about 15... at least I've got Alaska out of the way!
  21. The painting on my mantle is of the house in Connecticut where my Grandpa's relatives used to live... I call it "The House on Rising Corner"... and it's just the way I want my own house to look one day!
  22. I don't wear a lot of jewelry... just a watch, stud earings, and normally my great-grandmother's engagement ring (I just got it for Christmas this year)
  23. My phone number is made of the following numbers: 3, 5, 2, and 1... everyone remembers it!
  24. My favorite time of day is just before you get out of bed in the morning, when you're awake, but still warm and toasty, and you can just lay there and let yourself glory in the fact that you're not out of the bed yet!
  25. My favorite way to relieve stress is to jump on a 4-wheeler and fly across a cow field... trying to avoid bull holes... until all the drama just melts away!
Ok... I told you all that I would let you know when Grandma had her surgery. She's scheduled to go in tomorrow at 12:30. Mom left tonight to go down and is planning to be there until Thursday afternoon if everything goes well.

Suffice to say... I did not get to go, which I am absolutely not happy about (I could still strangle the anestesiologist), but will be praying for everything to go well. I'll let you know more as soon as I know something!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dam-p wood

Most days, I absolutely love living in my old farm house. Baths in my huge clawfoot tub are about the best thing ever when I've had a bad day at work and the huge open kitchen is a life saver when it gets cold enough that my plants have to come inside. Lately, mom and I have been canning in my kitchen which warms the house up nicely on chilly evenings. The concrete walls tend to stay cool even into the middle of the day in the summers and since I hate to be hot when I sleep, that makes it where I can sleep with covers most of the year.

However... there are times when I seriously question my sanity in living there! For example, last night, after struggling to get a fire started in my woodburning stove, I sat shivering on the couch wishing for central heat and air. Normally, my wood burning stove does a good job of keeping the front rooms warm enough to be comfortable. For some reason, the fire didn't want to start... and then, when it finally did, the fan took forever to kick on. Finally, by the time I climbed into bed I had it warm enough to sleep. As I sit today, dreading having to fight the battle again this afternoon, I thought I'd share a few of my tips for getting a fire going... not that they're right, but hey, they work!

1. Make sure the floo is open. (Thankfully, I don't say this from a bad experience!) The air flow drawing up the chimney helps the fire to take hold.

2. Start with some smaller pieces on the bottom. I have sycamore trees in my yard and there are always branches falling. I pick these up, break them into pieces that will fit into my stove and use them as a base for my fire.

3. Use kindling! Lightard chips are your best friend when starting a fire. several pieces at the bottom of the pile will help you get enough of a flame to light your larger pieces.

4. Buy the starter matches. Those fat little matches will do a better job starting a fire than any flame lighter will! they burn slow enough to get other pieces of wood burning and are easy to light and use.

5. If you know it's going to rain, make sure you bring firewood in before it does. You can't start a fire with damp wood! (Believe me... I've tried and it's not fun!)

6. Don't try to start a fire with green wood. Seasoned wood will start easily, while fresh cut wood still have moisture in it that causes it to take longer to start and also puts out more smoke.

7. Cheat! Use any kind of fire starting devices available- fire logs, starter matches, starter packs- it's aggrivating enough without having help!

8. Once you've got a fire started, keep your embers going as long as possible. Add wood when your other pieces start to burn down... that way you don't have to start all over!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Update on Grandma

Yesterday, after I rushed home from work, I packed a bag, got it all loaded in the car and headed to mom's house to pick her up only to find that Grandma had called, upset because the anestesiologist (sp?) had postponed her surgery until after she has a stress test, which is now scheduled for Monday morning. It looks like the actual surgery will be next week... I'll keep you posted.

I finally got my mother to explain exactly what she's having surgery on, because I thought it was her heart. It's not... Grandma has an abdominal aortic anurism (sp?). (As you can tell, I am so not good at spelling medical terminology!) Which means that the aortic artery leading out of her heart and into her abdomen has a "bubble" or weak spot in the wall and the doctor thinks it's growing. The surgery is to put a stint over the weak spot so that she will be fine. I think I understood Mom to say that they would go in through a vein somewhere in her lower body, so they're not cutting her open really big.

And now that we've all learned a little about the anatomy of an anurism... I'll let you know when the surgery gets scheduled!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hey guys... need some help.

Mom's mom is having heart surgery on wednesday and I would appreciate all the prayers you can offer. Hopefully it will all go okay. Mom and I are leaving after work tomorrow to go down and be with her before the surgery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

I guess it's just one of those things... the holidays are over, the tree is put away for another year and now it's time to get back to a routine.

The bad thing about being a teacher around the holidays (and it's one of those mixed emotion things) is that you get out of your routine. You stay up late, sleep late, and be as lazy as you want to be. While it feels good for a while, you suffer the consequences when you have to go back to work again (hence the bad part).

So, when I get up at six tomorrow, I'll be silently wishing that I was still snuggled down under my down comforter and also knowing that those who don't have a whole 2 weeks off at the end of the year and having a laugh that I'm back in their ranks.

As it stands... I better get to bed... otherwise, I won't be waking up!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sealing Jars

About 9 months ago, I started learning the almost-lost art of canning. Since then, I've helped put up over 500 jars of all kinds of fruits and vegetables from daddy's "Therapy Garden". My favorite thing to make is jellies. After stiring the sugary mixtures, ladling them into hot jars, and adding lids and rings, it's rewarding to look at the different colored jars of product. As the jars cool, the lids begin to make a soft "ping" as they seal.

Tonight, momma and I put up 30 jars of prickly pear jelly. For those who have never heard of it, prickly pears have a fruit on them that is purple. When cooked down, it makes a really pretty purple juice that has a taste something between a berry and a mayhaw. It's great over vanilla ice cream. Mom, while driving around the mail route, picked enough of the fruits to make 4 gallon pickle jars of juice. Each jar makes about 25-30 half-pint jars of jelly.

Tonight, as I dift off to sleep, I'll be listening to the soft sounds of sealing jars... and know that tonight was a job well done!