not as youthful as i once was

Doug & I have been volunteering with the sr. high youth group at our church. Friday night we had an All-Nighter at a "sister" church, which is only about 10 minutes from our house. Since Doug's father was coming over Saturday, I had planned on leaving around 3:00am so I'd still be able to get a few hours of sleep. I was pretty pumped about it, feeling pretty spry and alert as we pulled up to the church around 11:00pm. After awhile, I started feeling a little tired, so I checked a clock... only to find out that it was only midnight. I tried not to panic, telling myself that it was a fleeting lapse, and I'd be hyper momentarily. Time dragged on, and confident that it must be nearing 3:00, I checked the clock again. 1:15am. At which point, I gazed dreamily at my husband and told him, "I think I'm going to go home and sleep." To which he replied, "Yeah, your eyes are a little red." The former high schooler inside me is groaning and muttering "loser". My husband, on the other hand, is totally cool and stayed until the very end, upon which he interrupted my delicious slumber requesting a ride home.

Doug's dad came over on Saturday, with adorable niece & nephew in tow.
Mid-afternoon, Doug's exhaustion got the best of him. Dodgeball at 3:00am will do that to you, I guess.

This morning Doug & I decided to take advantage of this beautiful autumn weather, so we went on a walk before church. God makes it easy to be a good photographer, so we also took advantage of that.

I've said it before, but I love weekends!


at least they're honest.

Endless hours of grading essays does not go without reward. There were a few papers that made me, quite literally, laugh out loud.

I had my students write an essay using symbols to describe themselves.
Here's just a tiny morsel of what I get to enjoy on a regular basis.
General [SIC] for the following.

From a young male: "My first symbol of myself would have to be woman. Because the one thing I love more then money is a beautiful female. I really don't know what to say I need women like a dope fiend need their hit. [...] I know its not right referring to women as a drug of somsort but that just how I feel. I guess u can say I'm hooked."

From a young female: "My first symbol is a mirror it symboliziest how much I love looking at myself. I love lookin at myself so much. It's not that Im conceited. Nope I can't even lie I am conceited. But Im the good kind of conceited. See its a good kind and a bad kind. The good kind is when you think your good looking but dont put other down with it and help people instead of tearing them down. Thats me. And the bad kind is pretty much everything I wrote but just in the bad way."

Yet again, the saying proves true - you do learn something every day.


in their shoes?

A conversation from Wednesday, during my lunch period.

Student 1: "Do you ever just cry for no reason?"

Student 2: "Yeah, I think it's good for you because you can get all your emotions out."

Student 1: "One time at home I punched a hole in the wall, and I just started rubbing my head and crying. My mom said I've been so different since my dad died."

Me: "When did your father die?"

Student 1: "He's been dead for 10 years. He got killed when I was eight years old. They shot him right in front of me. They shot him with a .12 gauge in the head. He was in the car, and all that was left was his shoulders and neck."



At the end of one of my more frustrating classes, one of my students slipped me a poem that she had copied. I'm not sure if she was just sharing it with me or trying to encourage me, but either way, I appreciate it more than she knows.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must - but don't you quit.

Life is erratic with its twists and turns,
As anyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he learned too late,
When the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of clouds of doubt -
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you musn't quit.



Room 200

Welcome to Mrs. Parton's English class:


autumn approaching

From a walk yesterday - evidence that autumn is on its way!

This tree is right in front of our neighbor's house.

Leaves up close. (Click on this picture to view larger image - it's awesome!)

Solitary pine cone.

Beautiful ... marigolds? Or mums?
I hope this lovely weather stays for a bit longer!


Everyday Heroes...

I completely forgot to publicly boast about my valiant act of two days ago!

I was driving home from a day of training in Detroit, when suddenly, I noticed that something was on fire on the median of I-96 W. I was in the left lane, i.e. the lane closest to the imminent danger, so I quickly merged into the middle lane. As I approached, I realized... it is a flaming mattress.

