Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Kinda Explains How I'm Feeling......

Even though I've only been in school for 3 days - this week seems to be taking forever to come to an end!!
I think the craziness of the senior trip last weekend & the go-go-go itinerary we have makes me feel like things are dragging by now because they are at a normal pace.
There's also a lot going on at school with proposed budget cuts, jobs being eliminated, bumping processes and building closures.  The State has cut funding to ALL schools, so ALL schools are forced to take action in their budgets.  People are really starting to boil over.  What bothers me is that it's not the districts fault, it's those in Lansing who are making these choices for us by cutting our monies.
Sure - maybe our administration could handle it a little differently in how they are announcing & proceeding with these cuts, but it still needs to be done.
So, this monkey that sat in front of me last weekend at Busch Gardens & made me laugh as I took his picture & he then decided to pick his nose AND eat kinda portrays the feelings I've been experiencing this week.
School will be out soon and hopefully all will be settled by the end of June so that we can start afresh next fall with positive, happy thoughts and people!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SENIOR TRIP 2010 207.avi

I'm Back.......

We returned yesterday after 4 fantastic days in Orlando, Florida!!  I must say that I think out of the 8 classes I've taken down, this one was one of my favorites.  I know, I know, it's not nice to have favorites, but this group of kids (47 of them) were just SO happy all the time!  I've never laughed so much.
We spent Friday night having dinner @ Planet Hollywood & then exploring Downtown Disney.  
Then on Saturday we headed over to Tampa for a day filled with Roller Coasters, Monkees & Water Rides and lots of food at Busch Gardens.

 The front & back rows are our kids - this is on Sheikra.  It's an amazingly fast & exhilarating ride. 
I love this shot - this is also a part of Busch Gardens.  They have so many animals in displays that are very close to their natural habitats.  These are the gorillas.
 After we returned to the hotel the kids' decide to cool off in one of the 3 hotel pools.  The girls "love" this trip!
The boys' in this room decide to build a fort for the weekend.  It was quite extravagant.  They weren't too happy the next morning when I called & pretended to be housekeeping & insisted that I enter the room to clean.  They started to tear it down before they realized I was playing a joke on them.  I'm sure they will get even with me before graduation!
This is after a long night at Disney World's Magic Kingdom for the 2010 Grad Nite!  They were so tired - he forgot to take the sucker out of his mouth!!
Sunday was our final day and we spent it at Aquatica Water Park.  We dodged the thunderstorms all day & had so much fun in the Rapid River.
I truly enjoyed this trip & can't wait to go back next year.  The seniors are pumping up the juniors with all their stories today at school. 
Until next year....................

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's That Time Again.........

Yes - it's trip #8 for me.  I am heading out this Friday for a fun filled weekend with 47 seniors from G-A High School!   The kids areso geeked and SO AM I!!!
Things have been extremely stressful around school this year & are not getting better any time soon.  The state has made major cuts to school funding, so all districts must do the same to their budgets.  It's heartbreaking to see where & how money is being cut to keep districts operating.  Many are losing jobs or being forced to move into positions after years of teaching in their current jobs.  It's heartbreaking.
So, for 4 glorious days, I am going to leave it all here in this building, in this community & have a total blast with 47 high school seniors as we head to Florida.  We're going to Planet Hollywood, Busch Gardens (Sheikra Rollercoast - oh yeah!), Disney's Magic Kingdom for Grad Nite and then Sea World's Aquatica Waterpark.
This trip is SO much fun - I never grow tired of it.  One of my students asked me just this morning if I ever get bored?  NO - it's different kids' every year & so it makes it a different trip every year.  I just love seeing the memories that they create & then the buzz that never stops once they've returned.  I have students from years' ago who STILL talk about it!
It's going to be raining in Michigan this weekend, but the sun will be shining in Florida!!!
To infinity and beyond..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Little Bit of This & A Little Bit of That....

I'm still working at the local scrapbook store, Masterpiece Memories.  Things are really, really tough for us, but we keep plugging along & praying that we can make it through this recession.
Recently we received some of the new Basic Grey line in - Kioshi.  I love this line.  The colors are so soft & soothing.  Having boys' in my house & doing primarily soccer layouts, I don't get to play with these pretty papers too often, so during a recent shift at the store, I made a couple of store pages.  The one above is using Kioshi for the flowers & the butterfly.

