Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

It was a long weekend for me.  A 4 day-ish kind of weekend.  We had conferences at school on Wednesday night & Thursday.  I did have a few on Wednesday night and then a few more on Thursday. Fortunately, I live close enough to school that I can go home between the appointments. The teacher's, by contract, have to stay regardless of how many appointments they have or don't have.

It has been extremely cold here, so cold that the schools in our area who did have school on Friday, cancelled because the wind chills were in the double digit negatives. I'm happy we already had the day scheduled off, we don't have to make it up in the spring. But, if we have anymore days off, we will have to make them up too.

So on Friday, I decided to take Lucy with me when I ran up to the bank. We took a drive around the lake just north of our house & captured a few shots, albeit, we never left the car. We did the "drive by" format of shooting.
While it wasn't snowing out, I added a little overlay to this shot of this fence. It just seemed to add a little sparkle to the shot. 
This house is actually on an island. See the bridge out to it is now erase in frozen water and snowdrifts. So totally different than it looks in the summer.

When I got home, I rented Gone Girl on Amazon Prime. I read the book recently, did not like the ending to it, and can now say I really didn't like the movie. It just seemed to be missing so much detail. I know they can never capture the book fully, but I really felt this one missed it.

Friday night we headed to WMU for a college hockey game! We took S&D1 - she has never been to a hockey game! I think she really enjoyed it. We all went to dinner before and had a great time.

Saturday was a lazy, lazy day. A nice way to spend the day. We went out to a movie that night though. We originally were going to see American Sniper, but there weren't 2 seats together, so we ended up seeing Still Alice. I don't think Dream Boy really wanted to see it, but after it was done, he was very moved & glad we had. I read the book about 2 years ago because I wanted a better understanding of what my aunt was dealing with as she had Alzheimer's. I must say, the movie was very well done. I tried so hard not to, but I did cry. This disease is absolutely horrible. I watched my aunt go through the phases and eventually lose her life to it & I have very good friends who have either lost loved ones or are living this life right now. My heart bleeds for them. 

Sunday we took it very easy as well. I did not sleep well the night before - Santa brought me hot flashes for Christmas this year & I swear I could have re-enacted and given a whole new meaning to the burning bed. Oh.my.gosh! It's so grand to be a woman……..NOT! Especially right now anyways. I can hardly wait until summer for these little flashes to rear their ugly heads. Guess who is going to be camping out permanently on the end of the dock? Seriously, I just may need to pitch a tent & set up my new summer residence.

It's a brutally cold morning again - but I'm off to have coffee with the ladies. 

The start to a new week ---- let's make it a great one!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Photo Op

This is my photo op this week - staying in side & playing with some color as it is frigid cold outside!

We got a few more inches of snow last night, which is beautiful, but the temps are hovering around zero, with wind chills below that. I went out to shovel today and you know it's too dang cold when the Wonder Dog can't stand, literally, for very long.  She lays down on the driveway because the cement is to cold for her paws.

The sun was shining beautifully through the kitchen this afternoon, so I pulled out these bargain pencils (on clearance for less than $5 for the 3) and played around a little. I think these will look so cute on my desk at school, but for now - I think they'll hang around here at least for the weekend for some more photo ops.

We're in the midst of conferences again, so I have been in & out of school for the past 2 days. Two more scheduled for early tonite, and then a 3 day weekend is in store for moi!

I spent time today reading up and watching more videos from my online photography classes. I'm itching to start practicing what I'm learning - if it would only warm up. I get these images in my head and can see what I want to do, but it's so cold that it's not feasible to attempt it right now. So I must take notes. Lots and lots of notes.

Off to school I go - have a great night, and stay warm, wherever you may be. And if you may be in a tropical resort somewhere, have a cocktail or two for me!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Back at it - again.

Monday - Monday..........

Coffee time.

Ahhhhhhhh.

Hi! Welcome back or if you're dropping by for the first time ever, welcome to my happy place.  A little corner of my mind.

How was everyone's weekend?  Mine was cold, bitterly cold. 

