Saturday, July 18, 2015

Got a Good One For You All

Thursday evening I came home from being gone all week for some training in Southwestern Maine.  My evening routine, especially when someone has to work in the morning, is to prepare the coffee maker to start the coffee when we get up.  I'm off so it didn't matter to me, but my husband had to work.  

Well, our coffee maker needed to be cleaned.  The "clean" indicator light told me so.  Which means a process that includes vinegar and such, which would take longer than I was willing to devote just before going to bed after a 5 hour ride home.

So, yesterday morning I started the cleaning process.  I filled the reservoir with vinegar and let it go through the process.  I then filled it again with water to rinse the vinegar out, then tried to make a pot of coffee.  The light just blinked and it beeped at me and wouldn't stop until I turned it off.  I just didn't get it.  I tried unplugging it to "reset" it, which didn't work.  As far as I was concerned, our coffee maker was broken.

Well, this morning I'm mourning the loss of our coffee machine, which I left on the counter untouched.  Probably because I was hoping there was nothing wrong with it, and it just needed a break. 

Hoping that this morning would be different, I went to the coffee maker and decided to try again.  I decided to refill the reservoir with water when I realized that it was empty.  EMPTY.  I filled it, made sure there was coffee grounds in the filter and an empty pot waiting to be filled and lo and behold the coffee maker worked!!

Talk about feeling stupid.  I guess my coffee maker is smarter than I am.  It was trying to tell me that something was missing....water.   Needless to say, I enjoyed my coffee this morning.  Gotta laugh at myself.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Professional Development During Summer Break?

Why yes!  And I'm the one who scheduled them, too.  Sometimes I just frustrate myself.

I've been off from school for the second week now, but for the next two weeks I've got two professional development opportunities going on.  I swear, those are the only ones.

In my defense, they're both applicable to the social studies that I'm now teaching, and one of them was an offer that was hard to refuse.  

Next week I'll be participating in a program at the university just 20 minutes away on Acadian History.  I've taken the course before when I was in college, but this is different and geared for teachers to be able to apply this information in their classrooms.  It won't cost me anything because my district is providing me their vehicle for the week, and lunch is covered for me as well.

The week after I'm going down to another university, one I haven't
been to before, but about 6 hours away.  This is on how to use the ArcGIS program in my geography class.  This one covers everything.  Meals, lodging, travel, and after I finish the work I'm expected to do, I get a stipend too.  Can't turn that down either.  Fortunately, I won't be going downstate alone.  I'm picking up a professor at another university about an hour away, so she can help me find where we need to go.

Both will be work, and I'm still working on my plans for this fall, so anyone who imagine teachers on summer break always by the pool or at the beach doing nothing all the time are seriously mistaken.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Negativity and MY Freedom of Speech

This past week marked a landmark decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, of the US Supreme Court preventing states from acknowledging the union of same-sex couples.

I'm a big fan of Facebook, and I'm on it more than I probably should be.  And many of my "friends" on it aren't afraid to voice their opinions on various topics, and marriage equality was definitely one of the hot topics this week.  

I know that some of my family and friends, especially those who are very religious (ironically) are opposed to marriage equality.  Marriage equality isn't the first to be controversial, as this picture proves.  

It wasn't that long ago that interracial marriage was deemed illegal, too.  Now not many, at least in my neck of the woods, blink an eye when you see a couple from different races. 

I understand where those opposed to same-sex marriage are coming from.  They feel that God's intentions for union was between a man and a women.  

I get it.  However, what loving God would create people who are lesbian, gay, transsexual, or transgender, and not want for them to be loved and happy?  

Who am I to decide how other people should live?  Who am I to judge others based on who they love?  Would I wish for others to be miserable, angry, depressed, lonely, or unloved?  What kind of Christian (or Catholic in my case) would I be?  Is it really our place to instill the values of our faith upon others who probably don't share our belief systems?

I know several same-sex couples, and at least one of them are married.  I feel nothing but joy for them.   What concerns people most about marriage equality?  Why do people feel threatened?  

Thank you for letting me say my peace about the issue.  Love is Love! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


So today is our 9th wedding anniversary, although we've actually been together for 13 years.

