Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WNBP: Done.

Memorial Day weekend is kind of a double edged sword for me.  On one hand, it is a time to honor those who've given their lives in service to our country as well as the ones we've lost in less obviously noble but but just as honorable ways.  That is a good thing to do at least once a year, I think.

 It is also the weekend the maternal side of the Sheepish clan gets together to devour vast quantities of protein and carbohydrates whilst sparing a thought for those who have naught but vegetables upon which to dine.  That is also a good thing to do once a year.  It is probably not such a good thing to do on a regular basis, though.  We would be a highly irregular family were that the case...

Lastly, it is a three day weekend.  I don't think I need to explain the virtues of that in any great detail.  If you don't understand why a three day weekend is better than a two day weekend, then there is really nothing I can do for you.  I consider you a lost case.  You probably also prefer to eat vegetables even if there is a perfectly good dessert tray sitting right there next to it.

But Memorial Day weekend is also the beginning of the end for me when it comes to my teacherly duties.  No.  That's not quite true.  It is the actual end.  I am suddenly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and no amount of meeting memos or helpful emails regarding the ten billion things I still have left to do is going to turn it around.

We are in the home stretch.  I have but a few Wednesdays left unto me in which I can natter on about the school day.  I suppose I'll have to "enjoy" the blog fodder while I have it.  Here's this week's version of the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.

I'll try to remember that I am enjoying all that fodder...

*Yesterday, I arrived at school after the New Teaching Assistant.

*She has been there all year.  She isn't new anymore.  I think I am promoting her to Supremely Organized Teaching Assistant.  Or perhaps Remarkably Tolerant Of Her Scatterbrained Supervisor Teaching Assistant...

*No.  I'm staying with the first one.  It's easier to remember.  I'll just have the Supremely Organized Teaching Assistant jot it down for me.

*I always get to school before she does.  It is really the only thing I have left that marks me as Boss Of The Classroom.  Except for yesterday.

*I greeted her and then said, "I have some bad news.  I am done."

*And I am.  Memorial Day Weekend was mostly rainy and it was hard to find the summer in it, but Monday was simply gorgeous.

*I found the summer.

*Today is Wednesday.  On Wednesdays we have a late start to accommodate teacher trainings and whatnot without the expense of hiring subs to cover for us.

*Except today was not a late start because the high school has finals and it sort of seemed like a good idea to give the students ample time in which to prove they have learned enough to graduate.  That is kind of important.

*I knew about this months ago.  I even knew about it yesterday.  I knew about it all of today.

*But none of that kept me from going back to the familiar schedule commonly referred to by some of my students as Wacky Wednesday.

*Which meant I was sending kids off to appointments that were hours away or already passed and telling specialists they had plenty of time in which to see kids when they actually had no time at all because the facilities they normally use on a Wacky Wednesday were in use by other teachers.

*Were it not for Tween Girl and her frighteningly keen eye for detail, I probably would still be there thinking it was noon and trying to figure out why no one showed up for study hall.

*This was not a good day for the SOTA to have to take her kid to the doctor.  Her being late meant I had two whole hours of not knowing what I was doing.

*Interestingly enough, her horoscope today mentioned needing to be very alert and aware because her skills would be needed to keep larger projects and less organized people afloat.

*That isn't scary at all...

*The Thursday before the long weekend, students in the social studies classes were given a Family Tree assignment.  We reminded all of them.  Multiple times.

*We explained the assignment.  Multiple times.

*We told them it would take fifteen minutes, tops.  Multiple times.

We assured the classroom teacher that we, the ever alert special education staff, had this under control.  We didn't say this multiple times because the classroom teacher has a lot of stuff to do and sometimes she just has to trust that we know what we are doing.

*Classroom teachers are kind of naive and foolish that way.

*On Tuesday, all the students looked at us blankly when we asked if it was finished.   It was as if we hadn't said anything...multiple times.

*Since my students weren't the only ones to fail miserably with follow through, the classroom teacher gave one more day for them to finish.  One.  After that it was seven straight days of lost recess.

*Seven!!!!  That is a lot of lost recess.  Kind of a bold move for a sixth grade teacher, but I see her point.  When most of the class blows off an important assignment, you really have to go hard core.

*Today, we asked if everyone had finished this simple fifteen minute task.  The one we reminded them of multiple times and upon which their very recesses depended.

*Tween Girl smiled proudly and showed us her work.  For TG to complete that assignment took some effort.  More than most kids would need to expend.  But her mom helped her and she did it.  Bless her little heart.  If not for her, I think I would have given up this teaching thing completely.

