December 31, 2008

Is this bad?

I know these are blurry but hear me out.  This is Speedy G. our snail.  He/She (they are hermaphrodites) does a great job cleaning the algae in the fish tank.  But today, I noticed something interesting growing on Speedy G......
Yep, a hearty amount of algae is growing on his/her shell.  Oops, is that bad?  I wonder if the loaches will help him out with his problem.  Or maybe the other fish will gang rush him and kill him so we have yet another snail shell adorning our tank. 
Who knows.  I guess we'll have to wait for nature to run its course.

December 26, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 12.26

I know it is the season for sharing holiday pics, but I am going off on a tangent. Mostly because we aren't celebrating until next week when the whole (big *ss ) family can all get together. So, I was going through trying to find a something laughable and came across this....
My hubby let the little ones get into the post its. Bernardo even has a photo of a minkey on his head... Good times..... If you haven't already entered, come join the fun at Candid Carries place.

December 23, 2008


First of all, let me tell you about my day so far. Got up, had a bagle (mmm.) , knit a bit, then checked the weather. Ummm, 4-9" in the next 24 hours. I better go out and get any supplies we may need in the next couple a days. Toilet paper, soup, beer, you know the essentials...

So, off I head to the bank to cash a few checks. I made some last minute Christmas gifts so I had some extra money coming in on top of that the check I got from my folks. I was set to go. Get to the drive through, friendly chat, leave and head off to Target.

I had to get just a few things at Target. Looked around the store, picked up another essential item, a wii nunchuck so the hubby and I can box it out later. Ran into Carrie and a pack of kiddos. See in my world all Targets lead to an alternate universe where you can find anyone or anything you are looking for.... It's a theory... or, I'm crazy....

Anyway, I get to the checkout my items are rung up and I grab the envelope from the bank.....Ooopppsss, I am missing something.... Like $96.00!?! Good thing I had my debit card.

So, I head back to the bank. Wait in line for about 5 minutes (holiday rush and all) get to the next teller and say "Um, I went through your drive through about a half hour ago and I was shorted almost a hundred dollars....." To which I get this look of "what is she trying to scam here".

I had to point out the teller from the drive through, they counted my money about 15 times, checked his records, then counted his drawer and finally I got my money. It only took a half hour of my day but seriously how do you short someone $96.00. It isn't even an (ha ha) even amount! They are lucky they didn't get angry, yelling, swearing Jen. (She's in here somewhere, I just don't let her out very often!)

Now I am really happy I got that extra Nunchuk because I need to get some of this anger out before I take it out on the hubby while we are stuck in the house for the next few days.....

December 22, 2008

Random Thoughts on a cold, cold day

As I sit here at the counter typing away and enjoying a steaming hot cup of Chai I look outside to see...
This.  It is cold today and I am so thankful that I am not at work.  I am especially thankful I don't have outside duty in this 2 degree weather.
I am on winter break for the next two weeks.  I really hope the weather warms up because I don't want to be cranky and stuck in the house.

Yesterday we had my side of the families Christmas dinner.  If Grandma would have made it just 6 1/2 more months we would have celebrated on her 100th birthday.  I don't know about you, but that just seems like a bit too long to go on.  If you knew her she would have agreed 25 years ago it was too long.  She was a pretty cool lady.

I did make some hand crafted Christmas gifts for my folks this year.  Dad got an awesome Knit beer.  Mom got a jade and pearl necklace and a prototype frog I made for a friend.  (I'll tell you who, but after Christmas).  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the necklace for my anal retentive ways.  I like to have photos in case I go for a recreation at some point.

I am recently addicted to our new wii.  Love me some bowling and oddly boxing!  I will master that uppercut one of these days.  Come on it's only been a week since we got it.  I am excited because Santa is bringing me a wii Fit for Christmas.  Being a yogi, I want to see how long it takes me to unlock all those poses.....  Oh and he also got me the new Shaun White snowboarding game.  Awesome!

Last random thought of the day.  My 4th grade teacher left a lasting impression on me.  In the last paragraph I accidentally misspelled 'BECAUSE'.  My finger slipped.  When I was in 4th grade I could not for the life of me spell that word.  So, what did my teacher make me do?????  Recite it every day at the start of the day CORRECTLY for 3 weeks.... IN FRONT OF THE CLASS.  To this day, I cannot spell it without saying the letters in my head.  Sorry, just a random thought.  It is weird what sticks with you.

December 18, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 12.19.08

It's that time of week again.  It feels like it has taken too long to get here.  This week for Candid Carrie's Fx4 is some holiday bling I just finished up for a friend of mine.  The top two are bracelets with her future grand baby's name on them.  Hard to see with the Swarovski blinging, but her name is Riley.  All cutesie pink and white.
These little guys are also a bit of bling, but for me.  They are Swarovski Crystal malas.   Their color is amazing.  Each is centered off with a cultured pearl.  
Make sure you join in the fun and play along.  Happy Holidays!

December 14, 2008

This just sums it up...

Now, I don't like to get political but most people who know me know I am not a Bush fan ( and no I am not talking about my former boss D. Busch). Jr. or Sr. When I saw this photo today, it sums up my feelings towards G-Dub and No Child Left Behind (and a few other treasures over the last 8 years). I feel bad that it happened to him, but I can understand the frustration the man in the crowd felt.
Oh yeah... Karma's a bitch, isn't it!

December 13, 2008

Vision Smision...

Today I had to go in for my yearly eye exam.  No big deal for all you 'normal' people out there.  But for me I get to spend the rest of my day unable to focus.  Why you ask.... I have a freckle inside my eyeball so I have to have just ONE eye dilated.  Did you know you can have freckles there?  Well, you can.  And just like any freckle if it gets bigger it can mean there is something wrong and it needs to be removed.

Fortunately my doctor informed me that it is the same size and in the same place as it has been over the last 3 years.  So, next year I don't have to be dilated.  Yeah!!!  But I do get to spend the rest of my day like this:
You can get a better picture if you click on the image...  I think I will take a nap and hope it goes down

December 11, 2008

Middle School Antics.....Gross me out.....


For some reason our students seem to be more 'sexually charged' than they have been in the past. Over the past three weeks these kids are playing grab ass like it is going out of style. Oh yeah..... THEY ARE 13 / 14 YEARS OLD!!!!! One word: GROSS!!!!!

We have had kids writing sexually explicit notes to one another and passing them in class. One such note was an 'instructional manual' on how to give a blow job! I was so glad I didn't get or read that one. We have had kids literally grab each other inappropriately and constantly! I really don't see an end in sight.....

The most recent activity was yesterday. A student thought it would be funny to ummmm..... put a condom on a pen and throw it across the room with a sub! Poor girl..... She handled it well though. She got on the phone and asked administration to come on down and take care of it. Our principal showed up a few seconds later and took 'swarn statements' from the entire class. It has been narrowed down who threw it and it will be taken care of tomorrow.

My question is: What is wrong with kids these days? They have no sense of right and wrong, blame others for their own action and act as if they are 15 years older than they are. I am so frightened that we are going to have a pregnant 7th grader by the end of the year. I can't imagine that one.....

Do we need to start monitoring what these kids are wathcing on T.V.? Do we need to put stricter warnings on explicit video games? Do we need to have community outreach classes that teach some of our parents how to be parents? I don't know, but I think something needs to be done soon! I am so thankful that winter break is coming up next Friday and I will have 15 days middle school free!

December 7, 2008

I have road rage issues

OK, I must first admit that I hate driving in winter.  The roads in my neighborhood rarely get salted so I have been driving on a sheet of ice now for a week.  But that isn't my problem.....

I used to have a serious anger problem.  I was always mad.  Do you want to know why?  Well, so do I.  It was something I couldn't control but a way I always felt.  I can go into theories at a later date.  The only thing that really gets me angry anymore is driving.  I do get a serious case of road rage.  Here are some scenarios:

Scenario 1:  There is snow on the ground, but NONE on the road.  The person in front of me is driving 12 mph in a 40 mph zone.  Why?  Because at any possible moment it could snow.  I really wish they would have looked in their rear view mirror to see me yelling at them and calling them a "f*ck stick:"  (Oh yeah, I really swear when the rage sets in)

Scenario 2:  I am on my way to work and I have to drive up this incline to get to the stop sign.  I am the 4th car back and had to stop.  When it was time to move forward, my tires simply spun on the solid ice of the incline and I went nowhere.  I actually had to back up 30+ feet in order to get up the icy incline to slide through the stop sign.  To this you would hear the words "Dumb Ass" come out of my mouth.

Scenario 3:  I am on the interstate to work.  Unable to go above 35 in a 65 because they haven't plowed or salted the roads yet.  Some 'dick pickle" swerves in front of me without turning on his signal.  Scared the BeJesus out of me!  And my morning commute was turned from 20 minutes to just over an hour!

Scenario 4:  Some "Dip Shit" in an SUV (yes, I drive one too but not like you) thinks their 4 wheel drive will circumvent the icy pavement so you can go ubber fast and cause a 7 car pileup.  Look at you go!  I understand that the SUV makes you feel invincible, but your not and neither are those cars around you!

I could keep going, but I feel my Hulkian rage coming back.  I just hope my morning commute tomorrow will be filled with safe, responsible drivers......  I bet I swear a few times before I get there.....

December 4, 2008

Fx4 B&B Booty!

Look at the stash of Bath and Body Works goodies that arrived in the mail!
I got up bright and early on Black Friday and did some serious online shopping.  Every year I always get the little hand lotion things for any little gifts I might need.  Well, this year if you spent a mere $40 you could buy the 'goodie' bag for another $15.  Well, that's what yours truly did.  It was awesome.  I got full size products for about $1.50 for each item.  Pretty sweet!  Now go have some fun and play along with Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta!

November 30, 2008

What the?!?

I woke up (quite late) this morning to see this in our backyard.  I know they said snow in the forecast, but I didn't think it was going to accumulate into anything.  Three hours later and there is still a steady flow of falling snow.  It looks pretty, but isn't it too early for snow in the midwest?
Maybe we will get one of those classic out of nowhere snowstorms and I won't have to go to work tomorrow.  I girl can dream, can't she?  I shouldn't complain I did just have a 5 day weekend.  I think today is a good day to curl up with a good book.

November 26, 2008

Creative Juices flowing again.....

I am very happy to say that I have then next 5 days off of work.  Kick butt!  So what do I do with my time?  Get those creative juices flowing again.  Since I just finished my minkees, I needed something else to do.  So, I started making some magnets.  I won't be able to until the spring unless we have another nice day.  You have to make them in a well ventilated area or you WILL get sick to your stomach and have the worst headache in the world.  So with the high in the upper 40's it was the perfect time to do some massive crafting.
I had to start off by going through several magazines to cut out the little gems that I thought would make good magnets.  Here are a couple close ups.
Since most of my magazines are Yoga Journal they are all yoga inspired.
I'll drop them off at the local yoga studio for sale early next week.  Now I am off to finish some malas and the cutest little knit pink elephant for a friend's daughter.  I will defiantly post that one when it is done.  So far it is really cute!

November 24, 2008

I didn't like it, sorry...

So, I was sooooo excited to go see Twilight this past weekend and well..... I didn't like it much. I feel bad, but why? I felt it skipped too much of the backstory, the acting was shotty, and everytime Jasper was on screen he looked like a deranged Tim Burton character. Maybe I will blame it on the MASSIVE Adult Beverage that I had prior to the movie. That and the fact I sat by my friend Emily and we compared the move to the book the whole time.

Maybe when my mom finishes the book, I will go with her to a matinee. I may have to sit a seat or two away so I don't annoy her with the critiques.... And no tequilla drinks next time.

And, if I go again I can watch the eye candy that is Edward and my favorite topless James. I could have watched that for 2 hours.....

November 20, 2008

Friday Foto Fiesta 11.21.08- Twilight!

This weeks entryfor Candid Carries Fx4 is this lovely photo of Edward and Bella:

Tonight after work a bunch of us ladies are headed out to the local theater to see Twilight on opening night. We were geeky enough to secure our seats by getting tickets a week ago. I am going to try to get a photo of all of us on this momentus night and post when I get home. I am SO FREAKING EXCITED to see this movie. I know it will be awesome.

November 19, 2008

Great, I'm sporting a 'gang tat'

That's right ladies and gentlemen, I discovered today that the tattoo I designed for myself 8 years ago is in fact a gang symbol. A cresent moon with a star on my upper right shoulder (seen here).

Are you kidding me!?! Who knew?!? Well, apparently I didn't! I told the officer whowas at our gang presentation at work today and he laughed at me (we're actually kinda friends) Maybe I can get a photo of him "arresting me" so I can post. I doubt it, he's a bit too serious. I may have to try!

I must say, I did find the presentation interesting. I learned a lot of signs, tags, gestures, etc. I did find the part where they showed gang graffitti in our area a bit alarming. One of them was of the tunnel behind our school. We keep covering it up, they keep putting it back (no matter how many cameras are focused on the area)

Now, I am on the lookout for anything gang related. I will have to keep my shoulder hidden to make sure there are no Mrs. G's in a gang rumor get started. That would be funny though.....

November 17, 2008

I really hate being sick

Just venting, feel free to ignore.....

I as so glad these past 72+ hours are behind me!

Friday night I went to the open house at Indigo Wellness. Sold some items, things were going well for me, made some contacts. It was a good time. However, hubby was home sick throwing up with some bug or food alergy. He was much better by the time I got home, but he still wasn't the greatest and I slept in the spare bedroom.

I woke up Saturday morning really stiff and just assumed I was achey because of sleeping in a strange bed. I took a couple of naps but didn't think much of it. Then Saturday night things changed. I had a massive headache, migrane intensity but different. Every time I coughed it felt like the top of my head was going to blow off. My hubby tried rubbing my neck (which almost always works) but it didn't help. I ended up sleeping on the couch so I wouldn't have to move. Every time I did my stomach churned a little. I did crawl into bed around 5 when I got too cold.

Sunday morning I awoke to a 101.6 fever. I spent the day sleeping at least 30 minutes out of every hour, often times longer. I did absolutely nothing but sleep and run to the bathroom (oh, that part was fun too). Sometime during the day I called my mom because nobody can make you feel better when you are that sick. I told her I ate chicken noodle soup and she said "Oh, you must be sick!" (I don't eat chicken noodle soup, long story) It finally let up around 6 o'clock Sunday night, but I was still exhausted and had a high fever. I decided to take a shower and that is when my fever broke. The weirdest thing in the world is taking a shower and sweating at the same time. But, at least it broke! I was actually able to stay awake for a couple hours and watch some TV, but then off to bed early.

I decided I needed to take today off of work because I would be too exhausted to function. It was a good thing too. I had round two of running to the bathroom for a few hours. I took a 3 hour nap and now feel great, just a minor headache that won't go away. I can deal with that.

Now, I am ready to eat some 'real food' (maybe) and go to work in the morning. But, I have a question. Why is it that everytime I get sick, it is always on a weekend?!? I felt guilty taking today off, but there was no way I could have functioned.

November 13, 2008

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...Friday Foto Finish 11.14.08

This week's entry for Candid Carries Fx4 are my wins and losses over the last couple of weeks. I will start off with the loss. This is my door for the door decorating contest. I was really proud of the students who put in time before and after school to create this on my classroom door. Above teh diamonds was a foto of my students so it was a little more complete. We were sad we lost, but enjoyed working together as a team and creating something cool. (one of my neighbors saw my door and didn't even enter the contest. Oh yeah!!!)

No on to the winner. My class won the corn maze on our fieldtrip. We completed the 17 acre maze in just under 45 minutes and hit every checkpoint. We were actually the only group that found them all! We rocked it! So, what do we win? A giant, 100+ pound pumpkin to be displayed in the classroom! It was freaking huge, it took me and two football players to hoist it into the garbage dumpster!Thanks for stopping by and thanks for playing!

Is there a full moon this week?

