Sunday, December 27, 2009

Little pleasures...

Welcome back... I hope everyone has a good Christmas... You know I did! :o)

It's been so great being home, very relaxing and comfortable. Even with the dump of snow we got over the last couple of days. Sorry guys... I guess I wished a little too hard for a white Christmas. On Christmas day we had brunch at my parents with Blair, Janel and Janel's parents. Afterwards my Mom and I trekjked out to Blockbuster to rent movies. We played a little Wii and then watched Mamma Mia! (I can't believe neither one of us had seen it before!) Saturday we had out traditional brunch/lunch out with my Mom's side of the extended family. We get a little break today, and then Christmas Round II (sort of) starts later on today and tomorrow when my uncle and his family return from the Dominican and we spend some time with them. It will be nice... I can't remember the last time I saw them - probably last Christmas!

One of the best things about coming home was returning to my home church -- which I did officially on Christmas Eve. I was able to practice and since with my choir, and it felt fantastic. I know that a lot of my choirmates read this blog (HI!) and so do my pastors. Spending some time with them inbetween serivces on Thursday was great (yay for the minestrone!) and I can't wait till I can return for good in the future. I plan to take a peace light with me back to the church I've been hanging out in down south, and telling everyone what an awesome community I come from!

On Christmas Eve it's been tradition for the last few years for one of our ministers (Jeff) to tell a story about Reverend Julie Woodson and her church and congregation. Truly fictional with some real-life connections, I look forward to these stories every year and this last one was no exception. If you're looking for a glimpse through the eyes of Rev. Woodson, check out and find Jeff's stories! (The first one is easy to find... but the rest are there, too!)

In the coming dasys I'm looking forward to spending time with more family and friends, doing a little shopping at my favourite hometown stores and maybe even trying out the skating trails. I wonder if the river is open yet? I'll likely post more here and there, but until then... Continue to enjoy your holidays! I know I will!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The BEST gift of all...

Here we are on Christmas Eve! And so I give you the gift of a Christmas Eve post!

Got together with my best firends yesterday. It was great... even if they were all sniffling and high on Buckley's. I'm trying NOT to get sick while I'm here, but I suppose if I do, it'll be worth it. They took me for a ride around the swanky part of the city to see the Christmas lights... Some displays were impressive, and others were less so. We grabbed some Timmies while we were out... And I had more this morning too! Ahh.... that's a hometown staple that I missed!

I know that we'll all be out and about over the next few days, and some of you will read this sooner... others later. But whenever you come across this blog again, I wanted you to know that I wish nothing but the very best this Christmas for you and the people you love. Being home -- even if we're not doing anything super special -- is the best Christmas gift I could have gotten. The second best is knowing that all of you are where you want to be right now... wherever that may be!! :o)

So MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! Have an awesome day today and tomorrow. Stay warm, stay safe, and be happy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

There`s no place like home...

Seriously, I have nary a care in the world right now. :o)

Monday I tried to be productive, and I did manage to get most of what I wanted done. I slipped out around 3. Stopped at the postoffice, Walmart (to pick up my new specs!) and home where I grabbed my suitcase, looked the place over once or twice and headed out. I was almost out of town when I realized I had left my iPod in my school bag. I guess I needent have turned back, because when I tried to use it the next day, I realized that it was dead! Bummer... but it really didn`t phase me much because I wad GOING HOME!!!

The traffic in the Raleigh area was a little crazy. I made a stop for some dinner and then got to my hotel. Signed myself up for A 3:30 wake up call and a 4:30 shuttle and I was done for the night. Had a rather restless sleep... I don`t know if I reached REM. So I was a little bleary-eyed when I arrived at the airport. The plane rides were quiet (well, except for the random crying children) and my fast connection in Minneapolis (one end of the terminal to the next) didn`t manage to cause much trouble. Got back at 10:45 AM local time.

It feels fantastic to be around family and friends. Being away really makes you appreciate what you`ve got back home. This is so true. I`m looking forward to a quiet, peaceful and content holiday. :o)

Hope you all are somewhere that makes you happy this week. I will post more in the days to come. Love to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not long now....

I'm down to hours before my Christmas vacation officially starts, and by this time tomorrow, I'll be on my way home!!

It seems rather unfortunate that I have to put in a full day of work before I go. I'm wondering how I will keep from getting distracted. Already I've had a restless sleep! Luckily, the school will be quiet, and I can work at my own pace. I've got a few things that I want to do so that I don't have to obsess about them (and I would!) while I'm away.

During my holidays, I'm hoping to put the stresses of the job and the distance behind me and just focus on what matters most - spending time with the people I love and care about so much and just being thankful for their presence and support in my life. These last few months have really put many things into perspective for me, not the least of which is to appreciate the small things that make me happy and relaxed.

This will likely be the last post before I'm back in Winterpeg!! Hope everyone has a good start to their holiday week! :o)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Making a list, checking it twice...

Well, it felt more like I was getting up for work this morning at the usual time... A little cruel for a Saturday. But the 5K came and went... pretty well, actually. The rain stopped around 7:15 AM as we were driving out to Fayetteville, but the air was still brisk and damp, which made it feel pretty chilly. I dressed in layers though, so I was good for the most part. The run/walk was good. Lots of runners... lots of walkers. It was half uphill, which was a challenge... my knee started to protest partway into the climb, and it's still bugging me now. I suppose I'll live though.

