Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trying to Breathe

No, I am quite literally TRYING to BREATHE at the moment.
Some nasty, mutant cold-flu hybrid has been floating around campus, and,  golly if it didn't strike me with a vengeance, I don't know what did. It all started with a mildly scratchy throat, then a sore throat, then a fever, then the sinuses. Good Lord, the sinuses. I can't hear out of my right ear now, thanks to the sinuses. But hey, I'm thankful because today was the best I've felt since Thursday night. I was essentially a useless zombie over the weekend, a useless, snotty bag a flesh lobbed into bed with the cats taking advantage of their new, immobile space heater.
I'd like to pretend they huddled up next to me because they cared and pitied me, but, really we all know the truth. Cats are shamelessly selfish, self-seeking creatures. At least they make no effort to conceal this fact, and, this, perhaps, is why we love them so.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters
WOW. I haven't posted one of these in ages. But, here it goes

Last night, the hubs and I return from a birthday dinner for his grandmother to discover an adorable, pudgy, wart-covered visitor quite literally at our door.
I call him "Toad Friend." He was playing sentry to keep the bugs out.
At least, that's what I tell myself.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Season Love

If I lived anywhere else in the US, I could say that this is my favorite time of year: the air cools, the leaves change from emerald to gold, and the birds gather together for their annual road trip . . .er . . . sort of. But, the truth is, I live in Florida, the land of flowers, where nothing really changes. Oh, sure, the temperature dips to about 60 degrees, but that's it.
Still, I love it.

I can never tell which I like best: Spring or Fall. They're the changing months. I love change. I love the whisper of cool in the wind, and the new colors popping here and there.
At the cottage, the azalea bushes will bloom when spring is coming. I didn't realize when we moved here, but the shrubs lining the front and side of the yard are all azaleas, which means my yard will be bathed in fuchsia and pink come February. Yay for spring! But fall, well, fall now . . . Fall has so many favorites.
  • School is back!
    Yes, I was always one of those nerdy kids who couldn't wait to start school. A new backpack, brand new pencils (come on, who doesn't love that smell?), new clothes, and NEW BOOKS. Now, I'm on the teacher end of it all, and I STILL love it. Freshly sharpened pencil, anyone? 
  • Mawwiage is what bwings us togetha today . . .
    October 3 marks the two year anniversary of the hubs becoming my permanent partner in crime. Two years down, forever to go. It's a total win. :]
  • Chill
    Nature's thermostat cools ever so slightly . . . and that means I can wear my cardigan collection without looking out of my mind. Nothing beats a beautiful sweater on a nippy day.Oh and hot tea. Oo! Oo! And a fire! The Cottage is fully equipped with a brick fireplace, and I can't wait to light it up!
  • Road trip!
    Sorta kinda. It's as close as we've come :] Last year, we drove down south to Sanibel for our anniversary weekend. We loved it so much, we're doing it again. And will probably keep doing it for as long as we can. Clear water, white sands, seashells, and everything closes by 8 PM.  Love sleepy little Sanibel.
  • Holiday Spirit
    Fall means my three favorite holidays arrive back to back.
    Halloween . .. while I never really dressed up for Halloween, I still love it. Instead of Trick-or-Treating, the parentals took us kids to go putt-putt-golfing. Still do. LOVE IT. And, really, nothing beats a good pumpkin carving party. I'm not a fan of the color orange, but I LOVE it in October and November.
    Thanksgiving means friends, family, fellowship, and great food. I have the excuse to make my cream-cheese-rippled pumpkin bread again! YUMMO!!!
    Then there's Christmas. Golly, Christmas. Hot chocolate, cheesy little tunes filled with warm fuzzies, Christmas lights (we actually have a house to hang them on!), Christmas trees, family traditions (I demand the annual viewing of Muppet's Christmas carol with the bro and the pops), caroling (small group may carol this year and I CAN'T WAIT). Have you ever noticed that everything smells better around Christmas?
    LOVE. IT. ALL. 
This year, fall also hold the arrival of our new furry friend. Our breeder's litter of American Dingos were born on August 26, and we will be making a road trip up to Tennessee to pick up our pup! They are so adorable!