*Because everyone else...well, lets just say there won't be much recessing going on for the next seven school days.

*I swear to you, if I see on more blank look I am going to scream.

*I got an email from the mother of He Who...PROJECTS today.  She said how much he is enjoying the independent study project I assigned and wondered when it was due.  She has some photographs his grandfather took during WWII and thought he would like to scan them into his slide show presentation.

*That is when I realized something.  I have assigned a major project.  However, because it is really a clever camouflage for teaching some executive functioning skills, I honestly didn't think about the due date.

*And now I will be grading major projects during the last week of school.  I will be doing this frantically in the hopes that I might possibly make the deadline for report cards.

*I am an idiot.

*Fortunately, I have a very small class and there won't be more than four of these projects to deal with.

*But still...only an idiot assigns a major project this late in the year and at a time when "done" is the word of the day.

*The other word of the day can be "idiot," I suppose...

*The Annual Sheepish Family Cook-Out was a rousing success.  My job was to bring the Cheesy Bread.  I know this because, for months now, various relatives have been reminding me.

*I was late.  My bread baking, a normally simple activity, was a series of disasters which began when I got my hand stuck in the stupid drawer under the oven (there's five minutes of my life I'll never get back) and ended with two loaves unwilling to exit the pan without leaving a part of themselves behind.

*I made an extra batch to cover for them and texted Daddy Sheep to let him know I was delayed but on my way.

*Completely forgetting that Daddy Sheep would be manning the grill and possibly fending off the helpful suggestions of relatives who wandered away from the herd at the snack table.

*He didn't get my text.  Instead, the herd remained unaware of my intentions and, according to a variety of sources, they all wandered around asking, "Where is the bread?  Gee, I hope the bread is OK."

*I arrived to cheers and cries of, "The bread is here!!!"

*Baby Brother Sheep said, "We were afraid you'd gotten into an accident and the bread was in a ditch somewhere."

*At least I know I'll be missed should something ever befall me before the Sheepish Family Cook-Out.

*For the record, when you get your hand stuck in the stupid drawer under the oven you can't help but get a little introspective.

*"So this is how it ends," you think.  "All my good works and the only thing I'll be remembered for is this.  I'm a cautionary tale about stuck oven drawers and the importance of not sticking your hand in there to loosen things up."

*Yes, I was reduced to a Saturday Night Live skit.

*I had a heck of a bruise, but no one seemed all that impressed.  Maybe next time I should show up at the cook-out dangling the actual oven from my arm as proof of my dedication to addressing their bread addiction.

*I had a great time.  I got to see lots of people I don't normally see and I stayed well past my bed time.

*I also came up with a great new definition.

*Family:  The people who see how many leftovers you take home but don't bat an eye and reserve comment until after you leave.

*My lunch needs for the week are taken care of.

*Since the school year is winding down, I'm kind of rushing to get through the audio books I wanted to listen to before commuter time ends.

*The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle) continues to enchant.  I have only one complaint.  It's not really a complaint.  It's more of a wish.

*I love having it read to me, but I can't help but think it's really a book that was meant to be read.

*Some stories are just like that.  I can picture the printed page and I just know it would sound better in my head.  Does that make any sense at all?

*Beautiful writing should be read.  I think I'll remember that when I go for the sequel.

*Or I won't remember that because I am "done" right now and forgetting pretty much everything.  I will probably forget before I hit "publish" tonight.  And that is OK.  It is a wonderful audio book.

*In fact, it is very likely I will forget because once I start a series on audio, I tend to want to finish it that way.

*But maybe you will remember and do better.

*I'm also still working my way through Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files.

*God, I missed Harry!  I'm almost finished and I think I'm slowing down just because I want to spend a few more days with him.

*The Dresden Files series actually works beautifully as audio books.

*I've tried them in both formats.  Just sayin'.

That said, it suddenly occurs to me that my hair is drying without me.  If this were summer vacation, I wouldn't care.  But it isn't summer vacation.  I may be done with this school year, but it isn't quite done with me.  Hence, I'd better see if I can get this follicle situation under control before I'm left with a mess that needs more taming than I have time for tomorrow morning.  I should probably also see about finding some appropriate clothing and perhaps feed myself some dinner before breakfast time rolls around.

All this is stuff I've been doing since September.  None of it is all that hard.  Except now it is because of one warm sunny day that didn't involve a commute.

