Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring, Sprang, Sprung!

My front yard azaleas are budding out! How exciting! Now, we just need some warm weather to entice them.

The first, brave hosta shot its leaves out, almost overnight. I can't wait for the others - the darker ones are my favorites.

Here is one of my very favorites -- bleeding heart. This one is doing so well.

Bleeding heart blossoms, up close - I'm sorry they're fuzzy! Aren't they exquisite?

Last week's gorgeous camellias are now a carpet of brown.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Moriah's Fabulous Give-Away

Do you love cash - free cash?? Well then, hop on over to Moriah's blog, "Please Pass the Salt," and leave a comment there to participate in her $20 gift card giveaway! Don't blame me if you don't win :)

Moriah is FAB, and her blog is always fun to read. Make her a regular stop on your blog wanderings!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brutally Honest Bathroom Pictures

I realized just now that that title is a little strange.... This post is about CLEANING the children's bathroom.

So, what happens when you buy a house in which the bathrooms were just painted with a lovely fresh coat of LATEX? A bathroom with no FAN? And in which the window is stuck SHUT?

And in which 3 teenagers take daily, long, steamy showers?

You guessed it: MILDEW

And by the time I was aware of it, it was pretty bad. Today was the day, I decided, to remedy the situation.

First, I got that window open. It took one special tool: my husband's bicep.

Here's a side-by-side before/after shot. The nastiness actually scrubbed off pretty easily, as long as you don't mind paint chips and bleach water dribbling on you from overhead, all while extending your aching arm and perching on your tiptoes. Humph.

And the paint? I had to scrape away at it too. Now I have a vaguely two-toned bathroom.

Sometimes, oh joy, I had mildew and peeling paint together.

Helga Housekeeper, at your service.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thoroughly Modern Millie!

The drama department of our school put on this fun musical this weekend. All their hard work and diligent practice certainly paid off!

This is Anna's third musical at our school, and each year she has larger roles. This year she played the kidnapped Ethel Peas, and later the male lead's mother, "Muzzy." She did great! She was in and out of costume multiple times.

Philip was the ever-essential soundman. Here he is, with one of his VERY favorite people, Mrs. Brown, who played "Mammy" in the musical. At one point, Philip had 17 mics on stage at once, plus all the musical cues and interludes. He did this (with his team) seamlessly. Bravo!

Peter played various male roles, but here he is in his policeman's helmet. He had a great poker face.

My parents came over for the performance and it was so much fun to enjoy this event with them again this year. They really get a kick out of the comedy and love the great music and romantic themes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bookbinding, up close

The folded printer paper must be pierced with the needle (Adam does that) before Julia can sew it.

Can you see the little knots along the spine? Julia does each knot.

A better close-up. The sections are sewn together. Julia is really enjoying this activity.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

British Politics - they call a spade a spade!

This is the first Youtube video I've ever tried to post. (Let's see if it works...) I ran across this at World Magazine. This British MEP is pretty tough on Gordon Brown, but this is the kind of reprimand I wish our politicians would level at our spend-thrift president(s):

Julia, the bookbinder

Right now, Julia is sitting out on the patio with her daddy, sewing away on their first book. It's still pretty thin. She is sewing with thread -- 8 1/2 x 11 pages, folded in half, sewn along the seam, and then several bundles of them sewn together.

Julia plans to write her "Rose Books" in these tomes. She writes children's books about Rose the Duck. They are adorable.
This is the way books used to be bound -- sewn together, instead of glued. I bet these little books of hers will last much longer than the paperbacks we have on our house shelves!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cold, rainy, tired, nappy

Yep. That about sums it up. Must go to church/choir practice this evening though.

Our 3 eldest are in the school play this weekend, and my parents are coming over for that, so it should be a fun, full weekend.

Anna is diligently getting her school work done ahead of time, as usual.

Peter needs a big haircut before the first play performance tomorrow, because he definitely looks like somebody from the 70s instead of the 20s.

