* Once again with music

Argh. We used the wrong paint so I am repainting the family room AGAIN. I was hoping to keep my blogging streak intact, but duty calls. And my dearest teaching widower. I know it’s going to be gorgeous and I get to listen to my worship music unimpeded! Win-win.

* Personal leave days

Using personal leave days (or PTO or whatever you call it) makes me feel guilty. I know I shouldn’t feel that way but there it is. I have two doctor appointments, both scheduled during my work times and that was the best I could do. Why I feel guilty might be another post. Might be.

The upside is that I get a peek into what my dearest teaching widower does when I am not here. Typically, he is responsible for being home when we have maintenance issues. Today, we are having the sunroom heat pump replaced. It broke several years ago and we are finally making the sunroom a warm place!

The other “interesting” news is that the company installing this new heat pump noticed that one of our main heat pumps is broken. Hmm. We just had it inspected two weeks ago and it was supposedly fine, so my widower is dealing with that conundrum. I’m really glad I don’t stay home very often.

* Coyote pelt

I am not griping. I am actually grateful. My dearest teaching widower handled a difficult situation (and me) with grace and patience.

Last summer, my widower and I were faced with a series of unfortunate leaks and flooring disasters. Most of our house was refloored and areas were recarpeted. The home improvement store left us with an unimproved carpeting situation in August. They had previously installed new carpet on the stairs, but then we had all the upstairs carpeting removed and replaced with laminate. It was only after the crew left (past midnight) that we saw the coyote pelt at the top.

See that raggedy strip of carpet? That is a piece of 32-year-old carpet that they had ripped out! They replaced the brand new carpet with a strip of our old pelt. Seriously! I could not look at the stairs without seeing that dingy pelt fastened just below the landing. I frothed at the mouth every time I went near the stairs.

My widower read the signs of impending hysterical phone calls and said he would deal with the company. LAST WEEK, they replaced the coyote pelt. I asked him to snap a picture of it before it was repaired.

Am I happy about it? Not completely. It still looks jagged, even though it’s new carpet. But my dearest widower spared me months of saying things I would have regretted, of potential lawsuits, and tons of repentance. A raggedy edge pales in comparison to that! He knows that harsh words would stir up more than a messed up strip of carpet.

* Death by paint chip

Preparing to paint the family room has become a full-time occupation for me and my dearest teaching widower. It may lead to murder because I am sick of trying to decide what looks best and have no sense of color, anyway. Family, friends, and anyone who dares to enter our house are quizzed on their preferences, too. I think I saw my widower chatting with the UPS driver.

My dearest widower is offering a prize to the reader who can identify the paint color “Modern History” in the photo below. I think he likes that color best for our walls, but that’s a perpetually changing preference. Not sure what the prize is, but let me know if you can find it and I’ll do something for you. Maybe I’ll paint your family room.

We’re matching rocks or trees or something.

We’re already on our second print for the main wall (we ordered a small version to check out the colors). I like this one of Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite because we once hiked to the top of the falls. I thought we were going to tumble to our deaths because the rocks were so slick with water and moss. We made it then, but our relationship has hit more rocky steps over these ruddy paint chips!

I’m hoping we can make a decision before I destroy all the chips. Or worse.

* Ten Things of Thankful

I’ve been erratically posting to the Ten Things of Thankful blog for a while now, thankful that no one is keeping score!  And here is my current countdown:

1.  A restful Christmas vacation, much needed and much appreciated.

2.  Plans to repaint and redecorate our family room.  Since my dear teaching widower got to turn our living room into a home theater, I decided on a bear theme for this room. Martin Minkling and Rufus will have a new home.

3.  Some snow this winter! 

We got 4 more inches on top of this! Whee!

4.  A new puppet friend for social studies (and yes, you may ask about that).

5.  The first of a few new bear prints.  No pun intended.

From greatbigcanvas.com

6.  Relief that my dearest teaching widower and I both agreed to nix the bear eyes print below.  Caution: Extended viewing may lead to paranoia.

brown bear eyes

7.  Time to blog.  This will likely come to an end next Monday.

8.  No flu.

9.  A new REAL camera, with special thanks to Cee for her inspiration and help. I’m gonna be Cee one day!

10.  Good Karma, which is a delicious flaxseed “milk” with no added sugar and lots of protein.

* Get a flu shot?

It’s too late for me to change my mind, and my doctor is convinced this was the right decision, but I wish I hadn’t gotten a flu shot. I’ve had flu shots regularly for years and they almost always make me sick. And I still get the flu. Last year, H2N3 leveled me for a couple of months.

This time, my reaction to the shot was unusual. First, I was sort of manic and lost my already-thin social cognition. I laughed wildly about very personal topics with two receptionists at a radiology clinic. I also went shopping for school stuff after that, which could have been a financial disaster. Thankfully, a growing sense of fatigue cut my journey short. When I got home, I told my dearest teaching widower that I felt odd and he nodded kindly. Of course.

By that afternoon, I had severe chills and went to bed. My widower covered me in layers of down comforters and fetched a heating pad. I could not feel any warmth from the pad, even on its highest setting. I insisted that it was broken, but he put his hand under the covers and said, “No! It’s very hot!”

Of course, I was burning hot when I woke the next day and could not cool down. I felt feverish and achy. That evening, I started itching and felt like I’d been nibbled all over by ticks. After a few doses of Benadryl, I finally slept. I’m still itchy but overall, this wasn’t the worst experience I’ve had with the flu shot. Still….

This won’t hurt a bit!

