Slice of Life #8- Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

IMG_2322Last night Chris and I drove down to Moorestown, NJ to see his cousin perform as King Arthur in Spamalot! They are one of the first high schools to perform this show since it left Broadway and they did an awesome job.  This part was made for him; Chris and I spent the entire time laughing hysterically!  The snow meant that our first attempt at seeing the show was aborted but we were thrilled to make it down last night for the closing show.

During intermission you could take pictures with King Arthur and his can of Spam, which of course we did.  I can’t believe he did this at every show and then got back on stage a few minutes later.  But he did! At the end of intermission Chris leaned over to me and said, “Something is going to happen to my dad.  My uncle told me to keep an eye on him”.

Once the second act started I think we promptly forgot about this face. Well, at the very end of of the play Chris’ dad was pulled up on stage!  When King Arthur asked his name he responded, without hesitation, “Uncle Carl!”.  Needless to say, the entire place burst out laughing!  He won his very own “Arthur” award and even got a trophy to take home.  While this was all occurring I was watching Chris, who I had never seen laugh so hard.  It was awesome!

And then, during the wedding at the end of the show, I caught the bouquet.  So now I have a beautiful vase full of peach roses which are bringing a little bit of spring into our house.  That’s a pretty good night all around!

I do love Spamalot because it brings back some great memories.  I’ve always been a big nerd and as a result I’ve always hung out with a lot of nerds, too.  As you can probably imagine, I always had friends who were going through a Monty Python stage.  At any given time in my life someone was quoting from the various movies and sketches so when the musical would call upon some of these same lines I was a very happy camper.

Congratulations to Moorestown High School for an awesome performance!

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*Also exciting?  One of the Philadelphia news anchors was at the show.  We were very starstruck.  :)

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Slice of Life #7- Baby, It’s Cold Outside! 

Exactly how cold is it when you spend three hours hiking through a local county park in 10 inches of snow with 10 middle schoolers and the thermometer says ten degrees?

How many pairs of socks should one wear to hike for three hours?

Are mittens or gloves the better choice when you will be taking pictures, making eco-art, and pointing out animal tracks?

How distracted do middle schoolers get when you add snow to the hike?

How many times can you say “Please don’t pick up the fallen icicles!” and “don’t eat snow!”?

How tired am I after a three hour hike in the snow?

But then….

How  gorgeous is a forest covered in snow?

How invigorating is it spend a few hours out in the snow?

How awesome is it when goofy middle schoolers get very serious about creating ephemeral eco-art?

How tired are middle schoolers after a three hour hike?

How grateful am I to the inventor of the Columbia omni-heat line, which kept me warm and toasty during the three hours spent outside today?

How happy will I be when spring comes?

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Slice of Life #6- Snow Day Schedule (Teacher Version)

5:45AM- Chris wakes me up to see if we are walking the dogs.  I remind him that I have a delayed opening and will be taking the dogs to doggie daycare to make sure they are tired when we go out later tonight.  In other words, no walk.

7:00AM- Alarm goes off.  I check my phone, see that school hasn’t been cancelled, and proceed to get ready for the day.  This involves playing in the backyard with the dogs, feeding them, then getting dressed.  Oh, and warming up the car!

7:40AM- Pack the dogs into the car while reading a text message from Chris.  He says the roads were awful on his way to work.

7:41AM- Receive last minute phone call that school has been cancelled.  Ok, but now I am up and dressed.  Text doggie daycare to say I’ll be late in hopes that the ice on the roads melts.

7:45AM- Eat breakfast and read.

8:30AM-9:30AM- Take the dogs to doggie daycare; stay and play with all the dogs for a bit.

9:30AM- Drive home.  Spend the next hour or so cleaning up.

10:30AM- Play with the cat. Read.

11:00AM-12:pm-  Go to bridal salon and try on bridesmaid dresses for my brother’s wedding this summer.  It’s a painful process but I’m glad I am able to get it done on this snow day.  Choose a dress.  End up choosing one I never would have picked before trying it on. Order dress.

12:30-1:30PM- Lunch.  It’s Friday and it’s Lent, so that means a tuna sub.  Read while eating lunch.

1:30-3:00PM- Various things around the house while catching up on Nashville.  Tweet about how awesome Laura Benanti is this season and freak out when she favorites the tweet.

3:00PM- Make a lot of phone calls. File complaint with USPS because I am only getting mail every other day.

3:30PM- Leave to pick up dogs.

4:00-5:00PM- End up hanging out and playing with dogs.

5:00-6:00PM- Read, finish episode of Nashville, work on grading.

6:00PM- Chris gets home.  He tells me the mailman threw our mail on the ground in front of the mailbox.  We live on a main road and the mailbox is across the street so I am furious.  Run out to get package and get angrier when I discover it’s a huge package from Algonquin Books that has been buried in the snow.  Lodge another complaint with the post office.

