My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Childhood Birthdays

Blog Prompt: Describe one of your childhood birthdays. Compare it to your current birthday celebrations, what has stayed the same over time?

When I was little, I remember that birthday parties were a big thing. We wore fancy dresses and played Pin the Tail on the Donkey. All of the neighborhood kids were invited along with everyone in my class. I always had an ice cream cake too and we had lots of fun. I don't remember when I was too old for them but as I got older, birthdays were more quiet and just for family.

Now, we pretty much celebrate my birthday as any other day. My sister and parents call me up to wish me a happy birthday and my hubby sends me emails all day long. I don't usually get any presents because hubby buys me whatever I want whenever I want it so we don't wait for birthdays. I'm just grateful to be alive another year because my older sister died when she was 27 and my mother died at 59 so I tend to appreciate life a lot. We try to eat healthy and exercise a lot so we will have many more birthdays!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Party Girl

Blog Prompt: Are you the partying type? Write about a party you've had or attended. Ever wanted to be the recipient of a surprise party? Now is your chance to let your family know!

I love having my annual Chinese New Years Party. Everyone brings a dish to share and whatever they drink for themselves. I supply the paper plates, forks, napkins, and cups. There is always enough food and everyone seems to have a good time. Usually around 40 - 50 people show up. It lasts around 3 hours and by 11pm, everyone is gone and there isn't a lot to clean up since people take their dishes home. My daughter and her husband come and she usually makes sure the trash is constantly put outside and she usually stays to help me wash some dishes and straighten up before she leaves (why couldn't she have been this wonderful as a teenager!).

I like to go to parties but my hubby doesn't really enjoy them so we compromise and go to a couple a year but that's it. I'm hoping when we retire, he won't mind going so much.

I do not like surprise parties at all. I had one right before I left for college and it was fun but I think planning and arranging is part of the fun. Being excited that the party is nearing is a great feeling. So, no surprise parties for me, please!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Birthday Story

Blog Prompt: What's the most peculiar gift you've ever received? Describe the scene when you opened it and your reaction.

The most peculiar gift I've ever received was my pickup truck fully decorated in honor of my birthday. I had just been at my new job for about a month (I'm a teacher at a high school) and it was the end of the day. My truck was covered in soap writing and had balloons and cans tied to the outside. In addition to all that, the inside was full of balloons (not helium) so when I opened up the door, they didn't go anywhere. I pulled some out and they just landed on the ground around me so I knew I couldn't litter my new job site with these balloons and had to do something. By now, I'm totally embarrassed when one of my new colleagues comes out and looks at the sight. I'm hopping around trying to pop the balloons with my feet so I can pick up the "dead" remains so I'm sure I was fun entertainment. Instead of walking away, she stayed and helped me pop the rest of the balloons. We have been friends ever since. We couldn't untie the knots in the string with the cans so I had to leave the parking lot dragging the cans. What an embarrassing sight all the way home! I did find out that all of this was complimentary of my husband and his staff. Now on my birthday, I hide my vehicle and ask a friend to pick me up at the hide-out site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Blog Prompt: Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed? If you could change your name (first or middle, no last names for safety please!), what would it be? Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?) Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why?

The only change I made was when I got married. I dropped my middle name (Ruth after my grandmother) and use my maiden name and then my married name. As for my nickname, I was called Loony all through school and college so I'm pretty comfortable with it. My parents almost named me Gail but then changed it to Patricia. Over the years I've written my name Patty, Patti, Pattie, Patricia, and Pat (seemed more grown up). When I ran for public office (County Soil and Water Commissioner) I went by Pat in case some people were prejudiced against women. I did win the office with over 60,000 votes so I guess it worked. I'm really not fond of the name Debbie because that was my hubby's ex-wife's name. You wouldn't believe how many Debbies I've run into over the years. I guess that is God's way of a little humor.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes:Expose a funny or interesting "behind the scenes" story from your job or home. What really happens when no one else is around that we wouldn't expect? (Or maybe we would expect it, so you can confirm it for us!)

I am going to tell you an "awful" story that went on at lunch the other day. Please do not judge me (or my friends) harshly or think I'm a bad person, but in my field, we have to laugh sometimes to make it through the day. I teach high school special ed students and I'm head of the special ed department (which is one of the largest departments in my school).

