Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sad but True

I've become one of 'those' people, you know...the ones who put outfits on their dogs. I honestly couldn't resist when I saw the Christmas costumes marked down to 50% off...I couldn't pass up such a great deal. Of course, they say you're only truly getting a good deal if you're buying something you would have bought at full price. Oh well...I think the pictures speak for themselves!

Look, it's Dinah, Santa's long-lost Reindeer!

And of course Ditto, Santa's little helper

Friday, December 19, 2008

Duke & Honey

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to take some photos of two golden retrievers. Since school and life have been so busy lately, I just now got a chance to process all the photos. These dogs were so sweet, they are best friends and I think it shows. I'm happy to have these completed and I can't wait to get them returned to the client. My snow day has been very unexpectedly productive and it feels good to be getting things checked off my list!

Winter's Welcome

One of the very best things about being in the educational field in Michigan: SNOW DAYS!! Granted, these days have to be tacked onto the end of the year, but there's just something wonderful about getting an extra day off for what would have been the last day of school before break. Of course since I'm only a sub, this means no pay for me...but I'm OK with that.

Michigan is getting pelted today. We've already had about 3-4" since 4:00 a.m. and as I look out my window right now, I can see a steady snowfall covering the tracks the dogs have made. Even Eastern closed campus today, which NEVER happens. You can imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and saw this message: "Eastern Michigan University is closed today (Friday, Dec. 19) due to the weather." Another weird thing happened today too. We were listening to the weather channel this morning for updates and the local emergency broadcast cut in with a message, "The Ann Arbor area is at a stage yellow winter weather alert level," which was followed by information about the hazardous roads and extra driving time. This is just weird. I've lived in Michigan for over 15 years and not once have I heard such a message. I think the big concern is the ice because it really does complicate things...but still, an emergency alert message for a snow storm??

So of course I had to take a few pictures this morning. Unfortunately I don't have my good camera because I left my battery charger in MD and both my batteries have since died, but my camera phone does OK with enough light.

Winter has certainly made herself welcome, even before she's technically supposed to be here. She's even sitting in our chairs:

The weight of the snow and ice caused our bushes to spread out so you can barely see the path to our front door. Of course this is pre-shoveling.

Even Santa, who normally enjoys a rather sheltered existence under the porch received his fair share of snow with this storm.

And last but not least, the dogs have to be mentioned. Ditto has always liked the snow, she scampers right our into it and begins the work of making tracks through the yard. Sometimes she even sticks her nose into the snow and makes a wuffling sound like she's snorting. It's always funny to me that her normally white-looking coat doesn't quite look white next to the snow.

And then there's Dinah with the short legs and low, low body. She does not enjoy the snow. She stands at the door and gives me an imploring look when I make her go outside. This morning her legs basically disappeared in the snow, which was pretty darn funny, poor dog!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winding Down

My semester officially ended today, which is a tremendous relief! I'm hoping I ended up with all A's, but there are two classes that are hanging in the balance between A's and B's. More than anything I am happy it's over. This was one very hectic semester and I made it through in one piece. What a nice thought that I don't even have to think about school again until next year!

Christmas is only nine days away! We went and got our tree this past weekend, which was a lot of fun. For once we weren't the ones having a family tiff.

As we were cutting our tree down there was a family walking around near us. They were going back and forth about which tree to get and then the teenage daughter said to the mother, "why are you acting like this," at which point the mother said, "I'm sick of you guys picking on me...no one gives a crap anymore" and then she started crying. Around that time, the father walked over to the pair and said, "will you guys cut it out, this is bullshit!" I felt kind of sorry for them and was happy we weren't experiencing that kind of stress. Our tree is huge this year but with the use of our handy tools, cutting it down was a piece of cake.
On our way out we passed a father and son who had come to the conclusion they had the wrong saw blade. We could tell they were getting frustrated so we offered to let them use our blade. The father was coaching his son all through the process of cutting the tree. He kept calling him "buddy," which was truly adorable." With the right blade, they had their tree cut in about five minutes and all seemed happy.

This is such a busy time of year for us. We have my niece's 2nd birthday on Dec. 20th, a Christmas party on Dec. 21st, Christmas itself, which is also Michael's birthday, our big family Christmas on Dec. 28th, and then our wedding anniversary on Dec. 29th! With all that (and then some) on the to-do list, I can see that next year will be here in no time...bring it on!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do You Wanna' Be a Drummer?

My neighbor has recently taken up learning how to play the drums. This is an interesting endeavor, to say the least. From over here, all I can hear is a steady, if annoying thumping noise. I think all the nuances are drowned out along the way. I'm not really bothered by the noise, it's sort of like a methodical thud in the background of my life, to which I've become more or less desensitized. He sure is dedicated though, the "music" just keeps going and going. That reminds me of that Energizer Bunny commercial from a while back where the bunny would drum endlessly. I sort of feel sorry for the people who live with him though...my neighbor, not the energizer bunny!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Service Complete!

