Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Well, it will be when....

finals and study guides are written,
finals are graded and
semester grades are complete!

Until then, I'm not that crazy about this wonderful time of the year!  (You can call me the Scrooge of finals week.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tiny Town High Christmas Fun

Today is "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" day.  Ugly Christmas sweaters and Santa hats will be the dress of the day for students and staff alike.

To top it off, we are enjoying the Tiny Town High tradition of Long Lunch.  This is a holdover from our first year in the trailers after the tornado.  We run an 8 period schedule.  With seven classes, that means that the hour in the middle of the day (which is long anyway because of split lunch schedules) is one long extended lunch period.  Seniors, who have open lunch every day, can travel to restaurants and enjoy a long leisurely lunch.  Underclassmen can eat at school, but many choose to grill in the parking lot.  They toss footballs and frisbees outside, play board games or card games inside, and enjoy games of pickup basketball in the gym.

The teachers pay for a catered lunch.  For the first time this year, we will all enjoy the same lunch period. 

Today is a good reminder that there is more to this time of year than just semester finals.  (We're saving that fun for next week.)

So yes, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry Christmas to Me

 Our school district always has a Christmas Open House.  The Central Office staff provides Christmas goodies and punch.  The food is wonderful and the time to socialize is appreciated.  As an added perk, there are drawings for free gifts.  Last year I won a mascot plant hanger for the yard.  I'm not usually lucky, so it was a nice surprise.

This year, the Superintendent added a "free" day.  She drew names and two lucky teachers would each win a free day--and she would be the substitute in our classroom that day.  Does she know what teachers need most or what?  It truly is a thoughtful gift.

And guess what?  She drew my name!  (I kinda feel like I should go buy a lottery ticket now!) 

I'm not sure what day yet, but sometime soon, the Superintendent will be my overly qualified substitute teacher. Woo hoo!!

And now I feel like Christmas came a bit early this year.  Merry Christmas to me!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Don't I Wish!

I wish...
      my house would be self cleaning
      papers graded themselves
      little E and his momma and daddy lived closer
      Christmas goodies were diet food
      that Tiny Town's water tasted better
      I had unlimited time and funds to travel
      that a person could be paid for sleeping or reading
      teenagers made better decisions
      mean people would get what they deserve
      and that money really did grow on trees

So if anybody has a magic genie, send him my way!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Tiny Town Christmas

Christmas Season in Tiny Town:

Home owners leave their Christmas lights on all night, so jogging or walking in the morning is quite festive.

At school we always have music to warn students that passing period is about over.  This time of year, we have Christmas music.  (Which then forces me to finish the song for my classes. Yeah, they are sooo ready for Christmas to be over!)

There is a community music concert and live nativity on a Sunday night in December.

Santa arrives on a firetruck on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Kids sit on his lap, and he gives out paper bags with peanuts, candy, and an orange.  (Just like when I was a kid.)

At Christmas Eve services we ring the sanctuary in candlelight.  (Just like when I was a kid.)

And that is probably why I love Christmas in Tiny Town.  Some traditions are too good to give up.

Now, if it would just snow!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Nights

Do you suppose there will ever come a time in my life where I look forward to Sunday evenings?

Right now, I'm guessing that isn't happening.

As a kid, I'd put off homework until Sunday night.  Then, one of two things happened. I either spent the evening doing the assignment (blah!), or I wouldn't do it at all--and then worried about the fact that I hadn't done it.

Now, I spend Sunday evenings working on lesson plans or grading papers.  If I make the decision to let something slide, I worry about the fact that I didn't finish what I needed to.

Throw in finishing the laundry, and Sunday evenings are about as much fun as going to the dentist.  And boy do I dread those trips.

I had a friend who used to go to the movies every Sunday night.  It was her way of extending her weekend as much as she could.  Smart lady.  I'm pretty sure she looked forward to Sunday evenings and the weekly date with her husband.  Me?  I'd spend the entire movie worrying about what I should be doing.

So...Sunday nights are spent half listening to The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, or The Newsroom, while most of my focus is on grading, writing tests, or working on lesson plans. 

Someday (in about ten years), I'd like to work at a job where I walk out the door at the end of the day and don't have to do a thing.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Silence is Golden

Yes, Easy Street has been ignored (neglected?) lately and so has Facebook.  After my stroke I remember thinking that life is too short to deal with rude people.  Facebook is just depressing sometimes, and even the blog can make me an easy target for rudeness.  I do a pretty good job of avoiding the negative and thoughtless people in my daily life; it is harder to avoid through social media.  However, kid sister in California has been bugging me about blogging again, so here goes...

*Teaching is hard work this year; new textbooks, College and Career Readiness Standards, and Standard Based Grading all seem to be kicking my buns. (This is also the year of my formal evaluation.)  I spend quite a bit of my time at home working on formative tests and teaching activities.  I'm hoping that all of the work this year pays off next year.  I hope I won't have to reinvent the wheel every year.

