Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snow in Myrtle Beach? Really?

There have been a whole lot of wacky weather events in the past few years.  Myrtle Beach has also had some weird weather this year!  We got SNOW, people.  Not freezing rain, not sleet, not a handful of flurries that melt before hitting the ground - REAL SNOW!!  And it actually stuck to the ground and accumulated!  I must admit I scoffed at The Weather Channel when I woke up that Friday morning (this post is way overdue!) and they were forecasting snow that would accumulate 3 to 5 inches.  Ha!  No way!  But despite my disbelief, I was secretly hoping they were right.  We get snow so extremely rarely around here that it's a great fun novelty.  Even if it doesn't stick, I love to watch the flakes falling.  One of the reasons it's never a big problem is because it usually doesn't stick so it doesn't get in the way of anything, and it never lasts long.  We do always get a surge in car wrecks of course due to the ice on the roads since we don't have salt trucks.  But otherwise getting snow here is awesome. 

I kept checking outside all day, waiting to spot that first barrage of snowflakes.  By late afternoon they were here.  My DH and I went out to Jersey Mike's to pick up some sandwiches for dinner, and as we walked back outside the wind slapped a handful of snowflakes in my face.  Snow is so much softer than rain, isn't it?  It took quite some time for it to start sticking, but I kept going outside like every hour to watch it fall and see it accumulating.  After it started sticking I kept taking pictures, pictures, and more pictures so I could track the progress.  I love how taking pictures with the flash at night makes the falling snowflakes light up.  It's so pretty! 

I cannot believe how much snow we actually got.  I don't remember ever getting anywhere near that much snow in the past decade at least.  I got up early the next morning to see that even more snow had fallen while I slept.  I took a picture of my footprints to kind of get an idea of how deep the snow was.  This is awfully impressive for Myrtle Beach. Half the neighborhood seemed to be out there with me, taking pictures of all the snow.  It's a good thing we all got out there early, because as soon as the sun came up, it quickly started melting.  The snow slid from the trees in little mini avalanches, and by noon almost all the snow was gone.  By the end of the day the only snow left was the few patches in deep shade and the small snowmen built by the neighbors across the street.  Here and gone in a mere 24 hours.  I'm very glad I took so many pictures so I can remind myself of the beauty of all that snow.  That being said, I'm still glad I live somewhere that doesn't get snow often. I can handle a small snow every several years when it quickly gets out of the way.  This way I get to really enjoy and appreciate it all. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How Did They Find Me?

I recently put a feature on my blog that allows me to see where people are visiting me from.  It's really amazing to see how people end up on my blog from all over the world, especially considering this blog is still in its infancy.  I'm amazed every day that I get as many visitors as I do.    One of the things I particularly like about this feature is that if someone found me by doing a Google search, it will tell me what they searched for.  Who'd have thought my rant about the Soap Magic Dispenser commercial would be my most popular blog post?  I get several hits on that thing a day. Apparently that thing is super popular.  I had to laugh when I saw one of the search requests that led to my site was "remove animal smell from treadmill".  Yikes!  Makes me wonder what happened there.   And lately with all these snowstorms sweeping the nation, there have a lot of searches for giant snowmen (9 foot tall snowman, 125 foot snowman, 30 foot snowman...)  I even had one written in Russian that led them to my post about the Magic Scissors.  Awesome! 

Image found here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Waianapanapa State Park Maui

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Results - My Sub Assignment

Okay, so Friday was my very first time in the classroom as something other than a student.  My very first substitute teacher assignment.  I was glad that it was going to be in the school where my DH works because I was familiar with it and wouldn't feel so out of place.  I was not so keen to have the class be Chemistry, since I knew I wouldn't be able to really help any of the students if they needed it.  This was a high school assignment and therefore I only had three 90-minute classes.  The notes were clear and everything was laid out neatly and easy to find.  That was a relief! 

