Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have I Told You . . .

what a great life I am living? Seriously. I have so much. A super hubby. A nice house. A wonderful job. A fulfilling side life AKA friends and hobbies. An extended group of family and friends to whom I can turn at any time for anything no matter how great or how small.

I just returned from dinner out to celebrate the accomplishments and retirements of some terrific former coworkers. Three people retired from our district this year, so we celebrated their years of work and friendship at a local eatery. I was thinking about being a no-show because I have pretty much been on the run the whole week in the evenings. I decided to go because I have become really rock-solid lately in honoring the commitments I make. It's a personal thing because my philosophy over the years has hardened into a belief that your word and actions are pretty much the only things about you that people remember, and if you don't live up to your commitments, people remember that. I know I do.

So anyway, the food was great, the conversation was sometimes inspirational and sometimes nothing but hilarious, but the feeling of camaraderie was so pervasive that I left feeling loved and valued - even though these are people with whom, for the most part, I have had no contact with for the greater part of a year. Some of them for even longer than that! Beginnings are good - I loved it when these same people welcomed me into their daily work lives almost three years ago, but I loved it even more tonight when we talked and had so much fun. What I really loved was the feeling that these are not acquaintances, but people who value me for being me - warts and all. Many of these people have been known to me for years. Some for as long as I have been employed in the district, seventeen years, but when I switched elementary schools three years ago within our school district, I made some friendships that changed the way I view education, made some others that have vastly improved my teaching, and deepened others that began during my first year of teaching. This has all benefited me immensely. Whether these people have benefited from knowing me is unknown to me. I hope I can enrich their lives in some small way, but I am coming out the winner here. They have given to me, as they have given to many children, the fruits of their knowledge, compassion, and educations.

So thanks to all you ESE teachers. You know who you are, and I am not going to further embarrass myself or you by naming names here.

In other news, I made a new Fish God friend. This is the husband of another coworker, and I will probably wear out the friendship there as I make midnight fish emergency calls to him. He sold me a new tang to replace one that I inadvertently murdered, and with all the wonderful sea life he has husbanded, he is my new "Go to" guy. I am determined to make the marine tanks under my care flourish and thrive, and I am definitely bitten by the bug. I am waiting patiently for the recently set-up Biocube to cycle appropriately because it is where I am going to start my first nano-reef. I wanted seahorses, but after researching I have found that neither of the tanks I have are deep enough for anything but dwarf seahorses, and they require live food which I am not prepared to feed. Someday!!!

So, have I told you lately what a wonderful life this is?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Golden. I went for my Pap, my mammogram, and a bone density test all in one day today, and I am good to go until this time next year! Yay me for good women's health!

And, my house got spring cleaned today, too. Woo-hoo! Granted, I didn't do it, but it feels so luxuriant to walk in and see sparkling windows, dust-free ceiling fans and vents, and gleaming cupboards, walls, and woodwork. Pinesol, I love you! (Of course I owe a big thanks to Chris and Teresa, the wonderfuls gals who did the hard stuff for me.)

After my doctor visits and before I met my high school friend for a long afternoon lunch, I jumped into a JoAnn fabric for a minute. They had silk flower wreaths on sale two for $25.00, so I grabbed some fresh ones for the front and side doors of the house. The one now on the front door is a grapevine with a couple of summery sunflowers, some lemons, and some fern-y looking greenery. The side door has bunches of big, white sunflowers and daisies. Very summery looking and almost guaranteed to make feel good when I look at them as I'm driving up our long driveway. I'm not big on silk or artificial flowers in the house, but I do like having wreaths on my doors reflecting the different seasons of the year.

Tomorrow is back to school, and I feel good about that, too. My first grade students are having great success reading the last two books I have chosen for them. The books are ones that have a very controlled vocabulary consisting mainly of sight words (Dolsch vocabulary), and rather than just drilling, drilling, drilling on those sight words, the children seem to be internalizing them much better when they are used in the context of a story. But, Duh! That is something that we learned in our most basic education theory classes years ago! My Kindergarteners and second grade students are also making progress in reading and learning, but I seem to be leaning toward liking the first grade mentality much more than K or 2. Hmmmmn. Food for thought there. . .

