Friday, December 26, 2008

Amtrak: Customer service at ANY cost?!!

When I think of riding a train, I have a very clear picture in my mind of what I would imagine it to be like. I see people waiting for the train in great excited anticipating....



I see people boarding the train, and sitting comfortably on seats that face each other, while enjoying conversation and the scenery...




I picture people going from Point A to Point B in a cheap and timely manner while having loads of fun and creating lasting memories...



In fact, it seems like my expectations for a train ride aren't too far off. Amtrak has a motto that says, "Customer service at any cost..." which, in my opinion, includes all of the things listed above.

HOWEVER (and it is a BIG however) this last Monday I experienced the complete opposite of traveling on the train with customer service being the top priority....or even a priority at all!

I decided to buy an Amtrak ticket to head east to visit my family in Michigan for the holidays. Plane tickets were far too expensive, and driving is way too much of a drag (especially alone in the winter) so I figured the train would be a decent way to travel. I mean, I could essentially sit all day, take a nap, read a book, watch the scenery...just relax! Sounds perfect, right?

I started off the trip home on Monday morning, arriving at the train station in St. Paul at 7:00 am. Right before getting out of the car I told Laurie (my wonderful roommate who was so willing to get up early to take me!) that I was a little bit nervous because I had never made this kind of trip before. I mean, I have been on a train, but never such a long distance and I just wasn't sure how it all worked--where do I put my luggage? Do I have to switch trains in Chicago? Am I going to have an assigned seat or do I have to fight for a good one? Do they have security to go through? Anyway, I was not sure what to expect, but I said goodbye to Laurie and off into the station I went. I stopped to check in, got my tickets with only a quick glance at my ID, and then was off to find a seat to sit in while I waited to board. The train station was FRIGID! If there was any heat, it was very minimal.

Luckily I didn't have to wait too long in the station before they were ready to board us. I was one of the first in line, so I was able to lug my suitcase up the train steps, and get first choice for a seat. The bad part is that while I got first choice, that also meant that I couldn't really pick who sat next to, or around me. Directly in front of me sat a family with 3 small children and cranky parents. And directly to my right was a happy middle aged man who really enjoyed chatting. Thank goodness he was not creepy and was kind enough to share lots of food with me throughout the day!

We got going with only a short delay...not bad, right? Well after we had been going for about 5 minutes the conductor alarmed us that after one of our first stops we would be stopping for about an hour to wait for a new conductor to board. Ok...an hour wait. Not awesome, but manageable. After that hour wait, we got going again, and then had to stop a short way down the tracks....apparently there was a frozen switch on the tracks that needed to be chiseled out by hand. Ok, so that backed us up another 30 minutes. And then again we had to stop when there were some welders working on the tracks in Wisconsin. So, by this time, as I'm chatting with my seat mate, I was beginning to realize that we were running a good 2 or so hours late. Originally, my itinerary included a 2 or 2 1/2 hour lay over in Chicago...and that lay over time frame was quickly diminishing. My new friend began to search on his Blackberry for connecting trains in Chicago to see if he, and myself, would be able to make our appropriate connections or a later one.

It turns out I got into Chicago at about 6:02 and my connecting train was supposed to leave at 6:00 sharp. I quickly grabbed my luggage and started running to Union Station so I could figure out where to catch my connecting train. The problem is that the entire station was PACKED...and I mean packed! I could not believe how many people there were and how crowded it was. I could barely drag my suitcase behind me without getting caught on other suitcases, bags, or people. I finally got to where I THOUGHT I needed to be when I heard on the loud speaker that "People waiting for train 354 service to Detroit" needed to head to the Great Hall to wait because all of the trains leaving Chicago were going to be delayed. The reason why there were so many people was because all of the trains were delayed due to weather...which means I ran around the station for nothing. Whew. At least I hadn't missed my connection!

I made my way to the Great Hall (which is beautiful, by the way) and saw benches just lined with people. Lots of people....hundreds of people....too many people to even explain! I found a little opening at the end of one of the benches, made me way over, and asked if I could squeeze in. The woman sitting there was obviously worn out, tired, and exhausted from her travels...I could tell in her voice tone and in her appearance. I sat down and took off my coat since I was so warm from running around. I noticed that the woman to my right was all bundled....within only a few minutes, I re-bundled myself as I was feeling pretty chilly. First went on the scarf...then the coat....then the mittens. As time went on I continued to grow more and more cold. I finally realized that there was NO heat in the station. NONE. ZERO. ZIP!