Did a bit of shopping on the way home... Not much left to get, but I still think I'm missing someone! A couple of stops in Raleigh on Monday evening and I should be done. My suitcase is 2/3rds full of gifts already... and I'm still packing! I don't prefer to pack early, because that's when I usually bring more than I need and regret it later.

Well, I'm going to (try) to chill out and relax this evening. Maybe watch a movie or something. I've got some school-work that I brought home, but it likely won't get touched today. Yeah, a real shame. ;o)

Only three sleeps until I'm on my way home!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

T'was the week before Christmas....

I've been rather lax (again) on my posts as of late... and I apologize (again) for leaving you all hanging!!

The last few days of school before the holidays are winding down. We're all dismissed as of 1 pm tomorrow afternoon. Perfectly fine by me, as we're all about as sick of each other as we can be, and I'm afraid of what would happen if we tried to drag this out any farther!

Still been hard to get into the Christmas spirit, for mainly the same reasons as I mentioned before. I am managing to live vicariously through others as they carry out their old traditions. It makes me think of home even more, and wish that I'd booked a Monday night flight instead of a Tuesday flight!! I'm anticipating a restless weekend - it could feel like a really long time - as I mess about here getting things done so that I can actually jet off and not have to worry about unfinished business.

I baked cookies on the weekend to give to a few (okay, several) coworkers that I've worked closely with. I also sent out a full staff email thanking everyone for their support and warmth during my first few months. Apparently the gestures were a hit! The staff is very friendly and fun... which has made the transition easier. And knowing that they value my contribution is motivating. I suppose I'll just have to come back in January. ;o)

This weekend we're supposed to get a mix of rain/sleet/snow, which could be fun and frustrating at the same time. I'm told that we're likely not going to get much white stuff... too far southeast for that. Saturday I'm going with another teacher to do a 5K walk/run in Fayetteville. We're actually driving out tomorrow to check out the route, and then back on Saturday morning (early!) to actually participate. I've also got dinner with Alvin, his family and Ibeth tomorrow night as a little holiday gathering, I guess. And besides catching up on work, packing and attending church on Sunday... I suppose that makes for a full-enough weekend. It'll be nice not having classes on Monday, and I can take the whole day by myself to get prepared for exams in January.

Tuesday can't come fast enough. I think I'm looking forward to Christmas this year more than I have in a long time... if ever! Sure, the holidays are always special, but since I've been away from home it feels a little extra so. The countdown is on!! Look out everyone, I'm headed your way!!!

Love to all!! Hope you're staying warm!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fa la la la... la?

So we lost the Brain Game. But we didn't do half bad... The team started off strong with the Pop Culture round, and then weakened a bit in the middle with some names and dates. We had a really strong Science round, and it was anybody's game until the last two rounds (Globetrotting and Across America) when the other two teams blew ahead. The kids were disappointed, but we were proud of them anyways! The game will air in January on a local station.

I'm fighting off a bit of a headcold. It's not too bad... just congestion and grogginess. It's the first time I've been sick since I got here, so I suppose I was due for it. Better now than in two weeks...

The weekend was cold. Saturday was rainy, and Sunday was just chilly. Mind you, this isn't saying much when we compare it to Winterpeg temperatures. ;o) There was a threat of snow for late Saturday, but it didn't happen in this area of the state. Oh well. Maybe next month.

The lack of snow is one of the reasons why I can't seem to get much into the holiday spirit, despite all the holiday related shows and movies on TV, and all the holiday music on the radio and in the stores. (There's even a station that plays all holiday music...) There are lights around town, decorations that people put out in their yards, but it's falling flat for this northerner. I just don't buy it when there are still leaves! Santa and his sleigh look silly riding across the grass...

I haven't even been able to Christmas shop the way I've wanted to. I'm doing some of it online, and shipping it home. Some stuff I'm bringing with me. I'm afraid to forget someone in the mix! Can't wrap the presents that have to go through customs, and I only just started my Christmas card list. I haven't had much time, energy or motivation to do any Christmas baking, either.

Do I sound like a Humbug? I really don't mean too, honest!! I actually want to be in the Christmas spirit, but I'm having a hard time finding it. I know it'll all come surging towards me as the 22nd gets closer and I finally pack for the visit home. I can't wait for that. Only two weeks! In the meantime, I'll keep surrounding myself with merriment and the like!

Love to everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's the Brain Game...

I'm pinch hitting for another teacher tomorrow and accompanying a team of students up to Raleigh for the taping of an episode of "Brain Game". It's a local quiz-show game for teens, where they can earn points and win the chance to get some prize for their school. I have no idea how well we will do... But wish us luck!


Monday, November 30, 2009

A holiday hangover...

No... We didn't drink too much, or eat too much (well, not as much as we could have...) -- but I'm sure that Mom and I could both use a few days to get over our busy weekend!

Let's see... Where did we leave off? Oh yes. We went to Wilmington on Friday, but you knew that already I guess! Saturday we set out as planned to the Duplin Winery. Got a tour of the facility, which was a little unimpressive since it was the weekend and not in operation. But the lack of activity was more than made up for with the wine tasting that followed... Which, by the way... was all free... and in the words of TMB... Excellent.

