Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Everything's Coming Up Roses

I am now a quarter-century old. My birthday was wonderful, one of the best yet.

I went to work and was greeted by lots of hugs, 40 homemade birthday cards from each of my kids, and was sung to by both of my classes in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It was VERY cute. One day I'll have to type of some of the funny comments from the birthday cards, they are so funny.

After school I knitted with some friends at work and then came home only to be greeted by Chris and 3.5 dozen roses. 14 red, 14 white, 14 pink. They are beautiful! We were going to go on a ride with some friends but a few wussed out due to the wind and we decided to wuss out ourselves in favor of dinner with my parents. We had a tasty meal with good company and then took Turbo on a walk in the dark. When we came back, we were pleased to hear a phone message saying that Chris's business trip the next day had been cancelled. I sat down and lost to myself in solitare as Chris frosted cupcakes for my class. Overall, it was a great day! Did I mention that I got some really nice new mountain bike shorts and jersey as well as a great creepy bunny squeaker for my bike? Becky -- it is very matchy matchy, I think you'll like it! I also got THE good book from my parents, great yarn for a baby sweater from mom #2, and lots of chocolate and a gift certificate to the yarn store from my teaching partner. Wohoooo! I can't wait to start all of my fun new knitting projects.

Chris is off on a bike weekend for the 3rd out of the last 4 weekends. I hate not having him here but know he is doing stuff that will make me worry less during his races later -- if that's the case, I know it'll be worth it in the end.

Did I mention I'm on spring break? YAY! Monday I leave for Vegas with two of my college friends. We are having a girls week so it should be fun. I'm anxious to see how Chris likes being left alone for once. I will miss him and Turbo and riding my bike, but I'm sure the time will go quickly and I'll be back to the real world of fixing resumes and finding jobs. Needless to say, I will try my best to enjoy every moment of my vacation and focus on relaxing before my first time trial of the series starting when I get back. We also have a "consultation" with the baby doctor on the 10th for a pre-prego meeting. I hope it's fun and not too scary.

Thanks to everyone for the nice happy birthday wishes. It was a great day, I have the best husband, family, friends, and students in the world. I never would've dreamed I'd be so happy at 25. Pictures to come eventually :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Leave it up to life to bring a good woman down...

So I'm needing to vent a little. I'm not really upset, actually I'm in a great mood, but I still need to vent.

SO... I had a meeting with my principal today who basically *strongly* recommended that I go out and find another job. The district is under huge upheaval with a new superintendant that feels she can save the world by changing everything and everyone. The principal told me that all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year teachers (or that many years in the district) are being looked at very closely by the district to see who stays where they are, who will be moved to different schools, and who will be out of a job all together. Two elementary schools are closing so there are veteran teachers who need to be placed in schools, and thus this problem. I believe that if it was up to my principal, I would stay where I am. She's happy with me and has never had anything but great things to say about me. She told me to line up a job, or two, or ten, even if it means signing contracts with other districts, until this district figures out what they are doing. She gave me some good advice on backing out of already signed contracts if the district will let me stay in my current position afterall, so that was nice. She's a great lady and I respect that she's giving us the heads-up and not just leaving us jobless in May.

SO... I guess it's time I dust off the trusty old resume and start looking for jobs. I feel ok about this whole thing except when I sit down and actually think about it. I hate that in teaching (and in other professions), my employability does not depend on how hard I work, how I perform, whether or not I pour my heart and soul into a very difficult population, but rather on how long I've been working. It's crap, there's no other way to put it. If the district wants to "reinvent" itself with cratchedy old veterans who are stuck in their ways, then great. Have fun. Getting rid of the teachers who bring fresh ideas, flexibility, and some fun back into teaching and learning sounds like a stupid idea. But, then again, this is why I have no aspiration to be a principal or higher. It has to be a terrible job.

If I have to leave, there will be benefits. I will be happy to wave goodbye to this new superintendent who thinks she knows everything. I'm excited at the prospect of possibily teaching in a neighborhood school where my commute would be much shorter when I have kids. But I would really miss these kids. My kids don't have parents who can/will teach them to read. My kids come to school as the one relaxing part of their day when they get to be kids and enjoy life. I recognize that and I don't think everyone does. I know of teachers at my school who will keep their jobs over me, and they don't give a lick about the kids they teach. That kills me.

While I'm still optimistic that I'll have my job next year, I'm looking. I hope to be interviewing soon. I hope to have choices instead of being forced into a job I don't love. In the mean time, I will go to work each day and squeeze as much love into these poor little guys as I can. Ah, life. Great birthday present again this year...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hey now, you're an all star...

Congratulations to hubby on getting his first singlespeed win in Moab this weekend. You rode with an elite group of cyclists and held your own to turn in the first ride that you could call a win. You've always been an all star to me, I'm just glad you finally got a chance to realize it yourself.


