Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ode to My Uggs

Oh how I do love thee! With your real sheepskin lining and your charcoal suede outside. You were so coy with your hideous appearance! So much so that I wouldn't give you a second look. No,I would not wear those! Until happenstance landed you under my Christmas tree. Oh you are sly! Sly like a wolf. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Soft, cozy, comfortable sheep clothing. Baaaaaa...

I will never doubt you again.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Christmas is always a mixed blessing. I love the lead up to it. Not the gifts or the crazy frenzy per se. Rather, I love the feeling of this time of year. The joy of the season, the kindness of others and the stopping and appreciating those around you.

And so on this Christmas Night, I say to all who would be reading this. Merry Christmas to you, my family and friends. I am so thankful for you all. My life is richer and more blessed because you are in it.

And those who have recently replanted their roots back here. You have brought me light again and I will strive everyday to show you just how much you mean to me. I love you all.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Shirts Ever!

Tomorrow night is Chowda Fest 2010 at the Casa de Ross. Imagine my delight after wading through the interstate exchange that is the checkout stand at Kohl's today to discover these two t-shirts near the door.

Not only are they paying tribute to our favorite Christmas movie of all time, but they answer the pressing question of the day "what will we wear to our party".

Imagine my surprise when I brought them home and Sean just sort of looks at me like I must be kidding. He assures me he will wear it and he likes it, but I'm just not feeling the love. I just don't get it. I ask you..what's not to love here!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jingle Tails

This was the scene at our house on Saturday night. Boxes everywhere, crate paper flying. I had help decorating my tree this year. First, the tree is HUGE. Funny how out at the lot it didn't seem so big. Anyway, it barely fits in the house, but it made it and now stands with all it's glory (crooked glory cause it has one big bow in it's trunk). Anyway, with the addition of the Andre the Giant sized tree, came the need for many ornaments. And new lights. Sean wanted a blue tree this year, so I went out and bought brand new lights at the store. Unfortunately, three strands was not enough for said tree so I mixed in some whites. I really like the result though.

Maddie, Sarah and Mom came over to help with the decorating. Zach came to help too, but he mostly helped increase the butt imprint in our spare room couch playing video games. I called him in for his opinion several times which was always "two thumbs up". Yup, I LOVE that middle school boy. If I could just have him live here I would!

Anyway, it is fun decorating with a small one. They can only reach about a two foot area on the tree so the ornaments get congregated in one small spot. It looks awesome and I love it. Mom, Sarah and I filled out the rest of the zone. I love when Maddie kept picking up each ornament and saying "Oh, this one is beautiful". I won some vintage ornaments at the white elephant on Friday (who would get rid of those?), which proudly hang on my tree. I think the bedazzled nature of them was Maddie's favorite.

The best part was when she discovered our Hallmark Snowman/snow dog that plays jingle bells. It's in the picture at the top. Now normally I'm not one for cheesy Hallmark stuff like that. The story behind it is that when Dad first had his brain tumor (which we thought was a stroke) and he was in the hospital for a week around Christmas, the nurses had one of those at their Station. It was the only thing that made me smile that year at Christmas. Low and behold, on Christmas morning, I unwrapped one of my very own. That was 6 years ago and to this very day, pressing that snowman's hand and letting it do it's thing makes me smile.

I'm glad to see that it has the same effect on Maddie. Maybe someday that will be her vintage Christmas present one Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Please bring me a time machine! A time machine makes a very good Christmas present. I can use it to go back in time to December 14th and travel at warp speed to December 17th. I'm never gonna make it through to Winter Break at this rate.

I have been very good this year.

Well....that is if I got the time machine and was able to alter the course of this week. If not, then I can make no promises to the prior "good this year" claim. You don't know what it's like with 27 pre-holiday children. No jury would convict.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Final Countdown

In approximately 36 hours my sister will arrive in Oregon. For good. Permanently. Sarah, joins the rest of the family, back where she belongs. I have waited for this moment for 10 years now. I keep pinching myself, but the bruises indicate it is real. I can't believe it is almost here.

