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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Texas Education Troubles


I'm sure everyone knows about the major budget cuts that will be hitting Texas in the coming weeks and months. As a public school teacher, I'm more than fully aware of how this may affect me. The past couple of months at school have been filled with questions as to who will be laid off, how many will be laid off, and WHEN we will be laid off.

Everything has been hearsay up to this point. We assume that 1st year teachers will be laid off first, followed by second and third year teachers (we are probational for the first 3 years). My district offered a bonus for anyone who wanted to retire/give up their contract this year. I believe nearly 200 people took this offer, which saved over 100 teachers' jobs. These positions will not be replaced for the coming school year... meaning that class sizes may spike to a whopping 35 students per class.

The rest of us have been trying to wait patiently to find out how all of these changes are going to play out. It's assumed that those of us who are lucky enough to keep our jobs in the coming year will face many challenges due to the increased class sizes and decreased staffing. Many teachers will probably be displaced from their current positions and will be teaching a completely different subject/grade at a completely different school.

Earlier this week we were hit with even more discouraging news. The House approved a proposed budget (CSHB 1) that could end up leaving our public schools several billion dollars short in addition to what had originally been expected (nearly doubling the cuts). You can read the details here.

I really don't feel like I'm very knowledgeable about why this is happening. I'm not one to understand much about politics and typically don't care very much if I'm being completely honest. Contrarily, I am (obviously) taking interest in the current events. I'm going to try to withhold my opinions on all of this though, at least for now. Several of the teachers at my school will be emailing our Legislatures with their thoughts about this situation. You can find their contact information here if you feel compelled to do the same.

I have no idea what will happen if this proposal passes on Friday. All I know is that many of us are feeling very nervous, scared, and confused. I'm trying to hope for the best but I'm also preparing myself for the worst. I've heard that we will most likely know something by the end of next week, so my fingers are crossed. But you'd better believe that I'm hammering out plans B through D as we speak!


P.S. - I now know why I have a personal blog instead of a political-ish blog. Talk about drab. That was the most boring post I've ever had to write.

Still dreaming of a craft corner...

Want.

Want. 

Must have.
{all via}

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stop or Grow?

(If you're a guy, you will be really bored reading this. You might just want to stop now.)

Sarah texted me one morning a few weeks ago and posed an excellent question: "How long is too long for our hair?"

I've been trying to figure out the answer ever since. I slowly and steadily started growing my hair out over four years ago. It seems like every time I get a haircut I end up being right back where I was the last time I had a haircut. Make sense?

I finally made it past one of personal hair milestones earlier this year but then cut it off myself and ended up back in length limbo land. How much longer do I let it grow? Or do I find a longish length and stick to it from this point forward? I'm sure you can all think of people you know who have long hair that just looks tired, limp, boring, and exactly the same every single day. I don't want to be that person.

I want to have perfect and bouncy hair like Blake Lively:



Or even (ghasp) Miley Cyrus

But how do they have time to make their long hair so perfectly pretty? The very last thing that I do every morning before I have to leave for work is fix my hair. I'm always running late. So guess what I end up not having time for? My hair. The only days that I have time to actually fix it is on the weekends, and most of the time it ends up in a pony tail because I'm working around the house.

My gut tells me that I should never let my hair get longer than about halfway down my back. But then I watch Kourtney & Kim Take New York and get really jealous of Kim Kardashian's waist length hair.


I have to keep telling myself that famous people wouldn't have such pretty hair if they ever had to do their own hair. I mean, they've surely got even less time to spend on their hair than I do.

So what's the answer to my question?

I need a daily stylist. And asap.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ffffriday!

{via}

Well folks, we've made it through the week after Spring Break! Only 9 more weeks to go. I'm headed to the Hub City again later this weekend. After this trip I should have all of my annual doctor visits out of the way. Hoo-rah. Best part about keeping your old doctors from your old town? You get to take the whole day off of work to go see them!

