Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Made It!

What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

I have learned that I can blog everyday.  I have something to say everyday, some days are more profound than others.  Some days are worth more in the memory bank than others, but all are worthy of being written about.  I am glad that I was able to stick it out.  I did not do what some thought was the best course of action, get up early to make sure a post got in everyday, but I still managed to sit down every evening and write something.

Blogging everyday also encouraged me to download my pictures to my computer more quickly so that I could use them in my posts.  My camera's memory stick is grateful!

I am going to go for it again next month.  I like the topic of gifts, but we'll see if I stick with the prompt or strike out on my own!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

I use to like to but presents right when I needed to give them so I could have a particular person in mind while I was shopping.  As time has gone on, I have found that I like to buy some presents ahead of time because I do not always have the time to shop when I need something.  I like to keep lots of general things around so that I have a choice when I pick a gift from the things that I have on hand.  I also find that the gift stash is convenient when trying to keep the cost down when buying gifts for my children to take to their friends' birthday parties.  When they do not go to the store and pick out something, I can better control how much is spent on the gift.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alone v. Social

Do you enjoy being alone? Would you rather be around other people?

I go through phases of liking both.  I am an only child so I can be alone; it does not bother me.  Now that I have a family, I do enjoy the time that I get to spend alone because those moments are few and far between.

I mostly don't mind being around other people especially if I know them.  My husband comes from a big family, and I love to be around them when we get the opportunity.  I can get along at a party of strangers, but don't always feel like I particularly have to be social.  I don't have to be the center of attention and can float back and forth between talking with people and standing around observing the scene.

I do need my down time each day for myself.  After school when I have been with students all day and after I have decompressed with colleagues, when I get home, I need about a half an hour to do what I need to do before we can start homework or dinner.  My alone time gets me through the social times.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Despite My Good Intentions...

At the beginning of the five day weekend I had good intention of getting some work done for school as well as doing some reading both for pleasure and for professional reasons.  Now, we have come to another Sunday night and of course, I did not do what I intended to do, but I have to put it in perspective with what I did do this weekend.

1.  I was reminded that I said I would edit a master's thesis for a friend of the family.  I have been reading the thesis to edit it.  It is due on the first and is 86 pages long.  I have only finished about 1/4 of it.  Trying to get to page 40 tonight so that I have two days to complete the other 46 pages.

2.  I spent time with family and friends during the holidays.

3.  I kept up with writing for my two blogs daily through the holiday.  Only three more days to go!

4.  I spent time with my children by taking them to lunch, the movies, and the library.

5.  I helped to decorate for a wedding reception.

6.  I raked the leaves and put fertilizer and grass seed down for the winter.

7.  We went to buy our gifts for the giving tree at Church.

8.  We went to Church this morning and then out to lunch.

9.  I started the laundry so that we will have clothes to wear next week.

10.  The reading that I did get done was reading the news on the computer, catching up on friend's blogs, and reading the ads to see if I wanted to go shopping on Black Friday.

Work will always be there when I get around to it.  Time spent with people and doing the things that need to get done around the house are important also.  As for my pleasure reading..., I usually find some time to get it in although with Christmas coming, it may not be until after that!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

National Parks Visited

These are the National Parks that I have visited before I even knew I should/would want to keep track:
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Delaware Water Gap National Reserve Area
Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
New River Gorge National Reserve
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
First Ladies National Historic Site
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Grand Canyon National Park
Lake Mead National Reserve Area
Haneakala National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument

I look forward to sharing in many more National Park adventures with my family in the years to come.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving and one of the first in many years that I did not go shopping.  When looking at the ads yesterday, it seemed like there were not many deals.  Add that to the fact that we were leaving early in the morning, and it was not worth getting up.

This afternoon I did stop at Office Max for a portable hard drive that I have been eying for awhile now.  The flyer prices for the various stores have been the same since the summer.  When I went to Office Max, there was a sign on the door that said that there is a shortage of portable/desktop hard drives because of the flooding in Thailand, so customers are limited to one per purchase and of course, the ones on sale were already gone.  On top of that the prices are not going down, but going up because of the shortage.  I was going to buy another portable hard drive that had less gigabytes and was more expensive, but then just decided to buy a 16GB flash drive instead.

I also ended up at the Dollar Tree today looking for containers to store games in at school.  I did not find the containers, but found magnetic cookie sheets and some decorations for the Christmas cards that I think I am going to have my children make.