The first two classes went surprisingly well.  They had a quiz in the first class and after that was taken up they were to start on a project Mrs. W had already explained to them the day before.  Thankfully one of the other science teachers (and my friend!) came by after the quiz and offered to go over the directions of the assignment with them again to make sure they understood what they were supposed to be doing.  They students were glad to have that, and I'm glad I didn't have to try to explain it myself, since about a third of what Mr. S said sounded like a foreign language.  I could hear this voice in my head that sounded strangely like Charlie Brown's teacher.  Wah-wah wah. Wah wah wah-wah.  My eyes probably glazed over and a bit of drool may have escaped my slack-jawed mouth.  But maybe not.  They got to work and I let them group together if they wanted and help each other out and talk.  They didn't give me any problems and I felt things went okay. 

The second and third classes were working on the same project, which they had started on the day before.  This class was slightly larger, and they were very talkative, but I was pleasantly surprised that the talk seemed almost entirely related to the assignment as they worked.  According to Mrs. W's notes, she didn't think they would get to the gluing stage of the project, but a few of them actually completed the assignment! 

I'm very glad that the third class was not the one to start my day.  They were rowdy, loud, and lazy.  Some of the students did their work and kept to themselves, but most of them just socialized and didn't even pretend to work.  I had to confiscate a balloon near the beginning of class because 4 students were playing beach ball with it.  I gave them a warning and when they ignored that, I took the balloon.  They still didn't bother to do any work.  Needless to say, not a single person in this class finished the assignment or even came close.  I feel I should mention that Friday was Cappuccino Day.  Someone genius had the bright idea to sell cappuccino and muffins in the library all day so the students can get loaded up on caffeine and sugar.  It's supposed to help raise money for the library, and does a good job of that.  Apparently some teachers take their classes down to the library so they can partake, and some students also go between classes.  I'm sure you can imagine a classroom full of already rambunctious students, on a Friday afternoon, last class of the day, who have spent the past several hours getting hopped up on several helpings of coffee and giant muffins.  I'm surprised I didn't have to peel them off the ceiling.  About 5 to 10 minutes before the final bell, a mass of students started heading to the door like they were just going to walk out.  I told them I hadn't heard the bell yet, and they tried to convince me that Mrs. W always lets them leave early.  Riiiiight. 

While I don't feel I necessarily screwed anything up, I do think I could have done better.  I felt okay at the time, but by the time it was all over and my mind was reviewing it, I realized that I should have done more, especially with that last class.  I'm not an assertive person at all, and I know that is something I need to work on. I'm shy by nature, and if I'm not comfortable in my environment I can be downright timid.  I hate that about myself.  But if I have any more classes like that last one, I'm going to need to be downright aggressive, not just assertive, to get any sort of command of the room.  It was small consolation that they act the same way for Mrs. W because she doesn't have the best classroom management skills.  I guess I should feel better to know they are always like that, and not just because I didn't do a good job, but I really don't.  I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, especially since it was MY VERY FIRST DAY.  I've never even been a teacher's assistant.  My DH says if I didn't have to send anyone out of the classroom, call for help from another teacher, or call for an administrator, than I did well.  I can be a perfectionist, so I don't quite agree.  But I'm trying to.  I was surprised that the students had no idea they were going to have a sub that day.  Mrs. W had called me earlier in the week to request me, so it was definitely a planned absence.  Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference in their behavior, but I think it might have made it go a little more smoothly. 

I wasn't really nervous about the job so much as I'd thought I'd be, but I felt so freaking awkward the whole time.  I felt like an intruder, and while I know it is my job to be the teacher and lead the classroom while I'm subbing, it just doesn't feel right.  I don't know how she runs her classroom, what policy she has for things like going to the restroom, etc.  And these students don't know me any more than I know them.  With nearly 30 students in each class, calling roll is not enough to allow me to learn their names.  


Thursday, February 18, 2010

My First Sub Assignment!

Tomorrow morning is my first assignment as a substitute teacher.  Ack!  I'm nervous but I'm trying really hard to think positive and imagine how well it's going to go.  Thankfully this is at the high school where my DH works, and is in fact in the room right next door.  :)  All 3 classes are Chemistry - NOT a subject I have any fondness or talent for.  Hopefully the students won't need any real help from me.  I'm really glad my first assignment is in a familiar school and on a hall where I know several of the other teachers.  I tend to get all stressed out and anxious about things because I can't seem to help but fret about all the details and what could go wrong.  It will hopefully help to get an assignment under my belt. Wish me luck!

