Tuesday, June 27, 2006


So, I moved about 12 boxes to my classroom yesterday! I have a few more to go. I saw the room as a blank slate. Talk about overwhelming! I have some major organizing to do. My room is huge, which I love. That sort of makes up for no windows. I would like to move the teacher's desk--I see it as in the way currently, but due to hookups, I have to leave it in the general vicinity. So anyhow...I'm just totally confounded on how to set up everything. I'm more of a visual person--as in I have to SEE how to arrange it. That's going to mean arranging it, looking, rearranging, and so forth. Any tips from any preschool teachers? FYI, I'll be teaching a preschool class for children with developmental delays. I have some non-verbal children, vision impaired, possibly ED, and so forth.
I have a large counter with a sink, a VERY large irregular shaped room with 2 entrances (one goes directly outside-scary, but there are alarms on all doors). The walls are concrete--makes it difficult to hang things. The previous teacher hot glued ceiling tiles to the walls in places to use for bulletin boards, calendar, etc. I found these nifty little things at Mardel's that will help hang things.
I have several large furniture pieces to use to create barriers between areas. I'll have snack/art near the sink. Circle/calendar time will be where there is already ceiling tiles (for now). I have one area blocked off for when the vision teachers come, but I will try and use that space for something else as well. I'd like to have the sand table near the sink as well, as I want to also incorporate water play near that. Dramatic play/blocks will be together. I want a reading center with bean bags, chairs. I may put the ball pit there for starters. I want to incorporate an Active Learning area, or at least some aspects of one somewhere (see Lilliworks link below). I have at least 2 students who will benefit from some of the AL ideas.

Hmmm...funny how typing things out helps get my brain working. Since starting this, I've drawn a diagram and am ready to get back up there in the morning! I'm sure I'll have several rounds of trial/error, but at least I have a starting place!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Random stuff

So, I’m 3 weeks away from moving to Norman. Well, that’s when I close on the house. In the meantime, I’m just sort of in that transition phase. I’ve found a great Mexican place (Teramujaras) and a pretty good Thai place on main street (Sweet Basil). I’d love to find a restaurant for every mood/occasion right in the community where I live and work. I just need to find a good Italian place and pizza place, and I’ll be happy! While I’ll miss my Dallas area favorites, like La Hacienda for beef fajitas, Parma for their sausage calzones and friendly service, Babe’s Chicken Dinner House for the best fried chicken and cream style corn ever, Ojeda’s for sour cream chicken enchiladas, Dos Charros for happy hour margaritas, Blue Mesa for their sweet potato chips and churrascarita platter, and the Main Street Bakery for just about everything they serve, I’m hopeful that I can find reasonable replacements for all the above right within a quick drive of home. I’ve learned that I’m a creature of habit when it comes to food. I go to certain restaurants for certain dishes—I rarely deviate from my favorite.

Another thing I’m looking forward to (and a bit fearful of) is a sense of community that a smaller town seems to offer. I’ve missed that for the last 7 years. Everything I did was spaced out over the metroplex. Both jobs I had while there were at least 2 cities away. My volunteer efforts were both 25+ miles each way. I did one of these weekly (most of the time) and the other 2x/month. They were both wonderful, enjoyable experiences, but it wasn’t community based. I hope to find that in my new home. Just a sense of belonging…it was difficult being a single living in the ‘burbs. Hopefully it’ll be better being a single person living in a college town. So far, people have been friendly and welcoming. There are a few local places I’d like to see about becoming involved with—the J.D. McCarty Center for Children is the first I will check out. My nephew received services through them, so what a wonderful thing it would do for me to give back to the children they currently serve. I hope to soon branch out to other areas rather than hands on one-on-one stuff (I get plenty of that at school). Fundraising, organizing, leading…it would all be new to me, but maybe now would be a good time to try something new. Along with the new city, new job, etc.

OK, enough senseless rambling. This all somehow seemed so much deeper when I was thinking it today than it looks now. Oh well. It’s just my thoughts.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dinner Tonight

Wow, I post saying I'll be back later, and then all of a sudden have time for 2 posts in one weekend? Wow!

