Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 68

I know, I know. I apologize. A lost USB cord was the reason for the blogging hiatus. Kaelon just couldn't live any more without reading my updates, so he sent me a replacement. Thanks, Kaelon! :)

Today's photo captures the concentration of the second graders working on their PowerPoints. They did such a great job today!

Now that I think about it, I should have taken a photo of me standing through my sunroof trying to change the lightbulb in my garage door opener... That was a sight to see!!

Day 67

Wow! A professional meeting has never been so fun! Thanks to Maureen and Jan for the cake! It was soooo good!

Day 66

We celebrated the premiere of Alice In Wonderland with a reading from Robert Sabuda's book. This is a shot of Alice falling down the pop-up rabbit hole.

Day 65

A mini road trip to Sharon, PA included an intense walk through of Kraynaks (what a store!) as well as some good wings at the original Quaker Steak and Lube. It was a fun way to spend the first almost warm day of 2010!

Day 64

Mt. Lebanon Girls AND Boys WPIAL champs!

It was a great day (Home Show and dinner at Kaya), but it was fun cheering on the gang.

Dori is an awesome coach and deserves the honor! Great work, girls!

Day 63

Ok, so no photo for today, but Mojoe Bistro in Belleview, PA deserves a shout-out. The night was spent celebrating with some of my nearest and dearest friends and had some great food. I had lobster ravioli...mmm. Check it out sometime.

Day 62

This was a feeble attempt for a picture of stripes as per the directions on The Daily Shoot. MiPhone camera is blurry these days and a student or two were tugging on my arm to help them find a book.

Regardless, it's still a photo from our school book fair. I got to hang out and help kids find books and got a few donations for the library, too.

The best part of Book Fair Week was the special delivery. :) Thanks!

Day 61

I think this might have been from Tuesday, but since I'm doing this 10 days later, I can't be sure. It will work, though...

Tonight I had the privilege to watch the Mt. Lebanon Girl's Basketball team in the WPIAL semi-finals. They are ranked 10th nationally and boy are they tough! It was fun to see the big win!

Day 60

Today was Read Across America Day because it was Dr. Seuss's birthday. That also means it was Dress-Up Like Your Favorite Storybook Character Day. The kids were so excited to come to school all dressed up!

Some of my favorite costumes were Skippyjon Jones (girl waving), Amelia Bedelia (girl in front) and in the morning class, an adorable bunny-in-a-box from the story Not a Box. Cute.

Day 58

Well, since my photo didn't turn out, I had to borrow this one.

Today I said good-bye to an old friend, the local watering hole, The Rhythm House in Bridgeville, PA. I spent a lot of time listening to live music there-everyone from Donora (actually I think I also Jake when he was with Eye C Snakes), Dancing Queen, and of course, Velveeta. Velveeta was always a good show, albeit a little cheesy. :)

I will also always remember the times Jason and I decided to go out to dinner on a random nice evening during the week where we could sit out on the deck or the times we would all huddle on the deck and listen to music because it was smokey inside (the smoking ban took care of that in recent years).

Good-bye, old friend! GetGo will never replace you!

Day 57

The Winter Olympics sparked the Pittsburgh Curling Club to host a series of learn-to-curl sessions. After a great lunch at Tessarro's (congrats to mom's win on The Amazing Race), Kevin and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and headed to the Robert Morris Sports Center for our lesson. We were shocked at the line we stood in just to pay (more than 3o minutes before the start time), but were more impressed with the number of people (about 500) still in line when we were all done.

Our lesson was fun (I had one good throw), but definitely plan on going back when it's not so crowded. We need practice!

Day 56

Another Friday, another major snowstorm. A trip that typically takes me 35 minutes took almost an hour and a half. The snow just plummeted the roads and I made sure there was a car in front of me at all times so I could see where I was going. Where is that groundhog??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55--Wow.

Wow. That's just about all I can say.

Last night, I was nestled all snug in my bed when my phone rang at 10:30. When I saw it was Chris Stengel, my Tech Director extraordinaire, I did a double take. He doesn't use the "real" phone too often. He and some other Mt. Lebanon reps were at PETE&C--the prestigious PA educational technology conference in Hershey. I figured he was calling to rub it in my face that they were having so much fun without me (it's the first time in four years that I missed the entire weekend). He wasn't.

He and Kaelon were gracious enough to let me know that I won the 2010 Outstanding Teacher Award from the PA Educational Council of Technology. When I saw the photo, I laughed and asked him how he Photoshopped my name in there. It was a few seconds before I actually believed him.