AND maybe make a trip or two to your favorite stores/restaurants. Yep. I'm smart like that.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Awkward/Awesome Thursday

{80's Party Circa Fall 2005. Look how cute sister's little pose is with her side pony.}

Awkward
(These awkwards all happened the weekend before spring break. It was a weekend chalked full of awkwards.)

-We had an in-service meeting on the Friday afternoon right before spring break. Not exactly what I'd call a good time. I arrived to the meeting in high spirits, absolutely positive that we would stay 5 minutes and then I could be on my merry way to the mall. Wrong-o. My principal passed out oodles of papers and my happiness went downhill a little too fast. He told us to split up into large groups, read an assigned article, and then discuss it amongst ourselves. I read the first line at least 20 times and then gave up. My brain was far from where it needed to be.

The time came to "discuss" the articles so I backed up into a little corner where he couldn't see me. But who do you think he called on to share my group's article (out of 12 people)? Yep. I quickly browsed the article, stammered a few random lines, finished with "Umm.. I'm really not sure what else to say," and looked up to a room full of blank stares. I'm 100% positive that my co-workers must think I'm the dumbest person alive now.

-The next evening I decided to get curbside service at Carino's for dinner. I called in my order (which of course I hate doing in itself) and then drove over to pick it up. I rolled down the window and was waiting on the guy to bring my food out when another car pulled up next to me. The lady on the passenger side rolled down her window as well. I occupied myself by playing on my phone but it was only a matter of time before I heard her ask, "What did you order?" I slowly looked up, hoping she was talking to the driver of the car she was in, but she was staring right at me. "Umm... the Bowtie Festival."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"It has bowtie pasta, chicken, bacon... it's really good." Please Mr. hurry up with my food so I can get out of here.
"I've never been here before."
"Oh. Well everything they have is good....." Oh thank goodness my food is here.

-On my way to Lubbock I decided to stop at the McDonald's in Post for a bathroom break. I noticed immediately that there were about 5 women lined up OUTSIDE the bathroom and goodness knows how many inside, but I decided I was going to wait it out. The line outside moved quickly and as I went inside I noticed that there was only ONE stall. Myself and 4 others awkwardly stood quietly waiting our turns. A woman went inside with her daughter who looked to be about 9 or 10. They took forever, giggling and telling each other to hurry up. The grandmother was waiting outside the stall which made it impossible to make facial expressions about how ridiculously long they were taking while the rest of us had to stand and listen. I wanted to bail SO BADLY but I was 2nd in line by this point and had already wasted 15 minutes. Next thing I know, the mom pops her head out and asks Grandma to wet some toilet paper. I don't want to know what this was for. All I know is it was the most awkward public bathroom situation I have ever encountered.

Wow. Talk about painfully long awkwards. Time to make the shortest awesome list ever.

 Awesome

-The night the 80's picture was taken. We thought we were the coolest 20 year olds around. Our crimped hair and mustaches were h-o-t. We all ate dinner at McDonald's before going to a dance and used fake names/personas all night. I was Roxanne.

Ba-da bing ba-da boom.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Project Overload

Back to the grind, right? Hoo-rah. I've noticed that after every long break from school I often start seeing several Facebook status updates from other teachers that I know about how they 'can't wait to get back to school to see their sweet babies'! I usually promptly feel like the worst teacher ever. I love my little kiddos, but let's be honest, I love my breaks too. Are these people being legit, or are they just trying to convince themselves that they can't wait to go back to work? That's the question of the century. At least they're giving it a good effort I suppose. Either way, this morning when I woke up the first thing that came to mind was that I only have to wake up early 49 more times until summer. 48 if you consider that I will be out of town next Monday!

I went on a productivity frenzy the last weekend of spring break. I love it when that happens!

First, I cleaned out all three of my closets and pilfered through the clothes until I had dozens upon dozens of garage sale items. I made around $300 after selling a lot of clothes at the last garage sale, so I'm all for a little closet purging!

