Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off week

So, I started this week behind.  And it's gotten worse with each passing day.  And I'm sick-like.  Which makes it worse.  Last Thursday and Friday, all of my students took a two-day essay test, which meant that I had approximately 200 essays to grade.  (really more, because 3 classes had to write four separate essays).  Can I let you in on a little secret?  My students don't really know how to write.  A few do, but most don't.  They don't really follow any of the directions I give them, which makes grading even more difficult.  I can grade a good essay in under a minute.  The bad ones take a long time.  Needless to say, going to Indy to pick up Keegan took away my Friday/Saturday work time, and I got very little accomplished.  Add to that the illness that set it on Sunday, and you can see where we are. 

I finished first period's pile on Sunday.  It took me all day, because I kept coughing, sneezing, and falling asleep.  Then I finished second period on Tuesday night.  Again, sore throat, achy limbs, and itchy eyes impeded my progress.  Last night, I had a fever and needed some rest.  I didn't even go to Bible Study, I was so miserable.  That was really sad for me--I look forward to that time all week.  And Kay always brings a good was so upsetting to miss.   After resting awhile,  I tried to tackle some of the other things I needed to grade (because I have A STACK O' PAPERS to get through that aren't essays).  I got through fifth period's hw from yesterday.  And fell asleep.  This progress, it's coming slowly.  I saw that the Hallmark Channel is running a marathon of the "Love Comes Softly" movies.  I loved those books in junior high--I think I read everything Janette Oke had written up to that point in a matter of two years.  So if you need me Saturday, I'll be watching the Hallmark Channel and grading papers.  In my pajamas.

A huge part of me wants to stay home today.  I still feel rotten, I'm not totally convinced my fever is gone, and I can't swallow.  Plus, I have hours and hours and hours of grading to finish.  But then I remember that I have a school-wide survey to administer today, and it's during my "wound-up" class.  The one I threatened to breathe on if they didn't shape up.  And I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  Truly, I don't feel like I can leave for a day because that class is such a handful, and they eat substitutes alive.  It's more of a mess for me to handle when I return.  Oh well, the new trimester starts next Friday--hopefully my class mixes will be better this time around!  Maybe I'll be willing to use a personal day for the first time all year :)

Another secret--there is one thing I really dislike about my job.  Well, it is sort of a combination of things.  First, I am the only ninth grade English teacher.  So if there are students that are more difficult for me to appreciate, I know early in the year that I am  with them for the rest of the year.  Second, ninth grade English is the only class that meets all year.  So I'm with them for 74 minutes a day, 180 days.  Which is a lot o' time.  Third, several of my more difficult students have also found my class to be difficult (um, or they just haven't attempted to do anything) so they'll be back next year.  Which means I will get another 180 days with them. 

Summer, come quickly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keegan's Visiting

Hi Peeps!!!  This is Keegan!!!  I am visiting Andy and Ashley!  I have been here since Saturday!  I am having so much fun, but I miss my Mommy!  I hope she comes home soon!

I am kind of spoiled, and Andy and Ashley know that, so it's been fun!  Andy laid down a towel on the back of the sofa and opened the curtain so I could sun myself!  Ashley took a nap with me on Sunday!  I tried to kick her off the sofa, but she scooted me!  Sorry about the exclamation points!  That's just how I roll!  Always excited!  always exclaiming!

Since I've been here, Ashley keeps pulling out these stacks of paper and writing all over them in red pen.  It seems like there are  a lot of them!  It makes her eyes all red and bleary and Andy keeps telling her she looks exhausted!  Andy keeps talking about some stuff I don't understand, but they both seem excited about it!

Yesterday, Ashley took me for a walk!  I kept trying to introduce myself to the neighbors, but she wouldn't let me!  Then, this weird furry thing started to bark and howl at me, but I ignored him.  I don't know why it thought I would want to say hi to it!

All right, peeps!  That's all for now!  Byyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS--here's me at my own house

New Camera 011

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exodus 1

I love the book of Exodus.  Like seriously.  It's a real favorite of mine.  Today, in my Bible in a year reading plan, I got to reread Exodus 1.  I have to tell you, sometimes I tend to skim first chapters--they are great, but sometimes, I just want to get to the heart of things.

Today, though, I slowed down.  And I saw the heart of things in this first chapter.

This last week has been difficult.  At every turn, we have been met with more and more bad news.  Our neighbors lost their grandson whom they were raising in a tragic and painful way.  New friends have lost a parent.  A dear friend of Andy's lost his father to a long, painful battle with lung cancer.  People around us in all parts of our lives are hurting and in pain.  It's been nearly consuming me.  I have spent so much time just wondering why it is happening, and what it is I need to be doing in the midst of all of this.

