Sunday, August 29, 2010

So long, sweet summer...

Before you read this post, hit play on this song. And then ignore the words/video because I noticed that some aren't spelled correctly. I'll work it out for you in this post. Just hit play. I'm not quite ready to deal with ornery children yet!

So long, sweet summer

I stumbled upon you and gratefully basked in your rays
So long, sweet summer...
I fell into you, now you're gracefully falling away

Hey thanks, thanks for that summer
it's cold where you're going
I hope that your heart's always warm

Dear Summer,

You have been amazing. You started with fun and just continued it for two whole months. I was able to relax and rejuvenate for the new school year. You let me go on some supremely exciting and awesome adventures. And I got to spend GOOD time with the people I care about. You let me have morning nap time with my puppy every morning in a comfortable bed with warm, black, fluffy softness. I'm really grateful, Summer.

So hey thanks... thanks for that summer.


P.S. This is my Summer To Do List. I made it on June 28. I got almost everything crossed off AND it survived the "Great Diet Coke Flood of '10"

Summer, you ruled. But here's the thing... Fall is my FAVORITE season...

Camping Adventure 2!

August sure has been an amazing month.

Weekend to weekend, it's exactly how I wanted to spend my last month of summer.

August 5-8, I camped in George Washington National Forest with Joy, Kevin and friends.

August 12-16, I went home to Chesapeake and Virginia Beach for some much needed family time.

August 20-22, I spent a very peaceful and low key weekend in northern va.

August 27-29, I went camping again with the northern va crew in Luray. This camping trip included a 5-hour tubing session. Mmmm. Only amazing things can come when fun friends tie up and float lazily down a river together. We had a blast.

As I was packing for the camping trip, Phebe wanted to remind me to pack her rope so she could take it to Kate's house in DC.

Kate, Lindsay, Kristin and I left for the camping trip first (around 9am on Friday). Our car was PACKED with camping goods, food, bags, etc, etc, etc. Kristin and I shared the backseat of Kate's car. And for the 2 hour ride, this was all the Kristin I was able to see!

Summer, I've loved you. Since I'm a multi-poster, the next one is about you.


I followed this truck down the ramp to 395. I kind of want to hire this poolservice company simply because that fat, disgruntled frog is so sad about the state of the pool he's peering into that he has to have a martini.

That must be one dirty pool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy New Year!

This post is so cheesy. Or is it?

The end of the summer is always a time of change for teachers (and everyone, probably, in some form or another). The school year for us is a fresh start. It's a time of renewal. It's a time to try different things. It's a time of renewed excitement for why we chose our profession. Pencils are sharpened. Most times, the air starts to change a little. Maybe it gets cooler. Classrooms get set up... chairs are set out and tables are clear... A brand new set of students will show up in my classroom on Sept. 7. It truly is a fresh start...

I kind of feel like 2010 has been quite a journey of change for me. Tumultuos fo' sho' but also amazing and wonderful.

I am starting to get melancholy and waxing poetic because my fantastic, relaxing summer is ending.

I was listening to this song tonight...

**you're welcome for the little sneak peek of Taye Diggs. My love for him will be another post**

And I couldn't help but Really listen to the words...

525, 600 minutes.
525,000 moments so dear.
525, 600 minutes... how do you measure a year?

In daylight? In sunsets? In sunsets? In cups of coffee?
In inches? In miles? In laughter? In strife?
In 525, 600 minutes, how do You measure a year in the life?

How about: Love?
Seasons of love.

And it got me thinking? How do I measure my years?

I have to step back and wonder first: When does a Year even start? For me, the "new year" doesn't start in January. It starts in September. I always thought that was because that's when school started. And since I turned 5 (on the first day of Kindergarten, mind you), every September meant a new year. But it's also my birthday. September 2. I turn a year older. I LITERALLY start a new year.

Year 28 has been an especially tumultuous one.

