“…a little bit of this, a little bit of that”

the ramblings and musings of an elementary music teacher and aunt extraordinaire

Have I told you about my birthday resolution? November 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 3:37 pm

A couple weeks ago, I had a birthday.  Now, it wasn’t a landmark birthday, and I’m thankful that when most people find out my age, they are still able to honestly think of me as young.  However, the day before my birthday brought a real epiphany to me.  I was in the copy room after school with a few other teachers.  These teachers are all several years older than I am.  They were complaining about how they are out of shape, and despite their best intentions to get in shape, they have not taken the necessary steps to get into shape.  One of the ladies said, “I told my husband I wanted to be in the best shape of my life when I turned 50.  That’s only 6 months away now.  I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”  That’s when I realized that if I don’t make a concerted effort to take care of myself now, it’s not going to get any easier in the future.

So, I made a resolution.  I resolved to get back on a workout plan and to be far more careful with my nutrition.  So far, I’m into the middle of week 2, and I haven’t had any major failures yet.  So, you may be wondering why I’m telling you all of this.  Well, it’s simple.  I’ve learned through much trial and error that I do much better when someone holds me accountable.   So, if you think of it, now and then, would you please ask me how I’m doing?  Thanks.


Of all the things to miss…. November 11, 2008

Filed under: moving back to my small hometown — marlise @ 3:55 pm

In my time since moving back to my hometown, I’ve come to realize that I miss some really strange things about city life. For example, I miss knowing that I could walk into any number of stores in the area without meeting a single person I know. Here, it’s an unusual day at the grocery store if I can go for more than 2 aisles without seeing someone I know. Now, on a normal day that’s not a problem, but on the days when I’m feeling sick and I just want to grab a little medicine or something to help myself feel a little better it’s an entirely different story. Remember, a few posts ago, I told you I got a neti pot? I was asked about how I like that neti pot by no less than three people at church on Sunday! They all said something to the affect of “I noticed that you didn’t look like you were feeling well. Did it help?” I’m realizing that I either need to take special care of my appearance before I leave the house, or I have be prepared to offer an explanation to anyone who sees me. Of course, there is a little part of me that wanted to respond to those who asked with, “Oh, I was feeling great that day, I was just planning ahead. Why did you think something was wrong?” I think that’s just a little snottier than I want to get, though. (No pun intended.)

There is another thing I miss about city life, though. (This one also struck me as strange.) I miss predictable traffic. Now, I remember laughing at some people who complained about downtown traffic when I first moved back. I mean, seriously, traffic here has nothing on the traffic I saw everyday at every hour of the day on my friendly neighborhood traffic circle in New Jersey. I’ve come to realize, though, that the city traffic had an upside (if that’s possible.) First, traffic holdups, accidents, and construction would be highlighted on the news in the traffic report. So, I knew I could avoid those routes. Second, the roads could handle more traffic for run-of-the-mill times. Most roads had passing lanes and most drivers drove fast, so it was rare for me to really get stuck behind a slow vehicle. Third, it was easy to tell daily patterns in the flow of traffic because factories released workers consistently, workers had to report at large office buildings consistently, and there was general ebb and flow to the everyday traffic. For example, I knew that if I left 5 minutes late to get to work, I would arrive 20 minutes late to work. I knew that because traffic consistently picked up at the same time every morning.

In contrast, small town traffic is always full of surprises. I generally like surprises, just not early in the morning, (unless, of course, the surprise is a snow day, or fog delay, or something similar. ) Sometimes, I’m surprised by a freight train. Sometimes, the town plans a random, unannounced street closing to fill potholes. This morning, on my way to school, my surprise looked something like this: tractorI didn’t take this picture, but the scene I saw looked very similar. (Just use your imagination to picture less daylight and a narrower street.) I got stuck behind a tractor going roughly 3 mph through a construction zone during prime “going-to-work” hours. (And by construction, I mean there were rows of orange cones blocking off a lane of traffic for no apparent reason with no workers or work equipment anywhere in sight.) I have great sympathy for farmers. I’m related to several, and I appreciate their hard work. However, I would have appreciated this particular farmer a lot more if he had chosen a back road this morning.


