not sure what to do with myself

Now that I don't have students getting robbed at gunpoint, lighting desks on fire, getting shot at, or stomping on dying bats, I've lost my blog fodder.

Who honestly wants to read about students who do what they're told?!

Today in English A, we actually learned about themes that are prominent in American literature. In English 9, we actually learned some grammar rules.

I actually have to teach. It's not just babysitting and trying to keep kids from hanging out of my windows for a smoke break.

And guess what? My first two paychecks? On time. Direct deposit

My excitement of the day now is when students come in during my lunch period and color the top of my hand sanitizer when I'm not looking. Or stack my Expo markers together. Or change the word "speeches" on the board to "peaches".

So I'm sorry if my formerly captive audience is bored to tears with details of my mundane life, but, let's be honest, your boredom is my sanity.


domestic success!

Tonight was a night of culinary triumph in the Parton household. Tonight was the first time Doug & I have made pork chops, and it was the also, shamefully, the first time I've successfully made rice. 

I don't know what the deal has been with me and rice, but up until tonight, I've always had a little bit of crunch to my rice. And I'm not down with that. My sweet husband will graciously scarf down whatever mess I put in front of him, but I know my shortcomings, and  - up until tonight - rice was one of them. Let's just say I'll be buying jasmine rice from now on!

Okay, so my pork chops - yum. They've been marinating since Saturday. I bought them on a whim - I've never done pork chops, so I was nervous, I'll admit it. I'm a lot more confident with a chicken breast. As I was browsing through my cookbooks, trying to find an easy, appetizing recipe for pork chops, my mind turned to the cider that I had sitting in the fridge. Bingo. So, I improvised and came up with what turned out to be an awesome marinade.

Rachel's Cider Pork Chops
Mix together:
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. apple cider
2 T. honey
2 T. Worcestershire sauce

Marinade pork chops overnight (or... for 48 hours...)
Have your hubby grill to perfection. Enjoy!

Yum! Look at those diamonds!


holy crap

I don't believe it.

The Bills are 4-0.

Surely this signifies the end times are near.


saturday morning

What a beautiful autumn morning! Doug & I took a walk together to downtown Plymouth to scope out the Farmer's Market, and I just wanted to share some snippets of our walk!

This adorable friend is growing in our driveway. Such a random little guy!

(That's our house on the left!)

Warring neighbors.

So every year there is a 3-day walk for Breast Cancer, and they dye the fountain in downtown Plymouth pink to show extra support. 

This afternoon Doug's going to the Michigan game with one of his friends. I'm going to make hot apple cider and do some lesson planning, and then tonight we're going to the PCA football game in Ann Arbor. What a perfect fall day.


bring on the harvest

I have the best friends in the world.
& I am so spoiled.

My dear friend Katie reads my blog and knew that I was badly craving some of the harvest products of my hometown...

SO - I arrived home from school today to discover this little bundle of bliss waiting for me:
A package from Panek's Pumpkin Patch!! 
Please note the return address: "Home, NY" - amen & amen.

Inside, I immediately discovered a sad truth:

Peaches do not ship well. 
But seriously, this was the funniest, sweetest token I could have asked for.

I ate a little bit of one anyway, out of desperation & sheer joy.

The package also contained the following beautiful autumn wonders:
apples from western NY...

and glorious gourds, baby pumpkins & Indian corn...

as well as an adorable jar of Kerry Berry Jam!

Katie & the Panek bunch - thank you guys SO much. 
This made my day... and probably my month. I love you guys!


fruit rollin' up in dough

You've got to be kidding me.

"Tongue Tattoos" on candy is bad enough, but Fruit Roll-ups are jumping the shark with these:

I also ate one that had "CASH COW" printed on it, complete with a picture of a cow. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera on hand. 


2229 miles away...

It's funny to think that if I hadn't flown across the ocean 2 years ago, I wouldn't have met one of my best friends. My first night in Oxford, I remember telling Doug on the phone that I didn't think I would have "a best friend over here" - I thought I would just get along with everyone, but really just do my own thing. 

