Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's the Little Things

...and today's little thing is that Montana didn't leave a mess on the floor for me to clean up this afternoon! Yay!! That's twice this week. I'd like to say that he's getting the hang of this don't-pee-in-the-house thing, but it may also be that Mommy's getting the hang of the make-sure-he-does-all-his-business-outside-in-the-morning thing, versus him just playing in the yard. Right now he's wrestling with Tundra. Two outcomes are possible: he'll irritate her into submission, or she'll overpower him into submission. Either way, there will be a yelp and a necessity for separate corners for ten minutes. I may not have birthed them, but I definitely mother them!

I am seeing some positive things at work, which is heartening. I was approached by my department head in regards to a reading "program" that I worked on--and think is a valuable component in an English classroom--because the school is considering it for the sixth grade. She also brought me a professional development opportunity, which is a first for me since coming to the town. Usually I have to seek all of these out myself, so it's good to have the other pair of eyes helping. And to crown it all, we had an amazingly productive 8th grade curriculum meeting on Tuesday. That hasn't happened in at least two years--imagine two years of frustrating, bi-weekly meetings that make you want to pull your hair out... . So, I am hopeful.

We've started our poetry unit. A number of the kids opted to read poetry during silent reading today. Big smile!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Glorious sunshine

Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It got all the way up to the low 40's, and we had sunshine for about 9 1/2 hours. The snow isn't too gray and gross yet, so it sparkles. Walking the dogs was lovely. Montana is doing his best to romp along with Tundra. We have to keep reminding him that he has to walk on both back legs, rather than hop on them. He has to build his muscles back up from the surgery. He's a trooper, though!

Yesterday was a good day, too. My friend Kelli came for lunch (grazing...mmm...) and then we talked about dogs (she has two gorgeous greyhounds--the musculature on those dogs is amazing), gardening, school, books, etc. A quiet but happy afternoon. She took some stunning pictures of the dogs; her photoblog is at Don't miss it!

Last night Jen and Ian came to dinner. It's always good to see them. They're totally down to earth and good stuff. A full, enjoyable day.

I believe that this weekend was a "my cup is full" kind of thing. Aside from minor inconveniences (a doctor's appointment, the grocery store on Saturday--*shiver*) it was a reminder of how lucky Larry and I are. The snow fell all day on Friday, and because it was light and powdery, shoveling was more like an interesting break in the exercise routine versus a total pain in the neck. We played with the two best dogs in the world, we ate yummy food (I keep forgetting how much I like Havarti cheese, for some reason), and we hung out with great friends. I got to sleep in on Sunday, Larry on Saturday, and I got to leisurely read whatever I wanted to focus on at that moment. (The March "Cooking Light" has some AWESOME looking Maple recipes. Larry and I will be making the Bacon Maple Waffles. Mmm...bacon...)

And to top it all off, today was a reminder that yes, spring will actually come eventually. The day was beautiful and the daffodils that Kelli brought me began opening their ruffled yellow and white faces. Note to self: plant more bulbs in the fall. The random tulips and single crocus--though lovely--could use some friends. I think I'll leave the existing tulips where they are, contrary to conventional wisdom though it be. There's something very amusing about the ones that pop up in the middle of the yard (transplanted by squirrels, I'm sure).


Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy day with puppies

It has been snowing since about 8 a.m. today. Funny how not having to work means that this snowfall is lovely... So far it has been a soft powder, and has accumulated about three inches. Watching the pups play in it is fun. Montana romps through it, Tundra does a stately walk, and both of them come in with snow dusting their noses after sniffing through it and licking it. A few times I've looked out the window and they were chasing each other, kicking up little puffs in their wake. Tundra lets Montana win most of the time, but occasionally shows him who is boss and knocks him (gently) on his butt. She's a good big sister. I keep having this ridiculous trouble typing in this blog. Please excuse the paragraphing; everytime I hit return the cursor bounces into the ether. Not sure what's going on. This afternoon the pups and I had some fun. Tundra is a little whiny because she had her teeth cleaned yesterday. She wanted to go out, but had just come inside so I wasn't letting her. She was whining and talking, and so I whined and talked back. Little Montana perked up his ears, listening first to one of us and then the other. Then he joined in! It was great--we had our own little living room chatfest. They're both able to reach a much higher pitch than I am.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Puppy Pictures

This is our new little cutie.
Keep your fingers crossed for the rug... :)
So far, Tundra is a pretty good big sister.

Oh Happy Day!

Guess who came home with us!? We picked Montana up from the shelter today around 3:30. So far he's chomped on a plant, romped around the yard with Tundra, and peed on the kitchen floor. We have a puppy!!