I have a bone to pick with whoever declared Moab a "desert". Some dictionary says a desert is "any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil." Whatever. I've been two Moab twice in the past year and each time there has been crazy rain that causes the roads to turn to rivers and the dry sand to messy mud. I don't believe it and I will no longer refer to Moab as a desert. It will now be referred to as a vast wetland.

We loaded up the car Friday afternoon to leave for the vast wetland that is Utah. It had been a very long day that involved a situation that needed Social Service's serious attention. Needless to say, I was ready for a little vacation. Chris drove Alan, Turbo, and me to Glenwood Springs and I took over from there. I drove through some of my least favorite conditions, including rain that made the ground so shiny that I had convinced my tired self that I was driving on clear glass and there was an upside down highway underneath me. The boys snored away and I chugged through to Moab. The hotel was a welcome break from the lonely road.

In the morning, I gave in to my sleepy bones and ditched breakfast at Denny's to sleep a few more minutes. The boys swung back by to pick me up after breakfast. When we got to the parking lot I met many people that I have heard of but never met. I also ran into Monica, a wife who I had been pit-neighbors with in Park City. She brought her little girl and dogs and she told me about some fun they were planning for the day and invited me along. I got excited at the idea of not hanging out by myself all day but retardedly forgot to get a phone number or time/plan from her. DOH! Soon I was swept up in Chris's light debacle and was sending him on his way.

Turbo and I headed sleepily back to the hotel, flipped through a million different informercials, and went back to sleep. When I woke up, I realized I had missed the free continental breakfast (which I remember to be delicious from when we stayed there in the last rainy mess of a trip) so I loaded dog up to drive to City Market to buy some doughnuts and something for lunch. When I stepped outside I saw the rain that had drenched the "desert" and I hoped Chris wasn't miserable. Luckily, I ran into Monica in the parking lot as they were packing up to head out for a hike. I went along and we had a great time hiking in the drissle with the dogs and her 4 year old daughter. Turbo loved romping through the creek and ended up swimming in a little pond with one of the other dogs. It was probably the greatest day of his whole life. He was so happy, so dirty, and quite stinky by the time we got back to the car.

After the hike we drove and had a delicious lunch at the Moab Diner -- their grilled ham and cheese is YUM! At one point I looked out the window and said "hey! At least it stopped raining, now maybe the boys are a little less miserable!" to which Monica pointed out that that was still raining, I was just seeing wrong. When we went to walk around and do a little shopping after, Monica's husband called saying that he was cold and miserable and was dropping out. She, being a wife herself, was nice enough to ask him if he knew where Chris was. He told her that Chris was up ahead and chugging along, so I got a little relief from that. I had chosen not to drive up to see Chris at the road crossings where I would get to see that he was still moving along ok because I was afraid he would be too tempted to drop out and get in the warm car. I wanted him to keep going and experience a race well raced without an option to bail.

Turbo and I headed back to the hotel and again took another nap. We woke up, I ate some tasty candy, and around 5:00 I headed to the finish line VERY pleased that I hadn't heard Chris at this point. If he hadn't called yet, he was on his way to the finish. WOHOOO! When I got to the finish, I sat around with some riders that had dropped as well as Monica and little Brooke. Chris hadn't expected to finish before 6:00 so I wasn't going to start worrying until sunset. Around 6:15, I was sitting around talking when someone yelled "there's some finishers!" I looked up and YAY!!!!! I couldn't believe it was him! It's a rare occasion when Chris shows up before I expect him to. He didn't look wiped, he didn't look like he was ready to crawl in a dry hole and sleep -- he actually looked fresh. The guy is crazy. He was so happy to have ridden with a fellow singlespeeder for the last few miles, he was happy to finish, and he was happy to have done so well. It's a great feeling to see someone work so hard for something and have the hard work pay off.

Pretty soon we headed back to the hotel and I forced giddy Chris to take a shower so we could go eat. Dave C stopped by for a shower and we all headed off for some Mexican. The food was only ok -- however the chips and salsa that we ate for an hour before getting seated was pretty tasty! We headed back to the hotel and got a little sleep before Alan came knocking at the door, finally finished wit his race after 18 hours. He was psyched to finish and Chris and I were both relieved to see him before it got too late. The next morning we were sad to see the Diner closed on Sundays so we ate at the Pancake Haus. It was also only so-so, and some very not-shy 5th grader decided that I looked like a teacher at his school and after that he wouldn't leave me alone. I love kids. I really do. But I was tired. You know how that goes.

The ride home was good minus the hours spent in ski traffic and the fact that once we hit Vail, my ears and throat started to hurt and I could tell I was getting sick. I don't know what it is about my body lately, but it gets sick quickly and the symptoms hit suddenly. There's no grace period any more. Maybe it's turning a quarter-century old ... As a result, I was home sick today, sleeping 90% of the time, and hopefully kicking whatever this is before a group ride planned on my birthday this wednesday and definetely before VEGAS! next week with the girls for spring break.

