Thursday, June 25, 2015

my house is a mess and other woes from the graduate student

Currently you can see about 1/10 of my table. Maybe not even that much. I need an intervention. No, I'm not showing you a picture because it's completely embarrassing.

I bought a flat of impatiens at least 3 weeks ago. Do you think I've got them planted yet? Not a chance. I keep saying, "I need to get that flower bed weeded first." Ya. In my dreams. Phil and I just keep watering them in their black plastic packs.

Speaking of flowers, my roses are looking terrible. I tried this concoction I read about on pinterest where you put your old banana peels in the blender with water (I cut mine up in small pieces first and threw the hard ends away) and pour the nasty looking mixture over the roots. Supposedly roses like banana peels. We'll see if that helps. I'm about ready to go out there and just cut them down and let them start all over again. Which I should've done in the fall. Or something like that.

On the flip side, the hydrangeas are coming out. Love. They're actually really nice and dark purple and blue now.

The dog is getting walked, mostly faithfully, in the mornings when it's cool. Then he doesn't bug me all day long. It's good for the both of us. I made up his lack of one today though with a peanut butter bone. Peanut butter covers a multitude of sins.

Tomorrow Phil505 gets to have three teeth extracted. Two wisdom teeth and a molar in which the root canal and crown has gone bad. Ouch. I know that's going to be painful, but at least that pain will put an end to the pain he's been living with the last 3 or 4 weeks. Poor guy.

I just spent about the last five days studying the educational systems of England and France. I spent three days working on the comparative education project. I had to youtube how to zip files together in order to submit it all. (Graduate school has taught me that I'm basically computer illiterate.) I finally sent it off into cyberspace around 8:20. An hour later he had it graded and sent back. I'm happy to report that I got a 98.5% on that thing. One thing I learned: I always thought I had it so bad as a kid with chores I had to do and helping with the garden and whatnot. Well, let's just say I'm thanking my lucky stars I didn't live in England in the 1830's before the Bill to Regulate the Labour of Children in the Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom went into effect.

This class is coming to an end. I'm way behind on my reading and I have a pretty important paper to write by next Friday night, a final exam, some videos to watch, and a discussion board to do before I can say "so long, farewell" to Foundations of American Education. My favorite part about this class is the Faith, Freedom, and Public Schools module. Basically that's eight videos about how the Bible can be incorporated into instruction in public schools.

Up next in the world of online graduate education: two classes at the same time. Lord, help me. I'm taking Behavior Management and Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School. I'm really looking forward to the practicality of both of these. What I'm not looking forward to is the complete lack of life I'll be having. But, by the end of August I'll be 5/12ths of the way done with my Master's. Go me. If I take one class each subterm between now and then two again at the last subterm next summer, I should be done.

I'm trying to put together some stuff for a gallery wall in our dining room. You know, gallery walls are all the rage right now. I just won't be doing arrows or mustaches on mine. Anyway, here's a sneak peek. . . I have some prints from Pike Street Market to go in the white frames. I think I want to paint the black B and maybe get a small mirror for the other side. I'm also ordering a family name sign from etsy to go at the top. I'll take other ideas, suggestions, things you'd add or change in the comments section below. Thanks ;)
Tune in next time when maybe the table will be cleared off and I'll have actually hung some stuff up on the walls.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

i have no good title for this post

So, I don't get to watch much TV these days, what with being a graduate student and all, but Phil505 and I have discovered a new guilty pleasure recently. Well, maybe guilty pleasure isn't quite what it really is, but have you seen that show on A&E called Married at First Sight? Essentially these people are put together by "experts" and actually get married without having ever met each other. It's a six week experiment during which they'll try to fall in love and decide to stay married. Otherwise, it's divorce court at the end of the six weeks. It's pretty interesting to watch. Maybe we like it so much because we were only actually together {and I like to add - in each other's physical presence} for a total of 45 days before we got married. And even though it wasn't love and marriage at first sight, it wasn't a lot of sight. I don't know. Anyway, I think the show is on Tuesday night, but we DVR it because I'm usually doing homework at night and Phil505 is in bed. And for as much as I was opposed all these years to getting cable, I sure like that DVR feature.