And probably also because of students who look at me blankly after multiple repetitions...


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WNBP: I Know Time Flies, But This Is Ridiculous!

On Monday morning, as my small Language Arts class was settling in to fake working just enough to "fool" me, He Who...PROJECTS! spoke up.

"Ms. Sheep," he said, very seriously.  "There is something I forgot to tell you before I left on Friday."

"What's that?" I asked warily, fearing that he'd forgotten to chastise me for some teacherly offense and that he'd had the whole stupid weekend to work himself up into a lather over the whole thing.  This would probably take up most of the morning and I had neither the time nor the energy for it.

He screwed up his face in intense concentration, took in a deep breath and said in his most projected fashion:


That was sweet and I told him so.  It was nice that he remembered my casually mentioning it during a conversation earlier.  But it also brought to light a fact that I am really having a hard time processing.  No, it is not my advancing years.  I came to terms with the forward progression of time a while ago.  It was more the idea that my Natal Day comes in May.  Which can only mean one thing.

It is May.

How did May get here?  I am still giving serious thought to purchasing snow tires and suddenly May pops its face out of nowhere?  That's just crazy.

But May it is, no doubt about that.  A Taurus with my astrological chart doesn't get Birthday wishes projected into her face without M-A-Y being at the head of the calendar.  Where did the time go?

Clearly another week has passed (if not many of them) so I suppose I should get on with this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Perhaps the very act of chronicling the days will give me some sort of perspective on the passage of time this school year.

*I had a nice enough birthday, considering.

*And by "considering" I mean I was planning to take the day off and then couldn't because the Organized Teaching Assistant had to go to a meeting for her son.

*And then he got sick so she didn't make it in to work at all.

*And then the New Teaching Assistant came in saying she'd been considering taking the day off herself but decided that she didn't need a mental health day all that badly just yet.

*Probably forgetting that I'd given up my day off because she isn't the type of person to say something like that in a cruel way.

*And then we had achievement testing all day but no one remembered to tell me about all the schedule changes so I had a short-staffed classroom and lots of extra kids roaming around.

*Finally, Jolly Boy (who is losing his jolliness by the minute these days) and Little Einstein (who isn't as smart as I thought he was given his recent choices) decided to get into a disagreement in the cafeteria and almost came to blows.

*They weren't even supposed to BE in the cafeteria but the social worker who normally has lunch with them on Fridays emailed me on Monday to let me know she was taking the day off...isn't that nice?

*Side Note:  Jolly Boy came up with a witness to prove his innocence following the mid-day drama.  Unfortunately, he decided to pin his hopes of acquittal upon Jolly Boy Jr., the unfortunate second player in an earlier incident with him.

*Thus causing me to yell at Mr. Principal:  BOYS ARE STUPID!  SERIOUSLY...WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!

*But it all worked out because I bought myself a new flat iron on the way home and then HW...P! loudly reminded everyone that they'd chosen the worst possible day to not worship adoringly at my feet.

*I like it when people are loudly reminded of such things.  Does this make me a bad person?

*Probably.  But I'm OK with that.

*I still got a new flat iron.  And birthday cake with the family on Sunday.

*Oh!  And these amazing cookie/peanut butter cup/brownie things that SIL Sheep made.

*Think about that.  Three of the best things in the whole world.  In one thing.  Together.

*I forgot all about the trials and tribulations of being an under paid and under appreciated educator who had to work on her birthday after one bite of that little heaven-nugget!!!

*I also forgot that May had snuck up on me like some kind of scary street mime.  At least for a while.

*I was reminded of May when the work week started up again and the meetings came at me.

*I have lots of meetings in the spring.  Mostly "transition" meetings where I sit in on educational planning sessions for the kids who will be coming to our school in the fall.

*I had the first one in March.  That seemed really early to me.

*In fact, I think there might have even been a bit of snow left on the ground.

*It doesn't seem like it was that long ago...

*I am facing a wall.  I don't like looking at that wall because, back in October, I put a giant hole in it.

*Actually, I didn't put a giant hole in it.  The dudes that installed the stereo system in the manse did that.

*I know what you are thinking.  Installed sound system?  Why, Sheepie!  You live in the veritable lap of luxury over there!  I had no idea you were so very, very well-to-do.

*Not so much.  My condo was built in the 80's.  Not the cool 80's.  The plastic, false wood grain AM/FM radio with cassette deck 80's.