Now, I'm not a wine critic by far. I do know a few things, but mostly, I drink what I like and don't really pay much attention to all the details. I prefer sweeter wine to dry... Which is just what Duplin produces... Lots of sweet wine made from muscadine grapes. Yum yum. We tried twelve different wines, and some wine mixes (a hot cider and a slush), and it was hard to pick which I liked more. The shop was cute, too... with lots of "stuff" with the wine/grape theme. And it was all dressed up for Christmas, which fit in with the homey feel. We ate dinner at their bistro -- good food at a decent price. I will definitely go there again... Once I come up with excuses. Anyone want to visit?

After we sobered up and left the winery, we decided to go back to Wilmington to shop, instead of Fayetteville, because we didn't want to waste the time (and gas) to back-track. And I don't need another excuse to get closer to the coast. We did a little shopping and got back later in the evening, tired from our day but in good spirits! We saw some of the meteor showers throughout the day... Something we thought was pretty cool. We thought about finding a dark area away from the lights to park so we could see more, but we were too tired and just wanted to put on our jammies and kick back.

Sunday came a little early, but I couldn't sleep very late despite trying to go past 7:30 am. Ibeth came over again and we all headed north this time... First to Smithfield and a really, really big outlet mall, and then to Raleigh and more retail fare. The outlet mall was sprawling and impressive, but I wasn't in the mood to break the bank. I guess the excitement weekend was catching up with me. Ibeth was really struck by the deals, and I told her I'd come back with her after Christmas and and spend a whole day there.

We ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory -- a popular franchise but one I haven't been to since arriving down here. We decided to opt out of the entrees, snack on appetizers instead and save ourselves for dessert. Maybe we should have forgone the meal and just gotten dessert alone. It was so good. :o)

Dropped Mom off at her hotel with a big hug and a the hope that the next three weeks will go by quickly. It was a busy, yet comforting weekend -- very much needed. I can't wait for the next visit from home.

So now I'm beat, and want a solid 8-hours tonight. Pretty please?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Greetings from the East Coast!

Hi everyone!

Just thought I'd take a few moments to let you know what we've been up to the last couple of days...

Picked Mom up at the airport (on time) Wednesday afternoon. Tried not to shed too many tears as we shared a long, comforting embrace. We took advantage of the slow drive home (rush hour combined with holiday traffic), and had a nice dinner at the newest local Chinese buffet. We must have both been too keyed up, because we didn't get to sleep until after midnight. Still, we were up by 8 on Thursday morning, ready to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.

We were about to have a small lunch when one of my coworkers called me up and invited both of us to a potluck lunch with her family and friends. We jumped on the opportunity to mingle with new people, and Hannah and her family were such wonderful and generous hosts. We tried not to eat too much though, because we'd planned our own Thanksgiving dinner with Ibeth later that evening. We cooked it all ourselves, and had a great visit with Ibeth, making plans to get together today to travel out to the east coast for a walk up and down the boardwalk.

Today was windy and cooler than usual, but bright and sunny! We drove out to Carolina Beach, parked and pointed ourselves towards the sound of the crashing waves. It was such an awesome sight! We walked down to the beach and took a few pictures, then walked up and down the boardwalk looking for anything that was open. Naturally, it's the off season, and the holiday weekend, so we didn't have much luck sucking up the local attractions. We did check out some holiday decorations as they were setting up for their opening festivities tonight. It was a little odd seeing palm trees dressed in garland and Santa sitting on a lifeguard stand, but I suppose that how they do Christmas at the beach! :o)

Tomorrow we plan to take a trip out to a nearby winery for a tour and a tasting, and then we'll probably head up to Fayetteville for some retail therapy. No, we didn't do and Black Friday shopping this morning... Neither of us felt like getting up at 3:00 AM. We'll see what Saturday and Sunday have leftover.

Here are some photos of our time at Carolina Beach this afternoon. Enjoy!

Not exactly Baywatch, but just as glamorous!

Mom and Boyd, this parrot that we met on the boardwalk. His owners were just riding their bikes, and he was sitting on the guy's shoulder riding along!

In Carolina Beach, Santa arrives on a boat pulled by nine dolphins... I guess reindeer don't swim very well...

Polar Bears and palm trees... Something tells me we're not in Manitoba anymore...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Count Those Blessings...


just a few weeks ago, Thanksgiving looked so far off, but at last, the holiday is just a day away and with it an extra long weekend to enjoy.

My plans over the next few days are to put my frustrations behind me and to concentrate on the things that I am thankful for. Like a visit from my Mom, and the opportunity to spend some quality time with her. It's been four months since I've been able to embrace someone I love... Something I suppose I took for granted just a little while ago. I'm also thankful for the time to go and do some of the things I've been wanting... Like visit a winery, walk along the east coast, maybe even do a little holiday shopping. (The thought of Black Friday is intimidating though... Not quite sure I'm up to going out in the middle of the night.)

I'm thankful that I'm healthy, and that my family is healthy and happy. I am thankful for the opportunities I've been given to challenge myself with this experience, and the strength to keep trying despite the highs and lows.

But most of all, I am thankful for each and every one of you who continue to support and cheer me on. You add to my perseverance. Finally, I am thankful that in four weeks, I will be back in Winnipeg for Christmas!

Happy American Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Only 3 Easy payments of $16.42...

I've caught myself watching QVC every now and then and wanting to buy whatever it was they were selling. Hmm... I might become a late-night home-shopper. Christmas gifts, anyone?