Julia and Adam are planning to do at-home book binding with needle/thread/fabric. Sounds like fun, and Julia writes the books for it.

Philip is at school, because he is the tech/sound guy for the play. I hope he's organized enough for that!

And Philip has a prom date, and he's pretty happy.

Me? I wore boots and wool today because it's so RIDICULOUSLY cold. The lettuce that's come up in the garden is probably curling up its toes and shivering. I'm ready for spring break, for sleeping in, for not grading or doing class prep, for reading something written in the last century. (I'm pretty much stuck in the 17th century right now.) I'm ready for rest.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I found the mysterious, missing SOCK!

You know - the sock that disappears in your LAUNDRY?

Here it is!

Seriously -- I empty the dryer lint each week, right before I do laundry on the weekend. I only do laundry for Adam and me. [Yes, I know that some of you with children are drooling at the mere idea that they could ALL do their own laundry!]

This weekend, I decided to empty the lint again, after I was done with my 4 or 5 loads. That's what's in the photo - lint from only my and Adam's clothes.

And lo, the wad of lint is about the size of an adult sock. That's a lot of fabric to lose EACH WEEK! I'm surprised we have any substance left, hanging in our closets!

I imagine the real disappearing socks are all partying together in a septic tank somewhere.

Going to the doctor

No - I'm NOT going to the doctor. But our political/economic situation lately reminded me of some old "doctor thoughts."

We watched a medical documentary once, in which a very frank physician was honest about what he does for a living: sick people (say, with a broken bone, or an infection or illness) come to see him. He diagnoses, maybe gives a little pain medicine, sends them home. 6 weeks later they return, all better. And they thank and praise the wonderful doctor for giving them renewed health.

He said it's almost embarrassing to get the credit for doing what the body actually did for itself. [I'll add here that I found it refreshing to hear this from a doctor's lips.] Left to itself, the body will do what it is designed to do: heal. There are exceptions to this, of course, but generally speaking, he said, medical professionals are only cheerleaders for our bodies as they make "natural corrections."

Our economy is sick. America's "prosperity" for the past 20 years or so has not been based on real wealth; it's been based on credit. Both individuals and large businesses have lived on credit. This sickness must be fixed. It certainly reached a critical point.

And America went to the doctor.

Who was the doctor "on call"? Why, the doctor we'd elected to the job -- Obama

And I can't help but wonder if, when we look back on this economic situation later, we see that it was a financial illness that the nation could have (painfully and with much time) recovered from. Some major industries should suffer and die. Some people should decide to cut up their credit cards, or stop making risky investments, or stop trying to flip houses. We realize we don't need to get credit flowing again, but to stop living on it.... But, given time, recovery comes.

But we don't have one of those doctors in Obama. Oh no -- We have the kind of doctor who looks at you on the table and decides it's time to operate, remove a few things, slap you in ICU, and keep you in the hospital for observation indefinitely. In other words, a doctor who makes the problem worse.

I really do think that we may examine this economic event from the vantage point of 20 years and realize that what would have been a temporary economic downturn, was transformed by the president into a medical disaster we won't be able to pull ourselves out of.

Have you folks looked at how much money is being pumped into our economy by the Fed these days? It's alarming.

Have you read about the "necessary programs" that Obama MUST fund RIGHT NOW, to produce a turnaround in the economy? Aren't a lot of them the pet projects that liberal democrats have been longing to fund for decades? Are they just milking the panic of this opportunity?

I believe he is overreaching, and that is the only encouraging thing I see right now. Perhaps if he overreaches, he will fail. We need to get this patient out of the hospital and back home to recover.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Backyard Birthday

You know what this means!

Is it done yet? Actually, Adam is working on getting the fire right. Unfortunately, after all that work, heating the oven all day, he actually ended up cooking the pizza mostly in the kitchen oven!

Peter's having his 15th birthday party tonight. Here are some fun cards that his friends brought him.

A little cake:

Groupies. They so cool!