*Christmas decorations are up on Easy Street.  Last year I threw out my 30 year old, incredibly awesome artificial tree.  (Branches were breaking off, and it was time to go.)  Several years ago K had purchased a $30 pre lit tree and hated it.  I bought it from her and used it at school.  This year, I brought it home, and now it looks like we are sporting a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  It kind of cracks me up, but the tree is growing one me and it looks great in a dark room!  The outdoor lights just went up today. The Mr. is quite handy with a staple gun. I need to take pictures of his handiwork. (Now if I could remember where I put the timer for the lights...!)

*K, L, CB, and I all did a little Black Friday shopping at 10:00 Thanksgiving evening. The Mr. and CT made the "sacrifice" and stayed home.  All the children were in bed, and the Mr. babysat on Easy Street, while CT was in charge of the Bug.  I managed to do the majority of my shopping that evening.  We missed the early crowds. The stores were relatively empty, with no lines and front door parking. The clerks were cheerful and helpful. Today, I managed to wrap those gifts, too. 

*A month ago at a routine Dr. appointment, they discovered that I have some microscopic blood in my urine.  They sent me on to a urologist who insisted on a CT scan of my kidneys.  That showed nothing, so they did a cystoscopy of my bladder.  That cystoscopy was less than pleasant, but they found nothing there either.  I'm pretty sure I have met my medical deductible for the year, but the bills haven't arrived yet.  I think they checked the two major things they were worried about, so that might be the end of testing.

*The Mr. is working on his deductible, too.  He met with his heart Dr. and had a good report; however, a pinched nerve in his leg is really bothering him.  He is looking into that this week.  (A blood clot has already been ruled out.)

*My new boss (K) has organized a month of Christmas fun for the faculty.  "We'll Have A Blue Monday" means the teachers can wear blue jeans on Monday.  "Frosty the Cookie" means sugary treats.  There are several others that are all linked to Christmas songs.  We have only ten days left in this semester.  I wish my new boss could figure out some way to make writing and grading finals fun.  There is still quite a bit to do before the two week break.

*The grandkids were so much fun at Thanksgiving.  E loves playing "Night night----Morning!"  L loved it when she was little, too.  His laugh is so contagious.  The Bug has been singing Frozen songs to wake up her mommy: "Mommy, are you in there?  People asking where you been...."  She's a little nut.

*In the hearing aid saga, I finally decided to suck it up and buy them.  (Yes, that sounds like my HS kids.)  I'm on the payment plan, and it is almost like having a car payment.  *sigh   On the other hand, the day before my month trial was up I didn't wear themt at school.  (Just wanted to see if I really needed them.)  It was a miserable day. them I did.  (So much for a new iPhone!)  Maybe my students will hold a bake sale to help me pay the things off! 

As for some fun...
       House of Eliott, a series somewhat like Downton Abbey (borrowed the box set from the Mr.'s cousins)
              Mom's carrot Christmas ornament hanging on my tree
                     Gingersnaps--oh how I love them!
                            Pumpkin spice coffee creamer
                                      a charm for my bracelet to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Girls Weekend
                                              Zumba workout to Christmas music
                                                      Snowmen glasses and Reindeer plates
                                                              Seat warmers in a cold car
                                                                          Evening drives to see the Christmas lights of Tiny Town
Now if it would just snow...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


*I'm back from a Girls Weekend in Chicago with two High School friends. We had a great time--and my sweet Cousin A came up and went to breakfast with us.  Her tips for things to do in Chicago were spot on.  My favorite was the Walnut Room in the old Marshall Field, now Macy's, store.

*I'm a week into the month-long trial period with the hearing aids.  (Only a day or two of that has been at school.)  I am saying "Excuse me??" a whole lot less.

*Today, the staff is wearing jeans.  Well, we are if we donate $5 to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Kind of a way to continue what has now been a five-day Veterans Day celebration.  Tiny Town Schools do it right.

I promise I will be back one of these days.  Well, I will be after the meetings, the grading, the moderating for a Scholars' Bowl tournament, a Buggie sleepover, and a Craft Show.....  Yeah, it will be awhile.

We're alive and well on Easy Street--just incredibly busy.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It Goes Too Darn Fast

Little Big E is one today.  Such a sweet little face!

His favorite activities are walking and squealing.  The walking is almost a run.  The squealing is loud--and joyful, unless it isn't.  (Squeals mean I'm hungry, I'm hurt, I'm happy, and pay attention to me.)

Actually, he is such a sweet little guy, that I don't believe any of Momma's stories saying otherwise.
Big brown eyes
Curly hair
Two teeth
Lots of drool
And the sweetest smiles!

Happy 1st Birthday, Big E.  Love you to the moon and back!

Saturday, November 1, 2014


*Survived Parent/Teacher Conference Week

*Survived Halloween Day at school. (Even High School kids love wearing costumes to school.  They also enjoy the sugar buzz a little too much.)
My students informed me that it was hard to take me seriously with the spinning shamrocks on my headband.  Yes, so what is their excuse the other 179 days of the year?

*The new assistant principal survived her first Halloween without being egged or tormented by disgruntled students.

Dorothy and the Turtle
Love these two!

It was a cool Halloween night.  The turtle looked warm enough, but Dorothy needed long sleeves, tights, and a sweater.  

*And now to survive a really cold U town game tonight.  I'm digging out the long underwear and ski socks. 

Since this week has been all about survival, next week is all about the four day weekend that follows.  I can't wait!