Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ah, poo.

So much for regular blogging. A few thoughts are better than nothing, so here's a quick run-down of what's up. I'll type til my battery dies, which may be any minute.

1. Haven't watched late nite tv for a while. Larry David and Entourage reruns, not bad for the basic basic cable package.
2. Husband out with brother-in-law's brother. Still. Too late for me! Missed him tonight but enjoyed time alone, too.
3. Kids were pretty damn cute today. Actually playing together.
4. Let teenage daughter go to Riverfest with just 3 other girlfriends. Kinda scary but she's home fine. Brought me a cherry limeade, delish. Love her!
5. I love finding and trying new recipes so hard. Awesome part of summer.
6. Money, shit. What is up? Must buckle down tight.
7. Finally reading again, thank God. Girl with Dragon Tattoo took way longer to get into than it should have, but intriguing now. How will it all come together?
8. Hermit tendancies kicking in wayyy too much already.!!!
Okay, battery very low. Peace.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back to the Blog

Funny how a little hiatus turns into a big ol' break. I stopped blogging because I got into a March slump, and boom, it's suddenly almost the end of April, and I still haven't written a thing! Thanks to Kathleen for reminding me to get back into it.

Realizing that there are only five more weeks of school is a pretty good slump buster, too. I never tire of looking forward to summer; it still has its magical wonder it held in my childhood. So here are some things I look forward to once summer arrives:

1. The smell of it. Fresh-cut grass, fragrant flowers, sweet summer rain. Beautiful natural smells that invoke all of summer's glory with one whiff.
2. Sleeping in a little bit. I can't go crazy and sleep all morning like I used to, but even sleeping 'til 7:30 or 8 will fine with me. Still haven't kicked the night owl habits, after all.
3. Spending some QT with the fam. Always nice...well, okay, we are bound to have some summer cabin fever during those 100-plus degree week-long streaks that inevitably happen, but besides that, we'll bond.
4. Feeling like my old self. Let's face it, being a teacher can make a person feel like an alien creature sometimes. Constantly being on guard takes its toll; policing teenagers all day is a drain, no matter how much you love the little squirts. A few days out of that routine, and I hit a level of relaxation that is unattainable during the school year. Aaahhh.
5. Traveling. It's getting better with toddlers--portable DVD players are amazing inventions that suck those kids right in and make the trip fly by. While I'd love to go somewhere exotic/exciting, even visiting family in KS is cool with no school pressure to face upon returning home.
So those are a few highlights, and I'm tired so I'm stopping there for now. Plus I have a bit of grading to do, if I can stay awake.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I've got the...Sundayyyy night blues (baby, baby), Sundayyyyy night blues...

Sundayyyyy, ni-i-i-ght blue-who-hooooos.
Yes, world, it's Sunday night again. How did it EVER get here so fast? Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Where did my weekend go? What on earth did I accomplish?  What DIDN'T I do that I really thought I would? Now that thought inspires list-worthy observations...
1. I did not finish grading the lame stack of papers that has been sitting here for nearly a month. I totally should have and could have. I graded some, but not all. Shame, shame on me. At this point in my life, I cram paper grading into obscure nooks and crannies of time. I go ahead and have a little TV time, but grade a couple, then a few days later, knock out a small stack (like three) at work, then a few days later, pick up a bigger pile with good intentions...but fall asleep. One of my quotes of the day on my desk calendar said something like "Work is love made visible" and it totally gave me a guilt complex for slacking on these papers. But then again, I have put some serious time/work into other areas of my life, like yearbook and my home life, these past few weeks, so maybe I should ease up on the guilt. Anyway, I vow to finish two more before I go to bed, and hit the rest tomorrow. They are starting to drive me nuts, hanging over my head for this long.
2. I did not go to Menards with Andy and the kids. Actually, I stayed in the house nearly all weekend. I did not apply make-up, and I did not wear a structured bra. I did not even shower today. Perhaps I took weekend mode too far, upon reflection.
3. I did not eat the rest of the Thin Mints. I still have a sleeve of them left. This should impress people.
4. I did not remember to take my work clothes out of the dryer while they were still warm. Damn it. I hope the wrinkles aren't too bad, because I did NOT iron. If I were to iron, I would suddenly gain about twice the wardrobe that I usually choose from, actually. I do this about twice per school year.
Okay, it's pretty late. I need to snap out of Sunday night denial and finish these two papers and go to bed.
:(   Oh well, once I'm at work and past first block I'll snap back into the routine...usually works...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So sleepy, yet too stubborn to go to bed.

Yearbook group picture day was today. I dreaded it, but it went just fine. I am worn out now, though--something about prolonged standing, constant worrying, trying to keep all the ducks in a row--it's exhausting. My body is also sending me reminders that I'm no longer 25: throbbing feet, aching knees, scratchy eyes. Good grief, should it be this bad already? The 100-or-so white hairs on my head tell me yeah. Cool. 