Blooming yard

This first photo is actually not in our yard, but our neighbors'. So, I get the enjoyment of its beauty, without the work! They have a gorgeous yard. I love the phlox when it's in bloom.

Forsythia and daffodils are hanging in there. This forsythia bush was transplanted last year, just before drought, and has had a hard recovery.

Our Canadian Plum tree in the front yard is beginning its annual display -- a powder puff of white!

Here's the crown of the tree.

In spite of its terrible location and shape, this camellia blooms like crazy each year.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"He won't fear no bad news..."

This morning, driving to work in the semi-dark, this chipper James Ward song was running through my mind. "He won't fear no bad news, steady as she goes -- for even in darkness, light dawns, for the gracious and upright."

I've really needed some good news lately. ANY good news. I'm tired of daily bad news -- a meeting at school, a call about church, a sad email. Too much!

So I told God I needed just one piece of good news.

What came in the mail today?

A letter telling Philip that he is now the recipient of the largest scholarship that his college offers! And this is an award that goes for 4 years. Oh My Word. I'm SO excited! I called his cell phone, but he didn't answer. (And, yes, I did open his mail.)

You must understand that, from a poor family that buys its clothing from Salvation Army, it's a pretty big deal to find out that your son has been given A HUGE WAD OF MONEY (I almost typed the amount, but I think maybe I'm not supposed to tell) for his education.

Hm. I'll just say that the amount he's offered for 4 years is about 2/3 the amount that we paid for our house.


Y'know what's cool? When I told God yesterday that I really needed some good news, that letter was already in the mail. He was planning my good news before I even asked for it.

Thank you, God.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When in need of refreshment:

Take a walk in the yard on a sunny day.

After my last blog post, I went outside, and it helped. We have so many lovely plants blooming in the yard. The camellia bush (tree) is loaded with huge pink blooms. The quince is in full bloom. The forsythia is still vibrant. And most fun of all, Adam has both peas and lettuce coming up in the garden. It refreshed my heart to see new little things growing.

I do still have quite a bit of optimism. Adam has months to job-hunt, and the market in pastoral work/ministry is not as low as the rest of the job market. Plus he does get paid through most of the summer. And we have a good bit of savings to tide us over for a while, if we are frugal. It's very possible that some of these changes in our lives, in the long run, will be good things. Adam could find a job he'll love. Homeschooling may be really great for the kids (if we can juggle it...).

I'm very thankful that we have spring weather now. The Lord knows that I need to breathe in fresh air and run my fingers through the soft, new foliage of young plants. We must get outside of ourselves and remember to see beauty.

And one last thing: a late (one day late) very happy birthday wish to my dear mother. I tried to call you yesterday about 6:00, but you weren't home. The card will be drifting your way this week. Your birthday has become yet another casualty of this crazy week - sorry! We love you!

What to say?

Our lives are pretty much just stress right now. So, I don't really know what to blog about:

We're all at the school by 7:25 each morning. That's early.
I'm in my classroom all day. I mean, I don't even walk down the hall. I do go across the hall to the microwave to heat my frozen lunch, and to use the restroom. So, I'm out of the classroom for 5 minutes.
When I'm not teaching, I'm grading. My brain is mush.

But I got to leave my classroom at 3:00 today (instead of 5:35, like it was yesterday)!! At 3:00 we had a staff meeting. Now, this was a rough meeting. The economy is rather BAD (as we all know), and this is very hard on private schools, where parents pay through the nose for education, AFTER they've already paid for public education for their children, which they don't want.

So, I don't hold it against the school that they:
Will reduce my salary by 9% next year
Won't cover health benefits for my family
Will reduce the amount they pay for my health benefits by 10%
Will decrease the amount of our tuition discount from 50% to 40%

Hey, they're trying to keep the boat afloat. I just wish the school didn't have such a huge load of debt that all this was necessary. But that debt was accumulated by previous administrations. We got left holding the bag.

And Adam has no job yet. How will we handle this? How can our family live on one teacher's salary, with changes like that?