On Sunday Richard and I worked outside. He mixed up a batch of weed killer for me, and I spot-sprayed dandelions and other pests in my flower beds. I do hope I didn't get any overspray on any of my Stell d'Oro daylily border or on the various colored Achillea I have planted in my dry sun bed. If I did, I have plenty of other daylilies I can divide to fill empty spots, and I think the achilleas have sprouted enough runners that they can survive some parts of the parent plants dying off. Dandelions and sow thistles!!! Two of my biggest gardening banes! I can never get the tap roots out when pulling or digging, and if you don't, the buggers always sprout ten more where there was one before! Anyway, after doing the beds, I walked the goat fence and the posts with bluebird houses where it is hard for Richard to mow and sprayed weed killer along there, too. Once the stuff works its magic, we will have nice, straight-looking fence lines w/o a bunch of raggedy weeds outside the fence. Inside the fence, the goat patrol keeps the weed population in check.

And speaking of goats - the triplets born on April first are in fine fettle. They are now "eating" hay. It is so funny to watch them take a little mouthful of something and act as if they are chewing it. What they really do is just mouth it a little and then spit it out. After that they usually leap wildly up into the air and act very surprised, as if "Hey! How did that get in my mouth?" And the littlest one, whom we've named Slim, is really beefing up. But I am not surprised at all by that because he is a lusty little drinker. Even when he was brand new he nosed right up to the wonderful milk machine that is his momma, good ol' Bessie, and got his fill of her yummy goodness. So I am happy that they are doing well.

And that is all for today.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today I . . .

Need to get down to the basement and TRY to find my work tables. I have three tables all set up for my own use downstairs and right now they are covered in piles of stuff. I tried to keep separate areas for different activities, but it doesn't seem to work out that way.

We had some water issues down there earlier this winter, and I had to rearrange some of my piles that were on the floor and move them to safer spots - the tables. I haven't put anything away forever, and my art supplies seem to be stealthily creeping up the stairs.

I have a prom dress that I am hemming for a former student and her prom is Saturday, so I need to do the dress tonight. My serger and sewing machine have their own table - sort of - but I will have to clear off a large space around it and cover it with a sheet. No fuzzies or snags on the dress please!

We had Monday this week off school, and it's a good thing we did. I had a water change planned for my marine fish tank and was plannning on using the water I removed from the tank to start cycling a new tank. Halfway through the water change, my filter pump went out and I ended up having to drive 100 miles to get a new one, come home, make some adaptations, and set up a new mechanical AND biological filter. I didn't want to try anything very tricky becasue I've only been in the marine business about a year, so instead of relying solely on the new bio filter alone, I am floating the old bio wheel in the tank for a while. The Pacific Blue Tang hates me and thinks I am trying to kill him. Anyway, that whole business of having that pump go out has left me panic-stricken about having a back-up plan for other fish emergencies. I've been researching like crazy and have a good idea of what I need to put together, so now I just have to put it into action. I wanted to put seahorses in this other tank, but after reading up on seahorses, I find that this new tank is too small. My next choice is a hummingbird wrasse if it isn't too large a fish for this bio-cube. But I am not giving up on seahorses! Just need to learn more and hone my fish-keeping skills.

In other areas, I am testing all my students' reading abilities and writing reports for their classroom teachers. The end of the school year is drawing to a close, and that is always a time for me to reflect on what I've taught this year, what still needs to be taught, and also on the things that we are not going to be able to get to. Right now we are going into state testing times, and that is stressful for students and teachers alike. Teachers are taking their kids on field trips, all kinds of activities are starting up for the kids, and it really makes for a crazy time of year. Soon it will be time to take everything down and pack it up again. Seems like I just did that!