Friday, September 28, 2012

Incredible Field Trip and a Nice Thrift Haul

I've been making my way through the piles of research writing I have to do this weekend. It's due Monday and the pressure is on.  I'm about halfway through, but had and still have other things on my calendar, such as a last visit with Tiffany tomorrow before she returns to Japan :(
  Today, I chaperoned my son's field trip and I have to say it was the coolest field trip I've ever been on.  I've posted some pictures below.  I also made a quick little thrift trip and found a few treasures that I will share with you below.

The forecast today called for sunny, cool weather.  It was 50 when I left the house today for my son's field trip and I didn't know if we would be inside or out or how much it would warm I chose carefully.  The dress is a cotton knit Gap item that I purchased at Goodwill.  It has 3/4 sleeves and is very comfortable.  I wore the super lightweight chartreuse flyaway cardigan (Express, purchased at the little church resale for $2.00) as a removable layer.  I love this piece; its as light as a tee shirt and a striking color.  Black tights, equestrian boots (that I've had for four years...ahead of the current trend) and a black pashmina scarf (not pictured) at my neck kept me nice and cozy.  It wasn't my most polished outfit, but it did the trick and I still felt like I looked presentable.  Since we were riding a school bus to the field trip site....I couldn't bear the thought of wearing jeans.  Good decision. 

Oh so comfy boots.  I love the button detail and the leather and fabric texture mix.

On my little mini-thrift trip I couldn't resist this little navy blue dress.  I had really wanted to add more navy into my wardrobe.  If nothing else, I can wear it as a house dress.....

.....and the same goes for this dress.  It's not a high quality piece, but it will make an adorable little hot day dress next summer.

Classic forest green card.  So happy to have found this basic piece.

My favorite find....a Calvin Klein dress.  The color is vibrant and the fabric feels very luxurious and smooth.  I'm considering pairing this will black tights, boots, belt and cardi for one of the days leading up to Halloween.  I have a sweet little pair of black cat earrings that would work well.  I don't do cutesy holiday earrings, but my son gave me these and I actually love them.  Speaking of Halloween.......I have several intriguing ideas for costumes for the dance parties......looking forward to this.....

This is a great chunky and durable ramie cardigan.  Since my fisherman's sweater is ramie and has held up so well for so long, I though I should invest in another one.  Its actually a very pretty heathered navy blue, but looks so grey and unflattering here. on to the incredible field trip!  My son's second grade class visited the TriTown Safety Village.  TTSV is a safety project that's funded by private donations and provides top notch safety training for kids. The village is a model of a community with streets, real buildings (about the size of a garage) that were built to represent businesses in the community. The businesses sponsor their own buildings and their names are displayed.  Home Depot even has a building there.  There are railroad tracks, sidewalks and street signs which are all props used in the trainings.  There is also a real antique box car (100 years old!) the the kids got to tour.  Police officers and firefighters teach kids street, railroad and fire safety in 'danger' simulated scenarios.  There is even a small house in the Village that is engineered to simulate a real fire situation.  Smoke alarms sound, lights flash and the house fills with smoke (non-toxic).  The kids have to put their new skills to work; check the door to see if its hot and crawl down stairs backwards and out the door to a previously agreed upon safe meeting place.  My favorite tip; if you can't get out through a door and you live on a second story....start throwing things out the window.  If you see a fireman...throw things at him to get his attention.  He won't hear you....he's encapsulated in his bunker gear and there are all kinds of other noises that will drown out voices ; but he will be able to find you if you are throwing things out the window and at him.

This is a picture of one of the fireman watching the kids escape the smoke filled bedroom.

This is what they saw while they were escaping....firefighters assisting them....

The railroad safety presentation was dynamic.  Do you know that railroads own the 50 feet of property on either side of the tracks and that no one is to be on this property.  Did you also know that throwing a tiny object at a train can cause it to ricochet back toward you and double its speed making it a dangerous object which can impale you?  Did you know that railroad police officers are real police officers and can give you a ticket for violating any of their safety rules?  They don't give warnings, due to the serious potential for life threats.  $500 ticket no matter what.  Did you know that the doors on the box cars weight 1500 lbs and that when the train takes off they can slam shut and trap you inside for a nice long distance trip?  Yikes.  The kids were riveted; thirty second graders sitting and listening in total, still, silence!!!!

Cute fountain....

The old was like a little apartment inside....The windows at the bumpout on the top of the car were for expert marksmen.  Back in the early railroad days...horses mounted by Indians or robbers could outrun the trains...and posed a robbery threat.  There were two seats in that facing in each that they could see if they were being approached from either direction.  There was an icebox, an old black iron heat source and a toilet.  There was also a wooden box that served as a tiny bed.

This is officer G.  He delivered the dynamic railroad lesson.  And...ummm...he was eye candy too :)
Yes, I'm married and not looking....but I sure was enjoying the scenery.  That's okay, isn't it?

