Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Brilliant Form of Bribery

Went to the dentist today for the first time in...too long. Over a year. I know. I'm bad. So they took the x-rays, informed me why I actually need to floss and proved it by showing me the cavity that's just beginning to form using their magical zoom-in x-ray photos of my teeth (SO COOL. TT, now I know why B gets so excited about his work). It was the first time I could see for myself what the dentist meant.

But the way coolest part? The hygienist had me watch a movie while she cleaned my teeth! Seriously, while she poked and prodded, I watched Enchanted, which I have never seen and now plan to rent because I found it, frankly, enchanting. The screen's right there and you either see your x-rays or watch a movie--whatever they need to do at that moment, obviously. It's not as though I would choose to stare at tooth roots instead of watching Amy Adams run around and sing. What a great way to calm children and the occasional nervous adult! Seriously, I will never miss my six-month check-up again. Now if only I had better dental insurance....Sigh. There's the catch, but it might be worth it to sit in the chair and chill to a DVD for an hour.

Oh, and go see The Curious Story of Benjamin Button. Amazing.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weather Weirdness

So you know how we had crazy snow days and over a foot of snow, what, a week ago? Right now it's almost 60 degrees and due to warm temps over the last week, I'm seeing green/brown ground and big-time flooding. The snow's almost entirely gone. We managed to have a white Christmas, but it was sort of a cruddy, dirty white. It's less of a complaint than an observation at how strange weather gets here. Is it global warming? El Nino (I can't put the ~ over the n)? I just don't know. At this moment we have gale-force winds whipping through, so the passing game of Bills and Patriots today will be pretty interesting. I'm not sure what to wear, but I think it will include my bad-ass foul weather gear that I got at a farming supply store in VA years ago. They don't mess around.

That weather made for a fairly uneventful Great Christmas Road-Trip, for which T, Penny, and I were grateful. On Christmas day we went from our house to Colden (~30 min.) to Batavia (1 hour) back to north Buffalo (40 min.) to our house again. As T's mother reminded us, it just means we have many people who love us and want to see us. Very true, and I loved spending time with each of them. My sister M and BIL C are on their honeymoon in Argentina, so it felt a little strange not having them there, but the rest of us all banded together and enjoyed each other's company. To me, that is what makes it worthwhile to have a large, crazy family.

Honestly, I have nothing too exciting to report, sorry. Um...Penny has a sore foot that we have to soak in soapy water or Epsom salts every day? I really want to see Gran Torino because seeing Clint Eastwood as a crusty old man with a shotgun going up against neighborhood punks will be awesome and intense in a way only he can create? I'm relieved to hear regular music on the radio again?

Anyway, if I don't get to you all before 2009, have a great and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One of my Favorites

SD2: The Sequel/Utterly random

Point 1: We had ANOTHER SNOW DAY on Monday. This never happens. Mind you, I waded through snow literally up to my knees in my own front yard, so that may have had something to do with it. I will post mostly dog-related pictures soon, because my dog covered in snow is pretty darn cute. Now we're back in school for one more day, and I'm shocked at how many kids are actually here. Frankly, I'm impressed.

Point 2: With all this free time, I got organized and watched a few movies. I realize one of my all-time favorite scenes from a movie is the end of Crocodile Dundee, when Linda Kozlowski runs after Paul Hogan in the crowded subway station. "She says don' leave! She not gon' marry REEChard!" There's just something I love about it, the comedy and the love and the music...I just can't get enough. It's one of my secret favorite movies, along with Overboard. I know, I know. Terrible but I can't help it. Or maybe I just don't want to.

Any favorite scenes or secret favorite movies to share?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The best words a teacher can hear (aside from "you're hired")

Say, readers in northern climes, what were the two words you most hoped to hear just as you were getting up and ready for school? The words you prayed for, the words you wore pajamas inside out and slept with a spoon under your pillow (what this does for mojo, I don't know) for in hopes to induce this magical event to occur?

Picture me waking with my alarm, blearily getting dressed, letting the dog out, and turning on the radio, computer, and TV in the distant hope that we'd get called out. The forecast predicted 6-12 inches that would start at 8am and get particularly nasty in the afternoon, right about when the kids would go home. My superintendent is notorious for not closing even when everyone else does, so I held out little hope. As the minutes ticked on, the list grew longer. Then, my hopes rose: Iroquois and Frontier closed. They're close to us. Hmm. Should I even dare to dream? Then, like dominoes, East Aurora and Hamburg fell. They're the ones that, if they close, well, we HAVE to close. Right? Right??? Yet I remembered a day last year when this didn't happen. Two busloads of students got into minor accidents on icy roads that day. Would the superintendent remember, too? Would she remember irate parent calls about safety and endangering their children's lives? Pleeeeeeeeze? Suddenly, just as I was about to put on my work clothes, DH yelled out, "OP! OP Central!" I raced to the computer to confirm, and oh yes, oh happy day, hallelujah sing the praises of our benevolent and brilliant superintendent, we...were...CLOSED. As was every other district in the area except one, who stayed open, sent the kids home at 10 am, and apologized publicly on TV for his "poor judgment". Whoops.

I meant to write about this on Friday when it happened (YESSSSS!), but I was too busy racing to the grocery store at 8:30 with everyone else to get supplies, doing laundry, making zucchini bread, watching Penny frolic like a sweet little lunatic in the snow, reading, and shoveling. Right now it is a totally winterwhite-world, my favorite expression for this time of year. White Christmas? You betcha. I will also note that if any student of mine even dares to come in without a rough draft of the essay that was due on Friday, it will not be pleasant for him or her. Not at all.

p.s. Baaaaad storm hitting Sunday night. Could we go for a two-fer? Honestly, from a teacher perspective, I really need us to be in school so I can get those essays and correct them before the holiday starts, but a little part of me would love it. Maybe I'll sleep with a spoon under my pillow....

Monday, December 15, 2008

George had it right

This past weekend while T had a coaching conference in Saratoga, Penny and I spent a girls' weekend together. On Friday night I discovered NBC showing "It's a Wonderful Life". If you haven't seen it, well, you have to. You just do. In case you don't know the plot, we get to know George Bailey, everyman, who ends up wishing he'd never been born because he feels he just messes up everyone's life. Angel-in-Training Clarence comes down to show him just how much he influences those around him and what a great life he actually has. That's exTREMELY condensed, but it's the gist.

Obviously this is the season for showing it, but I wondered if they did it a little early this year because of the mess that is our economy. Either way, I watched and found it quite fitting for the times, even though it's at least 60 years old. Angel Clarence reminded me that no man is poor who has friends. And the way George and Mary made ends meet, having their honeymoon in their leaky home with posters of Hawaii because they couldn't afford the real trip, doing their best.... It all reminded me of how much I truly have and helped me to give a little more.

So many of us have so much in our lives we don't even consider. This recession won't last forever; I know it. The mob scene at the mall this Saturday confirmed that (I had to go--ten minutes in and out, thank goodness). We need to stick together more than ever and remind ourselves of the intangibles, the friendship and family and roofs over our heads. I feel extremely blessed that I'll have a job until next June at the very least, as well as love in my life both canine and human. I hope I don't sound too preachy; I think I'm trying to remind myself to think of these things more than any of you, though I hope I trigger something.

So I'll leave you with this final clip from the movie. Have a good day and try to enjoy as many minutes as you can.

p.s. Did you realize the cop and the cab driver are named Bert and Ernie? I love that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Enjoy the Silence

A little 90s reference for all you Depeche Mode fans out there.

My life is run by bells. Clock-alarm bells, school bells, phone "bells", even church bells. I spend a great deal of my day in 42-minute increments. I surround myself with people, talk all day, sing twice a week. There's a lot of noise everywhere, both euphonious and cacophonous: lovely and jangling. It's not that different from many of yours, I'd guess, in that respect.

I read somewhere recently that we rarely allow ourselves actual quiet time, time where we are alone with no outside sounds. No music to relax you, nobody crying, no phone ringing; just silence. When was the last time you actually allowed yourself to be silent--and still? It doesn't quite count if you're in the basement folding laundry because you're still doing something. It's become taboo in our society to simply sit and be, with no outside distractions. We think of it as wasted time, time when we could be doing something else like cleaning or working or any one of a hundred things we feel we have to do now, now, NOW.

If you think you can't get five minutes of silence in your day, find a way. It's so important to our wellbeing to simply focus on ourselves every so often, even if it's for a short time. I tried it this morning: As I waited for Penny to "do her business" outside, instead of griping to myself that I needed to get inside to getbreakfast-shower-dress-slaponmakeup-runoutthedoor, I looked up at the trees in the gray, early morning light and inhaled slowly a few times, savoring those two minutes when I got to be outside not rushing off to the next place. I may try to do that more often.

I'm one of those people who wakes up entirely, brain revving the minute I'm conscious. It's murder when this happens at 3am and I want to get back to sleep. I go, go, go. I think I do give myself quiet time when I read, but this happens only so often. I need to slow down every so often and just stand, just breathe. A sort of mini-meditation, if you will.

See if you can get yourself to do this at least once in your day. I really think you'll benefit from it. Now I'm off to the next class before the bell rings.

Enjoy the day--it's almost the weekend!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Penny Pics

A little before and after with Penny's "salon" visit. See how shaggy she was?

Like the jingle bells as the collar?

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Better than a Christmas Card

Well, not quite...I got my new voter registration card that FINALLY says I'm a Democrat on it! Hooray! I feel so empowered, truly.

Oh, and I've added the Free Rice logo to my site--please click on it and play. It gives rice to the UN World Food Program. They've expanded as well: You can do vocab, grammar, math, world capitals, and even practice a few different languages. If you want to play at work, why not save a few hungry people as well?

I love my dog

I open with a warning: If you do not want to read about puppies and puppy mess, stop right here.

Penny is a dear, sweet girl. She went to doggie day care yesterday and had a fabulous time playing with another Penny, a Sheltie who apparently doesn't play with just any dog. Yes, my dog's special. Fortunately they tired her out enough that she conked out when she got home.

Fast forward to 5:15 this morning when I awoke to her whining to go outside. She did this a few nights ago at 2am and I took her out then, waiting 15 minutes while she made about five separate piles. Gross. Sorry. I made T go out with her this time and she apparently stepped in some of it and we didn't realize it until the offending odor alerted us. Looking more closely, we saw she'd bespoiled the rug and the bedspread. Sigh. So at 5:30 T attacked the rug and I attacked the yucky paw and her hiney with a very wet washcloth. Fortunately she's getting a haircut today so they can wash her and make cleanup a little easier for us in the future. But don't worry--no showdog cut this time. We want her fuzzy and happy. Pictures to follow, I'm sure.

Enjoy the day!