Thursday, December 31, 2009


Due to the conditions of my work, I am going on a Writer's Strike. You won't get to read a word more until next year, after negotiations.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chinese water torture

The amount of torture I put myself through is ridiculous. I had 26 writing samples to grade. My kids had written fairy tales, each about 4.5 pages long, double spaced. I had to grade them all for voice, ideas and content, organization, conventions, word choice, and sentence fluency. My students turned them in the last day of school, before break. I should have gotten them graded by December 22nd. Ha! I just finished them today. It was agonizing. And now to torture myself further, I am typing up all their stories, because I said I would. We are making a class book. Why do I come up with these great ideas?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time to pop a Xanax

Today was a horrible dose of reality. It is winter break and I don't have to go back to work until January 4th, but for some reason I have decided to torture myself. This is how it went down.

I woke up at 9:10, only because I actually set an alarm. If I hadn't set an alarm, I am almost 98% positive I would have slept until 11:30. And I know what you are thinking, "Really? 9:10? Come on Joelle." And I totally agree with you. 9:10 is really late. It's also really early when you only have two weeks out of the year until summer to sleep in. It's also really early when you love sleep and are deprived.

I went to Costco on an errand for my mother, then I battled, and I mean BATTLED downtown traffic so that I could go to a certain fabric store. I had to drive around the same block collectively four times. Parking was a nightmare, so I ended up walking a bit. Also, I get lost quite often, so the circling of the same block may have been half the traffic, half my brain on freeze dry.

After the battle with down town, I went to the Dollar Tree for all my teacher needs. It was about 2:30 at this time. I spent four bucks then drove to my school. I don't think you understand the gravity of what I just said there. I drove to my school, during break--during a time when I should be at home watching Gary Hobson on Early Edition and eating pie--so that I could go to work and not get paid for it. I am a martyr, I know.

There were no cars in the parking lot, so I used my badge to get in, and looked at the alarm. It was disarmed, which made sense because I figured the custodians would be working. They usually do deep cleaning during breaks. Sure enough, I yelled "hello?" and they yelled back.

I went to my classroom and took it all in. I stared for a while. All of the chairs and half of the desks were out of place, because they had been moved so that the carpet could be washed. I could tell the carpet was cleaner, and that they were finished. I started arranging everything back the way it was supposed to be, thankful that I hadn't waited to come back next Monday morning at eight AM to a disorganized room. That happened last year.

I was at school primarily to organize and clean, not to actually do any intellectual thinking about what I might teach the little munchkins next week. I had four things on my list to accomplish:
1) make name tags and place on desks according to the new seating chart
2) organize my storage closet
3) organize the math cupboard
4) take books back to the book room

It took me from 2:45 until 5:15 to do all of this. I thought the organizing of the closet and math cupboard would take a half hour, tops. Ha! You should have seen it. All sorts of weird things were crammed in there. I pulled everything out and just put back what I needed/wanted. Ugh. I had to leave at 5:15 so I could get to the gym on time, but I wasn't done yet. There's that feeling again. Never done. You are never done if you are a teacher. I left things in piles, things on tables, things sprawled out everywhere. It's not finished yet. And sure, I did the four things I really wanted to get done, but I still have 12 more things on my list. And they're all the hard stuff I was putting off. I left thinking I would go back in the morning tomorrow, but now I doubt that will happen, mostly because I feel like I need to take some Xanax to face it all.

Anxiety. That's the feeling you get. If you're a teacher, you know. You feel like you never have enough time, that your room is a mess, that there are all these great ideas you have, but you can never put them into place because you don't have enough time to make it happen. You work on it, little by little, but it never seems to be put all together.

I went to the gym to my weights class from 5:30 to 6:30, which was essentially pure torture. I hate the gym. I really do. But I go because I am paying for it and I know I need to go. It felt like I had worked all day long.

I don't want this to happen. I don't want work to start again. I don't want to wake up early and be at work at eight. Ugh.

I'll let you know what happens tomorrow. Will Joelle go to school and work? Or will she stay home, sleep in, read, and watch TV?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My battle with bathroom hardware

I got this wrapping paper the week after Thanksgiving at the Dollar Tree. I was way excited about it because I thought it was too cute. Then I was very proud of my wrapping job on this present. If you don't think it's cute, then keep your thoughts to yourself.

Inside said present was some office supplies, including, but not limited to the following file folder.

I got all of this snarky stuff at Pier 1, or you can order it online at You should check out the website because it has some really funny stuff on it.

Today I went to Craft Warehouse, bought a frame, some stickers, and paper so that I could craft this for my classroom. I'm going to hang it right outside my door. I made one for my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas, only theirs said "Love is spoken here."

I have like a million things to do during winter break, and I've only started (not finished) a few of them. I've realized that I have guilt issues. I feel like I should be getting stuff done and not laying around watching nine episodes of Early Edition on DVD. But I shouldn't feel guilty. On January 4th I'll have to go to work again, and then there will be more late nights working, extra hours spent at home grading papers, and un-paid Saturday mornings in my classroom. Really, I should feel guilty for trying to get anything done.

Still, I feel the need to justify myself. So this is what I did today. I went to the Craft Warehouse (explained above) and then I went to Home Depot to get foam blocks for the vents under my house, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to shove them in and break off the edges to make them fit, even though I measured the dimensions before I went. It's because they don't sell 7.75 by 7 inch vent blocks. Whatever.