Two questions immediately come to mind.
1. WHY is a mattress on fire?
2. WHY is a mattress - on fire - in the middle of a highway?
Wait, 3. WHO put the mattress - on fire - in the middle of the highway?!

Oh, Detroit, you never fail to amuse.

Anyway, so I made the first 9-1-1 call of my life & reported a burning mattress! I am confident that, in doing so, I saved several lives and secured my status as an American hero.


First Day

"This biology?"

"No, this is English."

"Dang baby, I thought you was my teacher."

"Can I see your schedule? Okay, you're supposed to be in 209."

"My bad! I wasn't payin' attention. I just thought you were so pretty I had to duck in."


praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children



I am teaching English in an alternative school in Detroit.

Thanks for all your prayers!


mid-morning walk in plymouth

It's such a beautiful Monday!
I went for a walk around a few blocks near our house.

Part of our backyard.
Near the railroad tracks.
The railroad tracks.
Upclose & personal.

After coming home, I had some photoshop fun.

At the end of our street.


And one more from my walk:
Summer's trying to hang on...


verdict's in...

I AM a pushover. Sad, but true.

No, I did not quit on Wednesday evening, as promised.
I typed up the letter and took it with me.
But then I started thinking about my students...
And I started feeling bad about leaving management in a bind.

Yet, being there also strengthened my resolve to quit.
I only decided that I need to have another job lined up before I quit (I know, genius).

So, I overheard an office argument.
It may seem like I was eavesdropping, but the walls there are seriously like paper, and the manager and assistant were practically screaming at eachother. Conversation as follows:
Manager: Hey, I have to do an evaluation tomorrow [Thurs], so I need you to come in on Friday.
Asst: No, I have that day off because of the dress rehearsal for my sister's wedding.
Manager: Yeah, but I was going to take Thursday off so I could cover for you Friday and Saturday, but I can't work Thursday through Saturday, so I need you to come in on Friday now."
Asst: "No. I have had this day off since August 8. It's for my sister's wedding rehearsal. I have to be there.
Manager: "No, you had Saturday cleared. It's just the dress rehearsal - you don't really need to be there do you?"
Asst: "Um, yes."
Manager: "Well, I have to call -boss- and discuss this with him."
[Storms into other room]
Did I mention that I was playing piano while waiting for a student and still heard all this?
So the manager returns after awhile. Before the manager can say anything the assistant blurts out...
Asst: "Why did you ask -boss- if I could be replaced?"
Manager: "I didn't say that."
Asst: "Yes, yes you did. I just heard you through the wall."
Manager: "Well, -boss- mentioned a few things. I don't have a problem with you. To be honest, -boss- was just saying that you've asked for several Saturdays off, and he and -other boss- are just a little annoyed because they thinks you're taking advantage of them."
Asst: "I didn't get any of those requested days off, either. But I'm not bi***ing about it, because it's my job. However, I DID have this whole weekend off because it is my sister's wedding!"
Manager: "I understand that, but the wedding is on Saturday. And now I have to cancel plans on Thursday night because I have to come into work on Friday."
[Leaves room, and of course, one of my students arrives after the fact.]

Blissfully, I had Thursday off.

Today I had a lesson at noon, after which the manager asked if I would mind staying for a "few minutes" to watch the phone, as -boss- had asked him to run to the post office and do a "few other errands." Pushover that I am, I said "No problem." Interestingly enough, -boss- called not long after the manager left and was quite surprised to hear me answer the phone. I was very tempted to tell him, "Oh, -manager- just stepped out - he was running the errands you asked him to do." Just wanted to see what the response would be. But, pushover that I am, I did not rat out the manager, but took a message.