What do you think? Are flu shots worth it? Have you experienced strange side effects or am I just weird? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

* My kingdom for an editor

I will not break my self-imposed rule about publically reviewing a book I cannot give 5 stars.

I’m currently reading a detective series that has a lot going for it. The plots are quite clever, they all have happy endings (4.999 stars right there), and the characters are believable. If only I could edit them for the author! Argh! My brain won’t let me glide past numerous incredible errors, perhaps because some are quite humorous. Here’s a sentence I’ve created using a few of my favorites:

As I rode into the town with its population of $7000, I gave up the reigns of my horse because I was Busched.

What? Were the books written on an iPhone? I’ve had some seriously awkward word substitutions with Siri, so I sympathize. Sort of. I was trying to find the key to our storeroom (shed) while my dear teaching widower was out of town. He has this unhappy habit of popping keys in his jacket pockets and driving off into the sunset. And yeah, I was dictating this while dr*****, too.

Me: Do you have the sh#! key?

Him: What?

Me: The sh*@ key.

Him: What?

Me: Did you put it in your pocket?

Him: What?

Me: The sh@! key! I need to spray the deer.

Him: WHAT?

* Unintended reproduction

In yesterday’s post, I referred to my science unit on plant reproduction.  In the terrific Earthbox Junior, our plants grew at a phenomenal rate.  I used nutrient-rich Happy Frog potting soil from a boutique plant store to avoid introducing any unwanted bacteria or critters into the planter.  The plants also came from that same pricy store.  So far, so good, as long as my dearest teaching widower didn’t ask how much it all cost.

Alas, I forgot to add moss, which has a nice spore method of reproduction.  At that point, I decided to try a novel approach and go frugal.  Our yard has a growing mass of moss, since the deer have eaten everything else.  I culled a nice sample and watched it die in the planter.  But to our surprise, the “dead” ornamental moss around our bonsai ficus tree sprang to life!  All was good and we kept a close watch for the spore cycle of the moss.

We examined the planter daily with a digital microscope and I nearly fell over when some giant legs and antennae shot past the screen.  I’ve seen too many alien movies.  The creature eluded us until it grew into a recognizable poisonous spider!  What are the odds that a small sample of soil from my yard would yield a brown widow spider?  The worst was yet to come.

Aphids appeared next, all over our nerve plant, so I doused them with soapy water and waited a day before examining their carcasses.  As I carried the planter to our viewing location (AKA insect morgue), a sharp-eyed kiddo spotted tiny brown dots running around the planter.  I had carried the Earthbox against my chest, so those dots also ran up and down my body.  Further exciting microscopic investigation revealed dog tick nymphs.  Hundreds of them, springing into life in my arms.   Yes, I was bitten on my head, face, and ankle.  No students were bitten, which was miraculous.

Dermacentor_variabilis

Check out TickEncounter’s resources or ask to see my videos of these critters!

* Happy New Year!

Although this isn’t the REAL new year, the 2018-2019 school year, it’s still a great time for taking stock of where you’ve been and where you are going with your students.  Bless you if you live and die by pacing guides and a district that emphasizes teaching to the test.  Ignoring that major speed bump for now, my best advice is to love your students each day.

What does it look like to love your kiddos?  Believing in each one.  Knowing their strengths and challenges.  Smiling and laughing.  Connecting with families.  Being patient with them and yourself.  Buying a daily calendar with pages that can be ripped off and torn into shreds if it was THAT kind of day, never to be held against anyone.

On the topic of daily calendars, I bought us the 2019 New Yorker cartoon version and am most disappointed.  You can even buy the cover cartoon as a poster, if you lack a sense of humor and have a bare wall in your shed.  My dearest teaching widower had to google it before we understood the “joke.”  You know what they say about explaining jokes….*  Of course, we may hold the minority opinion on that.  No one has asked me to publish anything anywhere.

new-years-day-3838902_1920

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the blogosphere but I am not making any resolutions.  You could make it a resolution to read my blog every day, knowing full well that there won’t be daily posts.  That will give you time to follow up on other resolutions, such as reading current brain research, hunting for new teaching technologies, and using that new gym membership or exercise app.  Right.

  • Ding dong

* Sharing my world, one nut at a time

I love Cee’s weekly challenges and enjoy reading her responses, too!  Did you know she’s been trained by her cats?  Check out her post to see how clever those rascals are.  Another special treat on her blog: Cee has posted “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” because they’ve had a drought for TWO months but it just rained!  Whoa.  I think we got all their rain and someone else’s too.  So here we go:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?  I am a nutty person.  Nuts used to upset my tummy but now I enjoy them all the time.  Even as a “milk.”  As I have dropped dairy and gluten, nuts have moved up my food chain.  In fact, it seems that nuts are everywhere.  On the road, at work, in stores- and yeah, in the mirror.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?  Anyone who has had nightmares about monsters or nutty stuff knows you must keep the closet doors shut.  If I wake up, I don’t want to see a shadow over there.  I’d go nuttier if I didn’t secure those closet doors.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?  Yikes.  I am going to be late for school because I am blogging!  I am often late because I haven’t planned my exit carefully enough, so I’m running up and down looking for my phone or car keys or sweater or lunch or something!  I do plan my exits somewhat but nutty things happen.  Must be my diet.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  I appreciate my dearest teaching widower for putting up with me at my worst, like when I lost it after my car blew up, our house keys were stolen, our kitchen floor was wrecked, a hole remained where a dishwasher should go, our insurance company sent a letter denying our claim, and the stacks of laminate in the hallway almost reach the ceiling.  So glad we went to the beach!

beach 4