Lunch, Movie, Library, and Dinner with grandparents rounded out Black Friday! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thankgiving Prayer

Courtesy of Dear Abby:
Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen

I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving especially the gift of the love of family and friends.  May we all continue to have good health and make happy memories together!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Passport To Your National Parks

We visited the First Ladies Historic Site today.  I bought my Passport To National Parks book today.  The last park we visited was the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, and I bought the Kids' Passport To National Parks Companion.  Once I bought theirs, I decided that if I am going to take the kids to the national parks, I wanted to collect cancellations also.  And, once I had flipped through their books, I realized that I have been to many of the parks and not even realized it!

I like the kids' books because there are checklists for the national parks, whereas, the adult one just has a map with the places listed at the bottom and blank pages for stamps and cancellations.  I wish that their books had blank pages for cancellations, and my book had the checklist.  Oh, well I will make it work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Iris' Angels

Fellow graduates of my high school lost their daughter Iris on Monday.  I have been following the story on facebook and am sorry for their loss.  Children are a special gift that we should cherish each day.  The words under Iris' picture touched me deeply.

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you,
Until we meet again.

Please visit Iris' Angels

May she rest in peace.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have to say that this is one of the coolest things that I have ever seen at a tailgate!  I didn't have the nerve to participate but I enjoyed watching other guests play as teams.  At one point there was a game of home v. visiting fans!  They won both the game here and the football game, but it was all in good fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jeff Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy takes me back to my high school days.  We use to have Ski Club on Tuesday nights.  We would leave after school and get back close to 11pm.  On the bus someone usually had a boom box and would play Jeff Foxworthy or another comedian for the bus ride to the slopes.
Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Ohio...
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Ohio.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't even work there, you may live in Ohio.
If you've worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Ohio.
If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Ohio.
If "vacation" means going anywhere south of Columbus for the weekend, you may live in Ohio.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Ohio.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Ohio.
If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you may live in Ohio.
If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Ohio.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Ohio.
If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Ohio.
If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Ohio.
If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Ohio.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Ohio.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Ohio.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Ohio.
If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you may live in Ohio.
If you actually understand these jokes, you definitely do live - or have lived - in OHIO!
Ironically, most of the things he has said are true, which probably makes a comedian's job easier!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joe Pa

Last year I took this picture thinking that Joe Pa may retire and this would be the last time I would see him as a coach.  At the beginning of this year I thought I was wrong.  How could I know that by the time Penn State came to town Joe Pa would not be coach anymore?

WOW!  What a way to go out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Can...

My life has become a series of I can statements.  We are suppose to state academic objectives in kid-friendly language.  I can...  I have charts up around the room stating what students should be doing when they are at each station.  Thought I would list some to face the other aspects of my life right now.

I can...
  • clean the kitchen and the house before Thanksgiving
  • make sure that Riley practices his math everyday as well as finishes his Social Studies Project and regular homework
  • apply for field trips, programs, and grants for school related things
  • evaluate my student teacher
  • plan for the next few weeks of school
  • prepare reading lessons and evaluate and assess reading and writing
  • find and return most of the library books I have borrowed
  • think of things that my children really want for Christmas
  • get some pleasure reading time in over the holiday weekend
  • take the family to visit a National Parks Service Site soon
  • visit COSI to see the Dora and Diego exhibit
  • start and finish the holiday shopping
  • start and finish Christmas cards
  • meet with some friends and family to share in the holiday joy
I can do all of this and more if I put my mind to it because there are a bunch of things that I know I am leaving out!  I think I can; I think I can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Student Teacher

Last year I decided that it was about time that I gave back.  I have been teaching about 10 years and have never had a student teacher.  There seem to be many student teachers floating in and out at my school that the next time there was a request for teachers to mentor student teachers, I signed up.  It may not have been my brightest idea in that I am teaching a new grade level this school year that I have never taught and so it is a learning curve for me also, but she came along for the ride.

I got my first student teacher about a month ago.  This was only a five week experience; she will do her real student teaching, where she teaches solo for four weeks, in the spring.  In this experience she was to teach two social studies lessons, two science lessons, and get use to transitions and see how different classrooms at different grade levels run.  She has been wonderful, and I can totally see her in a classroom of her own someday.  We have gotten along well, and we have been able to transition smoothly when teaching/handling the class.