I had another lesson tonight at 6:30. I arrived early, and during that time, the manager told me about my lessons tomorrow. The first one is a girl whose parents are super annoyed because they wanted to start lessons like, 2 months ago, but there wasn't a piano teacher. So the manager thinks they're going to come to this lesson all ticked off and "probably scrutinize your teaching - so, just try to be extra kind and really do your best job teaching." Ummm, 1. I am severely uncomfortable with being their last effort to retain this student. 2. Do my best job teaching?!? As if I slack off on the others??? Argh. THEN - my other lesson tomorrow is an "intro" lesson, which is a free lesson given to prospective students to try to lure them in. And since they don't charge the student, guess who doesn't get paid for that lesson? Yep. Me.

Sorry that the last two posts have been so whiny, but I really hate this job. As soon as I find a new job, I am really quitting. It's just depressing to think that in the Michigan market, that might not be for at least a month...

In other news, I have the best husband in the world, who got me flowers and ice cream tonight to comfort me after I had a tiny little emotional break down over not having a real job.

On a happy note, I'm pretty sure my tutorial class is almost wrapped up, as I received a bill from Spring Arbor today for my "summer class." That means that I am at least registered, and hopefully receiving a grade any day!! Ah, the little things in life... like getting my diploma.


Am I a Pushover?

Throughout the course of my life, I’ve learned a few things that remain true to my character: I hate confrontation. I like to make people happy. I often take on more than I am comfortable with. I have difficulty saying no when people ask me to do them a favor.

Does this make me a pushover?

Well, possibly, until pushed too far.

Allow me to present a scenario. So I have this relatively new job – teaching piano lessons through a local music company. I sort of like the job, but certain aspects of it really annoy me. Such as the lack of professionalism in the office. Or the lack of respect for personal boundaries. Or the way a certain employee describes a particular parent as a “bi***.”

Yesterday, I went in to teach my lessons and discovered that I had a new student that they hadn’t yet told me about, and that would be my last lesson of the night – 8:00 to 8:30. I was a little annoyed, but whatever – Doug was on a business trip, so I didn’t need to rush home. Plus, extra $7. Oh, did I forget to mention that I only make $7 for a half hour lesson? When I was taking lessons, I paid $10 for a half hour lesson, and that was only because I had several siblings also taking lessons, so we got a deal.

Anyway - after one of my lessons was over and I was waiting for my next student to arrive, a certain employee asked me if I would mind subbing 3 lessons (3. THREE.) for a teacher tomorrow (which is now today). I agreed, although I certainly wasn’t thrilled about it, because I’m picking Doug up at the airport tonight and wanted to have enough time to primp and curl. So, he/she said my first lesson was at 5:00 and they were all really young kids. So, I figured they’d each be half hour lessons, so therefore, I’d finish at 6:30 and have plenty of time to get dolled up and go to the airport.

This morning, after thinking through it a little more, I decided I should double check on the times of the lessons, just to make sure I’d still be able to get to the airport in time. Good thing I did. A certain other employee answered the phone, and I explained that I was subbing, which he/she knew. So I explicate the situation.
Me: “I have to pick up my husband at the airport tonight, and I wanted to double check the times of the lessons so I can be there on time.”
Him/her: “What time do you need to be at the airport?”
Me: “His flight arrives between 7:30 and 8:00.”
Him/her: “Okay… you have a 5:00, a 5:30… a 6:30… and a 7:30. So you’ll be done by 8:00.”

Umm… that’s 4 lessons. 4. FOUR.

So, I calmly and professionally inform him/her: “Okay, well, I’m going to need to cancel that last lesson, because I need to be at the airport by then.”

Him/her: “Why? Can’t you leave here at 8:00 at get to the airport in time?”
Umm… “No, his flight comes in before that.”
THEN he/she says……… “Do you think your husband would mind waiting at the airport for a little bit?"

My first reaction was to respond with either:
a. “Actually, I’m sure he won’t mind walking home from the airport.”
b. “You know what? Let me just call his airline and see if they can just delay his flight. I’m sure no one else has anything to do – they can all wait a little bit!”

Thankfully, I’m not as rude out loud as I am in my head, so I caught myself before I blurted out one of those responses. Instead, I told him/her I would need to check with my husband and call him back.