We've been through a lot of ups and downs, and had many adventures together.  I can thank my husband for that.

I had a student ask me recently if my husband was going through a midlife crisis.  If that's the case, then he's been going through one for as long as I've known him.  We've done the dog-sledding thing.  We've had chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and goats...all at our house.  We've had horses, pigs, and cows, too.  We've gotten into road biking (the kind you pedal), running, and hiking.  We've also had numerous farm tractors (5 I think).  We're on our 3rd motorcycle, and he just recently bought dirt bikes for him and the boys. 

All I can say is life has been an adventure, and I wouldn't change a thing.

This is what summer break should be!

It was wonderful laying in bed this morning knowing that I didn't have any place to go.  The sun was streaming through the blinds, and I could hear the birds going about their business in the trees that surround our house.  I laid there for a few minutes and thought about what I needed to accomplish today.  Nothing.  

My stepsons would be coming over later this morning once they were up and ready for the day.  I promised French Toast for lunch. Yummm....

I fed Charlie and the birds, then started a load of laundry.  Took my time eating breakfast, swept the floors, and even did a little workout on my new app called SWORKIT.  Even enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee while the birds and chipmunks were busy eating, and Charlie was running around chasing something.

Later after lunch I'll enjoying laying out in the sun and reading on my Kindle.  I might even take a nap.  I'm known for that.  My sister's boyfriend refers to me as the Nap Queen.  I wear that crown proudly.

It's the first week of our summer break, and I promised myself that I wouldn't do anything school related this week.  Well, it's Wednesday and so far so good.

I hope all the teachers and students out there enjoy their time off. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Anticipate the Worst, Hope for the Best.

You know how you expect the worse case scenario, then after it's all said and done you realize it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be? That's what happened to me today.

For the past couple of months I've been having pain right where my ribcage meets in the middle, where my stomach is, and pain right between my shoulder blades.  Because I've never experienced this before I was concerned.  I made an appointment that week with my doctor and we had everything from my heart to my gallbladder checked.  

I learned that I have gallstones, and that my irregular heartbeat was due to inactivity.  But neither one were reasons for my pain.  So I was scheduled to meet with a surgeon for a consultation.  

Before today, I have never been put under anesthesia.  Last year when I had a breast biopsy (which thankfully turned out to be a cyst), I was given shots of Novocain.  So the idea of being put under freaked me out.

Not only that, but I had to be put under for an upper-GI scope.  The idea of having a tube in my throat, when just watching someone chewing on a pen cap makes me want to gag, terrified me.  I have a hard time chewing gum for more than 10 minutes before I have to spit it out.

As you can figure out, my imagination was really taking off on what to expect.  Although pretty much everyone in my family said they've gone through it, and that it was a piece of cake, and that I won't even know what happened, I didn't feel any better.

So, this morning I'm laying in the hospital bed with an IV in my hand (which was a challenge finding a vein to put it in, and I HATE needles!) and pads attached to my chest to monitor my heart-rate during the procedure, and I'm really trying hard to focus on the book I've been reading on my Kindle app to distract myself.  

Then the moment came.  

Although I could feel the start of panic grow, I somehow felt peaceful.  I'm sure the praying I did for courage to go through this helped.

I was wheeled into the procedure room, they positioned me for it, attached me to the monitors, put the bite guard between my teeth, started the "good meds", I took two deep breaths, and the next thing I remember was waking up about a half hour later in another room.

Talk about a deep sleep!  

I felt so relieved about it, that when my surgeon came in, I asked if I could schedule my next one for next week.

So, after all was said and done, I learned that my pain was caused by a hiatal hernia.  So, now I know what could be triggering my pain, and what to do about it.  Although it's something that I'll have to live with, unless it gets much worse and I need surgery, I feel peace at least knowing what's going on.  Having answers make all the difference.  

The kind of hernia I have is the sliding hiatal hernia. 

via Webmd

So now I know to eat small meals and avoid overeating and acidic food.   Oh well, now I know.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Made it!

I'm proud to say that I have completed, and survived, my first year of teaching  high school!

I know, some of you are thinking, "Big Deal."  But for me it was!  I have been through several transitions in the past 4 years.  