So I did it. I joined the choir at the United First Methodist Church. Wednesday was my first rehearsal, After a few weeks of saying -- maybe next week, or the week after... I finally just went. I miss being in a choir, learning new songs and singing with others. Of course, the choir I'm used to us not the traditional church choir, which this one is more like... But even still, it felt good. I already had a cubby in the choir room with my name on it, and a hook in the closet where my robe (!) hangs. The director is the father of a coworker, and there are a few other teachers who are also in the choir. We are singing at the community Thanksgiving service on Sunday night, and of course at the morning service. I'll be around for most of their Christmas stuff too, including singing with the high school band at their winter concert on Dec 14th. Should be fun! :o)

Next week is Thanksgiving! It feels like it's come so fast, and yet it's taking forever to get here. We've only got two days of classes, and I did a little charity to get Wednesday off too. It will be nice to have a five day break... Really looking forward to it... especially because Mom arrives Wednesday afternoon for the entire weekend. Do you know how long it's been since I've seen people I love? Okay... don't want to cry again!

So I've got a weekend of grading (report card marks due Monday), cleaning, singing and grocery shopping ahead of me. I might spread that out a little bit and not try to shove it all in at once. I'm in dire need of a good, solid night's sleep, too. Counting the weeks and days until I arrive in Winnipeg for Christmas! Only 32 days!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where's my juice and cookies?!?!

There was a blood drive at the school today. I was so pumped to donate, especially since I would get a free t-shirt out of the deal. We were trying to beat the neighboring township's school drive of 33 pints... I waited all day -- even ate a good lunch -- so that I could donate during my planning block. Skipped a workshop to go donate... Waited for my turn... did all the paperwork and answered all the questions... had my finger poked... passed all the preliminary tests... was the very next person to hit the chair...

... And then I looked at the clock... and realized that I couldn't donate in 15 minutes, rest and still get back for my 5th block students. So I had to get up, and walk out -- as the very next person in line... so I could go back upstairs disappointed and frustrated that I'd wasted my time and didn't get anything done. By the time school was over, the drive was done.

ARGH! And I so wanted a t-shirt!

The next drive is in February, but I'll probably donate back home over the holidays and won't qualify again until after.

Can't help but feel overly bummed about the whole thing.

So... how was your day?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'...

I had an awesome time in Greensboro. Barb was a terrific hostess, and the weather was fabulous. I definitely want to go back soon...

I brought a little friend along with me. Teddy was a gift from my ladies at home, and he came with a CD full of photos taken of him around town. So I could resist taking some Teddy-centric pics myself as we walked around the UNCG campus on a bright, sunny fall afternoon! Take a look at these...

Teddy and I on the UNCG campus...

Barb giving Ted some love

Ted checking out the time on the clocktower...

Chillin' with some statue outside the library...

Ted rides a Schwinn...

By a waterfall...

Grabbing some java at Barb's favorite bean place -- Tate Street Coffee.

Ted stays on top of current events...

Making friends with Scout...

Too bad Ted's underage...

A full week of work this week -- it's only Monday and I'm ready for a weekend! I've been doing some thinking about the future... Trying to figure out what exactly I see myself doing next year. I've definitely learned a lot about myself over the last three months (good and bad), and I hope that I can make the right decision about what's on the horizon for me.

Hope you're all still enjoying above normal weather conditions! Love to everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

It started on Tuesday, and let up yesterday for a little while while the wind whipped up all the leaves that have fallen so far (and probably ripped a few more off the branches)... and then the rain, wind and lower temperatures all combined today to make it one miserable mess.

They call it a tropical depression. I call it summer in Manitoba. (Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration... maybe.)

I'm headed to Greensboro this weekend, so if I don't post tomorrow it's because I'm madly trying to get my "homework" done so I can enjoy a couple of days without thinking of what's waiting when I return! I am looking forward to the drive, the change of scenery, and of course... the friend I'm visiting!!

Two weeks until my mother comes for a visit!! It's hard to concentrate when something so exciting is peeking over the horizon. Please let the time she's here pass by as slowly as the time it's taking her to get here!

Peace out! :o)

Monday, November 9, 2009

I have the Taz Band-Aid to prove it...

Some of you may know, I have a certain... unusual... dislike for odd numbers. Unless they are multiples of 5, I try my best to avoid them if I can. If I'm adjusting the volume on the TV or on the car radio, I'll bump it up or down so that it sits on an even number. When I first got my class count for this semester, and saw that I had 27 students in one class, I felt a little uneasy. Just ask Mom, who helped me for 2 hours to try and arrange my classroom so that 27 desks felt more like 26 or 28 and less like something that made me feel jittery.

I don't know why I have this strangeness. Maybe it makes me a quirky. I'm not entirely obsessed with it... I mean, I still cope as a civilized human being.

Anyway, the point of this, and maybe you've guessed... Today is 11/9/09. It's a very odd day. The numbers 11, 9 and 9 add to 29, another odd number... And also my new age.

Yup. It's official. I have begun the last year of my 20's. Which seems rather unfair, because it doesn't feel like I've been hanging out in this bracket for 9 years already. I'm waiting for someone to shout "Psych!" and to give me back 5 years. Which doesn't mean that I WANT to be 24 again... or even 25 really. Well, maybe 25. I quite enjoy the experience and independence that each passing year brings. I'm not afraid of getting older... I just ... don't enjoy ... odd numbers.

Thanks everyone, for the birthday wishes. It was a decent day -- nothing overly dramatic, which is almost how I wanted it. I mean, would have been nice for a little extra fanfare, but then again, I don't know how much energy I have for that, either. I mean... I am a whole year older than I was yesterday.

