Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teacher Conference 2011


While Mandy Maffett did not go to the beach with us...we found her and the crew at Lulu's
The first morning after school was out the car was packed and four teachers were on the road at four a.m. to head to the beach. I was the youngest by 22 years, but at the beach age doesn't matter...right? We made it to the sand and the sun by 12:00 we soaked up about 4 hours and then with clouds coming we headed in to hit Target and eat at LuLu's.
The next morning, slathered in SPF we hit the beach for an all day Tanning Session. We moved from sitting, to sleeping, to the water, and back to the chairs. It was a relaxation marathon and was FANTASTIC.

I had a moment where I realized I watched too much CSI or Law & Order on a quick trip to the room the first day we were there. I ran to the room to gather snacks for the group. I left my cell phone with my towel and things on the beach. Armed with only my key I headed to the room. I am gathering up items to take back down as I sit down at my computer to check the time and my email...there is a knock at the door...thinking it was probably my friends, I head to the door. I note that there was no peep hole on the door as I crack the door open. To my surprise I see a man with dark hair, about 6'3'', 240lbs., tattoo on both arms, but dressed in what seemed to be an official looking blue polo shirt. In his hands he held a tool box & a air conditioner filter. Surprised as I stand in my swimsuit he says he is with the monthly maintenance of the place and needs to replace the filter....this is the moment I get stupid....I let the fruit loop into the condo...the whole time thinking about my phone I have left on the beach...I begin to freak out...my jewelry is on the night stand...our purses with vacation money...oh my gosh...how dumb could that have been...I imagine the news headlines--TEACHER KILLED ON VACATION....really...how could I have not thought about this more....so I do what a smart teacher would do...as I stand in the kitchen pretending to eat/snack...I take out two butcher knives and grip them...like what am I gonna do...stab him in the neck...I watch him change out filters and then try to call it in...or whatever they do...and he says "did you know your phone was dead" ---um...no, I didn't know that when you try to kill me later I won't be able to call for help...So he grabs his tool box...the old filter and heads to the door...as he comes closer I clutch the knives...thinking...the whole time I'm a goner...and then he leaves...whew...I didn't have to defend myself with my martial arts/knife wielding skills like I thought I would need to, PRAISE the LORD. Note to self...do not let strangers into your condo...
We repeated the next day-minus SPF to my back which has left me with a whole lot of redness a little bit of tenderness, and thinking to myself...when will I ever learn? I let no strangers into the condo...and apparently I didn't let myself in their much at the look of my back...
Sunday morning we headed home. It was a great time with friends in the sun. I hope to have a repeat 'conference' in the future.


Monday, May 30, 2011

NEWS

This was my going away gift I left Pontotoc Elementary School. Our school will be getting a new office over the summer and I thought that a piece of art would make it feel more like home, and this quote was so true of how I feel about my school. This canvas was a 4'x 2' canvas and I could have put it on a wall size canvas...because I love that place so much.

Okay so here is my news. No I am not having a baby...in fact that will be happening a long time from now...if ever...
Next year, I will be going to school rather than teaching. Shocking, I know. It was a long prayerful process, but I know that God really directed me toward this program and brought me to it, so I have faith that this next year he will bring me through it.
In November I took the GRE. I didn't tell many folks and kept this entire process to my family. In February I submitted three essays about leadership in relation to different aspects and really just prayed that they were what they needed to be. In March I was told that I got approved for the interview round of selection. On a Monday morning I made my way to Oxford and sat in a panel interview with Mr. Barksdale himself, along with a doctoral student, the program director, and the provost.
The Saturday night Spring Break began, with a dinner under the stars, I checked my email and received my letter of acceptance.
Instantly I was beside myself. I was honored and ecstatic...and scared.
Scared to tell my very best friend that I have gone through every stage of my career with, scared to think I will not be in a class of children next year, scared to leave my comfort zone...my friends, Mrs. Bridget or as I call her B, my teaching partner. The Principal Corps is a program that is funded completely by the Barksdale Family. I will move on campus in June. I will live with a roommate in the Residential College. I will take six hours this summer. I will move home in July and begin my internship for the fall two weeks before school starts. My internship is still up in the air. I will find out July 1st where I will be placed. Through next year I will be a principal intern by day and a college student by night. I will take 9 hours in the fall as well as 9 hours in the spring. I will stay at my internship two weeks after school is out and then begin my final round of classes, living back on campus for six more hours. When I finish I will have a Specialist in Educational Leadership.
There are several perks to this program, yes I will make a sacrifice...but the pay off has potential to be GREAT.
-This degree is completely paid for...my books, my classes, my food.
-The cohort (people who have been selected along with me) is small. We will have a lot of individualized instruction.
-My current teaching position will be available to me when I finish the program. I will be able to go back to Second Grade in my building, with my friends....in my comfort zone.
-If I obtain a principal job or assistant principal job within two years of completion of this program-the Barksdales give a generous signing bonus. One that if I get...I have a lot of plans for...
-I am paid while I am in school..the state has a sabbatical fund that I will be paid from. It will be a smaller salary than I am getting now...no National Board pay...but still I am fortunate for a great degree...for free.
While I look at the perks and tell myself these are things I am blessed to be offered, there are so many things and people I will miss.
-I will miss working with these friends...and more that didn't make this photo. These women are bright spots in my day.

