Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow Dance

I saw hope today, in the eyes of my students.

This happens every time there's some winter weather forecasted. And, unfortunately, in my year and a half on the teaching side of this life, it's always ended in disappointment.

Today, though, I told some of them to do a snow dance, like a rain dance. Yep. They sure did. If it's going to be this darn cold, it really does need to snow enough to get us out of school...

But, even if I crawl out of bed tomorrow at 6:01 a.m. and dig a path down the driveway for the car to head to school and teach disappointed, distracted 11- and 12-year-olds once again, the hope takes me back... to the snow days of my childhood. (Yes, I am old enough to refer to my childhood. I am also young enough to remember it.)

Without fail, every single time school was canceled, Dad would crack open my door and say, "Stay in bed. No school today."

Oh, how I long to hear those words again.

Maybe I'll go dance in the living room.

Monday, January 25, 2010

No Lies

I just spent about 45 minutes working out. In the study. To youtube exercise videos. Yes, I did break a sweat. I even felt some muscles I haven't felt in a while - I think I might actually be a little sore tomorrow.

I'm just sick of having to put on tons of layers to go outside and walk/run - and then there's that feeling you get, like your body wants to sweat but it's too cold. You know what I mean. This is still free (I have this thing - I hate paying to work out), and it's different.

Remember when you were little and you took birthday treats to school? I may not be little, but I can still take birthday treats... it's only fair, since a few of my co-workers bought me a surprise pizza lunch. And some dear friends got me a Jaguar Snuggie (apparently for my "wild side," as the box advertises). And one of my kids had her mom make me a necklace.


And to think, some people make fun of how much I love my birthday. Embrace it, people. Embrace it. (Sorry, no picture of the Snuggie.)

I'm ready for spring. Christmas is long gone. My birthday has passed. And now it's time for some warm weather, sunshine, and green things. Several of the goals on my list involve warmer weather and the great outdoors. Anyone else need a good dose of 70-degree weather?

p.s. those are the buds on one of my African violets. Yep. It's getting there...

I'm starting to think that I take too many pictures. No, not that I take too many - that I have fallen into the habit of doing nothing with them after I upload them. I used to scrapbook. And I do have a couple long-term, but simple, scrapbook projects (one of our home and a coaching career one for Brad's basketball), but other than that... What do you do with your pictures?! Print them? Scrapbook them? Just blog them? Leave them on your camera for the next three years (ahem, mom)?! Seriously, I need suggestions. More suggestions than I got for my birthday list...

I was sick last week. Sore throat, stuffy nose, persistent cough. So on Friday, we bought a humidifier, and it works pretty darn well. This is not your mother's humidifier. I don't know about your parents, but mine had some pretty basic ones - thick plastic tank with a brown 'spout' that you turned on with the switch on the cord.

This one has three speeds. At least, the box said it had three speeds. We have since discovered that one of those "speeds" is off. Does that really count?!

So there you have it. Lots of random stories. But not a lie among them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

25: The List

I'm sorry. This was supposed to post this morning at 7:36. I don't know what happened. In any case, here it is now...

As promised, my list of 25 things to do in my 25th year of life in no particular order (a.k.a. 25 fun things to blog about!)...

1. have a garage sale at our house
2. finish black and white quilt (in progress: quilting it!)
3. start grad school
4. take and print wheat pictures
5. donate old camera
6. sew a skirt for myself
7. plant a tree (we actually planted two)
8. grow a big vegetable garden (fill all four beds)
9. can salsa and possibly tomatoes/tomato sauce
10. catch up with Brad's basketball book
11. make braided cinnamon bread
12. touch up ceiling paint mistakes and stains (in progress: bleached the water stains on the ceiling. need to get paint for the paint mistakes)
13. fix kitchen drawer, or persuade Brad to do it for me
14. make a fray blanket with mom
15. write down Christmas memories
16. make something old/ugly/cheap into something nice (in progress)
17. find a completely new recipe that both of us love
18. organize coat closet
19. plan/run VBS
20. visit Sarah and Jamie in Seattle
21. take Brad to a Wingnuts game (fail.... oops.)
22. get my African violets to bloom
23. try seafood
24. plan and go on a Kansas day trip
25. have dinner guests (not family members - ones I will actually clean for)
And there you have it. Some things are very exciting. Some things are not at all interesting.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I hope that you, faithful blog reader, have not felt neglected lately. And I hope that you, Grandma, have not been too disappointed when you checked the blog every day all week long and I hardly posted anything.