I treated myself to a flu shot this afternoon. I actually signed up for it back in September, but they had problems getting enough vaccines shipped in, so we had to wait. It's not the H1N1 shot, which I haven't seen available in my area. I suppose if I found a primary physician I might be able to get one there. Hmm.

I got a couple of cards in the mail, a gift from Ibeth and a package from my best girls back home. That made me feel special, which was nice. I'm hoping to go out for dinner tomorrow with a few folks. With Wednesday being a holiday, we'll take advantage of some extra social time.

The play is over. I'm rather sad, but on the plus side I get a some spare time back. Which I might fill... or not! It was nice working on the play -- and feeling appreciated. One of the actors actually gave me flowers yesterday as a thank you for helping out. So it does exist. :o)

Okay. I told myself I was just going to lounge tonight -- and I plan to keep that pact. Thanks again everyone for all the support, encouragement and love that you're sending. I feel it all!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Two down... Two to go!

We've had two live performances of Kipling's "Just So Stories", and so far, we've managed to pull it off! Friday's show was not without it's opening night bumps, including a flub at a particularly dramatic part -- but the cast and the crew managed to cover well enough to make it seem less noticeable.

Yesterday, one of the actresses called the director an hour before the show started to tell her she was "stuck" in Jacksonville, which is about an hour away. We had to do some quick thinking, since we didn't have an understudy for this play. Our stage manager actually stepped into her role, and we did our best to feed her lines and help her out. She did a great job, and saved us all! Hopefully we won't have many other mishaps today -- fingers crossed! Tomorrow the show is for one of the elementary schools. I won't be able to work that show, because I have classes at the time. But by then the actors should all know what they should be doing and will be capable to be on their own for one performance.

Our audiences haven't been very big. We're hoping that a matinee performance will draw a larger crowd. We had about 25 on Friday and less than 10 last night. Not really encouraging -- especially since this play is supposed to be the moneymaker that helps fund the spring musical.

Other than that, I've been trying to have a low-key weekend. I'm bummed that I can't just stay home all day today, but I'm sucking it up!

Hope you're all well! Enjoy your Sunday! :o)

Friday, November 6, 2009

I don't care much for Tangeloes... too many seeds!

This will be a fast post (yeah right) because I've told myself that I want to be back at the school no later than 6 to get ready for the play. No, I'm not acting!! But I am working backstage, and that's a big enough job. I've really been enjoying it, and I'll be a little sad when it's over. It's been the highlight of my week -- pretty much the only highlight...

The rollercoaster of emotions is still speeding around. Bad days are very hard when you don't have loved ones around to help make you feel better. And I've been having a fair amount of bad days... Well, difficult days... Sometimes I wonder if I'm strong enough to do this for more than a year. Are the sacrifices really worth it?

The Day of the Dead event last Sunday was good. The kids were were good with their presentations, and I liked the facility they held it in -- and old house with a lot of interesting history. Ibeth came with me, and she shared a little of what they do back in Colombia to commemorate the occasion.

I was very excited to learn last weekend that the rumors were true -- the Subways in town are open again! Seriously -- this is great. I've missed Subway since coming here, and all three locations in the area were closed because the owner had some sort of tax problem. Well, two of them reopened under new management. The one in the Walmart is still closed... We're speculating on what might go in there... Someone said perhaps a Quizno's. I might just cry.

The regular football season ends tonight, and it's unlikely that our team will get a spot in the playoffs. Rats-ola. They can't all be winning seasons... But it's still disappointing.

I woke up this morning in a cold room in a cold house. The temperature was about 40 (about 4 degrees) when I left for work, but for the first time since I got here, there was frost on my windshield! Tonight's supposed to be cooler... They've actually issued a freeze warning for parts of the state. Brr! LOL!

I'm very much looking forward to the mid-week holiday next week. It'll be a nice change to be home during the day. I can check up on what my "daytime friends" are up to. And then it's only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving... :o)

I'm planning a drive to to Greensboro next weekend to checkout Barb's stomping grounds. It'll be good respite, I think. We'll roam around, drink coffee at some hip java joint... Maybe check out some local entertainment. Looking forward to it. :o)

Okay... I've got to end this now or I'll just keep on rambling. I've still got to change and grab a snack before I leave! Wish us luck! ;o)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dia des los Muertos

would you believe that I didn't have a single trick-or-treater last night? I've got the bowl full of candy to prove it! Sigh.

I enjoyed that extra hour of sleep we got today. Anyone else? Of course, I'll never remember that in spring when we lose it again. The clock in my bedroom was supposed to change on its own at 2am, but I didn't quite trust it. When I was awake in the morning and the clock read 7am, I didn't quite know if I should trust it!

I'm trying to get a fair amount of work done today in preparation for the week ahead. With the school play being next weekend, there are practices every evening, and I should probably make myself as useful as possible to the crew and actors. I've been given a few tasks for costumes, and I want to make sure I don't leave anyone hanging! If I'm absent for a few days, it's likely because I'm at the school late. I'm really hoping that everything goes smoothly and that the week goes by quickly!

I'm going out in a little while to a presentation by the school's Spanish Honors Society and Spanish Club about "All Souls Day" or "Day of the Dead", which falls on November 2nd. Ibeth says that Colombia is observing it tomorrow (no work for lucky Columbians). It'll be interesting to learn more about the holiday at today's presentation.

Anyway, I've got a number of things running at the same time, and I should probably start finishing up so I can cross some off my to-do list. Take care everyone!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Apples!