Of course, we can't. But as Adam says, it is important to keep the one job we still have :) But the children will most likely not be able to attend the school next year. We just can't afford to have that tuition taken out of my paycheck. Not sure how the details of their education will work out. And they'll probably have to be on medicaid, if we qualify. They have to be covered somehow.

But this is all FUTURE. We are hopeful that Adam will be able to find a ministry job this summer. He says that there are LOTS of ministry positions out there, open; he's now looking everywhere, and we're willing to move.

We'll see what God wants. If he wants us to stay at the school, he'll work out a way to keep us here. We're following his lead.

Tonight we go to church, where we have an equally high level of stress. There's not much of any place in our lives these days that is calm. How about our home, you ask? Yes, home is fine. But I find myself looking around and wondering whether I'll be living here in 6 months, and if I should start collecting boxes anytime soon! You never know!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Relaxation Equation

Stressful weekend + Long day at work = Evening of family fun in the den with popcorn, cookies and "Greek Wedding"

This was Peter's idea, and boy, did it work!

Our modern student:

My students memorize poetry and recite it to me, and to help them remember which poems they still need to recite, I keep a list posted on my classroom wall.

Well, today, one of my seniors came in to check the list and see how far behind he is. He wanted to know the names and page numbers of all the sonnets on the list.

I offered him a sticky note.

He, however, pulled out his cell phone and just took a picture of the list on the wall.


And since he's a teenage boy, and it's on his cell phone, he'll have that list with him 24/7 until he's done with poetry!

Life goes on

Adam and I seem to have a running conversation about where we're going. The loss of his job this coming June was the first event. The troubles we've had at our church are the second event. It's hard when troubles come in twos!

In some other places we've lived, our housing and our jobs have been yoked. This presents difficulties; when you lose the job, you AUTOMATICALLY lose the housing. Yikes! We longed to be like normal people (yeah, you've heard that one from me before!) who lose one job but then get another, and don't have to MOVE out of their HOMES.

So, when we came to this city, we bought a home, (obviously) unconnected to our work. We knew it was dicey for us both to work for the same institution. It would be financially safer for us to be employed 2 places. And we kept our church life separate from our work life. We didn't want those 2 tangled up together, as they'd often been before.

And what does God do? He just uproots us by letting both the work and the church fall into crisis simultaneously! I have this suspiciously familiar feeling of my roots being ripped from their comfortable soil. In other words: time for a move!

Now, I don't know that we'll move. But after talking this weekend, I think Adam and I both realize this needs to be a real possibility. I hate it for the kids, but it's too limiting for Adam to look for work ONLY in our town. He may well find work here. He may find a pastorate here. But as of this weekend, he's expanded his search to include churches elsewhere, out of state.

My brilliant back-up plan is for Adam to substitute teach in the public school system next fall. If you are available every day, and willing to do middle and high school, there's plenty of work to do. Hopefully that will bring in enough to tide us over, and we won't lose the house.

But, if a church pastorate comes open this summer, how wonderful that would be! Moving again -- I'm not excited about it. But I'm willing. I think that's what God wants us to be.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Competitive Reading

Julia loves to read. She reads books, like Dickinson says, to travel abroad. She's been living now, for about 2 years, in a place called Redwall Abbey. She does occasionally visit us here at home.

And at school, she is way ahead of her peers. Her lowest grades are in "Reading" on her report card. The stories they read in their "literature" books are about 4 pages long, and, Julia admits, they are boring.

But this year, our school started an AR program -- "accelerated reader." Yeah, that's Julia. It's a computerized program that has quizzes for thousands of books. The child reads a book, the child takes a computer quiz, and is awarded points for how well he does. The goal, of course, is to amass as many points as possible.

You get more points for longer, harder books, and especially for books above your grade level.

So, you guessed it, Julia has the highest AR score in the entire elementary school.

She would read anyway -- she DID read anyway. She likes the points, but they're just extra.

Not so for some of the other students in her class. These boys (especially) are very competitive. They don't like to lose, especially to a girl!! So, they're reading and quizzing, and reading and quizzing. And it's good for them. Well, better than not reading at all.