6:15PM- Order pizza for dinner. (Lent).  Pick up pizza.

7:00PM- Eat dinner. Catch up on TV with Chris.

8:00PM-10:00PM- Two episodes of House of Cards Season 3.  Two episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which is awesome!).

10:00-11:00PM- Plan for early morning science enrichment class hike tomorrow.  Print birding activity. Write slice of life post.

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Slice of Life #5- Snow Day Slow Day

Happy snow day!!!  Last night we got the call that today school would be closed due to the impending storm.  And it certainly was a storm!  The snow began to fall around 7am and didn’t stop until close to 7pm.  Over the course of the day we received almost 9 inches of snow, light and fluffy.  The flakes alternated between large and fluffy and light and heavy all day long.  As a result, my yard looks just gorgeous.  The bird feeders were packed all day (I spotted a new species!  A yellow-bellied sapsucker!), the dogs enjoyed playtime in the snow, and the people spent some time relaxing.

I love snow days because all of my to-do lists and schedules disappear.  I tend to be more productive on snow days and I think it’s because I have more time to relax.  Today I baked cookies, did a bit of grading, played outside, helped shovel the driveway, and read two books.  No snow day is complete unless I take advantage of the extra reading time.

My first book today was Aisha Saeed’s upcoming Written in the Stars, which will be released on March 24th.  I admit that I judged this book by its beautiful cover, but I also assumed it was just another YA romance.  I could not have been more wrong.  Naila’s conservative immigrant parents are furious when they discover that she has been seeing a boy behind their back.  But their reaction?  Suffice it to say that the family vacation to Pakistan comes with ulterior motives.  I read this in one sitting and had tears in my eyes during more than one chapter. It’s a harrowing story that left me angry, upset, and with the feeling that I need to do something.

I highly recommend Written in the Stars for high school classrooms.  Upon finishing it I immediately thought of pairing it with Patricia McCormick’s Sold, another stunning look at women’s issues across the world.  Books can open our eyes and Written in the Stars certainly does so.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on some award lists later in the year.  A powerful story that will inspire you to appreciate the freedom many of us have while becoming more aware of those who don’t have that freedom.

How did you spend your snow day?  Did you read any good books?

Slice of Life #4- Tension Tamer

This has been one of those weeks.

Honestly, it’s been one of those months.  Just one of those months.  Everything keeps piling up and piling on, with no end in sight.

What I would like to do is go here:

40688_514538933499_7105275_nThat is Roatan, Honduras, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

But I can’t go to Roatan.  And it’s about to start snowing here.  And I am working for the next 10 days straight.

So instead of going to the beach I am drinking tea.

I’ve never been a tea drinker.  You see, I am a soda drinker- Pepsi, to be exact. But I have not had a glass of soda since Fat Tuesday, since I decided to give it up for Lent.  At first I tried replacing my soda intake with water and it worked a bit.  But water is boring!  So one night, when I could not sleep, I brewed a cup of Tension Tamer tea.  Needless to say, I was quickly hooked.  It was light and full of flavor; more importantly, it helped me relax and fall asleep.

So now I have a new routine.  A few nights each week I steep a cup of tea while I am getting ready for bed.  I’ve added Sleepytime tea to the mix, in a variety of flavors, and I am enjoying it.  It’s a relaxing and pleasant ritual each night and I think drinking tea helps me feel more relaxed and fall asleep faster.

Today has been especially stressful. As a result, I am steeping my cup of Tension Tamer tea while I write this. Soon I will press publish and I will sink into bed, cup in hand.  Hopefully, I will wake up less stressed out.

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Slice of Life #3- Doing a Happy Dance

Sometimes you just need to do a happy dance, or at least smile as you watch someone else do a happy dance.

I dare you to watch the video linked above and not smile.  Today was just a little stressful but when the video was shared on my Twitter timeline I somehow ended up clicking on it.  I enjoy the song so that probably explains why I took a chance on it.  Now?  I think I’ve watched it ten times in a row and I’m still smiling!

The video’s creator pulled together this mash-up of movie characters dancing, set it to the music, and it just works perfectly!

So excuse me while I continue to blast the song and smile while trying to identify all of the movies included.  I know I saw Center Stage, one of my guilty pleasure movies (we used to watch it on repeat in college for some strange reason)!  I also saw Hairspray, Risky Business, Mamma Mia (another guilty pleasure.  I can not turn that movie off if I stumble upon it on HBO), Footloose, West Side Story, Hitch, The Breakfast Club, Madagascar, and Coyote Ugly.  

No matter how stressed you might be, how annoyed you might be, how cold you might be- shut up and smile, ok?

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