Image found here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is It Spring Yet?

It's bad enough that it's winter and I have to deal with dreary cold days that are short on sunshine.  But this year, with all its big bad storms and extra cold temps is driving me batty.  I almost blew a gasket when I got last month's electric bill.  It was $12 shy of being DOUBLE the month before.  And we'd been out of town for a week!  I'm dreading what it's going to be this month.  Thankfully today is nice and sunny - so far at least.  It would be even better if our house was situated so that some of that sun would actually pour into the windows.  Then I could curl up in front of the window in a nice patch of sunshine like a cat.
So every day I cheer the fact that it is one day closer to spring.  I can't wait to be able to turn off the heat and open all the windows!  To be warm and have all that fresh clean air breezing through the house.  Those days will inevitably feel all too brief and then I'll be whining about the heat and humidity, and how I wish I could step onto my porch without being instantly slicked with sweat.  *sigh*  Oh, to live in Hawaii with its beautiful weather all year round! 

Photo snagged from here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

PhotoHunt: Broken

This is what happened to a friend's door after she went out of town to visit friends and family one weekend.  One of her (possibly crazy) neighbors called the police and told them she thought my friend was going to harm herself.  Nobody had any clue what made the neighbor come to that conclusion. They must have been hitting the sauce pretty hard that weekend!

Notice the crappy patch job the police did to repair the door after they realized nobody was home. I guess it was too much to ask for them to open the storm door before battering in her front door. Needless to say, the police in her town are a little too gung-ho and get a little stupid when the power of their positions goes to their head.  They could have at least cleaned up the glass.  Morons.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Love My Electric Blanket

Last night as I snuggled under the covers, I couldn't help but wax poetic about how awesome my electric blanket is.  Seriously, if you don't own one of these, you need to get one.  Unless you're lucky and live in a paradise like Hawaii and don't even need to have a heater, much less an electric blanket.  God bless the person who invented this thing. 

A haiku for my electric blanket:

Electric blanket
I love you so very much
So warm and toasty

So when do you think they'll come out with an electric-blanket version of the Snuggie?  Although I guess it would have to be battery-powered if you want to wear it to your kid's next sporting event.
Sunbeam Royal Nights Twin Heated Blanket, NavySunbeam Full Herringbone Camelot Dreams Heated Electric Warming Heating Blanket, Seashell Off-White Single ControlSunbeam Queen Box Pattern Premium Heated Electric Warming Heating Blanket, Olive GreenSunbeam Microplush Throw Camelot Cuddler Electric Heated Warming Heating Blanket, Walnut Brown

Wordless Wednesday: Surfside Beach, SC

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And Leeches Fell From the Sky

I had a dream the other night that it was raining leeches.  LEECHES!  Now I always have very strange dreams that rarely make any sense.  Most of the time I can't even describe what I dreamed about because if I remember it at all, it's usually just a sense of an emotion and a snapshot of a scene.  There's usually not a story-line so to speak where I can say, "first this happened, and then this, and this".  Every now and then I'll have one that does seem to flow more like a movie, and I can see where parts of the dream came from.  Like I can tell that a certain book I just read was responsible for this part or that part.  But this one?  Not a clue.  All I can really remember is that I was walking down a quiet road, no traffic in sight.  It must have been spring or summer, because the grass was bright and green, the air was clear, and the sky was really bright blue.  There were no clouds in the sky, and it was completely dry.  Which only makes the falling leeches that much weirder.  There were so many of them, just as many leeches as there would be raindrops if it were truly raining.  I had on a hoodie, and when they started falling, I just put my hood up and kept walking like it was no big deal.  WHAT?!?