Every day a bunch of us teachers and paraprofessionals eat lunch together and on this particular day, Mr. H. (a parapro) was really upset. He told me that he might as well turn in his resignation and quit that day. When we asked what happened, he said that he "ran over" the blind student in the hallway. Mr. H. was in a hurry and walking fast down the hall and this student was coming down the other hallway with his white cane. When they both reached the corner, Mr. H. almost knocked him down. Mr. H. was so embarrassed and his face was so red. You would think he committed the ultimate sin! When our lunch bunch heard this, we all howled with laughter. I asked Mr. H. " What happened? Could you not "see" him?" and another teacher said, " No, he was in a blind spot!" We all couldn't stop laughing. We weren't making fun of the student but of Mr. H. and I know if anyone heard us they would think we were awful. But we couldn't help ourselves!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I had a glorious weekend! The weather was perfect for this relaxing weekend.

On Saturday we got up early and went to the flea market (my hubby's big thrill!) and he found some more treasures. Then we came home to get ready for my friend's wedding. Of course, it was a beautiful wedding at this beautiful mansion. The ceremony was very personalized and sweet. I took a bunch of pictures before my battery died on my camera but I haven't had a chance to look at the pictures yet. I hope I got some good ones to scrap. When we came home, I got some weeding done before I had this awful headache. So, to help the headache, we went out and had banana splits at Baskin Robbins. It didn't help the headache but it was wonderful! I came home and took a 2 hour nap which did away with my headache. Then we watched TV and I played on the computer until bedtime.

Today we got up early and went to another flea market in NC (which my hubby loves!) and he found more treasures. After that we went up to Pisgah Forest and hiked for about 6 miles. It was only a short hike but it was beautiful. We walked along the river and then up a mountain with fantastic views all around. It got up to about 90 today at home so I was glad we were in the mountains. It is still hot and it's 7:30pm.

I couldn't ask for a better weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2007

G Words

Blog Prompt: write or draw as many G-words as she could think of. Let's use G-words as our prompt. garbage, gate, goat, girl, green, giraffe, guitar...... Add your own and start writing!

great, gigantic, glad, grouchy, Gandalf, greedy, gloat, gibberish, guard, glimpse, gaunt, gallant, gabby, guest, gerbil, gecko, golf, gag, gift, gamut, gap, garden, gas, gondola, gem, gender, giddyup, gill, gimmick, gizmo

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Veggie Tales

Blog Prompt: Did you, or did you not, eat your vegetables as a youngster? What sorts of veggies will and won't you eat nowadays? Home garden grown, organic only, or anything goes?

As a youngster, I had to eat what was put on my plate or I was not allowed to get up from the table. Being spoiled and the youngest, I pushed the limits on this. When I was little, I pictured myself with gray hair and wrinkles and still sitting at the dinner table. So, that said, I ate my vegetables and anything else that was given to me because you know - there are starving children in China. AND being Chinese, I would think in my little bitty mind - well, then, give them my food!

I am allergic to everything so growing up, I was highly allergic to eggs and spinach and seafood. So I was never expected to eat spinach when I was young. Now I love spinach and eat it sparingly. I also eat eggs and seafood the same way. I HATE brussel sprouts. I have always hated brussel sprouts, still hate brussel sprouts, and will forever in the future hate brussel sprouts. Also being a yankee, and my hubby is a southerner, I have never learned to like turnip greens or collard greens. I also grew up on fresh or frozen vegetables and hubby prefers canned vegetables (yuck!) so it depends on which one we have as to what I will eat. I don't care if it is homegrown or not but I really like fresh vegetables.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Descriptive Writing Skills

Blog Prompt: Let's practice our descriptive writing skills. Write out, in detail, what you did for the last five minutes before you sat down at the computer. Now write a second paragraph about the same five minutes, but try to include even more details. Ambitious? Do it again, with more!

This is easy because for the past 30 minutes I've been walking on the treadmill. I have a set routine that I do on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I splice in some exercises with walking. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I just walk for 30 minutes. I used to hate the exercise days but now I hate the "just walking" days because they are boring and 30 min. takes forever.