Her last day is next week, and I will miss her.  I do realize now that I somewhat miss having an assistant no matter who that person was.  I like someone in the room to co-teach with me, to help me out with individual students, or to lend a hand with projects that need completed.  I was lucky to have a good experience with my first student teacher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Pile of Books

The list of books that I want to read and have to read just keep getting longer and longer.  I should be reading for professional growth and have an assigned reading right now, but have not started it yet.  I go to the library often enough that I see things that I want to read all the time.  I also have my book club book to read for January that I should get started on soon or I will not finish it!  But, I find that my time for reading has diminished.  Some of the reason is I find that I am reading more online.  Another is I am participating in NaBloPoMo and have spent time writing and reading other blogs.  And, finally, I am reading so much to do my job that I do not find the time to read for pleasure as much or am too tired to read for pleasure except for the People magazine that I just started getting weekly this fall.  I love getting People, but only have the subscription because of expiring frequent flier miles.  I don't love it enough to actually buy the subscription.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Diagnosis

I found out today that my co-worker is going to be out for another two days.  She had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and needs to rest for at least the next two days to make sure that she does not have another attack.  If she has another attack, she needs to go the the ER immediately.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an episode in which a person has stroke -like symptoms for less than 24 hours, usually less than 1-2 hours.
A TIA is often considered a warning sign that a true stroke may happen in the future if something is not done to prevent it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Scary Day

At lunch today one of my coworkers was in the office with me.  She asked the secretary if the nurse was here today.  The nurse was not in, and we were wondering why she wanted the nurse.  She said that the episode was over now, but she felt her body go numb on the left side from her fingertips all the way up her arm into her shoulder and even the left side of the face.  I immediately thought stroke; the secretary thought heart condition.  After talking to her for a few minutes we let it go.  I worried about it some during the afternoon, but became really concerned after school when she came to talk to us.  She said that things seemed to be surreal and that she was going to call her mother who was a nurse and see if she needed to go to the emergency room.  She ended up in the emergency room, and it was not a stroke, but I am not sure exactly what the diagnosis was.  She is to take time off to rest tomorrow and see her family doctor.

A few months ago I was listening to Sunday morning radio and the program was on the signs of a stroke.  It talked about an acronym to remember, which I could not today.  I looked it up at under signs and symptoms.  It is important to act within three hours in the case of a stroke.  The acronym is FAST.

Face: Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms?  Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.  Is the speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Black Friday

 I only started shopping on Black Friday since I have had kids.  I figured out one year that it was the perfect time to shop because I did not have to ask anyone to babysit and I could go by myself and not have to worry about dragging the kids along.  Everyone in the house is asleep, and by the time I get back, they are just waking up.

I never go for anything that is a doorbuster.  I still think that I get some good deals.  I spend Thanksgiving Day after dinner combing the ads and plotting my route.  The only year that I did not go Black Friday shopping was the Thanksgiving we went to Maine.  I usually start out at Toys 'R Us and let the ads lead the way.  I left Target last year because the line snaked around the store.  Nothing is worth waiting that long in line.

Last year I woke up at 4am and was in my first store by 5am.  I was home by 10am.  I think that I went to a total of 7 stores.  With Black Friday starting at midnight this year, I might be better off just staying up and going shopping!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

E-reader or Real Paper Book

I enjoy reading books on my Sony Reader, but, if I have a choice, I like to choose my books by physically holding them.  I really like my reader when we are going on trips because I can take lots of books, but they do not take up space or weight up my luggage.  But, I still like to go to the bookstore or library and browse the books that they have.  I like being able to look at sections that I may not consider if I am looking for books on the computer and looking at the new titles.

When I go to the library, I still come home with a few paper books and sometimes, I jot down titles to find when I get home on my e-reader, either to borrow or buy.  More often than not, nowadays, I take pictures of books that I want to read on my cell phone to keep them in mind for later.  This happens most often at Target when I have the chance to look at their books.  I have found quite a few books browsing here.

Mostly, though, since I am at the library at least once a week, I tend to read paper books as oppose to books on my reader, especially if I am reading professionally.  I like to have the references on hand to be able to flag ideas if needed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's 11-11-11, make three wishes!

I wish for good health, love, and happiness for all those that I love near and far.

I wish for my family to be able to continue to travel and see the world.