Happy Halloween!!!

I hope everyone has a spooky and safe Halloween nite. Ibeth and I are going out to dinner in a little while, and then I'll probably spend the rest of the evening napping on the sofa and/or waiting for any trick-or-treaters to come knocking at my door. Not sure how many I should expect, or for how long... But I've got candy just in case! I thought about going to that party that one of my co-workers is having, but I'm feeling a little groggy from a long week... And I'm trying to rest up for an even longer week next week. No worries, I'm sure the extra hour of sleep I get tonight will be put to good use!

I just realized why it doesn't really feel like Halloween today. Well, besides the fact that it's nearly 80 degrees outside (and rainy!)... I haven't heard the "Monster Mash"! I know its cheesy and corny (mmm... candy corn), but there's only one DAY a year when it's appropriate to play the song, and I haven't yet.

Hmm... Let's see if this works... Courtesy of You Tube...

Cool! Enjoy. :o) Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why can't they all be like today?

I went for a walk this afternoon when I got home from work -- it was nice to have a quiet day without too many interruptions. Just me, my classroom, my iPod... Makes me wish I had the opportunity to come in on weekends -- hopefully the electronic locks will be fixed soon! (Yes yes... call me a nerdy birdy.)

Oh! Aside from working... I treated myself to a 15 minute chair massage from the sister of one of my co-workers. She came in today and some of us (who were there) signed up. The massage was good. I can't say it was extremely relaxing, because I realize now that the stress of the last three months has really taken a toll on my body, and so there were quite a few tender spots in my shoulders, upper and middle back. My chiropractor back home would scold me soooo much (I can hear her now!) if she knew how insanely neglectful I've been. :o(

Anyways. The walk. Very nice and leisurely. I have found a sidewalk! And it happens to line a street with some very cute character homes. It was comforting to stroll along the tree-lined (and leaf-littered) path and look around. I don't get to do that very much anymore.

I managed to wander into a cemetery (on purpose!) and I checked out a few of the plots there. There's a lot of history in this town. I'm reminded of that often!

Next time I go out, I'll make a point of taking my camera so I can take some pictures of the things that I see. I've got a few favorite houses I want to show you. :o)

I've already booked my flight home for Christmas. I ended up getting a pretty good deal at $500 (okay, well... I think so). Thanks, Expedia! Five minutes after I'd booked the trip, I checked the flights again and the price had increased by $90! And it is was the perfect itinerary, too. I'm pumped. The next seven weeks can just beg on by. :oD

I'm so looking forward to coming home. Seriously. I miss it all so much!! I want a Timmy's! I want to go to the Forks and spend time with friends and family (yes... all of you!). I want to go to MY church! I want to cuddle with Zoey! I want familiar sights and smells and sounds! I want to watch CTV News! ;o) I know that the anticipation will only grow more and more with each week. Now that the trip is booked, and it's on the horizon, it'll be what gets me through the tough times -- which I hope there won't be, but let's be realistic here.

Let me know what you want me to bring with me... any goodies that you're wanting that I can fit into my suitcase? Make me a list! Okay...whoa... not a huge list. I've got one of my own, too! ;o)

Night everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I know. I've been slacking on the posts lately. I've been working long hours... sun up to sun down. Or rather... before sun up to after sun down. Either way, with those kinds of days, I haven't had much energy or motivation for my loved ones and/or adoring fans.

The Homecoming game last Friday was good. We won. I KNOW! It blew us away, too! I mean... a team with a losing season (only one win in the regular) wins their first home game... On Homecoming... It should have been a movie!

I took pictures! The Dark Horses are in black, so they don't stand out as well as the visiting team. Bummer. But you're educated people, and I'm sure you can make out what's going on in these pictures without much commentary...

Dark Horses vs. Richlands Wild Cats.

The score at the end of the first quarter.And because I think they are fantastic... The band (again).

Sorry there aren't more... I kind of got a little tired of taking pics during the second half. They crowned Homecoming Queen at half-time. It was a predictable outcome, I think.

Ibeth and I walked back to my car after the game. I deliberately parked farther away so we'd have a quick exit out. We even left a little before the game ended so we could beat the crowd. However, as luck had it, someone had double parked behind me and I couldn't get around them! So we ended up waiting 15 minutes for them to come back. Sigh. Best laid plans...

On Saturday Ibeth and I went to Fayetteville to see a movie. We saw "Stepfather" (it was okay... we were both in the mood for a little suspense) and then had dinner at Chili's. It was nice to do something ordinary, yet... different. Why don't I do that more often?

Tomorrow we've got a scheduled work day without students. Some teachers are taking furlough time that they were given at the end of June. I have to work. Boo. But! I signed up for a massage at 11:00 am, so at least I'll get a little bit of relaxation. And my job is always easier when the students are out of the way...

No plans for Halloween. I was invited to a party, and I might go. I need a costume though. Captain Canuck? Would they get that?

I'll post again tomorrow. I promise. Whoops, maybe I shouldn't do that. Nah... I'll make it up to you!


P.S. Who doesn't know that I've got an Amazon wishlist? Plus an upcoming birthday... Wink wink, nudge, nudge. ;o) Just kidding!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"We Run This"

That seemed to be the motto of our very lively -- and interesting -- spirit week.

Today is Homecoming. Every day this week has been a special theme day -- Monday was Sports Day, Tuesday was Nerd Day, Wednesday was Wacky Tacky Day, Thursday was Class Color Day, and today was Black and Gold Day in honor of our Dark Horses.

