Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekly Update, and Then Some

* Sunday, October 17, I attended the Belin/Blank International Center for Gifted Education's recognition ceremony at the University of Iowa. Two of my student were being honored, and every student gets to choose a teacher that has impacted their education to be honored with them. It was a lovely ceremony, and each of the approximately 400 students being honored were called across the stage to receive award. We teachers were called with them. It was a wonderful honor to be recognized by these two boys. Another student of mine chose our elementary TAG teacher to honor, so the two of us drove up together. We were proud to be there. Nine guests gave speeches including Senator Charles Grassley and the National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling. It was a lovely afternoon.

* After the ceremony, I hightailed it with my colleague to Des Moines. We spent Monday and Tuesday at the Iowa Talented and Gifted state conference. There were some really big names there in the world of gifted education like George Betts, Nick Colangelo, and Marcia Gentry. It's always such a great conference. It not only gives me new information for the classroom, but it helps restore my vision & beliefs. There are so many things that chip away at what I believe as a teacher of gifted students... No Child Left Behind, being a School in Need of Assistance, building rules, day to day obligations... they all take a toll. I sometimes need to be refreshed among people who have a passion for gifted ed. I always come away invigorated and ready to take on the world. :)

* That same week, I learned of the death of my high school choir director, Lee Spann. This man really influenced my life. I LIVED for choir and drama in high school, so I was with him at least once a day (sometimes 4-5 times a day) for every single day of my high school career. His wife, Idella, is my second favorite teacher of all time. She taught my 8th grade honors English class, and she's probably THE reason I fell in love with teaching middle school. The two of them together made more of an impact on my life than any couple other than my parents. I was honored to be asked to participate in Lee's service last weekend in Omaha. I sang with a couple of different groups. It was great performing with my friend Travis from high school and seeing so many former choir members and A.L. teachers. Lee fought the brave fight against cancer, and his legacy will live on.

* The Hawkeyes made it tough on us against Wisconsin, but Saturday against Michigan State more than made up for it. It was a PERFECT day at Kinnick Stadium with beautiful, sunny fall weather, a raucous crowd, and a huge win for the Hawks. Only one home game left for the Hawkeye Mornin' Crew, and we'll be celebrating in style with steaks before the Hawkeyes play Ohio State.

* This week is conference week... it's always crazy, but I enjoy meeting the parents of my students. I also enjoy having Friday off! :)

We're almost done with Monday, everyone! Have a great week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Poor Dallas Clark

I just posted a clip of Dallas Clark yesterday, and today comes the news that he's out for the season with a wrist injury that requires surgery. The Colts won't be the same without you, #44... get well soon!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, Karma, You Have Humbled Me Once Again...

So, I had a drama queen meltdown a little earlier. I had a "Poor Me" moment. I have since apologized to the party who took the brunt of my little explosion. The apology started with, "I know the third 'That BLOWS!' was overkill. I'm sorry for that." And in SSR (Sustained Silent Reading for those of you not in the world of education) today during Homeroom, I decided to read my devotional/reflection today from the great master, Edward Hays. I have a couple of his books on my Kindle. His words have guided me in many ways at many times.

Here's part of what I read for today, October 14: "Keep my tongue from the propaganda of exaggerating my good works and shrinking my mistakes to midgets. Inspire me to be honest or be silent."

God moment of the day.

Perspective is a humbling thing.


I'm waiting for my karma to kick in. Lately, it's felt like karma is kicking me mockingly in the butt rather than kicking in. I try to always go the extra mile, knowing in my heart that it's going to all come back to me in a good way... Thinking in my heart... Hoping in my heart... Wishing in my heart... ?

I guess it's felt like I'm running on empty this week, and I'm being asked to go 5 extra miles instead of the normal one.

Come on, karma. I'm waiting for you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tum Yum Soup

Tonight at Noodle House, I realized my love for Andrew tastes like Tum Yum Soup. I got teary when I tried to explain it to him. I know it sounds weird. But tonight, as I slurped my bowl of Tum Yum, I was sucked back in time a year ago. I was sick as a dog with H1N1. I can't even remember when I've been that sick before. Andrew fed me every day while I was sick, handing off bags of food through a crack in the door so we wouldn't pass on my infestation. As I started to feel better and to be able to taste more and more and to think about going back to school after missing a week, one of the things that hit the spot was take out Tum Yum Soup that he brought me from Noodle House. That soup tastes like love to me because it reminds me that I'm not alone. I remember feeling so thankful and happy that I had someone to take care of me when I needed it. I didn't need to feel guilty for asking. I didn't need to try to pay him back. I didn't need to do anything but let him love me. So nice. :)

When you've been alone for a long time, nothing tastes better than the love in some Tum Yum Soup.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Love Me Some American Gothic!

I'm proud that Grant Wood is Iowa's artist. I love having the American Gothic house just 15 minutes from where I live. If you're ever coming through southeast Iowa, make sure to stop off at the American Gothic house. They have a wonderful little visitor's center. The best part is that they have costumes that you can use to dress up and have your picture taken in... just like Claire & I did summer before last.