I wish for my parents to be able to retire and enjoy long life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear

A few weeks ago I was browsing at the library and picked up the book 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear which I also realize now has a website.  As I was flipping through the book, I came upon #58 which was Bangkok, Thailand.  As I read about Bangkok's situation and the fact that it is a sinking city, I just thought about our impending trip there next year.  Now, it seems ironic that just a few weeks later, the city has mass flooding that does not seem to be getting better.  In addition, there is a story that is spreading through the Thai community that the King of Thailand wrote a speech about 30 years ago predicting that the type of flooding could occur in Bangkok and providing solution to the problem.  Unfortunately, he was not taken seriously, and people could not work together for the betterment of all leading to the problems that we are seeing today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Full Moon

The last two days have been a challenge with both my own children and my students.  There is something about a full moon that causes more energy than normal.  The children are more talkative, hyper, and just in general, LOUD!

Today, I had an activity planned that would require manipulatives that I just could not do.  The extra equipment would have caused mayhem in the room, and I just couldn't handle the extra chaos in the room.  We had to go with a quiet activity in order to bring quiet to the room.  The rest of the week will probably not be any better due to changes in routine.  Tomorrow, there is a coat giveaway and on Friday, a fire drill!

How I look forward to the weekend this week and starting over again next week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This past summer I started couponing. I collected coupons in the past, but never really used them because I would misplace them or they would expire before I got to them. I asked one of my friend's how she couponed and she said with an index card box with tabs for aisles in the grocery store. My neighbor told me that she used a binder with baseball card sleeves. I tried the index card system first, then researched the baseball card sleeve system online and decided that it was the better system for me. I already owned a zipper binder so I only needed the baseball card sleeves, some plastic pockets, and some plastic pocket dividers. I now keep all my coupons in one place now. I usually keep my binder in the car except when I need to file my coupons or plan my grocery list. Then, I bring the binder into the house. I also take my binder into the grocery store and Target just in case there is a coupon that I may need once I get in the store. I have found that by just using coupons minimally I can save $ about $20.00 per shopping trip, which is good for me because I do not have a great deal of time to devote to couponing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where Does the Weekend Go?

It's amazing how one thing can throw off a whole week's schedule.  If we are out of town for the weekend, then the laundry that is usually done on the weekends may get done during the week or sometimes has to wait until the next weekend.  I blame it on the fact that the washer and dryer is in the basement and therefore, not in my line of sight.  Some of that is true; the other side of that argument is that I am good at separating the colors, getting it downstairs, into the washer and dryer, and back upstairs, but I hate folding and/or hanging and putting away.  I have tried to solve this problem by paying my son for putting his laundry away.  It works sometimes.  I fold it for him and put his clothes in a basket.  He actually does a pretty good job of putting it away.  My daughter will put away her socks and underwear in her bottom drawer, but that is about it.

This past weekend the sink was out of commission.  Now, I have a sink full of dishes waiting for me as well as a clean dishwasher.  I know, I know, all I have to do is empty the dishwasher and put the clean things away, and then I can just load the dirty things in the sink into the empty dishwasher, which brings about that putting it away aspect of which I am not so good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I went to buy the plumber's putty today, and the new garbage disposer is up and working!  Every once and awhile we are able to complete our own home improvements.  The things that I am hoping to get done this winter are a window seat in our bay window, painting the master bedroom, and new blinds for the bedrooms!

This coming week is suppose to be warm so it is time to finish working on the outside of the house, raking, mowing for the last time, cleaning up dead plants and putting winter fertilizer down.  Fun, fun...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stop the Dishes!

Last night while I was doing the dishes, the sink started to leak. I was not sure where the leak was coming from, but after emptying out everything under the sink, we figured out the leak was coming from the bottom of the garbage disposer. We have lived in our house more than 11 years so it has come to the time that lots of appliances need to be replaced. Breakfast at McDonald's and a trip to Lowe's this morning brought a new garbage disposer home. Ron unhooked and removed the old one. We worked together to get the electrical cord off the old one and onto the new one without the help of marked red and black cords. A stopping point came when we realized we didn't have any plumber's putty. Taking a break now to do some housework before making another trip to Lowe's. Will update later to let you know if our DIY project worked. (Side note: I wrote this post on our tablet so I apologize in advance for typos that I cannot see.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pen or Computer?

I have decided to use the NaBloPoMo prompt tonight because I had to work late and wanted to get in a blog post to keep my commitment to a blog a day.

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I like to do is a little of both.  I can blog directly on the computer, but for more elaborate writings, I like to at least write out an outline before I sit down at the computer to write.  I think this is because my blog writing is more conversational and I can type like I speak, but when I write a paper, I have to have a plan of where I am going.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

They Are Only Young Once!