To make a really long story shortER, I had a ridiculously long wait there at Union Station. There were some major weather issues because it was SO cold that all of the trains were freezing, as well as the tracks. The biggest problem, however, was that the Amtrak people kept telling us that they would update us with the status of the trains and neglected to do that. The stories kept changing. The conditions in the station continued to worsen. It was horrible. We could see our breath in the air because of the frigid temperatures. The lights in the station went out around 8 pm, and there were no legit updates for us. I began waiting at about 6:30....soon it was 7:30....and then 8:30....and the hours kept passing....and the temperatures kept dropping. I didn't get any food for fear of missing an announcement for the departing train. Luckily I was able to use the restroom because the nice lady next to me offered to watch my bags while I went if I watched her bags while she went. More time waiting and no loading of the train. The manager of the station came out first to tell us that the train's fuel was frozen....then she came and said the train was fine but that there was no one to clean the train, so we couldn't go on...then she came to say that there was no conductor. No GOOD story, in my opinion. Finally around 12:00 they started taking certain trains of people on their way via Buses...and one train finally got off....but mine....mine train load of people was still sitting in the extreme temps with snot running out of our cold noses.

At about 3:00 am (after arriving in Chicago at 6:00 pm...9 hours before) they finally called Train 354 to Detroit to load. I grabbed my bags and booked it to the line. We loaded...and were on our way around 3:30. I fell asleep quickly but that only lasted a few minutes. Again, we had to stop for something (which I don't remember any more)....and then on our way. It seems like I should have been used to the stop and go, but clearly I was not. We mad a stop in Jackson, Michigan which was ONE stop away from my stop in Ann Arbor. This was at about 8:30 am. We stopped, let the people off, and then started going. We literally were moving for about 45 seconds before we stopped. The conductor came on and said we had to let another train pass us and then we could go. So we waited....the train passed, but we did not go. Again, we heard an annoucement saying that we had to wait for a bit. In the mean time, I got a hold of my mom who was tracking the status of the trip and she found out that we were not going to wait a short time, but for close to 2 hours because we had to wait for a new conductor. I guess the current conductor had "timed out" which simply means he had used up all his hours of service and was not able to drive any more. The worst part about this is that we were literally 10 minutes away from my stop....TEN minutes! So we had to sit there for another 2 hours to wait for a new conductor to get on the train. Heck, I would have walked to the stop, just to be done with the trip, but obviously we were not allowed off the train. So by around 11:30 am we had finally made it to the station in Ann Arbor. Whew!! I got my bags, met my mom and was in the car and arrived at my parents house about an hour later.

I know this story was ridiculously long, but that is how my day of travel, via Amtrak, felt....RIDICULOUSLY long. I think the worst part about the entire thing was how horribly we were treated. The people in Chicago, working for Amtrak, refused to accommodate us...they verbally said, "We will not give you food...or water....we won't turn the lights one...and we won't bring in space heaters to warm up the room...we won't refund your ticket, we won't tell you any information..." The list goes on.

So once I got home, I realized that the pretty little picture of a train ride that I had created in my head was far from what I actually experienced on this trip home. I hope that the horrible service is not the norm for Amtrak service, but I can't say that I will think about booking a train ride (other than the one back to Minneapolis) any time in the near future.

Customer service at any cost?! Yeah RIGHT!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Shoveling...surprisingly enjoyable!

Well....we got enough snow this weekend that I figured it was time to pull out the old shovel.

This may sound silly...but I actually find shoveling quite enjoyable...and even more enjoyable this year because we only have a short sidewalk to clean up! I was trying to figure out why I actually do like it...and I have come to a few conclusions:

1. You are outside, where it's cold, but stay fairly warm because you're working hard.

2. If you went to the gym earlier in the day you get a doubly great arm work out....and if you didn't go to the gym, it's an extremely great excuse not to go!