This is easy because for the past 30 minutes I've been walking on the treadmill. I turn the TV on so I can see the news but I put my headphones on so I can hear my morning radio with music. I read somewhere that music gets those endorphins going so you get healthier. I am also reading a book at the same time. I have a set routine that I do on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I splice in some exercises with walking which makes the time go faster. I walk at 3.3 mph for 10 min., increase to 3.7 mph for 1 min. and then I do 60 stand up crunches. I walk for 4 more minutes at 3.3 mph. , increase to 3.7 mph for 1 min. and then I do 30 back leg lifts. I walk for 4 more minutes at 3.3 mph., increase to 3.7 mph for 1 min. and then do some arm lifts with 5 lb. weights. Again, I walk for 4 more min. at 3.3 mph, increase to 3.7 mph for 1 min. and do 60 twists. Finally I walk for 4 more min. at 3.3 mph, increase to 3.7 mph for 1 min. and do 60 side bends. I walk the last 3 minutes at 3.3 mph to total 30 min. walking time. On Tuedays and Thursdays, i just walk for 30 minutes. I used to hate the exercise days but now I hate the "just walking" days because they are boring and 30 min. takes forever. I have been doing this for over a year now and I guess I'm addicted. If I don't walk, I have no energy that day and I feel guilty.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Home Improvement Shows

Blog Prompt:
--Home What's the one thing your dream home must have?
--Improvement What's the one thing you would change about your current home? New bed, couch? New carpet or wallpaper? Or something major like an addition?
--Shows Do you ever watch home improvement shows?

Home: My dream home must have a live in housekeeper who will pay all my bills for me.

Improvement: I would love to have a 2 story garage with an apartment in the upstairs complete with kitchenette and bathroom. My hubby can set up his trains or junk or whatever and get it out of my house. His "junk" clutters up his office and looks terrible. Then when we get too old to take care of ourselves, I can hire a college student who needs room and board to help us.

Shows: I like the gardening shows on HGTV and I love Tim the Tool Man on Home Improvement (does that count?).

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Motto

Blog Prompt: What would your motto would be for the place you're at in your life right now? Is it different than it would have been five years ago? 10? 20?
mot·to (n.) pl. mot·toes or mot·tos 1. A brief statement used to express a principle, goal, or ideal. A short, suggestive expression of a guiding principle. 2. A sentence, phrase, or word of appropriate character inscribed on or attached to an object. 3. A maxim adopted as a guide to one's conduct.

I am a born winner.

That has been my motto and the motto I have used in my classroom for over 20 years. I tend to be very critical of myself and I use it to remind myself that God doesn't make mistakes which helps me through the tough times in my life. I was very overprotected when I was growing up and made (not intentionally) to feel that I was incapable of doing many things ("You can't cook, you're the baby of the family." "You are spoiled, we can't expect much of you. " "You are the brain of the family, but you have no common sense." "You are so klutzy and your head is in the clouds, we can't trust you to do things alone.") Many times I've berated myself for stupid decisions I've made or made excuses for my stupid decisions. This motto helps me pull myself up, dust myself off, get realistic, make adjustments (not excuses) and get on with my life.

My students have to write that on every paper they turn in for a grade. No motto, no grade, no credit for work - they are not allowed to go on to the next assignment. My students have such low self esteem because they are disabled that this motto has become important in my classroom. Parents have accused them of being lazy and peers make fun of them for being "dumb". By this self affirmation, they realize, like I did, that God doesn't make mistakes. There is a reason that we may not know about but we need to be the best that we can be. When my seniors graduate, I ask them to evaluate me and usually all of them say writing this motto over and over for 4 years really helped them.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Green Theme

I was trying to think of how green has touched me today so here it is:
  1. I spent green money for breakfast this morning.
  2. I spent the morning updating the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club website (I am the webmaster and this is my volunteer work since I can't get to Virginia in order to do trail maintenance.) By doing this, I dreamed of hiking and seeing all the green coming out in the forest.
  3. I believe in cultural diversity so in honor of the Irish, this Chinese woman wore a green shirt and took her hubby to a Mexican restaurant for lunch.
  4. I went out and did some weeding in my garden, which I've put off for a couple of weeks. I pulled up a LOT of green weeds.
  5. I trimmed my Eucalyptus bush and cut some beautiful camellias to put some green and pink color in my playroom.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Million Dollars

