Sunday, August 30, 2009

No, Seriously Guys, I haven’t laughed this hard in months

That was my most oft repeated phrase yesterday. 

And it was awesome. 

I finally begged, pleaded and coerced enough

Andy and I decided late in the week that we were going to go see “Julie and Julia.” 

The closest theater to our shmucky yucky little town that was playing this delightful film was in Louisville.  Just mere minutes from our friends Jon and Carrie.  J&C (as they shall henceforth be known) have been friends of ours for many a year.  Well, mostly the J half.  He and Andy were close all through Purdue, and J was one of my top five faves of Andy’s friends (yes, I did have favorites of my husband’s college friends. No, I won’t tell you who they were…or weren’t). 

We met them at their apartment at noon, and headed out to a dismal lunch at O’Charley’s. 

I shall interject now to tell you that my husband was inadvertently called hefty on multiple occasions on Saturday.  Inadvertent Fat Andy Story 1: The waitress went to refill his soda, and asked, “It was diet, right?”  In his head, that translated to, “Hey Fatty, you should be drinking diet with all that extra heft.” 

Then we meandered Target a bit (somehow this becomes a pastime when hanging out with other couples…we’ve done it with at least two others that I can remember).  Eventually, we headed back to their apartment, where the boys played Guitar Hero and the girls chatted it up.  Finally, it was time for our movie.  And we all enjoyed it thoroughly.  I, for one, adored it. 

Lots more time passed…the Wii Fit groaned when Andy hopped on. 

He was humiliated. 

Which makes me giggle. 

Because he is like 2 pounds in the overweight category according to his BMI….but dude has some serious muscle in his upper body, so it’s not shocking that he weighs a bit more.

Eventually, it was time to go get sushi at Sapporo. 

This is where the real insanity began.  

First, as we were driving, we noticed HUGE crowds of people walking on the sidewalks.  Then, we realized a lot of them were dressed up as zombies.  Apparently, it was Zombie Awareness Day in Louisville, and large crowds of zombies gather together to march down the street.  I am so NOT making this up.  My only regret is that I didn’t have my camera.

Once we trekked through the zombies, we made it to restaurant.  It was packed, so we ended up eating at the sushi bar.  At first, I wasn’t too sure about it, but it was really kind of awesome.  We were all packed together, so we could actually hear one another over the persistent techno beat. 

It turns out that we’re not quite trendy enough for Sapporo.  But I don’t mind.  Because frankly I’m still salivating over the spicy tuna roll.  I would give up all other food on earth to eat what I ate for dinner last night.  Seriously, I can’t get it out of my head. 

And I even changed the lyrics to that Kylie Minogue song to, “I can’t get you out my head.  Sushi your taste is all I can think about.”  And sang it all afternoon.  My husband was laughing.  But I was still salivating over the awesome sushi.

Of course, my salivating caused another problem at the dinner table. 

When the sushi chef looked at our order (we had all four on one ticket) he glanced up at Andy, and asked, “Is this ALL for TWO PEOPLE”

Andy’s translation, “You are seriously going to stuff yourself that full you CENSORED BY ME

Andy then remarked that he had been called fat many a time that day.

Something about that tickled me a bit.

An entire platter of sushi containing my meal, Andy’s meal, J’s meal, and C’s meal had just been placed in the small space in front of me.

I was still eating my salad.

And I spit the salad dressing all over everyone’s sushi.

I only wish that was the first time I had spit food across a table.

Thankfully my dinnermates were awfully gracious about the spit.  And once they finished laughing, we enjoyed a lovely meal.

There was much more, but it all became the goofy stuff that’s only funny when you’re with friends.  Things like misreading neon signs (Electric Ladylard, anyone?…or perhaps the Rainbow Bosoms Food Market?") and just laughing hysterically for hours on end. 

We arrived home safely Sunday morning (it was after midnight, it was Sunday morning).