And now I hear that the twinnikins are in there having a toddler party when they should be sleeping. They've been in bed for about 45 minutes, and yet, clearly, they are both awake. Perhaps our neighbor's INSANELY loud motorcycle is keeping them up. Or maybe the sugar in the Oreos I let them have after supper. It's a toss-up: go in there and scold them/check for poopy diapers? Wait it out and see if they're on the verge of sleep? My sore propped-up feet tell me to wait and keep typing.

On nights like this when my nerves feel frayed, I long to live in the country, or even better, on a secluded beach. I would love a place with NO neighbors close by, no constantly-traveled roads or streets near my home. This scene would be best on a cool spring night. I would fling the windows wide open to let in moonlight, starlight, sweet night air and soothing sounds. Trees rustling, maybe some water lapping or waves crashing gently. I would sit in perfect stillness for minutes, hours, just breathing slowly, enjoying my solitude...

But back to the present. I no longer hear the voices of my sweet babies; they must have drifted off. A car passes by, but the driver doesn't thump his bass or rev his engine. My dog snores on the chair next to me, his floppy ears covering his eyes as he slumbers in doggie bliss. I hear my husband chuckle as he plays an online game with his brothers; I'm glad they have some bonding time this evening. It's serene...

And then Sophie shrieks. It's her obnoxious shriek, her "I am not conquered, I shall not be quieted!" shriek. Even this is a happy noise, though, a sign of my child's strong spirit, will, and health. 

I suppose I'll check on her, after all. Good night!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Just read this little newsbite:

In case you're not inclined to follow and read the link, the article refers to a teacher, Natalie Munroe, who has been suspended from teaching because of what she posted on her blog. She didn't refer to herself OR her students by name. She used a little profanity. She ranted a bit. And she got nailed for it. Huh.

When I blog, I'm aware of the fact that my full name is listed. This blog is easy to find. I figure that very few people will look for it, and if any of my students find my blog, they won't be too interested in what I have to say...but perhaps I should rethink this mindset.

I don't really post about work. One time I posted from parent-teacher conferences, after being inspired by a plaid poncho, but I didn't think that someone would find my blog, realize I blogged FROM the school ABOUT someone in the school, and get upset. But maybe this could happen.

If anything, I think of blogging as an exercise to keep me in touch with the writing part of my job. I should practice what I preach. I should write. I should publish. I should put something out there that anyone, including my students could read (if they really wanted to). I should show people that anyone can write, everyone has something to say, and even a little bit matters.

So, for the record...I love my job. Even though I do get frustrated sometimes, I know that this is a great place to be. I try to convey this attitude to my students. I wasn't always so chipper, but after I had the twins and Andy was laid off, something clicked (panic?), and for the past couple of years, I've felt more positive than negative about work, about my district, about public education in general. I get to do something that matters and get paid for it. This thought, this fact strikes me as amazing again and again.

As for my students? If they seem disengaged, I try to look at the whole picture. Have I shown a genuine interest? Do I know what's going on in that kid's world? It would be great if school could be the #1 priority for each and every kid, but for some, it's just a blip on their radar. Some of these kids are already critically enmeshed in the activity of just surviving. A few are amazingly talented...but not in any single activity covered in our curriculum. But most of them will respond, are willing to learn, have amazing potential. I know this, I close my eyes and remind myself of this on the bad days, I beat my head against the wall trying to figure out the key that will unlock that potential.

It has to be a workable key, after all, for both the student and for me. I know I'm not Michelle Pfeifer in Dangerous Minds, showing off karate moves and showing up at students' homes. Nor am I Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, whispering and yawping as I lead eager young lads running triumphantly through their formative years. I am who I am--a fairly laid-back teacher, mom, and wife without a lot of theatrics up my sleeve. Not a lot of razzle-dazzle in my routine, and let's face it, it's hard to compete with all the flashy acts out there today. I have to work with who I am, navigate the constraints on my time and energy, and still try to connect with these kids. That key is an elusive fit.

I hope they back off of poor Natalie Munroe. First of all, she was 8 months pregnant. As any mom knows, she was a saint for even showing up for the job, at that point. Also, I do think she has very likely learned her lesson. It's a lesson we're all supposed to teach our students: anything you put on the internet is irrevocable; anyone can find it.  It's a good reminder for this blogger, as well.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Darkly Dreaming Dexter...