As in schools back home, students and staff participated by dressing up in outrageous ways -- some more than others. There were a few extra events this week -- an assembly on Monday and a pep rally today, plus the PowderPuff Football game yesterday, and of course, the big game today.

But there was also another, rather unpredicted event that seemed to take over the week. Two classes -- Juniors and Seniors, took on a rivalry of one-upmanship. It started early in the week when the Seniors hung signs and banners around the school staking their claim as class royalty. The Juniors didn't were not amused -- they figured that since they were going to be at the school long after the Seniors were gone, they should mark their territory and silence their elders. Signs were taken down, new ones put in their place. Innocent pranks were pulled on the competing classes. In some lights, it was funny to watch -- these are the loudest, proudest classes at the school, and they both wanted top spot.

Complaints were being made to administration (and to anyone in general) about how "unfair" one class was being to the other. As long as the acts were innocent, and no lasting harm was being done, it was all chalked up to love and war.

One of the pranks, which occurred overnight, involved trespassing and mild vandalism around the football stadium. That was crossing the line, and a stand had to be taken. I think there are a few seniors, and perhaps a few juniors, that will enjoy homecoming a little less today. Bummer.

I've had my own fires to fight this week. It seems that, with classes that have trouble concentrating on a good day, when you dress them in goofy clothing and plant revenge in their heads, productivity (and sanity!) becomes nearly impossible. I've got some work to do next week to reel us in and get us all back on track. Wish me luck -- I'm probably going to need it!

I took a few pictures this afternoon, which I'll try to post later this weekend. I am pretty tired from a long week -- an exciting, amusing, frustrating and trying week. :o)

P.S. Oh, what the heck... a few pictures from this afternoon's pep rally.

Miss CHS... A Junior... I have no clue who she is!
The Cheerleaders...

The Kings Court -- all those nominated for HC King... The crown was announced later at the rally.

The Queen's Court... The seven girls on the end were nominated for HC Queen, which will be crowned at the game tonight.

The marching band performing their competition routine, "Surf Radio" - very entertaining!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I felt like I was on Ellen!

The VIF "One World Grows Here" conference was held at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Nice digs. :o)

The whole day was full and fun. First year teachers were required to attend the conference for the full day. Ibeth and I were up much to early on a Saturday so that we could be there by 8:30AM. There were two seminars with a banquet lunch in between. It was great talking to other teachers about our experiences so far, and to realize that the frustrations and feelings that we're having right now are completely normal and being felt by almost all of us! The first year teachers were given free accommodations Saturday night in compensation for being at the event. Some left anyway, but even though we only live an hour away, we weren't about to pass up a free night at the Sheraton!

In the evening we had a cocktail reception with a DJ and dancing, and several arcade type games that made up our global playground. There was also a raffle that you could enter to win 30 seconds in one of those booths where the money blows around. We all got ballots, and they drew names every hour. So we hung out, played some video games, air hockey, foosball, rode giant trikes around an obstacle course, tossed basketballs, danced the "Cuban Shuffle" and some other new dance that I learned at orientation...

Ibeth and I at the party. She's got a much better picture!

... At around 9:00 PM, there weren't very many people left. Some had gone home, others had left to check out some Raleigh nitelife. They drew more names for time in the booth, and my name was called!!

It is not as easy as it looks. We weren't allowed to stuff the money down out shirts or in our pockets, and were only allowed to keep what was in our hands. Earlier in the night, someone took home about $30, but others were only getting $2 or $6. I didn't really have a strategy for my turn... I just began plucking bills out of the air with one hand and shoving it into the other hand. I really had no idea how much I'd held onto until they counted it... I ended up with $17, which wasn't a bad turn!

Ibeth was disappointed that her name was never picked, and I told her when we left (at 9:30PM) that her name could be the next one... We'll never really know, though! It was a good night, but we were both pretty tired. I bought her coffee and breakfast the next morning with my winnings.

I'm tired, and have a lot to do this afternoon. Hopefully I can get it done so that I can have a relaxing evening. This week is looking to be a busy week! Oh! The soccer game on Friday... We lost 2-1. It was a very well played game, and we almost tied it up in the last minute, which would have been great. But sadly, not to be had!

Take care and have a fantastic week, everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You know the smell of the furnace when you turn it on for the first time in the fall? Love that.

I did something new today -- I turned on the heat!

The weather has definitely turned fall-like. Actually, a little colder than they normally experience here. We've only had highs in the 50's these past two days, and the trend is supposed to continue through the weekend. They say it's usually about 70 or 75 during the day, at least until the end of October. Meh. I kind of like it!

I'm helping out with the school play -- Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories". Right now I'm just doing a lot of observing and a little assistant directing. It's not a very big play, with a small cast as well. Practice is two or three days a week, after school, and it opens in three weeks. It's been nice doing something different at school!

On Friday, our Varsity soccer team takes one the #1 ranked school in the eastern conference final. The soccer team has been doing really well this season. We've all been encouraged to attend the game. I'm probably going to go -- bundled up just like I'm at home! :o) Go Horses!

Next week is Homecoming and Spirit Week. Just like at home, there are theme days that we are participating in. There's a Powder Puff football game (girls play, boys are cheerleaders) next Thursday, and then a parade, pep rally and varsity FB game on Friday. There's a dance, too. Not sponsored by the school though, I think. It's being held at the Civic Center in town.