Am I overreacting? I mean, I’m doing YOU a favor. And it’s not the first time stuff like this has happened. When I was first telling them my availability for lessons, I agreed to do Saturday MORNING lessons. Apparently this was unclear, and I wound up saying I would teach 10-1 on Saturdays. So, this same guy/girl calls our boss to have me added to the calendar, and tells him I’m available 10-2 on Saturday. After saying this, he/she turns to me and says, “Well, could you do a lesson at 2, so you’d be done by 2:30 or 3?” I’m sorry, what part of MORNING or even 1:00PM do you not understand?!

So… maybe I’m a terrible person. But after talking to Doug on the phone just now and explaining the whole ordeal, I’ve made a decision.

No. I am not taking on the fourth lesson this evening. I WILL be at the airport to pick up my husband ON TIME, after we have just spent our first night apart since being married.

Oh, and I am turning in my 2 weeks notification this evening as well.



I just really love camping! Pitching tents, building fires, grilling hotdogs, making s'mores, playing cards, walks, hikes, beaches, swimming... I love it all!

Doug & I went camping with Kress & Debbie yesterday. Lakeport State Park, on Lake Huron. It was a really short trip, but it was still a lot of fun. We spent pretty much all day yesterday out on the beach.

Doug & Kress gloating over their masterful creation.
me n Deb
oh, just little beach smooches

one of my favorite pictures. ever.
me & deb highfiving in mid-air
So, we forgot to take any pictures of the actual campground, but that's okay. The campsites were pretty close together, but thankfully, no one was on either side of us.
We had an awesome time! So glad to get a camping trip in before the weather gets cold.
We got back this afternoon, and I've been browsing through Adirondacks websites... and just getting so excited about future camping trips! V & Jer - we can't wait to go camping with you guys!!


Beyonce a fiance?

I just logged into Yahoo! to check my email, and I saw an article that said: "Jay-Z hints at wedding to Beyonce." Okay, now, introducing a family member to your "fiance, Beyonce" is kind of hilarious, but I really hope they get married. I don't really follow celebrity romances beyond the headlines I see in the grocery store, but if I had to pick a favorite celebrity couple, Jay-Z and Beyonce would definitely be it. They just remind me so much of me & Doug...

Anyway, so Doug & I had a lovely Labor Day weekend, and we DID end up "camping out" on our deck Saturday night!

It was really fun! Nice, cool night, but not too cold. Lots of stars out too.

My piano lessons have been going well. I have 6 students so far, and probably more this upcoming week.

I haven't updated in a few days because Doug & I rented SEASON 3 of THE OFFICE!!!! And since it was a 2-day rental... well, we binged on The Office. Seriously obsessed with Pam & Jim... and I could not have been more thrilled with the season finale!!! I can't wait for Season 4 to start. I've never had "A" t.v. show to watch before, so this will be a first for me.

Yesterday I stopped by a yard sale, and I got all of this:

for only $15.50!!!
Awesome. It's kinda dark, but it consists of: antique t.v. stand, 2 matching plaques with little hooks, old milk bottle, matching pitcher and... container thing. Really pumped about my purchases! :)

Well, Doug & I are going to head down to "Fall Festival" - a carnival in downtown Plymouth. I'm getting an elephant ear for sure. Tomorrow we're going camping with Kress & Debbie!!


i <3 weekends

Happy September!

Doug & I decided to celebrate Labor Day weekend at home, rather than go somewhere and fight the ridiculous holiday weekend traffic.

Last night we met up with Kress & Debbie for dinner at the Redcoat Tavern - amazing burgers and onion rings! We went back to their place afterwards and just chilled for awhile.

Today we slept in!! Rolled out of bed around 10, made pancakes for breakfast, showered, listened to a bit of the UofM game, and then decided to make a picnic!!

We went to Hines Park and enjoyed this glorious afternoon...

Tonight we're renting a movie & possibly sleeping out on the deck! Awesome!