At long last, I'm done with jury duty!! If you're interested in reading about the case I was on, check out this article. They do a much better job of summing up what was a very long, complicated, and convoluted story than I ever could.

Needless to say, I am 1000 times relieved to have this trial over with; however, I will say that I have learned a lot over the past several weeks. For one, I've learned that I am capable of doing more than I think I can do, and that my life really wasn't that stressful before! :) I've also learned so much about the law and about the proceedings of court cases. There were many interesting moments, mingled with many moments too dull to describe. Overall the experience was a positive one I won't soon forget.

Now it's time for me to "bite back" and play a major game of catch up with school. I've done pretty well keeping it all together, but I do have much work to catch up with. There are only a few weeks of school left and I can already imagine how sweet the recoup time will be!

In other news, we welcomed a new family member yesterday! My niece, Lydia Grace was born at 4:26 p.m. So far everyone is doing well and she is so sweet!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cool Cats!

This so applies to my life right now. I think I'm entering phase 5 for sure...notice the eye twitching comment! I was originally shown this by one of my professors and then I found it here when I did a google search. No one seems to know the true origin of this, which is unfortunate because it is hilarious!

The Six Phases of Teaching/Learning:

Phase 1: You are listening to jazz — Your first day at work is great. Your fellow teachers are wonderful, your classroom is cute, you love your students, and your principal is the best!

Phase 2:You are listening to pop music — After a while you are so busy that you are not sure if you’re coming or going anymore.

Phase 3: You are listening to heavy metal — This is what you feel like after ONE month.

Phase 4: You are listening to hip hop — You become bloated due to stress, you’re gaining weight due to lack of exercise because you are so tired and have so much school work to do when you get home, you feel sluggish and suffer from constipation. Your fellow teachers are too cheerful for your liking and the walls of your classroom are closing in. You have started thinking ‘WHATEVER’ about your principal.

Phase 5: You are listening to GANGSTA RAP — After more time passes, your eyes start to twitch, you forget what a ‘good hair day’ feels like as you just fall out of bed and load up on caffeine.

Phase 6: You are listening to the voices in your head — You have locked your classroom door to keep people out, You wonder, “WHY am I even here in the first place?” and “WHY did I become a teacher!”

Monday, November 17, 2008


I woke up this morning with my eye twitching...not a good way to start a Monday! I'm not sure if this has ever happened to you before but it's basically like a miniature lightning storm in your eye, usually around the lid area. Completely involuntary and completely annoying! I get these every so often and it's almost always when I'm overly stressed, which would definitely apply to now.

I'm trying to remain calm and level-headed about my present circumstances, but sometimes it's hard. I realized the other day that ALL of my six classes have something major (projects, papers, exams, etc.) due during the first week of December. Um...yeah...the first week of December is in two weeks, and I'll be in jury duty until the day before Thanksgiving. Oh and that reminds me, the holidays are here again!

I think 14 more strands of hair on my head just turned white!

Friday, November 07, 2008

This MUST be love...

This song makes me want to jump up and dance around the room, I LOVE this thing right now!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One of Eight

"Ladies and Gentleman, we have a jury." That's what I heard earlier today...and yes, I'm on that jury! I went in for my day of duty in Detroit, fully expecting to sit there for a few hours and then be dismissed. Instead I was selected to serve as a juror. As soon as we entered the court room I had this uncanny feeling my name would get called, and I was right. Due to my oath of confidentiality, I will not be writing about or discussing the case until after deliberations are over.

As you may be aware from my previous post on this topic, I had a really big chip on my shoulder regarding the timing of this whole thing. As a full time working student with a life, this is pretty much the worst possible time for me to be summoned. I'm still considerably stressed about how I will be able to stay above board in all my classes in light of this new demand of my time; however, I'm actually feeling somewhat excited about being a juror. My attitude has improved considerably since this morning...though it may change again before this is all over. I only hope all of my professors will be understanding of the situation - I guess they have no choice since I'm fulfilling a civic responsibility. Sometimes in life you just have to do what you have to do, this is an excellent example.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some Days...

...It's official, some days I'd rather be a dog. Our dogs have all the creature comforts they could dream of in our home (OK I admit it, they are spoiled) but they don't have to pay the mortgage or lift a finger around this place! I guess I do like my opposing thumbs, but seriously...sometimes it would be nice to just be, which is an art our dogs have certainly mastered!

Lately my life has been plagued by Murphy's law. Yesterday at school I got a parking ticket b/c I didn't have my $75 hang tag properly displayed. Luckily they waved the bulk of the fine and I only had to pay $5 to clear the record, but still...I was miffed. I've also been trying to get my schedule figured out for next semester. This is always a huge chore, but in my case it's getting much worse because I'm getting to that point in my course work where several of my classes are only offered on one day and time. No night classes, no Saturday classes...NO flexibility! I'm not like the more traditional "college kid" where school is the only agenda on my list. I have a life and a mortgage and bills and and...well A LIFE. I don't have the luxury of going to school four or five days a week - I need to be able to work. With the degree I'm earning there is NO WAY it coule be done while also working full time. Even if you were a warrior and tried, it simply wouldn't work. Whatever...I'm complaining I know so I'll stop. I think I've got it all figured out now where I can attend classes three days per week, leaving two open for subbing. I'll probably also need to get a supplimental weekend job but I'll deal with that later.

