Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Stretch

Several years ago my dad bought himself a Honda Goldwing. Let me tell you, the man is quite proud of that shiny red motorcycle. It's a third child to him and he is saving for another one. (Where he plans on putting a third cycle, I haven't a clue.)

Shortly after buying his motorcycle, my dad got the idea to ride every road in North Dakota. He has spent many days out riding around the state and last night he finally finished his last stretch of road. He has had quite the journey and if anyone ever asks about it, they will be listening to his stories for quite some time.

Congratulations, dad! The enthusiasm and dedication you have for your hobbies is inspiring. You've shown me it's possible to tackle any project I may give myself, even one the size of North Dakota.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


"Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are chemicals that are often used as propellants in spray cans. Most rescue inhalers, including this one, uses CFCs to deliver medication to your lungs. CFCs hurt the environment and damage the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's rays."

Apparently the device I have been using to help me breathe is doing its part to create a hole in the ozone, which in turn means poorer air quality and even more difficulty breathing. Interesting how that works.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Half Day

I only made it half a day today at work. I put in four periods and knew I couldn't do three more. I should get some credit for making an attempt! It was nice getting off at noon. Every day should be like that - minus the sickness of course.

I'm pretty bummed that I'm sick again. Feels like I just went through this. While It was over a month ago that I got really sick (something went around at the wedding), I'm disappointed that I've got something again so soon. Last school year I didn't get really sick until February or so. Needless to say, this isn't going to be the most fun or productive weekend I've ever had.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Generous Students

I've officially received my first cold/flu of the school year. I'm so lucky to have such generous students - not everyone is kind enough to share their germs and illnesses with others. What a great group of kids!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ceiling Fan

We actually got it! I came home today to find our new ceiling fan! Isn't it beautiful? (I have yet to see a ceiling fan I like). I am a little disappointed that we didn't get it back in August when we actually could have used it. Our apartment is now a comfortable temperature and I don't see this fan getting much use. I do, however, have to give the apartment complex props for actually getting it installed - that's one step further than I thought they were going to go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Harvest Party

Tonight my husband and I joined my cousins for a "Harvest Party" to celebrate the arrival of fall. We had a wonderful meal of pork chops, a dish made of squash, pumpkin, onion, and pecans, parmesan baked potatoes, and rosemary bread. For dessert it was apples with caramel and later while we played Apples to Apples, we drank apple cider. What a wonderful way to welcome the new season. I wonder how festive we will be when winter rolls in - I doubt there will be any parties in honor of that season.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How I Spent My Evening

Can anyone blame me for not getting any work done tonight?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This & That

I don't have any one thing to talk about today, so I will just post a few of my random thoughts.
  • Today was another photo day for me, only this time it involved my comfortable bed, my camera's instruction manual, and other photos books that I own. I love learning about photography and have started to think that I might like to take a class or two on it. I just don't want a class to ruin the experience for me. I've seen it happen so it worries me a bit. Up until now I've been learning on my own, but I think a class might be able to offer me something more that I cannot do by myself.
  • My husband and I are getting back on track with the "desserts once a week" schedule. I like the "desserts every day" schedule. We just finished supper and let me tell you, I'm really struggling. It's amazing to me how easy it is to break good habits and how hard it is to get back into them. Once I've gone for some time without desserts I don't even realize what I'm missing and rarely crave anything sweet after a meal, but right now all I can think about is the Oreo Cakesters that we have up in the cupboard.
  • I'm going to attempt a run tomorrow. I haven't run since before the wedding, so I have a feeling it's not going to be a fun time and Tuesday (and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday) I will be a little sore.
  • I get to baby-sit my cousin's little girl tomorrow night and I'm super excited. She is an extremely adorable baby - she's the baby that has me worried that I won't find my own children as cute. Needless to say, I'm going to have my camera out and ready to go when she gets here.
I hope everyone enjoys the last few hours of their weekend!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


The weather was beautiful today so a friend and I took advantage by getting out and taking some photos.

We wandered around the downtown area for several hours admiring the architecture of the old buildings (and discussing the sadness we feel with the lack of detail in the architecture of new buildings), discovering and capturing the unique little quirks that each park contained (painted wooden fish, faces constructed of concrete), and wandering into a few open shops to see what they had to offer.