Blog Prompt: Who do you call first? What is the first thing you buy for yourself? What is the first thing you buy for someone else? Do you give any away? If yes, to whom? Do you invest any? If so, how?
  1. The first person I would call is my hubby!
  2. The first thing I would buy myself is full time live in housekeeper who cleans my house, cooks when I need it, and pays all my bills.
  3. I would set up some educational scholarships for students who have medium high grades (due to holding down jobs in order to pay for college) and plan to go into teaching. They would also need to qualify for the scholarships given to people who could not pay for college on their own (Like the BEOG and SEOG). They would need to agree to teach at least for 5 years and I would supplement their first year of teaching with six months of rent and utilities.
  4. I would also have another scholarship to pay for students who want to take the GED. I would pay for them to take one cycle of remedial courses and if they successfully pass the GED, I would give them money to pay for their first year of training in a field of their choice.
  5. The scholarships would be given from the 40% interest off the principal. 60% of the interest would go back into the principal to keep the scholarship going each year.
This is so funny because last weekend while we were hiking, hubby and I had a long discussion about this very topic. Meg, were you hiding behind the trees?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

5 Rules I Break Regularly

Blog Prompt: Write about 5 "rules" you break with some regularity.
  1. We have this rule in our house: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. Unfortunately I wish I could say I do this religiously, but I don't. Especially at this time of year which is my busiest in special ed paperwork and I'm under a lot of stress. I feel grumpy and out of sorts and bad things are alway on the tip of my tongue.
  2. I'm going to watch what I eat and eat less carbs and fats. I think that but I don't do that. I love ramen noodles which are cheap and quick so that is what I eat for lunch most days at school. They are full of carbs, fat, and sodium (yumm!)
  3. I will not spend all my free time at my computer and DSP. Once I get started, I get "lost" and lose track of time.
  4. I will balance my checkbook regularly. The thought is there but I can promise you that it doesn't happen that often.
  5. I will fold clothes as soon as I get them out of the dryer. 3 loads later, the laundry basket is so full it is almost as tall as me. We went walking yesterday and my hubby needed a Tshirt and looked his dresser. I told him to wait and I'd get him one from the basket because that meant that was one less shirt I had to fold.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Being sick

Blog Prompt:
Which is worse, being sick or having sick kids/loved ones?
Which is worse, throwing up or having sick kids/loved ones throwing up upon you?
Which is worse, being up all night because you're sick, or being up all night because someone else is sick?

First of all, let me remind you that I'm a teacher, and not a nurse. There is a major reason God made me a teacher and not a nurse, and that is because I'm a terrible caregiver. As the youngest child, I was always cared for and was terribly spoiled. Thank goodness that my hubby was a hospital corpsman in the navy and could take care of our kids when they were growing up.

I would much rather be sick than having sick loved ones. Hubby is really sweet to me when I am sick and fusses and hovers over me as if he thinks I'm dying.
I would rather throw up because I can't clean up after someone else. My hubby is worse than I am about this so my poor kids had to take off their yucky bedsheets and toss them in a corner until they were well enough to put them in the washer. I could put clean sheets on their beds but couldn't see, touch, smell the yucky ones!
I would rather be up all night sick because I feel so helpless when it is someone else and I can't make them feel better. I'm afraid I should know how to do something and didn't which could cause them to get worse. I have the fear of not knowing or not being in control. At least if I'm sick, I am in control of me and not have to worry about anyone else.

Boy, do I sound so selfish! I can't help it. Thank goodness my family survived my selfishness!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Out of the Loop

Blog Prompt: Out of the Loop
Out-- Are you getting out and about lately? ...or is school/the weather/work/illness keeping you cooped up inside?
of the-- Blue? Does the Winter season 'get to you'? ...or do you handle it as well as you do Summer?
Loop-- Hey, Spring is coming; do you have a loop you drive or walk to check out the scenery? What do you see when you're out and about?

