Saturday, November 12, 2011

Longwood Gardens

(After writing this whole thing, I thought I should let you know that as usual, I went off on a tangent in the beginning.  So if you don't want to hear about me having a cold for a week, skip down to the part that says "Longwood Gardens" to read about why I actually wrote this post.  That's right, my tangent was so long and off-topic I had to put another title in there.)

Kelly and I went to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago.  I meant to post last Saturday when I had time, but I ended up coming down with a sore throat and fever on Friday night and spending most of this week feeling sick and overall just completely worn out.  Fortunately now I just have a dry cough and I'm starting to get my energy back.  If I have what the doctor said I have (a nasty cold virus that's going around) and so far her symptom progression prediction has been correct, it should turn into a wet cough in a couple days and then go away.  AFTER WRITING THIS I DECIDED TO ADD A WARNING FOR PEOPLE WHO GROSS OUT EASILY TO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! I have to admit when snot-like substance was coming out of my eyes that was the worst.  But I just stayed home all week and avoided contact with Kelly and every other human being and washed my hands and slept a lot, so I could say it wasn't the worst week ever.  But it wasn't necessarily a good one, either.  Wow! TMI.  I bet you all liked the eye-snot part.  Don't worry I went to the doctor and it was just the same virus attacking my eyes.  That sounds so creepy.  But I'm blind now, so nothing worse can happen, right?  Just kidding Mom I can still see just as well as I always could.  So still not very well.  The worst thing is I have to wear glasses for a few weeks, which if you know me is even worse than eye-snot.  I just keep going with this thing...sorry, I'm done. 

I should add a warning up there for all persons squeamish.  ... Okay, it's up there now. (I'm thinking of you Bryan.  Remember that time at dinner when Dad said something like, "We bought the new toilet for our bathroom remodel."  Or something like that completely non-gross with the word "toilet" it in and you freaked out and refused to eat anymore?  That warning up there was for you.  If you read it and can never eat again, it's your own fault that you'll be fed through an IV from now on.)

Now I'm thinking that if Longwood Gardens ever Googles themselves, they won't ever want to read about what I thought of their beautiful gardens and plants and exhibits and stuff.  They just think I'm a nasty person who had a cold.  It's a weird habit of mine to go off on tangents before getting to what I really want to write on this blog, isn't it?  Okay, I'm starting with the real point of this post now.  I suppose I should put the title down here:

Longwood Gardens

A few weeks ago Kelly and I decided to go on a day trip and we thought about all the places around us that we still wanted to visit.  We narrowed it down to Mount Vernon and Longwood Gardens.  Then we got on Longwood Gardens' website and read about it and decided it sounded really cool.  We were also excited to head north, because we figured we could keep driving another 40 or so minutes and have dinner at Chifa in Philadelphia again because we loved it so much when we ate there over the summer.  We planned it for one weekend, but something came up so we moved it back a week.  Of course it ended up being the only time it ever snowed in October out here, but we went anyway.  We got most of the way there before it started snowing and it didn't really start sticking to the ground until we were there, so no problem there.  (Somehow we still passed 3 car wrecks in the 15 minutes we were on the road when it started snowing.  I don't know what happens to people out here.  I mean, they can drive in the rain.  Why not snow when it melts into water as soon as it hits the road?  I suppose that is a deep philosophical question for another time.)

Kelly and I were smart and brought our coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and umbrellas, so we were prepared for the weather.  We also decided that since we each got $10 off the entrance price for being students, we could stick to the conservatory this time and come back in warmer, or at least drier, weather to see the rest, which, by the way, includes an Italian fountain garden, three giant tree houses, a topiary garden (I have to admit I called it a "bush-sculpture garden" for a placeholder until I could look up what it was actually called.), an idea garden for home gardeners, a garden railway, a flower garden walk, an open air theatre, a waterlily display, and even a cow lot!  The conservatory is enormous, so we spent over two hours just exploring in there.  Basically it was just a giant building with a lot of glass, completely full of plants.  We also happened to go during the chrysanthemum festival, so that was all in there too.  We watched a short intro video when we first got there and they have different a different focus or theme all year round, like orchids, a Christmas theme, spring blooms, and even a few months focus on the fountains.  I think the best way to explain the coolness of the stuff we saw there is with pictures, so here we go:

As you can see, when you first walk into the conservatory it is beautiful!  I think it is amazing that gardeners can create this! I just realized this is from the opposite point of view, though.  You come in down at the far side.

chrysanthemum festival

This is one chrysanthemum plant! You heard me, ONE!  There are over a thousand blossoms on this thing!