Exploring this city has been fun and there are a few more places I would like to go before I leave the area. Having a camera is a great way to learn about the place in which you live and to help you see those things that normally don't get a second glance. My camera always helps me appreciate my surroundings a little more. There is always something beautiful to be found, even if you have to look really hard to find it.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Tonight was my school's homecoming game and dance. The weather was a lot cooler this week than at the last game, but still an enjoyable evening.

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly) we lost the game. There were, however, a few good plays that I was able to follow! Hard to believe, I know. For those two brief periods where I knew what was going on, the game was actually fun!

While waiting for my husband after the game, my sister, cousins, and I waited in the hallway near my room. The hallway quickly filled up with girls in sparkly dresses and parents taking photos. I find the small town in which I teach to be a little weird - homecoming is a huge event for them (I gues it probably is for all small towns). The girls were dressed up as if it was prom and parents were hanging around as if it was the only thing to do on a Friday night. Interesting to say the least. I'm realizing more and more that I'm meant for a big school.

Later that night, my husband and I met my sister, cousins, and some friends for drinks and appetizers. My sister and I got to talk for a while about her future plans and the chips and queso really hit the spot. The evening was a lot of fun, but boy was I glad to come back home. It's been a long week and I'm ready for bed!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Photo Club

A friend and I were supposed to venture out today and take some photos after work, however, the weather is refusing to cooperate with its wind and rain. I'm pretty disappointed that we didn't get to go, as I was very much looking forward to the outing.

In high school I was in photo club. We went out weekly to different locations and had access to the school's darkroom to develop and print. It was a wonderful experience, one that makes me a little sad that everything has become so digital. In college, a group of friends and I made our own 'photo club' and went out a couple times a month around the city to play with our cameras and goof around together. It was a lot of fun and a great break from studying.

It has been a couple of years now since college and our little group has drifted to different parts of the country. We still talk occasionally and have access to one anothers photos through My Space and the like, but it's just not the same. I miss being around people with whom I could share this wonderful, beautiful hobby. I miss the excitement of everyone being together, enjoying the weather and scenery no matter where we were or how cold we might be. I miss sharing my photos and seeing the shots that each of my friends got. I miss having the constant inspiration, that special energy I felt every time I was out with these people.

When my husband and I settle down for good somewhere, I need to find people to go out and shoot with on a regular basis. Life just doesn't feel complete without a photo club.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We All Need a Tree

I could go on and on in this post with negative comments and observations from my day, but on my drive home I decided that I need to start leaving those things at the school. Like most everyone, I spend the majority of my day at work and don't often have enough time in the evenings for everything I want to do or need to get done. I decided today that those few short hours from the time I leave work until the time I go to bed need to be for me, for me to enjoy my non-working life. They are not going to be filled with my complaints and frustrations over meetings or students, especially when so many issues are out of my control. Life is too short for me to carry home the baggage from work and let it affect my evenings.

All of this got me thinking about an email I got from one of my cousins. Normally, I'm not a big fan of forwards, but this one actually got to me. I thought I would share it with everyone.

We All Need a Tree

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse. He had a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children... So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My sister texted me last night to tell me that her goldfish, Norton, had tried killing himself. Apparently she came home to find the little guy laying outside his bowl. She got him back in the water but said he was having trouble swimming.

I got another message a short time later telling me that Norton had died. I feel really bad for my sister - Norton was her little buddy, someone to keep her company while she worked until all hours of the night on her clothing. She told me that they even ate lunch together. I can just see my sister feeding him his fish food and sitting down with her own meal, talking to him about her day.

While I understand he was just a fish, it's still sad. It's interesting how attached a person can get to something, even something small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oreo Cakesters

My husband is the guy to send to do your grocery shopping! Tonight he came home with the new Oreo Cakesters without me even asking for them. So, of course we broke our "no desserts on the weekdays" rule and tried the little cookies out. They were delicious - a perfect way to end the day! I might have to send him by himself more often.

I've noticed lately that I've been mentioning food quite a bit, all of it being unhealthy. I would just like to say that I do eat healthy foods as well, but they just aren't much fun to talk about. I mean, does anyone want to hear about my hatred of carrots and that I force myself to eat them every day for lunch? That's what I thought.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Street Fair

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the afternoon with my parents at our hometown's annual street fair. It was a beautiful day and the sights and smells were pleasing. I love events like this - they make our our little city seem just a little bit bigger and a lot more diverse.