- I will miss walking down this hall each morning as it is lined with kids and feeling sometimes like a run way model as the little girls would ooohh and ahhh over my high heels, or sometimes the feeling like your famous around October when the students in other classes have learned your name and they want you to see them waving at you in the morning.
-I will miss my classroom. Yes, this looks like a bomb went off in here, but guess what- I will miss it and the faces that fill it.

-I will miss our janitor----haha this is actually our principal, and I will miss working for such a great leader. I have always been thankful for having the opportunity to work in the Pontotoc City Schools, but part of my gratitude is due to being able to work for and with such wonderful people. Mr. Chism greets the students and teachers every morning with a smile on and kind word. I will miss working with such an easy going leader. I love to joke around, I love to pull pranks, and love that our school is place where good natured fun is allowed...trust me- I've worked where it wasn't allowed.
- I will miss this dessert. This is actually a dessert that was made when I worked in Tupelo...it was like a piece of Heaven on Earth. I am not a chocolate fan- but oh dear Lord this is wonderful...well my first year in Pontotoc they served fruit all the time...really for dessert...so when we got a new cafeteria manager I asked her about it...and what did she do...she found the recipe...she then made it and called it "Felicia's Dessert." Not only does it have my name...she also would make really full containers of it and keep them held back for me...The picture above looks like a small amount...this was actually held back from the day before so I could enjoy it two days in a row...now that is LOVE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tough

It's a tough life being a teacher- the time off is just awful. Summer break started today and I have already had a nap on the beach and eaten at LuLu's. Life is good- pray for Cullen while he is hard at work and I'm working on my tan. Oh and technically this is a 'Teacher Conference'. These women are all teachers with me and we are celebrating the retirement of my second grade teacher!

Lend Me Your Ear



This will be a whirlwind post that will catch my faithful blog readers up on the Pollards over the last month that I have not been a faithful blogger.
May is just a difficult time for teachers. Once Easter is over the school year is pretty much put on fast forward- much to the excitement of the students, but also for the teachers.
* The first weekend in May- Cullen went fishing with a friend and some donors in the Delta. He had a blast and I spent time at home baking cakes for some customers. Our friends from Huntsville, evacuated to Tupelo after their power was out, and we enjoyed dinner with them.
* My friends Molly & Barrett moved from Gainesville to Tupelo, and just happened to move right across the street from our friends Cole & Megan.
* May 7th- Leslie and I had our National Boards Pinning Ceremony in Oxford.
* May 12th- My students held their Art Showcase and Silent Auction to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. They raised $531.00 in one hour.
* May 17th my students had their end of the year Awards Day- Which means the day before I stayed at school until 10:00 trying to get everything together. I'm very thankful for my mother, in crunch time always comes through for me- this time she hand wrote 60-70 awards for my students.
I busted out black and yellow to show my school spirit for Awards Day

* May 20th the girls of the class of 2001 got together for dinner and catch up. Most of us were worn out and tired from teaching, but we enjoyed seeing one another and hope to keep a monthly dinner a priority.
April's Girls' Night

*May 23 I hosted a dinner for my Second Grade Teacher friends to celebrate Mrs. Busby, my actual second grade teacher, and her retirement.