And I so want to hang out the J&C again in the VERY near future.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Fall Wardrobe I Think I Need

As the seasons start to change, so my mind starts to think about new clothes.  It’s a bit obsessive, lately.  I realize that I’ve still been “making do” in the wardrobe area for the past few years, and that I really need to start growing an “adult” wardrobe.  So here are the things I will be (hopefully) adding to my wardrobe this fall. (Maybe later I’ll do one for Andy, too…I love shopping for his clothes—he’s becoming quite fashionable over the past 3 months)

1. Black pants.  I have two pairs, but I don’t love either.  One has a broken button, so I safety pin it shut.  The other sits funny on my hips and makes my sides ache.  So this fall I’m looking to get a “nice” pair of black pants that fits me well.

2. Dresses that can transition from warm to cold.  I bought two already.  I’m in love with the idea of wearing a dress now, and then layering it with a long sleeved tee or cardigan as it gets colder.  It makes things so versatile.  Here is one I am excited about wearing all winter long.

3. T-Shirts—Long, Short and 3/4 length.  I am a firm believer that with the appropriate neckline and jewelery, a t-shirt can be school appropriate.  And the long sleeved shirt can go under anything in my wardrobe to make it cold-weather appropriate.  I may feel this way because I struggle so with button-downs and blouses.  Button-downs and I have a gaping problem.  And my shoulders and upper arms struggle to fit nicely in a lot of blouses.  They feel tight around my upper body. So I stick to t-shirts.  I have a few favorite t-shirt brands.  For short sleeved with cute necklines, I like Daisy Fuentes and ELLE at Kohls, my favorite long sleeved shirts are Sonoma Life and Style at Kohls, GAP, and Banana Republic.  And I am always a fan of the tissue weight tee from Target.  Should you ever feel any of these, you will quickly understand that I am drawn to very soft fabrics. 

4. Way Cute Coat—I have a short green pea coat that I got from Target last year, and I instantly feel adorable when I put it on.  I love that coat.  I’d like to find something cute for all winter this year.  I have always been in love with the pink coat Lorelai wore during the winter of season 4 on Gilmore Girls….or the red one that Rory wore season 5.  Something about fun colors makes winter outwear so much more exciting.

I like this one from Kohls, because it has a hood (and I have outdoor duty at school all winter long…somehow this year I’m indoors during all the mild months, and I’ll be outside from December-March).  There are some cute ones on too.

5. Comfortable shoes.  This is a must considering I spend my days walking back and forth across the school building and my classroom.  And I’m not a slow mover.  I had two pairs of shoes that have served me well for the past two years, but this year, they aren’t as comfortable.  I think I’ve worn down the padding.  They are starting to show their age, too.  So it’s time for them to go part time, and some new shoes to take center stage.

6. Jewelry.  I so spelled that wrong the first time.  But for real, I’m in need of some serious accessories.  I think I focus most of my time on my clothing, and forget about accessories.  And I have seen from watching a co-worker every day the impact that cute jewelry can have on an outfit.  So I need to increase my collection.

7. Boots.  I have long desired a pair of riding boots.  And every year I tell myself that this will be the year.  Well, this time, I mean it.  For real. I also love the look of a stiletto boot, I’m just not sure where I would wear it.  I could do it occasionally at school, but it couldn’t be an everyday thing.  There are several at that look cute.  I may order a few and see what works.  Sadly, I can’t link the pictures. 

8. Sweaters.  Cardigans and V-Necks mostly.  They seem to be what I prefer.  I would also like a few casual sweaters, for casual Fridays and weekends.  Here are a few that I like:

9. Jeans.  I have a tormented relationship with jeans.  I can just never find the pair that fit me quite right.  I always feel just a little bit self-conscious in jeans.  So I would like to find my perfect pair.