3. You are enjoying the snow "on foot" rather than slipping and sliding around in a car.

4. Surprising your neighbors by shoveling their walkway is just really fun!

5. After you are done you get to enjoy a great sense of accomplishment as you look at all the snow you moved from Point A to Point B.

But, while shoveling is pretty dang awesome, there are a few not so fun things about shoveling:

1. The wind whipping the snow around so much that you can't see what you're doing.

2. Shoveling while it's snowing, only to go inside, look out 15 minutes later, and to see all of your hard work covered by another layer of snow.

3. Forgetting to bend with your knees rather than your back, and hurting yourself...

However, I can honestly say that the GOOD parts about the chore of shoveling definitely outweigh the BAD parts:)

So if you haven't gotten the joy of doing this yet, get out there....you'll feel great!

Note to Roommates: Don't be fooled that I want to hog all of this snow shoveling enjoyment to myself...I'd gladly share this experience with all of you upon each snowfall:)



*It looks like there is no snow...but indeed there was :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ms. Ventura, the DOG?!?!

This blog needs very little explanation...

One of my sweet little girls came up to me today with the BIGGEST grin on her face (which was not a surprise because she is NEVER not smiling)...I asked her what she was so happy about and she said, "Look Ms. Ventura..." and pulled out a little Webkinz (if you're not sure what these are, they are the biggest crave for children...sort of like our old school Beanie Babies) puppy.

Take a look....



I was still a little confused why she was so happy about it because I had seen this Webkinz puppy before. It wasn't until she told me to look at they puppy's headband that she had custom made, that I realized why she was smiling so big.

Look a little closer....



As soon as I read "Ms. Ventura" on the headband I let out a bit "Oh my....how CUTE Allison...you named your puppy after ME!?!?" She continued to smile and then cuddled her little puppy and gave me a big hug.

After she walked away, I just giggled....Somehow it was incredible endearing and flattering that she would have picked ME to name her dog after....Ms. Ventura, the dog:) Wow!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it happend just like I always IMAGINED!

That is....

I got a beautiful, huge, PLASTIC heart-shaped ring. And it happened just like I always imagined it would!

Matt walked into my room yesterday afternoon and we were talking like any other day. I could tell he had something on his mind because he was pace much more than normal.

PAUSE.


Matt S. is one of my student's from last year. He was actually quite the hellion and one of the more difficult students I had to deal with. However, he is hilarious and totally inappropriate...which made it hard to handle him....I always wanted to laugh at him, but I couldn't. So now that Matt is not my student anymore, I enjoy his company 10 times more!

PLAY.


So Matt S. was in my classroom and we were visiting. See, I ran into Matt S. about a month ago in the hall, after not seeing him much since school started. I convinced Matt, and his little buddy Matt L. (who I also had last year, who was also a little hellion), to come visit me after school. So from that day on, Matt S. and Matt L. have been coming to visit me. About 3 minutes after I dismiss my class I hear the pitter patter of Matt S. and Matt L. walking down the hall. I have the timing just right so I can look up from my desk as they stroll into the room.

I have a little confession, though. I think part of the reason they keep coming back to my room to visit daily is because I gave them a piece of candy the first day they came in. Then the next day. And the next day. After a few weeks of giving them candy, I realized I couldn't bribe them with sweets to come into my room. So naturally I started weening them off the candy. I know give them each 4 Frosted Mini-Wheats (for being in 4th grade).

In any case, they usually look at my daily schedule and ask questions about what my students did in class. Then they tell me about their homework. And generally little Matt S. will make mention of the 35 W Bridge as he is completely obsessed with it (last year every time he presented a Current Event, it was about the Bridge. Weird obsession if you ask me!).

Yesterday was a little bit different, though. Matt L. was in the classroom, but he was sitting on a chair away from my desk (which is where we normally visit). The boys weren't as inquisitive as normal. I didn't hear anything about the 35 W Bridge. Matt S. walks up to me and had a little grin on his face. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his clasped hand. I think I was grading some papers so I didn't really pay too close of attention to what was in his hand. Then in the most adorable and endearing voice, Matt S. says, "Here Ms. Ventura....this is for you," as he held out his clasped hand.