*It was in the wall.  As much as I hated the stereo in my wall, the idea of pseudo-construction didn't appeal either.

*I just avoided looking at the wall.

*Last October, I was home due to a hurricane situation so I figured I should probably use the time to fiddle with wires since Emergency Services didn't have much to do once the possibility of a hurricane passed.

*That left a giant hole in my wall.  I tacked a poster over it.

*Then I remembered that, come May, I would be a 48 year old woman.  48 year old women don't have posters tacked to their walls.

*It is one thing to lie about your age.  It is another thing entirely to act out one's days as if one is 17.

*I had to do something about this.

*In November, I hung a picture over the giant hole.  Which is a much more mature thing to do.

*In April, I purchased a drywall patch and various patching accessories.

*It is now May.  I am 48 years old.  I do not have a poster tacked to my wall, but I do have a large piece of uninstalled drywall in my kitchen and patching accessories in my bedroom.

*Oh, an a giant hole in my wall but I can't see that so it doesn't affect my day to day life all that much.

*At least not as much as the big piece of drywall because that is the sort of thing I am wont to stub my toe on from time to time...

*Most of the teachers in my school can tell you exactly how many school days are left.  I can't.

*Heck, I'm still not caught up with the whole "May" deal.  If I get to thinking about how much I have left to do in the next 20-something days, I'll probably have to be hospitalized.

*I have to admit, I am sort of happy about May, assuming it is real and not some cruel joke.  The idea that I might have survived yet another school year and lived to have nightmares about it during summer vacation is kind of cool.

*I'll miss the commute, though.  I've experienced some really awesome traveling books this school year.

*I finished The Gate Thief (Mither Mages) today.  I didn't like the ending at all.

*But then the author's afterword assured me there is a third and final book coming.

*Good.  This one ended abruptly.  And badly.  Not as in "badly written."

*As in, "What?!  Are you freakin' kidding me?????  Oh, that's just wrong..."

*Once I'd calmed down, I cued up The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle).

*That's one I often consider whilst book shopping, but never seem to get around to.

*However, the library had a copy available for download so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

*Beautiful writing.  Evocative.  Characters drawn in sharp detail with six words and an inference.


*And guess what?  After my Sunday Birthday Luncheon, I drove SIL Sheep home and she loaned me her copy of Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files!

*I've looked at it about fifty billion times, but it seemed kinda spendy.  So it went into the "someday soon" pile.

*But now I've got it and I can't believe how much I've forgotten about the previous volume.

*It's all coming back to me now.  And I remember why Harry Dresden always makes me so sad.  He just doesn't catch a break.  Ever.  

*Sometimes it's funny.  But it's sad in equal measure.

*I also think I missed him.  It's nice to have a Dresden Files book back in my hands!

*It also helps to know that I'm not the only one who lost a bit of time, although mine is more due to lack of attention.

*Not so much with the Almost Dead And Bound Into Service By A Very Mean Lady.

*Even if it sometimes feels like that after a long school day...

Nope.  May still doesn't seem real to me.  I'll probably get a handle on it sometime around August 3rd or so.  Meanwhile, I'll just keep watching everyone walking around in sandals and wondering why my feet are so darned hot in boots.  With any luck, I'll catch on in time to get my report cards done and maybe enjoy a little summer break before I have to start all over again.

Or I could just sit and stare at the dappled summer sunlight dancing across the Giant October Wall Hole until it all makes sense again...


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WNBP: Catching Up

Well, that post title is something of a joke.  "Catching Up?"  Who am I kidding?  I am nowhere near to being caught up, however I think I might be just a little bit closer than I was at this time last week.  I think I'm just going to pat myself on the back for that feat and ignore everything else that I should be doing at the moment.

It is Wednesday and I shall forge ahead with a Wednesday Night Bullet Post just like I always do.  Or almost always do.  I think I proved last week that "always" is kind of a flexible concept here in Sheepie Land...

*Your patience was appreciated.  I had about three seconds of energy left by the time I made the decision to give up on blogging last week and I used it to blog an apology.

*That was all I had left to give.

*This time last year, I was moaning and groaning about all the meetings that no one invited me to, but where decisions that would effect my daily working life were made with wild abandon.

*I've actually been complaining about that for many years now.  I kind of figured that everyone listened for the first couple of years, even if they didn't really respond to it with an invitation or two.

*After that, I assumed that my protestations had taken on the quality of a quiet background hum that everyone found annoying but could ignore if they tried hard enough.

