Sunday, August 30, 2009

A fun day at the Park

Aspen had a great morning. We went walking in the Arapahoe Bend Natural Area, where she could chase grasshoppers in tall grass to her heart's content, and then we went to the Spring Canyon Dog park in Fort Collins, which has a pond for the dogs to play in. She had a great time, although she had to suffer through a bath when we got home! She's been tired all evening, which is great for me, since I have some school work to do and it's raining out. Mike's at a Broncos game in Denver. Hopefully, he doesn't get too cold and wet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thank goodness for Fridays

Whew! It's been a whirlwind week. I had book club on Tuesday night, a scrapbooking party on Thursday night, and an event at Mike's work tonight, plus all the usual work related jumble. I'm very glad it's Friday, but I have a busy weekend ahead of me. I have to finish wallpaper stripping, go grocery shopping, do laundry, do some schoolwork, maybe start painting, do housework, and other assorted chores. Oh, and we have the fantasy football draft in the morning too. And, I have to look for my shoes more!

Yes, I said look for my's a mystery at our house right now. I purchased a new pair of shoes and wore them once and now they have disappeared. I've been looking for them unsuccessfully all week. I swear I've looked everywhere, even in unusual places like dresser drawers and in laundry baskets, but they are nowhere to be found! I even went outside and looked in Aspen's kennel and favorite spots fearing she'd carried them off. I cannot figure out what happened to them, but I suspect foul play!

I need to teach Aspen how to vacuum this weekend too. She tore up her stuffed racooon all over the living room floor and then dumped a bowl of her dog food all over the kitchen floor (just for fun), and I haven't found time to clean it up yet. At what age can "children" be expected to clean up after themselves???

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The I hate Wallpaper Tribute

I really do hate wallpaper, or at least the act of removing it. I've started working on the guest bedroom, which means wallpaper stripping first. This is a doubly annoying task because 1) all the wallpaper in our house was applied directly to drywall without ever finishing the walls and 2) there are several layers of wallpaper on any given wall. This wall was actually interesting because there were hidden secrets within. The top layer was blue plaid, and the bottom layer was blue plaid as well. No, that wasn't the surprising hidden secret, but on the bottom layer of blue plaid there were lots of drawings, some of which were quite well done. I uncovered sketches of transformers, skulls and crossbones, lightning bolts, comments about death rays, and all sorts of things drawn in magic markers. The room of a teenage boy mystifies the archeologist who's digging through the murky past. Seriously, I kept thinking about this as an anthropologist whose only clues to culture are what's left behind. It's a rather scary thought to think of our world being defined by far future generations based on the leftover doodles of a teenage boy! We'll have to repair and texture the walls next week, and then we will be able to paint.

Anyway, the wallpaper always comes off in tiny little pieces, and then it's wet from the steamer so it sticks to everything. And, I can never get all the layers off at the same time, so I have to peel each of 4 layers off one at a time. I do love when the wallpaper is gone!

I've had a productive weekend overall. I made homemade pasta sauce with tomatoes from my garden and some I purchased at a farm stand. Then, I did laundry, ran errands, worked around the house, helped clean the garage, watered the garden, and did some school work.

I also worked on several craft projects this weekend. I made a cute scrapbook page of Aspen to go in my "family" scrapbook. I also did a great recycling craft project. I had a bunch of plastic zipper bags--the kind that new curtains and sheets come in--so I pulled out the curtain advertisements that came in the pockets and replaced them with labels for "holiday cards," "thank you cards," "birthday cards," and "other cards" and I'm going to use them to store premade cards until I need them. This should keep them neat and clean and they don't take up much space.

Tomorrow is another school day, so I'd better get to finishing up my weekend projects and get the laundry put away. It's a busy week a comin'.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

School Time

School is under way, and so far it's going well. Of course, we are just getting going on content, since you have to do all the book checkout, and going over syllabi, and all that first. I come home exhausted every night--I have to get used to the hectic pace again. All the students are very excited for these first few days, but then the honeymoon period will be over.