Today, I got the start of an answer.  Because Exodus is truly a testament to the faithfulness of God.  It is God clearly working out the events of history to lead up the the ultimate event: Jesus.

I love to look the big picture and small details in Scripture.  In Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham and renewed it with Isaac and Jacob.  He promised that their people would be numerous and that they would have the land of Canaan.  Four hundred years later, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are long dead, and the Israelite people have certainly grown.  Pharoah and the Egyptians are fearful of their strength.  Pharoah asks Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives, to kill any male Israelite babies at birth (they don't).  The people are strong, they are a force to be reckoned with, but they are slaves.

I wonder how it must have felt to be an Israelite.  Could they see the big picture? Or were they focused on the details? Did they trust that at the exact right time they would be delivered?  Did they believe that God would hold true to His promised and give them more than they could ever imagine? Or were they only able to see the yoke of slavery that surrounded them?

In my own life, I wonder, how often do I get focused on the small details?  How often do I feel like I'm being tossed under a bus because I can only see the here and now?  I so want to trust in the big picture.  When life seems grim, hard, and impossible to navigate, I want to trust in the God of big pictures.  I want to know that at the end of the darkness there is a light.  The Father of Light.  The God of the Big Picture.  The God who does immeasurably more than I could ever think or imagine.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not the right crowd

I have a lot on my mind right now, a lot that I need to figure out.  It's been an interesting week around these parts, and it's not something I'm able to put into words just yet.  I'm still working through it and praying through it, but I thought I'd share a funny story.

First, I have to tell you: I'm a closet Beyonce fan.  I'm not totally proud, but I seriously love me some Beyonce.  And not just her work--I totally loved Destiny's Child too.  How can you not love the lyrical genius who came up with the word Bootylicious? 

You'll understand that confession in a moment. 

Last night, we had a Valentine's banquet with our church (because Mr. Cook and I we're old....we enjoyed a nice trip to Wal-Mart where I picked out my own Valentine's gift--some new 5 lb. weights and a Walk Away Your Hips and Thighs DVD--a lovely lunch a Frisch's--which made both of us sick all afternoon--and some classy Arnold Schwarzenegger movie we bought on Blu-Ray before said banquet).  Now I will tell you, this crowd skewed a bit older.  There were a few people closer to our age, but most, well, Grandma, you would have had a blast. 

Well, with said sweet crowd, we played a game.  Each team drew a word from the basket and had to come up with and sing a song that had that word in the lyrics.  Some were easy, some were hard.  At one point our team drew this infamous word: lady (or ladies).

Can anyone give me a "All the single ladies, all the single ladies"

But something told me that it might be wise for me to keep that to myself.

Because nothing says bad news like breaking out in "I'm up on him, he up on me" or "Cause if you liked you should have put a ring on it" when you're sitting next to your husband who's sitting next to your pastor. 

It wouldn't have been my proudest moment. 

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider it.  Or that I didn't whisper sing the song in my husband's ear...simply because I know how much he hates it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

The title says it all.  It's been a doozy of a week.  There's a LOT O STUFF going on in these here parts.  But I don't want to talk about, because I don't want to remember it once it's past.  Instead, I'll just tell you--if I survive my first year of teaching, I want a medal.  There has just been insanity heaped upon insanity this year, and I think I need a prize.  Really.  This is the latest (this picture was the front of today's newspaper in town)


That's the gym roof of my high school.  It got torn off in the windstorm last night.  Brand new roof...just put on this summer.  We went to school today, and several of my kids were in the gym when it happened--I think the boy's basketball team, wrestling team, softball team and swimming team were all in the gym, and the girl's basketball team was preparing to leave for sectionals.  Several cars in the parking lot took a beating, but no one was injured.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It was so good, I'm still worn out.

This weekend was pretty much the greatest.  Ever.  Period.  End of story.

The greatest.

Friday I had my sweet date with Andy, and then Saturday was my 24th birthday.  I'm feeling kind of old and grown up right now.  I'm not sure what I'll do about 25 next year.  It's almost too much to bear.

We met my parents and my sister and her new friend in Indy for lunch.  And it was an all-around good time.  We ate at P.F. Changs, which is a place I totally adore, but they had never been to before.  So it was fun and exciting.  Andy was rocking the heck out of funny while we were there.  I brought it with a few classy classroom stories.  I may or may not have cracked some seriously inappropriate jokes about Mom's school.  And I may or may not have told my dad he couldn't use the restroom without permission or an escort from the office.  Sometimes I get confused and forget where I am.  Or maybe I don't really, and I'm just a goofball.  It's one of the two.  Anyway, we finished dinner with an impromptu photo session in the parking lot as I opened my birthday gifts and we chased tissue paper across the windy parking lot.  I have not uploaded said photos yet, and don't feel like going to the living room to get the camera, so just pretend you see them.  Mom and Dad got me the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, a necklace, 2 bottles of olive oil and 2 pie plates.  I so love the way Mom throws lots of random things in a bag and makes it a gift.  Lauren got me an earring and necklace set and a photo album to be filled soon.  Both were super sweet!

Then we went to Andy's parents house for a few hours...and they totally spoiled me too.  A very generous check and a teacher Willow Tree angel.  THEN we met Lauren and Jeff at The Flying Cupcake...another cupcakery!  It was way cute inside...but the cupcakes weren't NEARLY as good as the ones in Carmel last week.  So when I move to Indy, I'll be ordering my cupcakes from the bakery in Carmel.  It was such a blast to just sit inside that sugary sweet bakery and catch up with them.  Andy made fun of me.  And then I made fun of him.  Or maybe I started it.  I don't really remember.  I just know there was much making fun.  And Lauren gave me the CUTEST green and yellow quilt for our guest bed.  I made the bed with it first thing when I got home last night.  It's super cute.  I need to get a new pillowcase, but as soon as I do, I'll post pictures. 

Then we went and spent many an hour at Target...which was just delightful.  I got a new purse...and a new mascara that I'm totally in love with.  Lauren and I imaginary dressed our future children in the baby department.  Also, I had no idea there were so many choices for training potties.  Seriously.  LOTS of potties.  THEN we met Margo and a friend of hers at UNO and had the best pizza ever.  AND EVEN MORE FUN.  Seriously.  It was all too much.  And Margo gave me the cutest apron.  It's adorable.   It was such an incredible blessing to spend a few hours with LAUREN AND MARGO.  On the same day!!  It's been too long.  It's always too long.  Because I feel like we never get out of town.

Yesterday we had lunch and dinner with Andy's grandpa--who slipped me a card with my gift addressed to "#14" since I was his 14th grandchild...and first grandchild-in-law.  He had my name on it too.  He's just the sweetest.  We went car shopping (Andy's parents are buying a new Impala) and just hung out and went to church and it was just the sweetest day.  When we arrived back in town last night, Andy turned to me and said, "I'm not going to miss this place when we move."

And that's the moral of this story.  Awesome weekend=we are so ready to move.  I don't know when it will happen, but I eagerly await the day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A few more secrets

Andy and I are leaving in a few hours for an action packed celebratory weekend.  But right now, I can't sleep.  I'm too excited.  I  got to go on a date last night (dinner at the Empress of China and "He's Just Not That Into You"--can I tell you I've never been more conflicted about a movie?  I LOVED some of the story lines and I HATED if I could pick and choose parts of the movie, it could totally be awesome).  And today I am going to see so, so many of my loves!  And have a total blast!  I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!  So to pass the time, I've been purse browsing online.  And I've found some winners.  And I may come home with one this weekend.

This one I'd have to order--it's from (seriously...check this website out), and I think it would be perfect for school, or for taking my stuff to exercise, or carrying my Bible study stuff on Wednesday.  And I can pick whatever thread colors I want...and it's really pretty inexpensively priced for a personalized bag:


The rest are Target bags, that would be my purse.  Target tends to steal my purse affection.  Because the bags are cute and cheap.  I don't have the need for a "real" bag or a I'm good with my cute Target purses.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Odd Assortment of Words

I was thinking on my drive home tonight about the odd variety of words that I speak in any given day.  I often feel a bit like Jekyll and Hyde....constantly changing from good to nasty.  So I'd like to give a small sampling of my day.

First Period:

"Why aren't you in your seat?  Get to your own seat."

"Dear, are you okay back there?"

"No, I'm afraid I don't know what you should do about the wire on your bra poking you"

"You can try taping it, but I don't think it will help.  Try a tissue."

"It's like that episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight where Alexis asks if Mickey Mouse is an "Agin Mouse"


Second Period:

"I will email your swim coach this second."

"Ben is a survivor.  We know that.  Destiny's Child was totally singing about him."

"I'm a survivor..I'm not gonna give up"

"I am glad that you all saw the man dancing to "Single Ladies" but we do need to focus our attention back to Deathwatch"

"I don't care that you were kicked out school all last week, you still knew the assignment."

"You will give your speeches tomorrow, or I will write you up for insubordination"


Fourth Period:

"Why aren't you in your seat?  I'm counting you tardy."

"No, you can't go to the restroom."

"You just had your period last week.  And the week before.  Maybe you should see a doctor."

"I told you to stop talking.  If I have to say it again, I'm pulling out the referrals."

"The main character's name is Todd.  We just read the entire book and you don't know his name?"

"If you put that in your mouth again, I will write you up."

After a student tells me she doesn't know anything about the book she's taking an essay test over:

"I'm not surprised.  You'll just have to pay attention next year."


