Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Hey folks,

I've been negligent in my duties as a blogger. Sorry about not posting in a while, but life has been so busy! I haven't even touched base on Face Book in a while. I'm an adviser for the drama program in our middle school, and we have a performance at the end of the week. It's been quite a hectic week, and it's only Tuesday! We've been rehearsing on Saturdays all month, and have included last night and tonight. This means that I come home from school, do supper, throw in some laundry, and head back to school for 5:30ish until 8ish (I have about a 12-15 minute drive one way). We have one more rehearsal left, then our performance. I've never been an adviser for drama before, and man have I learned a lot this year! I'm hoping the kids do well during their performance. I'm actually loosing sleep over it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Change in Weather

I have done more today alone that I have all week during my vacation. Now when I say done more, I mean outside, walking, and enjoying the sunshine. This week has been more rainy than sunny, and today we actually have hit the 60's! That's a difference of almost 30 degrees in one week! Tomorrow we're suppose to hit the 70's and I'm loving it!

I took Shelby and Hunter for a walk the other day, when it wasn't raining, and she was so cute and Hunter behaved so well. She loved the idea of having Hunter with her. She kept jumping around him putting her front paws on his back and hopping along side him. Normally, Hunter will pull me like there's no tomorrow. He's used to having his freedom, but when we go for walks, he's on a leash. However, this time, he behaved and didn't pull. It was as if he understood that he was her role model and needed to show her how to walk properly. It's amazing what animals understand that can't be verbalized.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Dog Who Cried Human

Once upon a time there was this little dog named Shelby. She wanted so much to prove her worth to her family by alerting them to all things concerned. She would bark to let them know that Hunter had roamed out of her reach or off the property. Whenever a bird, chipmunk, or even the human next door would appear in her sight, she would alert her family so they could do something about it. Sometimes they would, like call Hunter back, but other times they wouldn't for some reason or another she could never understand.

One day, Shelby was feeling a little too excited and for some reason felt that she need to test her family's reaction time, so she waited until her mom went down in the basement to do laundry.

"Growl! Bark! Bark! Bark!" exclaimed Shelby. Up the stairs her mom would run to see what was wrong.

"There's nothing out there, Shelby." Her mom said and went back down the stairs.

A few minutes would pass, "Growl! Bark! Bark! Bark! Growl!" exclaimed Shelby again. Back up the stairs ran her mom. Again there was nothing and back down the stairs she would go.

Shelby looked out the living room window again and saw the farmer across the road walking to his barn and began to alert her family. "Growl! Bark! Bark! Bark! Growl! Bark! Bark! Bark!" Nothing. Mom didn't come up the stairs. She decided to try again. "Growl! Bark! Bark! Bark! Growl!" Still no reaction. She began to get frantic. The farmer was moving across the street and her mom wasn't even coming to check it out. What could she do? Shelby was frantic. Finally, her mom came back up the stairs, but didn't come to check why Shelby was barking. Shelby looked back out the window. The farmer was gone!

Shelby learned a valuable lesson that morning. If you want to be believed you can't cry human if there's no human, because when there is one, no one will believe you.

True Story!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something New...

I've always been interested in using computers, but have never been comfortable with blogging and networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Well, one of my friends from work invited me to join Facebook, so I did. By the time the night was done I had found most of my classmates and my husband and I were sitting side by side searching for people we haven't seen in years. It was kind of fun. I've added some family members and friends from school as well as from work. Some who have moved away and lost track with and others who are still around, but lost track of too. Life gets so busy sometimes.

I've experienced something since I've been on Facebook. When I was in school, there was only a small group of my classmates that I hung out with, but never mingled with the rest. So, imagine my surprise when suddenly these classmates who I never hung out with, or ever socialized with, ever, started asking me to add them to my group of friends. It felt weird. As I'm considering each of them, I'm wondering why I'm doing it. Do I expect to develop a friendship that I never got back in school? Am I expecting to finally fit in to the social group that I was never a part of? There are some who I would consider acquaintances back then, but never close friends. Those people were easy to decide. But those who had snubbed me, I seriously considered my decision. But, I confirmed them anyhow and added them to my list. Perhaps friendships will blossom or they'll fizzle. Whatever comes out of it is okay with me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just Sharing...