Speaking of subbing...I've come to the disconcerting realization that some days I'm nothing more than a pawn on someone else's playing field. Today when I walked into the office of the school where I was supposed to be subbing in a 1st/2nd grade combined classroom, I was instead told I would be working with the 4th/5th grade "impairment class." Apparently there was a filed trip for the class I was supposed to sub in and they didn't think it would be "fair" to send a sub. The teacher who was trying to explain all this to me was horribly distracted. She couldn't figure out which end was up, much less try to inform me of what in the world I was supposed to be doing and when. In the back of my mind I'm always aware, as a sub that I may encounter a classroom with no plans or a situation for which I am not prepared. Today was that day and it was certainly a harsh learning experience. To sum it up, I basically felt inadequate and incompetent all day long. I did the best I could with what little support I had, but I'm stll left with the feeling that I failed miserably. Those kids need stability and consistency first and foremost. Having a sub is hard for them, much harder than it is for non-impaired kids. Having a sub who is completely unprepared and minimally supported...well that's a whole different level. One thing is for sure, and that is that I'm learning. Subbing has taught me tenfold what I will ever be able to learn in my theory-based college classes, great though they may be. I guess there is nothing to do but roll with the punches on days like today. I certainly had no choice in any of what was thrown my way...and I did make it through the day, along with the kids. Maybe that's all that matters.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack Obama

I've been listening to political projections all evening and the results are finally in. Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America. I feel very proud today to be part of a huge step forward for our country. I waited in line for over an hour this morning, beginning at 6:25 a.m., and even then there was a stirring of excited anticipation amongst the people in line. This is the 4th presidential election I've voted in and I've never seen the kind of voter turn-out and excitement that is evident throughout our country today. Even now, listening to John McCain's concession speech, I am struck by his graciousness and the respect with whichc he speaks of and to Barack Obama. This has certainly been an election I will remember in years to come. My hopes for the future of our country are higher than they've been in a long time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frosted Spider

Michigan had a record breaking low of 20 degrees this morning. When we left for work/school, our spooky Halloween spider had turned into a frosted spider. He looked cool enough for me to grab a quick cell phone image before heading out for the day.

Happy Halloween!

Hey Little Sister

I did some engagement photos for my little sister and her fiance a few weeks ago. The colors were gorgeous and I'm really happy with how the photos turned out. They're getting married on October 17 of next year...good times are ahead for our family!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Smacks of Desparation!

All I can really say is...wow. Some people are just crazy!

This modification to my friends' Obama sign was awaiting us when we got back to the house after some sightseeing today. And this is an affluent area, right here in America. Gees, sometimes I'm shocked at how ignorant people can be! I don't mind founded disagreements with my viewpoint, but to foolishly perpetuate lies and rumors is simply going too far.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Doggy!

Today is Ditto's 9th birthday! I'm finding it hard to believe she has been with us for so long, and at the same time I can't really remember a time without her. I can still distinctly remember the day she came home as a tiny little puppy--it was love at first sight. Happy birthday, pup...here's to many more!

P.S. Yes I have a web site for Ditto...check out her Dogster profile and leave her a birthday bone!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Special Time of Year

There's nothing quite like fall in Michigan. The tantalizing smell of warm cider and doughnuts seems to permeate the air all around. The colors burst forth from the trees, offering their brilliant farewell on the way to winter. The days are crisp and the nights are cold. You can see your breath in the air for the first time in a long time. Early morning frost covers the world like a blanket. I could go on, for every year when autumn rolls around, I remember that fall is my most favorite time of year. Then again, every time of year is my favorite time of year! When the first silencing snow falls in December, I'll have to admit that in fact, winter is my favorite time of year...and Of course when the flowers bloom in early spring I will smile with the notion that spring is indeed my favorite time of year after all. And then summer will come again and I'll be reminded that the long, languid days in the sun are really the best part of every year, hands down. What can I say - I'm a seasons person. I sort of feel like Michigan chose me rather than me choosing her, but I don't think I would be very happy living in a place where the seasons were a blur. Michigan is my home and she fits me well.

Today husband and I went to the cider mill as an ode to this delightful autumn. The day is ideal for such a visit, as was evidenced by the many families who shared our idea of what to do on an autumn afternoon in Michigan. We got there at around 12:45 and the lines were just beginning to get long. We bought our bag of apples, got our hot cider and warm doughnuts, and sat down at a lovely table under an old tree to share our delights with the few remaining bees in the area. It was a lovely outing.

Autumn in a cup!

Good enough to share!