Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The waking of the elephants...

I startled awake... it's 7:30 p.m.  (ok, ok, I fell asleep once I sat down in my lazy chair) that's what happens when the north pole tilts away from the sun... we sleep more.  Again, I startled awake... it's 7:30 p.m.

STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP clang ker-ching STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP clunk STOMP (pause 5 seconds) STOMP STOMP (pause 5 minutes) STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP splosh klang whirr whirr whirr whirr whirr (quietness for 2 seconds) STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP thud clunk (pause... no STOMPING but the walls CREAK CRACK GROAN)




This is what I call the waking of the elephants.  It starts every night around the same time and continues well into the night (2-3 a.m.)  It's the noises that come from the apartment above.  While no elephants in reality live there, and in fact the person(s) may be the size of dust mites; they sure have a heavy foot fall.

I need to stomp everywhere I go.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sundays: {Calm|Quiet|Family}

Sundays are a day for family, relaxing, and quietness.  My Sunday's are pretty routine in the sense that they hold a few steady activities.  Nadia walk/quiet time, church, and family.  They typically look like this:

 After a morning walk it is typical that Nadia goes to wait at the rocker for me to come sit down with a cup of coffee.   This is my quiet time to relax during the weekend.  The hour I spend thinking about my upcoming week or thinking about plain "nothingness", and/or just enjoying the the fact that my little typically un-snugg-able dog is learning to snuggle.  More and more often our Sunday mornings look like this until it's time to get ready from church.

Going to services at church are a routine regular weekly outing.  I didn't find it appropriate to photograph my siblings with their children sitting in pew benches with the service going on.

Following the service, I like to live vicariously through my siblings with children.  Growing up Sunday was a time for family and friends.  Being that I have no children of my own to date, a typical Sunday includes a trip to one of my siblings homes to hang out and visit with them.  Nadia often is in accompaniment with me.  It may look like this:

All children have snit fits.

My nephews and their dad Face Timeing with their Nana and Papa on their dad's side in Michigan

Garrett is not only my "cowboy" he is also my God son.

Tristan- hamming it up for the camera

My sister Diana aka Di-Di the mother of Tristan, Garrett, and Emmett

It's also typical that other siblings with children show up.  Ingrid loves Nadia. "Naja" as she calls her.

Sunday also usually involves reading.  Emmett got new shoes if you notice.

Nadia and her cousin Shimmy also get time to visit.  While it is typical they are trying to roll each other over Nadia still LOVES her time with Shimmy and her brother Shaggy (not pictured).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School 3/365

Life cycles, it always does.  Just as my desire to be part of the education world has cycled.  As a child I always enjoyed the start of a new school year.  While that feeling never lasted long it signified a few important feelings.  With the start of each new school year I always felt a sense of, excitement, increased possibilities, new chances, and a possibilities for new friends.  As a pre-teen and teenager I despised school (it was boring) and vowed that I would never set foot into a school again after I graduated (E-12 school that is).  If it weren't for my current boss, I still wouldn't be in the education world however it is thanks to her (and I'm serious about my thanks) I throughly enjoy my work and find energy in learning more and more about the education world.

Today's photo challenge was titled "Back to School"  while some kids may think the classroom looks like this in the summer:

it doesn't.  However this seemingly dull and dark classroom will soon be as vivid and energetic as this

picture depicts.  While the majority of the K-12 programs of our school district have started, the E-K programs start next Monday.  I am happy and lucky to be working the majority of my day in a classroom as organized and inviting as this one.

As an adult within the education world, "back to school" can inspire new promises and new initiations to be undertaken.  This year as a personal goal I aim to keep all things real, positive, and inspiring.  In efforts to remind myself of that I purchased 'cliche' saying bracelets as depicted below:

Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Still Life 2/365

Still life: my workout routine was still until this morning when once again I promised myself I would get back into my routine.

It is my belief that it isn't how many times you fail your promises but rather how many times you renew that promise.  It is also my belief with my own distractibility, that it isn't how many times you get distracted but rather the number of times you return to the task at hand.

Signs Everywhere 1/365

After reading a few friends' weekly photography challenges on their blogs and seeing many photography challenges posted on Pinterest, I decided to give it a go.  Starting with September 1st challenge...


I found this sign in Duluth, MN while leaving a parking lot.  Duluth is a great place to visit!  