Post-election thoughts November 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 7:52 pm

Now, I know the election was finished up a few days ago, but I’ve had several thoughts mulling through my brain, and I’m feeling a bit of a need to vent. So, would you please bear with me? Thanks!

I did quite a bit of research on where the candidates stood. After the research, I felt compelled to vote pro-life. In other words, my vote for president lost. Now, I have to admit I was a little disappointed, but I was not really surprised. I mean, seriously, didn’t the media predict this about six months ago? Actually, back in the spring preliminary election time, my mom and I had a discussion about how difficult it would be for any Republican to win this time around, given the bashing that our current president has been taking.

Still, I have several frustrations, so I’ve come up with my short list of how things would be handled differently if it were up to me (which, I understand, it clearly is not.) At any rate, here it is:

1. Journalists would simply journal news. Nothing else. No predictions. No giddy excitement over downfalls of candidates. No giddy excitement over victories of candidates. No bias–just pure unadulterated, chronicling of news. Yes, I do realize this would make news far less interesting to watch, but it would once again be news and not some twisted mutation of a talk show disguised as news.

2. Just for the record, #1 would also apply to the conservative news programs who share my views. They would also be required to stop sharing opinions and trying to sway voters. That’s not their job.

3. No victories would be announced before all the votes had been cast and counted. Seriously, how do you think those poor Alaskan and Hawaiian citizens felt? After months of hearing people say, “Your vote matters,” the winner was declared before they had finished voting. Even here in Indiana, the governor’s race was declared within seconds of the polls closing. They hadn’t even started counting yet! They based the announcement on exit polls. Seriously, did we learn NOTHING from the 2000 presidential election fiasco???? I don’t care how strongly the numbers indicated the winner. I don’t think it’s asking too much for everyone to have enough patience to wait until the next morning to know the outcome.

4. Celebrities would be required to shut up about the election. In the midst of this most recent election season, the political ads were everywhere. I don’t think it’s asking too much for me to be able to turn on a light entertaining TV show without having to hear what side the stars of the show are taking. I teach at a little Christian school in a conservative town. I’m sure most of the parents and teachers in the school voted the same way I did. Still, when students asked me who I was voting for, I didn’t tell them. I told them that I researched what each candidate believed. I told them that I was voting the way I thought was right. I did not tell them who I chose. They need to learn that it’s important to research candidates. I have no business leading them to believe that I have any kind of authority on this. Neither do the celebrities.

5. What I said about celebrities in #4 would also be said about religious leaders. I don’t believe they have any business trying to get people to vote for a certain candidate. I’m especially disappointed in a few organizations that sent out emails telling us how evil Obama is. I grant this: He is a human. He is a sinner. He has flaws. I chose not to vote for him. However, several emails crossed lines into leading us to believe that if he got elected the world would fall apart. To that, I say, “GET A GRIP!” I serve a sovereign God. I will pray for our nation. I will pray for the salvation of Obama, but if our nation does indeed fall apart during his presidential term, it will only happen because that it what God wants to happen.

6. Finally, in my ideal world, candidates would be seriously limited in the amount of advertising time they would be allowed to purchase. Seriously, once I’ve made up my mind about who I will enter on my ballot, I don’t care to hear any more from the candidates. And for the local candidates, if you really want me to believe that you are going to save money for our state or local government, then stop sending me daily mailings on why your opposing candidate is a terrible choice.

OK, I think that covers it all. Thanks so much for listening to my rant. What do you think? Any rules you would add?


Happy Birthday to Me! November 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 5:43 pm

I’m very tired of raking leaves! I spent some time on it this weekend. I raked up more leaves on Wednesday evening. The following pictures are what my lawn looked like on Thursday (which was also my actual birthday.)

The pictures show my front yard, my back yard, and a perspective shot because I was having a little too much fun with the camera. You might notice that the pavement was not covered at all. Every inch of space on the grass was, though. The irony of the whole situation? We have no large trees on our property. The neighbors who have the trees also have a leaf blowers. What do I have? Sore hands!!!!


I voted!! November 4, 2008

Filed under: what I'm learning — marlise @ 6:09 pm

voteYes, I did. I stopped by the polling place on my way to work this morning. The line for my district was (of course) the longest line at the polling place, but it still wasn’t terribly long. I even have a sticker to prove it. It’s not a very pretty sticker, but it does proudly state, “I voted.” And I am proud that I voted. I am very grateful for that right. Lots of people have sacrificed a great deal for me to have that right, and I hope I never take that for granted.