I can assure you, if in real life I found myself under a waterfall of slimy, wriggling little blood-suckers, I would have a complete spaz attack.  Shrieking, shuddering, screaming, and probably some sort of "get these things off of me!" convulsions.  Yet in my dream, I was only mildly curious.  "Huh.  Would you look at that.  It's raining leeches." This could have to do with the fact that none of them were actually touching me.  It's not like I was dreaming they were all over me and I couldn't get them off.  They were just falling from the sky all around me.  (Gee, is that all?)  So of course I've got to see what kind of explanation those dream interpretation dictionaries come up with!  I have to admit I was surprised that "leeches" was even an entry.  I guess it's not so weird to dream about them. 

To see or be bitten by leeches in your dream, refers to something in your life that is draining the energy and vigor out of you. The dream may refer to people, habits, or negative emotions that are sucking you out of your vitality. Alternatively, if your body is covered in leeches, then you are feeling disgusted by your own body or repulsed by something you have done.

Well, that makes enough sense, but these weren't biting me or sucking my blood, so would it mean the same thing?  Another site has some other interpretations.

From Dream Interpretations Guide:
To dream of leeches, foretells that enemies will run over your interests.

If they are applied to you for medicinal purposes, you will have a serious illness in your family (if you escape yourself).
To see them applied to others, denotes sickness or trouble to friends.
If they should bite you, there is danger for you in unexpected places, and you should heed well this warning.

These guys are pretty ominous, huh?  Back up off my interests, enemies!  Couldn't dreaming of leeches have been a sign that I'm going to win the Powerball Jackpot this week or something?  Because I'm willing to run out and buy a ticket right now.
Photo found here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I've Got Your Credit Fairy Right Here, Baby

Lately you may have seen some commercials on TV where someone is waiting for the Credit Fairy to show up to improve their credit scores.  If you believe these commercials, there is NO SUCH THING AS A CREDIT FAIRY!  *Gasp!*  I know, right?  What's next, the Tooth Fairy?  And to think I actually fell for this ad.  I thought to myself, "Darn, self!  Now you have to pay your bills on time and not use your credit card like it's going out of style.  That sucks!"  And I was all set to run out and buy that diamond encrusted refrigerator, too.  (Stainless steel is sooo five minutes ago.)  I guess this means I also have to stick to my much more modest shopping list from now on too instead of tossing in a few dozen impulse purchases as I meander down the aisles. 

But then it happened! On a recent grocery shopping trip to the Super Walmart, as I'm leaving the register with my shopping cart only partially filled with my meager purchases, I see it!  It's the Credit Fairy!  Cleverly disguised as Tinkerbell. 

While those TV ads try to make you believe the Credit Fairy is make-believe, this local bank is doing their part to set the record straight.  Apparently it was all just a big misunderstanding.  Turns out the Credit Fairy doesn't magically improve your credit scores.  But she can probably get you a credit card with a nice low rate!  That's got to count for something, right?  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some shopping to do. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dream Day Friday: Exercise Equipment (With a Kick!)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever wished there was a bit of magic embedded in their exercise equipment.  It would make for a lot fewer machines being used as coat racks and clothes hangers, for sure.  I mean really, why do we have to burn 3,500 calories just to lose one measly pound of fat?  And using stationary bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills and the like can be so freaking boring!  When I'm ambitious enough to actually use my bike or treadmill, it can be really hard to do it with any enthusiasm unless I let my mind start daydreaming.  Most equipment has a display that tells you the time you've been exercising, the distance, and calories burned (however grossly inaccurate that last one may be!).  It's hard to feel like I'm making any difference when an hour walk on the treadmill barely burns 300-something calories. Gee, at this rate it'll only take 11 hours to burn off one pound of fat.  Oh, goody!  At least the stationary bike burns a few more calories - closer to 500 in a hour at my weight.  That whittles it down to only 7 hours per pound.  Can you see why I need some sort of more optimistic distraction to motivate myself? 

