Saturday, May 30, 2009

School's Out!!!

Finally! The long awaited day arrived! The last three days were glorified babysitting, but it seems to be the trend these days. We had a field trip to Six Flags scheduled for Wednesday, and thankfully no one got hurt, arrested or lost, and no rain fell while we were there. It was nerve wracking to be in a group of over 300 teens, with about 15 adults in charge, but things went well. Most of my students weren't able to go on the field trip due to grades or suspensions, but I was in charge of 20 other students who all turned out to be gems.

As the kids got on the buses we all went out front to wave good bye. When we all went back into the building, the intercom blasted full blast with our principal singing an a cappella version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out"! What a hoot! She is always a surprise!

We only had one day of post planning, which was wonderful. I have moved many, many boxes of stuff into my new room, and then just walked out with the boxes everywhere. I will have to go back after my trip to South Carolina and work on the mess, but in the will wait. Next year will be a bigger classroom, a new teacher "roommate" and a WINDOW! I hate windowless classrooms, where I have been stuck all year. Even a tiny bit of seniority has worked in my favor since we had a teacher retiring this year.

Mark is currently in San Diego at the Gene Therapy meeting (boring, apparently) and headed home tomorrow. Once he's back, I'm heading to Greenville for some much needed down time and lots of baby snuggling. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Out with the old, and in with the new!

So....fourteeen years, 267,872 miles later, I have finally parted with my beloved Accord. The AC died last summer while Sara was visiting, and I admit to being too spoiled to go without AC for a summer. Also, I wasn't about to take off to SC in the old thing. I did some preliminary pricing online and got the best price through the Sam's Car Buying service. So we then took that to several dealers and continued to get the bidding lower and lower till I was satisfied. I got a whole $500 on my trade in; I have to admit that I have pretty much gotten complete use, wear and tear on that car! Even the dealership was impressed with the mileage I had obtained! Here's the old girl before we took her to the dealer....

And here's the new baby!! I splurged for the EX version with the moonroof, but otherwise, it is a very similar, updated version of what I have had. Even the colors aren't too far off! I found the sticker off the old car as I was cleaning out, and surprisingly, the prices are about the same, although it is 14 years later. Of course, this one is a Civic, the last one was an Accord, but size wise, they are about the same. I intend to get just as many miles out of the new one!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

All For Naught....

Throughout the farm Mark has put in trails for the tractor. In one location, about 5-6 years ago he placed a pipe and created a culvert for the overflow stream from the pond. It has held steady until this year, when it washed out pretty badly while we were in Arkansas over Christmas break. Here are some pictures of it at that time....unfortunately I don't have pictures of it while it was still intact.

Since the December washout, Mark has been trying to figure out how to fix it, and he finally ordered another large pipe segment to place beside the first one. Two weekends ago we went and spent the day putting the second pipe in place, hauling gravel and rocks to secure it in the new location. It started raining and we kept on working until late, and getting home after 10PM that Sunday night, but we felt good about what we had accomplished. I didn't get any pictures of the finished project because of the rain that day. Unfortunately, there was a major storm that came through last week, and when we got back out there this past weekend, both pipes were long gone! We followed the stream down till we found them, a couple hundred yards past where we had left them safe and sound, and one of them completely out of the banks of the stream! It was obvious that there was a large flash flood in the area. We aren't sure if there was a massive amount of water, or if it is just that the ground is so saturated at this time that nothing more would soak in, but....all our hard work is completely destroyed, and now lying on the property of the next landowner downstream! So depressing! We are going to put our thinking caps back on and try to come up with Plan C for crossing the stream...plan A and B are null and void!
Here's the new washed out area....

And here are the pipes, WAAAY downstream! We're not sure how we are going to get them back!

Mother's Day!

Austin surprised me with a beautiful flower bouquet of dendrobium orchids for Mother's Day. The internet is amazing, particularly when someone can send flowers from halfway around the world! He also sent them to my mother and Sara, so maybe the boy is growing up after all! My request to Sara was a dinner at the Bonefish Grill while I'm visiting there. I love that place, and there isn't one in STL. We might have to go twice! Mark topped it all off with the promise of a new grill. I brought my grill up from Buford, but the STL squirrels chewed the propane line up last summer! We think there must have been food drippings on the line, but the cost of replacing it was practically a new grill, so we put it out on the curb. I have REALLY missed it since, so he's giving in and buying a new one. I just want to do some shopping and checking before I decide on which one!

Here's the flowers....

And a close up of one of the blooms...they are so pretty!

Monday, May 4, 2009


We started out the weekend with a great dinner at Landry's Seafood House at Union Station in St. Louis. We both had wonderful dinners, as we always do there, and the fun part is getting to feed the koi outside the restaurant and strolling through Union Station. On Saturday we went and test drove a 2009 Honda Civic...yes, this time I think I really will take the plunge on a new car! Honda's are several 1000s of dollars less than they were a few years ago, and it is definitely time to retire my old Faithful Accord, after 263K+ miles. I plan to play the price game for the month of May and purchase one at the end of the month. Driving the new one was definitely fun!

Saturday night we went to an MPS fundraising Trivia Night that Vicki and Eric Merrell held in nearby Pevely, MO. Vicki and Eric joined the Board the same year that I did, and have two sons with MPS I, Sean and Cody. The boys have grown up since I've known them! We had a table full of Mark's grad students, lab technician, and spouses, but we were firmly in the middle of the pack at the end of the night. Letters after your name do not equal Trivia knowledge! Trivia Nights are a big thing in STL, I've been invited to several since I've been here, but this was the first one I had attended. While not being a trivia buff, it was a fun night for a great cause! Mark also bid on a HUGE box of fireworks, and then kept outbidding the poor baseball team that wanted them badly. Mark is sure that he was acting in the best interest of the baseball team, to keep them out of danger, but....I'm not sure Mark will act much safer than the typical sixteen year old! Anyway, watch out for a big fireworks party coming up someday soon at Mark's Park!

Here's the MPS crew at Trivia Night

Sunday was spent out at the farm, working on the washed out culvert and getting the new pipe in place. I don't have pictures since I wasn't taking the camera out in the rain, but I promise some in the future. We were wet and tired by the time we got back home!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


This morning was beautiful, even though rain has been predicted, so Mark suggested that we walk to Einstein's Bagels with the dogs, then picnic in the nearby park for our breakfast. We have gotten in the habit of Einstein's on a weekend morning, and it is sheer joy for me. I have decided that a bagel with cream cheese, lox, capers, red onions, and a tomato slice is one of those perfect foods, like a caesar salad. I will definitely give New York thanks and gratitude for the bagels and lox idea! So we headed out, got our food, walked over to Oak Knoll Park which is very close to the house and had a great breakfast in the wonderful weather, watching turtles fight for space on the tree stump to sun for the day. We played with the dogs, made them fetch sticks till they were semi tired, then headed home. When we got to the house, we both looked at each other to see which one of us had the keys, and.....neither of us had them! Luckily, I did have my cell phone, so we called one of Mark's grad students who takes care of the fish for us, and she did have the garage door opener in her purse, but she happened to be in Mississippi. Next call to Mark's lab tech wasn't answered, so we went and sat on the back porch and wondered what the next step would be. I remembered that I had Verizon roadside assistance, so we called them, and twenty minutes later a cheerful locksmith was there to break into my car, which had a garage door opener, and .....problem solved! Needless to say, we are headed to Home Depot this afternoon to have a few spare keys made!