While all the booths are fun to see and browse, the ones that got my whole-hearted attention were the ones that involved photography. One booth, however, really stood out from the rest. This particular photographer is a teacher who spends his summers traveling around the state taking photos. His work was beautiful and he covers those subjects that I enjoy photographing the most - North Dakota scenery. Yet again, I was inspired by another photographer (this has been happening quite a bit lately). Not only was I inspired, but I realized that I could be doing the same thing this man is doing. I could travel the state every summer and spend my time in a place I love, doing one of the things I love most. I am going to get started next summer!

My sister also had a booth set-up, selling her handmade clothing and jewelry. She had a good time being involved with this fair and I think she's excited to do it again next year. (Perhaps I will have photos to sell and she'll be nice enough to let me in on her booth!) While visiting with my sister, my dad and I enjoyed one of our favorite fair treats - cheese curds. You can't go wrong with fried cheese. One of my dad's favorite sayings is "And they don't even charge extra for the grease!" I wonder where I get my love for unhealthy, heart-clogging foods from.

After the wonderful day at the street fair, my family joined my husband's family for a spaghetti dinner and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes. It was a fun evening and I can't wait to come back in a month and spend more time with everyone.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Big Boy

My husband and I are creatures of habit. We will start something on a whim and before we know it, it's a new tradition.

One of my favorite customs is our Friday night meal when we get back to our hometown. The first place we stop before seeing anyone is Big Boy. There is nothing like an Alpine Burger (or pizza burger flying style in my husband's case) and a big box of fries with gravy. (Again, my lessons from Biggest Loser are really helping!) We sit in our car while we eat (our Big Boy is a drive-thru only) and watch all the teenagers dragging Main Street. Oh, to be that young again - just kidding! After our meal, we head to the nearest gas station and buy Zingers. My husband gets the chocolate and I get the yellow. We swap one Zinger with each other so that way we can mix it up a little bit. We know how to get crazy!

Not only do we get to enjoy Big Boy food Friday evenings, we usually get to enjoy it all weekend as the smell refuses to leave the car until we leave town.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Homeward Bound

My husband and I are on our way back to our hometown in a few minutes! I always love going home to visit and can't wait to be back there for good!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New York City to Boston

Today was the first day I've given homework detention. I've made some exceptions up until this point, but not anymore. It's the third week of school and the kids know what is expected of them. The seventh-graders I have are getting somewhat frustrating. They seem to think that they do not need to do their work or that they can turn it in late without any penalty. I've lectured several of them individually and as a whole more than once. I'm not sure what they don't understand, but I have a feeling I'm going to have many more days of homework detention ahead of me until I get the point across. I wish someone could tell me what exactly my students hear when I talk to them!

In other news:
  • The woman who was a contestant on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?" tonight obviously didn't have any sort of deductive reasoning skills. The question went something like "Charles Lindbergh made a transatlantic flight from New York to what other city?" She guessed Boston. Did she not see the key word: transatlantic? What did she think that meant? And why would Charles Lindbergh be famous for flying from New York City to Boston?
  • Of the 1300 songs my husband and I have downloaded, we only have 400 of in our "mutual" folder on the iPod for car trips. Majority of those 1300 songs are my husband's and the majority are crap. "Rocky" soundtrack anyone? How about Adam Sandler? My husband doesn't always make the best choices.
  • Why is it that one day you can love all your clothes and the thought of having to part with any piece is horrifying and then when it comes time to pack for a weekend away or a vacation you hate everything you have? Where exactly do the fun clothes go?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mail Day

Today my husband's mail consisted of his father's cable bill and a letter containing retirement information. Apparently the post office can't keep names straight if they have the same initials.

My mail, addressed to me and not my mother, was quite exciting. I received a letter from my senator, thanking me for contacting him regarding my support for the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act. While I know this was a generic letter that his office sends out to everyone, it made me happy to hear about the things he is doing. It also made me realize that I need to get more involved in politics and the issues that are important to me.

While I will never give up my trashy celebrity gossip magazines, I can set aside more time to start reading (and writing) articles of substance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tacos and TV

I had plans of working on lesson plans this evening, however I forgot my book at the school. Turns out I wouldn't have used it anyway.

