Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Things Friday

Today for Five Things Friday I decided to feature....Five Photos from the Past

El Jimador 2009

12 Hour Road Trip 2010

Hill Billy Hoedown 2009

St Pete's Beach 2009

Our summer place....June 2012.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Therapy: Five Tips for Being Happy

Happiness is more an internal trait than an external one. Oh there are things that make us smile, make us laugh and lift our spirits but in the end it's what's inside that really produces happiness.

1. Don't compare yourself to others. What's the point? There will always be someone thinner, prettier, richer, more successful. Sound depressing?  It's really not...once you realize that there will NEVER be anyone just like you! 

2. Find stories to treasure. Memories, random stories that you collect from others, folktales, stories of your adventures, family stories. I believe that stories are the fabric that holds our lives together. Live! Make stories!

3. Don't take life too seriously. Sometimes we get so hung up on the should haves and could haves and all that other stuff that we forget to breath. We forget to look around us, to be aware of life. It's the ebb and flow of life that has meaning....not all the things that pound us and worry us and cause us to pause.

4. Make people a priority. Live outside yourself. Give freely. Embrace what comes your way. Breath, Dance, Sing, Laugh! Do the things that make you happy. Not selfishly but with joy!

5. Stop looking for meaning in everything that happens. Sometimes there isn't any and if there is...maybe it isn't really yours to know right now. Let go of things. Stop trying to figure out mean people, politics, hatred and other things that bring you down. Let them go. Live life as if they no longer exist and perhaps they will shrink to such a small part of life that they become unimportant.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What I'm Reading Tuesday: City of Ashes

This is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I haven't gotten very far into the book but it is continuing the characters and plot from book one: City of Bones. My days have been busy so finding some time to read is difficult right now and for me...I like to really delve into a book and just come up for air every so often. That's not an option right now!
This series of books is all about a whole separate world that exists right here along side our own but because of glamor and other tricks we can't really SEE the people in this other realm or if we do they look "normal". The world is inhabited by Shadow Hunters, demons, werewolves, faeries, and vampires. Some of the things like the Silent Brothers remind me a bit of the dementors in the Harry Potter series with their ability to read minds.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Moonlight Madness: October Full Moon

We just experienced a full moon this past week in all of it's glory.  This full moon is the Ducks Fly Moon and it falls between September 23rd and October 23rd. It's the first full moon of Mudjekeewis, the Spirit Keeper of the West. It is also the full moon of my birth. The clan (my birth clan) that influences this moon is the Butterfly Clan. My birth totem animal is the Raven.

When Raven appears  magic is imminent. Raven is about rebirth, recovery, renewal  recycling and certainly reflection and healing. He signifies moving through transitions smoothly by casting light into the darkness. The Ducks Fly Moon can show one how to show affection and how to be comfortable in both earth and sky. 

Other names for this moon include "Harvest Moon", "Blood Moon" and "Hunter's Moon"


Friday, October 18, 2013

Five Things Friday

I've been pondering what to use as my topic for Five Things Friday this week...There's so many possibilities but none seem to strike my fancy at the moment. So then I thought I can do Five Things from last October:

Last October's Halloween party....we had a blast "witch hunting".

Mystery Dinner Theater at the Lemp Mansion. The Haunted Huntsman. I won a Little Dickie. (it's an award...get your mind out of the gutter!!)
Haunted Hannibal for the Schenck Girls Weekend!!
Last years Halloween Art Journal!!
Ghoul Friends dinner party favors....They still make me smile!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Therapy: Mexican Food, Birthday Wishes and Talk Therapy

Well my birthday was Tuesday but evidently the celebration goes on and on. At MT (Margarita Thursday) We enjoyed wearing the hats and having a simple dessert to celebrate. (Thanks a lot Missy)  At least it wasn't the whip cream in the face! I appreciate all the great birthday wishes this year and the fun things we have done in October to celebrate. I consider them ALL birthday celebrations.

Tonight we covered a wide range of topics from hauntings, to childhood memories, from sad stories and painful memories to present day school talk. Its good for the soul to share things that are interesting and inspiring and make us question our daily lives and just what life really means to each of us. I never tire of hearing some stories as every time I hear them something new presents itself.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I'm Reading Tuesday: Christmas Travelers

This week I'm reading a book called Christmas Travelers. First let me tell you it is a free copy I received from the author for review on my blog (Rudolph Ramblings). I have to read it before I can review it so that leads to this post here at Ginger's Journey.
The book is about six strangers that meet on a flight on December 24th. They are all very different and traveling to different places but their plans go astray.  That's about all the details I can give you right now as I just started reading it. It does seem and easy inspiring read so far.
I will say I appreciate the fact that it is available in Kindle version, as well as, paperback. By the way...after I review it over at Rudolph Ramblings I am planning to offer my slightly used copy as part of a blog give away. So if you like entering giveaways be watching for it.
I know its not even Halloween yet but if I want to get it reviewed in time for people that like to read Christmas novels during the holiday season...then I need to get moving!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Moonlight Monday: Baying at the Moon

It's Monday...time for a new week to unfold in life and here at Ginger's Journey. I wonder if this week will be quiet or will there be baying at the moon?  I never know what the work week will bring. It can unfold quietly like the stillness of a winter night cloaked in snow or  it can lap at my senses like the ocean waves.  Then again it can be filled with people baying and howling. I can't always fault them...sometimes one has to howl to be heard.  It's just very draining.