That's it. In conclusion, Chris rocks, Moab's not a desert, and my body is annoying. The rest of the story was kinda borring, sorry for putting you through it. The pictures are good though!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Step with me into a world where a day is a meal.

Breakfast is the appetizer. You can either go cheap, splurge, or skip it all together.

Your day at work is the main meal. It takes the most time to eat and it is here that you are either satisfied and come back to eat again or you are disappointed and vow never to return.

Coming home for the evening is the dessert. It is delicious and should never be skipped.

My meal was pretty good today.

I splurged and ate a great appetizer of Starbucks in the parking lot with hubby. It energized me for the day ahead and left my stomach quite pleased.

The main course was good but had flaws and could've been improved. My main course was like the sandwich paragraphs that I've taught my students to write. The meat was good. Imagine some freshly sliced Turkey with fresh tomatoes, crispy lettuce, and a nice hunk of avocado. Too bad the bread was stale. Entering work I encountered a parent who has just decided to start complaining about her daughter being in a K/1 class. HELLLLOOO, it's MARCH 20! Sometimes I want a stick handy to bop parents on the head. Again, the meat of the day was great. We took the kiddos out for a race in the field. I loved getting to see their little faces light up and a little jump in their step as they got closer to me -- the halfway point in the race. I raced the final little chubbo back to the start line and he *barely* beat me. 35 kids jumped on the kid in a Stanley-Cup-winning-shot-pile in congratulations in beating the lean, mean teacher. Darn, I'll need to work on my running skills ;) At the end of the day I ran into that pesky stale bread again when I had a frustrating encounter with the janitor. As long as I pick off the bread, the meal was pretty good.

Dessert is always wonderful, especially when hubby makes it easy on me and cooks it. I love dessert and look forward to it everyday -- no bread involved!

Enjoy your meal tomorrow and make sure you take the time to chew so you don't choke.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


What a day.

Let me preface it by saying that Chris has me sticking to a "strict training schedule" that I've been on for two and a half weeks now. I'm a little tired. It's not a difficult training schedule and I've had a lot of fun and look forward to my rides, but I'm still tired. As I sit on the couch I feel like my legs are numb lumps under my body and nothing else. Tuesdays are one of my two "hard" rides in the week and today is, well, tuesday.

Today I woke up all psyched up for a formal observation by my principal that I've been having nightmares about for weeks. I don't usually worry so much about observations but this one has had enough wrenches thrown in the usual routine that I've been stressed. I get to work and get an e-mail saying she has to reschedule for Thursday. Two more nights of nightmares. Hmmm...

After a busy day and feeling exhausted anyway, I realized that if I sat down for even a second, I would never get out for my "hard" ride. This one was going to be even harder than the past hard rides because it would have to be alone. Chris has rides scheduled with other people for every waking moment of each week so I needed to get out and do it myself and get used to doing that.

I got home from work and immediately threw on the bike clothes, grabbed the dog, and drove out to the dogpark bike loop. I got to the dogpark and realized I forgot my biking shoes. Back home and back to dogpark and I was finally riding.

Once I hit the open trail I realized that there was some crazy wind wipping against my face. I had originally hoped to do about two loops of the dogpark to meet my scheduled riding time but after 20 minutes of cranking into a very loud headwind (as well as dealing with some wicked female cramps), I turned around and bagged the ride.

To be totally honest, my plan was to lie to Chris... tell him I did my hour, wash the car, and nap until he got home well after dark.

Unfortunately, I am a good person and couldn't bring myself to lie about training that is supposed to benefit me, so I got home, threw the rode bike on the trainer and cranked out another hard 30 minutes. Yay for me -- now I'm sufficiently worn out; however...

I still had my mind set on washing the car, so before I let myself sit down, I quickly changed and headed out to wash the car.

Around 7:30, I was finally able to sit down for the first time since, well, probably noon.

Now I feel like mush.

I promised Chris some homemade burritos when he gets back from his ride, but instead I've ordered some Pizza and wings -- hope he's not too disappointed whenever he gets here. The thought of cooking and cleaning literally brought tears to my eyes. It just wasn't going to happen tonight. Sorry hubby.

Food better get here soon so I don't melt into a hungry pile of mush and Chris better get here sooner or else he'll find me sleeping face down in a delicious box of hot wings. Hmmm, sweet sweet sleeeeeeeeeep...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Comon everybody! We're going to Sears!"