After eating a healthy supper of Taco John's, my husband and I tuned in for the new season of "The Biggest Loser." (We're obviously learning how to be healthy eaters by watching this show.) I'm not a big fan of reality television, but for some reason I really love this one. I find it truly inspiring and there is rarely a week that I don't cry. I've never struggled with my weight and probably never will, so to see people who do struggle working so hard to change their lifestyle is moving. Food is not my vice, but I know how hard it can be to make healthy choices and give up those things that are not beneficial to your body. There are times I find exercising extremely difficult (and annoying), so I can't even imagine what the contestants are going through. All their hard work pays off, though, and I can't wait to see the progress each one of them makes.

This show makes me want to better myself - it gets me excited about exercising and making better food choices. Let's just hope that the thrill doesn't wear off by Wednesday mornings because I definitely need the motivation right now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Today was cool and rainy. The apartment complex is emptying the pool. I think fall is really here now. I'm actually quite ready for summer to be behind us and look forward to the cool temperatures and the beautiful colors that fall brings.

In other news, my 7th-grade students are learning that staying after class with the teacher and missing precious minutes of their lunch time isn't all that great. Perhaps tomorrow they will have the "no talking" thing down to a fine art. My Consumer Math students weren't as bad off as I thought they were going to be. We got everything straightened out today and I'm feeling much better about the disastrous lesson on Friday.

I want to end this post the way I ended my work day, with a special student of mine. After school I had a 504 meeting for a 7th-grade student who has has spastic diplegia, a type of cerebral palsy. She is the size of a fifth grader and very frail. Her motor skills are impaired and she has vision problems. I saw this little girl in the halls last year and she broke my heart. Upon meeting and working with her the last two weeks, however, I know that I have no reason to feel sorry for her. She is one of the sweetest, happiest, most determined 7th-graders I've ever met. She knows she's different, but that she's just as capable as anyone else. She always has a smile on her face and is eager to learn. I told my husband about this little girl and he said, "Isn't it funny how the people who have the whole world against them seem to be the happiest? How the people who have everything never appreciate it?" So often this is true. I myself have been guilty of taking things for granted, as I'm sure we all have to some extent. I'm very lucky to have this girl in my class - not only is she a good student, but every day that I see her I am reminded to be thankful for this life and everything I've been given.

This little girl was my sunshine on a rainy day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Grandparent's Day

Happy Grandparent's Day to all those grandparents out there! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


My husband informed me that the title of my last post, along with the picture, was deceiving since I never really discussed any football. He made a good point, so I thought I would post the play-by-play from the game last night.

  • Players were on the field
  • Players were on the sidelines
  • The ball was thrown
  • The ball was caught
  • The ball was kicked
  • The boys ran
  • The boys tackled
  • Fans cheered
  • Points were scored
  • Our team won
How's that, hubby? Did I cover everything?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Night Lights

I can't believe I'm saying this, but my day ended a lot better than it started and it was because of a football game!

Mornings begin with my two groups of seventh-grade students. The kids in the first group are quiet as mice and I never have to remind them to work. My second group is another story. Today they were "lucky" enough to stay after class and miss out on some of their lunch break. I'm curious to see what next week brings. I'm sure I'll be ready to do battle and they will be little angels. They will have that twinkle in their eye and beautiful, innocent smiles on their faces. Then, when I (in a moment of stupidity) let my guard down, they'll strike! They can't add or subtract to save their lives, but they know exactly what to do when they see a defenseless teacher!

So, after my crazy little 7th-graders left, I had my Consumer Math class. Today's lesson was nothing short of a disaster. If they gave out a "Most Painful Lesson" award, I would have won first place. The problems in the book consisted of monthly calculations, but for my example I threw in weekly and yearly calculations. Why did I do this? Well, I hate my students and wanted to confuse them as much as possible. Of course that's a lie (or is it?) but confuse I did. I should not be around young, impressionable minds. To top things off, I had three boys who, every time I opened my mouth to talk, would look at one another and smirk or say something under their breath. So being the big fan of laughing that I am (I actually had a boyfriend tell me that I laughed too much!) I had to ask what was so funny. I've never seen smiles leave faces that quickly. I wasn't trying to be mean - I just really wanted to hear the joke. Okay, that's a lie. I knew I was the joke (as I should have been today) but I had lost my sense of humor by this point in time.