Speaking of love and marriage, tomorrow is anniversary #11 for us. And we didn't even need experts to put us together. We can just thank - which I don't even know if it's in existence anymore or not. I took pictures of these pictures outside in a hurry, just so I could have something from our wedding for you to look at.

Another show that we, well, mostly Phil505 enjoys, is Mystery Diners on the Food Network. It's on a lot of times when I'm cooking dinner, so I tend to listen in (and crack up). I figured out long ago that this show is basically scripted because the acting is soooo bad there's no way it can be real. So the other day I did a google search, and pretty much I was right. In fact, there's a whole site devoted to its fakeness.

I picked some lavender from the three pitiful looking lavender plants my back yard yesterday. Smells so good.
The Mr. and I are heading on a road trip this weekend to Spokane, WA. I probably shouldn't broadcast that on my blog because someone might break into our house, but then, I have like two people who actually still read this and one lives in Maine and the other I see at church. Who would think it would take nearly 6 hours to drive from the Portland/Vancouver area to the other side of the stinkin' state, but it does. His niece got married in Montana three weekends ago and none of us could make it, so I guess it's a good thing they're having a second reception. First we were going, then we weren't, and now we are again. We haven't been to Spokane since his dad passed away. Spokane's not my favorite place, probably because I have a lot of sad memories of seeing his ill parents before we got married, then his mom passed away six months after we got married, and then his dad a few years ago. That, and it's always hot and dry. Or freezing cold and dry. And my lips always get chapped. Years ago there used to be an awesome scrapbook store there that made things more bearable, but in the economy crash of 2000 and whatever, it closed. But fear not my friends, for now Spokane has not one, but two Hobby Lobbies!!! Guess where Phil505 is taking me birthday shopping???

Speaking of birthdays, he's already mentioned that he's going to be late coming home tomorrow because he has to stop at my favorite cupcake shop of all time, St. Cupcake, and bring home some anniversary/birthday love. I can hardly wait.

Today I was subbing in kindergarten and a couple kids were playing restaurant, and I, being the only adult there paying them any bit of attention, was the customer. One kid comes over and says, "What would you like to drink?" And then another kid comes over and says, "Would you like any apple-tizers?" I thought that was hysterically funny.

My mom spent this week in retirement mode. For as long as I can remember (and even before I was a figment in her and dad's imagination) she has been keeping kids. She's been Grandma Sharon to more children than should possibly be legal. And now, she's at home all day in a quiet house with my dad, who's also retired and watches TV to pass the time. They should have NO PROBLEM now getting their butts on a plane and coming out to see me. Oh, and happy retirement, Mom. I love you!!!

I'm in week 5 of my class and let's just say that I hate Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates just as much now as I did back in 1994 in Dr. Stiles' Foundations of American Ed. class. Just give me something to learn that's APPLICABLE to my current situation. Thank you, very much.

Speaking of my current situation, I'm still, a whole year and a half later, telling teachers over lunch who want to know if I'm going to get a full-time job in the fall about "my story." You know, the one where the college I went to wasn't regionally accredited. And they are still just as mind blown today as they were in January of 2014. Mamas, don't let you babies grow up to get bachelor's degrees from colleges that aren't regionally accredited. I know there's a light at the end of this tunnel, I just haven't seen it yet.

One last thing. Always remember a tired dog is a happy dog.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

in the merry, merry month of may

a few things happened. . .
  • I finished Advanced Educational Research and Assessment. {Thank you, Jesus.} That was probably the hardest class I've ever taken. I have never had to youtube how to write a paper before this class. I learned more about technical writing crap than I did research. Although I learned quite a bit about research too and became best friends with the Liberty University Online Library. How amazing is technology that I can find all my sources online???
  • I started my 3rd class, Foundations of American Education. Totally different feel to this one than the last one. Entering week 4 tomorrow.
  • I did some yard work, planted some flowers, and cleaned up and planted a very minimalistic garden. Four tomatoes, four cucumbers, two zucchini, and a couple short rows of green beans. This is the 2015 window box. Can't wait to see it fill out and get all big and beautiful like it did last year.