These are gigantic plant-spheres hanging from the ceiling.  I don't know how they do this, but I would love to try this someday when I live somewhere with windows that will actually support plant life.  Hey, me and my black thumb can dream, can't we?

 So you thought that one chrysanthemum plant was amazing up there?  This also is ONE PLANT.  They grafted in a whole bunch of different types of chrysanthemum onto one plant and thus we have THIS:

Kelly was so excited when he saw this tree.  He said they were all over in Uruguay.  
Come, take a closer look.
Dun dun DUNNN!!  Don't crash your bike into that thing.  Neither you nor your bike will survive.  Actually, I'm surprised Kelly never did trip into one of those when he was down there.  He's pretty accident prone.

These are nectarine trees!  They train them to grow flat against a trellis, cool, huh?

Like I said, there was a chrysanthemum festival. They were everywhere!  Part of it was people could enter a contest with their own arrangements, so we took a look at that.

Here's a closer look at the ceiling-o-umbrellas.  For some reason I love this.
umbrellas as art, umbrella ceiling, parasols as art

Now for a bunch more pictures of flowers and stuff!  I'll try to tell you what they are.
Spider Mum.  Kelly thought these were the coolest flower ever.

Yet another room in the conservatory.  There were so many I couldn't even tell you the number.
Kelly and I giant ball of flowering plant.

Birds of Paradise
Another room
It's as big as his head!
I'm trying to remember the name of these...Chinese something...I think hyacinth?

As you can see, we had a really fun time seeing all of this beautiful stuff.  We kept thinking about how God must have the most amazing imagination to create so many different kinds of plants and flowers for us to enjoy.

When we left, the snow was sticking a lot, so we held off on the rest of the gardens, which were outside.  We also decided to not risk driving the rest of the way to Philly for Chifa, which was very sad for both of us.  Instead we got hot chocolate and headed home.  It was a little nice to get the rest of our day at home when we hadn't been planning on it, though.  Anyway, thanks for the fun afternoon Longwood Gardens!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Work Environment

So I was looking back through my blog a bit...I don't really know why I do that, but I do, anyway, and I came across a couple pictures I posted of my classroom way back in my first year of teaching.  Keep in mind, those are pics of my classroom that "made my students feel unloved" according to Mrs. Evil, my former vice principal and arch nemesis (current).  Fortunately, she got fired.  What a horrible statement, but seriously, she made my life hell that year.  That's not really what I wanted to get into (especially now that things are much better with the new administration).  What I really wanted to share are some pictures of my classroom that actually makes my students feel loved....or something.  Some of them are actually from the end of last year, but it's basically the same this year.  Except they painted the walls white instead of sickly blue, and we got new desks and my chairs all match this year.  However, the chairs are all now sickly blue.  But at least students aren't dragging their favorite chair to their favorite desk at the beginning of class anymore!
The front door of my classroom.  Welcome!
The other corner of the front of my classroom, and no, my map does not roll up.  It is permanently stuck in that place unless I climb up on the radiator to switch it to the US map, which I very occasionally will do if I REALLY need it.
All my students keep their work in their folders which they keep in these bins under the chalkboard.
If you turn around from the front door, you will see the back of my classroom. There's my class bulletin boards, my Great Work board, a place for students to check their grades, my World History Word Wall, and the Mastery Wall.
Here's a closer look at the Mastery Wall.  (Yes, I very discreetly blanked out my students' names.  I'm not sure if you noticed)  On each assessment, I see what state learning goals students scored at least 80% on.  So let's say questions 5, 6, 13, 21, and 23 are about Westward Expansion, and you missed number 23, but got the other four.  You would have gotten 80% Mastery on 5.1.4.a or whatever the state number is.  Then you would get a sticker in the corresponding box!  Believe it or not, my high school students LIVE for those stickers.
This is the other corner of my classroom I haven't shown yet.  Tucked back there is another door that is missing a knob, so I made that my teacher's desk corner.  The red bulletin board is full of students' goals for my class.  Above that is my US History World Wall. There's also the Student of the Week Board, No Name paper board (since doing folders, that hadn't been too much of an issue), my cupboard of art supplies, and a bunch of binders I give away.  This shot is from last year (as you can tell by the mismatched chairs).  I have the same projector, but this year I have a cart with wheels and a laptop to go with it! How fancy, right?