I held out my hand, curious about what he had, and before I knew it, I was holding a RING...a big one at that. I would venture to say it was quite the BLING! Matt S. got a ring and brought it in to give to me. I was speechless. Literally. I thought it was the cutest thing EVER. I quickly squealed (mainly because Matt S. had never been so polite and sincere before!) and said, "OH MATT....that is SO kind of you! How did you know I like PLASTIC, RED, HEART-SHAPED rings?!?" He got the goofiest little smile on his face and I quickly put it on my finger!



I assured him that I would take good care of it and that I really appreciated his kind gesture. And with that, Matt S. and Matt L. walked out of the room, with 4 Frosted Mini Wheats each, and headed down the hall. I stood outside my room and waved them goodbye.

And just like I was left with a ginormous ring...a ring that's all mine....and was meant just for me!



Boy....it happened JUST like I always imagined it would:)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

haven't seen THIS in a while...

I haven't seen THIS in a while...



Yes...that's right....gas under $2! I really don't even remember the last time that I paid that much for a gallon of gas. Although, I do remember when I first driving that I could get gas for just about a dollar a gallon...boy does THAT age me a bit:)

In any case, on Friday, I filled up my entire tank for about $27. HOLY COW.



I don't totally get how this drop in the price of gas is possible....any economist willing to share (...Jaime...)??? But while I don't really get it, I am totally fine with it...actually, not just fine...I am ecstatic about it!

Does anyone else just feel like taking a road trip now that prices are so "low" ???

Friday, November 07, 2008

the GAP jackpot...

Well...I had no intentions of buying anything today (other than a gift for someone else) but when I stepped foot into GAP I couldn't help but notice the big $1.99 and under signs flashing at the back of the store (they weren't REALLY flashing...but anything that cheap somehow becomes flashy)....

I am glad I decided to look....cause I totally hit the JACKPOT! I got 3 sweaters, a tank top, and a super cute dress for a grand total....drum roll please....$30.00 (the dress I bought was the most expensive thing at $22 bucks)! YIPPPPIE! Talk about some bargain shopping. I did the math and if I had bought all that stuff at full price it would have totaled $214....DANG, I am a great shopper:) Ha!

I walked out of GAP with a bag full of very cheap goodies...successful stop if you ask me...except I didn't get what I was originally in there for.....oooppps!


(You really can't tell how cute these items really are by this picture...trust me, they are CUTE...and fit like a glove:))

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Fun....

This year, Laurie and I had the brilliant idea of being PUMPKINS for Halloween...you know, gotta get into the spirit for the kids that come knocking on the door, right?? Well this costume was quite the process. Just take a look....

First we had to get our all black outfit on for under the pumpkin...



Then we had to get plump like pumpkins...



Then we put on the pumpkin bags....



Then I fell over onto the couch and couldn't get up...




And then we waited for kids to come....



Finally, our other roommies had to join in on the fun, so they got dressed up too:)



The end:)

around the world in 80 days?!?

*disclaimer...this note looks SUPER long...but its almost all pictures...be sure to look through the whole thing*

Ok...that is an exaggeration...it's more like "Around a very SMALL part of the world in 40 days..."

Since I've been back to work lots of people (teachers and parents) have been asking me how my summer was...what I did...etc, etc. I have realized that my answer generally ends up sounding something like this...

"My summer was GREAT....it flew by so quickly....I was traveling A LOT so that kept me super busy..."

So after giving that response a good 17, or so, times, I realized that I have yet to share all about my summer trips with you all...and it's about time! Hang onto your seats....here we go...

Honduras...


Honduras was the first trip I took this summer. I had just about a week to transition from grading papers, and send out reports to life working on a mountain in beautiful Honduras. What an awesome experience it was to spend time in this country!

A group of people from church and I were able to work with a family (that previously attended our church) that started a ministry in/near Siguatepeque, Honduras. We worked on building a house, as well as hanging out with the community up on the mountain...playing with the kids, talking to the moms, passing out clothing donations, etc. It is really hard to sum up such an amazing week in a few words. To make a long story short, we were all challenged, blessed, and amazed at the time we spent in Honduras!