It's just that... well... there's not much to say about life these days.

I mean, do you want to read all about the cookies I baked Wednesday evening? The daily routine? My days with curly hair? The horror that was supposed to be a basketball game Friday night? How we sort of spy on the people who come to look at our neighbors' house that's on the market? The illness that has overtaken my supposed-to-be-relaxing three-day weekend? The pastoral candidating weekend at church? How I'm starting to freak out about VBS? How Brad's playing against the Harlem Ambassadors tonight at 7, but I won't be there... because I'm not really a pleasant person when I can't breathe? The test that my students are taking tomorrow? Anything strike your fancy? Seriously?

That's what I thought. There's nothing. So if there's nothing here, it's not because I don't want to be your entertainment. It's just that I have nothing to entertain you with. My apologies. I'll try to do better at living an exciting life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lunch break...

Some days I am grateful for the ugly Kansas winters, because they produce beauty like this:




Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I know, I know.

It's been two whole days without a post. But isn't life good anyway, even without me for entertainment? 

Today, during my lunch break, I went outside and took pictures. Of the hoarfrost. That's when fog freezes, and it is beautiful. (When you're telling your coworkers what it's called, you should spell it. Just fyi.) I must be crazy. In my defense, it was colder than the person who told me to go take them told me it would be.

Someday, I'll post those pretty pictures... some... day...

In the meantime, just konw that I'm still here. Somewhere. No need to worry. And my birthday is only nine days away. (I may have mentioned once that I love, and plan to always always love, that day?) And I'm still waiting on suggestions for that list of mine...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hard Battle

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato

Last Monday, I posted this quotation here with no explanation other than that it had been on my mind.

As some of you know, Brad's grandfather passed away early last Tuesday morning. Fred (Fritz) had battled cancer off and on for many, many years. They found a large tumor on his lung just a month or so ago.

Every time we go up to visit Brad's parents, we try to stop in Emporia to see Grandma and Grandpa. At our last visit, just before they found this tumor, he confided in us that he no longer wanted treatment for anything they found. He had fought long enough. He had made his peace. He lived a good, long life. It was just time.

So when they found the tumor, he, with his doctors and his wife, made that decision.

Over Christmas, we had a change to spend time with Fritz. He was doing well. But it was hard.

It was hard to say good-bye that day, knowing we may not see him again.

It was hard to hear, one week ago, that his hospice nurse thought he would not make it through the week.

It was hard to hold in the sobs on Tuesday when I told my co-workers why I wasn't myself.

It was hard to admit that it is good, because he is in a better place, where he will not suffer anymore. 

It was hard to say good-bye and leave, despite the freezing temperatures at the cemetery.

It is hard for me to sit here and write this, fighting back tears even now, when I thought I would finally be able to write.

During the funeral mass, the priest spoke highly of Fred. But then, who wouldn't? The piece that stuck with me, though, was his comment about Fred's eyes.

You see, long before I ever knew him, Fred had throat cancer and had his voice box removed. He spoke through an electronic device. He didn't speak much. He didn't need to. His eyes spoke volumes more than his voice ever could have.

His eyes were alive, with intelligence. Understanding. Interest. Caring. Sincerity. Love.

My words here on this page seem inadequate to explain to you what a wonderful man we lost last week. And so.

It is good to think of the legacy Fred left behind - a wonderful wife, three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

It is good to think of what he accomplished - teacher, administrator, principal, author, husband, father, grandfather...

It is good to think of the lives he touched, students and friends and family.

It is good to think of how many he loved, and how much he loved them (myself included).

It is good to think of how alive he was, and the peaceful eternity that lies ahead.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thought for the Monday

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato

This quotation has been in my head for the last few days. Just want to share. I wish I had the energy to write something thought-provoking today. But I am drained. And it wasn't just because of the first day back to school - life is catching up.