I'm disappointed that I missed the banquet...only to thank everyone who believed in me enough to make that declaration. I hope they know how humbled I feel. However, it's a bonus that I also get to go to the national conference, ISTE, in June to "compete" at the national level. I have no idea what this means, but just to spend some time learning with my colleagues at the greatest conference ever is just fine with me.

Wow. It's such an honor. I really don't feel deserving of it, though. I don't do anything more than I expect most teachers do. Besides, there are so many other people that enable me to be successful in and out of the classroom, but it's my students who make or break a teaching job. The award should go to them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 54

It was time for some good 'ol American food, so what's more American than Damon's for chicken salad and trivia? Even though it was Skillz that dominated the trivia competition, I held my own...barely!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53

3:30am is obscenely early to wake up (and eat the cheese sandwiches they gave us for our "boxed breakfast"). That aside, it was a great day to travel home.

This is a volcano we passed over in Central America on the way home. I've never seen a real one that recently erupted like that.

15 hours later, I am home. It was such a great trip and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to go. It was a feast for the mind, body and soul. (This gray Pittsburgh weather seems much more drastic, though. I actually gasped at the whiteness as we emerged from the clouds before we landed!)

Day 52

DISCLAIMER: While I spent a TON of time trying to pack my "good" Nikon in my suitcase, find the filter, and wrap the lenses tightly so it could travel well. I love that camera and was so excited to take pictures with it in Costa Rica. However, when I went to use it, I realized that the battery stayed in the charger on my chair (see Day 48)...Sooo, these pictures are only mediocre and I'm not excited about any of them. :-(

That said, this is as good as my shots got on the river cruise. We saw tons of monkeys--white faced and howler monkeys (which are really loud!), dozens of crocodiles and beautiful birds. The monkeys were all just "hanging out" in the trees, but when they move, it's amazing to see how their arms can stretch across the branches. I liked seeing the Kapok trees, too.

After the cruise, we had a traditional Costa Rican lunch with rice, beans, chicken, chips, veggies and rice pudding. Then we cruised around Liberia...the second largest city in the country. I was surprised that it was hardly a city...One supermarket, one light and the church being the center of town.

A huge "gracias" goes to our awesome tour guide, Mayer, who even detoured us back into Liberia so I could find a cache...and three of us went and found it at the local hotel. Mayer even gave me Spanish lessons while we sat together on the bus.

Day 51

Paradise, Day 3
Even work is a lot of fun here. This morning we had our meetings and it was a great way to talk and brainstorm with each other. DSA also announced even more trips for next year...including a tempting trip to London and Paris for spring break (but I have some time to think about it).

In the afternoon, we got to sit by the pool and browse some of the local handiwork on the beach. These pottery pieces were some of my favorites.

For the evening, we explored the town Tamarindo. It's a large surfing area with tons of small shops. My favorite part was dinner at La Beach Club...a perfect little on-the-sand restaurant with lights hanging from the trees and some tables that were like beds. It made me really wish I lived by the beach!

Day 50

Ugh! What picture to post? A photo of the ziplines? One of the hot spring? One in the river where we were covered in lava mud? The one of the cashew fruit? I just couldn't decide!

I "settled" on this one because it's a great reminder of the landscape in Costa Rica...very dry during this time of year, but the palm trees are still beautiful and the volcanoes make the skyline amazing. We rode by horseback up the side of a volcano and ziplined down. I was only super nervous on the first three! It's quite enjoyable after you forget about the fact you're dozens of feet in the air only hanging by a wire over the canopy of the forest!

After our adventure portion of the day, we got to soak in the geothermal waters and ate lunch. I had the best tilapia EVER...I think they just reached in the ocean, seasoned it, and stuck it on my plate. The dragonfruit drinks were unbelievable too.

Dinner at the resort consisted of octopus (blah!), tons of fruit, and all kinds of fish I couldn't name. Life is good. :)

Day 49

It was a looong travel day...After a 4am wake up, 3 hour flight to Houston, 8 hour layover, 4 hours to Liberia and an hour ride to the hotel, I finally arrived at the Barcelo Langosta Resort in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The "welcome drinks" were definitely appreciated! I am so excited to spend a long weekend with some dynamic teachers learning and having some amazing experiences!

Day 48

To pack is to charge... Ahh...the beauty of simultaneous chargings.