Isn't it?

Why do we read?

I know the answer to that question for myself, and for many of my bookish friends. We read because we love to absorb information. Or because we long to enter into the thought-life of another human and discover what's there. Or sometimes, because a writer's style is as lovely as a ripe peach. Or her settings are places we long to be. Or her characters people we long to know. And their lives ... well, we are voyeurs, aren't we?

But, competitive reading? Is that something we really want to INSTILL into our children?

And it's a dilemma. Is it better than not reading at all? As a high school literature teacher, I say yes. I need these kids to be able to read. If they don't read SOMETHING throughout elementary school, they will actually lose the skill. They won't comprehend words when they're 15.

But how sad that we must trick them into it. We use their competitive tendencies, honed so well on the soccer field 12 hours a week, so that they will be willing to do something that their curiosity should lead them to naturally.

I know it's a broken record by now, but I can't help thinking that if their parents would simply read at home, instead of driving them around to this playing field and that fast food joint -- would just have books along the walls instead of the latest screen game. . . . Well, you understand.

Cold, rainy Saturday

That's what we have going on here. Adam is outside, picking up all the MANY sticks and branches in the yard, after the snow and ice we had awhile back. You know -- before the 80 degree weather we had recently. Goodness!!

My vision isn't great, but I do believe I see blooms on my Lady Banks rosebush. It has a nice warm spot, draped over the carport roof. And the Canadian Plum tree in the front yard is turning slightly pink.

And the cold rain comes down. A strange juxtaposition of winter and spring. I'm still drinking hot tea and wanting a fire in the fireplace (which I had for hours yesterday).

And in case you've been wondering, my grading is actually under control! I'm done grading rough drafts, which take forever, and am in the middle of grading final papers, which are quick. I gave AND GRADED a test for 21 students yesterday. Next week the essays will hit, plus another test. But when we start a new grading period, I'm taking a little grading break. The way I get piles of grading done these days, is to stay at the school for an extra 2 hours, hunkered over my desk, purple pen in hand.

Enough of that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A little Voltaire never hurt anyone...

I will soon be teaching a few chapters of Voltaire's Candide to my students. Poor young things! I was reviewing the text, and read the final page. Here's a quote from the philosopher (of sorts) of the story, speaking to the main character after many years of hardship:

"All events are linked together in the best of all possible worlds; for after all, if you had not been expelled from a fine castle with great kicks in the backside for love of Mademoiselle Cunegonde, if you had not been subjected to the Inquisition, if you had not traveled about America on foot, if you had not given the Baron a great blow with your sword, if you had not lost all your sheep from the good country of Eldorado, you would not be here eating candied citrons and pistachios."

Fundamentally, this is Adam's philosophy of life. His glass is half-full. Granted, Voltaire is satirizing this view, but still, that doesn't prevent some people from holding the very view he ridicules in poor Dr. Pangloss.

Life is strewn with troubles. They link life together like a daisy chain. It's said of the Greeks that peace, for them, was only a brief interruption between wars. It seems that in our life, times of relative prosperity and peace are just short spaces in which we catch our breath, readying for the next plunge into trouble. When will it be over?

But Adam maintains still that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Please don't take this to mean that he doesn't believe that heaven will be better! He honestly wouldn't trade his troubles. I sigh a little as I write that. I would trade them, as I experience them. After they're over, sure -- why not keep them! They have done their jobs of instruction. Everyone likes the teacher, once the class is over and passed.

Someday, we'll get to the final page of our story, and hopefully we will be enjoying citron and pistachios. And perhaps we won't get there, without today's grief. May it soon be over!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a little braggin'

Today I showed a documentary in my World Literature classes. It was the 3rd episode of "Greeks: the Crucible of Civilization" - we can get it from Netflix. {As a matter of fact, I have a play-it-now option, so I don't even need a CD in the classroom, just internet access!} It's a good video, and focuses on the Greek Golden Age, the Peloponnesian War, and Socrates.

