daydreaming on a rainy day

what i want to be doing right now...

peonies = happy, sunny flowers.

did i already blog a picture of this? because i'm truly obsessed with it.

cute, striped sundress - to be worn in sunny weather

6-layer rich chocolate malted & toasted marshmallow cake, please be in my life right now.

more stripes!

lemon blueberry cupcakes

sometimes i daydream about planning my sisters' weddings...

also - have you seen this video? ridiculous.

and finally, a folksy little piece of music to leave you with (also, a dangling preposition).


counting my blessings

I had a sad day, and I tried wallowing, but it didn't make me feel any better, so now I'm going to count my blessings & things that make me smile, and maybe count some pictures of cute animals as well.

1. Doug.
2. Zooey's dumb face. I know this is almost the same picture I posted yesterday, but seriously, doesn't her ridiculous expression make you smile?
3. Stories about Colden... especially about his backyard adventures.
4. Lunchtime Subway dates with Patti.
5. Homemade chocolate chip cookies.
6. Dik-dik. I know, M&D - it looks like a deer and you want to sic Elly on it. Too bad. This is MY blessings/smiley post, and I think it's cute.
7. Blossoms
8. Warm thunder storms
10. Singing cheesy show tunes. Quite loudly.
11. Isaiah 40:27-31
12. I just searched "Zooey Parton" on Google and there are 10 pictures of Zooey from my blog on the first page alone. Also, pictures of Zooey Deschanel and some of my cookies.
13. Now I'll be going to bed smiling. :)


duck hunt

We drove to downtown Plymouth tonight to get ice cream from Dairy King. We're pretty sure Zooey remembered that this is the place where she gets a little dish of vanilla...
... which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Afterward, we were walking around a bit, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a duck stumbled into our path. She and Zooey both froze, just staring at one another.
Zooey was literally a statue for at least 5 minutes.
The only time she moved was when she decided to point at the duck.
It was hilarious. Finally, the duck got bored and started waddling away, at which point Zooey tried to lunge after it... we decided a duck killing in the middle of Plymouth might not be the best way to end our evening.


dog park, yard work & good food

Let's hear it for sunshine! (I'll just assume the Internet is rejoicing along with me.) The local dog park opened yesterday (I'm not even kidding - Doug has been talking about this for months, people. Months.), so we took Zoo over. Sadly, I forgot my camera, because she was hilarious. It's not that Zooey is antisocial... but she's just really submissive to every other dog (or baby piglet) ever. Doug thinks it's because a German shepherd attacked her at the last dog park he went to. Regardless, last night I felt like a parent on the first day of preschool, trying to get my shy toddler to play with the other kids.

Today, we had a productive day. Doug took Zoo to the dog park with our friend Troy and his dog (Troy's girlfriend, my friend Maria, has a really fun food blog here!). Then our friend Nick came over and he and Doug assessed our lawn, made a trip to Home Depot & started the backyard overhaul. Would you look at these manly men?
Here's the other side of the yard - a work in progress...
In the meantime, I contributed by walking Zooey and providing nourishment.
(Tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, ala Annie - so, so good)

For dinner tonight, I finally tried another Annie recipe that I've been drooling over for awhile - Teriyaki Burgers with Mango Pineapple Salsa. Wow. WOW. These are AH-mazing. A tad bit messy, but worth every sweetangy (I just invented that word), delicious bite.
Made, of course, with Excelsior Farms beef.

And that's pretty much it!
Except, listen to this song (Jeanette, I'm looking at you).
Oh, and I have 14 days of school left.
That's all!


live blog: a day in the life

*Note: This is not a true live blog. I don't have time throughout my day to keep updating my blog. I just thought it would be interesting to chronicle a day in the life of a high school English teacher. By interesting, I mostly mean that I had a random idea to do this, so here goes.