Montana's back legs are shaky from the surgery, of course, but he's moving around like a champ. We learned today that he has no hip bone because of the accident. The ball of his ball and socket joint is where the fracture was, and there is no way to fix that. The doctors removed it, and now he'll have to strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to compensate. He may also grow new bone, since he is so young. I've already spent at least an hour just mooning at him (that would be the "gazing" mooning...) and I just caught Larry doing so. Montana just stares back with these placid, icy blue eyes. Holy cow he's cute!

On a completely different subject, I just finished reading Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense of Food. The subtitle, "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants." sums it up well. The book goes over some of the same ground as Omnivore's Dilemma, but there's new research and information here. I particularly enjoyed learning about what has been termed "nutritionism," which like every other "ism" has its pitfalls. Though the links are circumstantial, I have to agree with him that "nutritionism" combined with our government's policies toward food have helped to create the obesity epidemic we're seeing in America.

The advice he gives (mainly fleshing out the subtitle so it's less cheeky and more helpful) makes sound sense. Avoid foods with ingredients that you can't pronounce/that look like the stuff of chemistry lab ingredients. Shop the outside of the grocery store, or better yet the farm or farmer's market. Pay for organic when you can afford it. (He discusses the average amount of money Americans pay for food versus what people in healthier societies pay--we pay way less, and have waaay more health problems. We also eat waaay less well. Microwave meals instead of a three course Italian meal enjoyed with family and friends, anyone?) Focus on leaves, versus seeds and meats. By leaves he means plants, of course. By seeds, he means soybeans, corn, rice, wheat, etc. Though they can be healthier than an all meat diet, seeds are higher in fats and proteins which causes us to gain more weight than if we ate from the leaves side of the animal kingdom. And the chapters dealing with the high fat/low fat debate are really enlightening. In fact, reading this has freed me up some around that issue. Too long to explain here, though. Anyway, it was a good book.

I think I'm going to read Fast Food Nation next. Might as well; it's not like I can be any more convinced that eating fresh and organic, and local when possible, is the way to go!

Did I mention there's a really cute puppy (and a beautiful older puppy) in the house? :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drivel Alert

The gray dusk outside my windown fits my mood perfectly this afternoon. I feel utterly defeated, and today's drizzle is making sure I stay that way. Oh for a forsythia bush to explode into bloom about now...

Things are going well with my classes, knock on wood. The students are all enjoying the book we're reading, Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands. The expressions of sheer, total boredom on their faces were apparently to deceive me. (I was so desperate, I flat out asked, "So, do you guys hate this book or what?" The explosion of "no's!" was wonderful.) Every class sat and argued in their groups for five minutes today about who the most important minor character is, and every kid had an opinion that they wanted to back up. Which is good, because that's the essay assignment...

I have a student who told me that she can't live without me, and I can't be absent anymore (I missed a day last week due to a bug). That's always nice to hear, especially since I love this kid dearly.

What's my problem, you might ask. I can't seem to shake the feeling that everything I believe in about education is anathema to the school where I teach. Joy? Fun? Love of reading, writing and learning? THEY'RE NOT TESTED ON MCAS, SILLY WOMAN! And not only is what I believe completely off the radar for everyone who makes the major decisions, but the teachers in our school who traumatize kids--embarrass them in front of peers, tell them they're stupid, etc.--THEY win awards. Go figure. I'm so bleah I can barely hold my head up. It sure would be nice to teach in a place where kids, their learning, and good teachers are valued.

On a happy note, Larry and I are probably going to go see Montana this weekend in our push to be chosen as his "adoptive parents." I'm all for shameless self-promotion if it means this puppy can come home with us.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl, Schmooper Bowl

I know it makes me absolutely un-American (but then, there are lots of opinions that I hold that seem to do so these days) but I hate football, and I hate the nonsense that surrounds the Super Bowl. I had a lovely evening out with my friend Kelli--we met at Barnes and Noble mid-afternoon and hung out, drifted through the Public Garden and the Commons while she took some really cool pictures, and then wandered over to Faneuil Hall for dinner. I've been home ten minutes and the tension in this house is ridiculous. My husband just finished yelling at the top of his lungs at the television, which I assume means the Giants have just done something that pushed them ahead score-wise. Ugh. It will be like a funeral in this stupid state tomorrow if the Giants win. Could we get some perspective, maybe...?

Okay, rant over.

Larry and I had the honor of meeting an amazing animal yesterday. To make a long story short, we heard about a Tundra-look-alike puppy at our local animal shelter. He's been hit by a car and is still recovering from surgery but will eventually be adopted out. His name is Montana, and we really hope we can adopt him. We're keeping our fingers crossed. He had the sweetest little face, and he's been through so much already; we would love to give him a good, happy home. (And we'd love to give Tundra someone to keep her company.)

Well, it's late and I have to work tomorrow, but I hadn't posted in a while so I thought I'd hop on. Hopefully next time there will be more to say!