As I was watching it (for the 4th time), Liam Neeson narrated about the amazing scientific accomplishments of these Greeks. They measured the pyramids. They measured the circumference of the earth. They were brainiacs.

And on the screen were pictures of complicated mathematical equations, accompanied by their explanations, in Greek.

And I looked at that fancy stuff, done by those brainiacs, and I thought, "My husband understands everything up there. He would know what all that math means. And he reads Greek too."

He taught himself Greek, with a Greek New Testament and a lexicon. And he taught himself Latin too. Just for fun. Just because he loves to learn.

Recently he decided to check out the courses offered online by MIT. They post all the reading, all the assignments, online. You can do all the work. (Of course, you can only get the credit if you pay the money. Shucks!) So, Adam decided to do the coursework for a bunch of their graduate-level courses in math.

Just for fun, or as he says, to relax.

I wonder, how many people in our little town of 25,000 can do hoopy math, read Latin and Greek, and take graduate math courses for fun?

So, I'm bragging. I think he's pretty amazing. I must admit that his mind was one of the most appealing things about the man, when I married him. And his legs...he has great legs.

I mentioned to him this afternoon about the documentary. His reply? "Well. A lot of good it's done me."

But I think it HAS done him a lot of good. He has an inquisitive mind, and that is a pleasurable thing to own! He is never bored if there is a book around to read. He can offer helpful information in a multitude of situations.

I know he's discouraged that he has to be looking for a job soon, that for whatever reason, the school doesn't want him anymore. I don't understand it myself. Because, if I were starting a school, Adam is exactly the kind of teacher I'd want: he challenges the students, he has contagious enthusiasm for all kinds of knowledge, and the students LOVE the way he can combine various fields of knowledge, showing the connections that make them say, "Aha!"

So, I'm gonna brag on him. Hope you don't mind. And if you hear of a job out there for a great man like him, drop me a line.

This weather!!

Today will be rainy, and the high will be around 45. Brrr!

Two days ago it was summer -- 80 degrees and so warm. We drove home from school, and in just one balmy day, here's what had decided to bloom:
forsythia - little balls of sunshine
Japanese magnolia -natural velvet
Bradford pears - clouds of flowers
weeping cherry trees - pink flower fountains

Now, when all those guys decided to declare their glories in one afternoon, after a LONG winter, it's amazing!

So, I'm going to hunker down today, just like all those plants. We'll all shiver and wait. The warmth is coming back!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Philip took this fun shot of Julia this weekend.

He loves photography.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pussy Willows

My poor ferns are looking pretty pathetic after a winter indoors. This was their first venture onto the patio. What a lovely, warm day it was!

Our pussy willow tree is always one of the first to look alive in the spring. I cut a few stems of it for indoors.

Who wants to blog --

When it's THIS gorgeous outside??

Not I!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Who's doing the work?

This is a question I ask myself often as I teach school. I came to the conclusion a number of years ago that the person doing the most work was the person learning the most. Usually teachers know their material so well because they've worked so hard on it.

But I've found that, in teaching, once a teacher masters the material, it is best to find assignments and exercises that make the student work, and not the teacher. More and more, I search for things for my students to do that require little of me (especially in grading effort) but force them to dig deeply into the material.

Examples: memorization. Memorizing and reciting poetry require quite a bit of work for them, but the grading on my part is as simple as listening to them recite, and writing down the grade. I deduct points for errors as they recite.

Another? Quotation hunts. I amass a list of important quotations from a play or a longer work, type them on a sheet, rearrange them, and then require the students (working in groups) to put them in the correct order, and write the speaker's name as well. It takes them a class period to do it, they compete for which group completes it first, and I can use those same quotes on their test. It's a great review strategy.

I have other exercises, but you get the idea. Good students love to work, because they can feel their minds being exercised and energized. There is no reason for a teacher to wear herself out. Of course, teaching with this kind of "ease" requires the teacher to master her material ahead of time. But in the classroom, it's always best to see the students working away like little ants, and the teacher smiling happily as she watches them do so.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"What's a Twinkie?"

