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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It boggles the mind...

What can happen on any given day in a Primary School....
Today for example:
1. Purple vomit
2. Teacher taken the emergency room from fainting spell
3. Kindergartener with gluey elbow, despite having had on his coat the whole time
4. Music teacher attending art clas
5. Art teacher attending music class
*6. Hearing a speaker discuss the every changing technology and globalization and how it affects education in this country.

Ah, that's the one I want to talk about! This guy we heard was VERY interesting. He was talking about technology and how it changes faster than anyone can catch it. For example, he was showing the original keyboards from early 1900s where the vowels are all on the home row. Why did they change it? Ever think about how those keys are all in the wrong places? Why did they do that? Answer: to slow down typers. With type writers, typing too fast makes the keys jam, so they found the worst layout of keys that will statistically make people type the slowest. Slowed down the typing by 28% when we switched in 1917. Interesting, huh? Why not change back? I mean, aren't we in a GO GO GO world now? Yes, we are! How does an educator keep children thinking to a level that the world is progressing when we are still using things that slow us down from almost 100 years ago? How is it that the world keeps turning, but education has stayed relatively still?

This man also discussed globalization and brought up a scary thought...No nation since the Roman Empire has maintained an economic stronghold on the world for more than a century. 1600s-Spainish. 1700s-Dutch. 1800s-British. 1900s-USA. Now who? Did you know several high profile American companies have uprooted and moved to INDIA? Including MICROSOFT? Labor is like 85% cheaper there and major businesses are moving their headquarters to save money. It is said that there will be more income tax filings from India this year (from Americans) than from those living in the states. And China....largest population, once thought as shotty workmanship, now the largest manufacturers of computers in the world. And by 2010, the largest manufacturer of cars. Wild stuff. Are we about to tip off the edge in America? Who knows?

So back to the education issue...how to we maintain a competetive edge and be able to work in this global economy when we are still one of the only countries educating all. (No Child LEft Behind). Most countries still only educate the strongest and smartest and so it is easy to excel the top minds far past our trudging posse, moving at the weakest link's pace.

Yipes.....something to think about.

On a lighter note...I got the curriculum writing job! I start January 22nd in my training and will begin writing shortly thereafter. :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

I love YouTube

Ever spend a few hours looking at this site? Videos from Perfect Strangers, to last night's Conan are to be found if you have the time to look. Here's a couple you HAVE to see...

(Thanks, Jamie) This one has JD and Turk singing about their "guy love" on Scrubs. It's AWESOME!

Love The Office, like me? Watch Ed Helms sing "Rainbow Connection" and play the banjo. It cracks me up!!!

Ted's band complilation from Scrubs...

If you missed Ed Helms on Conan on Friday, watch him here. It's long, but worth it to hear him sing words to Yanni songs about unicorns. :)

In other news...Don't you think we look good with children? I've got the baby fever, but Joe is grounding us and making sure that we wait until our 2 year anniversary to start trying. I really want one!!!

OH! Joe talked buisness with my dad this weekend and Dad is going to help him try to get in with a city up here in HR. (He has lots of connections) Pray this works out for us. Joe is really excited about the opportunity and we are trying to make a career change before the afore mentioned babies. :)

OH again! We were in Lubbock cuz my dad became an elder yesterday. Yay Dad!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Random Thoughts...

On the 19th, Joe and I celebrated our 1st anniversary. Can you believe that? A whole year has gone by! It's amazing how long a year sounds and how short it actually feels. We went to Santa Fe for a few days to celebrate and had a great time. We were greeted at the hotel with news we'd been upgraded to a suite, I had red calla lillies waiting by the bed from my hubbie (just like my wedding bouquet) and we spent 4 days eating awesome food, wandering thru art galleries, and relaxing. The most fun was going to a day spa for the morning to get massages and pedicures. I LOVE that stuff! We also got to see a pouring at the bronze foundry where they cast the ginormous bronze scupltures and watched a demonstration at a glass blowing gallery.
We even made it over to Albuquerque for the day and saw my brother and his new place. (He's been in ABQ for about 2 months now at a new youth ministry job.)

