Friday, September 30, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday

Shamelessly stolen from another blog!  I'm kind of burned out because I've been doing coursework all day, but still felt like updating.  So, here you go:

1.   My current obsession is    craving Sour Patch Kids like it's my job.

2.    Looking at pictures of Ruby when she was a little tiny baby      makes me happy.

3.  My greatest strength is  writing   .

4.    Procrastination   is my greatest weakness.

5.  My life is   a gift.

6.  In high school I was    fortunate to have really good friends, really good teachers, and a good relationship with my parents.

7.  When I'm super tired    I become very cranky and/or very ridiculous.  I've never been drunk, but people tell me that I act like I'm drunk when I'm really tired.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another hint

My husband attempted to figure out the red letter puzzle and said, "This is impossible!  You should give another hint!"  So, here's a picture that should convey the meaning of the phrase (the phrase also contains a date, if that helps).  The shirt is a little rumpled but this one shouldn't be too hard to decipher!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 100th post! A red letter day!

That's right, it's the 100th post on this blog!  Party!  I actually was going to update earlier, but I felt like the 100th post needed to be exciting, more so than just me commenting on the usual stuff of life. Look throughout the post for letters that are in red.  Collect the letters, rearrange them, and it will spell out a secret message!

First, I've had requests for more pictures and videos of Ruby.  Let's dig in, shall we?  Here's a collection I call, "A Visit from the Cleaning Fairy"
The Cleaning Fairy approaches the ugly scene....

"Whew, I've got my work cut out for me!  I don't know where to start!"

"One swish of my magic wand, and hopefully this place will start looking better"

"All in a day's work!"

Next, I need to put up some pictures from Allen's birthday, which was September 8th.  I checked back in the blog and I didn't write about it at all!  Oh dear.  Well, Allen's birthday dinner request was have homemade versions of the Burger King California Whoppers (which have avocado on them).  I did my best to work that BK magic, and I think they turned out pretty well.

Allen prefers pie to cake, so I got a Chocolate Silk Pie and festooned it with fancy birthday candles.

"Festooned? Really? That does not sound manly enough to describe this pie."
Of course, we felt obliged to take pictures of ourselves with the camera.  

It was a pretty good birthday celebration, I'd say.  Allen likes his birthdays to be low key events.  
What else shall adorn this 100th post?  Oh, I should mention by way of follow up to my last post that I my professor re-examined my work and had a colleague look at it, and the colleague said that it shouldn't have been graded so harshly.  So, my grade was upped to a 37 out of 40.  Yay!  
Here are some pictures of Ruby as she continues to refine the process of feeding herself.  I think she looks like Santa when she tries to eat Greek yogurt by herself!
Notice that she is holding the her other hand!

Ruby decided she was ready to hold her own cheese sandwich, thank you very much!
Last Sunday, we decided to take a day trip to Astoria, Oregon.  The weather wasn't great but we wanted to get out and do something different.  We drove up Highway 30, which is scenic and mostly follows the Columbia River.

In the parking lot of the Maritime Museum.  The quintessential "Are we having fun yet?" photo
"Of course we're having fun!"
"Whatever you say, Dad."
The Maritime Museum was pretty cool.  Ruby liked the exhibits of the fish that inhabit the Columbia River.

Okay, there's a good story behind this picture.  She spent several minutes just standing and staring at this display of the man holding the fish.  I was thought it was very cute how she just kept staring at it, almost reverently.  I wondered what about it had entranced her so.  As I got closer, I heard her grunting and a smell wafted through the air that revealed the reason behind her deep state of concentration.  Oh well!
Allen is good about remembering to take pictures of me so that my presence is documented on such outings.
Before we went to the museum, we visited a street market in downtown Astoria and had lunch at a local cafe.  After the museum, it was about time to head home, but not before driving up the hill to see the Astoria column, a Trajanesque column devoted to Lewis and Clark.
You have to pay to park at this memorial, so we just snapped a picture from the slowly moving car, like the cheapskates we are.

On the way down the hill from the Column, we saw a doe and her two little fawns out for a snack.  They were remarkably calm being right next to the road.  

Well, have you collected all the red letters?  You should have 25.  It will spell out a message that has 7 words.  Good luck!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A taste of my own medicine?

I'm fuming over here.  Why?  Because I just got graded on my first major assignment for my online course, and I thought the grade was too low: 28 out of 40!  I worked long and hard on that assignment, and I felt like the criticisms that the professor made of it were not entirely fair, even according to the rubric she gave out.
So, I wrote a civil email asking her to reconsider some of her criticisms.  I don't think it was a perfect assignment, and I wasn't aiming for perfect. I would have been happy with a 35 out of 40.  But I feel like she misunderstood me...
Anyway, the irony of all this does not, of course, escape me.  I am, after all, an English teacher.  I have graded reports and assignments.  I've frustrated and disappointed students, I know it.  Not because I wanted to, but just because I'm sure they worked hard on it but it still had flaws.  I guess that's where this comes down to it: if I agreed that my work had substantial flaws, then I wouldn't feel stung.  But I don't think my work had substantial flaws, and the professor did.  And guess who has the authority to grade it?  That's right, not me.  And I need to take (and pass, obviously) this class in order to renew my license.  I am not very excited about it. The topic is interesting enough: helping to motivate boys. But this year, it feels hollow.  I don't have my own classroom full of kids.  I'm kind of just floating at the edges of everything.  I'm under the gun to get the course finished by the end of October, which would have been COMPLETELY doable had I gotten an earlier start and been more consistent.  Now it's going to be a race to the finish and very high stakes indeed: my teaching license depends on it.  I had three years to take a class, but of course I waited until the bitter end because I underestimated the number of credits I needed for renewing my license.  Hmmm, didn't I tell some of my students not to live like this in conferences last spring?  Pretty sure I did...
And did I mention this class cost $775?!  And it costs $100 to apply for a license renewal, too.  Peachy.
The straw that broke this grumpy camel's back, though, was that the professor used little smiley faces liberally in her comments on my assignment.  "Don't be discouraged!  It's a good start! :)"
So, former students reading this, perhaps this is the part where you wonder if I am going to vow solemnly that I will never be a harsh grader again.  Well, I don't know if I can promise that.  See, that's the teacher in me that understands the teacher in my professor.  I at least believe that she wants me to do well and is trying to nudge me forward.  I don't want to be nudged, and I disagree with how much nudging she thinks I need, but I know that she's not just being random and mean.  I promise not to be random and mean, but I can't say I won't disappoint or frustrate a student.  I CAN promise not to put lots of smileys on the page, though.
Ughh.  I still feel grumpy.  I know that I'm just taking out my frustrations on the professor.  The truth is that I've just been all out of sorts.  Things haven't fallen into place yet with my new job.  I know that it's only week 2 of school; it's really too soon to pass judgment.  But hey, since when has that ever stopped me?  I feel lonely there.  Funny, isn't it?  When I was full time, I often felt overwhelmed with all of the extra people in my life to worry about, care for, nurture, discipline, praise, love on, be bothered by, etc.  Now I'm living the part time dream, and I look wistfully out my "office" window at the Seniors walking from class to class.  I don't envy the new Senior team their workload, but I do envy them the chance to hang out with a genuinely pretty fab group of kids.
ANYWAY I should stop complaining because I'm sure it will get better as the weeks wear on, and I am really glad to be working part time. I'm glad I get to be with Ruby tomorrow.  Maybe we'll try out that playgroup near our home if her nap schedule permits.  We will run errands and get stuff done.  I'll do more coursework, and it will all be okay. Even if the professor disagrees with me and keeps my grade where it is.  It is all going to be fine.
 "Be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5b)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


In case you're not familiar with my language, the title of this post is a cry of frustration.  Today, it is uttered because I can't find the camera connector cable; thus, I am unable to put up several pictures that I have been meaning to upload, particularly pictures from Allen's birthday (which was on Thursday).  The computer has been acting pretty wunky lately, too. Allen suspects it is getting overheated and that it just shuts off.  The other day it was out of commission all day.  In a way, that was fine, but I'm also starting to fall seriously behind in my online course which has a very definite and fast approaching deadline.  I haven't blogged in forever, and it isn't because there aren't things to say, because there are.  It was, after all, the first week of school, and my first week of being not a full time teacher in a long time.  But I'd better not press my luck on the computer battery at the moment.  It died this morning during a Skype session with my family.  So, longer blog posts and pictures will have to wait.  Sorry, audience!