We are hoping to bring home one of the two orange females, but time will tell :] Our breeder still has some pups who have not been spoken for, so, if you're interested, visit here for more info. 

And that, in a nutshell, is why Fall is fabulous.

What's your favorite thing about Fall?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When the Job-Monster Takes Over

Yesterday, I came home, sat on the couch to Netflix and some paper grading, and found myself dozing off, so I opted for the more comfy option and hopped into bed.
Just for a 20 minute nap, mind you. No biggie.
Well, except for the fact, that I decided, ok five more minutes . . . and didn't wake up . . . for two hours.
Because my brain didn't think it was asleep. In fact, it thought it was still lecturing on Henry VIII and Bloody Mary. And telling students to calm down. Oh and that there was a change in the lesson plans, make sure you make a note of that . . . I woke up shocked to find myself in bed with a cat on my lap.

Does my subconscious get paid over-time for working off the clock? Because, my dream-self was working hard in that classroom.

In other news, while I drown in papers and quizzes, I find condolence in the fact that the kids love me. One boy and his mother told me that I'm one of his favorites. Why? "Because you don't skimp on the gore."
Dude, it's Greek mythology. The gore's the best part.
And, yes, I'm keeping it PG here, folks ;]

Oh and I love what I'm doing. I've totally found my match. It's not a goldmine, it's not filled with fame or prestige, but I wake up every day looking forward to my work. I feel alive in the classroom instead of half asleep.
And, good grief, I love these kids.
They're awkward, they're loud, they're wacky, and they are just fabulous. Quite literally fabulous.

Now, back to trying to bring some sense of order to my disastrous home. A friend once said that, with teaching, you must choose between two things: an ordered house or an ordered classroom. At this point, it looks like I just might have chosen classroom . . . my poor husband.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Yummies and Other Oddities(or Why "Little Vietnam" is Awesome)

The hubs and I met a couple of pals in the area fondly known as "little Vietnam." Everyone knows what spot I'm talking about--every major city has one. They're awesome. Period.
Several months ago, my brother introduced me to the glories of a little shop called Dong A's (that's Dong AH not Dong A . . . just in case you were wondering). Today, I realized I don't go enough. It has the coolest candies around, fresh produce, every kind of saki (we bought pink sparkling), curry, chopsticks, and herbal tea for every ailment (detox, acne, muscles and . . . romance tea? Hm. Interesting . . . I wish the details were English so I could actually figure out what that does--is it called "romantic" for its rich, sultry taste? Is it a mood-setter? Or . . . something else . . . The hubs won't bring it home to figure it out).
Oh and there are live fish in the seafood section.
Like fish as big as my face swimming in tanks going, "Fish. I'm what's for dinner."

Plus, the labels are filled with Engrish gems.

Why, yes, thank you I WILL have fun with these gummies.
Oh, come on, that label's funny.
The best was for sour lemon candies labeled "SUPER LEMON! OH! POWERFUL CANDY!"
The first thing Chris said upon eating one: "OH MY GOD!! POWERFUL CANDY!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!"
Yes, it was sour enough to make your eyes water and your jaw muscles tighten into near lockjaw severity. Yeow.
Practical joke worthy? I think yes.

On that little note, I'm going back to my grading.
Grading for 78 kids isn't easy.
Especially when there's a paper a week and quizzes and the daily homework grades.
And it all gets to be in by 6 PM Sunday. Powerschool, mine old enemy, we meet again. I reiterate: you are a total killjoy. Blah on you and all your circuits. Seriously.
My time management is in serious need of makeover because surely there MUST be a way that it's possible to do this and still have some remnant of a life.
Tell me that there is . . . or I'm just turning in my newly-acquired almost-social status and crawling back into my hole.
The good news is, my new study makes for a pleasant grading environment with all my book friends, kitty study buddies, and cheery green walls. Ah, "A Room of One's Own" . . . Mrs. Woolf would be proud.