Omaha

About 4 days after I got back from Honduras I was ready to make my next trip...this time in the States. It was off to Omaha for Nick and Erinn's wedding! Laurie, Matt, Booth and I set out for the extremely interesting trek West to good old Nebraska! The ride there was fairly uneventful, but being in Omaha was quite the opposite:)

We got there and were welcomed to the SWEET city by a HUGE storm which accounted for Laurie and my time in the creepy basement of the mall, and trees down everywhere! Once we got through the storm, we got to the highlight of the trip (the wedding) and some GOOOOOOD dancin!







Canada

I had enough time to unpack, do my laundry, and then head out 3 days later for Canada. This trip found me in Edmonton, Canada visiting a friend.

When I was in Canada, I saw many "wonders" which account for the awesomeness that is our northern neighbors. I went to their "Mega Mall" and saw a dragon spit out real fire, played a crazy game of mini golf (in which I got at least 2 holes in one!), went fishing (catching the biggest fish...oh, and a tin can), and watched some sweet movies including "Breakin" and "Rocketman" Canadians do have really good taste in movies, eh?! :)




Tennessee

I got home from Canada on a Monday, and left for Tennessee on Friday...whew! This time I flew from Minneapolis to Atalanta, from Atlanta to Detroit...slept for about 4 hours and then woke up to drive down to Tennessee (I know...it makes no sense....but it was cheaper!)

We spent the week at Fairfield Glade ("the Glade") where we spend a week every summer. It was a good time to hang out with family and spend time soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful weather!! Most of our time consisted of family, good food, naps by the pool, games, laughing, and falling asleep while watching TLC....oh the joys of a relaxing vacation!!!








Chicago

I had a whole month in between Tennessee and Chicago....but this was my final trip of the summer. I took the Mega Bus (which could be whole other blog) over to Chicago to meet my whole family for the weekend...we were there to celebrate my 25th birthday and my mom's birthday too! It was the shortest trip of the summer, but super fun!

We ate at plenty of AWESOME restaurants...went to Navy Pier....took a brunch cruise....shopped on the Magnificent Mile...rode the HUGE Ferris Wheel late at night....and had a mini birthday party...some "bubbly" and all!









And that's it...what a whirlwind of a summer....but despite the hectic schedule of the summer, it was one filled with LOTS of memories and fun times! Probably one of the best summers ever!

So I guess I didn't get all the way around the world....but it surely was close:)

Friday, October 31, 2008

"tellin' it" through the eyes of a 3rd grader...

For the past month we've been talking about the upcoming election in school. It's surprised me, quite a bit, how much the kids are into the discussions we've had about the election.

What is MOST surprising to me is that they are quite vocal about their opinion and telling the other kids all about it!

We did a "Thinking Map" the other day for after we read articles about both of the candidates. Half the class was assigned to create a Bubble Map about McCain, and the other half of the class was assigned to make one for Obama. I just randomly split the class in half and told them which candidate they would do the activity for. Of course, I knew that if the kids didn't get assigned who THEY like that they'd be in an uproar. In an effort to eliminate any furry about possibly getting the "bad" candidate (according to them) I told them that they didn't have to like who I assigned them to...they simply had to do the project.

After they turned them, and I was looking through them, I stumbled across this one (and a few others like it)...I just laughed. Boy, was she all about TELLIN' IT like it is:)

Be sure to take a close look at this (especially the middle of the circle:) ha!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a comforting thought...in light of the politics...

Alright....

SO, there have been times when I've entertained the idea of writing something political on a note, but then I've refrained. Mostly because I know that politics can get people fairly worked up, and working people up, via an online network is not the best idea to me....now getting people worked up in person, that's different :)

But, I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming election and a huge time this is for the person who will be given the permission to "herd" us in the "right" direction as a country. Whoever it is that will be elected as the next President has a huge job, and to think that one man (whether it is OBAMA or McCain) holds that responsibility, is quite frankly, scary.

It's not scary because this is the first time we've ever had a President, or because I think that our country will be worse off than it is now...but it's scary because a human...an earthly man...will be, to many people, THE one that they follow, trust, and praise as our leader. Again, it's not that we've never had a President before, but I think these thoughts are at the forefront of my mind because a change is going to be taking place so soon.

So where am I going with this? While it seems crazy that one single man will hold such a huge responsibility, there is also a great sense of peace that I have because the Lord is the one who will ultimately "herd" our country...I was reading in Ezekiel 34 recently and I am just going to share a few snippets of the Chapter with you...and as a preface, this Chapter is talking about the relationship of a Shepherd and Sheep (Lord and his followers)

"For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness...

