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!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Feeling warm on a dreary, rainy evening...

Thanks to a nice shower and a sweatshirt! I could seriously just curl up on the sofa for the next three hours... who knows, I just might!

But first! A picture! My very best Barabear made the trek to Clinton this weekend for a visit. It was a great time spent with a really dear friend. :o) We ate some BBQ, took in the marching bands at Band Day, tested our stamina with Trivial Pursuit 90's Edition (the girl is a trivia Queen!), gabbed and bonded. It was just what we both needed (and deserved!).

I'd planned to play muse to her camera and take pictures around town, but by the time we got around to a stroll downtown, the only thing open was the men's barber shop and the Family Christian store. So pics of Clinton will have to wait. Someday, I'll make good on that promise.

Anyways, we did manage to take one commemorative photo, to prove to everyone that we really do have the ability to arrange ourselves in the same location at the same time. May have taken ten years, but hey... It was worth the wait! We'll make up for it, I'm sure, in the months to come!

This photo is credited to Ms. Schrom's Nikon, and Ibeth , aka Ms. G. I swiped it from Barb's Facebook. Yes, we make a lovely pair. And she really is that tall! ;o)
Good Monday evening! :o)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Change. It's what's in your pocket.

How many posts can I center around the theme change?

The end of the first six weeks of school is next week. For most students and teachers, it means a time to assess where we are and what we need to do to make the next six weeks just as productive, or even more successful. It's no different for me. I've been doing some reflecting of my own (okay a lot of reflecting) and I've made the decision that I need to make some changes in my priorities as a teacher.

For one, I've been totally pushing the urge to want to delve into learning how to use all the great technology available at the school -- and even right in my classroom! I've been so busy trying to keep everything else in check, I haven't been doing what I really want to do. So I'm putting it on paper that in the next several weeks, I'm committed to incorporating more and more of this fantastic software into my lessons. It's really an opportunity that I cannot pass up, because anywhere else (back home) it wouldn't be an option.

Second, I've decided to put aside the nagging thoughts about "I need to be just accomplished as everyone else, or my efforts are a waste". I've got a great mentor at the school, and she continually tells me that I am a gifted and worthy team member and that she's glad to have me around. Sure, she'll tell me I'm not perfect, and she'll offer suggestions. And before, I might have felt bad about it, but I realize that these are my adversaries, not my competition, and I would be nuts not to soak up all they have to give. I'm not "department of 1" any more... I need to take advantage of this fantastic resource.

I've been so focused on getting through day after day without irrecoverable disaster that I've forgotten why I love my job. I need to challenge myself by challenging my students. If I want them to think higher, I need to think higher. I need to set new goals that don't just revolve around teacher maintenance, but educational motivation.

The next six weeks will be different. Let's count on it. :o)

Barb is coming into town tomorrow to check this place out. We're planning on hanging out a little at the school, as the band is hosting Band Day (marching band competitions with other schools from around the region). It's an all evening event, so we likely won't stay the entire time. It'll be nice hosting my first visitor since my parents left. Hopefully it won't be the only visitors I get in the next while!

Have a great weekend everyone! Do something special for yourselves!