Here's a closer shot of my US History Word Wall.  Awesome.  I think it's a little useless, but supposedly it makes my students feel loved.
And here's a close up of one of my student's goals.  Woohoo! 

classroom incentives, classroom praise, testing incentive
The last thing I haven't shown yet is my Wall of Fame.  It's on the closet next to the door of my classroom (the one with a knob)  My students love it and drag their friends/babies/parents/parole officers/pets/perfect strangers into my classroom to point out their name on the Wall of Fame.  So far it's a bit empty this year because we haven't taken any tests yet.  You get your name on here if you score over 90% on a unit assessment. This pic is from right after the first test in the third trimester last year, so there are a few names on there (which I have blurred out) but it's because I only had about 13 students coming total.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Mrs. A's classroom!  Come back anytime, but remember, you have to come IN the back door (the one behind the filing cabinet) because it's the only one that will unlock from the outside, and go OUT through the front door, because the doorknob is broken off on the inside on the back door, so you can't turn it.  Also, it might be a good idea to come in October-November-ish after the humidity goes away, but before it gets too cold in Baltimore, since one of my windows is still broken from hurricane Irene.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Can't Believe I Had a Whole Summer Off and Never Posted a Single Thing on This Blog...

I feel like I start every blog post with an apology for taking so long between posts...that's kind of dumb because probably none of you except my mom even really notices or sorry I took so long between posts, Mom.  I know I had all summer off, but it felt like my summer no-school laziness begat more laziness.  Oh blerg, I talk to you on the phone all the time, Mom!  What are you complaining about?  I retract any apology anyone may have gotten from the above statement.  It's my life blog and I post when I want!

Earlier today I posted my 9/11 thoughts, so if you're reading this one first, please don't think I'm heartless and unfeeling.  I had some time today to write on here, so I got on to post about my summer, but started with 9/11 just felt wrong to switch gears and add all this stuff on the end of that post.  So if you want to hear some September 11 heartfelt memories and those kinds of things, check out the post from earlier today.  I promise I left my usual snark out of it.

Moving on to the summer that just ended (*sob* (meaning sad crying, not an acronym for something more in the expletive category which may or may not be fitting if shouted here)), and a couple stories that happened right before it started:

I guess I'll start with the first thing I promised WAY back in June (still not apologizing for the three month delay):  The Shelf That Tried to Kill Me!!! Dun Dun DUUUUUN (if you didn't get that, it was musical...figure it out.  Also, I need to stop with the parentheses.  IT'S MY BLOG AND I'LL INSERT RANDOM COMMENTS LIKE THEY'RE SECRETS IN PARENTHESIS IF I WANT! And type-shout, too, apparently.)  Ok, the shelf-star of the story that took place last May, or June maybe, looks great now has some different stuff on it now, like the Bluebird Cafe Syracuse teacup and saucer Kelly's mom gave us for our 2nd anniversary while we were home (our wedding luncheon took place at the Bluebird) and I moved one of those empty yellow flowerpots because it looks lame with them both stacked there...anyway this shelf wants me dead.
But it was evil to get up there.  You see, we were running out of shelf space on our massive wall of bookshelves...yeah, we need to get rid of some books (you'll notice I didn't put that in parentheses like I was tempted to..Aah!.I just can't stop!).  So being the awesome genius that I am, I thought, "Hey! Let's get a floating shelf for one of the vast empty walls in our dining room, and keep our cookbooks on it!"  So we went to Ikea and got one.  Also we got a box of screws with sturdy-looking anchors there.  Foreshadowing alert:  big mistake.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy anchors at Ikea.  This sounds like common sense now, but I guess we were stupid back then...three months ago.  They were not sturdy.  More like, um....slippery?  That might be the word I want.  So the shelf instructions said "Just make sure one of the three screws is in a stud and I should hold up to 30 lbs!"

"Woohoo!" thought I, "I'll just put anchors in all of them and make sure two screws, if not all three, are in a stud just to be safe."

Irony, you, mean, nasty thing.

So Kelly and I skipped happily to a hardware store and bought a stud finder and I think this may have been when we decided to purchase a level that would have been helpful when I hung up our headboard way back when.  (Parentheses sidenote: Every single time I use or even think about a level, I think of a sketch from MadTV that isn't even that funny, but the link is here because it wouldn't let me embed the video.  I think Kevin and/or Bryan were there when I saw this.  If you either of you remember it you're cool.)