This has been a really weird week. The time change has kinda messed with my head, but the kids at work are all kinds of crazy. We have had all out brawls between feuding families in which the parents became active participants when they arrived to pick their kids up. We had a male student simulate masturbating..... GROSS! We had a lock down due to a gun threat (however the kids did really well with it overall). One kid released his "animal instincts" and screamed into a class room full of students he didn't even know because he dropped his book?!? I don't know, maybe this is just a weird dream that I will wake up from soon. I am so glad I took tomorrow off!

November 10, 2008

Bitch Badge Has Been Attained!

You need some background information in order to understand the whole situation on this one.

If you didn't know already, I am a special education teacher. I went through school in Illinois, but I teach in Iowa. So, some things didn't transfer over as smoothly as I would have liked. (I have been teaching in Iowa for 8 years by the way) Not to mention thanks to that lovely No Child Left Behind I am no longer a "Highly Qualified Teacher" because it doesn't really recognize special education because we weren't trained in any one area. (I have high hopes things will change with the new administration coming up)

Anyway.... I have been trying to take this one particular class for 3 YEARS! It is only offered in the the Spring semester and I have been denied access twice! Very frustrating. You have to have special permission to take the ONLINE COURSE that only lets 25 people in per year. My license is up in July, I have to take it NOW!

So, last week I e-mailed the department head to get permission to take the class. Once again the answer was no. I am a special ed teacher, why would I need an elementary education class. My reply was "I have had my transcripts read twice and both times it says I need this class to fulfill my license". The reply was "are you sure you really need this course".

Here is where the bitch in me let loose. I don't like confrontation, but felt I needed to up the anti. My response (verbatim) was this: "If I am denied access to this course I will need an official letter from *** University explaining to the Iowa Department of Education explaining why I have been unable to take this course over the last three years." I felt like a bitch writing it, but it needed to be done.

My initial response to my e-mail "I am out of the office at a conference until Monday, I will deal with this matter then."

Shit, I screwed my chance to take this class again didn't I?!?

Nope. I think she didn't want to deal with me and now I am enrolled in the class. I hated to channel the bitch I used to be, but occasionally you have to in order to get what you want.

Oh, and the class consist of reading journal articles assigned and writing summaries. A trained monkey could do it, so why is it such a guarded course to take?!? So next semester my new name will simply be.... Monkey!

November 6, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 11.7.08

Ahhhhh, Fall.
These photos were taken of a maple tree in our yard. I love when it gets this firey orange.
Fall is my favorite time of year. All of the leaves changing color and falling off the tree. The deer that wander through the back yard. All of nature becomes so beautiful. Too bad its supposed to snow today. OK, just flurries I'll survive. If you are coming over from Candid Carrie thanks for visiting. If you want to know how to play along check out her site.

Check out my stash!

So, the other night all this arrived at my door.
I know it isn't the greatest picture, but I had to get all of the beads out of their packages, cut off the strings and sorted for storage. Most of them came in sets of 6 or 10, which made it quite the task. Almost 2 hours worth of work. I had to get it done before the hubby got home. I was afraid he would freak out when he saw how much I ordered.

Also, I got the lovely pink tote as a free gift. Apparently they thought I could use something to cart around all this stash. Now it is crafty time! I really wish I was at home beading instead of working/blogging....

Oh yeah, Blogger is no longer blocked from work (at least for now). Maybe now I can keep up with my regular reads. Awesome!

November 5, 2008

My Life Needs To Slow Down!

I feel like I have been seriously neglecting my normal duties. Blogging, knitting, yoga, etc. This past month has been so busy, I just don't have time. So, what have I been doing?

Since the middle of September I have held 9, count them 9 IEP meetings. For those of you who don't know the process, it takes a long time to do the call parents, set up meetings, reschedule meetings because the parent didn't show up, and the hardest part of all the paperwork. Each IEP in Iowa is at least 7 pages and that is if they only have one goal area. The state is also changing the way we have to do paperwork, so they often times come back because we have ONE WORD WRONG!!!! Very frustrating!

Last Thursday we had an awesome FREE field trip we took our 7th graders. So that absorbed an entire week both inside school and out to plan and organize. Thank goodness there are a lot of members on my team beacuse we all had to pitch in and do our part.

My husbands niece and nephew also have recently returned from India and are in the process of opeing their own yoga studio, Tapas Yoga Shala. My husband had been a critical component of helping get the space together. Within their studio they are also selling items from India as well as some of the products that I make. So, Jen has been spending a lot of time making malas for the shala. (I love to rhyme!). I have also been spending a lot of time making yoga inspired magnets in bulk. In the last month I have done about 200, and I am working on 250 more for Indigo Wellness as well. Tonight, I am finishing a frog for a friend, then working on 20 scented eye pillows for the shala as well. So I have been busy crafting, but it doesn't feel like I have been doing things for me. (If that makes sense).

I have also been working on a side buisness, Custom Creations. I have created a website, taken photos, written many posts explaining the properties of different stones. That alone took several days of research.

I have my own table at Indigo Wellness' open house next Friday, so I am making products and signs for that too.

Not to mention that I am an overachiever and on (I think) 5 committes at work which means I have at least 3 meetings a week before or after school. I get here by 7:45 and don't leave until close to 4:30 on an average day (an hour over contract time) and usually am here later working on things.

I am making an executive discission! I need to learn how to take more time for me!

November 4, 2008

Electon Day Maddness!

So I got up early this morning, on purpose! I headed out the door at 6:55 ready to do my duty as an American and vote. I got to the polling place down the hill at 7:03. The sea of cars was amazing. I had no idea that many people live in my small town! The polls opened at 7, right? Yes they sure did!

Going inside I saw a sea of people snaked around the room, there had to be at least 150 people. I stayed, looked around and noticed the diversity of the people there. The town I live in has houses ranging from the 300,000+ range to two trailor parks. People standing next to one another from completely different walks of life, all here for one purpose. It put things into perspective for me. Even in this small town there are so many different walks of life represented. I found it very eye opening.

After 10 minutes, and the line unmoving, I had to leave and go to work. You can't be late when you students waiting for you! After work I came back and voted. (Did you know in Illinois you vote with a black Sharpie?!?) I got through the line in under 20 minutes.

This time I got to meet a very nice young man named Ben. He was ther voting with his mother. He sweetly introduced himself and then to his mother. She looked embarrassed, but I shook her off. I think it is pretty cool to include your child in such an interesting election.

Now, I'm off to watch some CNN and see how things play out. I hope my candidate wins!

November 2, 2008

Daily Dose of Funny... A trip to the Gynecologist

So, I took a half day off of work on Thursday to go to two, count them two doctors' appointments. The first was a trip to the gynecologist...... Oh, what fun!

I got there a bit early, hoping I would get done sooner. NOPE. Took my information, gave them my card and I was off to the exam room. Of course you can't just go back there, you have to be weighed and blood pressure taken. My BP was a bit high, but can you blame me?

Back in the exam room I had to go over my family health history. Who has what diseases, diagnosis's, and ailments. Then I have to review my sexual history. Have you had any STD's? NO! Have you ever been afraid of your partner? NO! How long have you been with your current partner? 14 years..... holy shit we've been together for 14 years! Then comes "so you have had x (insert number here) number of partners in your life." I looked at her blankly, I honestly couldn't remember if that number was correct. I think I said "I guess so." Come on, when you've been with someone more than a decade you might forget one or two.

She leave the room and the real fun begins! I get undressed and put on my gown and 'privacy' blanket that covers a 3'x3' square and I sit there waiting for the doctor to come in.

.....and wait

.....and wait

..... and wait.

I look at my watch, nearly 20 minutes had gone by. I was about to put on my clothes and go search for someone when I hear a knock at the door. The doctor is finally there. YEAH!!! (there was an emergency ultrasound, which made her late)

Before the exam begins I get lectured on weight loss, and the importance of exercise. Yes, I know I am fat. I have been really aware of it over the last 20 minutes sitting naked in a strange room! But thanks for pointing it out!

The first part is the breast exam. No problem there. She was shocked when I said I do monthly self-exams. Heck, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a year ago, it's in my routine to check. (FYI- Mom is fine, it was benign. Just a little lumpectomy and radiation and she was good to go.)

