Clean and Simple

So every week Joe and I are going to spend several hours simplifying and cleaning up our lives. We're going to pitch, donate and store most of our clutter. The plan is to mentally begin to prepare our house for sale/moving (within the next 12-18 months). We don't want to show the house in this state, nor do we want to move it all.

We start on Friday afternoon. I don't know why I'm really thinking about it right now, actually.

Today went better at work. I think I'll be in a nice easy routine in just a couple more days.



Day One

Today was the first day of my new job. It went pretty well, I think. I am the reading teacher for 8 first graders and 12 second graders at a small elementary school in rural New Jersey (not an oxymoron). I meet with the lower of the two second-grade groups, then the first-grade (high level) group, then the higher-level second-grade group.

It's a foot in the door at a new school district.
The kids seem pretty well-behaved.
I have some autonomy with my reading groups.
The hours are good.

One of the teachers I have to work with seems a bit tetchy.
The reading program is scripted, so there's really not a lot of me in my teaching.
Half-day work isn't going to further our life goals much, if at all.

All in all, I think it's going to be good. One thing is certain, I need to pick up the pace with my first two groups. Familiarity will breed comfort and efficiency. So, it should be flowing smoothly along in a week or so. Then the principal will give me some more to do in my remaining time.

In other news, one of my best friends nearly set Bacon School (where I used to teach) on fire. The sun was refracting just so through a glass fishbowl on her desk. She melted half a tape dispenser before she discovered the problem. It was one of those "Do you smell something funny?" "Yeah, like maybe something burning." sorts of things. The plastic was smoking and smoldering pretty badly when she found it. Good thing it had been blocking the nearby box of tissues from the solar death ray. Of course, if it'd happened on a Friday afternoon or when she was otherwise in a hurry to get out of the building ... my guess is they'd all be having a few days off while they dealt with the water and smoke damage.



Not Enough Nerve

OK, if I were younger, nervier and into defacing stop signs ... I would totally get these.

Actually, I like a lot of stuff they sell.

Check out the tv recaps on Television Without Pity, while you're at it.



Scrapbooking Made Simple

I just love scrapbooking. Really! (I know I'm dorky)

But, every now and then even the most-loved hobbies kind of become tedious and uninteresting. I'm kind of scrapbooked-out at the moment (well, I have been on quite a tear lately ... ever since I attended the Creating Keepsakes Convention in Valley Forge in late July I've gone crazy with it). So, it was with great delight I received the second shipment of an album kit series I'm getting from QVC.

I finished the first one awhile ago, "All About Me." It was actually kind of hard doing a scrapbook all about me, myself. Not for the least reason that I have very few pictures of myself, let alone scrapbook-worthy ones. And, it was difficult at first to talk about myself and express my own hopes and dreams, etc.

This second edition has gone much faster. I've been really looking forward to this one. It's "All About You." The you in this case being Joe, of course. I've had a good time singing his praises, recalling old memories and digging through pictures of him. (and I don't have that many good pictures of him, either, oddly ... I guess my photography is generally focused on the kids ... mental note to remedy that in the future)

I'm very happy right now. I really love working on a project and seeing steady progress on it. And I know he's going to be surprised and pleased with the finished product (although he's usually quite blase' about my creations).


ps. In other news, I gathered a bunch of stuff for my new job starting Monday. I'm trying to start small so I can get a feel for the kids and my (extremely limited) space at the school. I'm really hoping this goes well. I'm ready to go back to work and really contribute more (financially) to the family.

So rude!

I have hardly been the most conscientious blogger, have I? Well, I need more reflection, introspection and just plain working out words to put down. So, I really am going to make a conscious effort to post something on a far more regular basis than previously.

Even if it's just train of consciousness nonsense and crappy memes and questionnaires. Just to get the ball rolling, the juices flowing, and other metaphors.

So, here goes ... apparently facial recognition software has determined I look like these people (though I'm hardly taking this seriously, the first photo I uploaded came through with a much higher percentage match to none other than Daniel Radcliffe. Yes, evidently I could be Harry Potter's big sister. Yeesh!) Granted, I have very few (if any) really decent pictures of myself. That what you get from being behind the camera the vast majority of the time. Plus, I'm overweight and never happy with the way I look in photos. And, I have this gigantic toothy grin which I guess looks pleasant enough in person, but when still-frozen-in-time-forever looks garish.


Every now and then ... It's just a Good Day

Elements of Good came together today to make this a Good Day.

I woke up slowly this morning ... one of those undeniably luxurious summer mornings where you just take it slow and simple. As I'm stretching I realize I can't really move my left arm. Brief flash of anxiety ... are my car accident injuries acting up again? Nope, it's warm, snuggly Matthew smooshed up next to me. As I move around, he rolls over and gives me a kiss, "Good morning, Mommy," and pulls my arms back around him.

Much later we meet my Aunt Deb at the Erie Library for a juggling show. Kevin the Juggling Guy. Funny, somewhat offbeat in that frequently-entertaining-children sort of way. Decent juggling. Good patter. Turns out I can spin a plate on a stick.

Quick car ride via Subway to the Dock (I don't care how long they push it as Dobbins Landing). We meet Captain Norm of the Erie Aquabus service. He was one of those nautical types with leathery skin and white hair. Not overly chatty or anything. Kind of thought he had barely noticed us. At one point he did a quick swoop around in a circle and got out his boat hook. After several attempts, reverses and additional swerves, he manages to hook a plastic beach shovel out of the waves. He tosses it back to the kids, "Now you'll have something to play with at the beach." Not long after, he dropped us over on Presque Isle.

We picnicked in the sun (the breeze was a bit chill), and had a nice time ... Mom, Aunt Deb, the kids and me. It was a good, simple meal. We tidied up and walked over to the beach.

I'd brought the kids' swimsuits, but had already decided, after the shivering on the ferry ride, that we'd be wading at best. So, I rolled up their shorts and let them run in the wet sand and surf. It was a glorious day. Breezy, bright blue sky, teal green water. Few people. The kids just raced back and forth. Every now and then one of them would stop and analyze the wave action. Emily would wiggle her toes in the wet sand and watch little mini puddles form. Matthew would smack at the water with a stick and then throw his head back and laugh out loud. I snapped picture after picture. I liked the light. I liked the mood. I loved seeing my kids so gleeful.

Of course, when we made to leave and Emily realized she would really not be swimming, she threw a bit of a hissy fit. They were soggy to their waists and covered in wet sand. A good 40 minutes at the playground dried them off well enough for the ferry ride back. I remember lying back on a picnic table bench, a rolled beach towel under my neck, gazing up at the blue sky through a canopy of quaking poplars.

It was a Good Day.