So I used the stud finder to locate three studs and used 2-inch screws and anchors and got it all on and it felt sturdy.  So trusting Ikea I put a couple books on there, maybe like 15 lbs.  And it all came crashing down!  I jumped back, but if I hadn't I might not have feet anymore.  I ended up getting super-heavy-duty anchors from a real hardware store and put in not three, but seven screws, four of them in studs and the rest anchored.  Before I put anything on it I tried to wiggle it...I was much more observant this time and noticed that it still didn't feel as sturdy as it probably should.  So we went back to Ikea and got three L brackets, I don't really know the real name of them, to brace it from underneath (The Magic School Bus taught me that triangles are the strongest shape) and used 2-inch screws there, too, just to super-stabilize things.  Finally, it worked!  It now holds more than 30 pounds of books and Kel's Food Network magazines and some other stuff.  It even lived through the earthquake last month with no problems at all.  I got it to work with my extreme stubbornness, and it looks pretty good, I say!  The only problem is it took us awhile to get used to it, so we ran into it a couple times after it was first up on the wall.   But along with looking cute, it freed up a whole shelf on our wall o' books for my ever expanding misc/Dick Francis collection.  Also, keep in mind the adorable green teapot on the shelf in the picture up there.  It is important later. Kinda.  I guess.

Next story.  The Evil Nail That Really Did Take My Foot Off--(Or At Least Caused a Nasty "Contusion" as the Witch Doctor Put It.
We were having some people over on a Sunday evening and I was putting a few last things away before they got here.  As I walked from the linoleumed kitchen to the carpeted living room, I scuffed my heel on a cheapo thresholdy-thing.  It's basically just a little gold metal thingy nailed down to the floor to hide the edge of the carpet, but whoever put the nails in took hammer lessons at idiot school so they were all kind of crooked and therefore the heads were sticking up a bit.  One of these caught me square in the center of my heel and took a huge chunk of skin out.  So when our guests got here, I was sitting on edge of the tub crying while my blood ran down the drain and Kelly was trying to clean the massive gouge and patch it up.  (I put this in parenthesis and italics because it's kinda gross and if you're really squeamish don't read it.  I've given fair warning. Fortunately it left a flap of skin still hooked on one side, so we got it the right way around and we were able to stick it back over the wound after we cleaned it out with peroxide and Neosporin and band-aid it up.)  Gross part over!  It wasn't really too nasty, right?  So I was limping a bit, but a few days later it was feeling a lot better and I could walk normally.  Story over, right?  Wrong.  About four days later I was feeling pretty good and then Evil Kelly and Evil Parents ganged up on me and told me since I hadn't gotten a tetanus shot since kindergarten I had to go get one.  I dug my heels in (ha ha...punny) but Kelly brought up all sorts of nasty pictures and information about tetanus online (Wikipedia, you are my new enemy), and he saw my resolve slipping because I wasn't sure that was the death for me and he took the opportunity to literally heave me into the car and take me to the doctor.  Once we got there he had the nerve to ask if he could go to the comic book store next door while I was back in the office.  He took one look at my face and decided he would stay in the waiting room.  Well, one tetanus shot and three x-rays later, a crazy witch doctor from somewhere in Africa told me "I haf to cut tis open!  Tis will not heal!"  I said "Liar! It is almost healed already you crazy fake doctor!"  But I didn't really, because no matter what Kelly says, I actually am a pretty nice person.  She said there was something black in the cut on the x-ray and she had to get it out or my foot would shrivel up and fall off.  She numbed it up, which was painful.  Who sticks a huge needle into someone's foot and then wiggles it around just for spite!?  I think maybe she was a mind-reading witch doctor, so she knew what I was calling her in my head.  Then she cut the flap off and dug around for awhile and I was crying and she told me to buck up.  Then she said, "Oh! Nevermind, there was nothing in there.  That was remarkably clean!  It was just the scab I saw on the x-ray."  Then I strangled her.  In my mind.  In real life I limped out to the waiting room with my "Contusion on foot" paperwork and shot Kelly a look of death for taking me to the crap-doctor from The Simpsons...only African style  (Why oh why couldn't I have gone to Dr. Hibbert?).  He is so lucky he wasn't at the comic book store because he would have had to walk home after I roared off in the car without him, and he would have been locked out of the house for a few days.  He is also lucky he didn't spontaneously combust from that look I sent his way.  I had taken that day off work (a Friday) because we were supposed to go to Philadelphia that weekend, but I was in no shape for walking so we stayed home.  When the numbing wore off my foot hurt, but my arm hurt worse.  Tetanus shots are so freaking horrible!  My mom actually told me a story that illustrates in nicely if any of you have forgotten the pain (I certainly hadn't even though my last tetanus shot had been nearly 20 years previous when I was 5, which is why I was so reluctant to get another one in the first place.  On to my mom's story:):  when she was 10 she fell through a window and cut up her left arm really bad and had to get a whole bunch of stitches.  She also got a tetanus shot in her right arm.  She said that she was doing everything left-handed for the next couple days because the arm with 20 stitches hurt less than the one she got the tetanus jab in.'s that bad.  (Update:  she actually wrote about that experience on her own blog here.) So I was really whiney and made sure Kelly and my parents knew how extremely miserable I was and Kelly took me shopping.  He got me that green teapot I pointed out on the shelf-that-wants-me-dead, some blue nail polish while waiting for my horse pills at the pharmacy (yeah, those on top of everything else.  I hate you Dr. African Nick---and no, that is not her real name.  Dr. Nick is the aforementioned shady doctor from The Simpsons for those of you who don't watch enough TV) and at TJ Maxx he got me a cool beaded throw pillow for our bed.  I also neglected to mention the amazing bench he got me for our anniversary.  Thank you Kelly!  He also took very good care of me, and only rolled his eyes when he thought I wasn't looking in response to my constant complaints.
There's the pillow (the white one) and the bench I got for our 2nd anniversary and my artwork and headboard in all their crooked glory.  I think I need to "whole. 'nother. level" it out.  Well, the pictures used to be straight until the earthquake hit.  I still need to straighten everything hanging on our walls after that...except for the shelf that wants to kill me.  That thing is SOLID.
But really, I think my house is trying to kill me. 