The first season (Fall) was incredibly tough. I would definitely measure that season in "strife". Maybe even a little "pity". Some "protection" and "frustration" in there. I might even be so bold as to say "misery". And a dash of (probably suppressed but still in there) "gratefulness" for the friends and family who supported me through that tough season and start of my year. They knew deep down the other seasons would be easier.

The second season (Winter) started even worse than Fall, but about a month in, I made some changes in my life. I would measure that season in "determination". I worked hard against all my natural no-self-control instincts. I made some positive life changes-- diet, outlook, attitude-- and winter ended with my time measured in pounds of "gratefulness" for the friends who "whewed" because the tough seasons were ending. And maybe it ended in "pride" because I was actually doing what I wanted to do-- which was begin to make myself healthier inside and out.

The third season (Spring) was absolutely measured in "laughter". I finally felt like myself again in the spring. I could be silly and happy and fun. I could enjoy other people and sometimes I think they enjoyed me. The dark clouds and gloomy weather were behind me in other seasons. Spring ushered in "renewal" and "appreciation" and "regret" and "high spirits".

The fourth season (Summer) has been the best season yet. I'm measuring it in "inches" and "miles" and "daylight" and "midnights" and "time". I got to snuggle with my dog inches away from me in the sleepy summer mornings. I drove and traveled miles and miles this summer to see friends and family and have adventures. I got to spend my daylights however I wanted, with no job dictating when I had to be somewhere. I saw every midnight in the summer because I stayed up late enjoying the fact that I could. I had Time. So much time. I truly feel like I had enough time this summer. I've never been able to say that before. This season truly refreshed me and it makes me feel like I might have a great next year... being able to start it so renewed.

It's time for another year. It's time for the first season. Next week is September and my birthday and back to school. Happy New Year!! I'm not sure how I'll measure my year this year. But I'll be sure to stop and reflect and look and remember each season. How will you measure your seasons? Even if you can't answer that now... try after each season.

But one thing's for sure... make sure you measure each season with Love. Sept. 2010- Sept. 2011.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today I learned...

... that dog fur just shines when you use pantene shampoo and conditioner on it...

And she smells good, too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A petstory

Once upon a time, there was a very ferocious dog that ate raccoons all day.

And the cat could only stare in disbelief. And awe. And suspicion.

When that dog was finished eating raccoons, she just stared back at the cat. The stare battle began. Dog never let up. Cat raised an eyebrow. Dog glared...

And the cat looked away... he knew he'd lost that round.

And the dog wins again.

An original film noir by meehanderings.

Getting Earthier Still

I finally planted some herbs in my kitchen. I had all these small containers (courtesy of Jana and when I tried to grow herbs earlier this year) so I decided to really get serious about it. I planted some rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, dill and chives...

I wrote on each container with chalk.

And luckily, I've got some watchpets.

Getting Crafty

I had an idea to make a craft for my classroom.

But, of course, mine look very different and incredibly homemade.

Here are the high-quality ones from a popular teaching goods website.

Here is one of mine: (fabric courtesy of Alison Schoew, benefactor of goods to my classrooms since 2004)

The stitching around the velcro. I like to measure and make sure things are straight. :) (please know that I'm joking)

Here's what it will look like with a book in it.

I had fun, I made something for my classroom and now we can be a little greener (hopefully) in room Q-6.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You can take the girl away from the beach...

...but she'll always be a beach girl.

Last Thursday-Monday, I went home. Home is part Chesapeake and part Virginia Beach. It's always awesome to see my family and I got to see a lot of family.

Friday, I took my brothers to Ocean Breeze Fun Park... we had a blast and I learned a lot of things about myself. I haven't been to a water park in awhile!

My favorite "rides" were the big slides that use a tube with:

David and I went down this one: It was a dark tunnel drop into a toilet bowl. I watched Dave go from the top of the tower, and he went around the bowl about 3 times. I went around 0.75 times before I fell sideways into the pool at the bottom of the bowl. Sigh. The boys heard me go down the dark tunnel saying, "ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod". But whatever, I'm brave. :)

I learned that I DO NOT like dark tunnel slides. I guess I have a touch of claustrophobia when dark spaces are combined with water. (this seems obvious to me). Note the big wave pool behind the slides-- that was a fun time!