6:10am - Slept in 15 minutes today! This means a little scrambling. Shower.
6:20am - Dry hair, make up, brush teeth, get dressed, etc. No breakfast (I know, I know - it's the most important meal of the day...)
7:08am - Left the house 8 minutes later than I like. Observed to myself on my quiet drive that the sky was quite overcast, but there was a sort of golden glow to everything. Prayed that I wouldn't get a headache today.
7:22am - Arrive at school. Pass through teacher's lounge to check mailbox. Head to classroom. Log in to computer.
7:24am - Read through emails. Open grades. Shuffle through some miscellaneous papers. Prepare work for my student aide.
7:30am - Warning bell. Open 1st hour attendance.
7:35am - 1st bell. Students begin trickling in. I told my students that next year, for their graduation gift to me, they can get me a dik-dik. One of my students told me that if I want one, I'd better step up my game.
7:40am - 2nd bell. 1st hour, American Lit. Two students tardy, one student absent. I check homework - Great Gatsby chapter 1-3 worksheet.
7:45am - Student who was selling bagels for junior class comes in. We begin going over the worksheet. I'm frustrated at a few points because the students are tired and not very responsive. I continue prodding, and succeed in getting them to act more alert.
8:15am - Done with worksheet. We start reading chapter 4 of GG.
8:25am - Stop reading, tell students to finish through page 74 for homework. Idle chit chat for the last couple minutes while passing back a writing assignment.
8:30am - Bell. Send my attendance. Enter some grades. This is my prep hour.
8:40am - Decide to get some Timmy Ho's, because hey, it's Hump Day and it's dreary outside. Get an iced mocha cappucino. Sweet, delicious, sugary calories.
8:55am - Back at school. Stop by teacher's lounge, pick up copies of receipts from prom junior/senior banquet and bagel sales.
9:00am - Back in my room. A male student opens my door and pretends to throw a dodgeball at me. To my credit, I barely flinch, but merely hold lift my hand to catch the ball. The student laughs and runs away. I continue grading&entering, whilst slurping upon my cappucino.
9:28am - Have successfully entered 2 vocab assignments for both freshman classes and Romeo & Juliet Act IV questions for both classes.
9:30am - Bell. The same two students who are always there RIGHT at the bell enter immediately. I make small talk with them.
9:35am - 2nd bell. Third hour, English 9. We finished Romeo & Juliet yesterday and have questions for Act V today. Students work on these in groups. When they're finished, I give them an assignment to create a modern cast for R&J. They love this, and keep giggling as they're mentioning names of Twilight actors and trying to come up with "that one guy from that one movie..." Toward the end of class, a girl turns hers in, smiles and says, "That was a pretty fun assignment, Mrs. P." *swoon*
10:25am - Bell. 10-minute break. I grade a few "Gatsby quote" responses from my juniors.
10:35am - Bell. 4th hour, American Lit. Check and review the Gatsby worksheet. Students this hour are much more engaged, and ask some good questions. I'm pleased. Read the first part of chapter 4.
11:20am - In the last few minutes of class, two of my freshmen come in to see me. The male student asks, "Are we doing anything in class today?" I say, "How do you think I'm going to respond to that question?" The brazen boy says, "No?" I told him to leave, come back and try again. They return, and the boy wisely keeps his mouth shut while the girl says, "[Art teacher] wants to know if we can miss class to help clean up the art room." Excuse me?! Now, don't get me wrong - I'm a music minor, a band nerd, a "Gleek", if you will (sidenote: actually don't watch that show anymore; it got far too trashy) - I love the arts. But I'm annoyed. Seriously annoyed. I, however, try to be understanding, bite my tongue to avoid releasing a snarky remark, and tell the students they may be late, but they'll need to scramble to make sure their work gets done.
11:21am - Feel annoyed that I said yes. Wish I had said no. Debate emailing the art teacher to retract my assent. Decide that would be a bad idea.
11:25am - Bell. Stew a little more, then decide to get over it.
11:30am - Bell. 5th hour, English 9. All students but the two aforementioned are present. Explain the assignments and get the groups started.
12:00pm - Realize my two students aren't back yet. Shoot an email to art teacher requesting their prompt presence.
12:10pm - TWELVE. TEN. = Half an hour late. = 10 minutes of class left. The 2 students return from cleaning the art room. All my frustration floods back. Try to be as patient as possible while explaining the assignments to these two students...
12:20pm - Bell. Lunch! I cram down a peanut/almond/granola bar. A freshman comes to make up her To Kill a Mockingbird test... a month late. Realize I'm far too gracious. Finish grading 4th hour assignments. Junior class treasurer comes to count the day's bagel money. Enter total into Excel spreadsheet.
12:55pm - Bell. 6th hour, prep. Type up this little ditty. Start grading student reflections on their outside novel for the semester. There is a freshman math class in my room this hour, so sometimes I like to see if I can remember how to do what they're learning. The answer is most often, shamefully, not really. SOHCAHTOA.
1:45pm - Fire drill! Should I admit on the Internet that I'm staying inside? I don't have a class, and I've been being really productive with my grading. So here I am, lights off, door closed, admitting to the Internet that I stayed inside during the fire drill. Um, while I'm confessing, I might as well just admit that when I was in college, I skipped a fire drill in the middle of the night. Another story for another time...
2:00pm - 7th hour, American Lit. We had fun at the beginning of class trying to figure out what "second cousin once removed" really means. If you can figure it out from the chart we consulted, please let me know. Went over the Gatbsy sheet, didn't get to the reading, so they have extra homework tonight.
2:45pm- Bell. End of the school day. I'll stay for a bit to grade a few things, but thee gray sky is really affecting my mood right now, so I think I'll leave shortly to go cuddle Zooey.


be careful what you ask for

In preparation for our sub-wide garage sale, I've been going through some boxes in the basement (how did some of this stuff make it through 4 different moves?!), and unearthing a vast array of relics. I recently found some 3x5 cards from my time as a counselor at Camp Pinnacle. I believe these were from a group of 6th grade girls that I was responsible for. After a "small group" session, my co-counselor and I told the girls that if they had "any questions" they could write them down and we'd try to answer them...

