Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm here, I'm here!  I'm alive!  It's been such a week that I haven't even had time to touch the blog, twitter, and I've missed everything on Facebook.  But y'all.  What an awesome week it's been.  Every day has been packed with amazing and I come home wanting to do cartwheels even if I did get up at 5am.  I think I'm exhausting PB because I call him on my lunch break, my drive time back to training, and after training is over and talk 90 miles an hour about every single thing we do.

The reason for the sheer fantasticness of this week is that I started my student teaching assignment!  I'm at a high school in south Charlotte, and I got placed in a sophomore English credit recovery class.  Basically, tenth grade English doesn't end with a standardized test, but kids definitely still don't pass, based on absences, not turning in work, and just not mastering the skills.

Initially, I really didn't think I wanted high schoolers.  High schoolers seemed too big and too scary and all I can think when I think of high school sometimes is attitude.  I feel bad that I was even apprehensive about it now, because I just love every one of their little faces.  Even if some of the faces are on 6'5" bodies.  PB actually said to me last night, "Meredith.  They're not baby ducks."  But I can't help it.  I think of them as my baby ducks.

I think also, when you talk about summer school, you get the "Oh, so it's the bad kids?" reaction.  My kids are so far from that!  Honestly, half of them are there because of some situation in their life that caused them to miss a lot of school, not because they're bad or stupid or not capable.  The others?  Maybe they just weren't motivated during the year for whatever reason to get the work done.  Maybe they didn't get the attention they needed in class, because I can tell that a lot of them do need extra help with the concepts and the writing skills.  But we absolutely don't have ridiculous discipline problems - really, I probably would have been more poorly behaved had you sent me to summer school.

What I found out on the first day though, is that we only have them for ten school days.  TEN DAYS.  To make up an entire high school English course?  Especially for some of the kids who really need some pushing and some remedial writing skills work?  But after the ten days, we get a whole new batch of kids.  And don't talk to me about it, because I'm already sad that this bunch will be leaving in ten days.  I know.  I'm pitiful.

I suppose the only good thing is that the ten days gives me a huge sense of urgency, like time is constantly ticking for these guys.  So you better believe that I'm flying around the room, desperately trying to make sure everyone is getting it.  And tomorrow, I'm going to lead teach the whole day!  And the next day!  I could just cut a flip.

I've already planned out the whole day - those kids are going to be up filling out thinking maps, discussing poetry, learning research strategies, and (my personal favorite) writing their own poems.  Today, they wrote poems about a place that's home to them, and I was just blown away.  Beautiful, thoughtful poems about where they came from, about feeling safe in their daddy's arms, about how no one should have to call their neighborhood home.  The delivery was almost more than I could take.  So needless to say, poetry writing is definitely getting featured in my lesson tomorrow.  Maybe it's more for my own entertainment.  But I can't wait.

I promise one day I'll write about something besides my "baby ducks," but right now I'm just too excited! Five in the morning comes early and I'm exhausted, but I also feel like this kid:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

....because my brain just can't handle anything more inventive today.  And we all love ToT, right?  This week’s questions are provided by Lisa at Lisa’s Yarns. And as usual, thanks to Chelsea at Roots and Rings for hosting!

1. How do you pronounce the word aunt? Does your pronunciation rhyme with ‘haunt’ or ‘can’t'?
Definitely rhymes with "can't."  Actually, it really irks me when people say it the other way.
2. Do most of the people in your life know you blog? Or are you partially or totally anonymous?
I started out as anonymous-ish and then I determined it was much easier to get myself out there and be interesting if I could talk about what was actually going on in my life, so I dropped the anonymous thing pretty quickly.  Most people I'm close to know that I blog, but the link isn't on my Facebook page for the billion people I went to high school with and whatnot - maybe one of these days, that'll change.
3. When you grocery shop, do you prefer to bag your own groceries or do you like it when the store bags them for you? Paper, plastic, or reusable bags?
I suck at bagging groceries, so I much prefer that they do it.  Especially if I get a good bagger.  You know, the one who will put all of your freezer stuff together, all your canned goods together, all of your fridge stuff together.  Don't be putting my Campbell's in with the ice cream.  And I try to use reusable bags, but it maybe happens 50% of the time, because I don't always remember to keep them in my car and oftentimes, my grocery trips are pretty spontaneous.  But I re-use the plastic ones as kitty litter bags, so I do like to keep a few on hand.
4. Do you have a green thumb?
I love plants, but I definitely wouldn't say I have a green thumb.  I can grow your basic herbs, tomatoes, and easy flowers without killing them, but I'm not yet one of those old ladies who's good at making cuttings and separating bulbs and transplanting things and whatnot.  I'm sure that's probably coming though.  As we all know that I am 80 years old.
5. If you watch the Food Network, which chef/show host is your favorite?
Love me some Paula Deen.  If I'm making a Food Network recipe, you can bet it's some kind of Paula dish for a get-together.  Can't go wrong with butter.
6. Do you like to take baths? Do you take them very often?
I used to, back when I was a kid and bathtime was super fun playtime, and we had a huge garden tub.  I've taken a bath in my house maybe twice in the two years I've lived here.  I usually only want to if I'm really sore, to soak out the soreness (not to get clean, because I don't think baths work for that.)  But now that we have the hot tub, I mainly use that instead of a bath for that purpose.
7. What color are the walls in your kitchen?
Well, all of the wall space is covered by tile and cabinets.  So black and white tile and white cabinets?
8. Do you prefer to dine outdoors or indoors?
I love to eat outside, especially on my porch.  PB and I grilled out and then ate out there while a storm started the other night, it was fantastical.
9. Describe your ideal weather.
80 degrees and sunny.  Could be that way all year.  
10. If you could learn any foreign language, which would you choose to learn?
Hmm.  I think Italian is beautiful, but I'd probably never use it.  Except if I ever have time to learn to speak Italian fluently, it probably means I've won the lottery and won't have to work, in which case I'll take my summers in Italy, eating pasta and drinking wine.  In which case it would in fact be useful.  So if that situation ever arises, I'll order the Rosetta Stone Italian.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vlog Day!

Dear Lord help us, I succumbed to peer pressure and did a vlog for 20SB's vlog day.  And y'all.  Y'all.  I do NOT do things like this.  You're gonna see why when you watch this mess.  I could make you a whole list of things to apologize for, like the not knowing where to look and the hair flipping and the "um" and "like" issues, but hey.  It is what it is.  Dear Lord.  But here you go, a little clip of me, my screen porch, my old-lady thermometer behind me so I can complain about the weather accurately.  Happy vlog day!

Also, make sure to watch the background for Peggy Sue trying to jump UP the tree to get a squirrel.  She's really smart.  Clearly.  Also, I am aware, upon watching this video, that my accent sounds RIDICULOUS.  Sorry.  

But then, speaking of ridiculous accents, I found this video on my iPhone, and I thought I'd post it so y'all could get a little chuckle at ALL of our accents. You'll be hearing the vocal stylings of T, who was trying to make noise so a friend of ours could find our house on the lake.  It didn't work.  But I'm pretty sure we got the attention of every pig in six counties.

You're welcome.  And if you hit "unfollow" right now, I understand.  But if you enjoyed today's redneck culture lesson, I hope you'll stick around!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

Can't believe I've missed ToT for a few weeks.  It's one of my favorite weekly features, and I'm excited to be back in the link-up!  As always, thanks to Chelsea at Roots and Rings for hosting, and to Krys at Eat This Soup for coming up with these week's questions.  

1. What type of phone do you have? Do you like it?
I'm sure you've heard me sing its praises before.  I have an iPhone and it just changed my freakin' life.  Love it, can't ever see myself with another phone.

2. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?

I think I was in eighth grade.  I know, that's young, but I really didn't talk on it except to call for a ride home after school or practice or if I went to a middle school football game or something else ultra cool like that.

3. How many cell phones have you owned since your first?

Okay let's see...there was the Nokia with the interchangeable face plates and the awesome Snake game, the Nextel flip phone (oh dear god, 2 way), 2 more of those dreaded things, then the Razr 2, then the Sprint Instinct (which was supposed to be like an iPhone, ha!) - then the iPhone, finally at last.  So that makes 8 or so?

4. How much is your average monthly phone bill?

PB pays it, so I really have no idea.  But we have a family plan and I know it's not that much.  Probably less than $60 per person?

5. When you were a kid/teenager, were you allowed to have a phone in your room?

Oh man, not only did I have a phone, I had my OWN land line.  And my own answering machine.  And my own listing in the phone book.  Have I mentioned how ultra cool I was?  Bahahaha.

6. Do you like talking on the phone or do you despise it? Or somewhere in-between?

For all the phones I've had, I really do hate talking on the phone now.  I like the iPhone for all of its other wonderful features, but really not so much for the phone part.  I'd much rather send a text, an email, or a Facebook message.  

7. Do you text a lot? Is texting/talking while driving illegal where you live? Are you guilty of it anyway?

I do text a lot.  Probably too much.  But see my above aversion to phone conversations.  And it recently has become illegal here in NC (as of maybe last year), but that law is next to impossible to enforce.  I mean seriously, you really can't prove it.  So.  I'm not admitting guilt.  But I'm saying if I did, it'd be nearly impossible to prove.

8. What sort of texting keyboard does your phone have? Touch screen, slide out, or something different? Do you care?

It's a touch screen.  It took some getting used to because the touch screen I had before worked differently and you could tap it with your nails.  The iPhone screen doesn't work like that, you have to physically touch it with your fingertips.  But I love it!

9. Look at the last call in your call log – who is it? What were they calling about? Who calls you the most?

It was my grandmother - she was calling to tell me she picked up some bird seed for my greedy little backyard birds.  Isn't that sweet?  My mom or PB probably call me the most.  They're both in-the-car phone talkers, so they'll call me if they're driving somewhere.

10. What is the longest phone call you can recall having?

When I was in middle school and high school, I used to talk to everyone on the phone for HOURS.  Maybe it's why I don't like the phone now.  I've had some pretty long conversations with PB on the phone, especially when I was living away.  But I don't think I've had over maybe a 15 or 20 minute phone conversation, max, since I moved back home.

Go link up over at Roots and Rings and play along!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Mish-Mash

Hope you've all had a lovely little weekend!  Since most of mine was eaten up by the Praxis on Saturday, I kind of built an extra day into mine and PB and I came down to the lake yesterday.  Since my parents are both at work, it's just us, and we had a nice little relaxing day.  We got up early and went to breakfast at the Badin Lake Family Restaurant - nothing better than some eggs, bacon, and fresh tomato for breakfast.

And after that, PB and I stopped at this house on the way back to the house that has a "dachshund puppies for sale" sign in front of it.  I begged PB not to go because I really didn't have any faith in my ability to come home without another puppy if I saw them.  I am very proud of myself though - we left sans puppy.  They were super cute and all but to be honest, they seemed pretty wormy to me (come on, doesn't everyone know you have to de-worm puppies or their little bellies get all blown up?)  And also we just weren't sure they were full blooded dachshunds.  Not that that matters SO much, but I think they were maybe sort of passing them off as such just to increase sales.  Though I have to say - come Christmas break time, I do think I want another.  People say they're like potato chips...you can't have just one.

So the rest of the afternoon has been spent studying (must. pass. this. Praxis. on. Saturday.)  I know, I'm tired of hearing about me studying too.  But at least this is my view.  

Peg says hi.

I've also finally really got into my summer gardening.  I can't believe it took this long, I don't know what's wrong with me! Normally I'm at the nursery snapping up every plant they have and I'm in a wifebeater and my John Deere gardening gloves filling up every single one of the 4 million pots I own.  I finally got around to putting out geraniums, replacing my pansies with begonias, and filling up some pots with something I'm newly obsessed with - portulaca.

It doesn't require much water, it blooms in those gorgeous colors all day long and then closes up at night - and best of all, it's a perennial!  Love.

And finally, I had to end on this note.  I took this picture in the Mr. C's parking lot when PB and I stopped to get a chicken salad sandwich (for me) and a Super C (a double cheeseburger) for PB.  Nothing like Jesus and the Virgin Mary in a wooded scene.  And also deer. 


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy weekend!

Well folks, I took the Spanish praxis this morning and LORD, it kicked it my tail.  It probably would have been fine for someone who is more used to hearing and speaking Spanish on a daily basis, but I just haven't had a class since, oh, 2007 and I don't exactly live in Puerto Rico or Costa Rica or some other lugar maravilloso.  Basically, you go to this strange testing center where they have some sad little pasty man who gives everyone the same spiel about taking a locker key, emptying your pockets, and writing out a paragraph in cursive about how you won't tell anyone what any of the test questions are.

And then comes the part where the test chews you up into little bits and spits you out.  You wear a set of headphones, you try not to be uber distracted by thinking of how you might be getting head lice from said headphones (just me?) and then you try to ignore the myriad of things going on around you.  Like the proctor who kept creepily walking up and peeping over my shoulder and nearly giving me a heart attack - lady, I'm wearing giant earmuffs, quit it with the sneaky stuff! Then Spanish at a million miles an hour comes crackling through the headphones and you have to answer questions in Spanish about the Spanish they just blared at you.

The reading comprehension was fine - not super easy because the passages weren't your standard Mexican restaurant menu text (which is all the Spanish I'm used to reading on a weekly basis).  But had the whole test been that way, I think I would have been fine.

Perhaps the worst part was the speaking - you have a microphone attached to your headphones and you have about two seconds to come up with something to say in response to some more crackly Spanish they blasted in your ear.  Not to mention everyone is talking at the same time - it's like being in a bus station.

Whew!  Okay sorry, complaining over.  It was just an intense morning.  I'm sure my next two Praxis tests will be much easier for me, but wow, that one was more than I expected.

Yesterday, I was stressing myself out about studying and testing and all of those things, so I decided to do something I have never, ever done.  I mowed the yard.  I know, now you think I am an insufferable princess.  But I've just never done it - never been in my list of chore responsibilities around here or anywhere else.  You know, man's work and all that.  But yesterday, PB hadn't had time to do it, and the yard looked like Vietnam, and I was in need of a good workout and some sweating to get my mind off things.

And y'all, that was hard work.  But I've decided that really, I might like this aspect of "man's work" better than the stupid laundry and the dishwasher.  Seeing the grass get shorter as you go is strangely satisfying, and I realized that I was basically getting an awesome full-body workout while also achieving something besides just the act of working out.  I was a fan.  Only problem is, I'm not as much of a precision mower as PB is, so I need more practice if I am going to keep my job.  But that little story was to tell you to go mow your yard if you never have.  I liked it!  It was fun.  Shocking, I know.

And that concludes this riveting blog post.  Hope y'all are having a lovely weekend! I'm off to try to salvage some of mine from the grip of praxis-taking, praxis-studying (for next weekend), and bar lectures.  I need some wine in my life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wine & Love!

Teaming up with Nora at Walking With Nora for another Thursday edition of Wine and Love!  Feel free to head on over and link up - tell us what's got you needing vino and what you're in love with!

{ What's got me reaching for the wine glass... } 

*Too.  Much.  Studying.  Keeping up with the Barbri schedule plus trying to keep my Praxis knowledge up has got me going at a breakneck pace.  Ugh.  But at least it can be a breakneck pace in my pajamas.

*When your house just gets to that certain level of slightly messy and grimy around the edges.  And I'm just used to the clutter-y stuff that needs to be put away and the floor that needed to be vacuumed two days ago, so I don't necessarily DO anything about it...but am just slightly annoyed by how there are little bits of clutter everywhere and dirt on all the baseboards.  Gotta fix that.

*The weather always makes it to either the wine or the love list it seems, and this week it's on the wine list.  Y'all, it is 95-freaking-degrees outside and it has been for like a week.  Also the humidity is raging.  Means I can't break out of my cocoon for my daily runs to get me re-focused and feel like I don't stare at the same four walls all day.  Come on, it's barely even June!

{ What I'm loving this week! } 

*PB and I entered a little Facebook photography contest and got a sweet discount from Amy Douglas Photography on a session!  We went out to a park that I've never been to before, which is like a little restored railroad town.  Y'all, it is so neat!  And there were tons of awesome places for pictures outside - trees, fields, white picket fences, old buildings, all sorts of stuff.  It was hot as Hades, but we managed to survive and I can't wait to see the pictures in a few weeks.

*I got a dress for my rehearsal dinner!  Sequins!  And white!
And I practically stole it from Nordstrom, it was so on sale.  Can't wait to wear it with my crazy sparkly Mystique sandals.

* I have a pot full of coconut curry chicken in the crock pot and it smells just divine.  You know I swear by Taste of Home recipes - you can find the recipe here if you're looking for something easy and different for dinner tomorrow!

* I had a sad, sick weenie dog a few days ago, but she's so much better now, and back to her usual self!  Though I think yesterday officially exhausted both of us.  And of course PB took a picture.

What are your wines and loves this week?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feeling a little more official!

Well, today was an awesome day - I went to new teacher orientation this afternoon and it was just lovely!  I was nervous about it, but everyone is so sweet and honestly I don't think I've ever had so much fun listening to lectures and filling out paperwork.

I put together a fun little outfit...I think one thing I love about this job so far is that it doesn't require dressing like the warden of a women's prison.  Everywhere I've worked previously, it's sort of been dark suit/conservative shirt/dark pumps.  It was fun to throw on something bright colored this afternoon to head out of the house!

I went over to the professional development center, and the sweet ladies from HR and one of the Teach Charlotte directors was there to walk us through everything.  It felt so real when they took my picture and handed me my official ID badge!

See?  I feel so official! We filled out all of our tax forms, payroll deposit forms, and got sent to pee in a cup for drug testing and get fingerprinted.  There's still so much to be done, mainly passing the Praxis test, but it still felt good to be one step closer.

Not to mention the blog world is seriously amazing, and I've been talking to Kristin over at Skinny Jeans and a Chai Latte and she's been making me feel so much less nervous about my Praxis tests.  I'm also so glad to have made blog-friends with her because she's a special ed teacher in Raleigh, who doesn't necessarily come from an education background (like yours truly!)  So basically, if you're not reading her blog, you should.  'Cause I like her.

I could still explode if I think about all I have to do - somehow I've managed to be on hour 6 of Barbri today plus go to orientation and make dinner.  Thank goodness PB is pretty much doing all of the yardwork, all of the laundry, and generally following me around cleaning up the huge disastrous wake I tend to leave around the house.  

Promise to catch up on everyone's blogs soon - I'm there, lurking around, even if I don't have time to comment!