Enough milking that story, I healed eventually.  And school ended for the year!  So this brings us to yet another story:  Kevin and Lindsey Get Hitched...and We Flew to Utah To Be There When It Happened:
Aw, I think they're in love!
Kel and I jumped on a plane and headed to Utah. My brother Kevin got married this summer, so we made it a good excuse to go home for two weeks.  It was so nice to be with our families, and to be out of Baltimore humidity and into the wonderful dry heat of Utah!  We had so much fun. Kevin and Lindsey got married in the Logan Temple and had their wedding luncheon one day.
Kelly and me at the Logan Temple waiting for pictures
Cami and Kelly, both looking cute.

The next day they had an open house in Pleasant View that my parents threw.  It was supposed to be in our backyard, but it was really windy and rainy, so it got moved to the church cultural hall.  I thought it turned out really nice.  Good thing, too, since we worked all day on it hanging lights and lanterns and everything.
Kelly was smart and actually took a few pictures of the open house we put on. However, he didn't check to see if they were blurry or not...but there was an ice cream bar!

It was so much fun to see everyone from the 2nd Ward and from Bountiful.  I got told that the movie Freedom Writers reminds them of me...that made me feel bad because teaching here is nothing like that.  At all.  But it was sweet of everyone to think of me.

Then we got a day off, and the day after that we went up to Declo, Idaho for the reception at Lindsey's grandparents' house.  It was nice not to have to do anything hahaha, but we didn't know anyone so Kelly, Cami, Bryan, and I chilled at a table and talked.  On the way home we missed the freeway entrance and didn't get home until 2AM or something, but it was a fun drive.

The rest of the trip we had a fun fourth of July at Kelly's parents' house and went canoeing on Pineview Reservoir and saw a great blue heron rookery, which was really cool.  And we just generally hung out with the people we love.
Crouch Family!

Ahern Family!

It was hard to come home.  Especially when we stepped out of the airport and felt the damp air.  Humidity, I want to kill you as much as my house wants to kill me.

Okay, last story:  When We Finally Took Our Trip to Philadelphia That Had Previously Been Held Up by a Witch Doctor and a Tetanus Shot

Yes, in August we finally rescheduled our previously-canceled-due-to-foot-and-arm-pain Philly trip that was supposed to happen in early June.  We were able to get a hotel right in the city-center for cheap on Priceline and we just parked our car and walked everywhere.  We went to the Franklin Fountain for old-timey ice cream and sodas.
Franklin Fountain Mint Something-or-Other that we fortunately decided to share since it was so huge.