....I will tend them in a good pasture...I MYSELF will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays...I will shepherd the flock with JUSTICE...

....I will make a covenant of pace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests of safety....

....They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God...."


It's really awesome to know that despite the craziness of our country right now, and even of the world...although there is so much darkness and pain...that the Lord is willing to Shepherd us; to take care of us, protect us, provide for us, and care for us.

So yeah, a new man will take the role of President...and while I can't even imagine the responsibility that must be, I am feeling even more confident in this transitional time because I am one of the sheep of the Lord's pasture!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a case of the GiGgLeS...

One of my favorite parts of my job is reading to the kids. It's the ONE time in the day when every single student's attention is captured and there is pure silence. I love it because they get so enthralled in what I'm reading and they would sit and listen for hours...literally.

I've been reading them a book called, "Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger" which is a part of the Wayside School series. These books are funny not only for kids, but also for adults. I often times find myself chuckling at the story or characters for other reasons than why the kids are laughing. It's a win-win situation...I enjoy the book, they enjoy the book, we're all happy campers.

The whole idea of this book series is that these kids go to school at this wacky school where lots of weird things happen...the students are goofy, the teachers are goofy, the building is goofy...you get the idea.

I read a chapter yesterday called "Something Different About Mrs. Jewls" which was about how their teacher was acting strange. One of the boys noticed that she seemed "fat" and another noticed that Mrs. Jewls was crying at random things. Long story short, it turns out that this teacher, Mrs. Jewls, is going to have a baby.

The chapter goes on to a big discussion about what she will name the baby...the kids, of course, asked if they could help her pick out a name. Here are a few excepts from the book (bare with me...):

"What are you going to name your baby?" asked Allison. "I don't know yet," said Mrs. Jewls, "What do you think?"..."Well, if she's a girl," said Allison, "I think you should name her Rainbow Sunshine."

As soon as I said RAINBOW SUNSHINE the kids busted out laughing. It was pretty funny, but the calmed down after a minute or two of snickering. I kept reading...

"And what if it's a boy?"..."Bucket Head," said Allison. She didn't like boys."

Again, there was hooting and hollering from the kids because they thought 'Bucket Head' was such a funny idea. One of my little girls is extremely awkward and can't control her laughing...and it also sounds really forced...so even though most of the kids were laughing for a bit, Maddie kept FORCE laughing and all eyes were on her. Ok, so I continued on, and this is where I lost control....

"...And what if it's a girl?" said Mrs. Jewls. "Cootie Face," said Joe...

And with that said, I started giggling because, come on...Cootie Face?! That is pretty funny...even for a 25 year old to say:) And then my kids started BELLY laughing. I mean not just haha...that was funny...it was like they were rolling around on the ground laughing.

I already thought it was funny, and then with them just laughing uncontrollably, it made me laugh even harder. We kept laughing...and laughing...and laughing. I would said, "OK...1..2..3...stop laughing so I can finish reading..." and we would all take a deep breath, stop laughing and before I could read the next word in the book, someone would crack up again...which made me crack up....it was never ending. There was one point where I had to cover my mouth because I just couldn't control it...they looked like a bunch of wind up toys all cackling at the same time--heads tipped back, hand slapping the knee, holding the belly. Wow.

The more I watched them, the more I laughed. It got so extreme that I was laughing so hard I was crying. I finally pulled myself together, we all took a cleansing breath, and I just rushed through the last 3 paragraphs of the book because I knew if I thought about it too much, I'd laugh again.

What a fun story time:) It surely wasn't silent yesterday while I read, but sometimes a good case of the giggles is just what you need! It was perfect:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Speedy Delivery...

Remember watching Mister Rogers' with the "Speedy Delivery" guy (Mr. McFeely)? If not, check out this awesome PBS link to jog your memory:

http://pbskids.org/rogers/R_house/speedydelivery/speedy.html

In any case, that phrase, "Speedy Delivery," hasn't come to mind since the days when I used to watch the show. That is, until today.