My words to live by right now are: they are only young once.  I want to be able to experience what I can with my children because one day, they will be able to go and do whatever they want without me.

I use to think that I could miss this event or that event because they would not notice that I was not there.  I don't anymore because I don't know how many events they will have.  With school funding cuts I may not get to go on the field trips that I use to go on.  Last year my son told me at the last minute that he wanted me to go on his field trip.  I made the arrangements and went.  I am glad that I did because this year, there are no field trips.

This year, my daughter had Kindergarten Share Day.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world!  She was so excited to show me her classroom and what she does there.  She also loved that she was able to ride the bus home, which she cannot do everyday.

Today is my son's musical day.  He is just part of the chorus because he did not want to try out for a part, but I know that he wants me there and I will be there to see him and cheer for him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Whirlwind April

(Although much delayed, I wanted to document this event in my blog because it happened to me directly and I also want a log of my husband's status updates from facebook.)

April started out innocently enough.  Just 15 days to go until Spring Break.  Report cards were done; packing started for trip to Florida; camping items bought.  Then..., on Wednesday, April 6th, I woke up with a stomach ache.  I was trying to shake it off to go to a meeting, but couldn't.  I had the chills and couldn't lay down.  Tums and Maalox did not help.  Chicken soup did not help.  The kids went to school, and Ron went to work.  I laid around dozing and in pain, still thinking it was a stomach virus.  About 11am Ron called to tell me what the symptoms of an appendicitis were; I asked him to check what the symptoms were for a gall bladder attack. (I really didn't think that I had either.)  He asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital again, and I finally agreed mostly to get him off my back.  I got dressed and sat down to wait for Ron to come home.  Off we went to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital, Ron dropped me off at the door, and I walked in by myself to stand in line behind two people who walked in right before me.  I was not able to stand up and when Ron came in, I made him stand in line for me, and I sat back down.  When the registration man called me, I was able to tell him my information, and we sat down and waited to be called back.  Once we were called back, I explained to the nurse what my pains were and how they were spreading and what started out as pain under my rib cage became pain down near my pelvis and down my sides and my back.  They took blood and put in an IV which I insisted the tech put in my left arm.  (I honestly hate IVs and have only had one a few times in my life, but with the birth of my first child learned that I am very right hand dominant and do not like them in my right arm.)  Then, they came back with some pain medication and when it did not work, came back with stronger stuff.  The doctor decided that they wanted to do a CT Scan with contrast and had me drink some liquid with raspberry Crystal Light.  They wheeled me to the CT Scan and they results came back: appendicitis.
At 3:30 as they were wheeling me to pre-op, I was calling my colleague to help me out with sub plans, and Ron was calling the principal to have a sub called for me for the next two days.  By 5pm I was in surgery.  These are Ron's status updates from this day.

My poor wife was in pain this morning. At first she thought she had the stomach flu.4 hours later we found ourselves at the hospital. She had a CT scan performed and it revealed that she has appendicitis. She will be going in for surgery soon. I'll follow up post surgery.

Penny is out of surgery and all went well. She is still snoring and should be in her room soon. She will have to stay overnite and hopefully released tomorrow AM. Thanks to everyone for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. Penny will be back on FB soon enough.

True enough I was released the next day!  Went back to work on Monday, took Tuesday and Wednesday off mainly to rest and for a post-op appointment, worked Thursday, and left Friday morning for our Disney camping trip.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Last summer when my son was taking swimming lesson, I ended up talking to one of the mothers and she mentioned NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where people commit to writing a novel in a month.  It takes place in November and for some reason, I thought of this at the end of October.  I signed up for NaNoWriMo and then thought, "I don't have time to write a novel in November, and I don't even want to write a novel!"  What I really wanted to do was keep more current on my blogs.  So, I started researching if there was some type of program out there for blog posting and found NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  I decided that I wanted to participate because I like to write, but have absolutely no desire to write a novel!  The goal is to write a blog post everyday for 30 days including weekends.

In addition, I have been reading 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom by Angela Thomas.  The 24th thing is "To Keep a Family Blog".  Many years back I started individual blogs for each of my children.  I have not been able to keep up with either of them and have found that many of the things that I would put on one, I would put on the other also.  I have now decided to start a new blog for our family history and memories.  I can tailor individual posts to the development and memories of each of my children, but also write to both at the same time.  Through labeling my children can find the posts that are only about them if they would like or read the post chronologically.

Welcome to my first NaBloPoMo post!