Following the train wreck: a boring lunch, 8th-grade students who are not yet taking Algebra I seriously, and 9th-grade Algebra students who just don't care. On top of all this, my stack of papers to correct continued to grow and grow (I'm thinking of just entering in random grades from now on - it will keep things interesting and save me a lot of time. Time that could be better spent counting down the days until May 22). These were all thrown haphazardly onto my collection of lesson plans, paperwork for the principal, and schedules for the special ed teachers. I have never seen my desk so messy or unorganized. By the time I left the school, I was feeling a little insane.

Things made a complete turnaround when I went back out to the school this evening for a football game. The evening was perfect. The sun was on it's route to setting and along the way provided us with beautiful colors and interesting shadows to watch. (Well, at least those of us not interested in the game.) The air smelled wonderful and the temperature was that lovely degree of 'brisk' where all you need is a sweatshirt and jeans to stay warm.

The weather itself was enough to make me forget my crazy day, but I also had a chance to relieve some stress by talking to the science teacher (found out that she is having the same problems with the 7th-graders) and work out my future plans with my 8th-grade students ("Mrs. W., do you live in an apartment or house?" "Mrs. W., are you going buy or build a house?" "Mrs. W., are you and your husband going to have a family?" "Mrs. W., are you going to teach your kids math?"). Why these kids were so interested in me, I'll never know.

The second half of the game was spent with two of my cousins who came out to keep me company. Our attention was rarely given to the game, other than the girls commenting about the players and me taking pictures of a game I know nothing about, but it was a lot of fun just sitting on the bleachers and being part of a small-town event.

I knew my day was going to end with a football game. I, however, did not realize how the game would end my day on such a wonderful note. There must have been some magic in those Friday night lights.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. Every year on his birthday he takes the day off from work and rides his motorcycle around the state. One of his goals is to ride every highway in North Dakota and today he happens to be in our part of the state. I look forward to spending the evening with him.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Today I discovered that I don't like how I say nine. It sounds really weird coming out of my mouth and I don't want to say it anymore. My classes will no longer be doing any problems where I will have to say "nine."

Problem solved.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Catching Up 6 - The Aftermath, Etc.

The Aftermath

The wedding was wonderful, but not without casualties.

Three of the four groomsmen tore their pants and my father-in-law threw up on his vest. Two of the groomsmen were in a scuffle with a drunk friend (don't ask!) and this particular pair of pants belonged to the groomsman who thought he could do the splits. Need I say more? I didn't think so.


This picture is of our unity sand jar. My husband and I chose to do this rather than the candle ritual because not only did we love the idea, but it worked much better outdoors than candles and fire. The white represents God's love and protection, the gray represents my husband, and the purple represents myself. I'm thrilled to have this beautiful memento of our marriage and look forward to that day when I come home and our children have either dumped it out or shaken the jar to blend the colors.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Missile Silo

Last night while lying in bed, my husband and I were having a serious conversation about when we might start a family. While I was talking about being surprised by the sex of the baby, my husband interjected with:

"Open missile silo."

"Fire missile."


"Close missile silo."

And he says he doesn't need to have kids because he has me? I think I can now fairly say that I don't need to have kids because I have him.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Raspberry-flavored Tractor

My parents went to a Steam Thresher Reunion yesterday. While they were nice enough to invite me and my husband to go along, we had to pass. See, we are not farmers and the thought of spending eight hours outside looking at farm equipment sounded like a less than ideal way to spend a Saturday. In fact, I was bored out of my mind just reading the information provided on the website!

Even though I didn't make it to the event, my parents did bring me back a tractor - raspberry flavored. Now this is the kind of farm equipment I can truly appreciate!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Dad's Photo

My dad showed me this picture today because he was excited about the unique wing markings the dragonfly had. While I do admit they are very interesting - we've never seen one like it before - I was more excited about his shot. My parents know very little about photography or how to use their camera. It rarely gets used, especially by my dad. So, to see him using it and getting a beautiful picture like this makes me thrilled! Of course, he didn't realize how awesome his shot was - that I would love to call this one my own!