Today one of the blogs I follow showed a fantastic American Gothic-inspired cake... check this baby out at (scroll down a bit on the post to see the American Gothic cake)! Here's to inspiration... hope I find mine today! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend, the Sequel

Friday afternoon: Book Club. Positives: Margo & Amanda from Texas! Negatives: We enjoyed parts of The Zookeeper's Wife, but we unanimously agreed that it would have been better as historical fiction rather than nonfiction. It needed some embellishing!

Saturday: Trip to Mankato, Minnesota! Positives: seeing the amazing Stephen Crisp in one of his finest roles to date (this was the absolute HIGHLIGHT of the trip), Amos Hart in Chicago; dinner at Dino's with Stephen, Jacob, Sarah, Sarah, Shannon, Andrew, & myself; the gorgeous fall colors in the lovely town of Mankato (I really should have looked at this school for my undergrad, but no one could tell me anything at age 18... sorry, Broc!) discovering the most delicious homemade chips at this cute little Mexican restaurant in Mason City; discovering that someone dethroned Nick Saban & the Alabama football team. Negatives: concrete slab of a bed in the hotel... um, that's pretty much it.

Sunday: Home again! Positives: breakfast with everyone at the hotel, more stunning fall views, Andrew buying a new LCD TV at Best Buy (I can't wait to watch the Hawkeyes beat Michigan on that baby!). Negatives: saying goodbye to Stephen (boo hoo), the drive back (the end of a trip always makes me cranky), discovering that the new cable hookup in Andrew's living room doesn't work.

Whew! Tired? I am! And on that note, I'm going to bed!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend

Friday I hitched a ride with my friend Julie and caught a plane from Des Moines to Los Angeles. I had a short layover in Denver, and everything was on time. Bonus. I got in a little before 11:00 that night. Andrew picked me up at the airport in our cute little rental car, and we went to our hotel. We stayed at the Marriott in Burbank which, despite not having wireless internet in the rooms, was very nice. I was exhausted after a long Friday!

Andrew and I ate in the hotel restaurant (pancakes!!!) on Saturday morning and decided to check out the Getty Museum. It was fabulous. You park in a garage that has seven levels below ground. Then, you take a tram up to the museum. You climb the steps and enter a mini city. There are several buildings, and we only saw a smidgeon of what was there, but it was a wonderful way to blow a few hours. We stopped back at the hotel to change clothes before meeting up with my California Cousins.

We all met for a drink and a snack at Chateau Marmont, a Hollywood legend in itself. John Belushi died here, Led Zeppelin rode motorcycles across the lobby here, Jim Morrison jumped out of a window into the swimming pool below here, James Dean and Natalie Wood first read the script for Rebel Without a Cause here. On the way to Chateau Marmont, Andrew and I drove right down Hollywood Blvd., right past Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We had been following our little Mapquest directions, and suddenly, we were surrounded by Hollywood! We had a spirited little reunion in the lobby with Kelly, Kate, & Claire McLeod, Kate's boyfriend Noah, and Claire's friends Nick & Jalon.

After Chateau Marmont, we drove to a fun Italian Restaurant with singing waiters called Miceli's. We met up with the rest of the clan... Aunt Twila, Uncle Ben, T.J. & Randi, Taylor, Claire's friend Allie, and Carol and Larry Kline. We were quite a group. It was such a fun night. I got teary a couple of times, just looking around at this wonderful group of people laughing and eating and enjoying each others' company. I have the best family in the whole world!

We braved the terrible traffic and made it just in time to the theatre (they ended up holding curtain for another 15 minutes for someone else who was caught in traffic, so we really didn't need to hurry so much, but oh well... we made it on time). Seeing another person performing Andrew's Churchill play was surreal. It was wonderful because it was like seeing a child grow up and be on his own for the first time. There were things that we loved, and there are bugs to work out. I think it was a little stressful on Andrew because he knows how he performs it, and this performance was definitely not the way he performs it, but he's going to work with the director this week to help their production go more smoothly. The theatre was a tiny venue, but I think it works for a one-man show. Surreal is the best word I can use to describe the experience.

It was late when we got out of the theatre, and the California Cousins had a long drive back, so we said goodbye. I was so proud to have my family there to support Andrew and his work. It meant so much to me having them there. I really don't have the words. I just felt so blessed. Blessed, blessed, blessed.

Andrew and I were out of the hotel by 7:30 on Sunday morning, and after a day of travel, we were back in Fairfield by 9 that night. It was a frenzied but unforgettable weekend. I'm tired today, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

waiting for the tram at the Getty Museum

at the Getty Museum in my Hawkeye finery... comments from 2 different people... Go Hawks!

Andrew & his ginger beer outside Chateau Marmont

waiting for the California Cousins outside Chateau Marmont

dinner at Miceli's with family & friends

Randi & T.J. at dinner

Kate, Noah, Nick, Allie, Claire, & Jalon at dinner

Aunt Twila & Uncle Ben at the theatre

the proud playwright of Churchill and his adoring fan

Monday, October 4, 2010


It's that time again, ladies and gentlemen...


I'm obsessed, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I had my first one last Thursday, and I'll most likely be eating them every day until I can't find them anymore.

Here's my post about Honeycrisp apples from last year. The sentiments are still the same.
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