Then we walked around Independence Park, and went to the Franklin Institute and saw the huge mummy exhibit (no pictures allowed there).  Then we checked into the Marriott.
I can't remember what this was, but it's in Independence Park...same with the next two pics

Independence Hall on the outside...yeah, it's under construction.
The next day we got up early and got breakfast in Reading Market, which is huge and full of cool stuff and good food.  Then we went to get tickets to Independence Hall, but they were all gone.  They said we could go after 5PM without one, so we went back to Independence Park to see the Liberty Bell, but the line was so long I said "absolutely not"  I mean, I like history, but apparently my impatience overrides it.  Instead we went to a really old movie theater and saw Midnight in Paris.  Then we went back and saw some other things at Independence Park.  The line at Independence Hall was outrageous and I put my foot down and said we could go in it next time when we were smart and got tickets early early early in the day.  However, the line at the Liberty Bell went way down so we went in there instead.

Liberty Bell with Kelly and Kelly's pudgy-lookin' wife
Then we got back to the hotel and rested up a bit and walked in the rain to a Barnes and Noble and browsed around and got some books to cuddle up with later that night.  As we meandered back to our hotel, we stopped at the famous LOVE sculpture
LOVE in Philly

and found this really weird place with a bunch of things like giant dominoes and chess pieces and monopoly things, so we snapped some pictures there and also got some of the local architecture.

City Hall
Masonic Temple

Marriott Hotel

Then we went back to our room and cleaned up and went to an AMAZING restaurant called Chifa.  Chef Jose Garces made a super interesting menu there, mixing South/Central American and Asian flavors to make delicious and original masterpieces.  It's kind of cool, because the entrees are quite small, so you get 3-4 and share them family style.  All of it was really good, but our favorite dish was duck tacos with kimchi on top.  It sounds weird, but I think it may be one of the best things I have ever tasted.

The next day was Sunday so we had bought some things for breakfast and the 1 1/2 hour drive home the day before at Reading Market.  We got up, ate that, watched some TV, checked out, and headed home.  It was such a fun trip!  It was really nice just to have a getaway with Kelly.  It was also nice to be close enough to walk everywhere and not have to drive.  I had always had a nasty opinion of Philly since I had Teach For America institute there, and lived there without Kelly for over a month, only two weeks after we had gotten married, but this trip was so fun Philly holds much better memories for me now.  I would love to go back and see some more things.

Did anyone really make it this far in this post?  I know it's super-long, but I had a lot to cover.  That's most of the big things.  Summer was mostly relaxing at home for me.  Kelly worked, so I had a lot of alone time to exercise (a tiny bit), read, sleep, clean, watch Nate Berkus, and make stuff, like repainting this recipe box I found at Goodwill for Kelly!
Before:  Fresh from the shelves of Goodwill
Before: The Inside Edition

After cleaning, sanding, and many many coats of paint and some hand-painted lettering by moi

goodwill find, refinish wood
After:  The Inside Edition--I seriously love the shiny red paint in there.

One more gratuitous picture of my work.

 I should have worked on my Hopkins portfolio and those stupid online classes I need to finish up my masters degree, but I didn't do a single thing on any of them this summer.  I went back to school on my birthday, although the first week is teachers only.  That night Kelly gave me some presents, like the new Jane Eyre movie and a basket for storage in our living room that I love, and took me to a Korean BBQ place for dinner.  My mom sent me a Lowe's giftcard so I got the cordless drill I've been wanting.
24-year-old me, my movie, and my basket

My new basket in use holding magazines and our fluffy nap blanket.  Oh, and Libby, whose first reaction to my new basket was to bite it.
My new cordless drill!  Thanks, Mom!!! I put up a new curtain rod with it yesterday.  Kelly was getting frustrated because he had to take this picture about 50 times because apparently the way I actually hold drills makes it look like I'm flipping off the camera...also my face looked weird in a bunch of them.  Kinda like how it looks weird in this one.
 I was at school in a teacher meeting when the earthquake hit.  It was actually a little hilarious to see all my Easterner colleagues freak out when they realized what was happening.  The first two days of school for students were cancelled because of power outages from Hurricane Irene, so that was kind of nice, although our house was without power for five days and a lot of stuff in our fridge went bad, despite my 4 hour quest for ice.  Cold showers were getting a little old, so we celebrated a lot when it came back on.  But school's going okay so far. I'm teaching U.S. History to one class, Advisory to one class, and World History to three classes, so it's a lot of work to prepare for three different subjects, and my classes are all really big this year.  I don't have enough desks for everyone who comes in a few of my classes, and there are still a ton of people absent.  My rosters are all around 50 students, which is kind of insanity.  But I'm loving my students so far this year.  I was dreading school starting, but I think it will be a good school year.  Okay, I really am done now.  I make no promises, but I am going to try to stay up to date better on here so posts are of a more reasonable length in the future.  Okay, Dani out (for real this time).