10. And lastly, a fabulous go-to skirt.  Something I can toss on with a t-shirt and sweater and perhaps a necklace and fly out the door.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The first 14 days of this school year are past.  At the end of tomorrow, I will have had 15 official days with this class.  And can I tell you something? I love this year.  My students aren’t perfect.  I’m not anywhere close to it.  But it’s amazing what a difference a year can make.  I feel confident in my classroom.  I feel confident in my skills as a teacher and as a disciplinarian.  I love being in my classroom.  I’m not racing out of the building in tears at 3.  In fact, I’ve hardly left before 4 this week. 

I feel like I’m a better teacher this year.  My lessons are fresher, more creative.  I’m planning ahead, and figuring out assignments that will help my students in all aspects of their future.  I would have loved some of the assignments I have plotted out for the next two weeks.  My discipline skills are stronger.  My classes aren’t out of control, and they are learning.  Fewer students are failing at this point.  Everything just feels BETTER.

I overheard a few boys in my classroom yesterday.  One of them was saying that he thought ninth grade English was so much simpler than eighth grade.  I questioned him on this, because I know I’ve been working them HARD.  He explained that while they had a lot of work, he felt like I took enough time to go through and make sure they understood the assignment thoroughly before having them do it, so it wasn’t hard to do the work.  I told Andy last night that those comments from that student were some of the most meaningful words anyone has spoken to me in my career.

I feel like I am handling things better.  I had a student who speaks no English dropped into my classroom on the fourth day of school, with no warning or guidance.  I’ve figured out how to teach and help him, and still focus on the rest of the class.  I have taught myself how to teach English as a New Language to student who really doesn’t know his first language.  I’m figuring out how to motivate my unmotivated learners.  And I’m making my kids so much more responsible for their learning.

I’ve been developing a better relationship with one of my colleagues down the hall.  She is teaching one of the same classes as me this year, so we’ve been bouncing ideas off of one another and working together.  It’s been so nice to have someone who is doing the same thing I am.  We joked yesterday that we have so little time that when the two of us have a chance to talk we try to fit 60 minutes of conversation into 9 minutes….we both talk faster than Lorelai and Rory and cover 12 different topics in mere seconds.  And I love it.   

I’m still tired.  I think it’s just a given for the early part of the year.  But I’m making time for exercise, and I’m trying to watch my calories so I don’t gain more weight early in the year like I did last year.  I’ve been thinking about having a sweets-free September.  During my senior year of high school I decided to pretend like I was Catholic and give up all junk food for Lent.  It was hard at first, but I remember feeling lighter, healthier and more energetic at the end of that time.  So I’m kind of hoping for that.

I feel blessed right now.  Last year was hard.  It was a serious growing time.  But the Lord has so clearly been showing me how much I have learned, how much I have improved in the last twelve months.  It’s been kind of a high these past few days just thinking about it.  The start of this school year has been such a sweet gift from God.  I so appreciate it, and I just can’t get enough of it :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Who(m?)ever

To the person from Louisville who called our house at 11:30 last night,

Really?  Do you really need to talk to someone that badly at THAT hour?  And when they don’t answer, do you really need to let the phone continue to ring for 2 solid minutes?  Did you think that was going to magically work?  My mama always told me to hang up after four.  If they don’t answer in four, they aren’t going to answer. 

But not you.  You thought 36 rings or whatever awful number that was would be so much better.  I had just fallen asleep, and you scared the bajeepers out of me.  My husband?  He doesn’t wake up for the phone.  Just me.  So when I had finally fallen asleep, you silly person from Louisville ruined it all.

You should be ashamed of yourself.  And darned glad I didn’t answer the phone last night.



(PS—This is mostly in jest.  I’m tired, but not really that hateful :))

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twas the Night Before School Starts….

And I’m excited!