Then I started digging through our scrap drawer & clearance items I came across all these scraps & started playing some more coming up with this beachy page!  Too fun!
Spring is in full swing in Michigan & flowers are blooming and the wildlife is really starting to wake up.  I finished my online camera class a week or so ago, but I'm still practicing all that I've learned.  See the giant bumble bee sucking the nectar out of my Myrtle?
On Sunday Steve & I took a bike ride and we were surrounded by the beauty & the newness & the wonder of spring.  It's my favorite time of year.  Here are a few shots I took while out on our ride....
Here I was practicing my depth of field - see how everything behind the cattail is kind of out of focus & the grasses in the front are clearer??
Hiding in the marshes was this little guy.  
And then hubby gets all excited about the mallards flying around the lake so I took advantage of the opportunity to work on the "panning" technique.  While the ducks are in tack sharp focus, they appear to be moving in this.  I used a slower shutter speed to get this effect.
This made me SO excited when I downloaded it.  I got the affect of soft, soft water because I slowed down my shutter speed!
It was a beautiful day for a bike ride & we were able to see so many things.  A huge herd of deer, several swans preening & nesting on the lakes, frogs, ducks, geese.......I love spring.  It is my absolute favorite time of year! 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bizarre Day

Every morning our alarm goes off at 5:50am - whether we need to get up or not, it is automatically set.  Yesterday we didn't need that alarm.  Around 5:30am sirens started filling the air in our quiet little village - a LOT of sirens.  Not the standard 2 firetrucks, ambulance & police car that go screaming from the village when there is an emergency, but lots and lots and LOTS.  They didn't stop, they just kept multiplying.  Soon our bedroom was filled with red & blue strobe lights.
About 6:10am my husband finally went outside with the dog - normal routine.  He came in about 10 minutes later & asked if I had looked outside at all?  I hadn't, but by then the sirens had stopped & so had the strobe lights.  He said something serious was happening - there were police cars on every corner and several down at the main corner by the Shell Gas Station.  Our house was pretty much surrounded.  So we turned on the news to hear that a possible carjacking had taken place at the Shell and that the suspect had been caught and a victim had been taken to the hospital after being shot.
Mind you our little village, is just that.  The Shell is only 5 blocks, village blocks, from my home.  Around 6:40am our neighbor that lives behind us called & said the police had been wandering our property about an hour before with their dogs and big spotlights. I received a text from my principal, whom I contacted earlier in regards to what was happening, & he said that the police had given them an all clear - but our buildings were to remain in "lock down" until noon.
As the day unfolded and more news was being given, the victim, a 47 year old man, died at the hospital. He was the father of 3 children.  My heart breaks for his wife & kids.
When I got home from school I did my normal routine and once again took Libbi out.  She was sniffing ALL over the property, even in our wooded lot next to our house.  As I turned around to walk back to the house, a van pulled up and out jumps a reporter from our local news station.  They wanted to know if I had been home when everything happened, and then they wanted to interview me.  So I said okay.......I was on the news at 5, at 6, at 10 & again at 11pm.  But as she's interviewing me and asking questions, more pieces of what actually happened start to fall in place because of the questions she's asking.
Apparently the victim had been at work in Parchment - a local town about 15 miles away.  He left work to go pick up a friend as he did frequently.  Only he never showed up.  Instead, it sounds like he stopped for coffee at a local gas station & ended up having this 20 years jump in his car.  The victim must have been forced to just start driving and that is how they ended up in our little town....at the Shell Station......at 5:30am......it was still dark out.  They assume that he drove into the Shell parking lot because it was so brightly lit & it was the only place open that time of day.  The witnesses reported that the 2 were arguing in the truck when the suspect shoots the victim in the side.   The victim manages to leave his truck & get inside the Shell where he collapses.  The clerk flips the switch behind the counter to lock the doors.  The suspect tries to enter the store, but isn't able, so he turns to a Frito Lay delivery truck & tries to get in, no luck.  Then he goes to a gas pump & tries to get into a car with no luck.  He then flees on foot.  Enter the millions of police into our little village..........
The suspect fled on foot and I've been told that he was captured a 1/2 hour later across the street from my house and that later the shooting weapon was most likely found in our wooded lot, or close by.  Holy Cow!!!
This is a little town where the biggest trouble is the kids stealing street signs and putting them in other places.  Where kids' ride mini bikes up the hill & back down for the thrill of it & the police have nothing better to do than chase them.  Where a lazy creek filled with trout is one of the hottest fishing spots for trout.  Where everyone knows their neighbor and watches their kids' grow up and asks about them every time you see each other across the street.
According to the news reporter, the suspect has quite a criminal history and this is a very random act.  I'm just thankful that no one else was hurt - it sure had the possibility to have happened.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Your Birthday.......

Wow - has time ever flown.  Twenty years ago today I was blessed with a little bundle of joy!  My youngest son was born.  Happy birthday Shaun.
The day before & the day of his birth were a lot like today - unseasonably warm for Michigan.  Yesterday we hit 80 degrees, 20 years ago we were in the mid 70s.  This morning I'm waking up to 59 degrees already & 20 years ago it was about the same.
But by the time Shaun was born at 5:55pm the barometric pressure had dropped tremendously & it was snowing out.  Yep - that's Michigan.
We are not looking for snow today, but another repeat of yesterday.  Sunny, sunny skies, warm temps & an awesome end to my spring break week.
Normal Michigan weather will return by the beginning of next week.  Temps in the 50s and lower with rain & possible snow in the forecast.
But today - I'm going to enjoy the weather and celebrate with my family my son's birthday!  Steaks on the grill, garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and some sort of birthday treat!