It is starting to get warm outside now so we are like little birds and leaving the nest little by little. This past weekend was beautiful so we went to the flea market and then hiking both days. We went to 3 waterfalls which are better in the spring because there is a lot more water flowing in the spring than the rest of the year.
I don't handle winter as well as summer because I hate cold weather (of course I whine about the hot weather when I get too hot). My classroom has no windows so I have a wallpaper mural of a landscape with the sun shining on it so it is always sunny in my room even in the winter!
Speaking of spring, yesterday when my hubby got home from work, we drove to the nearby park and walked 2 miles around the park. We did this every night until it started to get cold so I'm glad it is warming up. We have a great time talking about the day and future plans so I feel a lot closer to him when we do our daily walk. I like to see the trees start to bud and the flowers peeking out of the ground. It fills me with lots of hope for good things to come.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bad Inventions

Blog Prompt: What are three things you wish were never invented?

  1. Pool Tables - my hubby just had to have one in our new playroom when we got it built. Now it is used about once a year when we have a party. I use it as a folding table for my laundry now.
  2. Boom Boxes in cars - I don't really know what it is called but when the bass is up, you can hear the boom boom boom of the car next to you which is driven by some out of control teenager.
  3. Cigarettes - I see too many teenagers wasting their health on these just to look cool. My hubby started to smoke when he was about 13 and smoked for 32 years before was able to stop. He says he hasn't quit; he just hadn't had one in over 10 years (hey, whatever works for him is good enough for me).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday Hiking

Last night we saw on the news that it was going to rain all weekend, so we decided not to go hiking on Saturday. Well, this morning we got up and it was cloudy but pretty comfortable in temperature when we went out for breakfast. After breakfast we went to the flea market (which is my hubby's favorite thing to do next to watching TV) and he found some great treasures for next to nothing. The temperature got warmer and the sun came out so we went home, threw our gear in the car and headed up to the mountains. It turned out to be a beautiful day after all. We hiked to 2 different waterfalls (yes, I got some great pictures!). We saw beautiful scenery and got exercise too! Not to mention that we got 50 miles per gallon in our new car!!! I love days like this!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I wish someone told me...

Blog Prompt: Begin your entry with "I wish someone had told me..."

I wish someone had told me...
  • that making a marriage work is hard work even if my parents made it look so easy (people shouldn't take it for granted).
  • you can have your cake and eat it too if you find a career that you love.
  • that you need to think about retirement at least 20 years before you retire (I learned the hard way!)
  • hiking was so much fun (I had to learn this on my own when I was able to make my own decisions).
  • how lucky I was to be an American (I learned this especially when I visited China 7 years ago).
  • sometimes people will try to put you down but you can't let them do that if you really want to achieve your goals (I was told so many times about the things I wasn't capable of doing so I never tried).
  • life isn't always fair (how many times did we think this when we are little?).
  • not everyone will like me and that is okay (for so long I wanted to be liked by everyone).
  • you can't please everyone all the time (that is why I lost all my hair due to stress).
  • that your life turns out to be what you make of it (I have learned more about having a good attitude each morning from my hubby, who is the happiest person I know because he chooses to be!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sinking Cruise Ship

Blog Prompt: Your cruise ship is sinking and the one and only small lifeboat only holds 5 people. This life boat will take you to a deserted island with no hope of rescue. On the cruise ship there are people of all different professions. What professions would you want in the boat with you in order of priority? If you and your spouse on in the life boat, you can only bring 3 other people. If you are single, you can bring 4.

Along with my hubby and me would be a doctor (to take care of us), a carpenter (to build shelter and other things), and a botanist (to save seeds and grow us food). Unfortunately hubby and I would probably be totally useless because he is a judge and I'm just a teacher! I guess as hikers, we could hike around the island and try to find the best place to settle!

I want to thank everyone for joining me this week while I filled in for Meg. Even though I messed up on Monday, y'all stuck in there with me! I've enjoyed it!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Name Acrostic

Blog Prompt: Using each letter in your name as the beginning of the sentence or phrase, write sentences or phrases that describe you.
P - passionate about teaching
A - able to multi-task (play on computer, talk on cell phone, watch TV, chat with sister on instant messenger)
T - takes lots of time to travel and hike
R - really loves to camp
I - is in love with hubby
C - counts the days until retirement (July 1)
I - is looking forward to new adventures after retirement
A - anxious about leaving behind students when I retire

Can you tell I have ambivalent feelings about retiring this year?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Job

Blog Prompt: If you had the opportunity for a day, to have a different job (and was totally qualified, trained and capable for that one day), what job would you like to do and why?