Living in another's house is difficult, especially for one who has lived alone for 13 years. It's not my kitchen. I don't have my spices, my utensils, my gadgets. I also can't cook in an unclean kitchen, and lately haven't had the energy or stamina to come home from work and clean before cooking (uh yeah--I'm currently in a fracture shoe do to a stress fracture in the top of my foot. From...stress? I really have no idea). The people I am staying with are wonderful, but seeings a sink full of dishes just pushes me to get takeout! Anyhow, I had a nice country breakfast (after cleaning the kitchen this morning) and then come dinner time, I improvised using an ingredient I didn't think I liked, but decided to try anyway--canned tuna!
Garlic, olive oil, a can of garbanzo beans, a can of tuna, a couple servings of Barilla Plus spaghetti, a grating of parmesan cheese and fresh diced tomaotoes for garnish. Talk about tasty! It filled me up, I don't feel miserable, and I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I have a new 'quick and easy' idsh to add to the rotation for those nights when I just don't have time nor energy to cook.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another goodbye

So, last night was my last night to volunteer with a respite program I've been involved with since 2003. I thought I'd be fine, until the parents whose child I was with for the night hugged me. I'm such a sap. It's been wonderful to see how these children have blossomed...I'm going to miss seeing more, though I know I'll be back to visit sometime in the fall. Still, it's hard saying goodbye to the relationships you've formed, the people who you've shared such a wonderful experience with.

Today was orientation for camp. I got to meet some of our new campers. I can done tell I will have some great camp stories--these little girls aren't shy. They're a hoot!

On other news, I have a contract on a house. It's not my dream house, but on a teacher's salary (Oklahoma teacher no less), it'll be sometime before I can have that. Still, it's an improvement from my former house in that the kitchen is better, master suite is better, the yard is bigger, it's on a cul-de-sac, and the neighborhood doesn't have a bunch of traffic. There is also a small lake and park in the neighborhood. Better yet, my commute will be 10 minutes or less!

The front

It's not a huge, stately southern porch, but it is a porch! That's another improvement.

My last kitchen had 2 drawers, no pantry, and not many cabinets. This one has 8 drawers, a pantry, and plenty of cabinets! I think the counter-tops are corian. I like the sink. It's an electric stove, which stinks, but I can deal with it.

I'm not sure what's up with that teddy bear? There is a cutout above the kitchen sink that opens up to the living area just behind the couch you see.

I also have a jetted tub and separate shower in the master suite. There is a little 'nook' behind the living room where I am going to put a reading chair. It's open to the rest of the house, but set back a little. I can see my little dog taking a liking to the chair...I also have room in the back yard for a garden. There is already a place where a raised garden has been put in, but it needs some work. Still, that's a goal for next year. Before moving in, I will paint the guest bathroom and master bedroom. After that, I'm not doing any other fix-up things until next summer. I need a break. I do have wallpaper that I will remove and have my dad texture it, but he is having another foot surgery next week and will be out of commission for a while. It can wait until next summer. OK, I'm not rambling mindlessly. Until next time...

I have to say that I am soooo ready to kiss Texas goodbye. I've never embraced living here. There are too many people. Sure, I'll miss Central Market, Sprouts, DSW, my students, my classroom, coworkers and friends. I won't miss putting 300+ miles on my car a week, the "Dallas" attitude, and the fact that this just has never been home. Sure, there are things here that OK doesn't have, but they are material things. When it gets down to the nitty gritty, people are what matters most, especially family.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

To be continued...& WDB

Life is busy right now and I'm not on or around a computer much. The post below I actually started May 20! I have had lots on my mind, just never the opportunity to post when it's fresh.

I'll be back later this summer--probably around when Camp Esperanza 2006 ends. I'll be sure to post my reflections from that magical week. Camp E 2005 is still somewhat fresh in my mind (and it's already been a year?) This year is sure to be a brand new experience, as I'll be in the youngest cabin with 6-8 year olds. I can't wait!

Have a great summer...


A Series of Goodbyes

With every transition, there must be that dreaded moment when you say good-bye. Sometimes, even when it's more like a "See you later", it still pulls at your heart strings because though you know that will happen, things will not be the same--in essence, you are saying good-bye to the experience as you know it. My past few weeks have been a series of "see you laters", and I have a couple more in the upcoming weeks. I said good-bye to my classroom, but see you later to my students. I've seen one of them several times since school ended (and it did my heart good to see him continuing to show progress). I saw the twins at a bike rally in my hometown over the weekend--they have gone to camp through the bike rally, so cthis past weekend. I plan on calling the other next week and paying her a visit. Still, it (selfishly)makes me sad to know that these students will go on, continue to show progress, experience new teachers, reach new milestones, and I'll just get to watch from afar. I at least hope I've been able to lay some foundation for their continued successes. I do know that I will see them later...it's never goodbye for good.