Next comes the every favorite internal exam. Scoot to the end of the table. Check! Feet in the thingys. Check! Let my legs 'fall open'. Check! Speculum in place. Check! Sample taken. Check!

Here is the best part..... Legs spread, speculum STILL in, doctor says "WELL, THINGS LOOK AWESOME!"


Did she just refer to my uterus as awesome?!? In my confusion I think I uttered a "Thank You"? Really, what can you say to that? What would you have said to that?

October 31, 2008

Trick Or Drinking

Growing up, my dad started a new 'tradition' around the neighborhood called Trick or Drinking. He would follow us to the houses (with a shot glass in hand) and after we asked for our candy and left, he would ring the bell and ask for a 'trick or drink'. Apparently this went over well with the men in the neighborhood and within a few houses he had quite the following.

Mind you this is in the days when cell phones were not around! So, word must have traveled fast!

I kinda remember mom being pissed, though she would never show it in front of us. I happily say that I carry on his tradition. So to all of you today I say "trick or drink" whatever your poison may be. Mine..... take a guess. I am curious to what my readers think would be in my shot glass.....

I'll tell you next Friday.

October 30, 2008

Daddy/Daughter Date Night Fx4

Warning Blog Cross Over! I repeat Blog Crossover!

Tonight my dad and I went on a date. (We really need to do this more often.) I had a great time. So, what did we do..... You need some background knowledge first.....

Growing up my dad and I used to stay up late on Saturday nights and watch USA Up All Night. They always had the absolute WORST movies, but in my angry years (that's what I like to call my late teens/early twenties) it was something quiet that we could do together that wouldn't frankly piss my off and turn me into the "superbitch" that I was proud to be. Worse than the movies was the host..... Gilbert Godfried! We watched some classics like (my favorite) Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowlarama, Reform School Girls, Invasion from Mars, and the like.

We would lay at opposite ends of the couch and laugh at the dialogue and acting during the commercial breaks. Sometimes we would rub each other's feet (which may sound weird, but was always comforting) while we watched.

This was all after my brother left and joined the Navy. Shitty movies have kinda been what I grew up with. (Some day I will tell the Reanimator story.) So when Attack of the B movies came to the local theater we couldn't say no. Dad had the brilliant idea to bring the minkees to the movie theater with us. Here they are before we left, comfortably sitting in my purse.
Once we got to the theater we found out they changed the movie schedule. We ended up watching the last half of The Bat starring Vincent Price. I so thought he was 'The Bat', but I was waaaaay off. Then we stayed for the movie we both wanted to see: Warewolf in the Girl's Dormatory! We figured it was made in 1961 (by the death dates on the gravestones). It was an hour and thirty five minutes long. After 35 minutes, I thought the movie should be over. The plot was done, it had nowhere else to go. I figured out that B movie stands for "This Movie B Shitty!" So shitty in fact that I took this foto of the minkees during the movie.
Yep, that's them sitting in a seat, at the movie theater, with patrons looking at me like I am crazy...

Thanks for reading! If you are playing along, make sure to keep up with the new entries on Candid Carrie Fx4!

October 29, 2008

I'm... a... nervous...

Tomorrow we are taking our 7th grade students on the first field trip of the year. Most of the naughty ones blew it already so we don't have to worry about them. But seriously, I am nervous as hell!

First of all, we are going to be going through a corn maze. I HATE inclosed spaces & got lost in a corn field when I was around 12. I got some prior knowledge that will probably be screwing with my brain tonight! I have to be brave in front of my group of 12 and suck up my fear and deal with it.

After the maze we get to go to the 'corn cannons' where kids get to shoot corn cobs and see whose go the farthest. I am so going to dominate them on that one..... if they let me play along.....

Then it is off for a hayrack ride. I always love those. I plan on taking my camera and getting some good photos of the kids for the yearbook.

Here's where the nervousness comes in. I am taking a half day (planned way in advance before the trip was scheduled) and I have to leave around lunch. (Where am I going you ask? The Lady Doctor. Go me!) I have to drive seperately, leave my group unattended on the bus both to and from the farm & leave before they get lunch. I feel so bad, but I couldn't change the appt.

So, here is my schedule for tomorrow:
7:00 -Drive to work in Davenport ~18 miles
9:15 - Drive to Alpha ~40 miles
12:00 - Drive to doctor in Davenport ~ 40 miles
2:30 - Drive home to Coal Valley ~18 miles
3:40 - Drive to Silvis (another dr. appt.) ~ 15 miles
4:45- Drive to parents' house ~ 3 miles
6:20 - Drive to Davenport for daddy/daughter date night ~ 20 miles
9:00- Drive to parents' house ~ 20 miles
9:20 - Drive home to Coal Valley ~ 15 miles

Yes, you did read daddy/daughter date night correctly. We are going to the B Horror movie double feature at Cinema 53. On tomorrow nights play bill: The warewolf in the girls dormatory and The Bat. We may not make it through both, but we will give it a shot. I owe my dad for my love of terrible horror movies. Thank you dad! Oh, yeah you too Eric. Nobody can get their kid sister to vomit like my big bro. I still can't eat tomatos and watch Reanimator..... Another story for another time.

Don't forget to check back to see our door decoration contest entry at school. There may be a few field trip fotos too. One of me freaking out in the corn maze perchance?

October 28, 2008

Game on fellow 7th grade teachers!

This week is spirit week at school. One of the things we are doing is a door decorating contest. To this I say some friendly competition umongst peers is a good thing. To all of them I say game on, Gray is in it to win it!

I had two girls stay after school and we have some fabulous ideas! We are going off on a tangent, so hopefully our strategy will work.

The doors have to be done by Friday morning for judging, so check back then to see how I fared. I will be able to post the pic of the door, but maybe not the verdict until early evening! I am so excited!!!

Wish us luck!

October 26, 2008

Lazy Weekend

I have decided that this weekend is going to be devoted to chillaxing.  (I got that word from a student btw).  I have been so stressed out with work that I need time for me. 

So, what have I accomplished this weekend?  Well, yesterday was spent doing some crafting, craft shopping, reading Breaking Dawn (I am to the part where Bella takes over the story again), going to dinner at my folks' and watching some SNL.

Today I have accomplished a few things I needed to to this weekend.  I updated my new 'buisnessey' blog, went grocery shopping and started the laundry.  Now, I am done being an adult for the day (until I go cook dinner anyway).  I have the house to myself, so what better to do than watch some cheesey horror movie and veg on the couch!  I am torn between House of Wax and Thirteen Ghosts.  Whichever I choose, I am sure a nap will occur sometime in the middle of the movie and I really won't miss much!

Now I am off to get my chillaxin on!

October 24, 2008

Creative Juices A flowing 10.24.08

For this week's post for Candid Carries Fx4, I decided to show you what I have been up to in my free time.  A couple of family members are renting some space and opening a yoga studio.  I am making crafty things to sell there.  Here are a few of the things I have been working on.

This is a handmade yoga inspired magnet.  I actually made about 200 last weekend.  Each one is unique.  If you ever try making these (pretty easy but can be very time consuming)  make sure to be in a well ventilated area or you are bound to have a rip roaring headache!  That glue is strong!  

These are eye pillows inspired by the chakras.  Each one is filled with a delicious mix of flax seed, lavender and chamomile flowers.  Very relaxing!  I love making these, especially mixing the flowers in.  They can also be lightly heated and it releases the aroma.
Another thing I have been working on are malas like these.  Malas are Tibetan prayer beads consisting of 108 beads.  They are used in meditation.  If you want more info on these, click here.  (it's my new buisnessey blog)

October 22, 2008

I went postal update

So.... Um.... I guess my little explosion on Friday made quite the impression on the kiddos. One student retold the story (in front of me) that I turned all red in the face and was wicked scary. I like to think of it as I hulked out. TEACHER MAD!

Well, it must have worked. They came in Monday, I stood at the front of the room with my finger over my mouth gesturing a silent shhhhhhh as they came in the room. You could have heard a pin drop as soon as that bell rang. I started class saying "ah, I guess my comments on Friday made an impact" and I looked at a room full of smiling children ready to cover another lesson on Scale Factor.