If I could be anything for a day, I would like to be a park ranger. Now keep in mind that my dream job changes daily depending on what kind of mood I'm in. Right now I'm wanting warmer weather so bad I can't stand it! When it gets warmer we will do camping and more hiking (hubby hates to camp and hike when it is too cold or too hot). I would love to be out on the trails helping people who need help, looking at the flowers begin to bloom, and just enjoying the outdoors. As a ranger, I would know my way around and not worry about getting lost (which is a constant danger for me because I have no sense of direction). I would be able to do ranger led activities and share my love of the outdoors with others. I could explain to young children about how to care for their environment and their parks so that it will be here for their children. Oh well, now I have to go get ready to teach school instead.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Important "C" things

Blog Prompt: Name at least 5 things in your life that are important to you that begin with the same letter.
  1. Crazy lovable hubby (who is the love of my life!)
  2. Computer (to do my scrapbooking on)
  3. Car (new Toyota Prius which hopefully will get about 50 miles per gallon)
  4. Camera (to take many photos for scrapbooking)
  5. Camping and hiking (which gives me lots of opportunities for photos)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Super Power

Blog Prompt: If you could have any super power, flying, transportation, invisibiliity, etc..., what would you want to have?

If I could have any super power, I would like to have the power of strength. Iwould clean out my utility shed, which I've wanted to do for 2 years but it takes 2 people because some of the stuff is too heavy for me to lift. I would be able to organize the attic alone because again, it takes 2 people to move some of the boxes that are there. If I do it alone, I have to unpack each box in order to move it and it will take twice as long. So instead, I don't do it at all and it is never done! All my life I've had puny arms and very little arm strength. If I was hanging off a mountain, I'd be better off hanging on with my legs which have a lot of strength from all my hiking, than my arms. If I depended my life on my arms today, well, the funeral would be tomorrow!

Update about weekend: Yesterday I planned to get up early and do some gardening but instead hubby asked me to go out to breakfast. Then we went to a flea market (which no one was at because it was too dang cold!). Then we ended up at a car lot and 8 hours later, came home with a new car! We bought a Toyota Prius which is supposed to get 51/60 miles to the gallon. This is the first new car that I get to drive to work. All of the other new cars have been my hubby's car but this one is mine! Wooo Hooo! With gas prices going up again, we had to do something. Especially with us planning on retiring and wanting to travel. Nothing like impulse buying to make a weekend a happy one!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

What Vehicle Would I Be?

Blog Prompt: If you were magically turned into a vehicle, what vehicle would you be and why?

I think I would be a volkswagon bug, not the new sleek models but more the old one. I'm short but I'm reliable and can move about the day in and out without complaining. I'm not made up very complicated but just the basics. I serve my purpose but I don't have a lot of frills. My interior would not be very colorful but my outside would be a bright red because I like reds. I think I might have a little rust on me too because I'm feeling my age every once in awhile. Of course I could pass vehicle inspection because all the necessities work just fine!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Blog Prompt: At what age did you feel most inspired?

Amazingly, I was most inspired 6 years ago when I took a teaching position at a new school. It had been 11 years since I started new again so this was a big step for me, especially at 41 years old. The older I get, the harder it is to start over. The school was twice the size of my old school and I was teaching a program I never taught before but wanted to for years. I wanted to go for National Board Certification but wasn't sure since I was starting a new job.

My new principal encouraged me to go for National Board and even offered to give me leave time and/or extra supports to succeed. I was always aware of his appreciation for my contributions to the school. He also asked my opinion a lot about what would work best in my program and in my department. By including me in some upper level decision making, he was showing he trusted my knowledge and expertise in my field. I had never been treated this way before in any other school that I had taught at for the past 20 years. Since that year, I've felt more confident and sure of myself than I had ever been before. This trust and encouragement helped me grow as a teacher, which led to my being chosen Teacher of the Year this year.

Even though he is no longer the principal of my school, I will forever be grateful to him for allowing me to be the best teacher that I could. Whatever school he chooses to be at should thank their lucky stars that he is their leader!