So, the young, inquiring minds wanted to know:

Some people at school say that boys don't give cooties when they touch you but they give you grems, is this true.

If we want to be more like God does that mean we have to be Jews. Jesus was a Jew.

I don't like scary movies! All my friends love them and always talk about them. Should I watch the movies and talk about them with my friends?

What shud I do when sum one is being mene to me or my friends

My mom told me that if I need anything I can go to [name] the nurse. I think what she means is that if I have my period I could go to her. There are a lot of things about "the period" I don't understand. Can you please explain it to me?

I don't understand (know) how a baby is made. Does God make them when two people are married or what?

Yikes. I wonder how 19-year old Rachel responded to them, because 26-year old Rachel has apparently blocked the rest of that discussion from memory...


mrs. parton goes to prom, part 2

I know what you're all thinking, and the answer is no, Zooey did not go to prom "Junior Senior Banquet" with me. I did have a dream that I took her, resulting in a colossal argument with my friend Marisa (the fact that, in my dream, prom was also held at a local liquor store may have factored into that argument as well).

The junior class is responsible for organizing the prom "Junior Senior Banquet". As the junior class sponsors, Marisa and I were pretty busy with preparations, and so we were very much ready to sit back and enjoy the show. Our kids did an amazing job creating a "VIP Hollywood" theme. And, as one of my students formerly observed, I was tan for prom! In fact, I was mistaken for Donald Trump a few times.
An easy mistake, I'm sure!
Anyway, we reserved a room not at a liquor store, but at St. John's, and the prom"Junior Senior Banquet" committee decorated it beautifully...
The evening was a huge success, and I'm so thankful to this group of incredible students!
(All of the following pictures [except the last one] are stolen from my small group girls' Facebook albums!)
And, of course, to my fabulous co-workers, who are so supportive - even to the point that they were willing to bake cupcakes for 100 people (long story short, we had a budget surplus and were saved from that confectionary undertaking)!
A fun group of lovely young ladies - some of the girls in my small group (you may recognize some of them from their pose with The Trump earlier).
A picture that more accurately represents our group shenanigans...

And finally, my partner in crime, Marisa. Jr/Sr is over, and we only have 3 more weeks of bagels!


before&after: bedside table

I didn't remember to take a "before" picture, so I had to search through old pictures, and came across this gem, from when we were moving into our first apartment!




vanity, thy name is woman

Subtitled: Confessions of the Sprayed Tan

So, I went spray tanning for the first time yesterday. I've been fake tanning a few times (i.e. the cancer beds), but I hadn't gone at all this winter, and my skin's been looking... pretty pasty. It gets a little old hearing people comment on how "pale" I am (Seriously? I'm fair-skinned. I'm okay with that. You can all shut up with your "pale" comments!), so I mentioned resuming tanning. One of my friends gave me the idea to go spray tanning, as she's been and really enjoyed the results. However, I was not prepared for the trauma that would ensue.

First of all, my friend told me that she went into a little booth/machine thingy that sprayed her automatically. I walked into the room at a local salon, and there was "Vanessa" and a weird tent thing. My suspicions were confirmed when "Vanessa" told me I could wear this flimsy paper bikini or "go commando, if you're comfortable with it." That's when things clicked. Oh. You're going to be spraying me? Awkward.

Well, I donned the paper bikini and got all spray painted. YIKES. "Vanessa" did inform me that there was a bronzer to "give instant color"... but I wasn't prepared for autoJamaican. The whole time, as "Vanessa" was chatting merrily about life and normal topics that seemed completely abnormal considering the situation, I was trying to form coherent responses while my brain kept repeating, "What am I doing? What am I doing?"

I got home and I think Zooey was probably freaked out by the strange Oompa Loompa who let her out of the cage. I immediately texted my friend, asking her if her body was eerily dark right afterward. She called me and tried to still my fears - yes, you look super dark because of the bronzer. No, you may not wash your face because then you will have paid for nothing because everything will wash off. So, I felt a little bit comforted, but still panicked every time I passed a mirror.

Then Doug got home, did a double take and asked, "What happened?!" I spent the next hour asking and re-asking if he hated it, if he was mad, if he wanted me to shower it off, if he was embarrassed to go to church with me, if I looked like a total freak, etc, etc, etc. Because my husband is a saint, he told me he was not embarrassed to be seen with Snooki and he still loved me.