  • I subbed 17.5 out of a possible 20 days including an 8 day stretch in a 2nd-3rd blend. The sub jobs are starting to slow down, but we're still in school until June 18th. We'll see how long I actually work.
  • I took Wilson to the vet. He weighs 91 pounds and needs a tooth extraction because apparently he's been chewing on bones and hard toys a little bit too much and has worn the enamel off his tooth. Before that happens, we will need to get a 2nd mortgage on our house because canine dental work isn't cheap.
  • I led worship at our church for the first time in my life. Picked out the songs, put the set together, played and sang, and talked the congregation through the worship time. Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous at all. A few butterflies right before I started, but as soon as I sat down at the piano, I was totally fine.
  • I received my first birthday card in the mail. And it isn't even my birth month yet. It was from my 4th grade teacher, Miss Merrill. She still sends me one every year. Because apparently I'm still her favorite student of all times.
  • We went to Phil's nephew's wedding yesterday. Aren't they the cutest? He was 10 years old the first time I met him and he still calls me Aunt Wendy. So fun. Best wishes to James and Laresa, the newest Mr. and Mrs. Bergland!
  • I went with kraft and twine for the gift wrap and then was pleasantly surprised to see that they used burlap and lace as part of their decorations. I'm matchy-matchy like that sometimes. And looking at the picture, I realize I should've put the card in a different spot. I don't like how it lines up with the folded ends. Oh well. And in case you're wondering, no, I did not make the tissue paper flower. Who's got time for that? They sell those at Target.

Monday, April 27, 2015

what's new in wendy's world

1. I got the cravings for something lemony last week. Did a quick pinterest search and came up with this recipe for a copycat Starbucks lemon loaf. So so good. That recipe is definitely a keeper. The cake is heavy and dense, not light and springy. Just the right amount of lemon flavor. I see this coming to a church potluck sometime soon.
2. I have finished 6 out of 8 weeks of Educational Research and Assessment. This week was kind of brutal. Three chapters to read with a quiz over them, a group discussion board (that actually wasn't as hard as I had myself believing) and a qualitative article review. I pretty much worked most of Saturday and all of yesterday after I got home from church. My last assignment was submitted at approximately 8:40 pm, just a mere 19 minutes from the deadline. Now I wait for grades. I got a kick out of the professor yesterday. He sent us an email and he started it like this. . . "Dear Class, Sundays can be so hard." No kidding. I find that I really do end up doing the majority of my work on the weekends because I'm so tired in the evenings. Makes for some really long weekends.
3. There's stuff blooming in our front yard. The irises are starting to open up. We have some that are purple and some that look more burgundy. I think they finally settled into where I had transplanted them because we have tons of blooms this year.
My columbines popped out too. They're so pretty and dainty.
4. I didn't have a job scheduled for today, and the only one posted was for PE. I don't do PE. So I took the day off (much deserved after all the homework I did this weekend) and so far I've read a bunch of blogs, cleaned both bathrooms, and started some laundry. Phil's on standby today, waiting to see if he'll be called in or not. It's always kind of nice to have a Monday together.

5. I downloaded Spotify to my phone yesterday. I need more music in my life. Now I have to figure out how it works. Any tips, anyone?

6. Speaking of apps, I want to know what your favorite apps are? I have hardly any. Phil put the Bible on for me, and I have one called Notes which is kind of a list-making app, but haven't used it.I also have instagram - check it out here. Although, if you do, you'll just see a repeat of pictures you've already seen.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

spring retreat

Last weekend I was hanging out with this fine looking group of ladies from my church at our church conference's spring retreat. This picture was actually taken Sunday afternoon after we'd left Newport and we stopped for lunch together at Mo's in Lincoln City. We've gone there a few times, I guess so Linda can buy us all a couple warm peach and marionberry cobblers to share. It's tradition.

In case you were wondering, I skipped the fish and chips this time, but I couldn't say no to the clam chowder.
I think there were about 175 of us all together, from churches in Oregon and Washington. The weather was beautiful and we all pretty much had ocean view rooms. The theme this year was Resting in the Journey with the theme verses coming from Matthew. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-29

We were blessed by four amazing ladies who spoke at the main sessions. They shared how they found rest during heartbreaking seasons of infant loss, sexual abuse, losing a spouse to cancer, and while being forced to leave a foreign country as a missionary. This was a different format for us, as we usually have one speaker that covers all the main sessions. Different was good, though. So, so good.

Our church ended up leading the worship music and providing special music a couple of times. I got to play the keyboard and listen to a whole room full of ladies harmonizing and lifting up the name of Jesus. Good stuff. 

On Saturday night, we had a little game where everyone who brought a mug got to pick one from the table. The sheets inside were kind of get-to-know-you forms, so the person who got your mug will know who to pray for. I found out whose mug I got, but I wasn't able to discover who ended up with mine. However, whoever it is has already sent me an anonymous note in the mail. How cool is that? The whole premise of this mug exchange that when you use that particular mug, it's supposed to remind you to pray for that person. 
On Saturday afternoon, after the breakout sessions (I did card-making, journaling, and women's ministry ideas) my friend Barbara and I hopped in her car and headed south. We stopped at Seal Rock and at a couple of state parks. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Oregon coast???

My sister-in-law, Cindy, was the chairman of retreat this year. She did a fantastic job. Then she went home and fell and broke her femur on Monday. If you think about her, say a prayer. She's had quite a bit of pain.
I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity again to go to retreat and be a part of a pretty amazing weekend. Being a part of the conference women's ministry team, I know a lot of prayer and planning went into this event and it was so neat to see that God answered our prayers and blessed a lot of ladies. I'm now praying real hard (and crossing my fingers and toes and perhaps my eyeballs) that my dear friend, Kerry Messer, will be able to join us as our speaker next year. Ghetto Girls reunion at spring retreat? Oh. Ya.
photo circa October 2013 in Vegas.

Friday, April 24, 2015

thirteen years ago today

Thirteen years ago today I nervously left my Uncle Joe's house where I had spent the night and drove to the airport in Columbus to pick up this guy, Phil505, I'd met online and had been corresponding with for 9 months. We started writing in July and it was all emails and letters for the first 7 months. Then he finally called me in January. January 17th, to be exact. We pretty much knew after talking that we had to meet. So he came. He took a red-eye out of Portland. I was running late, and he was waiting for me at the top of the escalator. And we kissed. My very first kiss, I might add. Then we went out to breakfast at Bob Evan's (after we finally found my car because I didn't pay attention to which parking garage I had left it in) where we sat across the table from each other. I was all googly-eyed and I smiled a lot. He held my hand and we finally talked face to face. We spent part of our day at some Conservatory in Columbus and visited the butterfly exhibit. I was too excited to think about asking someone to take our picture. Darn it. I wish I had one. But I have this one, from that weekend. 

This picture popped up in my facebook feed this morning because I had posted it last year. . . 12 years ago today. . . Another year has gone by and while he's still my internet boyfriend, he's been upgraded to husband status.
Love you, Mr. Bergland.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

right now

eating baby carrots.
drinking water.
(Those first two sound real good in theory, but the truth is, I've eaten like crap for about a month and that needs to change.)
hoping a trip to Ohio is in the works for this summer. Trying to figure it all out.
listening to the frogs.
procrastinating on a few things: reading for school, returning a phone call about a sub job, and doing the dishes.
sending off a little belated birthday surprise to my dad tomorrow. 
still laughing about something my almost 95 year old grandmother asked me the other day, "Did you find yourself a boyfriend out there yet?" No Grandma. I'm married. ha ha ha
praying for some kind of supplemental income for the summer, probably in the form of tutoring or something like that.
loving the tulips. I stopped at the grocery store tonight and there was a big display right as you walked in the door. They're so fresh and happy. And colorful.
anticipating spring retreat this weekend at the coast. I think 11 ladies from our church will be going and I'll be playing the keyboard for the worship sets. Maybe even singing on a song or two.
admitting that I barely got anything done on my spring break list-of-things-to-do. I guess it was just too much relaxing at the beach and not enough work.
deciding on if I want to attempt taking 2 grad classes at the same time at the end of the summer or not. It seems insane, but I won't be working, so it's definitely more doable.
needing to take Wilson for a walk.
making scrapbook pages to update the book for retreat this weekend. I cranked out about 6 today. Almost done, just a little more journaling to go.
reading a lot of journal articles about poverty in education (for my research project). It's been very interesting, but also very depressing. 
thinking about the last half of this Research & Assessment class and what I still have to get done. Can't wait til it's over.