Ah -- my heart warmed as I heard Julia say those words.

She didn't know what a Twinkie was!!

Is she missing out on a great icon of American culture? A staple of childhood? Perhaps. But I hope her ignorance shows that she's also missing out on some pretty scary chemical ingredients as well!

She asked this question after Adam described at the dinner table a little talk he had with his students today: he read them the list of 39 ingredients in a Twinkie.

Of the 39, only 3 were natural food ingredients. One was flour. One was sugar. He'd forgotten the third.

But almost all the other items were derived from either a quarry, or from oil. Did you know that they use limestone to make the filling more fluffy?

LIMESTONE? Fluffy??? Whatever!

I didn't eat Twinkies growing up either. Frankly, our family couldn't afford junk food like that -- it was expensive. My mother cooked from scratch, we didn't buy processed food, and honestly, at times it was a little embarrassing. But not anymore! Thank you, Mother! I'm limestone-free :)

BTW, evidently there's a book out there, written about the ingredients of the Twinkie. So, if you have nothing else to do, it might help you take a nap sometime.

Time for an evening snack. Little Debbie cake, anyone?

Today I graded:

19 quizzes (those are fast)
3 5-page research papers (these rough drafts are SLOW)
21 essays
3 group projects

That's only the beginning. I asked Adam to leave me at school for a couple of hours so that I would get something done. Well, it worked!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Official Badge of the Grammar Police"

Isn't this great? One of my fabulous students made this for me. I'm official!!

Now, I just need badges for my deputies.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Day Visitation

Friends from school came over this afternoon to enjoy the snow, the fire, and the conversation -- not to mention marshmallows and hot cocoa, which fit well in the mix! Here's Julia and Emma, building their "snow centipede." Never heard of such a thing - I must be an old fogey!

Anna and Sarah huddle around the fire and warm their fingers on toasty mugs.

Daddy Mike gets Emma some hot water. That snow centipede is chilly work!

Julia with her snowman mug (not a snow centipede mug??), and Alex taking a break from pelting Peter with snowballs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow pictures

I love how the snow clung to the pecan tree branches. Glorious blue skies behind all this snow.

Julia in the snow

Philip pulling a sled for his little sister, as they head off to the park for a GREAT hill!

Adam made a nice fire in the firepit, lifting it out of the moisture below. It was blazin'!

A tree fell across the driveway of the home across the street - the lady who lived there died in January. I called her son and they were grateful for Adam to cut up the tree and remove it - and free wood for his outdoor oven!

Not bad for the South...

Our neighbors' trees early this morning, just as the sun was warming the top branches:

Very heavy snow on all branches - about 5 inches total, I believe.

It was nice to get this shot before any child knocked off that snowy knob.

Our pine tree has branches that are bowed down, but only one branch (and an old, dead one at that) in our yard fell to the ground. No damage.

The Canadian plum tree in the front yard will be a mass of white blooms in a month or so, but right now it has lovely white of a different kind.

Adam has gone into the yard to build a fire in his oven, and one in the earthen firepit, so I'd better get on the big boots and join him. We've had a leisurely morning. I made omelettes for everyone with cheese (3 kinds), garlic, green pepper, or onion. And a pot of homemade hot cocoa on the stove - so glad we ran out of the powder kind from the store. It's a radically better drink when made with milk, sugar and real cocoa. Yummm.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Narnian Lamppost

Adam suggested this lovely shot. We're having a true snow event! School is already canceled for tomorrow, and Adam is planning the yummy food we will eat.

He's got dough for 4 baguettes and a lovely sauce simmering (and reducing) to soak into the homemade meatballs he prepared earlier this evening.

We just finished watching the VERY first episode of "Hawaii Five-0"- technically it was a 2-hour made-for-TV movie that jump-started the whole series. It's fun to watch those old things again, and I must say that this particular show has aged well.