I didn’t realize how much I missed my hallway until today.  I got to spend the day working in my classroom, and chatting with co-workers.  I missed those women this summer!  I felt like we fell right back into the swing of things.  I hate to admit to you how little work I accomplished in early part of the morning, but it was so nice to catch up with my hall-mates.  In our building, I am back down a hallway that is sort of stranded from the rest of the building.  There are two other teachers in my hallway, and no one else never comes by.  So we have bonded.  And do whatever we want.  And I just love it.  So after a day of racing up and down the hall to share worksheets and flash drives and scrapbooks and cry over sad summer stories and find documents in the world’s largest PDF, I am almost ready to start school tomorrow.  I have just a few little things to do (and a lot of work this weekend….I know what I’m doing with my ninth graders for the first few weeks, but I’m struggling with speech), and I will be set for the start of class tomorrow.

2009-2010 school year, welcome.  Let’s have some fun (in a totally disciplined and darned hard English class kind of way)!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Deep in Thought

I had an all-day conference for school this morning.  And I was dreading it.  I didn’t want to go, but I had signed up.  So I was obligated.  All morning I stewed and stewed.  I made myself so anxious I even threw up a little this morning.  Disgusting, I know.  But it relates.

It turns out that this conference was incredible on a lot of different levels.  I got a lot of practical advice that I can apply in my classroom right away.  In fact, I rewrote my 9th grade lesson plans during the presentation to better suit what I thought was important today.  I had some serious lightbulb moments (textbook publishers put things like pictures, captions, and cultural connections to help students….so I should use them).

Beyond that, though, our presenter said something that has been gnawing at me all day.  She told this early on:

Your brain believes what you tell it.

I couldn’t let this go all day.  I thought about it on so many levels.  I thought about it as it pertains to my students.  The words I say to them.  The words I teach them to say to themselves.  The words they have been taught to say to themselves.  So often in my classroom, I think, “Who has told you that that is all you worth?”  And I want to help them change it.  But it’s a struggle.  Because it’s a struggle for me.

My brain believes what I tell it.

When I tell myself that I am worthless, my brain believes it.

When I tell myself that I have no friends, my brain believes it.

When I tell myself that I am a failure as a wife, a teacher, an anything, my brain believes it.

This isn’t a totally new concept to me.  I have struggled with negative self-talk for a very long time, and spent a good deal of my junior year of college dealing with this issue with a very wise friend, K.Tro. 

But as I’ve gotten older, and been in more difficult situations, I’ve forgotten.  I’ve fallen back on old habits instead of speaking truth—truth from God’s Word.

And so today, I want to change that.  I want to change my belief system from lies to the truth.

Our speaker talked about the idea of speaking affirmations to yourself.  For instance, if you want to be organized and prepared, but struggle with, repeat over and over, “I am organized and I am prepared.”  And eventually you start to believe it and make it your reality. 

So today, I want to tell my brain this:

“No, in all these things [trouble, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, etc.] we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

And you had just better believe that my dear husband is designing a poster that says “Your brain believes what you tell it” to be displayed prominently in my classroom.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Playing with pictures

So…I really want a copy of Adobe Lightroom.  Like really.  But I cannot justify buying it at the current moment (though my husband did tell me to do it).  It’s just a big purchase.  And I’m not good with big purchases.  So he’s going to have to order for me if I’m going to get it.  I can’t make my fingers click the buttons.  But I did make them click the buttons to do the FREE 30 day trial.  And I played with it yesterday.  And I had some serious fun.  I think it will be my after-school fun for the first few days of the year.  And here is a bit of what I came up with

A few wedding pictures

Copy of IMG_5244


Copy of Wedding Pictures 054

Some just for fun pictures

Copy of The Year 2009 154

Copy of The Year 2009 878

Copy of The Year 2009 505

And a few of the daughter of a friend of Andy’s from Purdue that I took last weekend

The Year 2009 1176

The Year 2009 1189

The Year 2009 1212

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Space of my own

I know something about myself.  It’s something I learned in college.  I need my own space.  Just a little corner that’s all mine, nothing too fancy, nothing too great.  Just a little bit that I can call mine.