Then we went to church, where everyone immediately asked me a million questions and I almost left right away to go shower and remove all traces. Several sweet girls tried to reassure me that it wasn't bad and it would look fine once the bronzer was off - although, one girl exclaimed, "Wow! You don't look like a white highlighter!" Yep. Thanks for that...

Anyway, I got home, had to go babysit (sorry for the nightmares, kid), came home and showered. I was somewhat relieved by the color of my face, but it was still a very noticeable difference.

Then there was school today.

Now, being a teacher has really taught me how to laugh at myself and be okay with making a fool out of myself (don't test my limits - I'm still overly sensitive and might snap!)... but man, it took a lot for me to walk into school today instead of taking a personal day. Knowing that my students notice if I get so much as an inch trimmed off my hair, I steeled myself for the onslaught.

"Whoa, did you go tanning?"
"Wow, you're tan."
"Have you been tanning?"
"Oh my word!"
"Mrs. Parton, you're so tan!"
"Jersey Shore called..."
"Are you going clubbing this weekend?"
"Whoa, it's an exchange student from Africa!"
"You're so... tan..."

etc. etc. etc.

Some of my girls did try to be nice about it, and one student even said, "Hey! At least you'll be tan for prom!"

I honestly have no clue why I didn't think about all this sooner. Why I didn't go over the weekend. Why I went at all. Why I couldn't just endure my pale skin for a few weeks longer until summer arrived. Hence the title of this post - vanity, vanity, vanity. Suffice to say, I learned my lesson, and my first experience with spray tanning will indeed be my last experience.


contributing factors of a glorious weekend and a corresponding abundance of exclamation points

Blossoms! And green grass! And leaves! And blue skies! And warmth! And sunshine! And so much beauty that sometimes I think my heart might explode!

Watching Tangled on Friday night with Doug!

Going for a run Saturday morning with Doug & Zooey!

Celebrating Leslie's 7th birthday!
Cappucino Crunch ice cream!

More blossoms!
Playing in the park! With swings! And golf lessons!
Bike rides! And long walks!

Grilling hot dogs!

Weeding & working on the yard!

Lying on a blanket in the sun!

Sitting on the front porch eating ice cream!

Did I mention the blossoms?!

Talking to my beautiful, amazing mother and wishing her a Happy Mother's Day!

A teensy, rosy sunburn!

The smell of fresh laundry!

ee cummings!
(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

Oh, Sweet Spring! Please continue to grace us with your presence!

This song! (Jeanette, I think you'll love this...)



"God is here even when we are wholly unaware of it.
He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence. On our part, there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work is to show us the Father and the Son.
If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience,
God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face."
-A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God


recently i'm... (15)

Cooking at this very minute: baked pasta - for a mini potluck with my girl friends Maria & Lindsay.

Missing: Doug. He's been in Florida for work this week. But he gets home tomorrow night, so there will be much rejoicing.

Baking: Thank you, Manda, for leading me to Picky Palate so I could make S'more Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yeah. Yeah. They're as good as they sound & look.
Since Doug's out of town, I also made some with Reeses peanut butter cups & marshmallows... sweet merciful wonder. Make them NOW.

Neglecting: gardening. I haven't planted a thing. I blame it on the ceaseless rain.

Rocking out: at grading! Somehow or another, I'm so on top of it these days!

Listening to: The Tragically Hip (I know, what?! Hey there, coffee girl...)

Reading: re-reading The Great Gatsby in preparation for our upcoming unit in American Lit...

Looking forward to: I can't believe I'm going to admit this on the internet... but, I'm really looking forward to our Junior/Senior Banquet, a.k.a. prom! The kids have been working really hard in preparation (the juniors throw the whole thing together for the seniors), and I love seeing everyone dressed up all fancy like!

Leaving: for the mini potluck!

P.S. It's Teacher Appreciation Week... just saying! *wink!*


a love poem

I am a poetry-writing fiend these days!

My freshmen are reading Romeo & Juliet, so I naturally gave them the assignment of writing a love poem. I, in return, composed the following poem during a few spare minutes of my fifth hour class.

Love Poem to My Classes

Energetic, lively and full of fun -
It seems as though the year has just begun.
However, our time is rapidly drawing to a close,
And my feelings are too genuine to write in prose.
So class, I've written a little poem for you
(Even though at times I feel like I'm in a zoo).
You make me laugh, chuckle and grin.
You make me cry, my patience worn thin.
But the bottom line that I'm trying to express -
I love you and all your craziness.

rcp 5.3.11



"Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord God, "and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?" - Ezekiel 18:23


post #600

Zooey's dinner time is 6:00. She has a pretty intense internal clock that goes off around 5:30.
We usually try to ignore her, which results in increasingly desperate attention-seeking behavior.
Until, finally, she succeeds in getting us to pay attention to her and fill her bowl.

In other news, Doug & I went on a date last night.

And in other, other news - the blossoms are helping me deal with this interminable rain.