Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Pray for You" - super funny song (and video)!

I posted this to facebook, but I thought I'd share it here for those of you who read my blog but don't do facebook. I'm not usually a big fan of country music, but this song is way too funny to let it's genre stop me from listening to it.

More Grad School Miscellany

I've gotten approval from the district to do observations in the classroom.  As an added bonus, one of the teachers I'll be observing is Jamie's reading teacher from last year.  If all goes well, my first observation day will be Oct. 4.  Yesterday, I went and got some comfortable shoes that are dressy enough to wear to church, to do field observations in and for actual teaching, but comfortable enough that standing in them will not be a problem.  I'm also going to go this weekend to find some more professional-looking clothes to wear for observations and once student teaching comes around.  What I currently wear to work is polos embroidered with the company logo and jeans.  I don't think that is quite what the district would want teachers in training to wear!  I'm haunting the thrift stores and looking out for stuff on sale.  I don't want to spend a fortune!

Anyway, I just wanted to add this quick note so you all know I'm not dead and am, indeed, still alive and well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank You, Jessi

I want to give a big THANK YOU to my IRL and blogger friend, Jessi.  A while back, I was begging for slow cooker recipes I could make so Jamie and I could have healthful, home cooked meals that I don't have to spend all night in the kitchen to make.  Jessi responded with a quick, easy recipe for chicken and vegetable soup.  Thursday, I went home early from work sick.  I tried to eat some canned chicken noodle soup, and something about the chicken broth made the nausea worse.  So, I threw the ingredients she listed in my crock pot and let it cook all the rest of that day and we had it for dinner that night.  I'm very glad I made a double batch, because that's the only thing I've been able to eat every day since that didn't make me feel worse.  Again, thank you, Jessi, for giving me such a great, easy recipe!

In case any of you missed it, below is Jessi's recipe.  Changes I've made are added in italics.

Slow cooker Veggie Soup:

3-4 Frozen chicken breasts

2 Large cans mixed veggies (I like to do one cut small and 1 cut large)

1 Bottle of V-8 low sodium

Spices I added to taste:  Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, fresh ground pepper.  I needed to add these because I used low sodium versions of everything.  Jamie and I are eating too much sodium.

Put frozen chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour drained veggies and V-8 over the top. Cook on low for 8 hours. Use a fork to pull out chicken breasts and cut into smaller chunks, then toss 'em back in. Ready to serve. And fabulous. Trust me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Official - I'm Getting Sick

Each September, I get sick.  I don't know if it's allergies attacking me, germs my kid brings home from school, or what, but it never fails that I get downright ill at some point during September.  I've had a few scares this month with getting ill in a 24 hour period or getting a scratchy throat that never turned into something worse, but it all resolved itself fairly quickly enough that I thought I might, just might, slip past the month of September without getting too ill.  But this past weekend, I noticed I was feeling more tired, irritable and discombobulated than normal.  Then yesterday, I felt like I was moving in a fog.  And now today I've started with the coughing, phlegm in my chest, runny nose, body hurting all over, mildly feverish and just generally feeling like crapola.  September, why do you keep doing this to me?!?!?

May I go home and crawl into bed now, please?  Or better yet, would someone please shoot me and then resurrect me when the germs all go away?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Five: Bad Blogger Edition

I've been a bad blogger this week.  My poor blog has, for the most part, sat here lonely and neglected while I was off doing other things.  In no particular order, here's what's kept me away from the blog:

  1. Swimming.  Jamie and I were - due to the lateness of the season - able to get a steeply discounted family membership to a private swimming pool in a nice, quiet neighborhood less than 10 minutes from our house.  We try to go several times a week - that is, when the thunderstorms and rain will let us.  Not that I'm complaining about the rain.  We need it!  Most of the times we go, no one else is there.  Or, if there are other people there, there's only one or two.  I have NEVER seen this pool really crowded.  The last four or five times we've gone, people outside of our group of friends only show up as we're leaving.  It's like having our own private pool, without the maintenance.  I'll be investing in a membership again next year, even if I do have to pay full price.
  2. Homework.  While it's true that grad school homework (so far) is not difficult, and the homework itself is not terribly time consuming, the preparation to do the homework does take up a lot of time.  I'm still working on getting a good system going for tracking what's due when, best organizing my notebooks, filling out all the stinking paperwork to be able to do observations, securing liability insurance (luckily, it's free through an educator's organization I've joined), and looking ahead to see what types of things will have to go in my portfolio.  The portfolio takes the place of the thesis in the Master's program.  I have to contribute items from all my classes into it and then submit it for review to my advisor during my student teaching semester.
  3. Spending Time with Jamie.  When I was an undergrad, I had to be constantly on the computer doing homework, or reading assignments, or whatever.  Jamie felt very left out and neglected.  I was determined that he not feel this way while I'm in grad school.  Since I'm taking fewer classes, and Jamie is involved in more churchly things, and doing more stuff with his BB on the weekends, I am able to do most of my homework and prep while he's off doing other things.  While he's home, I try to spend time with him - whether we're playing Battleship or Monopoly, watching TV together, taking him and his friends somewhere, going swimming, or just doing chores together.  It doesn't matter what we do, as long as I'm paying attention to him.  He told me the other night, "Grad school's not as bad as I thought it would be."
  4. Reading.  I'm a book junkie, and being in grad school hasn't changed that.  I'm still reading 7-10 books a week, on top of my text books and stuff I have to read for work.  I can't seem to inhale them fast enough.  Books I've been reading here lately:  The Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich (thanks for the recommendation, Tooz!), The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris' older mystery series (plural), and too many others to really recall at this moment.  Search Books for Janet Evanovich , Search Books for Rachel Caine, Search Books for Charlaine Harris
  5. Doctor Who/Torchwood.  I'm trying desperately to get all caught up on Doctor Who and Torchwood so I can start watching the 6th Doctor Who season and the 2010 incarnation of Torchwood live on TV when they premiere.  I don't know where I've been for the past several years to miss these shows, but I really want to get all caught up!!!  Luckily, this also falls under the "Spending Time with Jamie" category, as he's as hooked on them as I am!  Search Video on Demand for Doctor Who Season 5, Search Video on Demand for Torchwood
So, that's what's been keeping me away from blogging.  I'm sorry I've been lax to post, but I'll try to do better once I get all my ducks in a row.  So, tell me, what's keeping you busy these days?  Has it affected your blogging or other daily activities?  Let me know in the comments, would ya?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It suddenly dawned on me that four months from yesterday, my son will be a teenager. Oh, Lord, please help me!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

More on Grad School

I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I'm getting a feeling for when I need to start homework in order to have it turned in by the deadline.  I'm figuring out what the professors want from me.  I'm already thinking ahead to classroom observations, paper topics, etc.  And I'm finding a lot of humor.

All of my professors have a Ph.D.  Not a durn one of them can spell.  In some cases, the irony of their errors is hilarious.

From a grading rubric:
I will deduct 10 pts for spelling/grammer mistakes (Oy!)

From a "welcome to the class" announcement (different professor):
I trust that you will profit from the course. I suspect that much of what we do will not become truely useful until that day you face your own students.

From the classroom course calendar (different class):
Calendar is spelled "calender" in both the links to the calendar site and in the file name.

C'mon, people, really?!?!

Now, that being said, I will point out that these professors seem to be very nice people and we engage in lively debate in our online classroom.  I just enjoy poking fun at their errors.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Five: Aging Edition

Despite my occassional jokes about getting older, I don't really think much about it.  In many ways, I don't feel much older than I did in high school.  But there are exceptions.  Listed below are the five major ways in which I have noticed I'm getting older.