Tuesday rolls around. I bit louder than the previous day, but it took just two quick little words and they were back in their seats quiet as mice.

Today I took half the class with me to take a test. My group was great. Nice, quiet, polite.... I hope we aren't suffering from invasion of the body snatchers! The group I left behind apparently was the same. It is amazing what can happen when you simply go off. That and seperating the two 'heavy hitters' in the group. Some kids just can't get along!

October 17, 2008

I went postal today at work

Let me just say this. I hate to raise my voice. I really hate to yell. But oh me, oh my, did I let it rip today.

My sixth hour co-taught class is full of a bunch of loud and rowdy kids. I lost it today. The bell rang and as usual nobody was in their seats, their voices ware waaaaaayyyy too loud and had enough. (I have only been in the class this week since my student teacher left)

It started out like this "EXCUSE ME!!!!! YOU NEED TO HAVE A SEAT AND SHUT THE MOUTHS NOW. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THIS IS THE EIGTH WEEK OF SCHOOL AND I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE! (Picture my arm outstetched as far above my 5'3" frame as possible) "THE BELL HAS RUNG WHICH MEANS YOU NEED TO BE IN YOUR SEATS READY TO LEARN. DO YOU UNDERSTAND!" At this point I got a 'yes ma'm' from one of the students. I shot him the most evil look I could muster and he immediatly looked down. In fact he appologized at the end of class for doing it. I did continue on a bit with the "You are in seventh grade..... You need to learn how to respect..... " I ended it with "How many of you are tired of class starting this way every day?" 90% of the class raised their hands. I was glad that it wasn't just me who felt that way. (Even if 50% of those hands raised are the talkers.....)

I scared the crap out of my co-tacher.... He had no idea I could yell that loud.

People in the office two doors down could hear me, I yelled that loud.

Come on, I used to lifegaurd for 9 year. I can be loud when needed.

Atlanta Aquarium Fx4

This past weekend we went down to Atlanta.  It was part my mother in-laws birthday, our fourth anniversary and the Columbus day holiday.  We went to one of the most magical places on Earth for me, the aquarium.  I am a water sign and I love all things related to the ocean.  Here are some of the better pics we took from our trip.

This one is a tank of African Cichlids.  These are actually the fish we have at home, only much larger.  It was really cool to point out all the fish that we take care of.  Oddly, we have had all almost every kind of fish in this tank at one point over the last three years.

I love me some Jellyfish.  These first ones were amazing.  They were electric and changed colors.  Very cool stuff.

Here is your more typical jelly.  Little know fact... I was stung by a dead Portuguese Man of War.  Even dead they sting like a mother!  I shouldn't like them, but they are just the most amazing creatures.

If we didn't prematurely flush our Blue Johannai, he would look like this.  Bigger, nastier, and even more a bully in this big ol' tank.

The aquarium also had Beluga whales.  What beautiful creatures they are.  I have never seen one up close before.  One young gentleman asked how you tell the difference between a male and female beluga whale.  Well.... I didn't realize that the anatomy is very much mammal like.  When the ladies swam with their bellies towards the audience it really did look like a female.  The male.... well, apparently when he is ready to mate you can definitely tell he's male.
Last, but not least a very cranky spiny lobster.  He just looks pissed.  You can't see it here, but he has blue bands on his claws.  Is he ready to be served at the food court for dinner?

Thanks for visiting.  Head on over to Candid Carrie for more fun!

October 15, 2008

Scary Times

This past weekend we headed off to Atlanta to visit my brother in law. It was a great trip (I'll post more about it later) but something alarming happened on the way home.

We made it through the line to check in. We headed off to the area where you have to put all of your belongings on the x-ray machine.... moving through the lines.... my husband was up next when......

"BREACH" was yelled by security......

It was a code orange day at the airport..... We WERE in Atlanta.... But seriously!

Security 'held the ground' until the all clear a minute later. It was a bit scary to deal with.  But apparently all was ok.

Glad we made it home.....

October 10, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 10.10.08

My husband woke up to find this lovely deer grazing in our backyard the other morning.  It was brave enough to walk right up to the patio and start nibbling on the plants.  

It makes me appreciate the simple pleasures and joys in life.

If you aren't already playing, join the phun over at Candid Carries Fx4!

October 9, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane....

Today it is our fourth anniversary.  What better way to celebrate then heading out of town.  We are off to Atlanta (or Hotlanta as I like to call it) in a few hours.  We are going to spend most of our time relaxing.  Only one event is scheduled.... A trip to the aquarium!  One of my favorite places to go.  We haven't been to that one yet, but can't wait.  We are even paying the extra for the Titanic interactive exhibit.  

I better go and start to pack.  I wonder where the minkees are........

October 6, 2008

I need to vent

Please feel free to skip this post.  I am not looking for sympathy or any words of encouragement.  I just need to vent or else I am going to explode. (If you are a co-worker realize this has been slowly building over the last 7 weeks and I have to get it out or I might go insane.)

When the bell rang at 3:40 today four words crossed my mind.  I Want To Quit!  I am not the quitting type, but today I had enough.  I realized just how tired I am.

I am tired of the kids running the school.  

I am tired of no follow through with any initiatives.  

I am tired of hearing the same people gripe, moan and belly ache about the same shit every day.

I am tired of being put in charge of things that will inevitably make me look like the bad guy.

I am tired of trying to please everyone.

I am tired of hearing teachers in the adjacent rooms screaming at their students.

I am tired of seeing the same 5 kids in the hallway ALL DAY LONG, and of nobody willing to take care of it.

I understand that I teach special education and that there are students on my roster.  However, they are NOT MY OWN CHILDREN.   I have the same problems with them that  you do, please don't make me relive that ten times a day.

I am tired of scheduling meetings and having nobody show up.

I am tired of having to tell people how to do their jobs.

I am tired of waiting to see what the consequences are when we write a student a referral.  I have one kid in my advisory who has skipped it at least 3 times a week and NOTHING has happened to him!

I am tire of waiting to see the consequences for the two students who SEXUALLY HARASSED ME last week.

I am just plain old tired..... And it's only Monday!

I am so stressed out this year that my eye has already started to twitch.  This is the seventh week of school, not the seventh month.  I should not have physical issues due to stress this early in the year.  (Can't wait until my other compulsions come back.)  

Please understand that if I walk away and say "I will deal with it tomorrow"  it isn't necessarily because I am mad at you in any way.  It is simply due to the fact that I can't deal with anymore today.  I am done.  Out.  Finished.

Now, I just have to mentally prepare for tomorrow.....

October 3, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 10.3

This week's entry for Candid Carrie's Fx4 are these odd looking things.  I bet nobody can guess what they are.....
These were used when I got a Thai Poultice Massage last week.  They are muslin bags filled with a variety of herbs.  They are heated to just about body temperature and are used to massage out all of your aches and pains.  You are first rubbed down with raw silk gloves to slough off the dead skin (gross, but feels great), then you are slathered in oil and these heated bags are used to massage you down.  It is weird because of the sensation of the heat almost feels cold.  They are reheated several times throughout the treatment, melting away all of stiffness.  I felt like a stick of butter slowly melting, and I loved it!  

Be nice and give yourself a treat every once in a while.  It is well worth it!

Thanks for playing.

September 26, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 9.26

I was going through some old photos stored on a memory card and found this foto.  I thought it fitting for todays festivities over at Candid Carrie's Fx4.  Hope you like it.  
I don't know why, but I love fotos like this.  The contrast between the water on the windshield and blurry rainbow in the background.  Very cool!

Thanks for stopping by!

September 24, 2008

I miss blogging!

I feel aweful.  I haven't been able to blog as often as I would like.  I have been so busy between work and trying to finish the Twilight series so our lunch group can talk about it.  I have 50 pages to go in New Moon and will be starting Eclipse (hopefully) tomorrow.

My work week so far has constituted of 3 parent meetings, 5 staff meeting (& I missed 2 others so I could have one of the parent meetings)  helped discipline 3 students (two of which cried!), made several parent phone calls, got to play secretary for a few hours, got to drop an "F" bomb in the teachers lounge during lunch, grossed out my lunch group with my veggie corn dog smell, etc.  I have to leave my student teacher alone, so I get extra free time to do all kinds of worky, worky.

