Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I am one of those women.  While not a thrift store shopper, I like to get what I think are good quality clothes at cheap affordable prices.  And when I get complimented on said clothing, I tell people where I bought and what I paid.


T.J. Maxx and Marshall's are my favorite places to shop.  I don't enjoy shopping, but I can handle their easily accessed stores and racks.  Their prices are reasonable too.  I am not a fashionista, I am not a clotheshorse, but I do okay.  For the record, there are stores I will not shop in due to the quality or lack thereof of the clothing they sell:  WalMart, H & M, New York and Company, and except for jeans, Old Navy (their Divas often fit me) are stores I don't enter.

I have standards, and I do okay.  Or do I?
I spent some time earlier this month reading Overdressed The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth Cline.  Since then, I've spent some time thinking about all I read in the book.

The front cover holds a statement comparing the book to the film, Supersize Me.  That turned me off at first because the premise of that movie, a man eats gross amounts of fast food for an extended period of time, was just stupid--I could never get over the hype about that "experiment."  But once I got into the book, I was interested in what it had to say about affordable clothing.

It wasn't good news.  As Americans, our need for cheap fashion has literally destroyed clothing manufacturing in the US.  We buy factory produced, cheaply made and environmentally damaging clothing.  Our clothes tend to be disposable and lacking in quality.  What once were investment pieces made in the US and worn for years, are now made in foreign lands and worn for a season.  There is very little clothing, only 3% of what is sold in the US, actually made in the US.

Now, I tend to take really good care of my clothing and shoes. I wear pieces for more than a season.  I can go into my closet and pull out things I'm still fond of that I've owned for years.  So I'm good there.  But, I never think much about where something is made.

The book talked about the shuttered textiles mills and high unemployment in South Carolina.  It detailed what it's like for American companies trying to make clothing in America.  Workers here are not always treated well, being paid by the piece and working 10-12 hour days.  The picture painted of what the many (thousands of) Chinese factories are like, how other countries are honing in on making clothing for US consumption, and the over all poor and getting poorer quality of said clothing made me twitch.  Then, in the past week, a news story about a clothing factory fire in Pakistan killing over 100 people, caught my attention.  Cline wrote about such places in her book.

The hard part?  What's my next step?

It seems like for all of us who like to tell people how little we paid, there is a group of folks doing the opposite.  We cheapies outnumber the folks who spend a bundle, but where are the in-between fashions?  And if those are still made abroad only with better materials, who are we really helping when we purchase those?  If I learn to sew, which I'd very much like to do, how do I find fabric that is made in the US?  Is that easier?  I googled American made clothing, and I didn't find much.   I did find Karen Kane, whose clothing is feminine and appealing, so I'll be researching that vendor further. Can I make that little work for me?  How do I know the workers who made it are paid a living wage?

Obviously this book didn't as much answer questions as it provided me with more.

The contents of my closet are a work in progress.

For more on the book, read this article.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

They Wed

Psalm 37:4
 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

From my published to do list:
Attend my friends Amy and Jon's weeding
Dance until I have a blister

Last night my dear friend/sister/daughter married the man of her heart.  I was asked to read at their wedding, and through tears and trifocals I did.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and mine weren't the only tears shed.

Sister and Maid of Honor Lauren's speech was beautiful. She spoke of their dad who was very much missed that day, and she imagined what he would say if he was there. 
Brad was asked to pray before the meal, and he spoke of Jesus' love for weddings and the Great Banquet we would all one day partake in.
After dinner,  I did dance quite a bit, but I didn't get a blister. My feet are happy today, but I can't fully cross that off my list!  I like to "fast" dance, and Brad likes to slow dance.  We decided we'd be practicing in the living room before our next wedding (on NYE), either that or I'm going to kick off my shoes and stand on his feet!

Brad danced with his "adopted" daughter, the bride, whom we call Art.  I chose "Cinderella" for them. Brad tells me they had a good talk while they danced.

While they danced, groom Jon danced with him mom. I'm so glad I caught this...
Wonderful memories with which I start my fall.