Our lead facilities guy came into my classroom today with 6 large boxes saying that he had a delivery for me. I was shocked, because just the day before I had placed an order through Corporate Express (which is an office/school supply type company). Talk about one SPEEDY delivery.

Actually, the point of this note is not to talk about how fast my supplies were delivered (although that was commendable), but to talk about the contents of the delivery. I had 5 boxes of construction paper and one more box of clipboards that I had ordered for my class.



Now, this might seem like a really insignificant, and possibly even boring delivery...but let me tell you, whenever I get an order/delivery like this, I am more excited to open and go through the boxes than when I have an online clothing shopping spree. Honestly, there is nothing quite as exciting as ordering school supplies. I'm not sure if it's the weird, quirky teacher-dork inside of me, or if everyone loves getting boxes full of colored paper, but it's just awesome!

I was so excited, I actually told the kids to take out their books and do silent reading so I could sort through the boxes...ok, ok, the silent reading deal was already planned into the day, and thankfully it just happened to come at the right time so I could explore my boxes of goodies.

Included on my "to do list" placed on my desk via a post-it note, are...

1. Finish observation lesson plans
2. Correct Crayfish papers
3. Organize and coordinate construction paper

Oh, it's a beautiful thing:)



So, the moral of the story is this....construction paper is fun, cheery, inexpensive, and wonderfully useful. I am tempted to spread out my paper order throughout the year so I get one package every week...especially since it's such a SPEEDY DELIVERY:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ladyBUGS...nothing lady-like about them...

SO I have yet to figure out why ladyBUGS are called LADY bugs...there is nothing lady-like about these little bugs. I mean, the only thing I can associate between a lady-bug and a lady-lady is that the bugs have polka dots, and some ladies like polka dots?! That's REEEEALLY stretching it and so I'm just gonna go with my original theory that it is silly that they are called Lady Bugs.



In any case, Lady Bugs are gross on a multitude of levels...

1. The have shells and when they hit against something hard, you can here the clinking of the shells. BLA.

2. They don't just come one at a time, but in swarms. If you see one lady bug, you see many. BLA.

3. They smell. Most bugs don't have noticeable smell, but lady bugs definitely do. And it's not a pleasant one. BLA.

4. They show up dead everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE. One time I found a dead lady bug in between the sheets of my bed. What the heck? I surely didn't leave my sheets out to dry on the cloths line, and I surely didn't leave my bed out on the front lawn. They are found dead EVERYWHERE! BLA

5. They linger...it's not that they are flying around slowly because they are dying...it's just that they are so lame, that they can't fly any faster. So they linger in the air and make a landing that lasts about 10 minutes....they just get in the way. BLA



Ok, I could go on...but I will spare you. I was out in Eden Prairie this weekend and the lady bugs were ALL over the place. I could barely walk 2 inches without hearing the clink of the shell against the wall, or on the sidewalk. I also had quite a few land and make themselves comfortable in my hair. Not to mention jumping on more than I count while on the trampoline (the jumping on those things was not a pretty site....)

I will admit there was a time when I was a little bit "scared" of lady bugs. Ok....I wasn't scared for my life...but I was scared that they would some how crawl into my shoes and I would squish them with my toes...or that they would crawl up my nose while I was sleeping...or that they would fly into my mouth while talking...you know, the normal reasons why someone would be scared of a lady bug.

But good news people...I think I'm over my fear of lady bugs and moved into the "I think they're just plain dumb" phase. Which, they really are! I think it's about time that the name gets switched from "Lady Bugs" to "Gross Bugs"...much more fitting!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I know...how can one place be so gorgeous?!

Normally, I don't like to brag about things....but I just can't help but brag about the beauty that is Minnesota, especially in the fall.

This is what I see when I walk out my door...



And down the street....




I've lived in Minnesota for about 6 years now (HOLY COW) and I have YET to tire of looking at the leaves around this time of the year. Most days all I want to do is skip work, go to the lakes, and walk around and around soaking in all the beautiful colors.

They are so vibrant...so rich...so bold...and so perfectly created. I can't get over how beautiful it is (and trust me, I've seen plenty of falls before...but none quite like the falls here)...and what a small, yet amazing, glimpse of God's touch on creation!

So...take a look at these pictures, and feel free to tell me that Minnesota fall are indeed the best around:)