Then it was time for a little gardening. Four new rose bushes!


I'm definitely most excited about the one on the left. I had one of these at my old house in Lubbock and there was nothing better than a constant vase full of little hot pink roses on the kitchen table. I can't wait until they grow up and start producing a ton of beautiful roses. I missed my flower beds SO so much the past couple of summers while I was living in the apartment.

The whiskey barrel has a fresh new bunch of petunias:


A few other pots were spiced up with various flowers too. The actual flower beds will be filled with prettiness ASAP.

These old chairs have been in the back yard and on the front porch slowly rotting away. They spent many years tucked away in the shed at the old house and have definitely seen better days.


And here two of them are now... several coats of spray paint later:


The remaining two will become a sage green for the back yard.

I bought a random silver bike at KK's Craft Mall last time I was in Lubbock. I wasn't sure what to put in the basket part, so I browsed around Hobby Lobby until I found a couple bags of moss. Wah-la!


Lastly, I've slowly been trying to add some personality to the living room. The new furniture looks really sharp but has created a ton of new spaces that need to be filled. I'm not typically a fan of fake flowers, unless I happen to be waltzing through Hobby Lobby and find them at 50% off. I took some of the leftover moss, tossed it into a few old vases, and stuffed them with white flowers.

{Someday the tv will grow into his space and random flower arrangements will not be necessary.}

{...Ellie wanted to make sure that you noticed her acrobatic skills as well.}

I only hope that I can knock out this many projects every few days this summer. That would be a-ma-zing. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

SB '11, Don't Leave Me

Sarah put it best this morning... "This is the first time all year that I'm sad it's Friday." Word sista. I sure am sad to see Spring Break go. I've been warned that the school days between SB and summer are the longest of all.

We.can.do.this.!

I spent the first part of the week in Lubbock which was lovely of course. Chelsea had to work for part of it, but somehow I can always manage to entertain myself 100 times better there than I can in Abilene. We won't get started on how badly I miss Lubbock though. Been there done that.

On Wednesday Mom and I headed to San Antonio strictly to spend a couple of days at The Shops at La Cantera (duh). I'm pretty sure it gets better every time we go. I can't think of a single one of my favorite stores that they don't have. It's mind-blowing, really.


Last year I didn't allow myself to buy new clothes at all during the spring OR summer. It was pretty rough considering that summery clothes are basically the only type of clothes that I like. Thanks to that little hiatus, my spring and summer clothes are 2 years old at their very best. I may have gone a tiny bit overboard with the wardrobe update this week.


...But me oh my. How freeing are spring colors?

The next thing on today's agenda is to clean out my closet. I have a feeling that it's about to get 75% larger. Goodbye yucky old stuff, hello pretty new stuff.

Hope everyone enjoys the last two days of spring break bliss!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Awkward. Not Awesome.

{This is where I am not going for spring break. Sigh.}

These random thoughts may not be awesome nor will they be awkward. I simply don’t have the motivation that it takes to categorize my thoughts this week. It’s called spring break-itis.

-I broke the cafeteria rules this morning because I tried to get a carton of Lucky Charms along with my sausage biscuit.

-Yesterday I looked in the mirror and decided my hair was ugly. I decided I couldn’t wait until next week when I’m in Lubbock to get it cut so I cut off 2 and a half inches myself. The most I have gotten cut off in a couple of years. I don’t regret it either.

-Our bumblebee “Baby Got Back” tap dance is still going well. It’s the most provocative dance that I’ve ever seen middle-aged women do. Thank goodness we’ll all be wearing rather large and unflattering bee costumes.

-Once again I’m not participating in Lent. Once again, if I were I would give up these things. Is it weird to have the same vices year after year? Maybe that makes me boring.

-When I went back in my archives to find last year’s Lent post I realized that I used to be much more creative with my blog post titles. Ehh. Oh well.

-Still no word on the district lay-offs. Not sure what the hold up is but I would be quite grateful if I could start being OCD and making my plans for next year.