1 John 4:7-12
 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Falling, But Not Into a Bucket

There are all sorts of things on Pinterest and the Web in general about Fall "bucket lists."  Now, when I think bucket list, I think of compiling ideas of what I'd like to do before I die.  I don't have a bucket list, and in response to a post on my old blog, some of you confirmed you don't have one either.

However, one of the cute things I saw was a banner that included a fall fun list.  I wanted to make one, but as my mental list grew, time to go through my craft stash and cut and paste dwindled.  Technically it's still summer, but autumn is pressing down, just a handful of days left...

Here's a list that's all over Pinterest, so all over I couldn't find the right source to attribute it:
There's that word "Bucket" again.  Eek!  (I know it probably means fall will kick the bucket for the year, but I still don't like it!)

And here's what I meant by banner, because for the life of me I can't find the photo I liked--though this one is cute for other reasons, I might have to have my kids make it:
So, put those together and you have the groovy idea I just don't have time for--a bannered (Spell check, what do you mean that's not a word?) autumn fun list.

What I've decided to do is to list my hopes for fall activities here, and then I'll come back to this post to line out what I've done.  It's not as cute, and my banner in my head was so durn cute, but it gets the job done in a less Martha Stewart way.



Ellie's Autumn Fun To-Do List
('cause you really don't want to know about the unfun stuff!)

Attend my friends Amy and Jon's weeding
Dance until I have a blister
Hike a state park (amended to a county forest preserve
Bake Carmel Apple cookies
Plant pansies
Plant tulip bulbs
Make a fall martini
Host a game night
Sneak away to Chicago with Brad
See the movie The Words*
Zip Line!!   (TBB, to be blogged...)
Go to a pumpkin farm
Decorate with an S, not an e, though I like it
Operation Christmas Child Party (10/28!)
Get Brad to a football game--H.S. counts
Read four good books (amended to four so-so books)
Buy helmets and bike ride on the Fox
Wrap candles with burlap
 Walk 50 "fast" miles on my treadmill in October
Go canoeing

I will add to this idea if anything else occurs to me.  With the craziness of the school year still happening, it's nice to have fun to look forward to no matter how it's delineated.

What are you up to this Autumn?  Do tell, maybe your fun will be added to my list as well!

*despite the influence of reviews, good or bad

Friday, September 14, 2012

The School Year So Far

This isn't a teacher blog, but it is a blog authored by a teacher.  So of course, sometimes a little school is going to sneak in.  Now, how to allow some blog to sneak into my school filled life?

We have a new reading curriculum that is overwhelming and daunting and I finally allowed myself to really work with it hoping it would get easier but it's still overwhelming and daunting.

This is a blog written by a teacher who is not making any effort to edit the above run-on sentence.

My class is great, my math class is a puzzle--fitting for math, our new principal is kind and funny, our meeting schedule is full, tutoring hasn't started yet (how will I do that too?), student council is just gearing up, science--please don't ask me about science, sped schedules keep changing, I have a wonderful aide ("para"), lunch always at my desk or laptop or white board, oh--an interactive white board--how to use it, grad classes being sought, and recess.

That's not all...

My one goal endeavor, and I have not been successful yet, is to live in the moment.  I find I'm always thinking of what's next (ala President Barlett), and I'm constantly tripping over my words (ala not anything written by Aaron Sorkin), so I want to slow down and be.

It ain't happening.

Here is something fun from the week.  Some BPS teachers walking in the BHS Homecoming Parade:
It's a candy fest really.  Folks line the street to have candy thrown to them.  My face hurt from smiling.  My legs hurt from running to catch up after seeing students past and present in the crowd and stopping for hugs.

All in all, all is well in B town.

Waiting for a getaway to W state if even for a few hours.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kids Write

Coincidentally, last weekend, I wrote a little blip of a post about apologizing.  It received some sweet comments.  At school I had a chance to work through a "sorry" situation with some little ones.

On Wednesday, some second graders used the door by my classroom to come in from recess.  I heard my peer Kate reminding them to be quiet.  Telling them to be quiet.  Shouting at them, "Miss Stewart is going to have to close her door because you are being too noisy!  Her children can't learn!"  So I walked over to close the door to reinforce her statement. 