My mind has been racing with thoughts of the election. I’ve not been really sure how to process everything. I know where I stand, and I did all my research several weeks ago, so there wasn’t any confusion on who to vote for. My mind has been racing ahead to the impact the results of this election may or may not have on this country. Then, I came across a few poignant verses this morning. I’m in a ladies’ Bible study through my church. The current study is on Proverbs. We’re going through the study a chapter or a topic at a time, but I’ve been so intrigued by what Proverbs contains that I’ve been trying to read a few chapters a day. Today’s chapters were 19-21. That’s where I came across some very fitting passages for today’s election:

Proverbs 19:21″Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

I thought these were particularly fitting reminders for today. It’s a great comfort to know that God is in control no matter what the outcome. I also had another comforting realization this morning. It’s not nearly as spiritual in nature, but it’s still very comforting. I realized that after today, those horrible political ads will be put on hold (for at least a few months.) Those two realizations made my day.


Weekend happenings November 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 8:48 pm

OK, the title may be a poor choice, because it may lead you to believe that I had an eventful weekend. I did not. However, there were a few happenings that I found blog-worthy:

1. My parents returned safely from Germany, so I have now seen a few pictures of my new, beautiful niece. I do not yet have any in digital form to share with you, though. However, I can assure you that she is beautiful. She looks very much like her older sister. So, to give you a taste of the cuteness, I’ve posted a picture of her.

2. I was feeling pretty crummy on Friday with a nasty case of sinus “ickyness. ” I fight this problem at every major weather change, but this time was a doozy. Now, my normal course of action involves medication (and as much of it as I can legally take.) I’ve never been happy with how the medication makes me feel, though, so this year I decided to try something new. I got a Neti Pot. I read about this a while ago, and I was quite frankly, disgusted by the thought of using one. However, the junk in my sinuses was really getting to me this weekend, so I thought I’d give it a try. It seemed like a relatively cheap, natural fix to my recurring problem. (It was also helpful to know that Walgreen’s has an amazing return policy, so if it made me feel like I was drowning, or if it didn’t produce any good results at all, I knew it would be OK to take it back.) Results: I think I’m sold. I’ve now done this a few times, and I’m breathing much better than I would have thought possible a few days ago. I’ll admit it does take a little practice to use it well, and it doesn’t instantly cure my sinus problems. Please note that this looks nothing like I did when I tried the neti pot. She’s still smiling, and (if it’s possible) even looks cute. I, thankfully, had no cameras around to document the experiment, but I’m pretty sure I looked like a monster with gunk spewing out of my nose. And rather than smiling, I’m pretty sure I had a look of terror on my face, because when my sinuses filled with water, I did feel a little like I might have been drowning. It did, however, rinse enough gunk out of my sinuses for me to be able to face the day and do a half-decent job at teaching my students.

3. Due to my sinus malady, I spent most of Saturday sleeping. It did help my head, but it did nothing for my productivity.

4. I had a weird burst of energy Sunday afternoon. (I’m not sure if it was a result of the time change, or sinus problems, or a combination.) I decided to take advantage of it. I did some scrubbing or laundry and bathrooms. Then I moved to outdoor tasks. I dug up the spent tomato plants and all the no-longer-pretty perennials. Then I raked leaves. We have no big trees in our yard, but we are surrounded by them on all sides, so we are never short on leaves to rake. Now, the yard is mostly ready for winter, and I have tired shoulders and blisters on my hands to show for it. I thought that my gardening gloves would protect my hands, but it turns out that I was very wrong about that. And my burst of energy only lasted long enough for me to finish those tasks. After that, the sinus headache came back full force, and spent the rest of the evening collapsed on the couch. The neti pot relieved some of the pressure, but there’s a lot of distance to cover to go from feeling like my head might explode to feeling good.

5. While I’m not a fan of what the time change does to my students’ behavior, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to drive to school in daylight today. It really helps my frame of mind, especially on Monday morning. It also didn’t hurt that the sun was shining on beautiful weather, and there are still several trees displaying glorious fall color on my way. It was really a great way to start my work week.