These are the "shoot" slides. I lost my top on the first one I went down so I didn't go down any more after that.

Ocean Breeze was tons of fun. But being with my 15 and 12 year old brothers was the best part.

Saturday, my mom and I had a day together and we did some fun things (went to the fabric store, went out to lunch with a fun friend of hers, relaxed in their hot tub, etc). Loved every minute.

Sunday, I got up early (for me) and drove out to my dad's so that we could all go to the beach together. By 10:45, we were in Sandbridge enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather and rough ocean. My 57-year-old Dad boogie boarded with all of us the ENTIRE time we were there! He's so fun! Here's my 2 brothers and dad in the surf. Warning: the ocean is loud.

My cousins Heather and Brad also joined us and it's always awesome to catch up with them!

Here's a video of my brothers and me in the ocean. Wheeee!!

All that beachy fun in the sun left me pretty pink. (And maybe a little blonder!)

With some sweet tan lines (lit by bathroom light. I'm not orange.)

Pheebs wanted to see if blondes have more fun. Turns out, we do.

Caitie + The Beach = Love

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Things Never Change

So, I rolled into Chesapeake this afternoon. I'm really excited to be home with my family from Thursday-Monday.

My mom was teaching a class tonight so my stepdad and I were on our own for dinner.

As far back as I can remember, anytime my mom was not home for dinner (which was rare), my stepdad and I would have pizza. It was like a treat since my mom always cooked so healthily.

I talked to my mom on the phone tonight just before dinnertime. She said, "There is some homemade barbeque and coleslaw in the fridge for you guys."

When I hung up with her, I said to my stepdad, "hey, mom left us some bbq..." And he said, "Oh... yeah... well... I was thinking we might have pizza..."

HAHAHA! I laughed so hard! "I knew it!!" I said. It was nice. It was familiar.

It's nice to know that some things never change. :)

Can't Sleep, Brain's Full

Well, I can't sleep. Not surprising, giving the busy-ness of today.

I can't sleep. There are too many thoughts out there. Currently, it's how much I despise the George Lopez Show. His scratchy voice irritates me.

I can't sleep. I am thinking about some of the conversations my friends I had earlier. I don't ever want to sacrifice friend time for a boy ever again. I used to be really bad at that. But it's my True friends who have been there for me even after the all-consuming, caitie-light-darkening storms have passed through. So, I never want to miss out on my friends for a boy. Not again.

I can't sleep. The Top Chef contestant who was voted off tonight was SHOCKING. But he used too many ingredients all the time. Keep it Simple.

I can't sleep. There's a balance that needs to be created between time for me, time for my family, time for my friends and someday, time for my man. I will work on the first 3 right now.

I can't sleep. I read an article tonight about how people who claim they're "green" are still using plastic water bottles and driving solo to work instead of carpooling. Fake green. I'm fake green. I often think, "but one day when I have my Own house..." or "When I can organize my own kitchen..." But why do I think my life hasn't started yet? It's started. It's very much going along... What do I think is around the corner?

I can't sleep. I'll be 29 in 3 weeks.

I can't sleep. I want to reorganize my classroom. I want all my furniture magically in place before I arrive. I want a strong person to come in with me on Tuesday afternoon and help me move things. I don't think I'll have that, so I might as well get those "super slider" things you see on infomercials.

I can't sleep. I keep typing "I want" when I should be typing "I'd like".

I can't sleep. I obviously need to sleep or I wouldn't be rambling. I watched a scary movie tonight. Not like AAAAA scary, but creepy scary. Obsessed with Beyonce and Ali Larter. It was freaky and I think it put me on edge.

I can't sleep. I'm going home tomorrow. I think I need to go on a retreat and hole myself up at my mom's and read and relax.

I can't sleep. I'm about to pick up Eat, Pray, Love and start it. I hope it helps with some clarity that I also need.