At the end of the day, I found a pile of notes clipped together in my mailbox.

Among them were these messages:

Der M Stewart I am sory that we were talking alot.  frome Alex

I am sorry we were to noze and you had to shot the Door Faith

MSStewart I'm sorry you had to sut the dor From EVan

to:  M.S. Stort.We are sorey we wr lowd MS. Storet  from Annika

Ms. Stewart I Sorry adout it  Cameron

Dear Ms. Stewart I'm sorry you could not teach and I will try to setel down and sorry you had to close the door.  Kenzie

I am so sorry. Please forgive me.  I relly am so sorry.  Lauren

Okay.  How cute are those?  I got such a kick out of them, I had to write back.  (It turns out there were two coming in, and yes, 52+ second graders can be quite lowd.)  In my note I told them of course I forgave them, but I would know they were really sorry if they changed their behavior.

Sure enough, later that day, they came in like mice.  I was teaching at the front of the room, and I saw them--I didn't hear them--and they looked so proud!

Definitely a week for cuteness (and noze) and lessons learned at school.  :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Match.com and...out

A few weeks ago, I started getting emails from match.com, and they weren't being sent to my spam.  Now, match.com is not garbage, through match I met my husband, but since I am married, I don't subscribe.  Or do I?

It seems like a young man from Springfield, Illinois used my email address, mistakenly I hope, to sign on.  I contacted "Match" through their site right away to let them know of this error, but the emails kept coming. Emails as in matches.  Each day, Evan, as I learned from my correspondence to him to me, was getting emails containing some photos and details of some very lovely young ladies.

To be honest, I did look at one email, but the rest I deleted.  I couldn't help think of him waiting, not realizing his error, thinking no one wanted him. So knowing his user name, I attempted to guess at his gmail address (not mine, but perhaps his actual address), and I sent him a very nice note explaining the mistake.

While no reply came from him, the matches kept coming.  Each day an email awaited me Evan.

Then, I received an email (I can't figure out why) with his password--"rumpustime."  That made me laugh, it reminded me of Mercer Mayer's Where the Wild Things Are, "Let the wild rumpus begin!"  But then, not a moment later, I was creeped out.  On what kind of rumpus was he thinking of embarking with the ladies who were filling my inbox each morning?


So I searched the match.com customer support site again this time looking for a phone number. I could not one.  I googled them, finally came upon a contact phone number, and spoke to a very nice but perplexed representative.  I explained that while I once found Match to be very helpful (meaning Brad + Ellie kissing in a tree...), I no longer needed them nor was I Evan Stewart of Springfield, Illinois, no matter what email this misguided 24-year-old shared.

About 20 minutes later, after being on hold while he made sure this was done right, a block was placed on Evan's account.   The emails stopped.

Still, I can't help wonder about Evan, so tonight I used said password to see what was up.  The hold on the account is still there which means he hasn't tried to access it.  Which means he's getting charged for a service he's not taking advantage of.  Which means he's pretty clueless.

It makes me sad.  And, it makes me wish I had a blog back in my dating days because my dating life was much livelier (properly lively of course) than boring ol' Evan's.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pastor, Pastor

Last week, I typed the word teacher into the search box on Pinterest, and I found some blog fodder.  When I promoted that post on facebook, I commented that I might do the same with the word pastor soon.  A pastor I know suggested I share my findings...
In avoidance of all the work I should have been doing, I searched last night.  Funny thing was, I typed in pastor, then added pastor, and searching "pastor, pastor," brought me some stranger hits.

The most striking thing to note was that I learned something in this time wasting activity.  I learned that pastor is lamb in Spanish.  There were many images for food like these tacos al pastor:

Pastor is also used for sheep as in sheep dog:
Pastor Aleman* was there too, but I think this guy is cuter.

There were many photos of pastors (not the laughing/yawning pastor from above, his image I pulled from facebook), including a pastor from Brad's former Indy church, Northview. I zeroed in on him because of his bald head, I have a thing for those, only to recognize he was from Northview.  I liked that place, so I had to include Pastor Steve here.
I found a man who sells his drawings on esty and online, nakedpastor.com, and I liked this pin because it went so well with the message at church this week:
Interesting how that so often happens.