The world seems clogged with sound, whether it's people or technology or the constant need for entertainment. One seldom encounters quiet anymore. Even as I type I can hear the sounds of distant traffic. I didn't use to appreciate quiet, a leisurely day without TV or chatter. I do so more now. Even though I am definitely an extrovert, I have come to cherish quiet moments. It is in these times that stress eases, the mind stops its frantic searching and understanding surfaces.

That's why I keep saying I am going to spend time each day meditating. Never seem to carve out the time to do it but I really must. The main problem is getting away from the noise. Where can one seek out a place for quiet mediation in a busy world. This is the question I will seek an answer to this week.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Things Friday

So I've decided Fridays will be Five Things Friday here at Ginger's Journey. I'm a person who likes to keep my options it might be five random thoughts, five things I love, five things I hate, five pieces of advice or whatever seems to be stuck in my mind at the time!

This week will be Five Things I Love About October:

Schenck Girls Haunted Weekend. We do our haunted weekend the first weekend in October and this year we went to Alton for the Haunted Alton tour, some great food (and drink) and a lot of laughs.

Feeding the animals at Big Joel's Safari. This is a great little afternoon adventure. There are so many cute animals and it is so relaxing to stroll around feeing them and watching their antics.

Witches Night Out at Kimmswick.....with some of my favorite witches! This is our second year attending the event and it is so much fun to relax and see all of the creative witch outfits people come up with!

Next up is the Haunted Tour and overnight at Lemp Mansion in St. Louis Missouri. This is one of the most haunted locations in the country. Can't wait to do the tour and stay over night on my birthday...coming up Tuesday October 15th! (more details will follow after our stay I'm sure!)

Here's a little video someone created on youtube. The whole house is haunted but some locations see more activity than others. We have rooms on both the second and third floors so we hope to have an interesting experience.

Also coming soon....our annual Halloween party....October 26th. This is a picture from last year when we did a Witch Hunt (sort of think Murder Mystery party with a witchy slant.)
We were just talking about how October seems to be our busiest month....maybe even more than December. Maybe because it is my favorite month of the year!  I love October.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conferences, Conversations, and Call Outs

Last autumn parent teacher conferences!  We still have another round in the spring. Parent teacher conference days can be helpful but they can also be long and rather tedious.  I spoke with about 8 total parents during the two days, although of course, teachers spoke to many more.  Most of the ones I spoke with had to do with bullying. This is something that seems to be a difficult thing to eradicate.

At times some of the conversations seemed to go like the cartoon above.  :) 
Conversations are something that have been on my mind of late. I think I mentioned somewhere before about the surreal feeling I get sometime from people that I know are not being upfront and honest. Now honest does not mean brutal. I do not expect people to rip into others but I HATE the way some people sugar coat and smile and act all wonderful when I know inside they have questions, comments, beliefs, thoughts, etc they are not sharing. I don't like fakes or pretenders. While I also know that behind the scenes they are whining, manipulating, and stirring up trouble.  I'm not talking parents here...necessarily...I'm talking staff, administrators, etc.
Increasingly I have the desire to throw a bullshit card...with some people. To call them out on their manipulative, back stabbing, two faced approach to life. I'm not particularly good with this....not because I'm afraid to...but because I veer away from banging my head against a brick wall. Human nature is hard to change.. People tend to stay as they are regardless of what people say or do. So calling them out might get them to squirm for a bit but overall it's usually a waste of time. They might adjust a little and find a somewhat different (and still devious) way of doing something but the true course seldom changes.
Instead I've taken to "being a fox". Ha...that makes me laugh!  I mean a fox as in my totem animal...the fox. Foxes are often silent and observing. They take in all sorts of data and information but they are patient and observe the comings and goings while appearing not to. A fox is patient and judges when and where to step out. They are cunning in their understanding of human nature and prefer to absorb what they know and see while keeping a close eye on their own position. They may appear to not care, to be distancing themselves, to be half asleep but never under estimate a fox...they know exactly what is going on.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What I'm Reading Tuesday: City of Bones

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is book one in the Mortal Instrument series. This series is written for teens/young adults but since the story line appealed to me (And I didn't have anything else to read) I thought I'd give it a try. I'm currently on page 331 (out of 485) and I have to say its sort of lost it's punch. I'm not sure why but all of the sudden I've lost interest. The story line is at a stand still or seems to be dragging. Oh never fear, I'm going to finish's not a dismal loss. Just yearning for a little action or some type of resolution.

Since it's the first book in the series I doubt I get any real resolution (or what would be the point of book two?) The book starts out with Clary and Simon who are best friends. They're on an adventure at a club when Clary notices some weird looking characters and encounters the Shadow Hunters for the first time. She discovers the world she has always known is also inhabited by demons, werewolves, vampires and other creatures. She also ends up finding out about who she really is.  I don't want to give a lot of details about the story because I do think its worth the read, even with the slow down at the end of the book.

That's what I'm reading....what about you?  I have book two, City of Glass, but I'm not sure if I will go directly into book two or if I will take a break from the series and head in another direction for a while.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Word for the Week: Unearthly

A few years back I did a couple of posts where I took the previous week and summed it up in one word....I thought I might try doing this again. It's a nice way to summarize and reflect on the past week.

The Word for the Week is unearthly.  Unnatural or mysterious (in a disturbing way).

I think it's a pretty good word to describe a week that ended with a ghost hunt in haunted Alton.  There are however other aspects of the week that made it unearthly. I've been observing people again and some of their actions and reactions just don't add up. I have used the words Stepford Wives to describe this more than once. You may remember the movie where husbands create their ":perfect" wives by turning them into robots. There's something afoot here and I'm not sure what it is. Whole groups of people don't change their reactions to things without some indicators. I'll just keep observing but for now I find it interesting AND unearthly.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Haunted Alton (Sneak Peek)

Schenck Girls Weekend was October 5th and 6th. We decided to do Haunted Alton. There's lots I want to write about the haunted tour but for now I am just giving you a sneak peek of the weekend.

Now from this picture you might think we are alcoholics....but honestly we didn't drink all of this. It's just that the yummy sounding names and the great fall labels made us want to buy all kinds of drinks!

Here's a picture of the girls at this cute little place we had lunch in Alton. It's called State Street Market and the food was delicious!

Sometimes we end up at the strangest places and the Alton trip was no different. We went to the Torture Museum at The Mineral Springs Hotel (which is haunted by the way) and they had all sorts of torture devices. This is a chastity belt. UGH. It looks dreadful.

So that's it for now....I'll do another blog post with more details later!!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Numbers, Memories, and the Cafeteria Boycott

The number 30....number of years I'll have been in education when I retire at the end of this year. Really it is mind boggling where the time has went. The years flew by and it seems like only yesterday when I started that first year with 9 first graders.
56....the age I will be when I retire. You know I realize how lucky I am. The Missouri School Retirement System is a real blessing in my life because otherwise there is no way I'd get to retire at the "young age" of 56.
The year I started teaching....and NO comments about how some of you weren't even born at the time. I did take off a couple years when my daughter Katie was born which is why I didn't retire two years ago!!
The money I've made in education......NOT!
Impossible to count the number of friendships over my teaching career. That's one of the thing that makes me saddest about turn over in the district....people come and people has sort of hardened me to really connecting with "new" people.
Another impossible thing to count....the number of cafeteria lunches I've eaten...and all in 25 or less minutes for lunch!  I do remember the one time the teachers in Daniel Boone all got mad because the cafeteria wouldn't give us extra ketchup and charged us like 5 cents for a we all boycotted the cafeteria. Mr. Rohrs, the superintendent at the time had to come down and have a meeting with us. To straighten things out. I remember asking him if we could have "a cup."  He said "of course this is Warren County R-3." funny!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Last Year: Goodbye September

I haven't blogged in a while....too busy living life...and working....yea working....that little task that eats up a lot of time!

Well Goodbye September.

We ended September with one of those most beloved (not) Professional Development days. We talked a lot about Smart Goals. Yes and we even made a flip book. S.M.A.R.T. We in education LOVE our little abbreviations and "slang".  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.

 Seriously, I don't know how much smarter I can stand to get. Goal setting is one of those things that we've had in one manner or the other for as long as I've been in education. We can write one MEAN smart goal but the truth is in the implementation. Goal writing and data...all pales in comparison to the art of teaching. YES, that's what I said...the ART of teaching. That's what we've lost...

Teaching is exhausting. You can say what you want about Christmas breaks, summer vacations and the like but working with children, trying to meet the needs of a multitude of children from all back grounds, trying to care (when maybe no one else does)but not let it wipe you out at the end of the day, keeping your energy up while tackling problems that college never prepared you for, working hard to please parents, administrators, DESE and the entire community while still doing what your heart tells you is best for kids..........

I remember in my early years of teaching that I loved September, I looked forward to the first day of school, worked on bulletin boards, and set up my classroom for hours. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, so excited to start a new school year. I was so lucky to get two fresh starts every year. One in January when the new year started and one in August/September when the new school year got under way. With the passage of time some of the glow has faded. I think part of it is being a counselor now instead of a kindergarten teacher. Nothing can compare to the joy of 5 year olds when they start school Yes some start screaming and crying but overall their intense love of learning is still there! Yet some of it is the changes in society and in education itself. It's intense. We might still be teaching children but are we teaching them to love learning? 

Goodbye September....goodbye my last Labor Day weekend before retirement, goodbye September 504 meetings, goodbye September faculty meeting, and goodbye my last first day of fall while working!  It will be interesting to see what September feels like in 2014.

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