I discovered this when I was living in the dorms.  Because when you live in the dorms, no space is your own.  Everything is shared.  The futon.  The fridge.  The air.  Even your bed isn’t a hideaway, because your roommate is either across the loft or above/beneath you. 

My last two years of college, I had an apartment where I had my own bedroom.  It was glorious.  I loved my roommates.  Just today we ran into someone from Purdue, and she and I were chatting about how wonderful my roommates were.  I loved spending time with them, seeing them, sharing life with them.  But I loved them more because I had my own room.  If I needed quiet, I could get it.  If I needed to watch 7 straight hours of Gilmore Girls, I could do it.  And poor Lauren knows that I needed that one often. 

For the past two years, I haven’t had my own space.  I have had a lot of shared space.  And it’s been shared with my very best friend, the man that I love and adore.  But his mark has been as clear as my own.  Our spaces have been gender neutral.  They have been shared.  And sometimes, they have been rough.

Today, for the first time since May of 2007, I have my own space again.

I have my own office.

Well.  Sort of.  It’s also a guest bedroom.  So if someone comes to visit, I will give it to them while they are here. 

But it’s mine.  And I love it.  I have my own desk.  And it is cute.  I have a new chair.  I have a cute lamp.  I have art that is yellow and blue and pink and girly.  I have pictures.  And I have a door.  That I can close.  Soon (like whenever I pick it up and bring it over), I will have a t.v., so that when the Gilmore Girls urge strikes, I can watch without dragging my husband into it (somehow, he thinks that since he’s seen every episode AT LEAST twice, he’s done…weird, I know). 

I will show you my space soon.  It’s not quite finished.  I have a bookshelf and the television to move over.  I need to get some hangers for a few pieces.  And I’m waiting on one last piece of art that won’t arrive until sometime next week.  I would guess by the middle of next week, I’ll be ready to take pictures and show you my little office.  I can’t wait to share it! (I know, it’s a bit ironic.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why I don’t necessarily love summer

One might think that as a teacher, I live for summer.

And in February, I would have told you that was the truth.

But I’ve discovered something this summer.

I don’t really love summer.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are a whole lot of things I LOVE about summer—vacations, the pool, wearing skirts and dresses without tights, getting to sleep in, summer rainstorms (only when they don’t smell like dead worms when they are over), and the time I get to spend with Andy.

But there are some things that I don’t love.

I don’t have a real structure, which makes me lazy.  I can accomplish far more in a day during the school year than I can in the summer.  Because I have to.  Having a schedule and a deadline is crucial for me.  Without it, I’m likely to lie on the sofa and watch two hours of Home Improvement every day. 

I don’t get out as much.  Which means I don’t talk.  So I just kind of shut off.  Completely.  It’s impossible to carry on a conversation with me right now.  I have nothing to say.

Unless you want to hear about what Mark and Randy did on yesterday on Home Improvement.  Or about Brad dressing up as Raggedy Andy for Halloween because his girlfriend was going be Raggedy Ann. 

In the fall, I have a routine.  I have a structure.  I know what is expected of me, and I kick my rear into gear and get it done.

Today I had plans, and I got things done.  I exercised.  I ran errands.  I went to the library.  I met teacher peeps (not from my building, from the elementary school) for lunch.  And then I work in my classroom.  I just spent a few hours over in my room and it was lovely.  I got to pray over the room, hang up some posters, and start getting some things organized.  Now I am working on short grammar lessons, and coming up with a very genius idea for making grammar a little less painful.  Having something to do makes me happy.

And as good as the “Sunny Laundry” air freshener on my desk, and summery smelling candles we have around the house all are, I am for sure excited about pulling out my Harvest candle from Yankee Candle, and pumpkin spice…and something apple cider-y from Wal-Mart.  Fall candles are basically the best.

So summer, while I will miss sleeping late and being a lazy bones, I am excited to be productive again.  It’s time to slip it back into Lorelai gear (full-speed, hopped up on caffeine).  I’ve been Mrs. Bennett for far too long. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New year, new wardrobe

In some ways, I still function like I am a student.