We just finished watching season two of Dexter (I'm pretty sure I mention this fact too much, but hey, I watch and write within the same time span, most nights, so it's on my mind).  I am enjoying the show and the unexpected bonus entertainment it has provided: crazy Dexter-inspired dreams. Sadly, I don't remember all the details of the dreams for long, but I catch flashbacks to them that are quite interesting as I go about my business the next day. In at least one dream, for example, I was Dexter, or at least a Dexter-ish character. It was a first-person slasher dream, minus the explicit carnage--for some reason I don't remember seeing body parts or blood flying about; it was more of the slashing/stalking stuff. Creepy, but not really disturbing, as it perhaps should have been.

Last night's murder-themed dream featured one of my uncles who, in the dream, flipped out and went on a killing spree, with mostly kids as the victims. Totally reminded me of The Shining, only there were LOTS of kids around, and they were in a big, vacant, underground warehouse-type place instead of a rambling hotel. Although I knew terrible things were happening, I was again spared the actual killing scenes--it was a very "removed" sense of horror. My uncle made a stunningly wicked villain, and the action was intense.

These dreams fascinate me--I'm rather proud of my subconscious for developing such intricate stories, settings, characters--even the direction is compelling. I feel like I get a little glimpse of what great movie and television writers tap into when they are actually AWAKE (jealous!!!). And a little terror while I sleep makes the daytime hours seem that much more calm and bright. I feel a little thrill when something jolts my mind out of the blue, reminding me of the dream that was so vivid just hours before. I wonder, though--at some point, will one of these dreams go too far and actually wake me up, upset me, scare me? We'll see. Until then, I'll look forward to catching the next episode.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

There's always time to write.

So I'm at parent-teacher conferences right now, and despite the possibility of constant interruption, I've decided that I should write a bit. I don't have the attention span for anything extremely cohesive or serious, so I'm thinking a list is in order...the topic? How about random things I've noticed.
1. The poncho. A lady in front of me is wearing a plaid poncho/wrap, and it looks pretty cozy. Kinda like this:

I can't decide if she's pulling it off or not. It makes me want to stare at her. I think she knows I'm staring at her. Crap. Now I want to stare at everyone's outerwear. Hmm, leather jacket, wool peacoat, parka with faux fur trim. Kind of easy to judge people based on the style/condition of their coats.
2. 365letters. Shelly's blog is sooo fun to read. She includes pics, videos, etc. Must figure out if I can do that with this blog. Surely so. Maybe they'll base a movie off of her blog, ala Julie and Julia.
3. Dexter. Not liking Season 2 as much as I thought I would. Lila sucks. He's not killing anyone. I'm guessing it'll pick up??? Still want to see what happens, though!
4. Lauren Conrad has written 2 best-selling books. WTF.
5.  No dessert. Glad we still got a meal for conferences, but was looking forward to a cookie. Healthy eating. Balls. Good thing I had that Hershey's bar handy.
6.  Soooo cold. Yayyy, little space heater! Best $20 gift ever.
7. Secret Pal. I should never be one. I vow here and now to never, ever, ever sign up for this again.
8. Things to look forward to: Aaron and Tanna's wedding--should be fun! HOT weather. Another three-day weekend, woot!!! Traveling again, someday, somehow--Big Sur/Half Moon Bayyyyy!!!!! It WILL happen.
9. Random former neighbor at the next table. Son looks the same as he did four years ago; daughter is all grown up, wow.
10.  Making eye contact with people I recognize and should know...what is that lady's name???
Well, that's 10 things and it's only 6:30? Rawwr! I should just enjoy this relaxation time, right? Ommm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wheel of inspiration.

Today I learned that my blog was part of the inspiration for another new blog/writing project. This is exciting! I love the idea that writing can be contagious, and that more of us are putting ourselves out there. Knowing that my peers are writing inspires me to keep going, and makes me wonder--why did I quit writing, in the first place? What turned me away from a creative outlet that fueled me for so long?

I used to write all the time. Back in grade school, high school, college, I was constantly scribbling something, somewhere, in whatever style suited me. At the tender age of seven or eight, I remember penning an entire book that was about 24 pages long. I think my mom still has it. A fantastical, hand-written script, my story chronicled the life of a princess with silver-sparkle everything, and ponies galore. I'm not sure I was as worried about giving the princess a plot as I was obsessed with imagining the details of her silver-sparkle wardrobe and stable of noble steeds, but it didn't matter--I was enthralled with my tale, and eager to share it.

Of course, the princess stage didn't last long. In the musty, spooky basement of the old Norton library, I discovered collections of Charles Schultz's Peanuts comics, from which I learned rich new vocabulary and literary devices, including the concept of sarcasm. Soon, I was in junior high, and sarcasm became both a shield and a language that I and so many other awkward kids spoke fluently. Instead of crafting stories, I penned countless notes, along with a few letters, diary entries, and even a few poems. While the notes were salty little jabs intended to crack up my friends, the poems were usually awkward little things pathetically crafted for one specific boy or another. I shoved at least one of these tender expressions of pre-teen longing into a boy's locker; I'm sure the kid didn't adequately appreciate the earnestly-penned words of an awkward, flat-chested, glasses-wearing geek-ette.

