Thursday, October 29, 2009


just because I don't want to forget today:
i walk.
ipod plays.
friend honks.
mayor waves.
family carves pumpkins in their garage.  
wind whistles.
warm light shines through windows.
worries melt, stress washes away.
sky spits.  
and golden leaves free-fall to the sidewalk, to the grass, to the ground, to the streets, as almost-glowing tokens on a day when the sun refuses to shine.

More Family Lovin'...

(Disclaimer: this post is basically to create awareness throughout my family of dear cousin's new blog.)

My cousin is great. Her name is Andrea. She does marketing. And improv. And she just started a blog. Why should you care? Well, Andrea Joy happens to be one of the most witty people I know. Her first post more than proves it.

So click on over to Hotdish in a Hallway... (hotdish translation = casserole, up North) and see why we all love her so.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Don't you just hate thinking about how to pay for grad school?! Me, too.

But don't you just love Kansas in the fall? Me, too.


"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
~Albert Camus 



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bonus: Second Post Sunday!

A second post for Sunday! (Here you go, mom and dad. But may I remind you that as child 3 of 4, I should only be 25% of your entertainment?! Pester your other children about their blogs - or lack thereof!)

Here is what I did today... none of it is too exciting.

Planted mums from Becca's and Grandma's in front and back.

The yellow ones are my absolute favorite!

Made a double-recipe of taco soup. Need to get the extras in the freezer. (I just noticed the clock in this picture!)

The aftermath of taco soup...

Baked some oatmeal.

(I halved the recipe.)

Made banana bread. For the first time in my life, believe it or not. (I can't get the picture to rotate. Oh well.)

Dear Ones


The house was clean.

The table was set.

The fire was lit.

Brad was in KC.

And they came....


These are just four of the dear, dear girls I lived with for three years. We got together last night, for the first time since last December, for a mini mod reunion. So much fun, though we missed the ones who could not come. We talked and laughed and ate and talked and laughed...

Thank you, Katy, Kiley, Jill, and Becca, for making my weekend. Let's not wait so long next time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


"Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing." -Flannery O'Connor

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Night

I've spent the last couple of hours here:

Because I'm working on this list (not that I have to get it done before May 1 or anything):

Everything is now checked off except for score 1000 or above on the verbal and quantitative (read: math and language) sections of the GRE. Yikes. I have discovered that the maximum score is 1600, so it's really just a 62.5% - a huge relief? So I've been taking practice tests and trying to figure out what I need to study. I can now say that I know the formula for the sum of the angles in an n-sided polygon is: (n-2)180. Aren't you proud?!

I may have forgotten how to study. Or forgotten how to motivate myself to study. It has been almost a year and a half, after all. I'd better learn - some four-syllable vocabulary words. And some math.

I guess that's what I get for wanting my master's... in something other than what I already do, just in case, for someday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I dread parent/teacher conferences. You just never know... This week we both had them.

We both made it through.

I have one more day of school this week. Brad does not. Some schools let you have your conference comp day the week you actually stay at work late two nights for conferences. Crazy idea, huh?! Some school let you have your conference comp day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - when those other schools are out anyway. Hmm...

But dear hubby will bring me lunch at school and then make me ribs for supper. Right, Brad?! 

As for the weekend - Brad to KC. Me at home with some dear friends from college. Can't wait.

And maybe sometime I'll have energy/time to post something worthwhile. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009


Do you ever find out something about someone you've known only recently that makes you want to start over with your relationship with them?

I know this is vague. Today I learned something that made me really stop and think and, this is the tough one, reconsider my actions a little. Am I insensitive? innocent because I didn't know? mean? too easily irritated? too impatient? a horrible person in general? human?

I want a do-over for this. Pretty please. I beat myself up for a few minutes, before realizing that it's okay. It's really not my fault, and no one is blaming me because I honestly didn't know any better. But now I do, so things will change, get better. I'm not sure how, but I will work at it until they do.

I don't get a new chance at this... so now I just have to work really hard to make this chance better. I just needed a little reminder of that, for now and for later.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some days...

Normally, I hate these cutesy caption-y pictures, but if the cats are students' parents... it's just how I feel right now.   


Because some days are like that. Even in Australia.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Mother's Daughter

This is one of my mom's garden beds, the one that wraps around the wrap-around porch. Notice the bed is lined with beautiful Kansas limestone, taken from places where it used to be the foundation of a building, long gone. I hope that someday our bushes and flowers are as full and beautiful and healthy as hers. We're working on it...

This is the before (or so) picture of our backyard. There's pretty much nothing but dirt. We've spent a few weekends working hard.


This is the area right in front of (behind?) the deck. We worked on it a few weekends ago. Notice the beautiful Kansas limestone, taken from places where it used to be the foundation of a building, long gone. (Mom got to it all first, of course, and since we have the same sources, most of the big, square pieces were gone by the time it was my turn.)

 "The corner" before Friday:

"The corner" after Friday:


We worked on this yesterday evening, when the weather was still beautiful with the sun shining. This is where we'll plant a few bushes and some perennials. It will be pretty. Notice the beautiful Kansas limestone, taken from places where it used to be the foundation of a building, long gone.

Despite the 35 degree weather this morning, my mom brought out three Rose of Sharon bushes that volunteered themselves in inconvenient places in her garden.