I can't sleep. I'd like double paychecks to come one month, just to get a little bit ahead.

I can't sleep. I want to focus on the positive in my life. I love my family, I love my friends, I love my pup, I love my job. I get to be me these days. I had a blast with the ladies tonight. I love being silly with them. Lou got a promotion that's been coming to her for years. I cleaned the bejeebs out of our house and organized the craft room.

I can't sleep. August is a tough month on the budget. I want to go to JoAnn's fabric store and buy some fabric to make book holders for my kids. Like these.

I'll try to sleep.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

"Dog Days" (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.

Definitely some dog days around here....

A big yawn...

And the cutest 36 seconds ever...

I haven't left the house today. That's "Life As A House" on the background of the Pheeb video. I cleaned a lot today, sure, but I'm still in pajama-type clothes. These are definitely the Dog Days of my summer marked by dull lack of progress outside the home.

Ahhhhhh dog days :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh, dometer.

There was lots of amazing on our trip. Beautiful weather, sleepy dogs (one who is STILL sleeping next to me, after sleeping from 8pm-9:15 am, then napping from 9:30-?), good friends.

On the way home, however, something very cool happened to the Scarlet Harlot (my car). I hit 100,000 miles!

Catherine and I were traveling north on I-81. This is a road I am very familiar with, having traveled it at least 5 times a year while I was in college.

Ten exits away from JMU, at the Weyers Cave exit...

My sweet car hit 100,000 miles! Woo hoo! What a life you've had!

**Mom and Dad, I was keeping up with traffic. Not speeding excessively, ignore that part.**

Phebe was less impressed and more tired and hot. Also, I think her head expanded in the heat.

Then I just took some more familiar sites pictures...


The exit I used ALL four years!

Love the canoe on top of my car, but this is the Port Republic Rd exit. Love driving through JMU.

JMU 1999-2003.

Oh a-camping we did go...

So, last Thursday, we went camping. Joy, Kevin, Catherine, Meredyth, Ryan, Lilly, Phebe and me.

Kevin made my car look ten times cooler with a canoe on top.
He also put one on his. Did he color coordinate, you ask? Yes.

We arrived at our campsite in the George Washington National Forest. Our site was RIGHT ON Lake Moomaw. We only had to walk about 50 feet to get to the lake.

My new tent! (see really can't sleep)

It. Had. A. Dog. Door!!! (actual tent box called it a "beverage door". So you can reach out and grab a beverage. I think, duh, it's a dog door for a fluff muppet)

My big meal of the weekend was "Hobo dinners." A complete throw back to camping while on Chop Point trips. It's potatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini, ground beef, salt, pepper, A-1 sauce and little bit of butter. You put that foil buddy on the fire for about 20 minutes and
mmm mmm mmm.

We went hiking one day. Phebe was a pretty good little hiker!

One of the overlooks on our hike. There is an island out there in the lake. That will come into play in a minute. Remember where that island is located.

We set up shop.

And on Saturday, we canoed (the boys canoed the most) over to the Island where we played, swam, ate, and just had a great time. Phebe even swam for the first time, too. Also, Joy is 7 months pregnant and looks amazing!

We did a lot of sitting and talking, playing dominoes and card games and laughing.

Sunkissed camping girls... me, Catherine, Meredyth and Joy. (and baby!)
What a wonderful, relaxing trip! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Yup. That's Chewbacca. Riding a squirrel. And fighting Nazis. Sometimes the internet is weird.

No prejudice, just a little bit of pride and zombies.

WELL! Tonight was the book club discussion for the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Since this book was technically my pick, I was in charge of hosting the party.

I had a LOT of fun planning the menu.

I made some Bones. Zombies love crunching on bones to get to the brains.

We had some delicious Brains and Brain matter.

Mmmm. Man.
I made some Eyeball Sangria. Check out the eyeballs at the bottom of the pitcher.
We turned the tables on the zombies and ate their heads. They were delicious.

Gruesome. But a successful night and lots of fun with my girls.

Also, it's a good book and I recommend it.