Friday night it started with snow as we picked up me madre'-in-law and took her out for her birthday dinner. We did chinese. Yum. And might I add that I'm getting pretty good at eating with chopsticks, rice and all.

Saturday we awoke to a blizzard-y type of day. The winds were howling, literally. The snow fell in the morning and at times the wind was so strong & the snow was so heavy, you literally could not see across the street. Our house sits fairly close to the road, so it was definitely white out conditions.

The snow didn't last long, but the winds were awful. So Dream Boy & I just hunkered down for Valentine's at home and did some of this and some of that. I did some DIYing, you know, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing tubs & sinks & toilet. Then I gave the wonder dog a much needed bath. She was not happy with me, which is odd, she usually jumps in the tub on her own whenever, but she just wasn't feeling it - so I literally dragged her across the kitchen floor until she decided she wasn't going to win the battle & jumped in the tub. When we were done, I tried to get her to shake off in the tub with the shower curtain closed. Again, she usually does this voluntarily, but not this time. So I tried to make her & she bit me. Yes, BIT me. She drew blood. So I told her she wasn't my friend anymore & I didn't like her one iota at that moment & I let Dream Boy take over drying her off. 

We've since made up. 

Saturday night we ventured out into the cold tundra and went for pizza and beer. A favorite of ours. Then we headed over to a concert at the local college auditorium for some Brazilian jazz music. Something to warm the heart & mind & soul. The performers were the Gold Company from Western Michigan University's music program. 

There was one girl, Megan, who had the most awesome voice. She sang a couple of solo's and I tell ya, she had better make it big some day because I will definitely be buying her music. She had this sultry, smokey voice that was amazing.

Dream Boy had baked some brownies earlier in the day, but I convinced him to head over to Insomnia Cookies on the campus. They serve warm cookies & deliver them until 3 am to the dorms. So I knew they'd be open at 10:30pm. I took my niece there a couple weeks ago, so it was a crime not to go back since we were so close. 

We ate the brownies for dessert last night. 

Sunday was the coldest day ever. It was -7 when I woke up, with a wind chill of -22. Holy icicles! At least the sun was out all day & made it feel somewhat warmer. 

S&D 1 came for dinner last night & Dream Boy had made soup, so we ate in the living room around the wood burner because it's the warmest place in the house.

We ate brownies for dessert.

So, overall, it was a great weekend. Laid back, but yet filled with some love and color along the way.

Oh - and did I mention, we ate brownies for dessert on Sunday night? They were smothered with vanilla ice cream, whip cream & chocolate syrup too.

And now, here we are. Monday morning. Another week of school, actually a short week. It's conference week - so only 2 1/2 days of students. 

Thanks, as always, for stopping by & spending a little time with me.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love Tribute

What's left to say?

You said it all in your card to me this morning. But you know me, I fail miserably when it comes to buying cards. I have every intention of buying one, but never do.

So consider this my Valentine to you - my "hallmark" card.

I.Love.You.

I have for as long as I've known you. 

True Story.

You know that and I know that. Since our very first date and I went home afterwards & wrote it in my journal that you were the man I was going to marry.

The story of my mom & your dad growing up across the street from each other. How my mom didn't like him when they were little & she said she would kill me if I ever dated one of his kids. 

So I married you.

And she loved you so very much. You made her laugh even when she didn't want to.

You put up with my dad's corny sense of humor. Telling him a joke and he would laugh, but minutes later you would hear him telling that same joke to someone else and he would be roaring with his full belly laugh because now it was really funny because he told it.

You have provided for me. For our boys. There have been times that you could so easily have said, "I've had enough", but because of the man you are, a man of faith, of God, you chose to work through our problems with God as your guide and you've become someone I love even more.

The years of travel soccer. The weekends you went one way with this son and I went that way with the other. But we would come back together on Sunday night sharing the weekend's highlights. Some thought we were crazy to do all this traveling and split up, but we both knew it was a way for our family to make some awesome memories. We always knew where our boys were and who they were hanging with. 