For the next two days I get to sit in a data training sessions!  It sucks to be a DINA, let alone a SINA5 status.  (For all you non teachers that is District In Need of Assistance, School In Need of Assistance.)  I get to do data analysis on why our school does so poorly.  Hey, at least I get away from my students for a couple of days.

With that said, I vow to be a better blogger.  I will post more often.  I will try to find more interesting topics.  


September 19, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 9.19 - Showing some skin

Earlier this month  I wrote a post about my diverse family, one of which I proudly wear his artwork on my body.  I currently have 3 tattoos, and he is on commission to create one more.  A blossoming lotus I plan to put just below the base of my neck.  It will be painful and (maybe) my last.  I love the artwork, and I wear it with pride.

Thanks for visiting.  If you want to play along, stop by Candid Carries Fx4 and join in the phun!

Left Ankle, Hibiscus Flowers (age 29)
Right shoulder, moon with breeze and stars (this one was my first, age 25, and my own design)
Sun, spine, about a third of the way up my back. (age 27)
I missed the ones for my 31st and 33rd birthdays.  Oh yeah, these were all birthday gifts for myself.  I bought the first two, my hubby got me the third.  When I go get the next one, he is going in for his second.  

By the way, do you know how much street cred. I get with my students for having a visible tattoo?  Waaaaay too much!  I rock the black nail polish too sometimes.  I'm cool like that.

Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to your posts!

September 16, 2008

Is it Monday again?

OK, I had the weirdest day at work. Let tell ya why.

1. I get to work and discover someone TP'd the trees in front AND egged the school.

2. Work smelled like rotten eggs all day, especially when it heated up this afternoon.

3. Multiple, I repeat MULTIPLE, fights. At least two teachers were injured in the process of breaking them up.

4. I had a student try to tell me how to do MY JOB!

5. I had the same student tell me to "Shut the f*ck up and stop talking" to her.

6. I got called a devil by a student when I walked in the building (he didn't have his meds today)

7. Ohhh, we did have cheese pizza for lunch. Screw frozen dinners today, I had pizza and it was good.

8. Our lunch group is the quietest in the building and gets compliments all the time for their behavior.

9. I had to cover and teach a class for one of the injured teachers, and didn't get a break at all. (except the 2 bathroom breaks between classes)

10. Witnessed a student getting kicked out of class for yawning (it was pretty obnoxious though)

So, did I miss something today? Was there a full moon? Is it groundhogs day and I am doomed to have a repeat?

All I know is, I am going to keep on going. Tomorrow can't be that bad. I just need to get through tonight and finish making tombstones. 100+ to go. (it is actually for a pretty cool thing we are doing in language arts. We are laying to rest overused words. I get to make the graveyard. I think it will be cool.)

I think I need a mental health day!

But, I will never take it. I suck. I'm responsible. Go me and my stupid work ethic.

September 15, 2008

So, I finished Twilight last night


I started it on vacation 8/4. I picked it up, put it down. Read a chapter here and there. Just couldn't get into the book.

Until Saturday night. I was really stuffed up (I mean gassy. Come on after 2 veggie corn dogs and black bean soup you would be too.) and decided to sleep in the guest bedroom so I wouldn't keep the hubby up with my random bodily noises. (I even took a mocha monkey with me, in case it got lonely) I started reading a little after midnight, and then got to the beginning of the chapter when he takes her to the meadow. AND..........

Dear lord, I couldn't put it down from that point on. I made myself go to sleep so I would remember all that I read the night before. (I sometimes forget if I am up really late reading)

So, my Sunday looked like this: (part of it is lame, I know)

9:00 wake up
9:30 watch The Soup I missed from Friday night
10:00-11:20 Went to Target and Office Max to get all I need for the week
11:20-11:35 put items away and fold laundry
11:35-3:00 READ TWILIGHT I started on page 230 by the way
3:00-3:15 Eat lunch
3:15-6:00 READ TWILIGHT (with a 10 minute cat nap when my eyes got tired)
6:00-6:20 Made cornbread to go with dinner (with honey butter, yummo!) reading the whole time it was in the oven
6:20-6:50 Eat, Shower, Get cleaned up, etc.
6:50 - 8:00 READ TWILIGHT
8:00-9:00 Watch Iron Chef (sorry, it is one of my favorites) Drank 2 beers (maybe three)
9:00-9:45 FINISHED TWILIGHT WHILE DRINKING 2 MORE BEERS. Come on people, I read 269 pages yesterday. I have never read that many pages in a day before.

Overall book review.... I had a hard time getting into it, but once I did I was hooked. I did feel like I was reading some soft core porn for a while, but it wasn't too bad. I really got tired of the word incredulous after reading all day. (It was waaaaaaaay overused.) I now must know what is going to happen to Bella and Edward and all the othe unanswered questions.

Today, I started the second book. I am taking the night off from reading (yeah, right) and plan to spend a good chunk of my next few afternoons with my nose buried in a book.

It got so bad that last night my charming hubby kept referring to me as 'nerdlinger'. I don't mind, I earned it yesterday. Now, I hope to finish this one by the end of the week so I can start the third over the weekend. We'll see. I did loan my copy to my niece. I better check to see if she's done. (Kelly, if you are reading this get on the monkey and read. Just kidding.... or am I?)

On a side note, I really need to finish Jodie Picoult's Change of Heart. I am half way through it and just can't do it. Too many unbelievable things. Give me some encouragement. I really should finish it.

September 12, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 9.12

Friday came fast this week.  Its time to play another round of Candid Carries Fx4.  

These are two of my phavorite new additions to our phish tank.  The first one is a Burmese Loach.  He lazes away the day laying on that leaf just hanging out.  He is pretty cool.  At least he comes out, and doesn't hide all day like our other loach.  I like the effect from the filtered water falling on him in the photo.
This guy is our male Kribenza.  He is really happy now because he now has a lady Krib to spend his days with.  As soon as we put her in the tank those two hit it off, changed colors and 'swim/spooned'.  They are so adorable.  I really hope we can get them to breed, but that involves the death of one of them after the fry hatches.
I will try to get a photo of the two of them spoon/swimming around the tank.  Thanks for stopping by.  I look forward to your entries this week as well.

September 9, 2008

I feel lazy!

I feel like I didn't do shit today at work.  I know that isn't true, but I really feel like I didn't do much.  Let me explain...

I have a student teacher this year for 8 weeks.  She is in a word, awesome.  I get to shape and mold her into a wonderful teacher.  We don't have the traditional teacher/student teacher relationship.  She gets to experience the wonderful world of weird ass me.  (It's funny, when people who don't know me well talk to me I am very frank and upfront.  She says "That's Just Jen, you get used to it.)  I figured I would give her a real world teaching experience and she is doing a great job.  She is taking over for me and I have to find other things to do from time to time.  Here's what I did today.

Followed a student around who refused to go to class.  He actually stopped for me, and told me what was wrong, but wouldn't go to the office with me.  He just made some bad choices and I handed it off to someone in charge.  That took 45 minutes.

I completed our Special Ed Roster (which means nothing to anyone who isn't a sped department head.  Oh yeah, I am the department head!) faxed and mailed it in.

Finished some paperwork and submitted it.

Escorted a student to lunch who can't seem to make it there and back without being a giant butt head in line.

Made two journal prompts notebooks for students who were absent.

Observed a teacher who is struggling with his classes and gave suggestions.

Did some lesson plans, then sent my student teacher to do them since she needs the practice.

Called Wyoming and balled someone out for not sending us records.

Scheduled an IEP meeting.

Helped a fellow teacher pick up cherries that were thrown in her window and hit her in the head.

Stood on the corner doing bus duty to make sure there were no fights.

Went home and blogged about my boring ass day!

For me, this is nothing.  I am an obsessive multi-tasker at work.  I don't have enough to do.  Maybe I will sit in the office tomorrow and help with discipline.  I love me a good parent phone call.  I haven't gotten an angry call yet.  Oh, maybe I can get called a bitch.  I love that.  I have a goal for tomorrow!