*Or if they just headed out to a meeting far away from me so they could talk about what I should be doing the next school year.

*Apparently, at least some of it got through.  This year, I am being invited to all kinds of meetings.

*Spring transition meetings all over the school district.  Late afternoon meetings that require I find coverage for my homeroom lest they try to dismiss themselves for buses.

*And that never goes well.  Trust me.  Left to their own devices, I'd come back to school the next day to find them camped out in the classroom and having gone full-on Lord Of The Flies during the overnight hours.

*My guys aren't much on listening when the loudspeaker tells them things.  Like what the schedule is for the day or that their bus is leaving whether they are on it or not.

*Sometimes they have to be called by name.

*Several times...

*I've gone to a lot of meetings since March.  Yesterday I was told, "This should be the last one we need you for."

*Yay!  I almost didn't mind getting home at 5:30 which doesn't sound so bad until you consider that I leave for work at 6:00 in the morning so I can be ready and waiting for the kidlets by the 7:15.  But if this was the last one, I was gonna party like it was 1999!!!

*I got three meeting invitations today.

*Apparently "done" only applied to the one school I'd been traveling to recently.  Now I get to go to meetings at the other elementary school.

*"Done," much like "always" is not necessarily concrete in meaning.

*I had to send an email to Mr. Principal and Mr. Assistant Principal on Monday.  It went something like this:

Dear MP and MAP,

I would like to apologize in advance for the multiple missives you are soon to receive.  He Who...PROJECTS! has learned how to create his own quizzes in Google and I don't know how long you have before your inboxes begin overflowing.  I'd like to say I have some control over this, but I'd be fooling myself and, by default, you.

He has our email addresses and he knows how to use them.  Blame technology and our school's relentless insistence on going paperless.


Ms. Sheep

PS.  I got 100 on my quiz.  Top that.  I dare you.

*In fairness, I wasn't even a beta tester for this project.  I was the alpha tester.  Hence, my quiz wasn't as challenging as it could have been.

*And I inadvertently supplied some of the answers since I always respond quickly when HW...P! asks me something.  It is really in everyone's best interest...

*Fortunately, the lad's attention span is short.  The quiz thing should end fairly soon.  Although, I suspect it might last a bit longer given the conversation we had about it yesterday afternoon.

HW...P!:  I like giving quizzes to teachers.

Ms. Sheep: (obviously tired but gamely playing along)  I'll just bet you do.

HW...P!:  I have to put my computer away now, though.  I thought I heard something about buses coming.

MS:  That's nice.  I'll just be over here staring at this wall for a while longer.  It is such a nice...quiet wall.

HW...P!:  (continuing on as if MS hasn't spoken)  I think quizzes are helpful.  I like to give quizzes to old people to keep their minds sharp.  That is very helpful and I think they appreciate it.  I'm going to make lots of them.

MS:  Aren't you sweet?  Hey!  Wait just a minute there.  You just gave me a quiz.  Are you saying I'm...OLD?

*Don't tell me for a minute that kids on the autism spectrum can't pick up on subtle social cues.  Or not so subtle ones.

*That boy froze like a deer in the headlights and didn't speak for a full ten seconds.

*He seemed to be considering his next move very, very carefully.

*Not exactly his strong suit.  But even he knew the dangers ahead.

*Finally, he said with forced cheer, "No!  You aren't old!   If you were sixty or seventy, that would be old.  But, you still have some time to get your mind back in shape at forty!"

*Since forty is barely visible in the rear view mirror at this point, I decided to take it as a compliment.  I was too tired and too ready to go back to staring at that wall to be offended anyway.

*HW...P!  was positively beaming with delight over how adeptly he dodged that bullet when he headed off to track practice.

*I haven't heard from Mr. Assistant Principal, but Mr. Principal reported yesterday that he got a 98.

*I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in the grocery store and said to myself, "Gee, I think I might literally keel over into a coma if I don't purchase some gelato..."

*Yet today, gelato came home with me.  Which is weird because I went there for something else which I now don't remember needing at all.

*I'm sure it will come to me sometime in the immediate future.  Hopefully it wasn't some kind of lifesaving medication or cat food...

*Speaking of Da Boyz, I found this amazing cat litter about a month ago.  It's great!

*They make it with recycled paper and it has been magically pelletized so the pieces are big enough to be swept up easily after certain stereotypically messy males scatter it hither and yon.

*"Pelletized" can too be a word.  I isn't necessarily just something I made up.

*Furthermore, it turns a lovely shade of teal when it clumps.  Just beautiful...