Fifth period:

"Here are the ground rules for today: you talk, I write you up.  You get out of your seat, I write you up.  You so much as consider misbehaving, and I will write you up.  Are we clear?"

"So, what you're telling me is you haven't done anything I've asked you to for the last two weeks."

"Stop touching his pants"

"It's pronounced like ass-o-nance"

"Umm, yes...consonance is related to consonants.  Good call."

"Really, I put that question on your test twice"

"Really, I didn't give that as an answer choice?"

"All right, guys, you know how I tell you to edit your stuff...this is why"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book 12: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

cover_snowflower_L2 Let me just go on record and hear and say that if school continues to be canceled at its current rate, I'll be through fifty books by March.

Not quite, but it sure feels like I've had a LOT of reading time on my hands...and not much in the way of, oh, doing my job.  Technically, this isn't the 12th book I've read, either.  It's the 16th.  But I'm waiting to tell you about a series of books until I've finished all of them.  So hopefully by the end of the week.

But about this book: I loved it.  Seriously loved it.  It was beautifully written, and a very sweet, sorrowful story.  It's about the life of a girl in 18th century China.  It follows her life from just before her foot-binding to her death.  A good majority of the novel deals with her relationship with her laotong, a girl who is her "just same" according to the eight things that need to be matched in the Chinese calendar.  It's a beautifully written story about the relationship these two women share, the lives they lead, and everything in between.  There lives are not easy, they were never meant to be.  A recurring theme of the novel is the idea that having daughters is worthless, and that women's lives are spent in constant turmoil and sorrow.  It was slow and sweet...and I really enjoyed it. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Book Eleven: Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown

I stumbled upon this book purely by accident.
And I'm glad I did.
I actually found this book as I was traipsing through the library about a month ago, waiting on Andy to stop looking the books about robotics. Because my husband? He's kind of a nerd. I didn't check the book out that day, because I had too many (a common problem when I hit the library--all those books and all for free! It's like a sugar rush...I can't control myself!) But I checked it out last weekend. And since I had basically all of last week off, I was able to read it. And I'm so glad I did!
It was a very humorous look at the author's life experiences--told through her closet. She described her life's experiences by her outfits and shopping experiences. Shopping with her mother and grandmother....the outfits and bags that stuck out from her childhood (because really, don't we all have outfits that stick out from our childhoods--for me, my pink and white twirly dress....I loved that thing)...and then on through middle school, high school, college and adult life. I so loved the different relationships she had and the way she remembers them with her fashion from the time. Good stuff.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

So long, January!

After a week of being snowed and iced in, it was time to get out.  January brought us a lot of this

New Camera 180  New Camera 191

so I wasn't too sad to see it go.

We hit the road yesterday, to star in our very own version of "The 31st of January" a new production seen only yesterday.  Here's the cast of characters:

This guy, who has been known to cheese for a camera a time or two:

New Camera 210

This guy, who wasn't too fond of the camera:

New Camera 218

This girl, whom I love:

New Camera 214

And this girl, who gets irritated when her husband has the camera:

New Camera 242

We met the sweet Mariah and Kory at Carrabba's in Carmel, a restaurant that I believe could single-handedly feed an entire third world country with the food they fed us yesterday.  I had bread AND soup AND cannelloni AND it was all INCREDIBLE.  We had a blast just hanging out and chatting.  For reals.

Then, we decided to try to find a cupcakery (get it, cupcake bakery=cupcakery) that I had just seen on a blog that very morning, that was supposed to be very nearby.  (Not the cupcakery that I'm going to next weekend....they are two very different places...I'll compare the two next weekend)  So we set out.

And we went up and down the street twice, looking and looking and trying to find this place.  We nearly got into a few accidents, and tempers may have flared (mine).  Kory then texted Google to find the location, and put the address into his GPS.  And we passed it a few more times.  So finally, he called (using the phone number Google had given him--hello, technology, you can totally be my friend) and the sweet Karen gave us directions.  We had passed it like six times.  Because Holy Cow, Cupcakes!, it's attached to a gas station.  Like this:

New Camera 216    


To the right, that's a Crystal Flash (I think?).  Who knew?  Certainly not us.  But we were rewarded for our search.  With this pretty pink box

New Camera 205

and these yummies inside (which were INCREDIBLE)

New Camera 207New Camera

And aren't we glad the cupcakery was attached to a gas station...because as we sat in the car, watching the guys at the service station next door change tires and smoke, we really needed some milk.  So into the convenience store for milk Kory went!  And we cheered!  Okay, we didn't really cheer...but we did enjoy our milk.  And then we finished our visit with pictures, as anyone who has ever spent any time with Mariah knows.  The only thing missing from this day was Shannon.  Because a picture of the two of us just isn't the same as all three!

New Camera 220