This one made me laugh.  I had no idea, so I guess I learned something from this too.  He certainly has that gluttony thing down, but God forgives sin--even those of Pastor Puppets--and uses us each to influence others:

All images (save the first) borrowed from Pinterest, where they are most certainly borrowed from somewhere else.

*German Shepherd, my HS Spanish coming in handy one again.  Gracias Mrs. Blanco.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

If You Really Knew Me...

I got this idea from my friend Delilah, a fellow (and successful) blogger.  If you're not reading her stuff, you should, she's mighty entertaining.  I used some of her ideas as prompts, giving credit at this moment where credit is due.

It's time to tell anyone who doesn't encounter me in person some things that folks who surround me already know.

Here goes...

I need 8 hours of sleep a night and regular doses of food.  If I don't have those things I am, as I often say, a crankcase.  However, sometimes I do forget to eat, but that really only happens on school days. I can't believe how hard my brain has to work to keep things straight, and food sometimes gets obliterated by thoughts of math, social studies, RtI, guided reading, copying...

I have a vocal disability.  Seriously, I have a photo (oh and getting that snapshot was a lovely procedure) to prove it.  Of course, if you ever sat near me in church you'd hear it; be thankful we attend different houses of worship.  I teach with a mic. When kids tell their parents I "yelled" at them, it's a lie. 

Sometimes I border on agoraphobic*.  If I didn't have to leave my house, I fear I'd stay here always.  I am a severe homebody.  I would much rather have a party than go to one.  And, yes, we have a few parties each year.

I hate grocery shopping.  The list of reasons why is much too long to share here.

When I was six weeks old, I almost died from starvation. A physician realized I had a muscle that was pushing all my formula back out--I was a projectile vomitter.  My dad used to say he'd measure how far I spewed (12' was my personal best).  ANYWAY, I have a six inch vertical scar on my midsection.  Except for those six weeks of early life, I've always had it.  When I see models in swimsuits, I stare at their smooth tummies (not their abs) and wonder, "What's that like?"

(BTW, I know the name for that disorder, but I have never been able to spell it...Google just helped me!)

I am a geek for book orders.  I pour through them. Remember book orders?  I will spend money on books for my classroom, but I mostly use the library for myself.  I don't covet books, I borrow them.

People think my personality is that of an otter, but I have to push myself to be fun.  I have to summon up courage almost every time I speak.  Listen when I talk, my voice shakes.

Reading aloud to children is my favorite thing to do.  I've been told I'm good at it, but I think it's only because I pick good books to share.

I'm ready to be a gramma.  My son is not ready to be a dad, so I wait patiently.

I met my husband via Match.com, and in his profile he wrote he didn't like sarcasm.  I replied to his first contact nonetheless.  I have spent six years now working to not use sarcasm with him.  He doesn't get my sense of humor much of the time, but there are so many other things I like about him and him about me that I can let that one go. He is precious.

Said spouse wants to go skydiving.  At first I told him that was something I'd never do.  Now I find myself thinking about it...in a good way--or is it a bad way?  I'm going to try zip lining.  Then hot air ballooning.  Then...maybe...

I love telling people how old I am.  Almost 52!  

I can't keep any kind of candy in the house because if there's candy in the house it immediately gets stored in my tummy.  There's no, "I'll just have one," and sticking with it.  I inhale chocolate, Red Vines, Skittles...

My eye is a critical one. It's turned mostly on myself, but I turn it to others too often, too.  I hate this about me.

I am an Evangelical Christian. I am a liberal Democrat.  I'm not a fan of either label.

I love Jesus, but not as much as He loves me.  I find value in that, but I really cannot fathom its bigness.  Yet.

*I am not making light of this, I do not suffer from panic attacks.  This condition is the best way I could sum up my sometimes aversion to leaving my home.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Listen to people apologize.

There's often a condition. "I'm sorry IF I hurt you."

Let's get rid of the "IF," and let's say, "I'm sorry I hurt you.  I will work hard to keep from doing it again."

People matter. Every single person matters.  There is no if about it.