Random thought 2...can you believe it's christmas time already? I put up our tree on Friday (by myself) and had a ball looking at all my ornaments. My mom had the forsight, when we were little, to give us ornaments each year and we had our own box-full. So now as an adult, I have a ton of ornaments for my own tree. We also have a tradition in my family of collecting an ornament from every trip we go on. It's an easy souvenier that you won't lose or forget about, because it resurfaces, along with the memories of that trip, each year. I bought one for each town I saw in Europe, so I had fun looking thru those, and I already have 6 with my sweet husband, that have found a home right smack front and center on the tree.

Random thought 3...Joe and I are having a Biggest Loser contest with another married couple at church. We were due to have our first kick-off weigh-in tonight, but our pals had to cancel. So...a few more days before the crack-down on eating I guess. Joe and I both have a lot more to lose than our friends, but we're doing body weight percentage, so I guess it all evens out?? Altho I'm not looking forward to the months of hard work, I AM looking forward to losing the pounds and feeling better about my body. AND...I think competing adds enough pressure to give me the drive for it....let's hope. :)

Random thought 4...I told you about the curriculum writing job? Still no word. They keep delaying the hiring date. So I'll let you know IF I ever hear anything. :) In the meantime, I'm going to be trained in grant writing in March. I'm to be the grant writer for my school come '07-'08 school year. I'm excited about this because grant writing could be benefitial as a stay at home job, should I wish to do that later on when kids are in the picture. If I'm good at it, that is. We'll see!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No sleep for the weary

On Friday Joe called to tell me we were asked to chaperone a youth lock-in (of sorts). Apparently, every year our high school kids have a "camp" during the school year. It's a Wednesday-Saturday, they sleep at the building, do campish activities, etc. and still do homework and go to school. They just come back and forth from the church instead of home. (Odd, right?)Well, that's what we were asked to help with...to stay one night, overnight.

I initially said no, I mean, how much would work suck the next day? Yeah...REAL bad! After a 3rd call asking us to come, I reconsidered. I've missed NO days of school in 12 weeks. I can take one personal day if they need us that badly. Could be fun. I'm always up for revisiting my youth group days. So at 6:00 we showed up at the church last night. We ate dinner with the kids, got the schedule run-down and the "Talk" from the youth minister on our duties. No prob. Oh wait...there are teens involved...of course there's a problem!

I am not exaggerating when I say we did nothing. NOTHING. We were supposed to have a devo talk, worship time, and study time in the word, PLUS a short devo this morning before the kiddos headed to school. NOPE. None of the above. There was homework overload, teenage girl drama/boy manipulation, tears...need I go on??? Jonathon (the minister) assured us this has NEVER happened before and they actually do have "Spiritual Stuff" at camp. It was craziness. Then...it was so cold in the room I was sleeping, I couldn't go to sleep! Those of you who have lived with me know...I fall asleep as soon as I lay down. Not the case this time. It was FREEZING! Joe said he woke up and his teeth were chattering. So I put on a sweater and tried to sleep. Didn't work out so well. A very choppy night's rest. So this morning I also got left with 3 boys and 1 girl while the youth minister delivered others to school (as his wife and my husband had already left for their jobs.)So I held down the church by my lonesome and locked up at 7:40. Now I'm home, wondering why I agreed to do this strange task, and excited to have an empty day ahead of me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

the serial killer

So I was deep in sleep last night and this was what happened in my dream....
Joe and I are sitting on the couch, laughing about something when the phone rings. It's my Mom. She starts talking about this serial killer that the police can't find. (Like I know what she's talking about???) I say, "Mom, what?" She says, "You haven't seen this on the news? There's a serial killer in Albuquerque and they don't know where to even start looking for him!" I reply, "Well, Matt better get outta there!" "Well, that's why we called. Matt's gone on to a better place." "WHAT?!?!?!"

Yeah, I had a dream that my brother got killed by a serial killer and my Mom calmly called to tell me. What in the world? The longer the dream went on, the more I was thinking about what may have happened to him. Why him? Was he alone? Was it quick? Was he tortured first? Finally I woke up, relieved to find reality a different circumstance. I called Matt to tell him, and he just laughed.

Isn't it wild what your mind can do to you?