*We used it successfully for many weeks.  Until this past Sunday.

*Which would have been Mother's Day for anyone keeping track and who has a keen sense of irony.

*That was the day I found my Very Complicated Kitty blissfully licking the litter.

*Yes.  You heard me.  Licking.  The.  Litter.

*I'd cleaned the box recently so there was no telltale teal to indicate he was noshing on anything else.  No.  He was just licking the litter while his Absurdly Gi-normous brother looked on in abject horror.

*I removed him from the litter box whilst firmly remonstrating him for such uncouth behavior.

*I am nothing if not an involved parent.

*He went back.  Litter licking resumed.  I removed him.

*We went through several rounds of this before I finally convinced him to move on to other lickable objects around the manse.  I gave myself a mental pat on the back for being so diligent in my maternal duties.

*I figured I deserved a nice, long bath what with it being "my" day and all.

*When I emerged from the tub, all pink and relaxed I was greeted by an horrific sight.

*There was my VCK horking up wads and wads of lovely teal paper.  There was at least one, perhaps two, good-sized handfuls represented in that sodden pile when all was said and done.

*It pretty much matched the divot in the litter box.  I happened to notice that on my way to the kitchen for the paper towels I have to keep out of reach because those sometimes get eaten too.

*I thought having a Litter Licker was bad.  That's nothing.  I'd kill to go back to those carefree days of having a Litter Licker.  A Litter Licker is actually kind of an interesting conversation piece, when you think about it.

*A Litter Glutton, on the other hand...

*Well, let's just say my dreams of him someday going to community college and supporting me in my old age are kind of dwindling.

*We have gone back to the old litter that scatters all over the place and resists the most finely wrought of brooms.

*It also never, ever turns a pretty shade of blue.

*It isn't made of tempting paper, though.  And that, I suppose, is the true criteria for litter box filler in this household.

*I hope everyone else had a pleasant Mother's Day, though.  Hopefully you got breakfast in bed and sweet handmade cards.

*As opposed to the handcrafted art of the resident Litter Glutton.

*I've been really grooving on the Dog Days novels.

*Made it up to Play Dead (A Dog Days Novel).

*I truly do have a preference for books featuring male protagonists.  Not that there aren't some fantastic female characters out there and I love some of the series that feature them.

*But I somehow always seem to gravitate towards the dude's POV when I'm looking for a first person narrative.

*Not sure what that says about me, but I can't say as I'm going to put too much time into examining it.  I like what I like, I suppose...

*My commuter book is also kind of XY chromosomal.

*The Gate Thief (Mither Mages) 

*Not a first person POV.  Not even from one person's perspective, although it is thankfully limited to two.  I don't think I could handle more than two parallel story lines, at least not while I'm driving.

*I somehow managed to forget a great deal of what happened in the first novel of the series, but I'm picking it up as I go along.

*And, like all of Orson Scott Card's books (at least the one's I've listened to), it is expertly narrated.

*Today, upon arriving home, I actually sat in the car for a bit.  You know, just to get to a good "stopping point."

*Or perhaps my brain was worn out from being quizzed.  And there is always the possibility I feared what else might be getting licked in my home while I was away at work...

I think that brings you up to speed on where things stand at the moment. At least it covers the highlights. Again, your willingness to wait a bit was truly appreciated.  Progress reports were finished, a few things that needed grading were evaluated and a cat or two got petted.  (that was before the whole Litter Licking/Gluttony Debacle)  I honestly needed a little extra time to catch my breath.

Which isn't the same as "catching up," but I'm still working that whole "flexible definition" angle...


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

WNBP: Whoops!

Well this is embarrassing...

Due to an apparent lack of self-management ability on my part, this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post will be something more akin to a Thursday Night Bullet Post.  Perhaps even a Friday Night Bullet Post if I don't get myself together sometime in the immediate future.

Unless, of course, I can somehow procure a highly intelligent helper monkey before midnight. Preferably one with amazing fine motor skills. Or an enterprising individual invents the Blog-o-Bot 3000 and selects yours truly to do a beta test.

As either of these scenarios is unlikely, I'm just going to have to pull myself together and try to do better in the next couple of days.

Your patience is greatly appreciated.  Or, at the very least, your willingness to wait until I leave the room to sigh and shake your heads sadly at my current disorganized state...


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

WNBP: Sweet And Simple

Spring has sprung.  No.  Seriously.  It is smacking me right in the face and by that I mean I'm kind of itchy right above my eyebrows and sometimes along the right side of my jawline.  Somewhere, something is blooming.