Don't you have those days when you just feel like writing? But nothing you have to write about seems like it matters so you just write the random things that pop into your head, mostly to entertain yourself? Or, the things you have to write about that are deep and thoughtful require more energy (because you rewrite every sentence five times before you feel even slightly settled about it) than you can devote to them right before supper?

I knew it. We can be friends after all.

I never posted anything about the new year. It's already January 4. When you lie on your couch in your flannel snowflake pants all evening watching Marley and Me, followed by CSI (why, the original, of course, it's the only one worth watching), and are so zoned out that you end up in bed at 10 p.m., it seems a little anticlimactic. (Yes, folks, it's still a whole 16.5 days until I achieve the ripe old age of 24.)

And when you have never in your life made a New Year's resolution, there's not much to write about.

I do need some help, though. Yes, from you.

I'm making a list. (Here goes my Type A again.) I've seen it around. It's a list of 25 things to do in my 25th year. Because, you know, that's starting soon. Why? Because I like lists. And it seems like it would give me lots of fun things to blog about, which would hush the masses who use me for entertainment.

The problem is that I'm two things short. Of course, if you have more than two awesome suggestions, I will definitely file them away for future reference or extras if I make my 25 early. Or maybe replace that one about eating seafood... Or maybe just do them for fun... So, all you blog stalkers/lurkers out there who know me well because of this site even though I have no clue you even read my ramblings, it's time to comment. Do it. You know you want to. I mean, here's your chance to suggest that I spend a year not writing rambling, random posts like this one.

I will also accept submissions via facebook, text message, or phone call if you are unable to comment. But I need them soon. My birthday's coming up, in case you haven't heard.

Random story: I excitedly said to my coworkers today, "Only 17 more days until my birthday!" They told me I was acting like a sixth grader. I may or may not have bounced up and down a little bit as I said it. I might maybe love my birthday.

p.s. I must first say. There are a couple of things that are off-limits: read x # of books, because I'll do that anyway. AND... have a kid. Not. Gonna. Happen. Don't even try - it's actually not funny. I'll make the blog private and not invite you (ahem, Barb?). There are a number of other things that I will not do, but I don't need to list all of those - I will just use my veto power.

p.p.s. Aunts Ellen and Liz - the orzo recipe is in the next post down. I just want to make sure you don't miss it while you're striving to think of fantastic activities to round out my list.

p.p.p.s. I feel like this post makes me sound a little psychotic. Does it? I'm serious here. I need to know.

Orzo Salad

For my aunts...

Orzo Salad
1 bag orzo
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of 2 limes (or whatever amount of lime juice you want to dump in)
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 can black beans
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper

Prepare orzo, following directions on the package.

In small bowl, mix olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes.

Combine orzo, beans, tomatoes, and onions.

Toss with dressing and cilantro.

You can also add corn. And, if you know how I cook, you know that recipes are suggestions/just a list of ingredients to put together - I basically dump things into the bowl in whatever amounts look proportionate to me. Maybe that's why I'm not all that good at cooking?! :) Enjoy!

p.s. this recipe makes a LOT, so be prepared. Take it to a family gathering where you know lots of people will ooh and aah over it as they eat.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just in case...

Just in case you, like me, are (sort of) in charge of Vacation Bible School this summer...

Themes you can choose for your 2010 VBS:

-Hero Headquarters
-High Seas Expedition
-SonRock Kids Camp
-Planet Zoom
-SonQuest Rainforest
-Crocodile Dock

Just by reading some of those titles, it's a little tough to tell that it's VBS stuff. Come on. Planet Zoom? I mean, shouldn't it at least mention God or church or something?! But that list doesn't include my current favorite:
-Step Up and Go Green for Jesus

I'm only kidding a tiny bit here. (It's the whole "for Jesus" part that gets me. I don't know why - it just sounds a little bit comical.) But really. One week of Vacation Bible School all about being good stewards of God's creation?! It sounds good to me.

The other viable option is the curriculum published by the Mennonite Publishing Network. I'm a big fan of this stuff every year, at least since I spent those five weeks teaching VBS in various locations... This year it's Meet God on the Mountain. I especially like this one because it has samples of different pieces of the curriculum that you can preview and music to listen to. And it's Mennonite, which my church happens to be. And... I just like it.

Good thing I don't have to decide all by myself... I think.