Friday, November 03, 2006


I am quickly approaching a year of marriage. Can you believe that? I mean, this time last year, I was packing up my stuff to leave sweet Melanie, storing tons of boxes of gifts in our tiny little office, finalizing details and getting ready to trek to Lubbock. It's gone by so fast.

Of course looking back brings back the nostalgia and makes me start to remember conversations, letters and such that came my way. So today I was reflecting on a couple of comments I had directed at or about me shortly after my engagement.

#1. "Well, of course she's excited. It's her first marriage."
#2. "I'm sure you're happy, but if I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't."

Wow. It's still amazing to me that that was someone's actual response to my engagement. I know the reality is that marriages end in divorce sometimes. That people end up hating eachother or got married when they shouldn't have in the first place. I know that I am naive about many things, but it never occurred to me that MY ENGAGEMENT would be looked down upon by some. The other incident I remember vividly was a conversation at a lunch with some teachers from my school. 2 of these teachers knew me very well and had followed my courtship with Joe closely all the way. The other 2 teachers know very little about me...as evidenced by the conversation. They were shocked to hear that Joe and I were waiting till our wedding night. It's not just in the movies, I actually had the question asked of me, "How do you know you love him if you don't know how he is in bed?" It was one of those moments when time freezes and your mind is racing for an answer that isn't there. I didn't know what to tell her other than that is what I believe. That you wait for your husband and he waits for you. That it's what God intended to happen. Thankfully, this was a respected answer and I earned a lot of credibility with these ladies. (both of whom have been through divorces, yes...plural.) Mostly tho, it earned respect for Joe, who is a king among men apparently, for waiting so long for that right gal to come his way. (They could not believe I found a 27 year old guy who had waited.)

So why am I saying all this now? Good question. I don't know. I just really was thinking about it on the way home today. It makes me sad that there are people so soured on the godly intent of marriage. It has been such a blessing for me and it's sad to know that it hasn't been for everyone. So chalk this up as a rant from Rachel, a stream of conscience typing.

And to sum up....I'm glad I'm naive. I want to believe the best. And I want the best for myself, especially for my family both present and future.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stop...Hammer Time

I was just driving home from Office Depot, groovin to the new station "MOVIN' 107.5" when I found myself singing along to something oddly familiar. "I've been around the world. From London to the Bay. It's Hammer, go Hammer. MC Hammer! Yo Hammer! and the rest can go and play...can't touch this. Oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! Can't touch this. STOP... Hammer time!" Needless to say, this station plays the timeless classics. :) It's actually really fun to hear all these songs I used to ADORE! I felt so nostalgic I said "I MUST go home and blog this immediately!"

So what songs do you still love, but are ashamed to ever say you liked in the first place? I am not to big to admit that I own a Paula Abdul CD (with Opposites Attract and other musical gems), as well as a best of NKOTB (New Kids on the Block for those of you, like Mel, who shunned the greatest boy band EVER!) I found out yesterday that I can still rap the majority of "Men in Black" and "Ice Ice Baby." No matter how awful the music actually was, I loved it back in the day and therefor must love it always. Can't help what you feel with the 90s jams. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween and game night

Joe and I got invited to a Halloween party on Monday night. It was for this past Saturday. Short notice? Yes. Party for the singles class? Yes. Well, we were excited to be remembered (even if it was an afterthought, as we found out later invites had been passed out the week before), and even MORE excited to go get costumes! We looked all week for the perfect things. I was a pirate and Joe was a vampire. But sadly, the afternoon before the party we found out it was a "costume optional" or "mask only" affair. WHAT???!? So we wore jeans and our top halves done up. Well, Joe was one of 2 guys dressed up. And girls? Only 4 of us. So sad. But all was not lost. We had a sweet set-up outside with a big tv and cushions all around. Even a fire pit in the middle of it all. The highlight was the scavenger hunt. (Think GATA secret social, or whatever it was called...remember the random things we had to get? 5 freshman dressed in red, etc?) Well, this one was a photo/video hunt. We had to do things like wrap a stranger in toilet paper and have them sing MONSTER MASH and take a photo of our group in a cemetary. Needless to say, my competetive nature took over and my team won by a landslide. :) It was so much fun! Now the return to the party started off fun, by watching the "slides" and video on the big tv and tallying scores. But we were not meant to stay long. One of those wacky things that rubbed off from Mel...I don't do scary movies. I get freaked out and still have nightmares. Not in every scary movie, but ones that might possibly be able to happen in real life? Yeah. I can't handle it. So I made Joe mad and made him leave 30 min. into Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I mean, who wants to watch that anyways? And again I had to explain that I can't help being scared and ask AGAIN, "why would you MAKE me watch a movie that you KNOW will freak me out? You know I won't be able to sleep tonight?" Men are so insensitive. :)
Then last night we were supposed to have game night part II. (Part I was HUGELY successful so we had high expectations.) Only one couple showed. So Jake and Tanya are now officially our only friends since everyone else ditched us at the last minute to watch Football. I told you that sport was no good. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