And I think it might be something that hates me just a little bit...

I don't care.  It's been a long winter and I'm past concerning myself about such things as histamine reactions.  If hateful things want to bloom, I say have at it!  I'm ready for warmer weather and all it entails.  Well, almost all it entails.  I'm not looking forward to an overheated classroom and cranky children but, overall, I'm on board.  It's a simple thing, but it makes me happy.

So, with that thought in mind, let's take a look at this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post and see what mindless and yet somehow intriguing things have caught my fancy these past few days!

*If you happened to hear a collective sigh of relief sometime during the past week, relax.  You are not hallucinating.

*That would be my creditors who, having realized that my income tax refund was being generously spread about, were finally taking a moment to enjoy life again.

*March was a lean month.  April didn't start off much better.  My poor creditors were under incredible pressure during that time what with having to wait on me getting those forms off to the IRS.

*Don't know how they managed...

*But a little infusion of cash balanced out this year's furlough days and still unsettled teaching contract so everyone is happy again.

*At least for the moment.  I don't have the heart to tell them that there was an "open" meeting hosted by the teacher's union this afternoon and that God only knows what havoc is currently being wrought in the name of negotiations.

*I didn't go to the meeting.  I am tired.  I couldn't trust myself to stay awake once the faculty meeting was done nor to keep my comments to myself.

*Hmmm...I hate to jinx things but it seems my internet connection is working rather well this evening.

*Wireless internet.  That I pay for.  Actually working at something other than a snail's leisurely pace?

*That, my friends, is a simple pleasure indeed!

*After paying the bills and ensuring that I could carry on for the foreseeable future, I had a smidgen of cash leftover.  Figured I'd indulge myself in what we are calling an early birthday gift.

*Got me a refurbished Mint.  Now I don't have to mop and sweep the kitchen, just like all the other ladies of leisure!

*I know what you are thinking.  A robot sweeper?  For the kitchen?  Have you really gotten so lazy that you can't run a broom or mop around one room?

*Yes.  Yes, I have.  Besides, Mint amuses the ever-loving heck out of me.  Mint wanders around my kitchen, merrily sweeping and creating a map of the room all the while.

*Then, when it's figured out the whole landscape it magically does a sweep around the perimeter just to prove how fantastically awesome it is!

*Mint has limitations.  Mint does not vacuum the kitchen.  Nor will Mint scrub my kitchen.

*If I get the urge to spill rancid molasses upon my floor and then happen to trip and dump used kitty litter all over the sticky mess, I can tell Mint to clean it up.  Sure I can.

*And Mint will do what any well-intentioned but essentially unpaid laborer would do.

*Mint will gamely sally forth and do its best but it will roll its eyes at me the minute my back is turned.

*However, Mint is mopping my kitchen right now and it just snagged that yucky dead spider under where the cabinets jut out and that is above and beyond anything I'd call a mere "simple pleasure!"

*Plus it freaks the cats out just enough to make up for the early morning wake-up antics.


*Some of the high school staff were invited to come to the middle school today to participate in our regular Wednesday morning professional development activities.

*And among them?

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant!!!

*She was late.  She is always late and that is somehow very comforting to me.

*She looked a little green around the gills.  She is often a bit queasy and that is also familiar enough to make me feel at home.  Although we won't tell her that because it isn't nice to take comfort in someone else's digestive upsets.

*Sadly, it appeared she'd managed to gain back some of the weight she lost last year, though.  Too bad, that.  But at least she is enjoying life, right?

*I'm going to assume the rest of you put this together much more quickly than I did.

*In fairness, it was early and I'd overslept and most of the presenters had chocolates with which to tempt us into good workshop behavior so I was kind of distracted.

*Yes, there is going to be a Little Cheerful Teaching Assistant.  We expect his or her debut sometime in November in case you want to mark the calendars.

*I'm sad that I don't get to be with the CTA during this time because I know how much she's wanted to move forward with the family thing and I feel like I was there for so much of the other stuff.

*But I'm happy for her and I expect I might just break out the ol' knitting needles again soon in celebration.

*Lately, it's the babies that seem to resurrect the wielding of sticks and string.  Then I start wondering why I got so far away from that simple and relaxing activity.

*Then I drop a stitch or the cat steals a dpn and I kind of recall a few of the darker knitting moments...