Not in all ways, just in some.  I still scout out the back to school supplies, and  buy some.  (I go through a lot of paper and pencils in a year…especially when I give them to irresponsible students—though I may not go through quite as much this year, since I’m making them serve a lunch detention for being irresponsible).  I would love for someone to give me a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils in the fall (why yes, I did just watch “You’ve Got Mail” the other day).  And I still do back to school shopping.  It’s a tradition that is ingrained in me: new school year, new clothes.  Basically any excuse for new clothes works for me.  Last week was the Gap Give and Get program, so I was able to get 30% off all of my purchases, and I ended up with this (I have about 18 items in my online shopping cart right now, and I work my way through them, slowly and surely..but if the sweaters at Banana Republic go on sale, I’m throwing caution to the wind):


I already have coupon codes from Ann Taylor LOFT and NY and Co. in my email for this weekend.  ATL is offering 30% off, and here’s what I have in my shopping cart:

And NY and Co. sent a coupon to get 20 dollars off of 60, so here’s how I am planning to spend that:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And my bones were a’creakin’

I tried an experiment last night.  And the results were far from exceptional.  I decided to go to bed at 10 last night, to try to get myself back into the routine of falling asleep then (instead of the 1 or 2 it has been).  I also decided not to set the alarm, so I could see just how long my body thought I should sleep.

I woke up at 7:20.  Accounting for the time it took me to fall asleep, I still slept for NINE hours.  Nine hours?  How old am I?  I remembered quickly why I drink coffee during the school year.  Because I don’t get anywhere near nine hours!  If I were to get nine hours of sleep during the school year, I would have to go to bed at 8 pm. 

So for the rest of this week, I work on sleeping 10-6, then next week, I’ll go to 10-5.  Maybe I’ll even slip in a 9:30-5. 

And my walker and false teeth should be arriving by the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Proud to be a TARK wife!

This past weekend is one that is always anticipated in our house.  It was the annual Tark reunion.  Tarkington Hall was the residence hall Andy lived in for 4 of his 5 years at Purdue.  He was involved in the Bible study with Campus Crusade for Christ in that building for all five years.  It is no small statement to say that the men involved in that study have absolutely shaped my husband into the man he is today.  They are some of his best friends, the people who have seen him through all sorts of life business.  He has stood up with more of them than I care to remember as they were married, and a handful of them stood with him on our wedding day.  And every year, those same men gather together for a weekend of encouragement, sunburn, and a lot of this (stolen from Facebook)(my husband is the one on the left)(J. Harris the dead sexy man is in the middle)(I don’t have a nickname for J. Lane):

While the men were doing their menly things in the middle of a cornfield in central Indiana, the wives and children of a few of them met in Louisville to do woman things.  That sounded like not what I was going for.  We went to the zoo.  We ate brownies mixed with cookies.  We ate pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.  We watched “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.” We chatted until our faces turned blue.  We bought soap at Bath and Body Works (I am in soap love with White Citrus).  And it was glorious.  It was so fabulous to spend a weekend with girls who are near my age, and in sort of similar life situations.  Two have kids, three of us didn’t.  One of the other wives needs to be my new BFF.  She actually lives in Louisville, so I’ve been begging Andy all week to double date with them….because their apartment is so barely an hour away.  Once I returned home, I realized I had only taken a few pictures from this weekend, and they aren’t really post-able.  One set was of a secret mission that shall not become public knowledge, and the rest were of three-year-old Grace, who is seriously adorable, but I’m not going to plaster her photo all over the internet without parental permission.  So know—I love being a Tark wife.  It’s an honor and a privilege.  Even if I have endured some of the most excruciatingly awkward wedding moments as a result of it.  And I am positive I will endure so many more.  Starting next May.  And I’ll definitely recap some of those that have already occurred at a later date.  I’ll give you my top ten list :)