Speaking of kitten study buddies . . .
Those are papers I was in the middle of grading . . . Just make yourself comfy there, Pip. No, no, you're not in the way at all.

On that note .  . .
Ta-ta and have an awesome Labor Day!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Where? (Or How School Stole My Brain)

You know, when I decided to move, take a new position at work, two weekly group meetings, AND add a tutoring job to my agenda, I did not expect to be on a month-long furlough. No, not even remotely what I had planned on.
Oh gee and golly..

It's not that there hasn't been anything to say--in fact, there's been plenty . . .
I just can't remember any of it.

See, I'm at that point where I can't even remember what day of the week it is. Today is Saturday, right? I didn't just randomly skip work? It is? Oh good. I was worried there for a moment.

Where it used to be that I had three or four days out of the week with little to no commitments, I now have one. Sort of. I also have 80+ essays and/or assessments to grade on a regular basis. Time management was never my strong suit, and now I'm having to learn it fast. Phew.

Twice a week, I tutor four adorable kids, ages 4-13. For the two youngest, I use Angry Birds as a motivator . . . laugh all you will, but do you have any idea how interesting it is to try to keep a four-year-old boy doing homework? Frequent breaks and motivators are a must. And golly he's so cute. His seven-year-old sister is in on it, too. "Mrs. Bocci," she told me one day, "you introduced us to a game, and we fell in love."
Yes, Angry Birds will do that to a person.
Wednesday, we al had the bad case of the wiggles, so we took a ten minute break to play hide-and-seek. The thirteen-year-old even joined us.
And we still got all our homework done on time. Whoop whoop. Love these kiddos.
Even the sixth-grader with such a powerful sense of justice that he wants to nuke Italy for their crimes as the Roman Empire. Oh, how I laughed. Sweet kid, sweet, heart, love that justice . . . but it was interesting trying to talk him out of that.

The new job, teaching middle school, is awesome.
I love it.
It's hard work, it's time consuming, but golly I just love the material and I LOVE these kids.
And you want to know what's really, really cool?
They love me.
They even call me "hip." I haven't been called "hip" in . . . . well, ok, never. A couple drew a note on my board before class on Friday reading "We LOVE Mrs. Bocci!" Oh warms my heart.

It took me a couple of weeks to accept that they sincerely like me. I was scared out of my wits before parent orientation--where we overload the poor parentals with oodles of info on the school and how we run the classroom, and all I received were compliments . . . and it freaked me out.
"So, Sarah, I have heard wonderful things about you after your orientation," my mom said in a phone call.
"Oh really? That's good . . . and frightening. Now, I absolutely can't mess up. Like ever. I started high, and I have to keep it there."
"Sarah, everyone loves you. No worries."
"No, really. All of these compliments are so intimidating. Like all these good things people say, they scare me. Like I have to be perfect forever, and I can't mess up because if I do then everyone will hate me and . . . "
"Sarah, honey, that sounds a little mental."
No kidding. But I'm better now, promise.

Actually seeing kids and parents happy with me has helped, lots. Seriously, I'm greeted with full-out grins.
Considering that several of those parents are school staff/faculty or somehow know my mother, I think being on good terms with them is a good thing.

We have made steps in finishing up the cottage. We still need to spruce up the exterior (possible new paint job and definite yard work), so once that's finished, there will be before and after pics. We still need to finish putting things on the walls in most of the rooms, but it's looking a little bit more like a home. Just a little bit :]

All that to say . . . soon, I'll be reorganizing my brain to actually tell you some funny stories and post pics of the home in progress, but, for now . . .
I'm sorry, but braindead. A zombie may be able to type more coherently than I can at the moment . . . and that's frightening.