* May 25th was the last day at school for teachers. It was also my last day at P.E.S. for at least a year- I'll post more on this another time.
* May 26th- we headed to a 'Teacher Conference' in Gulf Shores

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Girl Talk



The night before the last day of school we went to Oxford to listen to GirlTalk at the Lyric. Girl Talk is just a guy who chops and splices various artists' music together. It is really neat just to listen to...to hear Whiter Shade of Pale, Michael Jackson, and then current hits all put together is extremely amusing.
We left heading to the 8:00 concert about 6 in time to catch a bite to eat at Two Stick. Remember my bed time is 8:30. Well, he came on at 10:30....I was so tired, but was entertained by seeing what all the young ones had on. I am really shocked by the lack of dressing up. By no means were we dressed for church, but put a hat on our head and it looks like we could have been at the royal wedding in comparison.
Clothing aside...it was a great show. It was a three hour dance party and since a lot of our friends showed up it was a really fun time. If you are looking for a CD to play at the lake this summer or just a great driving CD on a road trip download it. Yes, it has rap music on it, so if that isn't your thing...be warned

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happiness



This past weekend my brother, his wife, and their baby came to visit. It was a whirlwind weekend with everything smushed in it, from girls' night- to a yard sale- the baby in town-a tanning session- church - and cleaning house. It was so great just to see how much she has grown and what a big girl she is becoming. I've decided if I can have a two year old there is a chance I might want kids some day. She was able to answer my questions, she is now Potty Trained--whoop whoop, and she only cried once that I heard the whole weekend. Contrasting the one cry I heard...my mom thought it would be a great idea to buy her Squeaker Shoes. She was delighted as long as they were on her...in fact she would sit and move her feet just to hear them squeak...over and over and over and over and over and over...she was so super cute.
This girl makes me happy. Once she left I told my mom I just want to be around her to say funny things and be silly. I mentioned she is potty training now, and doing a great job. She left the potty and announced she had used it, and everyone clapped...everyone except Uncle Cullen...who bless him...doesn't really know to make a big deal about things...she walked up to him...proclaimed it again, making SURE he heard her accomplishment and after he said 'ok'and kinda ignored it, she stared him down- I told him to clap...he did- and she turned and walked away happy and smiling---oh my this girl is too much....
As a side note- she still loves Cullen more than she loves me, although I feel like she is coming around and realizing Aunt Fifi buys the happies. I hope I get to spend some vacation time with her this summer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh My

I am sure that many times after I write a story about my mom many of you are left confused... She is just one of a kind. Well, I am becoming my mother and that realization humbles me often.
Yesterday I tried and tried to call her before church to tell her Happy Mother's Day- her phone went straight to voice mail- and each time I was just a bit mad- you see my Mom and phones are a bit of a joke in the family. She must have been able to say and get away with lots as a child because she says and honestly believes some of the craziest things-- for example-
She is losing her hearing and so she swears that the phone she had two phones ago had to 'warm up' when someone called her before she could hear them- really?? Warm up!? It was possible she was taking a nap and startled- or that her tv was at maximum volume- buy no just that phone had to warm up.
In January 2010 she had to have a new phone- I take her to the store to get one and she looks at all the options- and really thinks she needs a flip phone- yes I got rid of one of those five years ago, but my mom the eternal Trekie- you know Star Trek- thought the looked like something futuristic so she called it her 'beam me up Scotty phone'. Yes she called it that loudly in front of lots of folks- oh dear me.
That phone was just perfect she learned to text and take pictures, but just knew she needed an iPhone next time- I continued to say what a great texter she was and her camera pics were just great- no way no how did she need or was I teaching her to use an iPhone---
At Choir she announced yesterday that her phone she found sitting in a cup of coffee- she didn't know how it got there, but she was sure it had been there a long time-really???? I was instantly reminded of the sudden death of my pink razor phone that I told Cullen had spontaneous hydration and I wasn't sure how the water and the battery met??? Yikes! But I NEEDED and iPhone-
So I take her to the store and meet the clerk at the kiosk and say to be patient with my mom she is NOT tech savvy'. It was a painless experience, I kept moms questions at bay and got her fixed up with the new Blackberry Torch- it really is a neat phone- the girl said it had a two week learning curve- I told mom who didn't hear her the first time she said two months-
We exit the store no odd questions- we get in the car and mom starts asking about whether she needs to download an upgrade or upload something!? I quickly told her not to talk like she knows how to use it just yet- she was so happy to have Internet on her phone and was most happy to now get pics of her grandbaby- it's the little things that make her happy.
She only accidentally called me twice last night- God Bless Her!
So tonight I'll have another tutorial for her and help usher her into the smartphone era..