As I moved on to high school and college, I kept writing the letters, diary entries, and poems. I especially depended upon letters. I wish I had kept more of those I received; they would be so fun to read now. I remember with particular fondness the absurd origami-esque mailings that would appear from my friend Jarrod. I have no idea how these creations made it through the US Postal Service's system, since he would use whatever material caught his fancy, cover it with writing and illustrations, fold it up, stick a stamp on it, and throw it in the mail without a bit of regard for postal standards or regulations. His letters were wicked diatribes; I responded with my own devilish musings. Together, we were incorrigible, and it was great fun.

I did keep some of the letters that I wrote to myself. A few of them still give me a jolt when I read them now.  I obviously journaled as a form of free therapy; my late teen and early college years were rough, and I was much lonelier than I ever realized at the time.The demons I wrestled weren't the right kind of company to keep, I guess, but maybe by writing, I kept them in check, at least a little bit.

(to be continued)

Monday, January 24, 2011

I heart irony.

Yes, I looooove irony. I also have a great affinity for karma, poetic justice, the getting of just deserts--any fictional or, oh please, real life twist of fate that ends with grim, yet wildly satisfying (and well-deserved) universe-driven retribution.

Three cheers, as well, for karma's little helpers. These are the fearless few who boldly push, prod, and coax karma along, speeding up the process by which the assholes of the world get what they have coming. Ironically, by helping karma along, these cosmic elves risk earning their own comeuppance, but the reward earned for assisting karma is just too tempting to resist. Haven't we all taken this risk in exchange for just one taste of vengeance, just one moment of feeling that life really can be fair?

Of course, karma is at her most beautiful in her natural, unaided state. The neglectful neighbor who lets her dog shit all over the neighborhood? Ahhh, you just saw her scraping poo off her shoe. Truly, this sight rivals Niagara Falls in inspiring a sense of wonder and well-being. The speed demon who recklessly cut you off in traffic? Oooh, you guessed it, pulled over and issued a speeding ticket. We're talking Grand-Canyon good, on the right day.

But who am I to judge my other neighbor--you know, the one who deliberately positioned that shoe-defiling pile of poo right on the neglectful neighbor's front step? How can I begrudge the guy who, unbeknown to me, called in the speed demon and helped orchestrate that fateful ticket? I'm pretty sure he's my hero.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fun stuff.

Today, for the first time, I wrote a blog entry and immediately deleted it. It was a little too brooding and self-centered. I think I need to write about random fun stuff instead. Whee!
1. Groundhog Day. I love this movie; I love Bill Murray.
2. Accessories. Girly strings of beads, sparkly dangling earrings, brightly printed bags. Yay!
3. Wine. Oooh, yeah! But not wine hangovers. Ooooh, no!
4. Ponies. I haven't mentioned ponies on any of these blog posts yet, and that is sad. Ponies rock.
5. My kids. They are pretty damn delightful like 99.9% of the time, and they are up for a good time whenever. Little party animals, all three of them. Love it!
6. The song "All These Things I've Done" by the Killers. I should play this when my students enter the classroom tomorrow, except it might rock their socks off. Dy-no-miiiiite.
7. Messing with people's minds. Just a lil bit. Especially teenagers who fail to grasp irony/humor. Mwa-ha-ha!
8. Magna-doodles. Wicked fun. 
9. Okay, now my brain is flooded with toys and funky songs and rainbows and dancing, so I think my job here is done. Peace out.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Just watched the movie Salt. Pretty good. Angelina's a bit gaunt these days, though. She looked much more capable of kicking ass back in her Lara Croft days.

Watched Easy A today, too. Made me laugh out loud, which was nice. If only real life teenagers were as universally literate/witty as those depicted in this flick. Enjoyed Lisa Kudrow playing a bitch. Had to pause about five times toward the end because the twins woke up early, had poopy pants, cried, whined, etc.

Ate some Taco Pronto for lunch. Not as good as I remembered. Salty. Ironically, did not eat it while watching Salt.

Christmas break is over. Had some good times. The days with nice weather rocked. Loved going to the zoo and playing outside with the kids. Enjoyed mall trip with Lauren and Jennifer. Mall pizza is still greasilicious. Made up that word. Obviously. Should have done more with just Andy and just Lauren, probably. Not so easy with the twins at this age. Nope.

Computer being weird. Me too. Will probably benefit from getting out of the house and back to work. Kind of wish this wasn't true, but it seems pretty true.