And now as our boys have grown and are marrying their loves. You are so evident in who they have both become. They are loving, caring and fully devoted to their girls. They are men of God. They have a faith based life and you helped guide them in that direction.

Dream Boy - you are all I could ever ask for. You are truly a gift from God to me. I know that God had "us" planned all along. You have loved me in ways I never knew existed. You have stuck with me through all the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.

Happy Valentine's Day. You will always be my Valentine and I will always love you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Photo Op

I am, by no means, a morning person.

At least not in the sense that I automatically rise with the chickens & see the sun come up every day.

I need an alarm. I cannot get up on my own at the crack of dawn without it. Unless we're at the beach, then I want to capture as much of the day as possible.

So during the school year, when the alarm wakes me before the chickens, I enter my classroom when the quiet is still in the building. Before the noise and laughter & chatter of 300 teenagers surrounds me. 

This.is.my.favorite.time.of.day. 

The peace. The solitude. The darkness broken only by a soft light on my desk. The sleepy teenager that sometimes wanders into my room before 7am, wiping the sleep out of her eyes as she checks up on something. The 16 year old boy who comes in with his silly grin to catch an extra half hour of work time, only to fill me in on his latest "girl" story. 

I get to watch the beautiful sunrise on most mornings from my classroom window. See the colors change as the sun seems to be awakening on the horizon as well. The painting that appears before me in such amazing splendor.

These are the moments that I remember through out my crazy, teen filled, hopefully drama free days. I hold tight to this quiet, this peace, and carry it in my heart & mind.

My happy place.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

AAaaaAAnnnd ~~~~~~ I'm back!

Not just for Monday morning coffee, but I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Minnesnowta. 

My sister & I headed out on Friday morning & did a little drive by past Chi-town.
Before we knew it we had arrived in the "Promised Land", as some would call it, around 5 in the afternoon.  

We were driving along & see the sign for Rochester.  We looked at each other & said, "is there a Rochester, Wisconsin?"  We realized quickly that we were 5 miles from our exit. Time flies when you're blabbing having a very intense, intelligent conversation.  

We drove over for the weekend to celebrate this girl~~~
My newest daughter in law to be. She's been a part of our family for so long now, the wedding is just a formality. 
It was a beautiful shower, both her mom & I cried as her grandma read devotions. I hate to think what we'll be like at the wedding?

D2B2's friend, who is sitting next to her, surprised her & flew in from Tennessee for the shower. They kept it a surprise for 3 months - such a great treat for D2.
Grandma also added a special touch to her gift. She created a scrapbook for S&D2 with a page for each anniversary up to 50. They are to take a picture each anniversary & write in this book next to it how they celebrated it that year. Can you say, "melt my heart-what-sweet-idea"?

It ended all to soon & sis & I were back on the road, but we headed up the road a piece to check out the Mall of America, but not without stopping at Ikea first.

I found my kitchen....
I think this will work just fine!

We wandered and looked & bought a few trinkets before finding our way to the Mall of America.  We pulled out of the parking lot & headed in the direction we thought would take us to the back of the mall, but actually ended back up on the highway.  Quickly we plugged in Greta, aka-Garmin, and found our way back to the mall.

We entered through Macy's and headed out to 'the mall'.

Whoa.


First stop - amusement park & a roller coaster ride. You betcha, we still got it, right up those steps onto the ride.  We had to make a few minor adjustments, but we rode it!

Then we headed into the mall itself & started to try & find our way around. It's actually 4 malls wrapped into one. So overwhelming, but we made up a plan of attack & stuck to it, only detouring a few times.

One of the detours led me into a store where I found my dress for the wedding....
It matches my luggage.

Seriously.

I'm not wearing it, I didn't even buy it. But it was fun little conversation piece!

We wandered for a while, checking off the stores we had listed and then found a place to eat before deciding we had had enough & headed back toward's Macy's. We stopped in the clearance section before completely throwing in the towel & much to my surprise - I DID find my dress for the wedding. And at a bargain price too!  It was orginally $110 and I got it for $30.  Yes - THIRTY bucks!