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's National Dog Day!

Nadia aka "The 8 pound Naughty Dog"

Nadia has now been my fur baby for 15 months!  There isn't much I enjoy more than her falling asleep and snuggling with me.

In many ways she is like a two year old.  She understands a lot, but only expressing through behaviors, whining, barking, and growling; only two year olds cry, whine, and say a few words.  She absolutely loves going to the dog park.  In fact I can't tell her where we are going when we go, otherwise she'll whine the entire ride there.  Once there she tries to scratch her way through the window because I apparently am not quick enough at getting her out of the Jeep.

I can jump!

In the evening, starting between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. Nadia starts nipping at my feet.  She runs around wildly, barking, and attempting to get me off of the chair (most likely I am studying).  This is her wind up before she falls asleep.  It is also her way of telling me- "It's time for me to go to bed and you should go too!"

She has brought joy, happiness, and laughter into my life.  Her quirky ways have left an paw print on my heart.

Monday, July 29, 2013


petrified  past participle, past tense of pet·ri·fy (Verb)
  1. Make (someone) so frightened that they are unable to move or think.
  2. Change (organic matter) into a stony concretion by encrusting or replacing its original substance with a calcareous, siliceous, or other...
It was between 1:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. when I heard a distinct "knock-knock-knock" on the window.  Odd I thought that sounded like the patio window.  The knock were followed  within a millisecond with Nadia's barking and growling.  Feeling instinctually that something was off, but thinking that it probably wasn't anything, I calmed Nadia down, petting her and talking quietly to her.  As I lay there pondering the sound I heard, I hear more and exclaim to myself, "that sure sounds like the patio blinds swaying from side to side."  Thinking again that it probably wasn't anything I tried coax myself back into sleep.

As I lay there trying to convince myself back into sleep, I heard a rapt "knock knock" in my BEDROOM DOOR! Or at least is quite sounded like the bedroom door. Nadia went berserk!  not just her usual you are walking by my apartment door bark and growl but a low guttural growl that indicated someone's jugular was going to be removed.  She kept her nose between the crack of the bottom of the door and the floor, run/pacing back and forth between the door frame ends, barking, and growling, with an occasional murderous like hissing for about 10 to 15 minutes.  I thought to myself, I won't be stopping her barking it's a protective bark and growl.

This is when I became petrified.  I was lying there on my stomach, cell phone in hand, heart beating probably close to if not over 200 bpm, every muscle in my body is tense, my body is sweating profusely, thinking I should call 9-1-1 or at least be ready to but I couldn't move; I could not initiate any movement in my body.  My cellphone was in my hand but there wasn't anything I could do on my own accord.

As I lay there petrified for an hour, my arms and legs went numb and I slowly realized I needed to move to keep the blood flowing if I were expecting to have the capability to bolt if need be.  Thinking.. how stupid is it that my .22 rifle (although it would at it's best only injure someone) was double locked under the bed with the ammo in the kitchen and the keys to the gun in a locked safe box?  Nadia after about 45 minutes of a tensing crouch by the door ready to pounce-  jumped up onto the bed and curled in next to me.  It wasn't until this time that I allowed myself to start thinking about sleep again and then after a another 15 or so minutes relaxed to the point of un-petrification.  

  • Was someone really in my apartment?  I don't know.  
  • Did someone try to get into my apartment at the very least?  I have to answer, yes.
  • Do I think they may have had the wrong apartment? Possibly- it could have been someone thinking they were going to their friends place.
  • Can your brain hear things that are not there?  Yes- but Nadia wouldn't have gone nuts beserky crazy by me hearing things in my own head.
So here is my immediate plan...

More injurious methods will soon be used on any possible intruders.  I didn't appreciate being petrified.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The "egg scrambled inside shell" experiment

So, I heard about the possibility of scrambling your eggs while they are still in the shell... so I decided to give it a try.

First I watched this YouTube video:

then I boiled eggs.  The first egg, I left as is for comparison sake.  The second egg had gone through what I saw as something similar to the centrifuge process.  I spun the egg, and spun the egg, and spun the egg.... etc.  Here are the results:

Egg 1:
Super easy to peel
A beautiful perfect hard boiled egg

Egg 2:

Super difficult to peel!!

Seriously difficult to peel.  Hate peeling eggs like this- it makes me dizzy!

No scrambling here- just a super rubbery like egg yolk.
So I though I'd give it another go....

Egg 3:

Not the easiest to peel... and certainly not scrambled... Let's check the insides...

Nope! No scrambling here.

It didn't work, perhaps it will work for you.  I'll be sticking to regular hard boiled eggs :)

Friday, May 17, 2013


Protecting her Mac and cheese from Auntie! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

When life is a big ☹ face

The pain is sudden and intense, you writher around in bed trying to find a comfortable spot, only you are unable to.  You start twitching one foot; it’s ticking like a dog’s tail on a stimulant, in efforts to distract yourself from the pain.  You start praying and hoping that the pain will pass and that sleep will once again return.

The minutes pass by and you stupidly realize that the pain isn’t going anywhere and you are in need of the porcelain throne.  Nothing happens and the pain intensifies.  If you were to have an out of body experience (which wouldn’t be so bad at this point if you could leave the pain with the body), you would see yourself lying on the closet floor.  Your face pinched in pain and you are trying will all your might and will power to cry quietly.  You notice that your pajamas are soaking wet and your body, (which continues to writher in pain), is sweating profusely in response to the pain and most likely a fever.

The story continues to the ER, pharmacies, and multiple follow-up visits to a physician. 

If you have been blessed with health as a gift, then hopefully you will never experience something of this nature.  You will never have to know what it’s like to lay on the floor of a CVS pharmacy waiting for your prescriptions and then having to bolt so you reach the bathroom in enough time to vomit.  You will never have to experience the constant pain (that you deny when others ask if you’re ok), because at this point it will, despite your best and valiant effort not to let it, it defines who you are for a few days.  Those few days seem like an eternity.

Living with an autoimmune disease makes you more susceptible to illnesses.  It also makes recovery longer, as in this situation.  You can put forth all your best efforts to weed out what is autoimmune and what is the infection you’ve been told you have, (or wait, you’ve been told that you have two different infections) but it almost doesn’t do any good, as you have no control. 

I am currently being held hostage by two infections and an autoimmune disease.

While it frustrates me to no end, not being able to function, not being able to work, not being able to enjoy life, not being able to recognize humor, and not being able to be me during times like this.  I can still recognize that I am fortunate to have those in my life that care and love me, who have so graciously given up their time to tend to me, to take my dog and care for her, send me get well messages, and to selflessly support me during this time.  To all of you, Thank you!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

stop the car

While working on story retell with a 5 year old...

I read a short story to a 5 year old and instructed him that when he retold the story I would be videotaping him so he could see how his story compared to mine.  I also informed him that he should use full-body listening so he could answer questions at the end of the story.  So I read the story... and this was the following interaction:

Me: Student X, ok now...
Student X: Once upon..
Me: Student X, please stop I'm not....
Student X (interrupting): Once upon a....
Me (stopping him): X, you need to stop and wait, I...
Student X (interrupting again): Once upon a...
Me (looking exasperated): X...
Student X: Once upon a time...
{This continued for about 5 more times}
Me (finally having enough raised my tone): X!  You need to stop! 
Student X: Ok. Once upon...
Me (again firmly): X!  Stop!  When a teacher asks you to stop, you need to stop what you are doing, look at them and listen to what they are telling you.
Student X: Stop.  Just like when you see a stop sign, you need to stop the car.
Me: Yes, just like when you stop a car.
Student X (sadly): Ok, Teacher Rachael.  I'm sorry :(

Thursday, February 28, 2013


During a speech session today I told a student that she wasn't able to play a game.  She gave me a face that indicated that she wasn't happy with me so I said, sympathetically "Oh, bummer!"  To which she hastily reprimanded me, "Hey! Don't say that word!" I asked, "why not?" To which she replied, "It's IN-A-PO-PEE-ATE!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'd rather

While working in the 2s and 3s year old preschool classroom I noticed one of the students had a really snotty nose.  So I said, "{Student X}, looks like your nose needs to be wiped.  There is a tissue in the box on the shelf (while pointing to the shelf)."  His response was, "I'd rather use my sleeve."  And promptly did so.

Friday, February 22, 2013

whipping cream...

While working at the book center in a 2s and 3s year old classroom, I was reading the book Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you See? On the last page of the book, which looks like this...

I paused and asked a student to tell me what the 'dreaming child' saw..  my student started... "a panda bear, [pause] a eagle [pause] a BALD eagle, [pause] a water buffalo, [pause] a spider monkey, [pause] a sea turtle, [pause] a macaroni-ni pen-gah-win, [pause] a sea lion, [pause] a red wolf, [pause] a whipping cream... and a (whispering) black panther..."

my uncle

A preschool student arrived in the Speech Therapy room and started to help me get a game set up.  As we were setting the game up, he hit his elbow on the walk and said, "Ow!  My uncle!"

Monday, February 18, 2013


I am going to start this blog out by saying... this is not a happy topic.  For those of you who would have a tendency to overlook or pooh pooh the negative situations in life, read no further.

I had been pondering for a while if I had any topics to blog about.  It wasn't until now, the time that I should be heading to bed (or rather should be sleeping already) that the title of this blog came to mind.  My current studies have jogged my memory of a few incidences in life that are not pleasant, and have had life long effects.  With that being said, I also want my reader to know, I have overcome what I am to write about, or so at least I think I have, in majority.

Now for the history of the topic- I am currently studying Forensic Psychology and just completed a paper regarding a particular type of assaults and their effects on the victims, and I contemplated the fact that for this type of assault in the majority of cases the assailant is known to the victim.  From here, I started to think about other types of assaults and was reminded of one such assault on myself.  An assault of bullying.

Yes, bullying is in the news, and in the news a lot.  Is there an issue with it?  In my opinion, yes!  I have been bullied and at some level still experience bullying into my adult life.  Some may call it "gentle ribbing" or "teasing" but it isn't that when it is intended to make a person feel bad for who they are or for what they are.  In all of the years that I expereinced bullying, I can, as an adult say, I was targeted.  I was a target for bullying.  Case in point...

I don't specifically recall if I was in the 6th or 7th grade at the time, but I do remember this... I was told by a "friend" or someone I thought of as a friend, that she was going to beat me up over the recess period the next day.  In all my naiveness  I didn't believe her.  Why would someone you help with their homework and someone you engage in normal conversation on a daily basis just 'beat you up'?  The next day, true to her word, I was approached by another student saying, "X is coming to beat you up."  The fear and anxiety started immediately.  Not only that, I was confused.  Most likely within a minute, I was being pulled down by my hair and hit multiple time.  It didn't last long.  I suppose one could be thankful for that.  We were both brought into the principal's office.  I don't recall the specifics of our punishment, yes, I was punished for this... but I do recall the very next day, my "friend" brought me a bag of valentine candies in efforts to apologize.  (Actually now I remember the punishment- I had to stay in at recess the next day... not that I minded- I was safe inside the library).

I could additionally record the numerous names I was called by children who supposedly were "good Christian children", or write about the number of snowballs thrown at me without actually being engaged in a friendly snowball fight, or the jeers and taunts thrown my way.  The fear and intimidation that was imposed on me by those who targeted me lasted many years.  The effects of the bullying took many different forms, from being depressed, anxiety ridden, lonely, and most all of acedemic achievement decreased, and decreased significantly.  For example, on the state exams in fourth grade I received 100%.  Yes, you read that correctly, 100%.  Although, I almost didn't graduate from high-school.  How does that happen??

Parents often say, "kids will be kids", but I am going to argue back.  NO! Kids are not just kids.  They learn this behavior from their environment.  Whether you as parents want to accept this or acknowledge this or not- kids learn this behavior.  Whether it is seen at home, heard within the media, or seen within environments they participate it, they learn it- it isn't just "kids being kids"  and "kids being mean".   So, I challenge each and everyone of you as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and so forth to start being kinder to all who are around you.  Talk about differences if you might, but don't judge or imply that one is better than another because of their differences.

Speaking of differences... I am NO different than anyone else.  I have no specific taboo difference that one may think of.  I am confident and most see an externally unbreakable person.  Inside... now that's another story.

I am no longer depressed, I occasionally experience anxiety, and academically well let's just say that most people aren't working on a second Master's degree or even have an interest in studying longer than what is required.  And parents, quit using the excuse "kids will be kids"- teach them to love and be kind.  I am not your target.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Most things Finnish...