My colleague sent this link to us www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/happinessproject/. It's called, "How to Be Happier: 10 Tips for Being a More Lighthearted Parent". I took a few minutes to read it when I got the email and thought, you know what, I need to slow down and take some of these things into consideration. Sometimes I find myself grumpy all the time, or if I'm not grumpy, getting there quickly. That's not the person I want to be. Later I'll read it more closely and try to consider how I could apply some of this in class with my students as well. With us in the last quarter, the students are getting spring fever and the last place they are mentally is in the classroom. To be honest, some of us teachers are feeling the same way too. Well, just some food for thought.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When Did I get Here?

Did you ever stop at some point and ask yourself, "When did I get here?" The first time I experienced this was in the early 90's when my washing machine broke down and I had to use the laundry mat. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with using a laundry mat, in fact, it's quicker if you consider that you can do several loads at the same time, that is if it's not too busy. It's the inconvenience of not having it in your home that gets to me. Anyhow, here I am in my early twenties and excited about a household appliance, when not too long before I was excited about more personal, superficial items such as, clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc. I actually commented about how I couldn't believe that I was so excited about getting a washing machine. Go figure.

Slowly we get older, our expectations for happiness changes, and our priorities shift and what used to bring us happiness pales in comparison to what accomplishes that goal now. Taking care of ourselves changes too. Before I was just concerned about eating my three square meals, and snacks of course, but eventually I became more aware of what I was eating and how much I was moving around. Body consciousness came later for me. I only became concerned about my weight when I began gaining it. But we also have other issues to be concerned about, internal plumbing and such, if you know what I mean. At some point, what I ate became more of a concern for me the older I got.

Now today in class, my students were pulling out their snacks for our break time, and I pulled out what appeared to be a toaster pastry. It had chocolate frosting and chocolate cream inside, and boy did that grab their attention. They wanted to trade with me, but I kept turning them down. What they didn't know was that it was one of those fiber pastries. I'm trying to eat healthier snacks, so I choose something that will benefit me later on while I'm satisfying my chocolate fix now (ahem!). While talking with a colleague later on about it, we both began to laugh. That's when it occurred to me, "When did I get here?" I know I'm in my last months of my 30's, but when did I become my mother? (sorry mom)

Oh Wonderful!!

It was 5:00 this morning when I stepped outside to call Hunter, when a strange sound echoed through the dawn. Looking towards the bare aspen and birch trees, I stopped and listened quietly. Even Shelby stopped and seemed to listen. Echoing through the still dark sky of morning were the song birds. I couldn't even begin to name them all, although I know that there were robins in the group. The sound was beautiful! Just a diverse collection of music calling through the air, each song different, yet all harmonious together. It was such a pleasure to hear. It was a great way to begin my day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Sun!!!

We've had the sun for two days now and it's awesome!! We've had temperatures in the high 40's (yes, this is a good thing) and it's so motivating.

Yesterday, Hubby and I went out and purchased our seeds to start our garden plants. We bought those little greenhouses with the peat moss packets that swell when you add water, and started our seeds. We took the leaf out of our kitchen table and put a small table near the windows where they'll get the most sunlight. We planted both Roma and beefsteak tomatoes, Honeydew melon and pumpkins, and green and rainbow colored peppers, too. Ever since I learned last fall that I can freeze tomatoes, I've been so excited for this summer's harvest. I had found out after we had lost many of our tomatoes that I just had to wash the tomatoes and freeze them as is. I so enjoyed making soups with the fresh-frozen tomatoes I froze in the fall. They were so yummy! I also love chopping and slicing peppers and freezing them just like that so I can throw in sauces, chili, and on pizza. The only thing I don't know what do to do with is cucumbers. We're not big pickle eaters, so we just have to eat the cucumbers when we have them and share with our family and friends. Unless anyone has any ideas. (hint. hint.)

