Tag Archives: Holiday

a few of my favorite things..

alright.. i know that christmas is a time for family, being together, and something about a man named baby jesus..
(or teenage jesus, whatever you prefer..)
and really christmas presents, received or given, should not be the forefront of thought.. but honestly, i am pretty excited about some gifts this year. a few that i received, and a few pretty awesome ones that i gave. here is just a little highlight of the excitement.

favorite gift to give: a bright green teenage mutant ninja turtle hoodie to my brother, vic
favorite gift to buy: craftsman 10-inch portable table saw for derek
favorite gift to make: family picture coasters for mom
most sentimental gift to give: father-daughter dance wedding photo for dad

there were a few favorites of gifts that i received.. i apparently was a pretty good girl this year.

favorite gifts:
a beautiful necklace from derek (wrapped in my favorite blue box),
a laptop from santa (the lid even stays open on its own!),
a (guest) bedroom set from dad,
jeans that really fit from mom,
sushi sets from rhonda and mom (keep your fingers crossed that i can learn how to make it!),
gift cards! (nothing is better than ‘after-chirstmas’ sales).

i felt like a little kid again this year at christmas. what fun..
thank you all..


One of the assignments I gave my students this week was to brainstorm some things they were thankful for, and why. (Naturally this is what an elementary teacher assigns that short week of Thanksgiving!) As they came up with some pretty creative ideas, including “Aunt Julie’s apple pie and the sweater that grandma made,” I was working on my own little list of things I am thankful for and I was reminded not forget the little things.
I am thankful for my health. Working with kids for so long has created this super immunity system in my body and allows me to never have to take a sick day.
I am thankful for Derek. The friendship I have known with him is unlike anything I have every experienced. I am grateful that I have his love, support, laughter, and awesome underwear-flicking abilities.
I am thankful for my family. I am so very lucky to have such a good relationship with both of my parents and my little brother. Although there are times when I wonder if I am not truly obsessed with them, beings how I talk to one of them at least once a day, I have come to realize it is a mutual obsession — and we are all okay with it.
I am thankful for my baby, Ninja. With his warm, 93 pound, body sleeping on my legs at nite, my feet are never cold. Also, the loyalty my dog shows me makes me feel like royalty. How can you not be thankful for a companion that loves you more than his own b-hole?
I am thankful for my wonderful friends. Because of them, I have many great memories (that often turn into ridiculous stories.) With these friends I am reminded that while time does continue to move forward — good friendships always last the distance and change.
I am thankful for food. Lord (and the poor waitress at Chilis) knows that I would be a sobbing wreck without it.
I am thankful for Derek’s family. Although I know they don’t always agree with me, (something about using the “F word” too much!) I am grateful that they have always accepted me and appreciated the love I have for their son/brother.
I am thankful for my education. (And so is Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation — I am providing their Christmas bonus checks this year!) As the psychology of a teacher continues to unfold, I realize more and more how much I love to learn, and I am very grateful that I have the time and ambition to continue.
I am thankful for my students. They continue to enlighten my life every day. I learn so much from each of them, I can’t imagine not doing my job. I mean honestly, who knew that you clean a desk with just a little pee on your shirt?

‘Tis the season for reflection.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Welcome Back.

Summer is officially over… the certified welcome back letter came weeks ago, but I just don’t think I was ready to take it all in. These past few months I have found just how much I really enjoy having the summer season.
Don’t get me wrong…
“Oh being a teacher must be nice… you only work 9 months a year and you get the summer off…”
I don’t have the energy to rebut that statement right now… and honestly I just want to relive a few good memories of the summer “break.”

– I worked all summer with one of my autistic students, and the progress that I saw was incredible. “A” is a student working against incredible odds and I honestly was a little apprehensive at the thought of such an intense one on one schedule with her… but at the end of the 8 week program I found myself a little sad, wanting more one on one time. I will still be working with “A” during the school year, but the bond of working together this summer was unforgettable.

– I was in school… I love school. Call me a nerd. I love learning.

– Auntie Kari arrived. Morgan had her baby! Now, as it was mentioned in a blog before (and clearly everyone knows…) I am a little apprehensive about the idea of pregnancies, babies, etc. But Morgan pulled the whole thing off wonderfully… We laid in the pool every Friday afternoon before Hopelyn was born. (That’s right. Sun Prairie owes me some pool time!) What a good time to be with such a wonderful friend… reminiscing about sleepovers in 5th grade and debating about raising her child.

– Family, family, family. I know it is no surprise… my family loves to be together. And I don’t think I hide the excitement too much either. (Except when State Fair plans are interrupted of course.) We all got together a lot this summer and as always, it was good.

– Derek’s birthday… again, no surprise… I love birthdays! For Derek’s birthday this year I bought tickets to Lollapalooza in Chicago. It would take hours to write about all the fun we had there… and it’s better written on Derek’s site anyway, but the weekend was incredible. Not only did we see great shows and spend time with great friends, but it was all done in my favorite place. I swear someday my husband is going to want us to move to the city…
OASN: If I hear another Gnarls Barkley song again in the next 10 years it will be too soon.

– Beyond music at Lollapalooza is the summer music in general. I am not sure how much information is being disclosed here… but I love Christina Agularia. Love her. And today when I heard her new song followed by “Sexy Back” I knew my summer wasn’t completely over. That’s right angsty teen pop music… you have a spot in my heart.

– Not to ever be forgotten… the Iowa State Fair. This is when I know that summer is really coming to a close. I’m not going to lie… I fucking love the Iowa State Fair. I love all the people I see. I love that there are just some things that have not changed about that fair since I started going 20 years ago. I love the roasted corn, fresh lemonade, and salt water taffy that I get there every year. I love that I pet a kangaroo, goat, cow, donkey, llama, and pony all in one day. And, as lame as it sounds… I love, love, love the butter cow! In my opinion, Newsweek had it all wrong… Vegas comes second to the Iowa State Fair. I mean seriously, Dennis Miller is hilarious… but he is no Duffy working her magic with the butter.

And now back to the fall… school has started again and Mrs. Brooks was back on stage. The year is going to be a good one, and I am very excited for what it will bring. But I can’t help but want to go back to my beloved summer every now and then.

what do internet blackholes, STDs, and gluttony all have in common?


Like the cards that I write… there is always a rough draft… and things are no different with this blogging business. Only, generally, my rough draft blog does not get lost in an internet black hole when my dog accidentally brushes against me causing a shock so large it immediately shuts off my computer.

(I am certain though that if the mother computer could be reached I would find this lost article… if only I could afford a ticket to New York. Oh… someday we will meet you maternal internet genius.)

Generally my computer is never so abruptly turned off… unless I read some judgmental bull shit about the philosophy of permanence…. That in fact causes me to shut off my computer on the spot.

(See without the rough draft of this article you get all the bitter thoughts that run through my head that would normally be filtered out. You get what you pay for…)

Anyway, the majority of my now lost rough draft article was about the oh-so-popular v-day. But since those witty comments and ideas are floating aimlessly through the air around us (because that’s where the internet is you know… “just everywhere”… ask derek!) I’ll just highlight some of my thoughts that would have otherwise been so cleverly written.

First of all, I use the term “v-day” loosely because of my loathing hate for it… the term, not the day. upon hearing “v-day” I instantly think of venereal diseases. “Happy V-Day” = “Hope your STD tests come back in your favor.” I understand that “v-day” is considerably easier to write than “valentines day.” But, come on folks; let’s not mix up a day of love with concern of suspicious bumps in places that only good Christian married couples know about…

Now, it’s just the term that I hate. Not the day of St. Valentine… this, in fact, is a day that I love. I know… I know… odd to think about. Kari celebrating a day of love? I may be cynical and sometimes described as “bitchy”… but I do have feelings. And I do love valentines day. I am not sure if it is because it was always a highly celebrated holiday at home when I was a kids, or if it is because I have never stopped loving to make homemade valentines made out of excessive amounts of construction paper, glue and glitter, or if it is because I love watching kids celebrate this day as well.

(in the original article I had something else slyly alluding to the fact that I love candy as well… and while I managed to actually lose a good amount of weight during the Christmas season… I, in fact, managed to successfully consume approximately 14038 pieces of valentines day candy through out the one day season of love…)

I have to admit… at first when the day began I was worried that this would be the year that changed my mind about my beloved holiday. The kids at school were out of their minds from the moment they walked in the door. Dressed in their red/pink (with heart accessory) finest, they paraded in with their homemade mailboxes leaving a trail of glitter behind them. They immediately want to pass out valentines and stuff their faces with as much chocolate as they possibly could. Math, reading, or writing was out of the question that day… there was love in the air. When it finally came time for the “party,” they could hardly contain themselves… and I have to admit I was a little excited too! Valentines were opened and candy was gorged. Between peanut-butter-filled-chocolate-hearts I found out that I was “too good to be true,” “the cat’s meow,” and (my favorite) “ground-pounding/heart thumping.” Oh… day of love… how you never fail to lift my mood!

We limited the ADHD youngsters to only 2 pieces of candy in hopes of keeping some sanity within the school walls. And my homemade red/white/pink construction paper, glitter-filled notes of valentines wishes were cherished my all the kids.

(even G enjoyed the valentine although he was still a little sad… but not any less hyper… that we had not properly celebrated “beaver day” earlier this month.)

The rest of the day went as to be expected… Derek and I went out to great dinner where I managed to consume even more chocolate during the “chocolate lava cake” finale. (Dear Weight Watchers, please forgive me for Tuesday. I apparently was cast with a spell that makes me say “fuck the points” and over-indulge in diabetic-coma-like amounts of glucose stuffed food.)

We met with friends for drinks afterward. Came home and both passed out on the couch…

The next morning it was back to the “real world”… complete with kids bringing their profanities right back to school, all the glitter vacuumed off the floor, and me finally mailing out our “Valentines Day” cards….

a little dose of reality.

dear santa,

i know this might be a little late.. and what can you do? you know i have never been on time..

(as i write this i am staring at my christmas/holiday cards.. they are coming i promise..)

anyway, i wanted to thank you for a good year.. i was a pretty lucky girl these past 12 months.. and life has been good. i know that you talked to my dad a while back and told him that you wanted him to take me on a little “shopping spree” for my gift this year.. what a good idea. damn! in fact, you know that i love that idea!

(not that its a ton.. but as you know i have been working on the weight loss issue.. and the pants are getting “frumpy” in the butt. enough so that it might often cause what some might call “temper tantrums” while finding jeans to wear. so some new pants/clothes would be ideal..)

but right now,

(and as much as my once-daily-shopping-fanatic-way-too-much-in-debt-self hates more-than-anything to tell you this)

i just need you to talk to my dad one more time and let him know that it will be okay to just write the “santa shopping spree” check out to me.. so i can just generiously hand it to mr. wells fargo to cover the bills i am indebted to this month.

(oh, suede and sparkle coach bag.. love of my life.. you will have to wait awhile longer.. possibly until you are completely out of season and no longer loved by any.. dont worry.. ill be back.. i promise.)

thanks so much for the consideration, santa. i hate to be picky.. but know that you are a good man, with great ideas and much generosity. i appreciate the help. until next year..

love, kari (in the frumpy butt pants)