Well, we danced our way, rather dragged our tired butts out to the car & headed towards home in the hopes of putting a few miles behind us before our drive home on Sunday. 

As we crossed into Wisconsin and began getting closer to Eau Claire, my sister made a call & reserved a hotel room for us. We plugged the address into Greta & started following along.

Until we found ourselves, literally, in the middle of nowhere.  Pitch black and sitting next to a small country church.

In the middle of nowhere.

In the dark.

And Greta is telling us to turn left and head down "Con-eh" (Kane) Road into the black abyss.  Yes, she pronounced Kane, like Con-eh.  My thoughts are, "we're gonna die". There's gonna be a guy standing in the middle of the road, wherever it may end, with a chain saw laughing "bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha" because we fell for Greta's directions.

Both of us plugged the address into our phones, thinking Greta was a little confused & both of our phones came up with different directions, but yet they both called Kane Road, Con-eh Road. 

Finally my sister was able to locate the actual phone number of the hotel, rather than the 1-800 number that "Doug" with his Indian accent says he's in Atlanta, and talks to the desk clerk.  She manages to figure out where we were & sends us to the right place.

When we arrived, everyone knew who we were & when we left Sunday morning, the day shift new who we were as well.  We were sure to get directions back to the highway, which were no where near where we came in from.

So somewhere on a back road in Wisconsin, next to a country church, is a creepy guy with a chainsaw trying to figure out where in the world we went?

Thankfully our drive home on Sunday was fairly uneventful & we made it home around 6.

So back to the grindstone today to teach the children how to survive in the world.  

Or attempt to.

Take care & have a great week! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Photo Op

The tables were turned, or rather, the camera.

Lucy + Dream Boy = me being the photo op.

Once again our school hosted a Donkey Basketball fundraiser. It was a tremendous turn out this year!
They were a little more lively this year, and I'm going to feel it a little more this year.

I took a couple good face plants, one where I was afraid I was going to break my glasses.

But it's all good. And it made my students laugh.....and me.
I have never been able to play basketball. In middle school I had long legs & could run like the wind, so naturally everyone thought I could play basketball. But dribbling a ball & running, then shooting said basketball all in one fell swoop?

Um. No.

They pretty much asked me not to play after I shoot the ball over the backboard. I was a better cheerleader.

LtWD was pretty upset with me when I got home too. I cheated on her, big time. 

But I did it, another game in the books.

Earlier this week we had a winter storm, Linus, bear down on us from late Saturday night through Monday morning.
Linus left his blanket behind.

This weekend I'm heading out on a weekend road trip - Thelma & Louise style.

Without the illegal stuff and there will be no driving off a cliff.

But it's me & my seester heading off to Minnesnowta for a bridal shower for my soon to be daughter-in-law.

There may or may not be a trip to the Mall of America in there too.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

As of Friday night, it was just "some snow".  Maybe 3" or a little more.  By Saturday morning it was a Winter Weather Advisory. By Saturday night, it was a Winter Storm Warning.

So Friday night we just hung out at home.  Typical, but I really don't mind. Sometimes after a long week at school, it's just what I/we need.

Saturday I slept in. My favorite. Dream Boy did a little work on a friends' car. It was chilly out, but the sun was shining and the skies were a beautiful blue.

I puttered around in my Creative Corner some and soon found myself out by the warm fire to read. I've been working my way through "Gone Girl". Wanted to read it before I see the movie.

Dream Boy was tearing apart the basement. The other half that he hadn't done before. 

We've lived in this house 20+ years and have always wondered why when you hit the light switch at the top of the stairs, the only light is at the top of the stairs, not at the bottom of the basement steps - where it's dark and needed the most.

As he's tearing off paneling and ripping down ceiling tiles, guess what he discovers? A light fixture at the bottom.of.the.stairs! Yes, it's always been there, but the former owner's apparently didn't feel it was necessary to put a recessed light or can around the light so that it wasn't dark.

Nope. They just covered it up.

Wow. Just wow.