I was surprised at the last minute by getting a student teacher assigned to me. And, I'm the official mentor/evaluator for one of our new teachers as well. Apparently, I've joined the ranks of "experienced" teachers at my school. I'm mostly excited about the student teacher, but it's going to be hard for me to give up my classes for weeks! We'll see how it goes, but she seems like a nice woman. She's 22 years old and from Omaha, Nebraska. That's about all I really know. She started with me today. She'll begin by observing me teach for a few weeks and then start taking over a class at a time until she's teaching my whole schedule for about 4 weeks. My job is to evaluate her, support her, and help her learn how to be a teacher. It should be interesting.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to Fall

The universe must know I have to go back to school tomorrow because today is a perfect, beautiful fall day. The temperature has been high 60s, low 70s, with just enough cool air to seem like fall but still be pleasant to sit outside in. I catch myself watching trees, expecting to see a spontaneous change to yellow and orange because this vibrant green doesn't quite match the feel in the air. I had to put a sweatshirt on this morning to walk the dog, which is okay with me.

Summer officially feels over today. I think I'm mostly ready for school tomorrow. I do still get excited for the first days. After that, it's just work, but the kids are well behaved and positive for a few days, and we are all excited to be wearing new clothes and seeing all our friends again.

Last night, we enjoyed a lovely date night as a last hurrah to summer! We had a great dinner (Prime rib for Mike and Shrimp and Mussels for me) at the Candlelight Dinner Theater and then saw their performance of Wizard of Oz, which was quite well done. There's a lot of local talent in Northern Colorado, and they know how to get a crowd laughing. Plus, it's always fun to have the Wicked Witch of the West as your waitress.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Night Adventures

As I write this, it's about 12:30AM, and no I'm not a night owl. I'm not out of bed much after midnight, but Aspen's running around like a crazy lady right now. She had to go back into her crate all day today---or I guess technically I should say yesterday--since I'm back to work now, and clearly after sleeping all day she's just not ready for bed. We took her to the dog park after work and tried to wear her out, but the transition has been rough on both of us. We've been up since before midnight. I let her outside first off, and she destroyed two pots of flowers by pulling them down off the deck and tearing the flowers and dirt out in a matter of minutes while I was sitting on the couch half asleep. When I roused enough to go see what she was doing, she decided she wanted to race around the backyard with a broken piece of one of the pots in her mouth, trying to coax me into a game of keep-away. I responded by scolding her and making her go into the house, which she didn't appreciate. This isn't the first time she's broken or torn out flower pots--she seems to have a fixation there--but I feel less about to deal with it in the middle of the night. So now, she's racing around the living room, chasing the cat, and playing with her ball, while I hang out on-line. I've already surfed the web for half an hour, so I figured I'd share our adventures with you. I'll post this in the morning...

We finally made it back to bed around 1AM, and Aspen slept for the rest of the night. I, however, wasn't so lucky as I was wide awake by this point. It took me about an hour to fall back to sleep, so the 5:30AM alarm came very early, and it was easily to use that snooze button more times than I want to admit. Still I made it to work by 7:00am, and I'm here now, working tiredly, but working...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Welcome to Austin David Allen, born Tuesday August 11, 2009! 8lbs 14 oz, 21 inches.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hail to Summer!

We had some hail a week ago when Jeff and Fran were here, but that was nothing compared to the hail we had last night. We experienced the biggest hail I've ever seen, and I was glad I wasn't out in this hail. Luckily, it didn't last long, but these hail had a good half-inch to three-quarter inch diameter and made quite a racket as it came down. In my last pictures, you couldn't even see the hail because it was small, but it's definitely visible in these pictures. We've had such a strange weather year as it is, but do these pictures look like August? A lot of the pumpkin plants now have big pits in them where the hail ripped through, but the garden seems to have survived, other than some holes in the leaves. Is this a sign that my summer is coming to an end?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to it!

I know I've been neglecting my blog this week, but I don't seem to have much of interest to write about. I'm transitioning back to full-time work now. Summer is pretty much over for me and the chaos of the rest of the summer has died down as I have turned thoughts to what I will teach this year. School starts August 17th, but I'm back to prep and plan now. It's tough to transition back into the hectic mornings. I never really learned to sleep in much, so it's not so much getting up early, but I've been spending and hour with the newspaper and breakfast, a nice glass of orange juice and some quiet time every morning, so it's hard to give that up! Oh well! I always like the beginning of the school year when everything is fresh and new, teenagers are more positive than usual, and I still have some energy.

On the upside, I won a competitive grant to purchase materials to create a podcast program and accompanying blog with my Advanced Word Power (vocabulary) class, so that will be fun. When we get it up and running you'll all have to check it out. Right now, I'm waiting for the check to come so I can buy the equipment we need, and then of course I have to learn to use it so that I can teach the students!

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