Monday, August 31, 2009

Mother Nature B*&%h Slapped Me Yesterday

Yesterday I was convinced by my boyfriend that going on a little day hike would be a good activity for a group of us. I wasn't too enthused about the prospect of huffin' and puffin' my way up a mountainside, but he assured me I would be okay, that it was only 4 miles round trip, that it would be fun.

I'm not sure if fun is the right word.

As soon as we started up the trail at Little Si ( I knew I was in trouble. Mother Nature greeted me with a super steep incline that made me stop every few minutes to catch my breath. I thought about crying and cursed myself for letting me get this out of shape.

As we made our way to a more leveled area of the trail I was able to check out my surroundings and actually appreciate the landscape around me. My lungs recovered, my legs stopped yelling at me, and I was lulled into a false sense of okayness. That is, until we hit the final leg of the trail...

The final portion Little Si requires finding your way up another, even steeper, switchback area. By now my legs were announcing that they were done for the day (You wish, stupid legs!) and my slightly negative attitude returned. Somehow though, I made it to the top.

Right now you're probably thinking, "Yay for you, Pigtailed Teacher!" The problem with that is I was only halfway done with the 4.4 mile loop...I still had to make my way back down the mountain! Oy vay.

Remember that section of super steep, switchback trail I just went up? Now I had to go down it. It's about this time that my knees started screaming at me, "We're not made to carry an extra 60 lbs of weight! We hate you, we hate you, we hate you!" My calves chime in, as did my lungs, my heart, and the toes on my left foot. Unfortunately for all of us though, there was nothing I could do, but slowly work my way back to the bottom of the mountain and promise myself (and all of my angry body parts) that I will do something about this situation I've gotten us into. See this goal and many others at:

All in all though, I'm glad I went. It was a beautiful day, and I was with supportive, fun people I like to be around. Next time, I just hope Mother Nature won't have to slap me so hard to knock some sense into me!

The View from the Top (and How Dirty I Got!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Check Out My Updated Good Intentions!

Check out the progress I've made on my goals and good intentions page.
I've completed one goal this summer and worked on a few others. Let me know if you have any suggestions for completing the others.
Thanks, Pigtailed Teacher

PS.....Sorry for the weird spacing on the Pigtailed Teacher Goals page. I fix things just how I like them, and even though I click "save," they don't show up on the published page. Have any of you had the same problem?

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Back-to School Dream

They don't tell you in college that when you become a teacher, you will probably have back-to-school dreams every year (or should I say nightmares?)

This year I had my first back-to-school dream on August 1st. It of course involved me not being prepared for the first day. I knew I could wing it, but I was frantically trying to figure out what to do first. I was doing okay until a certain student, let's call him Kenny, started acting up. I had been told by his previous teacher that I just needed to be super strict with him for the first few days and then he would just fall into line. Let's just say, it wasn't working. And that was the end of the dream.

It wasn't a particularly bad dream, but it did make my stomach tense up a bit.

In related news, when I went into my school this week, I received an updated copy of my class roster. Who's not on the list...Kenny! I wonder who I should dream about next...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Photo of the Week

Something We Don't See in Seattle...

This Just in...Classroom Teachers Hoard Furniture!

It's a little known fact to those outside the world of education that teachers have a tendency to hoard classroom furniture. That's because it takes so long to get an order from surplus, you've who knows when you'll get another one.

I think I put my first request in for two small book cases last May. I've been told that our district's new policy is to wait to send an order until a school has a moderate amount of stuff on hold. That sounds good in theory, since the school has to pay for each separate order. The only problem is that whatever is still left on the request form is now deleted from their system.

According to this new policy, since I did not receive my two small bookcases in the June delivery, my request was deleted. Luckily I heard about this new policy in time and was able to put in a new request for the next delivery. This time I put in for two small bookcases and two large bookcases. I figured that I'd have better odds of getting something if I put in for extra.

When I went to school last week (First Day Back) I asked the new secretary about the status of the surplus delivery. She said that due to school closures the surplus department had put a hold on all deliveries until August 15th...a little over three weeks before school starting. I knew there was little chance of me receiving even one bookcase at this point.

Before I went into my room yesterday I said out loud to S. ..."I'm going to set-up my room witho ut the bookcases. I can't plan around something I'm probably not going to get. " I walk into my classroom, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two small bookcases!

For over four hours I pushed old bookshelves into new locations, put new bookshelves on the opposite wall, drug 6 ft long work tables across the room and back again, until finally, I was satisfied. I could see it all coming together. My vision was coming into focus.

Just then, well actually, a half an hour before I left for the day, a delivery man strolls into my room. "I've got a bookcase for you," he says. "Actually, two of them." What else can I do but feign a smile and try to figure out where the hell I'm going to put two more bookcases.

Thanks Mr. Murphy's Law. I owe you one. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer Goals

There are a few goals I wanted to accomplish this summer, and with my vacation quickly coming to a close, today I decided to focus on what could be considered one of the biggest tasks at the den closet. This includes organizing my "stuff-it" shelf and going through all of the papers in my filing box.

Below are the Before and After shots of my the shelf makeover. This comes after many hours, two episodes of The Gilmore Girls, one episode of Project Runway All-Stars, and two raspberry vodka/7-up/pomegranate juice adult cocktails. I still have a few things to file tomorrow, but I think I've come to a good place to stop for the night.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Square Lotus....and Some Not so Vegertarian Food.

Last Thursday I met my Auntie N. and Cousin A. for lunch at a vegetarian friendly place in Bellevue, Wa. All three of us are differing levels of vegetarian and enjoy trying new restaurants. Auntie N. knew of this particular restaurant, Square Lotus, and my cousin and I were excited to try it. To start our meal we ordered "pork" skewers, "chicken" egg rolls, and some "chicken" summer rolls. All three were very yummy, although the skewers had a surprising gingerbread taste to them at first. Our entrees were just as delicious. In fact, my leftover sesame "beef" didn't even make it to the fridge.

Three of the most sane women in our family together for good food and good conversation...a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

Later that day a couple of us took urbanite mommy ( out of the house for baby's first happy hour. We went to a new place called The Signature. It boasted happy hour food and drink specials from $2-$5. Our waitress was a bit flaky, especially when it came to announcing last call for happy hour (shame on you waitress lady!), but overall our experience was a positive one. The garlic fries were grubbin' and the orange juice and vodka didn't give me a headache.

The funniest moment of the entire day came at the end of our happy hour experience. I was casually looking over the menu choices, reflecting on what I might blog about in the future, when I noticed the fine print listed under the garlic fries...."Deep fries saute with green onion, garlic and chicken powder." Chicken Powder?!?!?! Who's ever heard of putting chicken powder on garlic fries?!?!? I thought french fries would automatically be vegetarian?!?! No wonder I was licking the plate (and my fingers) clean?!?!

Oh well. At least it was funny. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Exercising and Blogging

Why is it that good habits are so much harder to keep up than bad habits? For example, I mean to exercise daily, but if the littlest thing interferes with my regular schedule, I'm totally off the healthy wagon and embracing the sedentary lifestyle. The same seems to be true for blogging. I want to write at least a little each day, and honestly wake up each morning intending to do it, but just one day without writing sends me down the winding road of procrastination...I suppose that's why it's 11:17 pm and I'm just now sitting down to write. I know it will only get worse once school starts. Ugh. Anyone have any suggestions?
Pigtailed Teacher

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Day Back

I finally broke down and went into my classroom for the first time since June. I deliberately planned on making it a short visit, just enough time to move around a few desks and make a mental checklist of what to get at the teacher store.

Our closest all-encompassing teacher store, Lakeshore Learning, is less than 10 miles away, but with traffic the commute could take up to an hour each way. Since I was heading that direction to have a yummy, vegetarian lunch with my cousin and aunt (tomorrow's blog perhaps?), I decided to make my once a year pilgrimage to the teacher store. Under normal circumstances the aisles would be crowed (it's a pretty small store), but with less than three weeks before the first official bell of the 2009-2010 school year, the store was like the Atlanta airport the day before Thanksgiving.

During my hour and a half visit to Lakeshore Learning I overheard several fun conversations: teachers talking about buying handheld "Stop" signs and using them in inappropriate ways, others debating which name tags are better "the frogs or the fish," and a couple teachers commenting on not buying too much at the beginning of the year. I almost had a "gag me with a spoon" reaction to two uber cute...I'm talking complimentary, knee-length, subtle floral print skirts and bright-eyed enthusiasm of second year, probably kindergarten, teachers who were discussing which scratch n' sniff stickers to get for the first day of school. Ugh. Just give them another year or two and I bet their apple-scented stickers become a lower priority on their shopping list.

After loading up my cart with several important consumable products (birthday crowns, star student posters, you know, the basics) and a few impulse buys (the writing traits poster pack and the giant "look what we did" bulletin board letters), I made it out of the store for under $100...pretty good by my standards! Now if only I could get someone else to do the rest of my prep for me. Any takers? :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sangria and Washable Markers

Well, I'm back from two weeks in Texas (lots of stories to come!) and it seems that no matter how hard I try to deny it, my summer is officially coming to a close. Not only did I have a coworker call me last week to pick out a date for a mandatory, all-day, math training, but I have also started back-to-school shopping for me, and for my classroom. I'm fine with me part...that included a two hour shopping trip to Kohl's to comb the clearance racks. It's the classroom part that has inspired me to breakout the bottle of sangria in our fridge (a tasty birthday present from Baldy the Urban Geriatric Mom at:
While at Target today I noticed a clearance sign above the Rose Art 10 pack of washable markers...only $0.55 a pack! Wide or fine tip! After a bit of hesitation (again, I was trying to deny that my summer is less than two weeks long at this point), I put 15 packs of each type of marker in my cart, along with 15 packs of colored pencils and a super cute notebook for keeping all my "important" teacher papers corralled. I'm usually a Crayola fan, but at $0.55 a pack, my students can use Rose Art projects just fine. I know I bought pencils at Staples earlier in the summer, but since I only payed $0.25 for 25 packs, I didn't really count it as back-to-school shopping. But with this most current trip to Target (and later on in the day, another trip to Staples for $0.25 composition books), I have definitely crossed the line into the school zone. Aahhh!!!!! Where's my glass of sangria? Sigh.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Missing in Action

Actually, I'm not missing in action, I'm busy frolicking around Houston, Texas. Due to limited computer access my postings have been a bit sporadic, but don't you worry. I'm taking a plethora of photos and making lots of notes about the world around me...strange as it is sometimes. (Did you know that some people still don't recycle...weird) I'll share more of my travel insights when I get home next week.