-That’s all. An unexpected class showed up for a make-up time during my planning period sooo I don’t have time to entertain you anymore. :) Positive thoughts. Positive thoughts. Who needs a 45 minute break to catch your breath without being surrounded by 22 children planning period anyway? Definitely not me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm Lovin' It


I realize that I already said this on Facebook but I don't care. I was introduced to Starburst Fave Reds last weekend and I'm currently obsessed. Starbursts are probably my favorite candy in the world. I try to keep a pretty constant stash of the original flavors at home. I eat all of the reds first before I resort to oranges.

I've been known to say that red starbursts are my tastebud's favorite taste in the world.

In high school, a boyfriend once gave me an enormous ziploc bag filled with only red Starbursts for my birthday. It was one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received.

My Starburst troubles are now over. Fave Reds have the "red" flavor from each of the four most common Starburst packs. Oh myyyy goodness. Heaven. My mouth waters just thinking about them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Music Monday

{photo via Pearls for Paper}

I think iTunes was one of the best inventions ever. Back in my high school days I used Napster, LimeWire, and some other shady websites to download free music to put on my Windows Media Player. Then I would burn them all onto a CD, entitle it something like "Jenna's Favs! Spring 2002" (decorated with stars drawn with a Sharpie), and jam out to it in my car 24/7 for the next 3 months.

A few years later I got my first iPod. During college I moved away from the burning CDs phase and started making playlists instead. I would make a different playlist for each semester and another in the summer. The playlists consisted of all of my favorite songs at that given point in my life, whether those songs be new or extremely old. I would listen to that playlist every time I drove anywhere for the rest of the semester, adding songs to it as time went by and essentially creating a soundtrack for that specific period of my life.

Listening to the same songs over and over and over for several weeks has never bothered me, especially if they consist of all of my current favorites.

Over the years it seems that I have created somewhat of a diary by means of my playlists. Sometimes on long trips I will start at the very first playlist and proceed to listen to each of them all the way through today. If I'm feeling nostalgic, all I have to do is choose the playlist from that time of my life and there's no doubt that it will take me back.

I still make the playlists every "semester" even though I'm out of college now. They have become something that I really cherish (as weird as that sounds) and hope to continue for as long as possible. Plus it's way easier than keeping up with my life in a journal!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awkward/Awesome Thursday

Awkward
-This morning I locked my keys in my car along with everything else near and dear to me. Then I had to do the empty-handed walk of shame up to school which makes you feel more awkward than you might think.

-I've had contacts for a year now but I'm still a newbie when it comes to certain aspects of wearing them. Sometimes when I'm talking to someone (making sure to look them in the eyes as much as possible), my contacts get super dry and I start having to blink more than is natural. I always get really awkward when this happens and start re-adjusting my contacts so they will realize that my contacts are causing the blinkage and I'm actually not THAT much of a weirdo.

-Having partial hearing loss at 25 but refusing to admit it. People who say "huh?" a lot used to annoy me. Now I do everything in my power not to say "huh?" even if I have no clue what the other person just said. Wonder what's more awkward? Saying "huh?" or responding with something totally unrelated to the question??

-Teachers who have been teaching for a while and know that they're safe from the lay-offs that will be occuring any minute constantly asking if I've "heard" anything about my job.

No. I haven't. Thanks for rubbing it in though!

Awesome
-Singing Rihanna's "Take a Bow" as loud as you can in the car. It's the PERFECT sing-along.

-Remaining completely oblivious to who Charlie Sheen is, why he is suddenly so popular this week, and how everyone else knows who he is.

-Spring break is only 7 school days away. I.cannot.wait. Cannot.

-Know what else would be awesome? Having a pool to go to whenever I wanted. Too bad that's not something I can list as an actual awesome. Luxuries from Lubbock that I am going to miss like crazy this spring.

Since there weren't any pictures in my post I will leave you with the six most awkward pictures found on my Blackberry: