Monday, September 29, 2008

Tree // Me

During a very difficult time in my marriage, I went away on a week-long retreat.

One of the exercises I did was to find a special spot outside, sit there for a while, and write about something I saw in nature.

Here is what I wrote:
I am a tree.

I have deep roots which give me nourishment and keep me strong. My roots are what keep me grounded, yet allow me to grow strong, tall, and proud.

My skin is tough, which helps protect me from harsh outside influences. However, my needles are gentle and bring in the nourishment my body needs from the sun. 

I grow older, year after year. But with each new year that passes, I retain that knowledge and spirit by growing taller and wider.

Some of my needles may fall, but I grow new ones as I need them. I may become crooked or bent with time, but my experiences give me depth and beauty.

My bark protects me from dangerous elements so that my beauty within is constant.

I am strong. 

Animals seek me for shelter, rest, nourishment for themselves. Yet I retain strength for myself. So that I may lead a beautiful, long, and meaningful life.
We were then asked to re-read our writing and highlight key describing words (which I've highlighted in bold).

And a beautiful picture emerged.

A picture that I strive for daily ...

To be me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

No Shame

Seriously ... I have no shame.

This is how I went out in public this morning.

To Starbucks.

And to Safeway.

I'm embarrassing to myself.

And yes ... those ARE my new dark-blue rainbow PJ pants!

And yes ... I do know you should never wear Uggs with capri-length pants (whether they're PJ pants or not)!

I need to get in the shower and put some real clothes on ... and try to redeem my confidence in my clothing choices.

I'm Not Perfect (and how boring if I was!)

I'm approached by a surprising amount of people who tell me they read my blog.

I'm always caught of guard and surprised.

The also give me compliments like
  • I just love your blog.
  • So-&-so gave me your blog link. I've been reading it. Thanks for being so honest.
  • Thank you for saying what we're all thinking.
  • I just love your transparency.
I'm not typing this to flatter myself -- I'm using it as a reason to tell you WHY I blog.

You ever notice how much more intriguing someone is once you know their thoughts, secrets, quirks or faults? The better I get to know a person, the more I want to know, and the more I like them.

I'm currently reading Dangerous Surrender by, Kay Warren (thank you Jodie!) for my mission trip to Africa. Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) wrote a beautiful introduction. And when I read it, I thought, "and this is why I blog."

Here is an excerpt:
You can impress people from a distance, but to deeply influence others, you must allow them to get close to you. That scares most people to death. So many people live inconsequential lives because of their fear of exposure. Allowing people to get close to you means permitting them to see your flaws, your faults, your failures, and your fears -- and that is most people's worst nightmare. We want our lives to make a difference, but we don't want anyone to really know us. We only want to share the sanitized story of our lives -- just the high points. But that removes the drama of the struggle, the authenticity, and the power to impact others.

Authenticity creates credibility, and authentic people are uniquely compelling. When you encounter someone who is the real deal, you naturally like them and want to know them. Unfortunately, in our image-conscious culture, authenticity if often faked! We reward role-playing. We treat actors as gods for what they pretend to be on-screen, not what they really are.
In my marriage, I spent a lot of time and energy putting out a different persona than what was on the inside. 

It's tiring.

And well ... I just want to be me.

I'm not trying to change the world with my blog ... just trying to be more honest, real, genuine, and share my flaws. 

And now I spend my time and energy writing about my beautiful life ... instead of trying to cover it up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I am not a parent.

I don't know how hard it is.

I do not judge how other people parent.

But when I hear this, it made me really mad ...

I was walking through the Alberston's produce department a few night ago when I noticed a mother and her two (5th grade aged) girls. As I walked by, I overheard the mom say, "You better knock that sh!t off or you'll have no play dates this weekend!"


They're kids.

And you're swearing at them.

It is your job to set an example of how to treat people. How to love people How to interact with people. How to view the world. 

And you're swearing.

I was so caught off guard at her language towards her children that I looked at her and said, "Woah!"

She just looked at me. Embarrassed to have been caught.

Yah, lady ... I caught ya ... and I'm not liking what I heard.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

15 Going On 32

I have a sub today to do reading assessments.

I'm pulling kids out of class to listen to them read, make sure they have all their letter-sounds, etc.

I love days like this because I get to have one-on-one conversations with kids. That doesn't always happen in the classroom with so much going.

Here are a few funny stories from the morning ...

I pulled a student out today and when he saw me, his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. This was our conversation ...
Student: Wow, Ms. Diederichs, you look like Hannah Montana today!
Pause ... pause.

Me: Is that a good thing?
Student: Yah, she's cool!
But I'm wondering ... should I be striving to look like a 15 year-old? I'm 32 after all. Something to think about.
(Note: I'm wearing black shoes, a blue-striped dress over jeans, a bright red coat and a bright multi-colored scarf. You know ... just in case you want to look 15 too.)

The next student I pulled out is new to this school. When I was having him tell me the letter-sounds, this is what he said ...
Student: Ms. Diederichs, in my old school we had these big boards with the letters on them and then we touched the letter and said its sound. We practiced this a lot.
Me: That's great, your old school sounds like a lot of fun.
Student: It was. My teacher's name was Miss Bridget.
Me: (because I'm a glutton for punishment) "Who's nicer? Me, or Miss Bridget?"
Student: Both
Me: Good answer
Student: At first I didn't want to come here but now I want to go to this school.
Me: (thinking its all because I'm the best teacher EVER!) That's so nice of you to say!
We high-five.
Student: Yah, because this school has a basketball hoop and my old school didn't.
Me: Oh

After this new student (whose admiration I'm trying to win over Ms. Bridget) was done reading I said ...
Me: Can you please go get Madison for me?
Student: Sure, but even if you don't say 'please,' I'll still do it.
Me: Oh, that's okay, I like to be polite.
Under my breath: And I'm trying to be nicer then Ms. Bridget is ... you know ... so you'll like me more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lovable Quirks

I've learned something weird about myself.

I never thought it was weird until last week. I never put much thought into it at all ... until last week. Until it was pointed out to me. Or shall I say ... until I heard myself confess it out loud.

I was shopping at Target with my friend MaryBeth and we eventually meandered into the pajama section. MB pointed out these super cute pajama bottoms that she had purchased the week before. They were dark-blue and had little rainbows all over them. Adorable, right?!

When MB saw them, she said, "Oh my gosh, Lisa ... look how fun these pajama bottoms are! I bought them last week!"

And indeed ... they were really cute!

But I was more drawn to the pink ones with brown horses on them.

I considered buying them ... but something was pulling me towards the blue rainbow-strewn pants. It was a very hard choice.

After contemplating my purchase decision way to long, MB said, "Lisa, just buy the rainbow ones. Those are the ones you want. What's the hold-up?"

And here is where my personal revelation is reveled.

I said, "I can't ... I don't wear dark clothes to bed."

Insert silence ... lots of silence ...

If I could have bottled MB's facial reaction at this comment, I'd be a millionaire.

It was something between painful confusion, utter curiosity, and extreme awe.

But all that came out of her mouth was, "What?"

As my mind tried to play catch-up with MB's reaction, I realized how ridiculous I just sounded.

But it's true. I don't wear dark clothes to bed. My pajama selections stay in the following color groups:
  • white
  • light pink
  • pale yellow
  • light blue
And here's my even more ridiculous explanation of the previously-said ridiculous confession:
I think the dark-colored clothes will make me more hot. Like if I wear a green shirt (or any other clothing item that falls outside of the before-mentioned color-groups) to bed, I'll get really hot in the middle of the night.
I'm not quite sure what I think will happen after that ... because I've never tested my theory for an entire night's sleep.

A few months ago, I wore a maroon-colored shirt to bed, and I swear to you ... I got up within 10 minutes and had to switch to a white tank-top.

So long story short, I put the pink PJ's back on the rack, and exchanged them for a pair of the (dark) blue ones.

I'm happy to report that I've worn them to bed two times since purchasing them and I haven't woken up in pool of my own sweat, or died from over-heating.

But I'm not buying another pair of dark pajama pants. These will remain my only ones. And don't even THINK that I'm wearing a dark-colored t-shirt to bed. Just wearing a dark-colored t-shirt while the bedtime hour looms in the immediate future makes me antsy.

On a related topic ... I also spent an entire therapy session talking to my counselor about my fear of going into saunas (you know ... instead of talking about the obvious divorce I was going through). Somewhere along the line, I had convinced myself that I couldn't breathe in a sauna. That hot air actually contains less oxygen then more 'normal' temperature air.

Jeez. Where do I get this stuff?

After my counselor convinced me that oxygen levels remain the same in any temperature of air, I finally went into a sauna in my gym and stayed for about 3 minutes. It was all I could handle. I didn't die of oxygen deprivation ... but it wasn't pleasant and I won't do it again. You probably couldn't pay me to go back in one.

But now I know I won't die.

So, allow me to sum-up my personal growth accomplishments in the area of quirky :
  1. You won't die from oxygen deprivation in a sauna (if you stay in for 3 minutes or less)
  2. You will not die from heat-stroke if you wear dark clothes to bed (but this has only been tested on 100% cotton, capri-length dark-blue pajama bottoms. If you are wearing anything else ... do so at your own risk!)
Now that my friends ... is progress!

How about you, do you have any lovable quirks?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Birthday Party

Some of my favorite pictures for Jenna's birthday party tonight ...

We're trying to demonstrate our best dance moves, 
but we can't stop laughing.

This is a cross between a piggy-back ride,
and falling off her back ...

Jenna, showing me her best smile ...

Jenna & Jeff. 
Jenn (of course) is showing me her prettiest smile.

Jenna & Danny
Happy 29th birthday Jenna.

I love you.


There are a few math assignments I really look forward to teaching each year.

One is the cylinder assignment (for obvious reasons).

The other is the date assignment.

At the beginning of each year, I review the calendar with the kids. We talk about what a date is, a day, a week, a month, etc.

Following that assignment, their homework is to go home and talk to their parents about the definition of a date.

Part of the homework is to complete this sentence:

Date means ____________.

This is one of my favorite assignments because you learn quickly, which parents help their children with their homework. And by 'help', I mean 'do' their homework for them.

Here are a couple examples. Tell me if you can actually see a 1st grader saying this:
  1. Date means ... a specific twenty-four hour period, usually expressed as month and day, or month, day and year.
  2. Date means ... the number that helps you tell the difference between this day and every other day
And my all time favorite. Here are a couple of examples of parents who actually write what their child says. I so appreciate this because it makes me giggle. I get at least one of these a year:
  1. Date means ... hanging out with Dad.
  2. Date means ... two people, or a mom or a dad get together and go to dinner.
So there you have it. My 2nd all-time favorite math assignment of the year!

Can't wait for the cylinders!

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday.

I love you.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Jodie gave me the great idea of putting ads up on my blog. When interested people (you?) click on it, I make a small percentage of money.

Google puts ads on your blog, based on the content of your posts (so I better think twice about what I write about!).

I just logged on and noticed that one of my ads is for a tongue scraper!


I can tell it's gonna be a great day!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Band Geeks

Many of you know that I am a secret band geek (and I use that term affectionately).

I love playing my clarinet, and I play it often for my students.

However, my social awareness caught up with me in high school and I dropped out of the marching band.

I totally wanted to be with my girlfriends. Dressed in school colors. Ribbons in my hair. Face painted with the favorite player's number. Losing my voice from screaming so loud.

I still love going to WHS games to watch Jay coach. I always sit closest to the band and can't wait for half-time.

I secretly long to be out on the field with the march band. Clarinet mouthpiece resting on my bottom lip. Thumb tired and aching from holding up the clarinet. Counting sets of 8's to keep in time with the music. Feeling out of breath. Wearing the stiff uniform. Precariously balancing my tiny sheet music on my little marching-stand.

The highlight of my clarinet career came in 5th grade when I was asked to play a Christmas song in front of everyone at Christmas mass. I even have some ridiculous pictures to prove it (I was in a very awkward [ugly] stage).

I digress ... back to present-day ...

Yesterday when I let Cooper outside, I heard the distinct sound of a novice clarinet player. Guess what folks ... my young neighbor just joined the band!

That's right!

Hold on to your ears ... my 5th grade neighbor played squeaky scales and slow renditions of Hot-Cross-Buns for a GOOD twenty minutes.

I was in heaven and giggled many times while making dinner with my slider open. I actually sat in my backyard and listened (I think this may board-line on inappropriate neighbor behavior/stalking). But come on ... this was too good! My mind wandered back to the days when my mom made me stay in my room [with the door shut] and practice for 15 minutes each night. How difficult it was to find the correct finger-hole to cover. How long it took to memorize the correlation between notes on the page, and finger positions.

I have not yet asked my neighbor if I can play with him. But I bet we could compose a pretty sweet duet. I'm going to give him some time ... but soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Healing Process

Today, you apologized.

A little late.

Or right on time.

Thank you for your apology.

I appreciated it.

But I had already forgiven you.

Find Peace.

Oral Health Care Heaven

My friend Melaine and I pride ourselves on our oral health-care habits.

You could say we're a little over-the-top.

I love brushing and flossing my teeth. My mouth feels dirty if I use a plain-ol' toothbrush. I must use my Sonicare.

I feel prideful of the fact that I have naturally straight teeth.

No braces in this mouth!

So you can only imagine who insanely jealous I was when I saw Melaine pull a new gadget out of her bag on our trip to Manhattan Beach this summer.

With eyes bulging, I immediately said, "Holy cow! What's that?"

Melaine (with a new air of confidence) casually said, "Oh, just my tongue scraper. What? You've never seen one before?"

You see ... I'm sure she was relishing in the fact that she had one-upped me in the oral-health-care-genre.

Astonished, I said, "Heck no I've never seen one of those ... and I can't wait to watch you use it!"

With great pride, Melaine showed me the proper way to use a tongue scraper.

I watched her, with curious eyes and an increased heartbeat.

I could tell my life was about to change forever.

I had so many questions going on in my head
  • How is it that I've lived 32 years and never heard of a tongue scraper?
  • How long has Melaine been keeping this from me?
  • Where can I get my hands on one of these bad-boys?
  • Once I do get one ... how many times a day can I use it, without it being so often?
  • How much gross stuff is on my tongue right now? Sitting there. Not getting scraped off!
So ... when I went to the dentist on Monday, this is literally how it went:
  1. Get called back to dentist chair
  2. Politely say hello to CarrieAnn, ask her how she's been.
  3. Be a good listener and really patient as she answers above question.
  4. Once she's done, quickly respond with "Good" to her question of "And how have you been?"
  5. Immediately say, "So, I've been dying to ask you. My friend Melaine and I are both health-care freaks, and when we vacationed together this summer, she had a tool that I don't have. I MUST have one. It was a tongue scraper. Do you know where I can get one?"
CarrieAnn giggles and says, "Lisa, I'm about to make your dreams come true!"

And she wasn't joking.

She turns around, opens one of her drawers and pulls out gold.

Well, not really gold ... but it might as well have been.

She handed me a brand new, never been opened, still in the doctorish sanitary packaging TONGUE SCRAPER.

I died and went to heaven.

Oral Health Care Heaven.

After my appointment, I immediately called Melaine and told her. She was graciously over-the-moon excited for me.

I went right home and tongue scraped. Melaine texted me many times throughout the evening asking how the scraping was going. We eagerly sent text-messages back-and-forth.

You see ... we all need friends like that in our life. Friends who understand our quirks, relish in the silly, and support us in our oddities.

I love you Melaine.

P.S. Next time you see me ... you won't recognize me, but I'll be the girl with the really clean tongue.

Because ...

He's so cute.

And I just love how he cuddles with his 'babies.'
Love you buddy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Secrets Are SO Hard To Keep

I swear to you ...

As long as I live, this video will NEVER get old to me.

I laugh HYSTERICALLY every time I watch it.

I just love how she uses her hands.

I Have ...

... a really dirty house.

All I can think about blogging about is the sad state of my home ... but I don't want to disgust you.

Like, would you be disgusted if I told you there is dog hair everywhere? 


Would you be disgusted if I told you I have a water-ring around the inside of every one of my toilets?

Soap residue under every soap dispenser in every sink in the house?

No toilet paper left in my master bathroom? (Who cares ... I have two other bathrooms to use.)

Bark on my stairs that I tracked in this morning but didn't have time to vacuum up?

Would it disgust you if you saw how dirty my stove-top is?

If you knew my guest bed sheets hadn't been cleaned since the last guests left? Two months ago (Oh boy ... even that grosses me out).

I'll tell you what disgusts me ...

My house is NASTY, and I have company staying at my house this weekend.

I have a lot of work ahead of me with very little time.

Anybody want to organize a Cleaning Party?

Are you grossed out with me ... or do I seem more human? 

Are you still my friend ... or are you judging me?

Either way ... my house remains dirty ... and I need to get up off the couch!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dick (and Jane)

In class today, we brainstormed words that started with C and D.

The kids came up with wonderful words. Seriously ... this class is so smart and creative.

Caboose, cabinets, calamity (she didn't know what this meant, but had heard it on the TV ... hey, I give her props for even remembering it!), cavity, coffee (my favorite), concert, etc.

Dolphin, disaster, damage, dinosaur, discovery, disco, devastating, deciduous, etc.

No joking ... the KIDS came up with those on their own. I had to look 1/2 of them up on to see how to spell them.

While we were brainstorming D words, a sweet girl of mine raised her hand and (confidently) said, "DICK!"

2/3 of the kids weren't even phased by this word. Heck, their 6 years old! 

However, about 1/3 of the kids (I'll be honest ... mainly the boys) were shocked!

Some gasped. One clapped his hand over his mouth. Eyes went wide.

Shoot ... how was I going to handle this?

The only rule I have about brainstorming words is that we can't use names outside of the class. Otherwise we'll be brainstorming C and D names forever.

So I was pretty confident she didn't mean the name Dick. But I surely didn't think she meant the body part ... um ... dick.

So, I said, "Um ... excuse me?"

I have no idea why I said that. My thoughts were moving faster then my brain, that's why ... and it just came out.

So the sweetie (confidently) said, "DICK!" once again.

Great ... now I'm a teacher who makes her 1st grader say dick. 


I gently said, "Sweetie, 'dick' is actually a word we don't say in school. It's kind of a swear word."

She turned bright red and I could tell she felt terrible.

I said, "Honey, don't feel bad. You didn't know. That's my job, to teach you." Not to teach her swear words I may add.

Her neighbor still had his hand over his mouth (I was wondering, 'is he laughing, or shocked?'). So I said, "How come your hand is over your mouth?"

With wide eyes, he said, "Because she said a REALLY bad word!"

Another boy raised his hand and said, "How about DICK'S?"

Seriously? But this time I thought fast. I was ready!

"Like the restaurant?" I asked. "Yes, I love that place!"


I got an email from her mom tonight:
Email Title: heh - word that starts with D
"M" came home today telling me about the chalkboard incident where she was supposed to say a word that started with "D". She said she was thinking of her Dick and Jane books she read all summer and didn't know why 'dick' was a bad word. Just wanted to let you know the context of the word so you didn't think we say lots of foul words in front of the kids. :) Cheers!
Ah ... I so appreciate it when parents approach things with humor!

I've said it a thousand times ... I love my job!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Emma & Taylor

Please visit my friend's blog.

Tor and his wife have 18 month old conjoined twins.

They are avidly trying to raise awareness on conjoined twins.

They have appeared on The Today Show (video at the bottom of their blog) and are set to appear on the Discovery Channel on October 22nd @ 8:00 pm.

Please take a moment to visit Emma & Taylor's blog, and check back often. You can find a link to their blog on the right-hand side of my page in my blog list.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Girl Effect

I found this video here .

And it moved me ...

For more information ... visit The Girl Effect.

Sweet Thea

Last week I wrote a post about the bananas my students keep bringing me.

So cute.

I'm happy to report that we have now branched out to other vegetables ... and have also added fruits. You know, making sure we take care of the entire food pyramid.

Sweet Thea brought this for me on Friday. I love that she added a label to her zip-lock bag. Her name on a white piece of paper. Securely fastened with an ample supply of scotch tape.

My kids warm my heart.

And fill my tummy. 

You Told Me So

A letter to my mom:

Dear Mom,

You can officially say "I told you so."

You warned me.

"Lisa, I know you love pussy willow trees, but they're really hard to manage."

I bought one.

"Lisa, I know you really want to plant your tree [that I warned you not to buy] there, but it will take over your sidewalk."

It did.

"Lisa, these trees require a lot of pruning and maintenance."

They do.

And you told me so.


Your humble daughter -- Lisa --

P.S. When the tree blooms for a few weeks in October, the hard work of the prior 11 months is forgotten ... and I smile whenever I come home to see my blooming tree.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Changin' The World

How about this ....

The September Campaign Trailer - from charity: water on Vimeo.

I love people that "DO."

That have a feeling.

A thought.

Follow their heart.

And make it happen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Awesome Advice

Anyone have these glass stacking bowls from William Sonoma?

I do/did.

Here's some advice:

If you're baking and you use the littlest bowl to put a pinch of salt in, then you do your baking, then you wash the dishes while your blueberry coffee cake is baking ...

Make sure the littlest bowl hasn't slipped down into the disposal before you turn it on.



I'm ready to recognize (and say out loud) that I've developed a bad, BAD habit.

Over the last two years, I've become an impulsive eater.

This, of course, is after many years of therapy and digging down to the source of my pain. [read: divorce sucks]

But here's the bottom line:

If I see it.
And like how it looks.
I eat it.
With no regard to health.
With no regard to hunger.

I am filling a void.

I'm also gaining weight (go figure - literally).

So here is the new thing I'm trying. I'm sharing it with you because if you're an impulsive eater, or have a sweet tooth and want to cut back, this may help you.

I'll eat applesauce, but I don't love it.

So ... whenever I see something I want (but not need) to eat, I think to myself, "Am I hungry enough to eat applesauce?"

And just that little thought, helps me:
  • Step back and think
  • Am I hungry? Or impulsively eating?
  • Is that what my body really wants?
  • Is that the type of food I want to be putting in my body?
  • Is this best for me?
Usually my answer is no. No. I'm not hungry.

When the answer is yes, I eat some applesauce. I have a jar of it at home, and keep a couple individual serving-sized ones at work, and one in my purse.

So ... maybe pick the food that you don't love, but would eat if you're hungry?!?

Let me know if it works for you ...


Here's something new ...

On the first day of school, one of my students brought me a banana. Not an apple (which is a more 'traditional' teacher-gift).

A banana.

I thought it was thoughtful, original, adorable and sweet that she brought it to me ... and looking back on it, I probably made a really big deal about her thoughtfulness.

Well ... the other kids were listening.

Because almost every day since then, a student has brought me a banana.

They all want a piece of the thoughtful gesture.

I think what it comes down to is they want to make me happy. To see me smile. To be a part of that process.

I think it's adorable.

And I've never eaten so many bananas in my life.

P.S. To my sweet students: I'm happy and proud of you every day. It doesn't take a banana for that to happen. Love you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Know Your Parents Are Getting Old when ...

A friend recently told me about the following conversation she had with her parents.

I promised not to use her name in my blog, but I nearly peed my pants when she told me.

She lives far away from her parents who are visiting this weekend, so she's been working on finding some fun things to do together on their visit.

She found a flamenco show that's at an art festival in her town, and was really excited about taking her parents there this weekend. She was so excited, that she called her parents tonight and the following conversation occurred.

Here is what she emailed me:

Me: Dad, do you want to go to a flamenco show on Friday night?
Dad: Well, I don't know, I mean, an entire show about birds?
Me: What?
Dad: How much can we watch about flamingos?
Me: No dad, Spanish dancing
Dad: I don't want to have to control your mother (an AVID, her-own-style, crazy dancer).
Me: Dad, I don't want to watch mom dance flamenco either. It's a show with professional dancers.
Dad: Oh. Well, whatever. If you want.

Can't you just feel the enthusiasm ooze out of him?

At this point, her dad passes the cell phone to her mom:

Me: Hey mom
Mom: Kelly? (made up name)
Me: Hey mom
Mom: Kelly?
Me: MOM!!!!!
Mom: Oh, hey Kelly. I don't think reception was very good there for a minute.
Me: That's ok. Anyway, what do you think about going to a flamenco show on Friday?
Mom: Well, whatever you want. But what is it going to be about?
Me; Well, it will be really entertaining, and they are so lovely. I have seen it before.
Mom: Do you really want to go? Because we will go if that's what you want to do.
Me: Yeah, I really want to go. I love watching flamenco!
Mom: Well, I guess they're pretty cool birds.
Me: What?
Mom: Flamingos!
Me: No mom, not flamingos, flamenco. It's a Spanish dance.
Mom: OH! I was wondering why you would want to see a show about flamingos.
Me: So, do you want to go? The tickets are $14 so it's not that expensive.
Mom: What time is it at?
Me: 8:45
Mom: OH MY GOSH! 8:45! I don't know.
Me: MOM!! It's on a Friday night!

Her conversations made me giggle because we've all been there. Trying to talk to someone about something and the communication lines just aren't there.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today isn't my best day.

I'm having anxiety issues.

I hate days like this. When I feel like my insides are revved, my tummy hurts and I feel out of control.

Please allow me to be transparent, vulnerable and open.

Maybe you can offer suggestions and/or help.

A couple months ago I did a blog post about my decision to go on a mission trip with Overlake Christian Church (and Jodie) to Africa. I am thrilled and excited and scared and hopeful and eager and nervous.

I can't wait.

But first I must get over the MONEY hurdle.

My goal is to raise $3,000 which covers the trip and mission expenses.

I sent out prayer and support letters at the beginning of summer, and also held a garage sale last June.

With my garage sale and very generous donations from friends and family, I have a raised $1,525.

I'm really stressing about money. I need to raise a lot more and I have no idea where it will come from.

I have been praying. Hard.

Should I get a second job? Should I remind people who I haven't heard from. Should I beg? Should I not go? Should I become a prostitute (okay ... joking on that last one).

I've been trying to weigh my decision to go, based on my money concerns.

I can't explain my need to go. It's like a calling. Like I just MUST go. Like I was BORN to do this.

So many thoughts are jumbled up inside my head. And it's making my tummy mad.

And then there is the MOST uncomfortable situation ... some people have said they will donate ... but haven't. I feel very awkward 'reminding' them about that. How do you say that?

What can I do besides pray and put it in God's hands?

Does anyone have suggestions?

My blog gets well over 100 hits a day ... and hardly anyone comments (which is totally fine) but I'm begging you ... let today be the day you make a comment and offer me some suggestions.


I'm on my knees, asking for help.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I drink straight from the milk carton every day.

Like, pretty much every, every day.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wine & Dying

School is well underway, which means I get to hear funny kid-comments all day long!


In the cafeteria today, a student of mine from last year said ...
Student: Ms. Diederichs, you're room smells like wine.
Me: Um, what do you mean when you say my room smells like wine?
Student: I mean your room smells like a mixture of alcohol, cleaner, and wine.
Me: Oh, I see. Interesting.
Sidenote: I had just given my students anti-bacterial soap ... NOT wine.

A different student, a different comment:
Student: Do you know that if you eat healthy, you won't die?
Me: Yes, I think I heard something like that.

Creepy Boo-Boo Bears

I get creeped out by teddy bears, like some people get creeped out by clowns.

I don't like them. At all.

Like, I really, rEaLlY, REALLY don't like them.

So you can only imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I walked into the staff bathroom on January 1, 2008 and someone had hung up a calendar with a teddy bear picture on it.

I immediately thought, "Gross, a teddy bear picture ... thank goodness the month is only 31 days long!"

And then I also thought, "No big deal, I just won't look at the calander when I'm in the bathroom. It's on the right wall ... and I'll just look to the left the entire time I'm in the bathroom." [Insert me laughing at my ridiculousness]

Thirty-one days later, when February 1st rolled around, I noticed that the picture for February was also filled with teddy bears. And not just teddy bears ... but teddy bears posed AND dressed as people.

Doing people things.

So incredibly odd and creepy.

I've included some eerily creepy examples:

Bears playing poker. Wearing people clothes and people visors.

Bears playing the people sport of golf. Wearing people shirts (no pants - love that) and people hats.

This is my personal creepiest one ... this one put me over the edge.
A bear riding a horse, with a lasso in mid-flight.
This is just too much.
Oh, and a creepy little bear hanging out by the hay-bale.

December was a special month.
Bears celebrating people Christmas, laying on a couch, dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Claus ... eagerly waiting to open their people presents.

So ... the word got out around work that I hated the bear calendar (mainly because I walked around saying "Who put the creepy bear calendar in the staff bathroom?"). It became somewhat of a staff joke.

Low-and-behold, when I went to use the bathroom yesterday ...

[Note: I wasn't sticking to my 'don't look to your left' policy.]

This is the picture for September:
The note reads:
We LOVE you, Miss Diederichs!
We are wearing our special matching outfits just for you!
The Darling Boo-Boo Bears

I work with some real jokesters I tell ya!

Accepting ...

A few weeks ago when we were visiting Jay's family in Spokane, I saw a magnet from Weight Watchers on his aunt's refrigerator ...

... and I can't stop thinking about it.

I wrote it down because I identified with it so much.

It can be used for so many areas in our lives.
"I choose to feel good about myself each day. Every morning I remind myself that I can make the choice to feel good. This is a new habit for me to cultivate."
I love it!


It's the little things in life that tend to make a difference in my day.

A smile from a stranger.

An unexpected card in the mail.

A hug.

A silly comment by one of my students that makes me giggle.

A "good morning" as I walk through the halls of work.

A call from a friend.

Today was no exception.

I am a happy, happy girl ...

Thank you Starbucks, for your Pumpkin Spice Latte'.

I look forward to them every year.

It signifies the beginning of school, the beginning of Fall, the beginning of leaves changing colors, the beginning of the holidays.

(And the beginning of me spending more money on coffee!)

Happy, happy, happy ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Simple Visual Pleasure

I saw this Turf Bug on the way home from work today ...

... and it made me think of the dog-grooming van from Dumb & Dumber.

And I drove all the way home with a smile on my face.

Sillyness & Mistakes

Sometimes I'm amazed at what comes out of the mouth of kids.

Sometimes I'm amazed at what comes out of my mouth.

Actual conversations from the last two days:

Setting: First hour of school. I'm teaching the kids about our classroom routines and procedures.
Me: If you go to the bathroom, you need to put the bathroom pass on your desk. That way, if I see that it's on your desk, I know where you are.
Student: Sometimes my mom says, "hey ____, where are you? And I say 'right here mom!' and she says 'oh' because I'm standing right beside her! [insert eye-rolling, laughter & shoulder-shrugging at the same time]" (Jodie ... this one is yours!)

Setting: A 30 second lull during a transition time (I'm not kidding you ... it was only like 30 seconds). One of my students had been extremely disruptive all day and I was done trying the positive-reinforcement route. Time for something more direct. It was the first day of school and I realized there would be no 'honeymoon' period for this student. This charmer was showing his true colors on the first day. During this particular conversation, he was banging around two pencils inside his desk while making 'drumming' noises with his mouth. Disrupting everyone around him, of course. How he found enough time in 30 seconds to find two pencils and create a beat is beyond me.
Me: Are you a drummer in a band or a 1st grader at Cottage Lake Elementary?
Student: A 1st grader at Cottage Lake Elementary.
Me: Then you need to stop behaving like a drummer.
Student: OK.

Ha! The 'direct and slightly sarcastic approach' worked!

Setting: Same student as above drumming episode (see a trend?). Circle Time.
Me: _____, your goal in Circle Time is to keep your hands to yourself. That means do not touch the desk beside you.
Student: OK.
3 minutes later (no exaggeration)
Me: What are you doing? (knowing full-well what he's doing, but let's be honest, I wanted him to tell me because it was too good to NOT hear it come out of his mouth).
Student: Tying myself to this desk.
That's right people ... tying himself to the desk next to him. No joke, he had untied the draw-strings of his sweats and was tying himself to the leg of the table.

I remain speech on this one.

Humiliating Confession:
As a side-note (but not to be taken lightly or overlooked) ... I hit an all-time professional low yesterday.

I lost a kid.

I hesitate to say the exact amount of minutes she was gone before I noticed (in order to avoid embarrassment and to keep as much self-respect intact as possible).

That's right ...

I. Lost. A. Kid.

When I picked the kids up from P.E., she hid from me.

In the gym bathroom.

She slinked in without anyone noticing.

And let's be honest, I'm still trying to remember names on the 1st day ... let alone notice if someone is missing (And who runs away on the 1st day anyway? Save that for a day you're super over-it. Right?!?).

So anyway, she missed snack AND a field trip outside to take pictures of the students' 1st day.

There. That might give you an idea of how long she was gone.

Long story short: she came back (thankfully). Though the entire office staff and [new] principal [read: my new boss] was looking for her.

Great 1st impression for your boss.

To my student ... great 1st impression of you!

I've got you're number sister.

I guess we're even.


OK, that's all for today.

Until tomorrow ... may you not lose your own children.

That's their teacher's job.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I stayed up extra late tonight to watch the series premiere of 90210.

Being an avid follower of 90210 in high school and college ... I was secretly super exited to see the remake.

The New Cast

The Old Cast
Nothing will come close to the love I have for the old gang.

You know you're getting older when ...

... you watch the new series and all the teachers & dads in the show are super hot.

Not the kids.

Visual reference of hotness #1:

Visual reference of hotness #2:

For the record: I will be watching again next week. But not for the story-line, acting skills or plot.

Mainly to check on the hotness of my new TV boyfriends.

First Day of School

Today was the 1st day of school.

I got up nice and early, did my hair, make-up, put a special dress on, and drove with an air of excitement to work.

You see ... most people talk about how excited parents are or how nervous the kids are ... but many forget that teachers feel the same way.

All the kids looked so cute today. New clothes. Fancy hair styles. New backpacks. Special pencils. Shiny shoes.

At the beginning of the day, the room was filled with a mixture of anticipation, nervousness and excitement. Parents eagerly dropped their kids off and snapped one last picture. Students found their desk and started their new life as a 1st grade student.

It was awesome.

I am blessed to spend my days with kids. 

I am a very lucky girl to have my dream job.

I couldn't ask for anything else.

Here's to the 2nd day of school ...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. Davis

We heading over to Dabob Bay this weekend for my cousin Farrell's wedding. Jay &  I were very camera-happy (and I'm sure quite annoying) because Jay surprised me by buying a new camera the day before we left. Needless to say ... the wedding was well-covered in the "unprofessional picture-taking" category 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Jay & I at sunset

My brother Danny. 
I think he's very handsome.

Farrell & Jason, listening to the pastor (I bawled like a baby).

Jay, striking a pose under the tent before dinner.

In love

Danny and I
(Even though I know it's grammatically correct to say "myself and Danny")

Cousins: Danny, Jack, Me, Jenna

Table markers

Grandma did all the floral arrangements.

"You may kiss your bride ..."

Beautiful cake

My breathtaking cousin Farrell

Our table
So much fun. 

There's nothing better for me then spending time with my family. 

I am rejuvenated & happy.

Congratulations Farrell.

Welcome to the family Jason.

We all love you very much.