Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A New Understanding

Now I can understand everything my boyfriend says. I have found the perfect translation site: The Septic's Companion: A British Slang Dictionary with Audio Pronunciations. Andrew and I had fun last night looking at all the different terms. I had heard a lot of them before, but now when I hear them, I can look them up and see what they really mean instead of nodding and smiling politely. Plus, it's just an entertaining site. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Settlers of Catan

I like to keep up on board games, but I'd never heard of Settlers of Catan until recently. It's FUN!!! Andrew, Holly, and I have played twice this week, and I'm getting addicted. It's great because, unlike a lot of games, the board changes every time. Every game is new. There is skill involved, but there is a lot of luck too. Sometimes the dice have a lot to do with the game. You can build settlements and cities, you can barter for resources, you can claim ports... it's a blast. I feel there has to be a curriculum connection somewhere. I need to run it past the social studies teachers and see what they think. I think the GOAL kids would love it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Current Obsession

For some reason, I am currently addicted to Ching Dow's Moo Shu Vegetables. I think I could eat them for every single meal. Forever.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Whole LOTTA Cans & Bottles

I had a lot of cans & bottles in my garage... actually about 10 years worth. Today Andrew & I took them to the can redemption center in Mount Pleasant. That's the closest place, as far as I can tell in my research. Here in Iowa, we pay an extra nickel deposit on every can & bottle, but... the state is making it harder and harder to redeem those cans & bottles. Most places don't take very many at a time, and they have to be sorted, put into flats, and counted ahead of time. So (I know it shocks those of you who know me that I would actually procrastinate... HA), I put it off.

We had to just recycle the water bottles because the redemption center doesn't take those, but they did take $33.10 worth of my recycling today. That's 662 cans & bottles, for those of you who are counting. I'd guess I had at least 800 in my garage with the water bottles & the ones I just put in my recycling bin in Phase I of garage cleaning 2011.

It was work to get it done, but the $33.10 paid for our gas over there and for lunch at Little Mexico on the Mount Pleasant square, which was delightful, by the way. And, to channel my inner Kenny Nelson, I'd never just throw $33.10 out into the road, so I guess it was worth the effort. The guy at the redemption center even gave us some official bags, so I can sort now, and the next time, it will be much easier. It kind of makes me want to start drinking Diet Mountain Dew again. Who am I kidding? I want to start drinking Diet Mountain Dew every single day of my life. Stupid ulcer that can't handle stupid caffeine. Not drinking pop is seriously going to diminish the can intake in the garage. And that's probably a good thing.

My overall feeling, though, is that it's time to get rid of the 5-cent deposit/refund in Iowa. When they started the refund, there was no curbside recycling and a lot more litter. Times have changed! It's much easier now to just put the cans in the recycling bin instead of saving them and trying to get someone to take them. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day One: Check

Great first day of school. It was hotter than Hades, but at least my room is downstairs. I can't complain. I taught upstairs for 9 years, so I remember it well, and I feel for the teachers up there. The first day is always crazy, but I seem to have really good kids. My language arts class is totally full... not even a spare desk for me to sit in the circle with the kids. That's probably going to be my biggest challenge. It was great to see my GOAL kids again and to get to know my new 6th grade GOAL students. I think we'll have a lot of fun.

I already feel like I'm behind, so I guess things are back to normal!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm fragile today... overwhelmed and on the verge of tears most of the day. Lots of crappy news this afternoon, and even more tonight. In between, I had some nice moments of lunch with friends and a picnic with the Fairfield Middle School staff. I even got my baby fix at the picnic. Yet, I'm still fragile.

Ever just want to run away? I get that feeling sometimes, and I have it tonight. I just want to go far. Far. I won't run though. Tomorrow's the first day of school, and I love the first day of school. I love labeling the folders and checking out the textbooks and all that good stuff. Tomorrow will be a good day.

But tonight, I'm fragile.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poor Puppy

I had a very emotional week this week with my poor little puppy, Avery. He just really didn't seem himself after I got back from the Fair. He was lethargic, he didn't want to eat or drink, and the worst sign was that he didn't want to play! If you've met Avery, you know he could play fetch with his toys 23 hours a day, just taking an hour break for eating, peeing, and napping. I knew something was really wrong. Avery's ears and tail were down, and he was just looking at me with the saddest pleading expression. Wednesday, I took him to the vet. His white count was very low, and he was running a fever. The vet decided to do an x-ray the next day. A "density" was discovered in the area of his pancreas. My vet said it could be an acute infection that had so far not responded to antibiotics (he'd been on them for 24 hours at this point), or... !!! Let's just say that if it were pancreatic cancer, that diagnosis is just as bad in the dog world as in the human world.

Thursday, he was no better. They gave him IV nutrition and antibiotics. I took him home because I couldn't bear the thought of him spending the night there. I was facing some scary decisions. I had some options of going to Cedar Rapids and trying an ultrasound and more extensive testing. Not fun.

Friday morning, my vet came in on his day off and gave Avery more IV antibiotic and fluids. He also fed him some critical care canned dog food which was the first food Avery had really eaten since Sunday. I went to work preparing for the worst...