I'm going to a VIF conference in Raleigh this weekend. We need to be there at 8 am on Saturday. Looks like another early morning, but I'm looking forward to it anyway! I'll take my camera for pictures to post here later!

Hope everyone else is staying warm! :o)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gobble Gobble!

To all my cronies up North who are preparing to sit down this weekend, surrounded by friends, family and great food...

I wish I was there with everyone, helping you celebrate Thanksgiving at home. But, since I am not, you'll all just have to eat double for me!! I am so thankful for each and every one of you who take the time to check this blog out regularly and are keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. Have a wonderful holiday -- snow or no snow!

Commence the feast! :o)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's snowing!

Well, not here, exactly. Somewhere though.

So I hear some of you are having to deal with that pesky white stuff this weekend! I had a really big feeling it would snow for you sometime soon... In the morning when I'm getting ready for work, I sometimes flip between the local news and the weather channel. I saw that parts of the midwest got snow and cold temps, and I wondered if that was headed your way. To be honest, I'm a little jealous! I won't tell you how warm it was yesterday, or how warm it is right now, but it's safe to say that there was a zero percent chance of snow!

I tried very hard to sleep past 8 am today. I probably shouldn't have come downstairs to lay on the sofa with the TV on. It felt nice not to have to rise really early to attend some workshop or something else! It might be my last "free" Saturday for a little while, and I still managed to find things to do!

Like take pictures! I was out for a few hours, and when I got back I decided to take a few snaps of my place -- while it looks tidy and picture-worthy. There a bit more stuff around than the first ones I posted back in August. My bank account is proof of that!

So check these out...

Standing in the doorway... see my new sofa? And my workspace away from work? ;o)
That's my futon in the middle of the room. I debate dragging it upstairs, but I kind of like how it gives me something to put my feet up on right now. Not to mention, spread my stuff around on!
Standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

The downstairs loo.
Looking up the stairs.
Upstairs landing, looking into the spare bedroom.
Upstairs loo!
Spare room.
Master bedroom. I've been asked why I chose to take this room rather than the one at the front of the house. It wasn't really a big decision for me... This room is bigger, and with a larger closet (though not by much), and I would have the noise of cars and people in the parking lot. The view from my bedroom window. Lovely, ain't it?
P.S. If you missed yesterday's post, it's right underneath! Two in a row -- I'm a machine! :o)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Are you ready to rumble?

I talk WAY too much.

Now, for those of you who have had the fortunate pleasure of talking to me in the last several weeks, this is not a surprise. Nor is it a surprise to the rest of you, who have had the primo opportunity to get me in the mood and on the right subject. But I just realized now that I TALK way too much.

I just said goodnight to Ibeth, who was over for dinner (I made spaghetti). We talked a lot about work. We talked too much about work. Too much on a Friday evening, when we should be putting our jobs on the shelf and concentrating on ourselves.

We can't stop talking about work, we can't stop thinking about work, we can't stop WORKING. Our jobs are literally our lives right now, and despite the frustrations and silent admonishments over we can't seem to drop it for very long, in some way it's secretly satisfying. How comforting is it to know that we are so passionate about our careers that we have trouble leaving it alone?!

But still, I talk way TOO much.

I find myself on an emotional roller-coaster some days. Okay, most days. I go from wanting to pound my head against a brick wall because my students are driving me crazy, to feeling all warm and bubbly because someone has said or done something that makes my efforts worth it. There is no way to predict what kind of day I'm going to have -- and idea that's both exhilarating and unsettling at the same time.

There was a fight at school today.

I was standing outside my classroom door, greeting my students as they transitioned from one class to another, when all of a sudden there was this instant commotion at the far end of the mezzanine. Shouts of "They're fighting!" were enough to send all of us into a tailspin. Teachers came from out of nowhere and raced down into the mix to break it up (yes, we're expected to do that!). I was stunned and clueless for a few seconds and then realized that the best thing I could do at that moment was herd the crowd away from the event. Of course, a fight has this magnetic attraction -- everyone wants to see the action. Those of us along the periphery began yelling at the gawkers to go back to class, move out of the area and calm down. Easier said than done! Everyone had something to say! Who started it, who was in the mix, who did what to whom and where! The buzz was still going a half hour later when we broke for lunch, and I sat at the faculty table in the cafeteria. It was all anyone else could talk about!

The later part of the day was a little calmer, thank goodness for that!

I'm looking forward to a little rest and relaxation this weekend. No real plans, and that's a bonus. I've worked long hours this week -- and I still brought a lot of stuff home to work on. The next six-week reporting period has already commenced, and I can already sense a difference. Good different, I hope. It's all still a long way from perfect, but that's okay. Something to learn and grow from!

However, I still talk way too MUCH! Somethings will never change. :o)

For you, because you've been so patient and kind, I have some new photos to share! I took these today in the AM and in the afternoon before I left for the day (ahem -- or rather... came back after getting home and realizing I left my camera at school!) . Check them out!

The view from the parking lot when I arrive in the AM (before the sun comes up -- boo hoo!)

Our neighbors, Sampson Middle School, as seen from my parking spot.
CHS, staff parking entrance.

The view of the gathering in the atrium, from in front of my classroom, at about 7:35 AM, before the first bell rings. The view up from the atrium (opposite view from above) to the second floor (my door is the one on the right).

Classroom photos during my favorite time of day (after school). The students just mess up the photos!
The view as I leave at the end of a long day!