What an important and relevant service this Village provides.  I've never enjoyed a field trip so much.

Hope the weekend goes well for for me, with the exception of my visit with Tiffany....I'm going to be pounding away at the keys of my computer...homework, homework, homework!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Elaine Dance" and Opinions Please!

Today was the first day I felt like I really broke the ice with my students.  Last semester, I replaced a writing assignment with a debate on a topic of the student's choosing.  I required cited sources to support their arguments.  The students chose a controversial topic and really enjoyed the debate.  I was so impressed with the way they created and supported their arguments and the genuine passion they exhibited during the actual debate. 
 Today, this semester's class chose their topic and we talked  a bit about how to proceed.  They are actually excited about it!!!!  It was like that big chasm that separates teachers and students narrowed some.  Nothing like an exciting assignment to lead a breakthrough.  This makes me very happy.  They chose the topic of same-sex adoption.  Running a close second place to that topic was 'Reversing Roe v. Wade'.  They brainstormed the topics with no input from me.  I like that they chose controversial topics.  Of course, when they asked me how they would be split into teams and when I told them that they will be assigned to the pro or con side with no consideration to their preference....there was a collective gasp followed by "how do we do that if we all believe........?"  "what if we are a pro but assigned as a con?" "How do we argue for something we don't (or do) believe in if we are not assigned to that side?".
You argue as if you believe in the side you are assigned to.
Regardless of your belief.
Another collective gasp.
We talked a bit more about researching and about presenting a solid argument based on studies, evidence and fact rather than opinion.
They really seem excited about it.  What is really cool about this is that NOT ONE of them has ever participated in a debate.
This is why I love my teaching assistantship.
I'm really teaching them something new, a new skill.

New York & Co silk bow tie blouse, thrifted.  I can't tie a bow for anything.
This is what I wore to teach in today.  One of my students actually complimented me today!

Lia Sophia 'cabana' necklace.

I was feeling silly this morning..and because my photographer (the boy) was feeling a little crabby and irritable, I broke into the 'Elaine' dance....

Anyone remember that dance from Seinfeld?  I love that dorky dance.  Wish I could do it as well as Julia Louis Dreyfuss does it.  ;)

Now for your OPINION PLEASE?!!!!

I'm competing again on October 13th.  I'm dancing American Smooth Style, which is less stuffy than International Standard because you can break from the body contact position to do some spins and arm styling.  To put it simply...Standard is the elegant style and Smooth is the 'fancy' style.  Oh, by the way....I have not done much Smooth. Three months of coaching total in Smooth.  I'm a Standard girl. Back in February, my coach convinced me to compete in Smooth at the Indiana Challenge and it worked out very well  ;)

Anyway, I need to choose a dress to wear for this comp and I thought I would ask YOUR opinion!
So, which one?
The chocolate and vanilla dress?  I just purchased this and wore it at the last comp's evening event.

The pink princess dress?  This is what I wore when I won the Indiana Challenge.

Psss....the gloves...don't have fingers now, they were waaaayyy too long so I had them made into gauntlets.

.....or the 'Tinkerbell' green dress.

A friend of mine who loves all things Disney and works there told me she couldn't help but think of Tinkerbell when she saw the picture.

So what do you think?
I hope the pink one is still an option after tonight....because it's in the wash machine right now...
It's in a pillowcase, secured and washing on the hand wash cycle.
I've washed many formal gowns of silk and chiffon this way, but never a ballroom gown.  
Some of the stones will fall off, but will be caught by the pillowcase.  That's a super easy fix.  I just hope the dress and its fine silk chiffon godets are fully intact...
By the way...dry cleaners won't touch ballroom gowns.

So please send me some good dress mojo and please share your opinion with me!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, Monday

The breezy beautiful weather continues to spoil me.  
Can we keep it like this indefinitely?  I know some of my fellow bloggers would not be happy with me if I could influence the weather in this direction; some of you are summer girls!  Wink, Wink, you know who you are!  ;)
New York & Co curvy bootcut jeans; Paul Harris sweater (old) Nine West shoes.
I've had this oversized sweater for about 12 years!  It's "ramie" which was very popular at the time and it lasts and lasts!  Its not the most figure flattering piece, but I love  it's simplicity and coziness. It makes me feel so nostalgic for football games and halloween nights past.  Maybe I can get another 10 years of wear and memories out of it, eh?

I've been loving the scarf/headwrap look lately.....

An old belly dance necklace; the only piece I own that's bold enough for the chunky sweater.

My feet are blissfully happy in these plain but verrrryyyy comfy shoes by Nine West.

Ok, so this curl has nothing to do with my outfit, except I am quite happy with it's corkscrew appearance.  It just sort of curled this way on it's own.  How I wish every curl would do this every day...with no effort.