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Case of the Missing Cans

On Friday morning as I loaded my car for school with cakes and teacher bags...I made one last trip from the house-down the front steps- and to my vehicle...I noticed a man across the street. For many this is not an odd event, but let me explain that in my neighborhood, I am the only one. I live in the middle of downtown Pontotoc, across the corner from the church, behind the shoe store, next to the salon, near the post office- across the street from my house is the Habitat for Humanity office. I note that the man is picking up a bag of cans...this is odd...because most leave bags of cans to donate to Habitat.
I quickly do what all Southern women do...smile and wave and make small talk...all the while making observations...older gentleman, purple shirt, maroon truck,
As he nears my suv, I extend my hand introduce myself and begin questioning him...hey, How are you? What are you doing? "I'm on the BOARD of HABITAT I'm ON TO YOU-THIEF!"
He told me he was picking up cans helping a man...well, he could have been hired out by Father Pete, the retired priest who helps the affiliate. I let it go, get his tag number and immediately call my aunt, the executive director or Habitat. She knows nothing of it but says she will check. Well, I was FURIOUS...how dare someone steal from a non profit group...
After school was over I check in with my aunt to find out that no he was NOT being charitable...he was stealing. So here in Mayberry I found the closest cop...he just happened to be on my way to the Piggly Wiggly. I ask how his family is and get busy telling him my story. He takes the tag number and name the guy gave me...and says he'll call me. I am skeptical because he doesn't have my number...Not an hour later he calls me and asks me to come identify the bag of cans. They are now in my living room. I'm waiting for the office to open so I can drop them off tomorrow. Way to go Pontotoc Po-Po! Turns out the truck was borrowed from the old man's brother, he made a call and got the cans delivered within the hour to the station.
I'm wondering what is WRONG with people. How can they so blatantly steal from others. Just call me Nancy Drew...of the neighborhood watch.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pinning Ceremony



This time last year I was getting ready for the National Boards Assessment I took mid June. Earlier in May, because I was part of the World Class Teaching Program, I took part in my pinning ceremony in Oxford. It really was a nice day. My friend, Leslie, and I actually led a workshop to prepare candidates for the upcoming assessment.
Getting ready to lead our candidates in assessment techniques.

Being pinned and photographed by the new Dean of the School of Education.

All of the candidates getting ready for the group photo...note Leslie and I were born ready.

Still ready as ever and the lady in blue next to us, graduated high school with my mom, and just renewed her boards.
My mom, who certified in 1999 was there along with Cullen who photographed the event.

Let me say now...if you are a teacher and have not done the board process...you should. It is the fastest way to get a pay increase. It was a great experience. I wish I could say that I spent hours, dedicated weekends, gave away holidays, and completely consumed myself in the process. Some people do this, I didn't. It is just my personality. I will never be called OCD, oh I want to be successful, but I am one of the most laid back people and procrastinating people you will ever know. I would rather two weeks of stress than put up with a year of doing without. Do it, make up your mind and just say you will commit to doing it...the pay raise is worth it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Natalie's 30th in Nashville


For our friend Natalie's 30th birthday, Joanne and I decided turning thirty called for more than a party...it called for a weekend away.

We sang along with Sugarland and loud and long to 9-5



It was a great time with good friends. Only two years and Joanne and I will be celebrating with Nat hopefully somewhere tropical.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pollyanna's Pride

Oh our sweet baby has had babies. They were born on Easter and were found three days later. She moved them the next day and we finally found them again last night. Cullen has become Dr.Dolittle and moved them into the house. I bought him a litter box to deal with he has now become in-charge of the babies. I name them Flopsy, Mopsy, Milo, and Doodle-- Doodle I think is a bit special and is gonna need more love- I'll update more later.

Cullen the Pirate

Storm Chasers 2035

Last Wednesday this is how I spent most of my day- looking at children wearing books for helmets-
They were great- I was frazzled- I came home and slept for hours- just from the mental stress- we were very fortunate! These kids might be the next storm chasers-