We finally headed off for the grocery store together, knowing it would be a mad house with Superbowl on Sunday. While at the store, they upgraded our Winter Weather Advisory with a forecast of 3 or so inches to a full blow Winter Storm Warning - Linus. We were forecasted to get 8-10" of snow. 

The line at the grocery store was 3-4 people deep. They had all lanes open, but what can you do but wait patiently, right?

We headed home and had big plans of going to a movie, but after eating a very late lunch and me getting sucked into my book, we ended up staying home and chillin.  

Sunday morning we awoke to at least 5 or 6 inches of freshly fallen snow & the promise that it was only going to get worse as the day went on. We contemplated heading into town for church, but decided that it wasn't the best choice. 

So S&D1, who live 3 miles away, headed over & Dream Boy made up a big breakfast for us all.

Dream Boy blew out our driveway before the kids came home, but then the blower died. It was a cable.

After the kids left, he managed to fix the cable with a bike cable he had & was soon back in business. He blew out the drive again, as one of our neighbor's had just called to see if they could park in our driveway because they live up the hill from us & the village hadn't been out to plow it for quite some time. They couldn't make it up. As they sat in our driveway, the plow came through &  our neighbor followed him up.

I stayed cozy inside, reading. When I checked the time next, it was after 1pm and I still had to make my meatballs & sauce to get in the crockpot for our SuperBowl supper. 

Once done with that, I again picked up my book - it really sucks you in the further you get into it, and started reading. But Dream Boy decided he wanted some amber liquid for the game, so we decided to go out for a walk and head to the little corner store.

We put LtWD on her leach and grabbed a quick family photo for #feetfirst2015 - my Instagram meme - you take a pick of where your feet are planted on the 1st of the month & tag it with #feetfirst2015.  

Anyways, we went off into the wild weather for a little walk. It was snowing like crazy & the wind was picking up something awful. But we made it around the village, but not without my causing a small tremor in the earth's surface when I did a full out side flop, in front of a plow truck mind you, and landing firmly on my left side in the middle of the road.  

I've apologized via FB to the villagers for the scare I may have caused when I the earth shook, and I'll maybe have to help repair the pothole I left when the roads clear & the weather warms.  But then again, maybe the village will just think it was already there with all the other potholes & no one will be the wiser, eh?

We headed home after our little stop at the corner store & Dream Boy decided once again to blow out the driveway. When he finished ours, he headed over to the neighbor's to blow out her driveway, but the belt broke on the blower & he was soon out of business. He came home & we attempted to drive to the next town to pick up a new belt, but didn't even make it 1 1/2 from home before we turned around & came home. The snow was deep, it was hitting the under carriage of our car. Last thing we needed was to get stuck & have to call S1 to help us. He'd never let us live it down.

So back home we traveled after making a huge U-turn in the middle of what is normally a very busy road. Obviously, it was empty when we did this.

We snuggled in for the rest of the night & I finished my book - I HATE the ending - and then we watched the SuperBowl. At least I watched the commercials & DB watched the game.

We have a snow day today, they actually had cancelled it yesterday afternoon, so it was really nice to not have to wait for the call this morning. We are now up to 6 and I believe we will need to start making days up if we have any more.

We also ended up with 18" inches and major drifting.  The sun is shining this morning & while it's bitterly cold, it is a beautiful site with the diamond-esque shimmer on the freshly fallen snow.

So I'm going to busy myself in my creative corner today. I've been commissioned to design a guest book for a former student's upcoming wedding. She showed me what she had found online, but didn't want to pay $70 for it & she asked me if I could help?  

Pshaw………can I help?  You betcha!

I hope you are all enjoying your day wherever you may be.

Deanna - yes, we need to be photo buddies someday soon.

Dianne - yes, I crocheted the hearts you saw in my Photo Op post last week.

Lisa - I would LOVE to meet up for coffee with you too. I miss you & the rest of our seasoned CJers.

Kathy - let me know how that online class inspires you to do more still life!

Me - get busy now & create & get busy on your online classes as well.

Happy Monday y'all!