My outfit today, which I actually loved wearing but did not love in the photograph.  First of all, I forgot to arrange the 'cowl' neckline and it just kind of hangs and droops very sadly.

Lia Sophia 'Love Dust' necklace.  Oh how I love LS jewelry.

This is what the neckline is supposed to look like!  Well, kind of, its still kind of skewed, but honestly, there is always something a little skewed about my outfits....and I'm OK with that!!!

Mondays are tough days and I am beat.  Dance lesson today on my break and let me tell you, Marcel kicked my butt today.  I suppose that's good considering comp is in about 3 weeks...oh geez......

Talk about about being unprepared!

Hope the week has been kicked off on a positive not for all of you....Take care!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breezy and Green

I love this weather.  I love the energy, the breezes, the colors, the festivals and pumpkins, the food and fall wardrobes.
I'd like to live in this climate all year 'round.
Since it isn't possible, I appreciate the season even more.

Callahan wool hat; T.J. Maxx
Since Tiffany is visiting, I've had to play mad catch up with my homework/reading. By next Monday, I will have three large papers due and of course volumes of reading.  
My class had their first test of the semester and its quite time consuming to grade 27 tests!  I'm happy to be done with it and to say that out of 27 students, 9 achieved a 90 or better and 12 achieved 80 or better.  There was 1 F. I was very disappointed, but not surprised because this student arrived 15 minutes late to take the test and was the second to finish.  Grading her test I had the feeling that she rushed through it and just guessed, didn't even read the questions.  I gave a study guide and we spent a full class period doing a review session.  For the first test I included only questions regarding lecture topics.  I don't expect students to achieve their highest test grade on the first test, but I don't expect anyone to fail considering the opportunities given. 
I know I should not take this personally, but that is something I struggle with.  Not everyone who's there has a high level of passion for education.

Scarf, Nordstrom (thrifted); Ponte' knit pants, New York and Co.
Yesterday the air was breezy but not obnoxiously windy.  I love the way my scarf is blowing in this picture!

Mugging for the camera...another breezy shot....

Cute button detail on sleeves; Sweater, Dress Barn
Necklaces; pendant necklace, my beloved Lia Sophia (won at an event); pearls and gold chain necklace, John Wind
I've been reading and studying in the time in between family time.  Last night I babysat my Brady while my two oldest sons and daughter-in-law took my visiting niece bowling (my 1 year old grandson).  Brady just did not want to lay down or sleep.  So I cuddled him while sneaking in some research journal reading and finally at 1:30 a.m. he fell asleep.  Bad grandma.  I love that adorable little guy.

I've been up at the reading since 7 a.m. and I think I'm ready for a brain break.  I NEED to get out into this beautiful weather and do something fall-like.  I still have more reading to do and a research article memo review to write.

I'm going to grab my DSLR camera (I usually take post photos with a point and shoot, except for dance  photos) and try to capture the essence of this beautiful season.  Maybe have some pumpkin doughnuts.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend...enjoy the rest of the day!  Hugs and Kisses,


Friday, September 21, 2012

Good times.....

My brother and I took my niece, Tiffany out to eat, to the zoo and shopping.  We hung for 8 hours.  It was a long, but very enjoyable day.  This is Tiffany and me in the Observation at a small local zoo.  We are at the top of the tower...and relived to have been done climbing for awhile....

Jeff and Tiffany (my brother, Tiffa's dad)

From the top landing of the lookout tower looking down at the circular flight of stairs we just climbed.

Before the circular stairs, we scale 8 flights of stairs just like this one inside the tower.

Looking up at the Tower.

This is what we saw from the landing.  A little bay and a non-functioning nuclear tower in the background.

Before we scaled those tower stairs...we walked up and then descended three flights of stairs like these.

The hand rail doesn't look very hand friendly....let me tell you that after climbing all of those stairs up and butt. thighs and legs are burning.

I just thought these bright green florals looked so pretty floating in the dark water...

It's hard to tell here, but this is two Tigers nuzzling affectionately and making precious, lovey, kitten noises.

This guy kept staring at me...

and this guy wouldn't let me get near the gift shop.  

Treats that Tiffany brought me from Japan.

... a little coin purse from Japan

...and Japanese handkerchiefs.

And shopping....ah yes.  I've really been good about staying out of retail stores, but we went to a fantastic outlet mall and I found these *LEATHER* booties at Nine West for $14.99

and two silk Ralph Lauren scarves deeply discounted, but still more than I care to admit to spending.  They are both an equestrian print and I fell in love with them both.  The 'red' one is actually a deeper maroon then they look in the picture.

I'm wiped out!  tomorrow, I'm going to just grade some tests, do a brief memo on a journal study and then hang with my little Brady for a few hours tomorrow night. 

I promise I will get back to regular outfit posts soon....but its a little time crazy right now!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.