September 8, 2008

Hello, my name is Jen and I am an addict

What the hell are you talking about woman?  That title has us all worried about you.  Don't worry, I didn't finish.  I am addicted to many things, but I am not harming myself.  Read on and you will see.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to Sephora.  If you don't know what that is, click here.  It deals with all things beauty.  My mom is probably reading this going huh?!?  Tomboy Jen is addicted to..... makeup!  Oh, yes ladies and gents.  I love me some good make up.  Fancy Eyeliners, shadows, powders, blushes, lipsticks, mascara, you name it.  I have lip plumpers, glitter shadow, 6 kinds of mascara, heated eyelash curler.  My new favorite brand is Philosophy.  I got a big old shipment in today and have tried each and every new item out.  I may have to do an entire post to the amount of beauty products I have fallen in love with in the past couple of years.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to Yarn.  New shipment is arriving on Friday.  I am making a froggy for mama dawg and it just gave me an excuse to buy some fancy yarn and awesome discount prices.  When you are a crafter, you know who to go to for the best buys.  I actually hide my stash from my husband.  It is in 5 separate locations around the house so he has no idea the actual amount of yarn I have at any given time.  Actually, that goes for all of my craft projects.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to Office Supplies.  I think that is why I became a teacher.  The best gift I ever got was a gift card to Office Max.  It must be a teacher thing.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to monkeys.  If you have ever seen my other blog, you would know this is very true.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to beads.  I make and sell jewelry on the side and I can't go into a store that sells beads without spending way too much time looking through and purchasing new beads.  On last count I had over 50,000 beads in my stash.  It could be closer to 75,000.  I really need to make some more soon.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to cheese.  All kinds of cheese.  I love it all.  Not a day goes by where cheese is not in my diet.  Sad, I know.

Hello, my name is Jen and I am addicted to..... shit, fill in the blank.  If you are still reading this tell me your secret addictions.  I won't tell.  Or maybe I will make a big ass o'l blog post about our favorite addictions.  I won't put names, I promise.....

September 7, 2008

Three Day Weekend Fun & Realizations

I started this blog on Labor Day.  I kinda forgot that I left it as a draft.  I decided I needed to finish it and give myself a realization of what a great family structure I have.

Here we go on 9/1/08...

This past weekend we had a little family get together to wish our nephew well on his travels to Morocco as he is enters the Peace Corpse.  He will be missed, but he is helping to make this world a better place.  He will touch so many lives and who knows my not want to come back after his 27 months.  Good Luck N, we'll miss you.  I will think of you often and our last conversations about all kinds of inappropriateness. Two words.  Smooth t**nt!

But, I realized while sitting eating dinner the amazing family I have.  Growing up, there was just my folks, brother and myself.  Once I married, I gained 8 brothers/in-laws and sister in-laws, not to mention 6 nieces and nephews some of which have since married and the family has gotten bigger in these past 4 years.

What I really took notice of was the diversity of our family dynamic.  Within both sides of my family 3 branches of the military are represented.  We have Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  There are teachers, accountants, librarians, restaurant managers, web designers, yoga teachers, Thai massage therapists, yogis, yoginis, Catholics, Baptists, non believers, artists (one of which I am proud to display their artwork on my body), carnivores, vegetarians, all around foodies, readers, crafters, knitters, gamers, animal activists, farmers, comic book geeks (one of which is me), cancer survivor, actors, musicians, barista, mac addicts, bloggers, etc.

I am truly blessed by my diverse family. I couldn't ask for anything more.  We have our problems, as all families do.  Somehow we are able to get past the regular bull shit and live our lives harmoniously.  I really do appreciate what I have, but need to express that more to those who love me.  So to them I say "I love you and thank you for excepting me for who I am, my beliefs, and supporting the choices I have made."

I really hate being sappy, but sometimes you need to give a shout out to the ones you love and the ones who supply your support system.



Shatni, shati, shanti

September 5, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 9.05

This week I am once again participating in Candid Carries Fx4.  You should play along, its lots of fun.  I have to wait until I get home from workey to check out your post, blogger be blocked. :(  Oh well, I can manage.
Now on to the festivities.  This week's entries are taken from a calendar I made for my mother in law for Christmas. Shhhhh, don't tell her.  Wait, she doesn't know about this blog.  I made it through  It was so easy to make.  If you would like to purchase one, go to lulu and type in Connie's Garden.  Beautiful garden, beautiful photos.  Hope you enjoy!

September 4, 2008

OMG Hot Rock Treatment!

I just got back home after the best 90 minutes I have had recently.  A hot stone massage treatment down at Indigo Wellness in Moline, IL.  If you have never had one, I highly recommend it.

You get warm rocks between your toes, which should feel weird but is quite relaxing.  Then more warm stones placed strategically on your body. 

The BEST part was towards the end when the warmed rocks were used for the actual massage.  It melted away all of the knots in my back and has left me a gooey pile of happiness.

The best $75.00 I have ever spent.  Next time I go in, I am getting something called Thai Poultice.  Don't know what it is, but if it is half as good as the massage I got today, it will be well worth it.  I'll fill you in later in the month.

Now, I am going to lay down with a good book and probably fall asleep.  


August 29, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.29

This weeks entry for Candid Carries Fx4 comes from a phone conversation I had earlier this week about a book  she wanted to borrow.

The funny part about this is not the title of the book, or how awesome the book is.  The authors are Harry and Rosemary Wong.  

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh when your mom calls you up and asks "Can I borrow your harry wong?"  I still giggle a little inside.  If you are interested in the whole phone conversation, click here.

August 26, 2008

Harry Wong

So, last night I got a phone call from my mom. It went something like this:

Mom: Hi Jen, do you have Harry Wong?

Me: Yes, I actually have two, why?

Mom: Can I borrow Harry Wong?

Me: Sure, why do you need Harry Wong?

Mom: Someone at work want to borrow it. I only need one, not both.

Me: OK, I'll drop off The Harry Wong sometime this weekend.

This was followed by some small talk and chats about how the week is going so far and how life is going with the students. Much better than I anticipated, I must say!

I am sure you are wondering about this elusive Harry Wong. Harry Wong is the author of a fantasitic book called The First Days Of School. Now don't you feel like a pervert?!? It's OK, I giggle every time I look at the front cover!

August 21, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.22

Is it Friday already?  Man, my first week back at work went pretty fast.  Today's photo for Candid Carries Fx4 is a picture of my reading area I have set up in my classroom.
This is my favorite by far because it turned out so nicely.  I have had the comfy chair now for two years.  The carpet is new as are the awesomely fuzzy pillows (which I made).  I had to beg borrow and steal for the nice bookshelf on the left.  I am really proud of the area, and it is stocked full of brand new books.  The students get to rotate through the chairs on a daily basis when we have our SSR time.  And yes, I did include myself in the rotation.  That chair is awesome!

Thanks for stopping by!

August 17, 2008

Getting Ready

This is in response to the Bitch Badge post earlier this week.  

As I am mentally preparing for full time life starting tomorrow, I have been looking back at some of the memorable things that have happened during my 4 years teaching High School and 6, starting my 7th year in middle school. 

Names I have been called:
F*cking B*tch ~ When I told a student he couldn't have free time because of his behavior.
Homeskillet ~ Because apparently that sounded like my maiden name.  Not even close.  I still remember his name though!
Mrs. Gay ~ Ha, ha they left our the 'r'  and if you didn't know already, my name is Jennifer 'nobody puts baby in the corner' Gray.  I made my husband stop saying that.
C*nt ~ Oh yeah!  A high schooler said that one when I told him he failed a test.
B*tch ~ because it is an easy one to use to hurt some one's feelings with that word.

I am sure there are others.  If I think of them, I will update the list.