We're in zone 3, so we can't plant anything until June after the last frost. Last year Hubby and I invested in a greenhouse and we loved it! Our tomatoes and cucumbers grew like crazy! Our regular garden, however, didn't do so well. Our green beans were meager, our carrots were too snug in the dirt that I had to use a pitchfork to pry them out, and our corn didn't do well at all. The goats we had at the time enjoyed eating the tender stalks and they made great decorations. I also love fresh spinach, but last summer it didn't grow at all. In all fairness, though, many people in our area claimed to have meager harvests from their gardens too. Hopefully, things will go better this summer.

Hubby and I have this dream to be as self-sufficient as we possibly can. I feel so much satisfaction having a full freezer of veggies from our garden, fruit that I've picked, and meat that we've hunted. It certainly made things easier having all of that already available rather than having to go to the store and buy our supper, if you know what I mean. With the economy the way that it is, we have to do what we can to take care of ourselves as much as possible.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Costa Rica

A colleague of mine is going on a special trip from this coming Saturday until May 2nd. She's a biology, human anatomy, and chemistry teacher at my school, and she's been given an opportunity to visit Costa Rica as part of the 2009 Toyota International Teacher Program. She's so excited and we are for her, too. Wither her permission, here's the link to her blog if you're interested in learning more about the program and what she's going through. Good luck, Gisele!! We'll be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stuffed Piggy

I really hate to say this, but I feel just like a stuffed piggy. Seriously!! I've eaten two ham dinners, desserts, and have munched plenty in between. Normally, Easter is the end of Lent, which is suppose to be a period of giving something up, like sweets. However, I can't help but feel that tomorrow should be the beginning of a diet for me. I have probably eaten enough calories and fat to last me 3 days. No kidding!! I'm thinking salad for lunch the whole week.

Hubby and I went to eat lunch with my parents at a restaurant. The special consisted of ham, carrots and turnip mix, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and for dessert, I had raisin pie, heated with whipped topping. mmmmm......good stuff. Then, for supper, Hubby and the boys and I went to his parents' to join the rest of the gang for supper. There we had ham with pineapples and cherries, a special carrot dish, mashed potatoes, potato salad, pickled beets, corn, green beans, cucumbers, and I'm sure there was something else I didn't take (no room in the plate) and then for dessert, my sister-in-law made cheesecake with two homemade toppings of strawberries and blueberries, and a peanutbutter cup dessert with icecream. I, of course, had to taste both. Talk about delicious!! Now I'm stuffed.

After our meal, my mother-in-law had the kids find the hidden eggs all over the house. We had fun giving the kids hints. She usually scolds us when we do that, but it's all in fun. The kids love it too. Then we give them their baskets of candy and goodies. Slowly these traditions will fade away as they get older. Before we know it, the kids will be in high school and won't be so interested in these rituals. That's if we can get them to leave their girlfriends or boyfriends behind and go with us.

So, how was everyone else's Easter, if you celebrate it? I know that not everyone recognizes and/or celebrates Easter, but for those who do, what do you usually eat? Who usually makes the meal? What kind of traditions do you usually have? It's always fun to learn what others do. Sometimes we can consider adding new traditions to our old ones.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Easter!

What Writers Do?

I'm on my quest on how to best start writing. As mentioned in my profile, I teach language arts, so I teach my students the writing process, which consists of brainstorming, drafting, conferencing, revising, editing, and publishing. What I want to know is, is this what writers do when they are working on their pieces? Do authors actually sit down and brainstorm their ideas? Do they form webs or outlines to organize their ideas? I'm assuming that they follow the rest of the process, but it's the brainstorming that I'm curious about. Any ideas out there?

In an earlier post, I expressed frustration on how difficult it is to just sit and write. I do keep in my purse a small notebook with a pen that I intend on writing notes on, but I don't always take it out. In fact, I often forget it's there. I tend to come up with ideas when I'm in the car. However, it doesn't seem to matter if I'm driving or not, I can't write then because I get carsick easily if I try. So, I tend to forget what I want to jot down. I'll have to come up with other ways on how to keep track of my ideas. Any suggestions?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Writing is hard!

Writing is hard. I spend the day, periodically of course, thinking about what I could write about, I then sit with my laptop open before me pondering what I could write about again, yet I can’t seem to come up with anything that excites me. When I do get ideas, I’m usually in a situation that I can’t jot it down or begin writing, then when the moment arrives that I can write down a few lines to remind me for later, or when I sit before my laptop to write, my mind goes blank. Is it because my goal is larger than I’m ready for? Are my expectations too high? I can’t seem to figure out what it is that’s holding me back, but still I’m sitting here in the wee hours of the morning venting about it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

GPS With Attitude

Late Monday afternoon I was on my way back home from Portland. Now, I know how to get back home, but just out of curiosity, I set up the GPS my father-in-law lent me just to see which routes it would suggest. I had already planned to take the exit in Houlton because I'm more familiar with the road and it's less rural than Route 11, which is a truck route that travels through small towns, is very scenic, with lots and lots of woods. There's also more cell phone service throughout most of the route to Houlton, so I felt more comfortable taking that route alone, at night, with a car that has over 100,000 miles on it.

Well, when Tam Tam (as I'll call the GPS) suggested the first route, I passed right by it. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I could have sworn there was a tone when she said, "recalculating". Several miles down the road, Tam Tam suggested a second route. There seemed to be some excitement in her voice when it seemed like I was taking it, at least according to her map, but I also passed that one by. Then I heard that tone again when she said, "recalculating"; I know I did.

Eventually, the time came when Tam Tam made yet another suggestion for a route, and I again chose not to take it. This time I could swear that I heard attitude. Definitly a tone there. I just laughed and kept on going as Tam Tam continued to recalculate.

Finally, I arrived at my Houlton exit. Tam Tam decided to take one more try and suggest this route. I took it. I swear that I heard her say, "Finally!" under her breath as I took the exit and continued on the ramp. No kidding.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Relaxing Trip

Well, I'm sitting in a motel room six hours away from home, yet still in the state of Maine. To give you an idea how far north I live, I travel along the Northern Maine and Southern Canadian border every morning to get to work, and of course, back home. During the driest times of the summer, or when the ice on the river is solid enough, you could walk across to Canada. I wouldn't try it, though, that would be considered an illegal entry and you'd get in lots of trouble. Anyhow, in spite of the fact that I live in a beautiful area, we are far from the beaten path, so-to-speak, than if we lived along the I-95.

To get to Portland, which is where I am right now, I have to travel two hours, or 1-1/2 depending which route I take, to get to the Maine portion of the I-95. I then have to drive over 1-1/2 hours to get to Bangor, and another couple of hours to get to Portland. However, considering how long my drive was today, I had a relaxing and enjoyable trip. I left home around 7:30 this morning, which is late by my standards, and arrived in Bangor in time to have lunch with my sister. After an hour there, I headed on down to South Portland, and with the help of my father-in-law's GPS, found my motel the first time around. This is unlike the last time I came to the same motel when I ended up a few miles down the road from where I should have been, on a side road headed to God-knows-where. Only when I stopped and asked a safe-looking man in a parking lot of some industrial area where my motel was, did I eventually end up at the right place.

Anyhow, I found my motel before 3:30 PM and even had time for an hour nap. I've always enjoyed the pleasure of sitting alone in a restaurant reading, and I got to do that today. It was relaxing and exciting at the same time. I don't know how to explain it, but it was freeing being someone no one knows, in a city I've only been in perhaps 3 times before, and eating alone in a restaurant reading by myself, alone. It had a mysterious and romantic feel to it. Kind of like being a lone traveler in a foreign country.

I began reading Dewey by Vickie Myron and am already half way done the book. I love being able to just sit in a comfortable chair (a recliner at that!) and read. I can't remember the last time I stayed in a motel alone and just read. I brought nail polish and all my other nail equipment to give myself a pedicure and manicure, but have decided not to bother. I haven't turned the TV on since I've come back from supper. The only other time I turned it on was when I took a nap. Shopping doesn't even interest me (Perhaps I'm sick!). Instead, I've sat in my pj's, grabbed a soda, turned on the lamp, and read, and read, and read. Of course, now I'm not. I'm taking a little break and writing this post instead. I guess I'm trying to capture the moment of this peace.

Considering yesterday's posting about my now passed-on dog, Sandy, and having watched the movie, Marley & Me, this book is only setting me up for an emotional ending. I just know it. One of my students read the book for a book project for my class, and she loved it. She also, accidentally, told me the ending, too. I won't do that to you. All I'll say is it's a page-turner and heartwarming.

As enjoyable as today was, tomorrow may be different. My reason for this trip is a workshop, which I'm looking forward to. However, the 6-hour long ride home, almost non-stop, will be not as relaxing. My workshop ends around 3 PM, which means that, with minimal stops, I should be getting home around 9 tomorrow night, then getting ready for school on Tuesday. I'm exhausting myself already!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

MAN's Best Friend?

I've written about the antics of my two dogs, Hunter and Shelby before, but I'll have to admit, they weren't my first loves. Sixteen years ago I brought home a beautiful little pup named Sandy. Her breed has always been unclear, but I fell in love with her just the same. I didn't have any children so I babied her like you wouldn't believe. When she was a little pup, she looked just like a miniature Saint Bernard and was so adorable with her mixture of white and brown coloring, that I couldn't help but adore her. Her eyes looked like someone had taken eyeliner and carefully lined her eyes, then continued past the outer corners of her eyes. She was beautiful and had a magnetic personality. She was almost perfect. She was completely housebroken, and I knew that she could be trusted alone for long periods of time without her having an accident. I used to say that she would be perfect if only she didn't shed, but I loved her in spite of all the fur.

She was my companion when I got divorced and when I went to college. I used to bring her to my friend's house while I was in class to hang out with her younger brother, Bandit (on the right). They were close companions, in fact, I would tell Sandy that we were going to Bandit's house and she'd get all excited. All 8 pounds of her would jump into my lap anxious for both the ride and the destination. She was a smart little dog too. I had to spell words like walk, ride, and her favorite treat of all, carrots, but she would occasionally be able to still figure out what I was trying to say.

This past fall, my sister, who's been taking care of her for the past six years, had to put Sandy down. Sandy had been having trouble with her blood sugar for a few years, she had arthritis, and when my sister brought her to the vet this last time, was having heart problems. Sandy had just turned 15 on July 13, 2008. She had lived a great life and was so loved by everyone who met her. The last time I saw her was last February when I stayed over my sister's place because of a workshop I had to attend. Sandy slept with me all that night, and when I got ready to leave the next morning, I had a feeling that it would be the last time I would see her. It was so hard to leave, and the funny thing is, I think she felt the same way too.

Well, tonight I made the mistake of watching the movie Marley & Me, and it reminded me why I prefer watching movies in the privacy of my own home. Don't get me wrong, it was a great movie, but when Marley got old and sick for the last time, I cried so much that I caught myself holding my breath and was on the verge of heaves. Kenny, my oldest stepson, kept watching me. He knows how I get because I cry at everything. I even cried at the end of Meet the Robinsons, so he knew without a doubt that I would be crying at this part for sure. The best thing about it all was that Kenny knew that I was thinking about Sandy. He knows me that well, and he's just that kind of kid. He even asked me if I wanted a hug. What a sweetheart! He's gonna make some lucky woman a great husband some day.

Why am I sharing this with you all? Good question. Perhaps it's a form of healing for me, to talk, or shall I say write about what Sandy meant for me. I cried when my sister told me about Sandy, and had a few moments since then, too, but I suspect that I haven't fully grieved for her. Some people may think that I'm being over dramatic, perhaps I am, but as I explained before, she was like my baby and she gave me nothing but unconditional love for the entire time we were together. I will never forget Sandy.