  1. My hands.  I NEVER used to need lotion.  No matter what I did to my poor hands, the skin never got dry.  Here lately, my hands get so dry they hurt, so I have to go slather on lotion.  Also, they get dry enough that you can see white, ashy traces of lines all over them if I don't put on lotion several times a day. 
  2. The gray is taking over.  I've been getting gray hairs since 1996, but it was usually only one or two here and there.  Now, I've got enough grays growing in that my natural hair color always looks washed out, and certain areas have so much gray they show up as streaks when I look in the mirror.
  3. Laugh/frown lines. For the most part, my face doesn't look much different than it did in high school (well, except a lot more fat).  But, I'm starting to notice laugh lines around my eyes and frown lines on my forehead that don't immediately go away.  If I look really closely, they don't really go away at all.  I make it a point to not look really closely.
  4. Diet.  I still crave those rich, ooey gooey desserts and greasy pizzas, but find my body exacts revenge later if I do.  So I've been modifying my diet (for the most part).  Sometimes I break down and have a brownie or some pizza, though.
  5. Attitude.  I used to not notice or pay much attention to age differences between me and people in their 20s (or younger).  Now, I notice a VAST difference in our attitudes.  I have very little tolerance for their party-hardy, irresponsible, whiny ways.  I used to just do a mental shrug and figure, "well, they'll grow up eventually."
So, what about you?  Have you started noticing the passage of time?  Do you notice differences in how you feel about things now versus how you felt about things then?  Or have you started using certain phrases that you heard your parents use, and swore you never would?  Let me know in the comments, or talk about it on your blog and leave me a link here so I can go take a gander.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Calling All Cooks! HELP!

Firstly, thanks to you all for the words of encouragement and support on my foray into grad school.  And those of you whom are educators, your advice is much sought and appreciated!  Now, I'm calling on all of you for help again - this time, in the kitchen.

Lest my boy turn into one giant microwaveable chicken nugget dinner full of fat and calories, I'm collecting slow cooker/crock pot recipes that are healthful, nutritious and packed with flavor, but are easy to throw together.  I used to buy a lot of those pre-packaged Crock Pot meals at the grocery, but they never have any in stock, and those meals usually have too much sodium, anyway.  So, I'm trying to make them from scratch.  I will usually wind up prepping the stuff while I'm home on my lunch break during the day.  I do, however, have plans in the near future to see about getting either one or two more slow cookers or the three-in-one slow cooker jobby I saw at that club that belongs to Sam the other day (depending on cost) and cooking up big batches of different dishes to freeze and or refrigerate for us to eat on during the week.  Last night, I made a scrumptious beef stew, and - I have to say - it was 500 times better than all those microwave meals I have in the freezer right now!

So, please, if you are a listed contributor on our recipe blog, please go there soon and leave me some slow cooker recipes!  If you aren't, please leave me a slow cooker recipe either in the comments on this blog or the recipe blog.  My sanity depends on it!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On Grad School

I've had a few "gulp-worthy" moments as I've looked at course materials for the three classes I'm taking this fall.  These include:
  • Noticing that each professor has made up his/her own grading scale (each is different) and it will be a little more difficult to maintain that required "B" average than it was during my undergrad years.  One course says a 94% is the lowest "A" and an 87% the lowest "B", one says 93%/84% and the last  95%/86%.
  • Noticing I have to complete 30 hours of classroom observations.  Trying to balance that with my work schedule may be tricky.  I'm hoping they don't assign me to do a few hours here and a few hours there.  I specifically stated that I need to do 4 or 5 full days of observation rather than a few hours every week.
  • Noticing how much reading and writing I'm going to be doing, and trying to balance that with Jamie's need for my time and attention.  Basically, I'll be doing a lot of my school work after he goes to bed at 9 p.m. (on a good night) and on the weekends when he's off with friends or with his BB.
Luckily, there are also several things working in my favor on this.  Two of my textbooks are online, so I can (during slow times at work) do some of my required reading at the office.  Also, all my professors have different days on which each week's assignments are due.  This means I won't be scrambling trying to get it all done at once.  It will be possible for me to designate certain nights for certain subjects.  Life is much easier for me when I compartmentalize this way.  Despite all the times I've had to go *gulp* while looking over my courses, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about my first semester.  Of course, that could change the first day I do observations. ;-)  I'll be sure to keep you all updated on how it's going!