Today was a good day. Bill picked me up around 10:30 and we headed down to ride the Cherry Creek time trial course with Scott. It was weird riding without Chris (who is in Moab for the weekend), but we had a great time and a great ride. Weather turned out really nice -- 50s and overcast -- not hot and not cold. I'm feeling better about riding the time trial series after today, so that's always a good thing. We had some delicious Tokyo Joes and then took a spin in Scott's car (the one that has lived in my garage space for about a year until recently) -- man, it's fast! I forgot the boost feeling of a fast Turbo car, it brought back the giggles!

Bad news is that I think our washer finally kicked the bucket. That's a bummer. It has been leaking profusely out the bottom and after being disected by my dad last week, we'd pretty much determined we'd need to get a new one. Being the cheapos that Chris and I are, we hooked it all back up and decided to keep using it -- what's a little water on a crappy floor anyway? Well, I tried to get some laundry done today and the spin cycle has stopped spinning and I think our clothes would've been better off being washed in our jacuzzi bath tub. Oh well. "Comon everybody! We're going to Sears!"

Here are some great pictures that Bill took from Lookout Mountain last week. Chris's camera should be returned in the next week or two seeing as I finally got an estimate from Cannon to fix it -- only $100 so I sent off the credit card number and hopefully he'll be back in business with pictures for his blog.

The horses:

Ready to ride (Sorry bek, I realized you can't see my new duds in any of these pictures):

Yay! I made it to the top!

I'm one of those little dots on the road :) Good thing you can't hear me complaining about my toes about to freeze off...

Word from Moab is that Chris and the guys had a great ride today. Chris is running on very little sleep and he sounds a bit tired. He had a little crash today and said his whole left side is quite sore and he sounds a little perturbed about that. They were going to take a nap and head to Fruita to ride a little tomorrow depending on how his knee was feeling. Hopefully they make it everywhere ok and he's healed up and good as new very soon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Today was my now annual field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion with the kids. We had a great time... held a tarantula named Rosie, no kids got lost, and I only screamed and ducked once when a butterfly buzzed my head.

Have I mentioned before the butterflies freak me out? Butterflies, moths, tiny birds... if it is smallish and flaps wings, it scares me.

The best part of the trip? Chris came to be a volunteer. The kids could hardly contain their excitement when they heard he was coming, and when they saw him ride up on his bike, they screamed with glee. I gave him some of my "characters" and I'm sure he learned a few things from them on the trip. As he rode off to go back to work, they were worried about him. "Is there a sidewalk where he's going?" "Is he going to fall off?" "Does he go too fast?" "Is he going to be ok?" "Why is his bike orange?" One girl asked "Do you like to ride your bike with him?" and when I said "yes" she said "No wonder you like to ride your bike with him". Haha. They all love him. He missed his calling when he chose not to get a degree to teach the little ones. To them, he is the coolest person they have ever met. He's so good with them. He's a kid at heart and they definetely sense that. They missed him when he left and talked about him the rest of the day. Now, for the next month, I'll have to hear "Can Mr. Plesko come to the zoo with us? PLEEEEEEASE?" I'm considering having the kids write a petition to Ball to let him off work for the day to come to the zoo with us in April.

Anyway, another year of surviving the flutterby pavilion.

Thanks for coming Chris!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Look out! Here I come!

This weekend brought warmish weather and with it came some bike riding. Saturday I rode up and down Lookout Mountain with Chris and Bill. We had a great time and the weather was perfect (at least on the way up). Chris left early in the morning to ride down to Golden while I slept comfortably in bed. I tend to wuss out of rides like this so I told myself that if I got up to go on the ride, I would buy myself some new bike shorts and a long sleeved jersey that I've been lusting after since it went on sale. Well, it worked and I got up in just enough time to swing by Bicycle Village and pick up my new shorts and jersey on my way down to Golden. I bundled up and was nice and warm on the 40ish minute ride up the mountain (snail pace for those familiar with the ride). I wasn't sure of the climb so I took my time and didn't kill myself on any one part. A few times I began to wish I had an easier gear on the road bike, but overall it was a comfortable pace and I enjoyed the scenary and some good conversation with Bill (as Chris bolted up the mountain to catch some snob on a custom bike we concocted a great idea to somehow attach missiles to our bikes to make watching him kick our butts a little more interesting). We made it up and I was proud of myself and very pleased with my new shorts purchase. The way down was a little scary seeing as I HATE downhills and had very very numb toes and fingers by minute 2 of the descent. Note to self: even if it is in the 50s, going down hill is very cold and I should probably bring some sort of toe covering for my well-ventilated road shoes. I also learned that it's a million times easier to brake with your hands in the drops of road bars instead of on top. Ah, I always wondered what the silly curve was for ;).

Overall a great workout and I hope to do it again soon. Hopefully next time I will have a little oomph to my pedals on the way up and I won't think I'm going to lose extremidies on the way down. Pictures to come when Bill sends them our way.