Thursday, October 8, 2009


Last night I made the meal that fills up my entire dishwasher. (Of course, it always helps when I start with a not-big-enough pan.)

Curry. Be jealous.

I would share the recipe, but I'm feeling too lazy to type it or take a picture of it to upload. Also, my fingers are freezing. But I can tell you that the recipe comes via my sister, Hannah. I think it was discovered in the More With Less cookbook, which means I have at least 3 cookbooks with this recipe.




The pictures do not do it justice. I love curry. It amazes me that Brad does, too.

p.s. am I on a blogging roll this week or what?! 

On books

"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."

--Oscar Wilde
Just a thought. This quotation popped up as  I refreshed over and over, looking for "quotes of the week" for second quarter bell work.
It seemed timely to me because of conversations that have popped up lately. But I won't get into that (no worries, though, just the question of whether or not certain books belong in certain places posed to me for an opinion... not actually a problem of mine). I have pretty strong feelings about book banning and censorship of reading materials. Like that it should not ever happen, especially by public and educational institutions. But for now, I don't need to fight that one anywhere. I'll just work on guiding these kids to think for themselves, when these issues come up.
So thank you to my parents. They are wonderful. They let me read. Whatever I chose. Whenever I chose it (which was usually a few years ahead of my peers, since I was usually intrigued by my sisters' choices, and they were a few years ahead of their peers in taste and reading level). 
Okay, so reading is not the only topic that demonstrates their wonderfulness. It's just the one I choose today.
They also let me stay up until midnight reading. Well, maybe they just didn't stop me, the deviant child. (I laugh - deviance in my childhood was turning on my lamp after bedtime to read. What a nerd.) Instead of worrying about the content of my choices, they worried about teaching me right and wrong and a good way to live. They worried about the content of my character (yes, I did just go there) and nurtured that instead, trusting that by doing this, I would be able to discern which choices were good, even when the characters in my novel choices were not making such decisions. Because of this, I was - and am - able to see the world's shame in the books that might not be "appropriate" and realize that (most of the time and to an extent), the written word is a reflection, and if there were no such thing to reflect, the book would not be written.

I was reading Mary Higgins Clark and John Grisham and heaven remembers what else at this age - the age of my sixth graders, even younger. I'm sure some would say that what I stayed up late in middle and high school to devour is not appropriate. Somehow I made out just fine.

Maybe it's because my parents let me read. Whatever. Whenever. As long as I read. Thanks, mama and daddy. It's such a part of who I am today that I can't imagine any other way.
(p.s. When a character in a book declares to the constable that they will somehow "make out," meaning "be fine," sixth graders giggle hysterically. Even when it's clear that it does not mean what they think it means.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This weekend was Fall Fest at Bethel. It was weird for me, to be back, to see what it is now.

I connected with people I never really thought I'd go back and talk to. I missed some people I really wanted to see - of course, many of them weren't even there.

Bethel was the perfect place. For me. For somewhere around four years, give or take moments. It was where my dearest friends were, where I worked and learned and fellowshiped (which is apparently not a word?!) and grew (and sometimes just showed up at class). It was where I was me. I called it "home." 

But for all of Saturday, I just couldn't shake it. I don't belong there anymore. I'm sure it's natural, but it is still so strange and new to me. My friends aren't there; the last of my lovely modmates graduated in May. I moved away. I broke... no, stretched... my ties to this place. Those connections I felt are weaker now.

I never thought I would feel so much of a sense of belonging here, where I am now, both where I work and where I live. A year ago, we were still finding friends, looking for that attachment. Now, I can't imagine belonging and fitting so well anywhere else, at least for this season of my life.

Belonging is a funny thing. It changes, you know... obviously, or I wouldn't be posting this. Different places are for different times, different chapters, journeys, (insert another cliche of your choice here). Where you are matters, kind of like what you do matters. Almost as much as who you are matters - because even that develops as we move from place to place and grow. And my realizations this weekend make me so much more grateful for the places I do belong right now.  And especially for the one physical place where I always and forever will.

Monday, October 5, 2009


We've had some visitors in my classroom the last few weeks. You may honestly not care much about it, but I am actually pretty excited about how it's worked out so far. I'm feeling a little bit proud of this one. So I'm sharing.

Meet Jesse Tuck, Winnie Foster, Miles Tuck, Mae Tuck, Angus Tuck, and the man in the yellow suit.

We are reading Tuck Everlasting. I adapted this idea from a book I've been reading for our school inservices this year. In groups, the kids created the characters, using the physical descriptions from the novel.

The shapes are the different character traits in the Kansas state standards (other than physical traits): actions, feelings, personality traits, and motives.  As we read, they add.



Character traits are probably my favorite thing to teach. It's even more fun for me now. The kids are excited about "their" character.

Yes, these extra "people" clutter up my classroom. And it does, indeed, happen to be a pain when the kids are in the middle of really loud discussions in their groups. Some days it's a classroom management nightmare. But I know that they are learning the standard, and they will remember it. More than that, they are learning to work together, listen, respect each other, and they are learning that learning is fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

September's Last Sunday

Last Sunday we had supper at mom and dad's, with Jason and Daniel.  After we ate, we took a little walk to Grandma's house.