During my last year of teaching middle school language arts, I was thinking about how I felt I was falling into a rut with my teaching, and that I needed to perk things up a bit.  Little did I realize that I would face challenges as a teacher in the years to come.  

Now, 4 years later, after having transition to an elementary teacher then a high school teacher, I can look back and be proud of myself.  

Perhaps I wasn't the best teacher this year, and that there was much more that I could have taught my students, but I did give it my best.  I followed the standards and learning targets that my district chose to follow, I tried to include not only reading material, videos and movies, but also bring people in or Skype with them.  Perhaps I could have added more rigor, but for my first year, I think I did very well.

Part of what I learned consisted of how to relate to my students.  Some were easy to relate to, but teenagers can be are complicated.  Not all teens will respond the same way. Some (okay many) are moody, and many a lot of them have too much drama going on.  Much of what I had to learn was how to reach them all, get them to agree to stay on task (to some extent) for the time they were in my class, and get their work done in a timely manner. all.

The best thing about this year now behind me, is that now I have a whole school year in this content and grade level under my belt.  I know what worked, what did, and what I would like to improve on for next year.  I plan to start the year much differently than last year, too.

Now that our year has ended, and I'm sitting here at 11 at night waiting for Kris' uniforms to be finished in the dryer so he has them for work at 4 AM tomorrow morning, I'm reflecting on the year.   I'm also trying to decide whether to have an ice cream so late in the evening or not.  I don't have any wine in the house, so I'm thinking an ice cream will work just fine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's already starting.

Within a year after graduating from high school, nearly 30 years ago, I was married.  Getting married was as liberating for me as for many graduates today.  I would go weeks doing my own thing and not going to visit my parents.  Or calling.  I look back now and regret having done that.  I didn't I intended to cut my parents from my life as much as I had.  But I did.  

Why am I thinking about this now?  Our new graduate is exercising his new wings.  He's spreading them out and making choices, even though they're not choices we want him to make.  Our first reaction is to take it personally.  

Through my conversation with my husband this evening, I remembered how I felt those years ago, and how I just wanted to make my own decisions.  How my choices were affecting my parents or my sister didn't matter to me back then.  I was just thinking about myself and what I wanted to do.  I eventually caught on and and began keeping in touch more with my parents.

I guess as the new adults have to transition to adult life, holding jobs, paying bills, and either going to the military or college, parents do too.  We need to get used to not having them around, not knowing where they're at, where they're going, and what time they'll be home.  It's not always an easy transition.  

As for our youngest?  He'll have to adjust to not having his brother around all the time.  He won't be able to count on him for rides to school in the fall, or to bring him to their mom's if he forgets something there.  I can relate to our oldest, but not to our youngest.  I'll have to pick my sister's brain about how she felt all those years ago when I moved out.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Big Graduation Day and My Wish

What an emotional rollercoaster ride today was!  Our oldest is now graduated!
Have I said how much I love that kid?  

We live in a small community, so the group of 22 students were more than just classmates, but a family that have been together since Pre-K.  It was obvious to anyone watching that they were close.  

I teared up looking at all of them and thinking about how those cute little boys and girls have grown up into wonderful young men and women.

My Facebook newsfeed has also been filled with photos from the district that I taught middle school in.  It was great to see photos of their graduation too.  

So, being the sentimentally nostalgic person I'm known for, I have one wish for Kris and all the graduating classes of 2015, thanks to Rascal Flats.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

End of Year Tired

This picture hold a lot of truth.  At the beginning of the school year, we're all energized and ready to rock and roll.  But by the last days of school it takes everything to make it through the day.  Now I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I feel like a horrible teacher at this time of the year.  I'm trying to make what we're doing meaningful, but I feel I'm just going through the motions.  Making it day by day.

Teachers aren't the only ones who feel this way.  The kids feel burnt out too.  Sports are wrapping up for the year, finals are going on, and projects are all due.  Everyone is burnt out.

So, what's a tired teacher during the last 8 days of school to do to keep from crashing?  I'll let you know when I figure it out, or if a reader give me any suggestions.  In the meantime, I'll keep my coffee IV going.