Megan proved me wrong.

Within a few days, we were inseparable. 

We signed up for as many of the same lectures as we could, 

vetoed the popular option of buying bus tickets so we could walk downtown every day, 

ate Pret for every lunch (and sometimes dinner too), 

braved perilous bike paths together, 

trucked through Italy (not too bad, babies!), 

navigated the streets of London, 

took confusing, too upclose pictures of ourselves...

... the stars were aligned.

So, my dear little friend Megan, from across the miles, know that I'm thinking about you & wishing you a very happy 23rd birthday. I love you!



how i spent my weekend...

Translation: grading & lesson planning. Repeat.

And now I'm going to go fix that curtain holder - I can't believe I didn't notice that before...


spiritual life retreat

Taking a break from grading & lesson planning to write about the amazing retreat our high school just had. What an incredible 2 days of bonding, growth, sharing & unity. 

Two of my amazing co-workers, Elise and Marisa.

Jungle gym.

My freshman class.

Team building.

Trust fall.

Preparing for the last catch.

Scaling the 12-foot wall.

Freshman class, pumping up for volleyball.

4-way volleyball!

Beautiful. Powerful. Genuine.

It's going to be an incredible year.


... i should be sleeping like a log

For real, people?
My classroom is adorable! Compliment me. 
(Thanks to Marla for the only positive feedback I got!) 

I had the terrible realization that this is the first year since I've been able to eat solid food that I haven't had an Excelsior Peach. I was wallowing in self-pity last night as I was crunching on a disgusting store-bought peach (I know! Loathsome!). 

Um, have I told you yet that I love my job? My students are amazing. I haven't gotten cussed out yet, I haven't had to break up any fights, I haven't seen any gunshot wounds... my only complaint is that these students aren't providing exciting enough blog fodder! (Joke!) Well, I did threaten to make one boy sit in the corner with his face to the wall if he didn't stop talking.

Warning: slight outpouring of heart's emotions ahead.
Last Friday, as I was looking around at my students while they were working diligently, I felt my heart just swelling - that kind of, I-hope-no-one-is-looking-at-me-because-I-have-a-ridiculous-smile-on-my-face-and-I-just-love-you-guys-so-much! type smile. I leave for work at 7:00 every morning and I usually don't get home until 5:00 - so I'm putting in 10 hour days regularly. Plus, when I get home, I do even more grading and lesson planning (sometimes I also make dinner for my husband). In addition, I'm involved in 2 small groups, I'm going to start leading another small group next week, and I'm in Imprint.

So (if you'll bear with me & allow me to share a personal moment from my real journal with you), as I wrote on Friday night: "I'm exhausted, I feel like my brain might desert my body --- but I've never felt more alive."

Aaaaand I'm off tomorrow morning to spend 38 hours straight with my beloved students at their Spiritual Life Retreat!


mrs. parton's classroom

Welcome to Room 27!

This is what you see when you walk in the door:
This used to be the Bible teacher's room. The verse on the wall is John 15:5. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.

This is the view from my desk:

Panning right...

I hope you've enjoyed your virtual tour!


all grown up

Happy first day of grad school, Doug!

So annoyed at the blurriness of this photo...

I'm so proud of you!


real life conversations, pt. 3

Doug, as I pick up a half gallon carton of vanilla with heath bar ice cream: "That should last you a couple weeks... theoretically."


masthead: september 2008

September 2008: My ultimate pentatonic jam.

Whilst strolling the streets of Mackinac Island, Doug & I overheard a group of 20-something indie music nerds (btw - I use that term with all the love in my heart!) discussing music. One in particular piped up, "Dude, that is my ultimate pentatonic jam!"


day 1

I'm a teacher again!!
Today was our first day & it went very well. I'm so excited to be back in the classroom.
I really don't know what else to say about it except that I'm pumped!

Oh - at Jim's suggestion, here's a picture of my first day teaching: 

Also, a picture from the awesome weekend at the cottage with Debbie & Kress:

And one more picture that made me laugh out loud, borrowed from my friend Dan: