Sunday, August 31, 2008

The 28 hours I spent in Louisiana

There's nothing more fun than the prospect of a trip back to my hometown, especially knowing that you will be making the return trip the next day. But nevertheless, we sat out on our grand adventure at 7:30 Saturday morning. Traffic was actually manageable and Will only asked "how much longer" twice the entire ride. Thank you dear 8 pounds 6 ounces baby Jesus for that Nintendo DS!



We had about 2 hours to rest (where rest means play with puppies) before heading up to the stadium for some tailgating... and some serious Louisiana heat and humidity! I started the game in one shirt...


And had to change because it was too heavy.

 src= But it was worth it to see my Bulldogs beat MSU 22-14 in their home opener. Such an awesome feeling to hear the stadium erupt in How bout them Dawgs? and watch the team celebrate on the field.


Sunday we headed out to the Monkey Ranch (the young un's nickname for my parent's land) for more burgers and hotdogs. Dad fired up the largest grill I've ever seen to cook for extended family and a couple of evacuees. I have a feeling he still would have used the super grill without the extra people :)



Food was shared, stories told and sticks fetched. We even took a walk down to the pond to make room for dessert. You know it's a good day when you end a meal with homemade banana pudding!


And before we knew it, we were back on the road again. Back on the road traveling 7 mphs and staring at the back of a moving van for an eternity!

The trip took two extra hours as we found ourselves in the midst of evacuation traffic. My family should be ok in North Louisiana, catching the remains of Gustav sometime Wednesday, but I know there are so many people we passed today that have no idea where they will be next week or what they will have left. My heart was sad for those we passed that had stuffed their vehicles with all they deemed important, and the many we saw stranded on the side of the interstate with hoods raised. But I know that one thing Louisiana people are is strong and they will make it through again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are we truly insane or just "those people"?

I hijacked my husbands Macbook for this post so if something crazy happens it is a total machine error! In roughly 8 hours we will be hitting the road for Louisiana. But we're not the only ones...

No, not that crowd...

This guy.

That's Gustav threatening to rain on our 3 day holiday parade and my one chance to go home for a Bulldog football game this season. So while most folks (i.e. the rest of the state) is getting the heck out of dodge, we're looking forward to some tailgating and a good old fashioned underdog victory. After all, I have to put that cake decorating diploma to good use!

Total time we will be in Louisiana: 28 hours.

Other goings on from this week:
I went to the gym twice. (look at what I had to do) I ate chocolate cake for breakfast twice. I bought cute new "school" shoes. I got cute new blisters. I made 32 trips up/down the stairs at school. I got more cute blisters. I drank 13 coke zeros. I learned 118 student names. I made 5 seating charts. I had Friday morning duty in the cafeteria. I ate 2 chocolate doughnuts. I attended two little league baseball practices. I planned 5 crafty projects. I completed 0 crafty projects. I attended 1 minor league baseball game. I cooked once. I drank a bottle of wine. I bought non-winning lottery tickets. I drank another bottle of wine. I spent my conference period catching up on my blogging. I hit my snooze button 17 times. I survived the first week of school. *edited to add: Watched one bulldog victory! How 'bout them Dawgs?*

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I learned from cake decorating class...

It seems like only 4 weeks ago I walked into Michael's excitedly clutching my Course 1 student kit; visions of the beautifully crafted cakes I would learn to create playing in my mind. How could I be graduating already? Didn't the instructor get that cake baking incident memo? Didn't I need some type of remedial Betty Crocker course before I earned my diploma? Apparently not, because last Monday night I recieved my "icing" diploma. In honor of that accomplishment, here are some things I learned in cake decorating class:

1. You can cover any mistake with leaves.

2. If you drop your cake you can just add a thicker layer of icing to hide the damage.

3. Piping gel will last as long as the cockroaches.

4. Your mouth can become a third hand.

5. They give you a blank diploma.

I may just have to sell that little number on ebay to pay for class two.....hmmmm....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's finally here!

I am so exhausted right now. The first day of school can really take a lot out of you! (and don't even get me started on my feet!) In a nut shell, today was the first day of my 6th year of teaching and the young un's first day of 3rd grade. He was a total pro with the morning drop off. For tonight, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lights! Camera! Action!

For the past 3 nights the young un and I found ourselves back in one of our favorite places, Dillon, TX, to do what we do best...yell and scream at a football game. But not just any football game. This football game was the season premier of Friday Night Lights and we were just two of the many, many Dillon faithful packed into the stands on a *warm* Texas evening. Why do we do this? Two reasons:


Jesse Plemons a.k.a Landry Clark


Zach Gilford a.k.a Matt Sarecen

(okay, so I maybe I go for three reasons....)

Kyle Chandler a.k.a Coach Eric Taylor src=

We worked several episodes last season as extras and actually spotted ourselves in a handful of scenes. It is such a fun time and I have met some very interesting people sitting in bleachers for 8 hours at a time. There is a lot of time just spent sitting around waiting--waiting to check in, waiting for wardrobe, waiting for the camera to be re-loaded, waiting for t-shirts--and the finished product may only be 5-10 seconds. The young un loves the fact that he can earn a paycheck for banging thundersticks and jumping up and down. And they totally won him over with the free concessions (though dealing with a kid hopped up on tootsie roll pops and nerds is not a task I enjoy). Really, how often does someone get the chance to work on a TV series? We love taking a break from our "normal" lives and hanging out with the cast and crew. We love it so much we are imploring, nay, pleading with you to watch the show this season! It's a great show, but it just can't find it's niche. I may even have a little FNL trivia contest to celebrate the premier on Oct 1st (for Direct TV customers)...if you don't have Direct TV it will run on NBC in the spring. Check back if you think you know your Dillon Football!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Foto Friday (on Saturday)

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Do you know what we're doing?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome Walk 08

Tonight was our school district's "Welcome Walk"; an annual event that the elementary kids look forward to and the middle school teachers would love to get out of. Because we live out of district, we usually wait for Will's teacher at my school, one block away. I try to do something fun to start off the school year, so this year we made cookie pops. Oreo cookies+ craft sticks+dipping chocolate= teacher gifts! I put a little note with it that said "looking forward to a sweet year!" I'm pretty sure that it won't be the only gift she gets tonight.


The elementary students love greeting their teachers and in some of the neighborhoods even make banners and sit out in lawn chairs to await their arrival. Not so much for the middle school students. And who can blame them. I saw many a disappointed face tonight when I introduced myself as an 8th grade teacher. I won't even see these kids for 2 years... why am I welcoming them? Don't misunderstand, I think it's a great idea and a way to welcome the kids to their first day of middle school, I just think it should be the teachers they will have, not some strange lady sweating from running down the street in her black shirt and talking way too fast because she wants to get back in the A/C before she melts on the front stoop.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cupcakes, Clowns and Curtains

Monday night = Cake Decorating Class.

Feast your eyes on tonight's culinary creations:

The Clown was sitting, but got a little tipsy as the class wore on. Or, as I like to call it, dead clown. src=

My cupcakes...


The cake I made for my teaching team... aren't we cute in icing? src=

And now for the curtains... The Nester was having a mistreatment party, which I officially missed because my blog didn't want to cooperate yesterday. But I did put up a much needed mistreatment over our pantry/laundry room. I love a project I can do with a little heat-n-bond and a glue gun. Plus the fabric was 75% off at Hancock last week. Love it!


I folded over the raw edge and ironed with heat-n-bond tape. src=Hot glued the fringe (which cost more than the fabric!)


A few clips, a curtain rod and tada! Much better than seeing the washer and dryer... and the litter box.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm a STAR...

I love me some free classroom supplies, so when I learned Office Depot was hosting their STAR Teacher breakfast and sale today, I actually set my alarm on a Saturday. At 9:30 I signed in, received my door prize ticket and a goody bag, and hit the breakfast table. Yummy breakfast tacos and doughnuts! They pulled tickets every 7 minutes for a fun mystery goody box containing anything from gift certificates to dry erase boards to custom notepads. Lots of fun stuff that I just can't bring myself to buy for my room (we don't have a reimbursement program, so I have to be very careful how much I spend at the start of each year). I waited for nearly 2 hours for my number to be called. They changed the breakfast buffet to pizza and sandwiches and still I waited. Finally, the last prize remained on the table. I meandered back up to the front, one of the last teachers still there.
I think the manager felt sorry for me when she saw I was still hanging around and asked my ticket number. She looked at the sequence and then she just gave me the box :) I didn't even care what was in it, I was so happy to have free stuff for my room!
Speaking of my room, it still needs lots of work. I had to change rooms this year after 3 years in my old one, so it's a little daunting to set it all up again. I do my timeline first to add color and make me feel I've accomplished something... pay no attention to those stacks of books I still need to sort through. src=

I also put my bulletin boards together and set up my desk. My Mark Saccomanno bobblehead gets a special place, along with a favorite wedding picture and my Yoda quote (Do or Do not, there is no try). src=I still have a week before the kiddoes come to me for book learnin. Maybe I'll find my inspiration this week to finish the decorating/organizing. If not, I'll just have to dazzle them with my free stuff!

As I watch the Olympics, here's a really cool photo from the minor league baseball game we went to Saturday night. As the players left the field after the game, the jumbotron switched to the Men's 4x100 medley. As everyone in the stands yelled and cheered on the swimmers, 3 of the visiting players wandered out to center field to watch. Go USA! src=

Friday, August 15, 2008

Foto Friday.

All I can say is TGIF. src=


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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Day!

After a long day of unpacking boxes and moving furniture in my classroom, I just wanted to crawl into bed. But I didn't. I went to the gym and blazed through my crossfit workout. Headache and all, I pushed through with thoughts of going home and having an early night. But what do I find? A blog make-over?! By the one and only Fabulous K? Oh happy day for me! Thank you, it rocks my socks :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I was told there'd be cake...

Last night was my second class in the Wilton Cake Decorating Course. Thanks to the airport fiasco Sunday, I barely had time to bake a new cake for the class. I decided to stick to the basics with an 8-inch round since my last attempt at the shapes left me scarred. We were told to have a crumb coat on if we were bringing a round, and I was running pretty tight on time, so I opted for the slap a bunch of icing on it and smooth it down later method.


I am proud to say my Baskin Robbins background has finally come in handy. I can zigzag border with the best of them.


I wasn't digging the rainbow design, and want to amaze everyone at the big Tech vs Miss St tailgate, so I tried my hand with the Louisiana Tech logo. I love the piping gel transfer, but am a little scared to actually consume too much of this stuff...


Star Tip anyone? believe it or not, in college days I used to do this with easy cheese and ritz crackers. Shocking I know :)


The 92% finished product... I only did the part of the border that showed in the picture.  src=

Next week is cupcakes and clowns...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dear American Airline,

At 6:00 this morning I arrived at the Indianapolis airport, cheerfully subjecting myself to the million man line, because I would be going home to sleep in my own bed. Little did I know as your fake cheerful gate attendant handed me my boarding pass that you had other plans for me. In my cocoon of overpriced snack boxes and beverage service I could almost see my head hitting my pillow. We landed early, and I dutifully noted my next gate to connect so as not to overwhelm the attendant at the gate. My eyes slid across your TV screens hoping that we were still on-time for departure, glazed by the changing locations and gates. But what's this, no flight to Austin? How could this be when just an hour earlier you had given me a boarding pass for that very flight, and wished me a great day? Am I being punk'd? Where's Ashton? I reported to the gate announced on my previous flight, but still no Austin. Hmmmm, Maybe a helpful customer service person can help me with this mystery flight. I approach a nearby gate and ask them to check on my flight. Watching the agent bite her lip and frown bigger with each key stroke did not bid well for poor flight 1199. The flight had been canceled while I was somewhere in the friendly skies between Indiana and Illinois. Not a problem, it's only 7:10 A.M. You provide numerous non-stop flights daily; I've seen your billboards stating that. What your billboards fail to mention is that you overbook everyone one of those non stop flights and by canceling just one flight send the travel world into a tailspin. The agent at the gate sends me to "re booking", a long desk with red phones, and not one single living person.
American, when I've just been informed I won't be keeping my tidy little itinerary, I want to talk to a person. One that fake smiles and assures me that they are working on it. I don't want to feel like I will cause a nuclear attack by picking up a red phone. And informing someone that they will be stranded in Chicago overnight when it is still 7:20 in the morning isn't a good way to start a conversation either. As I sat on the floor clutching my red phone and going into shock at the thought of staying in Chicago overnight with no luggage and an 8 year old with a 5 minute attention span I was reassured that you were working on it. Surely in this huge airport there was at least one flight that would return me to my sanity (and my bed!). And there was, but alas, it was not with you American. With you, I was #7 on a standby list of 22, but with NWA, I was seat 10-B. And let's face it, I'm not a stand-by kind of gal. And with that our relationship ended. Or so you thought. Because, you see American, I hadn't planned to spend the whole day at the airport. And by planned I mean budgeted. I had planned to be back home, eating leftover chocolate cake and snuggled up in bed by noon. Now I had to entertain my son, and that was going to take several trips to the starbucks kiosk. But you didn't see it that way. You felt like a $10 voucher would be plenty to compensate me and my brood. For. the. next. 9. hours. American, I know that sometimes being cooped up in that corporate office can make one become a bit, ummm, detached, but I think need you to get back in touch with reality. There is not a place in the airport that can turn a $10 voucher into 4 meals. Not a one. I know, because during our 9 hour stay at O'Hare we looked at every menu board. in every terminal. You didn't even go dutch. Your cheapness made me re-examine the price of airfare. And my relationship with you. Trust me, 15 hours is a lot of time to re-examine, and 15 hours later is when I touched down at ABIA.

And so, my dear American, I will not be pulling you out of any economic recession. My frequent flier miles will be dispersed among United, Continental and NWA. Please don't try to contact me, including those offers for credit cards and mileage bonuses. You are dead to me.

The Lady that slept on the floor in Terminal H


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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh yeah, I'm D-O-M-E-S-T-I-C...


Yeah, that's my suitcase at 10:45. And yeah, that's my alarm set for 5:15. Because at 5:45 the fam is pulling out of the garage and heading for the airport. No biggie, I'm an expert packer. I can have that thing finished in, oh, 2 or 3 more hours.

Oh wait, I forgot about my cake for cake decorating class. Let me go ahead and whip that up. Look at that pretty tractor! That crack can be covered with icing...


Good thing I bought two boxes of cake mix. I'll just throw together a back up. Ummm, maybe that hole can be filled in, after all isn't that what the crumb coat is for?


On second thought maybe I'll stick with the trac--wait a minute!


Why is it that no matter how closely I follow the directions on the box something always goes wrong with my cakes? I put toothpicks all over the middle and pulled them all out clean, and yet there are cake guts all over my counter (and let's not even go into what it resembles, cause I can guarantee you that's what I said when I saw it!) HEB will be called the minute the plane touches down!
And that, Monica S., is why at 11:19 I have 1 half packed suitcase and 2 half baked cakes and still founf time to blog!