If I'm feeling particularly unfit, or if I've been eating really poorly, I might pretend that every five minutes on the bike is actually burning a full pound of fat.  And as I'm pedalling away, I'll imagine how handy that would be.  If I've been putting on weight or know I'm going to be stuffing my face with lots of yummy food (like around Thanksgiving or Christmas, for example!) I could just hop on the bike to melt away the fat.  Boo-yah!  And see how reasonable I'm being by wishing that I'd only burn 1 pound of fat in 5 minutes of exercise?  I could totally say 5 pounds in 1 minute.  But that would be silly!  Awesome Hawaiian vacation coming up?  Last year's swimsuit making me look like an overstuffed sausage?  No problem!  I'd just hop on my magic stationary bike and pedal, pedal, pedal until I'm all trim and svelte.  Think of the time this would save!  As much as I love food, especially anything bursting with sugar or chocolate, even maintaining a healthy weight seems to be a battle I will forever be falling behind in.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'd rather be a little bit overweight than give up yummy food.  So instead of spending hours and hours exercising and not having a whole heck of a lot to show for it, I could spend 15 to 20 minutes a week on the magic bike to maintain my weight, and still eat all the donuts and Mexican food I want!  And in case any of you are getting worried, my magic bike would not let me lose an unhealthy amount of weight.  I'd never have to worry about losing too much weight, because it would never let me go below whatever weight is healthiest for me.  See, I'm being responsible and reasonable again.  And it is a magic bike, after all.

Image found here. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Substitute Workshop!

So tomorrow morning I report to the district office for a Substitute Teacher Workshop.  !! There were no interviews of any kind - I just sent in my documentation and completed the online application.  But since my DH has told me repeatedly that "they'll let any idiot sub" I assume that I'm considered hired if I'm chosen for the workshop. There are supposed to be 60 openings.  I had contacted the head of HR to verify that they got my application and documents a couple weeks ago, and she told me I would be receiving a postcard.  That postcard never came, but I contacted her again this past Monday to verify that I was indeed expected for the workshop and to see what information I needed for tomorrow.  It's not a very comforting sign that the very first step in this processing was botched when I didn't receive the notification postcard.  Did mine just happen to get lost in the mail?  Did they forget to print it and mail it?  Will I get in the mail tomorrow - a day late and a dollar short?  For someone like me who likes to know ALL the details in advance so I can prepare (and worry) this is not a good start.  I wonder if there is anyone else who didn't get their postcard.  Am I going to have a lot of competition, or will I fit right in with this new batch of sub recruits?  How many of us will have absolutely no experience?  I don't even have kids, so I can't even draw on parenting experience.  I sure hope I get some easy assignments with well-behaved kids first so I can ease my way into it.  I hate that I'm freaking out about it.  I'm trying real hard to keep the anxiety at bay, but it's sneaking in on sly wings.  GET THEE BEHIND ME, ANXIETY!  I wonder how long it will be before I get an assignment.  If there are 60 of us new recruits at the workshop, plus the existing supply of subs, that's an awful lot of subs.  It will be interesting to see how many jobs I get between now and the end of the school year.  I do know that my DH will be requesting me to sub for him while he's chaperoning Grad Nite in Disney World.  (I'd much rather trade places and get a free trip to Disney!)

It will be interesting to see exactly what this "workshop" entails.  I have absolutely NO information on what we'll be doing.  I have to bring my SSN card and a voided check, so I imagine at least some of it will involve filling out employment paperwork.  But the word "workshop" implies that we'll actually learn something. (Or am I being naive?) I hope it's more than just how to use SmartFind Express, the automated calling system they use.  I found an online tutorial for that a few months ago and have already got it all figured out.  (Did I mention how much I love information?) I'm going to have to pack some snacks, too.  I don't know if this is a half-day, full-day, or just a few hours.  Ooh, maybe we'll do a bunch of cheesy role-playing activities!  I hear they do that for regular teacher workshops sometimes.  I've gotta tell you, if I hear we're going to be doing a trust fall, I don't think I'll be able to keep a straight face.  I wonder if they'd let me bring my camera and take pictures. Hmmm...  Hey, maybe I can do that when I'm subbing too!  It might help me get over being nervous.  Plus I can tell the kids if they misbehave I'll put embarrassing pictures of them on my blog.  Heehee!  :)