pray people!

I have applied for a great opportunity in my district. We are writing new curriculum for the whole FWISD based in standards-based learning. They are hiring 7 people in each learning discipline (art, music, english, math, etc.) to write the program. Each person "hired" will be given a laptop and paid $3600. It's intensive for about a month and a half and then done. I wrote my 1000 word essay application last night. (Let me tell you how fun THAT was!) I haven't written a paper since junior year! Anyways, this is good career-wise, money-wise, computer-wise, and lot of other wises I can't think of. I really want to be a part of this and make my mark in Art Ed. Be praying about it. I know it will be competetive and challenging, but I know I'd be good at it. I'll keep ya posted!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fried stuff with Cheese

Racing pigs. Butter sculptures. African acrobats. All things fried. That's right folks, we went to the "BUM BA DA DUM!!!" (or as my dad would say, "TOO TA TOO!" STATE FAIR! Saturday I spent 8 hours with the Varney boys at the fair. Yep, not only Joe, but the brothers too, Jerry AND Andrew. **Which, incidentally, I realized today that I no longer think of myself as "Cass." I automatically think "Varney." Hmmmm.** The only time I've been to the fair before, we looked at the car show and rode one ride, ate a funnel cake and left. Well, this was different. We actually went to do all we could. Now, being the lone girl, I had to speak up if I wanted to do something other than sit in cars all day. So of course, I did! We started off with some food. I ate a gyro (one of my favs) and Joe tried out the chicken and waffles. Still an odd combo if you ask me. We also all had a taste of fried snickers. Melty, crunchy...not bad. After a tiresome hour looking at cars (of which most time I spent trying to figure out what would make a good, afordable family vehicle) we ended up at a football throwing game. The boys lined up to compete. Andrew beat the twins, much to their dismay and justifying rationales. It's always fun to watch them all together. They really enjoy being with eachother, especially when football is on the menu. Next we looked at giant catfish and other floating creatures and waited for the african acrobats. Wow. They were really incredible. This pic, for example, show them all piled up together...they just ran and jumped into position. NO kidding! It took less than 10 seconds to get this way! They limboed, did handsprings and jumproped, it was really impressive! One guy jumproped off his butt, one in a handstand, one in push-up position, and one did flips while jumping. Great fun! But I'm not done yet! We also went to see the butter sculpture. Now why anyone would want to carve something out of butter is beyond me, but someone carved Marilyn Monroe in butter for the fair. It doesnt' really look like her, but I guess butter is hard to manipulate? We went from there to meet Jamie and her gang of pals to watch the pig races. I really had no idea what to expect, but my pigs did pretty well! Arnold SNORTSnHOGGER didn't win, but Christina HOGulara and Snoop HOGgie HOG both came in first! We were only there for a few minutes with Jamie before we headed out to try Fried cosmopolitans (cheesecake with cranberry compote) and the infamous FRIED COKE. (Not all it was cracked up to be. Tasted like cake with coke poured on top. In reality? Batter FLAVORED with coke, friend, then coke syrup poured on top. Sounds gross, righ?) Well, here's what it looks like... From there we met up with our friends Jake and Tanya and watched the parade from KitchenCraft (the waterless cookware.) What IS waterless cookware? Don't know. If YOU know, please tell me! Corny dog dinner, lots of lemonade and a trip on the ferris wheel and we were ready to call it a day. 8 fun filled ours with friends and fried foods. We waved good-bye to Big Tex, and sipped on our hot cocoa as we walked to PP to get our car. By 9:30, Rachel was asleep on the couch. Guess you CAN have too much of a good thing. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Guess what I did today?

Guess what I did today? Or should I say, Guess what I DIDN'T do today? That's right...teach. But you thought I was a teacher, right? And it's a school day, right? Yes and yes.

Here's what happened. Yesterday the PE teacher came to tell me 2nd grade would be having an assembly to learn dance from a local dance troup. (2nd grade are my first 2 classes of the day, so no first or second period...check!)**more on the dance troupe to come...
School-wide field trip is also on the schedule today. That's what I said...SCHOOL-WIDE. All 600 K-2nd graders on ONE FIELD TRIP! 11 buses in all. Well, the buses were loading a 11:15, so with rules, lunch in rooms, bathroom stops, etc. no 3rd or 4th period either. Being the nice lady I am, I volunteered to go on the field trip with a wild K class. We were back at 2:05, meaning no 5th-7th periods either, leaving my conference period remaining untouched. So yea for me...I went to school and didn't teach all day!

Now...more on the dance troupe. Imagine this: 100 8 year olds. 10 professional dancers. You see it? They divided into "squads" and invented their own 8 count dance routines. Each squad got to perform and then teams combined to make 2 huge squads. The new ginormous squads combined their routines and then they had a dance off. Back and forth. Back and forth. It was hillarious! Luckily, I remembered our school has a digital camera and I ran to find it, then ran to find batteries and made it back to catch in stills and video form. Wow. What a fun day!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Being an art teacher

So I have now completed 9 weeks of teaching art. What an adventure it has been! Paint on the walls, paint on the kids, paint on everything! Kids swinging punches at you (and landing one from time to time). Crying kindergarteners. Surprise field trips and fire drills.

It may sound awful, but nothing could be further from the truth. I get to spend 7 hours every day with little ones who want to know how to create. It is so fullfilling to be able to give them that and watch them grow in their talent. I love being a teacher that everyone in the school knows. I love walking down the hall and hearing, "Hi Mrs. Varney!" 20 times. Of course I love all the other perks...no grading, no conferences, no testing. But mostly I love being able to share something I'm passionate about with the kids. It's so exciting to hear them talk about paintings by name or get excited to talk about a new piece we're studying. Just like sharing your love to read with a child, sharing your love of art just brings a smile to you face!

I've been very blessed to have an amazing art room. I have tiled floor, huge windows, a kiln, a storage closet and so much space! Here's some pics of where I spend my days. I hope you are all as lucky as I am...to love how you get to spend your time each day!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Well, I just got home from my 5 year college reunion. Man, was it fun! At first I was really excited about going. I mean, seeing old friends, finding out what's happened with people, maybe even rubbing in that I have a husband to an old boyfriend if I was lucky. But once I got there, it was a little awkward. I found myself in a room of people I knew the names of, but didn't really know. People who didn't really know me. I wasn't sure what to say, how to act or what to do really. Luckily, I had my husband on my arm, so I had at least one friendly face to chat with.
Of course, as the evening went on, more and more friends arrived, the baby I had been toting as mine that morning was passed off to me (yes, Titus Jones is actually a Varney child), and old acquaintances were suddenly becoming new friends. Like, who would think Joe and I could spend the better part of the eveing chatting with Ashley Parks Belcher and her new husband Nic? And making plans to meet up with them in the near future?
Joe and I were talking about how surprisingly fun the night ended up being and were trying to weigh out how many moonies, siggies, gatas, kinsmen, etc. I think it's safe to say Gata took it. We started counting and I think we were well on up at the top. Way to go red gals! I was only sorry Summer wasn't there, as she would have one not one, but TWO door prizes with the oldest kid and the most kids award, leaving Chris to bring up the back with the farthest away.
I love ACU and I love what it did for my life. I feel more blessed by that place than I can ever put into words. It was a great weekend and I am so glad so many of us were able to reconnect!

I also wanted to mention the AMAZING sculpture that was added to campus this year. I couldn't stop looking at it. It was just SO incredible.