New To Me

I can’t tell you about the new (to me) car I recently bought until I tell you about the masterpieces of automobilia (ha) I have owned in the past.

The summer before my freshman year of high school was full of anxiety about how I would get home from practice each day. I didn’t have a car, but I really needed one since it was always a pain for mom or dad to drive seven miles back into town to pick me up (plus, I think I wanted to keep up with my classmates, who also got cars that year). One week that summer, I saw an ad in our local paper. My neighbors were selling their car–a lime green, four door Chevy Malibu Classic that I always thought looked really old whenever we zoomed past their house. And, in ’99, I guess it was sort of old. A 1976, it had just turned 23. The neighbors were selling it for $675, and dad, being the neighbor he is (he never tries to talk down a neighbor, just gives them whatever amount they ask for things) bought that beast of a car for me. It was in very good shape–the radio worked, the air conditioner weakly blew sort-of-cold air, and it flew over the three miles of rough pavement we drove every day like a boat on the water.

That car lasted me all four years of high school, with only a few minor run-ins with phantom cows in the dusk, fences, ditches, and one guy’s jeep after school one day. That was totally his fault because my blinker was working (I was moving the lever up and down as usual!), but he chose to zoom past me on the left as I made a left turn.

I have a few fond memories of friends in The Beast aka The Booger aka The Banana aka Marvin the Martian. Oh, and did I mention the three letters on my license plate were RAR? That’s right. Raaaaarrr! What a beast. The Malibu declined significantly in those four years, including this wonderful squealing sound that was enhanced in the summertime as well as a tendency for the engine to blow smoke out from under the hood upon my arrival to school in the mornings. There might have been an oil leak or something. I certainly wasn’t driving too fast to make it to school on time! :) Oh, and it died at every stop sign on the way to town and I would have to pop it into neutral and roar it to life again. Good times.

But, alas, The Beast wasn’t going to make it to college with me, so I began searching for a new car and soon became obsessed with Monte Carlos. Dad and I found a silver, 1997 Monte Carlo in Frankfort with only 67,000 miles on it. We checked it out while at the Regional track meet that year, and then we bought it towards the end of May. I put all my graduation money down on it.
That car got me through ten years, three moves, and another 147,000 miles. What a blessing to not have a car payment as I started my new teaching career! I put up with the Monte (it wasn’t special enough to get a name) for another four years after I decided I’d like to buy a new car. I decided to pay as much cash as I possibly could for it. It took awhile to find the right deal, yet I had little anxiety over driving a car with 214,000 miles on it because my brother is my mechanic and I took really good care of the Monte.

A few weeks ago, I bought a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee with only 30,000 miles on it (what a steal!), and using the power of cash (thanks, Dave Ramsey!), talked the guy down $1600 on the price. I’m so pleased to have found such a good deal! And the best part is that I don’t have to walk to the passenger side to unlock the vehicle (I didn’t know what I was missing without keyless entry!), it doesn’t die at every stop sign, no smoke rolls out from under the hood, and I never hit my head as I get into the vehicle. Plus, there’s a sunroof. And it’s red! I’m so thankful for my Jeep! :)






Last weekend, I went shopping with Emily and found 2 coats (with sleeves long enough for my arms) and one pair of “touring shoes,” made by Merrell. The two coats were on sale (Feb. is a good month to buy winter coats), but the shoes set me back 95 bucks. In CASH, Dave Ramsey. No worries! I’ve come to the conclusion that I am going to have to plunk down the dough if I’m going to wear shoes that support me and are comfortable. It’s worth it! My Merrells are awesome.

Those items were purchased in anticipation of our upcoming DC Trip! Andrea and I are taking 14 students on a trip to our nation’s capital over Spring Break. I am very excited about this since I’ve always wanted to see DC. I love our nation’s history, and I can’t wait to walk on the same ground so many great leaders walked on before me. Abraham Lincoln is probably my favorite president. Such courage in such a tumultuous time. I’m hoping to get through a book or two about him before the trip.

My college friends and I are planning a trip to Chicago this summer. I went to Chicago with Upward Bound when I taught with them one summer, and I fell in love with that city. It is fantastic! The people are friendly. The city is clean and full of things to do. I can’t wait to hang out there with my good friends (and relax from cramming for my comps and prepare for my last month of MA classes). We might go to the beach at Chicago’s waterfront.

Traveling is so much fun. I hope that as a teacher, I will be able to use my summers off for traveling. However, it would be very interesting to travel in the fall. Cheaper rates on flights and hotels, beautiful autumn foliage, and mild weather. If I ever have a year off from teaching . . . I know what I’ll do . . .


In the Dave Ramsey class I’m taking, we have been talking about finding a job you love. Dave prefaced all of this with facts about how, in just two generations, career longevity has changed dramatically. I knew this was true, as I’ve told my seniors every year that they may change their career five to six times throughout their lives. However, until recently, I figured I would be teaching High School English for the rest of my life.

As a young girl, what I wanted to become changed on a daily basis, from librarian to Reba McEntire to bus driver to pro tennis player (yes, for awhile I really wanted to be Jennifer Capriati). Having started my fourth year as a High School English teacher, I am sure I will be a teacher for the rest of my life. However, I’m learning that that doesn’t necessarily mean I will always be in a high school English classroom. I could be in China, teaching college students how to write in English. I could be in Morocco, teaching first graders how to add and subtract. I could be at home, teaching my four-year-old how to read. I could even see myself in an administrative position teaching teachers how to teach.

Wherever I find myself teaching, I know that I will not grow weary of it. Teaching is definitely what God put me on this planet to do. I welcome the changes of subject matter and the new things I will learn along the way. After all, I love learning, and that’s what you do the most when you teach!

Fog, Words, and Budgets

Tonight I’m thankful that the musical rehearsal didn’t last quite as long. And, it’s densely foggy outside, so my Internet is working faster than ever. It’s a good evening.

I was just defining all the vocabulary for The Whale Rider, and I came across skirmish. Isn’t that a great word? Say it several times. It just tumbles out of your mouth, much like a skirmish would involve tumbling! I should use it in class tomorrow!

I put together my Nov/Dec budget tonight. The Gifts category was a bit tricky, since I’ve only been saving for gifts for two months. This month’s budget is a bit lopsided in places. Oct/Nov went okay, but I still spent all the money in my checking account, taking it from categories that need to be saved up each month for when the expense comes (like car insurance, renter’s insurance, and tires). So, next month’s goal is to put all the unused categories in savings so I won’t spend them.

Oh, and I will have food left come Friday when I get my paycheck. But, I’m upping next month’s food budget quite a bit, to account for holiday cooking and meals at HOME! I mean my REAL home, not here in this house I’m currently sitting in. I can’t wait for a break from school and time to spend with family!