*Let me state clearly that I am a person who believes in Equal Access.  I believe this passionately, particularly when it comes to those things that kids should be able to experience.

*I have, in fact, dedicated almost my entire adult life to this concept.

*The right to an education.  To the arts. To school dances.  To the chem lab on the third floor. To simply be a part of that which most kids experience every single day, even if on a very different and maybe highly modified level.

*I include sports in that list, although I understand how others might not feel the same.  That's OK.  We can agree to disagree.

*And I even understand how, at the high school level, the stakes are a little bit higher and that we maybe need to consider things like scholarships and school rankings.  That makes sense to me, although I still think there is room for some who maybe don't make the cut on paper.  Some kids just need that, you know?

*And, at my teaching level, kids are still very much in the skill acquisition stage.  There really shouldn't be much in the way of argument.  If a kid wants to play, has the right to play. And if the law says we have to provide the means for him to play, then he should play.  Period.

*That said, believing passionately in equal access is one thing. Making it happen is another. The amount of work it is taking me to provide said access for He Who...PROJECTS to the track team is literally costing me sleep.

*HW...P is a good runner.  And a good kid.  And more likely than anyone you've ever met to wander off and end up on a bus to Peoria.  He needs a little extra supervision if he is going to participate in track.

*Yesterday, I had to put him on a bus to the high school so he could have practice there instead of at our school.  I wanted to just drive him myself.

*But a half hour impassioned plea to ride the big bus wore me down.  His winning point?


*I know that isn't true.  I've ridden with him on a bus that didn't have seat belts.  But what can you say to that level of desperation?  He just wants to be like the other kids...

*I won't go into details.  You don't really want to know what it takes to coordinate a ten minute bus ride for a kid who gets lost in his own locker and who is easily distracted by the custodial equipment.  I'll just say it takes a lot of phone calls, pleading, emails and the will to look like a complete idiot as you fret and worry over every single stupid detail of the journey.

*And the help of the school resource officer just to make sure you've covered your bases.

*He made it.  He had a great time.  I relaxed.

*Until today.  Today was his first track meet and we agreed months ago that we would provide additional staff to supervise him so he didn't end up on the wrong bus and heading off towards some unfamiliar school district.

*Track meets, in case you didn't know this, are the equivalent of a twelve ring circus.  There is no coach on earth able to juggle all that needs to be done and still keep HW...P from digging up the sand around the discus throw just to see what's down there.

*However, the person responsible for hiring staff failed to do so.  She said she assumed my teaching assistants were doing that.  It's extra pay, after all.

*Nice theory.  Except for the fact that I sent an email on March 26th stating that my staff declined the additional dollars and that the position should be listed as open.

*This was one day before the meet.  I grabbed the first person who said, "Gee. That sounds kind of interesting..."

*I'll learn tomorrow if it all worked out.  If it didn't, please forward all correspondence to the local loony bin because I've had all I can take.  I'm just going to run screaming through the halls until someone with a nice, big net comes for me.

*Still, the look on his little face when his favorite officer personally escorted him to the big bus with no seat belts...

*And his joy today when he told me all about practicing at the high school...

*And the confidence with which he boarded the bus again today to go back there for his first official track meet...

*Well, I suppose it's worth it.  It made me smile.

*I went to see The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach on Saturday.

*I was so thrilled to be getting a shearing, that I even let her take off a bit more than I'd planned.

*Nothing like a new 'do to make your whole world lighter and brighter!

*Although I'd like to know exactly where she acquired her concept of an "inch."  It's a heck of a lot more than what my ruler portrays...

*Don't care.  I has me some swingy, bouncy hair and that is enough for me!

*I continue to be entranced by The Night Circus.  It is one of those hauntingly beautiful books and I think I am all the better for having experienced it as an audio book.

*Oh, and I loved Dog Days so much that I had to buy the sequel immediately.

*Budget be damned!  New Tricks (A Dog Days Novel) would be mine!!!

*It's been a while since I just enjoyed a story, not purchased or borrowed the book just because I couldn't find anything better.  At least it feels that way...

*Now I'm all about magic and ifrits and jazz!

*Happy.  It makes me happy.

Yes, it is the little things, isn't it?  Like how I had chocolates for dinner last night.  Of course, I ate all the chocolates and now it is 7:30 and I have no chocolates for dinner.  I might be reduced to jelly beans.    We'll have to see how that works out.

Who knows?  Maybe I'll work up the energy to make some brownies.  That is the very definition of pleasure, simple or not!