Bad things that happen to good people at work aka me:
~two words: Ranch Pants
~been stepped on by a heavy set student who messed up my ankle to the point I had to go to physical therapy.
~physically assulted by a student (pushed; also needed physical therapy for my shoulder.  Good thing I do yoga) and said student was back in my classroom the next day with NO CONSEQUENCES!!!!!
~caught a kid HUMPING a stool while I was out in the hall.  Yes, I said humping!
~had a desk thrown at me by a student.  OK, this is a good one.  He threw it at me because I fell backwards out of his chair.  What had I just asked him to do for the hundredth time?!?  Stop rocking in his chair.  He missed.  He was also jailed soon after for selling crack to an undercover cop.  He also called me "Teach" in a creepy voice that still gives me nightmares.
~witnessed way too many adolescent boners.  
~completely lost my sense of smell.  I slowly got it back.  Lets just say the smell of stale cigarettes, unwashed clothes and cat pee can kill any one's sense of smell when you have that student in class 4 hours a day.

Good things happen to good people:
~Students come back from high school to visit you because you made an impact on their lives.
~Getting invited to birthday parties and graduations.
~Presents on teacher appreciation days.
~Random cookies/bagels/donuts/candy/etc.  
~Great colleagues who will listen and lend a hand when needed.
~Hugs.  I usually don't hug a student, but won't say its never happened.  I am called 'Tree Hugger' at work.
~Seeing the eager look in a student's eyes when teaching a lesson they are invested in.
~Getting to know your children.  There are some truly great kids out there, each with their own unique features.  It is cool that I get to share that too.  However, I probably see a completely different side of them than you do.

That list could go on and on.

I have a few other goodies to add for later posts.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my job.  I am good at my job.  Heck, I somehow got to be a big wig at school and have since been put on way too many committees. I am a techie, a comic book junkie, a pop culture freak, a yogi, a belly dancer, an artist, a reader, a crafter, a beader, a foodie, and I teach your kids. Well, if they are in special education I do.  I hope you don't mind.  I am good at my job.

August 15, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.15

I drive past a sign that reads this at least once a day.  It is at the entrance to our subdivision.  I laugh a little every time I pass it.
I love this one.  I had to recreate it due to the phone number directly underneath & the fact that it is such a busy intersection I couldn't stop and actually photo it.  It is on my to do list though.  

But the sign poses some questions.
1. How much is a dirts?
2.  How many dirts does he need?
3.  Is three dirts = to a wheel barrel full of dirt?
4.  What does he need dirts for?
5.  How long is he going the keep that sign up?  Its been there for almost a year.  (He actually has one further back on his property the reads "Needs Dirt".)
6.  Can I drop off 4 dirts on my way home?

The list goes on and on.

Don't forget to check out the Friday Foto Finish Feista over at Candid Carrie!

August 13, 2008

Bitch Badge

I need a badge to wear on my arm for the next three weeks that simply says "BITCH". Here's why:

I go back to work next Monday as a 7th grade special education teacher. That alone should send shutters of fear down your back. It should. It sends them down my spine whenever I think about it.

I learned a long time ago the dos and don't of teaching, and how I have earned the honor of needing a Bitch Badge. Here are some bits of wisdom for you.
  1. Don't try to be their friend. In the end, they will own you for the WHOLE year and never respect you or what you are trying to teach them.
  2. Routines are a good thing. Without a daily routine, they have no idea how to enter a classroom and get focused on the activities for the day.
  3. Structure, structure, structure! Know what you are going to do and have 5 ways to get it done.
  4. Don't let them get you off focus. They love this one. Good conversations are ok every once in a while, but if they know how to get your focus off, they will use and abuse it. I am very guilty of this one!
  5. Discipline or How I earn the Bitch Badge. Have rules, stick to them. You commit an offense, you pay the price. Have your rules posted and go through them every day for a week at the start of class. It sounds redundant, but it works when they say "I didn't know the rules"
I am sure there are more, but I am going to focus on #5 for a minute. I am just going to get it out of the way and say it. I am a bitch for the first three weeks of school. I am tired, I am not in my routine sleeping pattern, I am cranky, possibly hung over and just a plain old bitch. I don't let the kids get away with ANYTHING! I call them out on their behaviors, and make them pay the consequences. It lets the bad ones know right away whose the boss and the on the fence ones appreciate you more when you let up.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete bitch, just very strict and press on the rules. You have to be nice some of the time, right? When they have a good grasp on the rules and runnings of the classroom, I let up and let them see the real me. The non-bitchy, fun loving, weird, humorous me. Every year I get at least one student who says "Your mean on purpose during the first week of school, aren't you?" I say, "No, not mean. Just making sure you know the rules and how seventh grade works".

*I am really not a bitch. Only the ones who try to break the rules end up calling you that because you made them suffer the consequences of their actions. I am actually a really nice person. They just don't see it that way.

**Would you be interested in a post that goes over all of the lovely names I have been called throughout my 11 years of teaching? Some of them are pretty good**

Gun shots.... Must be Tuesday

Have you ever been sitting on you couch, hear several gunshots and think to yourself "Oh yeah, its Tuesday"?  Well, thats exactly what I was thinking yesterday afternoon.  The only reason I thought of it is because they started up again today, which is rare.

Wait a second, did she say GUN SHOTS?  This is a normal event for Tuesday!!!  That sounded too casual.

OK, so you are probably thinking where in the hell does this girl live?  Is she in a safe neighborhood?  Does she live in a bad part of town?  Does she live in a ghetto?

Nope.  I happen to live near a police firing range.  Every Tuesday they have firing practice.  The first time I heard it, I had no idea what was going on and refused to leave the house.  Now, it is as normal as the weekly emergency siren test (also on Tuesday).  You get used to it after a while.  Weird thought, getting used to the sound of gun fire.  

*Occasionally, on a clear night, you can hear lions too.  There is a zoo 5 miles behind us through the woods.  Man, I love living here.  

August 8, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.8

Here is this weeks entry for the friday foto finish fiesta via Candid Carrie

Our nephew has joined the Peace Corps and is shipping off to Morocco next month.  In celebration, I decided to make (from a box) one of the more common staples in Morocco, cous cous.  I thought it sounded great.  My husband however looked at the box and started laughing.
Apparently being Nutted with something is funny to a guy!  I thought the ready in 5 minutes was funnier....  Must be a gender thing.

August 1, 2008

Scars do heal...

But don't become forgotten....  

What are you talking about?!?  Let me explain.

I was driving back from our local grocery store a few minutes ago when my head began to itch just above my left ear.  I reached up to scratch and that's when I realized what it was.  It is the scar I got from a car accident exactly 12 years ago.  By exactly I mean to the hour, even to within a 5 minute window.  I had completely forgotten the scar was there.  Then all the memories rushed back in.

As far as the accident.  Well, I was hit going through an intersection on the side by a woman driving a car she technically stole from her daughter.  Oh yeah, they didn't have insurance either.  It is by far the worst accident I have ever been in, but I am fine and won't go through the details.  Just to say that I got two black eyes, a swollen knee and an 1~1/2" cut on my head which had to have 3 staples.  And I hope that I never have to go through that again.  Staples suck!

But it did happen to me, so there has to be a funny twist.  Oh yeah baby, its a good one.  I had just gotten off of work at the swimming pool where I was teaching lessons.  I only lived a few miles away and I made a habit of wrapping myself in a towel and just driving home.  So, that's what I was wearing.  A swimsuit and a towel (not even shoes).

When the accident occurred it was at one of the busiest intersection in the area where I live.  I made quite the impression on the passersby as I was pulled out of my car in just a swimsuit and getting strapped to a backboard.  I think I backed up traffic for quite a while because I ended in the middle of the cross road.  (Every once in a while I will hear someone tell the story, it made quite an impression, and laugh to myself.  I don't always tell them it was me, depends on how much they have embellished it.)

I remember the EMT who strapped me in ask where my clothes were, did I have shoes, where is my ID, etc.  but couldn't form the words or think straight.  He was nice enough to give me a blanket to keep warm.

I guess a good Samaritan got out of his car and put pressure on my head wound, which they say helped me from getting more damage.  To which I say Thank You!!!

I got a descent settlement out of the whole deal.  The woman who hit me went to jail.  I was harassed by her boyfriend who would call our house trying to get me to stop pressing charges (that was the insurance company, not me.  Oh yeah, and she STOLE the car).  It is the only time in my life that the words restraining order came out of my mouth.

But I am happy to say my scars (both physical and mental) have since healed.  I am a stronger person for it.  And I always change back into my clothes before I drive home.