It's been one of those weeks.  You know the kind.. where there are no "free" moments, no down time, no time to yourself, there is always a mile long "to-do" list which multiples exponentially every time you look at it (oh wait, I am just seeing double because I don't have my glassess on), no but really the list multiples without you adding to it, leaving you to think Are there rabbits around here?  or why does this list keep getting longer?  This blog could further contain the facts of having a chair thrown at me and an attempted bite to my leg, but I think you get the point.  It was an "Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day" week, until...

I received a package in the mail with the follow contents:

At first I grinned.  Then as I saw the wonderful and beautiful contents my grin became a Cheshire cat smile from ear to ear.  The last thing to come out of the package made me laugh out loud... Saskatchewan Rough Rider socks.  I plan to wear them with my matching green (oh wait, it's black) Rough Rider bunny hug.  For those of you who don't know what a "bunny hug" is, ask a Canadian they are sure to know.

You see, I got this package from a Canadian friend.  Anita.  Anita is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, let alone being friends with.  She remembers the small things about a person and uses that information for good, like sending you a care package after you've moved into a new apartment.  She appreciates each person for their individuality.  One thing Anita and I have in common is a love of Finland and Finnish goods.  The mere fact that my care package was more Finnish than Canadian tells how thoughtful and selfless she is.

Thank you, Anita!  Your care package was the highlight of my week.

p.s. If you can't read the writing on the tea packages, it's because you can't read or speak Finnish.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What do you do with a belt?

In therapy working with a student on the use and function of objects. This was our conversation:

Me: What do you do with a belt?
Student: My daddy has a belt
Me: What does your dad use his belt for?
Student: To hold up his ankles.

the fairies

While observing a child play so nicely I thought 'she must have siblings' so here was our conversation:

Me: [Student X], do you have a sister or brother?
Student very excitedly with exaggerated arm movements: No! But! My mommy is going to get me one. She said I have to learn how to take care of my babies first. You know they are just dolls but...
Me: Well, when your mommy gets you a baby are you hoping for a brother or a sister?
Student looking at me a little concerned: Oh! The fairies decide that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New digs, my dog, and me

Nadia and I are very excited about our new place.  While we miss our long time previous "roomies" we are happy to be residing in Minnetonka, MN.  It is a super quick drive in to work for me, which also subsequently means a super quick drive home.  Nadia is still adjusting to all apartment noises and currently working on having a "quiet voice", and not waking up in the middle of the night with ear piercing barks because the neighbors slammed the door.

I kicked my human off the computer... What she doesn't realize is I am only trying to protect her so she'll just have to live with me alerting her at 1 a.m. and at 5 a.m. that someone is up and walking around the house.  And I don't know what this "quiet voice" stuff is because when she sees other humans she says "hi" or talks to them.  It'd be like me telling her to "stuff it" or "be quiet" when she saw other humans.  Anyhow I digress...  she is right about one thing, I am getting used to being the one and only dog.  I like it so far...

Our new digs:

The Kitchen.  My human made wild rice soup today.

The Living room- if you can see I like to sit on her lazy chair!  Well, and I leave my toys on the floor for my human to pick up after me.

The Bedroom.  My human still has lots of stuff to put away or store.  BTW, my human is currently ready "Out of Our Minds" by Sir Ken Robinson.  She is "out of her mind" but then again you probably knew that.

Yes... she color coordinates her closet!  Like I said, 'out of her mind'!

The Lavatory
As you can see... I sometimes sit here looking sad.  I makes my human feel bad for me.

And sometimes I stand at the door and whine, so my human will take me out for a walk.  It works!!  :)

And lastly, this is the window I sit in front of looking for other like minded species.  I let my human know there are others by barking.  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

A walk on the beach...

could look like this:

Large Aloe Plant
I was trying to capture sometime entirely different... but ended up with sports on the beach.

I don't actually know what this is.
Some sit and ponder

And some people go to the beach to sit under tree shading.

On the path to nature observatory...

Made it to the "observation look out" where supposedly I could see whales.  Sadly no whales were seen, but seals were heard.

I was serenaded while I was looking for whales
At the look out but I see no whales. #sadday
As seen at the look out...

Back to the beach for the rest of the walk

Sometimes the sound of the ocean is deafening
Lobster shell?

Some surf and don't realize someone is photographing them..

This little critter popped up to say hello

Sometimes when you walk on a beach you return to a place like this... The St. Regis.

And complete your walk in the Botanical Gardens.