Friday afternoon, I picked Avery up from the vet, and he had his ears up, and his tail was wagging. He jumped excitedly when he saw me... a spark of life!!! My vet and I decided to watch him over the weekend to see how he does before we make any more decisions. On Friday night, he brought his toy for Andrew and me to throw. Hallelujah! The weekend has shown steady improvement. He's been eating (even a little dry dog food in addition to the canned), drinking, and playing. He's still pretty tired, but he has his old happy expression back. I am guardedly optimistic that it was just a pancreatic infection, and it's getting under control. Thank you, Dr. Wiegert, for being the best vet ever and helping Avery (and me) through this scary time. We may not be out of the woods yet, but I'm just so glad he's feeling better!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'Twas the Week Before School...

It's that time of year... I've been working in my classroom (not long enough, not getting enough done, starting to panic... everything is normal). We haven't been able to get in the building all summer because of asbestos removal, but I was able to pick up my keys last Friday. I've been in twice since then, and I had some student helpers today, so I got more accomplished. I have a new principal, and our district has a new superintendent. I feel excited about this school year. I'm starting the year with a unit on comics. It's a new unit, and I got some great curriculum ideas in a class I took this summer at University of Iowa. My 6th grade class is larger than normal, but I actually have a planning period this year, so I'm excited! I won't know what to do with myself!

This is the final weekend for A Time Out of Rhyme. It's been a good run, and I'm really glad I did it. Mother Goose is a fun part to play, but it's not too stressful. I'm only on for the first two scenes and again at the very end. I have a lot of down time... so much that I've been crocheting a ton. I actually finished Elora's baby blanket. She turns 4 in September. Better late than never, right? :)
Here's a picture of the set, unlit & without media, but you get the idea... you can also see Tom's (Captain Hook's) feet in the glare of the stage left book)... picture hog. ;)

I start school on Friday, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I'll miss sitting with Suzanne though. It's a tradition! She was hired in Fairfield the same year I was, so I've never had a school year without her until now. Boo hoo. I miss my friend!

This was a random post, but my focus has been divided. This is probably not a good thing at the beginning of the school year... oops!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Iowa State Fair

I can hardly describe how much I love the Iowa State Fair. I have so many happy memories on those fairgrounds. Tracy & I met in Altoona and spent the night at Jason & Suzanne's. It was nice to see the whole Kurth family. We went to the Fair for a couple of hours on Sunday night. We saw the fireworks and people watched. I had my first lemonade and a pork chop on a stick. But, the event of the evening was trying the new Fair "treat," fried butter on a stick. Tracy & I split it, and I think even half of that thing was 2 bites too many. It's half a stick of butter on a stick, dipped in honey, dipped in cinnamon batter, deep fried, and drizzled with icing. It tasted like a cinnamon roll-flavored pancake soaked in melted butter. It didn't taste bad, but it's definitely not something I'd eat again. It's always fun to try the new Fair food though!

Tracy and I love the Skylift, and we rode it twice. There's no better view of the Fair, and there was a beautiful breeze.

Lemonade is my very favorite thing at the Fair, and here is the traditional picture of me drinking a cherry lemonade. There is only one stand that makes these (that I know of). I always have to go there!

It was such a nice day that not many people were hanging out in the Varied Industries building. We walked right through. Since it's the 100th birthday of the Butter Cow, there were lots of fun things around the Fair to celebrate. Here's a Butter Cow made completely of canned goods!

Tracy & I used the photobooths in the Varied Industries Building, and it was a time warp right back to Midlands Mall in Council Bluffs. We had a ball, as you can tell from the pics.

Some other highlights were: the best corn dog ever, sampling Iowa beers, watching grape stomping (they never called our names... boo), everything in the Cultural Building (love the big sand castle & the tie dye the most), listening to the 34th Army Band from Fairfield, apple cider slush, seeing the amazing draft horses, and drinking more lemonades. I can't wait until next year... our State Fair is the BEST state fair!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being a Grown-Up Sucks

I haven't written in ages! I set the goal for myself that I would post anything new until I had documented my entire U.K. trip. Hm. I just can't seem to take the 5 hours it would take to type that stuff. I still want to do it, but I can't just not write until then!

Yesterday, I had a grown-up lady kind of day. Skip this paragraph if you're squeamish. Pap smear, blood draw, and my first ever mammogram. Um... OW!!!!!!!! And, I mean... OW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This might be TMI, but no female should ever have to see her breast like that. Seriously. The only upside to it was I thought I was just making an appointment, but since they could get me in right then, I didn't have time to freak out about it. It was also convenient because it was in the same building as my ob/gyn. I had a new ob/gyn yesterday. I really liked her, but she is 12. At least she looked 12. A 12-year-old Barbie lookalike. Luckily, she's a 12-year-old Barbie lookalike who really knows her stuff. She made me feel very comfortable.

I treated myself to lunch after that ordeal at Noodles & Company. Fun place. I also had a Cake & Shake from Coldstone Creamery. I was NAUGHTY! But it was mmm mmm good!

OK. Enough grown-up lady stuff. Sorry about that. I've been rehearsing for a show called Time Out of Rhyme which opens Friday. I'm playing Mother Goose. It's a fun, small part with a lot of down time. I'm finally finishing Elora's baby blanket. Good thing, since she's turning 4 in September! I really love crocheting. I wish I had an hour or two every day in my real life where I could sit down and do it.

School starts next Friday for me. We haven't been able to get into our classrooms at all because of asbestos removal. It's kind of nice, because I have no reason to feel guilty. Usually during this time of year, I'm feeling like I need to be at school all the time, and I hardly enjoy the last couple of weeks.

My very last hurrah of the summer will be a day at the State Fair with Tracy... YEE HAW!!!! Lemonade, here I come!
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