Seriously. There are no words to describe what I'm feeling.

Walt Disney was right..Dreams really do come true.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

Dear Running,

I've known for a long time that this day was coming. Maybe it was inevitable from the start. A May-December relationship if you will. Oh you saw me, older, more experienced, as a challenge. I saw you as a way to recapture the days of my youth. The first few months were beautiful. We saw each other much more frequently then, twice, three times, once even four times a week. But then you began to take your toll on me and our time together became less and less frequent. I should have seen it then.

I know you will try to blame me for the straying. A bad ankle, a bum knee, lungs that never do work well. But you yourself are not without blame. I see you around with the others. Do you not think I notice you out there with those fit girls? Braids swinging, tights without shorts, making it look easy. I see your smile with them as you avoid my gaze. Oh yes, I see you You Player.

I'm on to you now. Hook me in with the promise of fitness, engage my competitive nature so that I don't even know who I am anymore when I'm with you. I don't like the snarky woman I've become when I include others in our time together. Competing with Sean like a fool! Never having a chance to enjoy the day because I'm pushing so hard I can't breath. Oh, I'm on to you running. And it's over. Oh, it's SO over. I gave you what I had and it just wasn't enough so I'm moving on. I choose me!

I'm sure there is someone else out there for me. Out there in my garage I think. Covered in boxes and subaru parts, patiently waiting for the prodigal girl to return home to her.

And so we part running. I'll see you around.

P.S. Call me sometime...............Doh!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When is enough, enough?

So today I read that the Gov. is calling for teachers to work for free as a good faith effort and to "do our part". He is volunteering to take a 5% pay cut and work 4 days for free over the next few months. That is all fine and dandy, he makes $93,000 a year. All said and done his sacrifice is like $5000. Helpful, yes and appreciated of course but Mr. Kulongowski I'd like to point out a few things to you.

1. I already am on a salary freeze, I have been at this rate for 2 school years.
2. I have 3 additional cut (non paid) school days this year.
3. My contract hours are from 8am to 4pm on school days.

I have never worked my contract hours. Could I get my job done in those hours? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. Not to the standards I have for myself to give my students the best eduction they deserve. My workday usually starts at 7:45 and ends around 5:30. I then go workout for an hour and go home and grade papers for another hour. Weekends always involved at least 1/2 day spent on work. Those are all "unpaid" hours. I'd bet they range from 10-20 unpaid hours on average a week.

Then there are the supplies. The pencils, folders, paper and notebooks. The art supplies and technology. Who pays for all that? I do because our budgets have been so cut that if we want it, we buy it. I am eternally grateful for two mothers (Mine and Sean's) who support my classroom with amazing supplies and reading material. I have put on a swimsuit racking up laps in the pool or tied on running shoes along side my students to earn money during fundraisers so we can go on a field trip or buy special art paper. This is not what I envisioned when I signed on. This is not how a civilized society prioritizes it's children.

Additionally, I am required to maintain my teaching license by continuing my education. For me, that means earning a master's degree. That's 45 credits at about $350 per credit. I pay for that, and for that do I get a better job? No I don't. I get to keep the job I already have.

Do I complain about this and quit? No, I do it because I love my job. I love my job in spite of the climate and constant comments from the public. I love my job in spite of the parents who sure like to tell me how to do my job, but won't do theirs. I love my job in spite of the burnouts I"m surrounded by and the increase in negativity brought on by tired and stressed co-workers. No, I don't throw in the towel but rather I keep my head up and I keep going. I do it for the kids, and I do it for how the kids give me hope, even on the bad days. Each new day is an opportunity for greatness and I live for those days. We celebrate small victories while we wait for the big ones.

But I will not stand idly by as our Governor claims we need to "do our part". We have been doing our part sir. I'm glad you are finally stepping up to do yours. But it is with deepest sincerity that I say to you, Mr. Governor, I am doing my part, I will continue to do my part, but enough is enough. Please do not ask me to take any more away from my family than this job already has. Find another way.