Then I came home, made dinner, talked to Kaitlynn, and FINALLY HUNG UP MY TP DISPENSER! This is a big thing for me. I don't really want to get into it, because it makes me so mad. Long story short is that I hung it up, it fell down, I hung it up again, it stayed up for a while but you had to be very careful, then it fell down, then I hung it up, then it fell down. The screw kept coming out of the wall. Well, I fixed the problem by hammering a big ol' nail in there. Hah! That sucker's never coming out. You really have no idea. I've probably spent a collective five hours on that stupid thing. Tip: Don't buy your bathroom hardware at Wal-Mart. Basically, I feel I have validated the 12 hours I've spent reading/watching TV/looking at websites today just because I hung up that stupid toilet paper dispenser.

Tomorrow I plan on going in to school to get stuff done. We'll see if that actually happens. Ha!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Wishes

On the last day of school before break, I had my 4th grade students write wish lists. On the front side of the paper they wrote down everything they wanted for Christmas. Besides iPods, cell phones, and video games, the top item requested was new shoes and new clothes. After the kids had fun talking about what they really wanted, I had them flip their paper over and make a list of all the things they wished for that cannot be bought with money. When they were done with their lists, they sealed them in an envelope and I put a pinch of magic Christmas powder (silver glitter) in them. The students had an option of giving the envelope to their parent, me, or to address it to Santa.

Below is a compilation of their lists, boys and girls mixed. Seeing their secret wishes scrawled out in nine-year-old penmanship was a very strong experience for me. I expected some answers from certain kids, other ones surprised me.

The Lists

I wish the stray black cat could live with me.
I wish my grandma and my dad could be nice to my grandpa.
I wish my mom was alive and healthy.
I wish I had more friends.

I wish I could see King Kong.
I wish I had super powers.
I wish I could be skinnier.

I wish to see my dad.
I can spend more time with my mom.
I wish my family to have a good year.

I wish my grandma was alive.
I wish my uncle was alive.
I wish my mom and dad never got a divorce.
I wish my dad never met Tara.

I wish for my dad home.
I wish for my mom better.
I wish my brother to be nice.

I wish for my mother to be happy when her baby comes out.
I wish for me and my family to have a Happy Christmas.

I wish to have a better family.

I wish my cousin got closer to her family.
I wish I got closer to my brother.

I wish for:
My mom to be home on Christmas Eve
I wish my sister’s dad was alive
I wish my sister was not so mad all the time
I wish I could see my aunt Maggi

I wish for my brother to live with me.
I wish to see my dad more.

I wish for:
Happy family
Spend more time with Dad

I wish my brother wouldn’t be mean to me.
I get better at writing.
I get better at math.

I wish for:
Less school
More family time
No more bad polluters
Go to college early
To not go to 212
Stop cutting trees down so we have more oxygen
For more friends and bros.

Curious a little? Heart break a little? I'm doing my best to remember what is most important this Christmas, and I hope you can too.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 3

Today I finally finished my Christmas shopping. It took like, six hours. I also finished my craft (not as cute as I had hoped), and schedules my eye exam for January. Presents are wrapped and are sitting under the tree.

As far as the 12 Days of Productivity go, I rate today a 4, with 0 being I did nothing but lay in bed and watch MTV online while eating chocolate chips, and with 10 being I accomplished everything on my before-I-die list. Let's face it--I slept for 13 hours (thanks to NyQuil), and I didn't do anything that required elbow grease, though the stress of shopping is a fair trade I think. Also, I did not go to the gym.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve-Eve! I may or may not be working on a special Christmas Eve post.

Meet me in the parking lot

Let me know if this sounds suspicious or not to you. I get a voice mail message saying "go to the backdoor, which is located by the parking lot. You will find a bell on the back wall. Ring the bell there and someone will come out. Have your card ready for them, and they will give you what you need...."

I requested some books to be sent to a certain library, and that library is going to be closed until January 2nd. But if I want to pick up my books I can dress all in black, hand over my library card to the mystery man who emerges from the back door, and then do a back hand spring to my car. But I have to do it during very limited hours.

I am trying to pick up Blink: the power of thinking without thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, and The Tipping Point: how little things can make a big difference, which is also my Malcolm Gladwell. I read Outliers: the story of success by him and it was really fascinating. I don't really know what to expect in the other books, but it should be interesting.

I need to go dig up my ninja costume, though, because not only do I need to go to a mysterious parking lot, but I also need to do my Christmas shopping, which will require ninja-like moves.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brett almost wins Survivor

It's 1pm on Monday morning. Okay, so it's not morning since it's one pm, but it feels like it because 1) I'm still in my pjs, 2) I am still tired, and 3) it's dreary and dark outside.

We went to The Ram last night after the season finale of Survivor, where Brett did not win. But he did win immunity three times in a row, which was cool. I think the last immunity challenge was stupid. I mean really? Balancing a wooden statue on a pole? If they had to do a balancing act, they should have made the survivors balance on a plank on one foot or something. So evil Russell won and they voted Brett out, and that was that. We were all pretty sad. Natalie and I even dressed up in purple shirts and rocked some tribal jewelry. Alas, it was not meant to be.

My neck is killing me, I am still sneezing uncontrollably, and I absolutely must do Christmas shopping today. But I think I might go back to bed for an hour first. The problem is that I am not sleeping very well. It might be because I had a dream last night that I was teaching, and those dreams never go well. They just make your mind run, and then you wake up and think you should be at work.

My calendar says today is the Winter Solstice, FYI. Which means you should probably get naked and dance under the moon or something. I'll see you later.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 1

The only things I did that were productive today were: clean my bathroom, wash laundry, call my Gram, start a Christmas craft, and return my library books. This all took a lot of effort because I can hardly breathe, I keep sneezing, and my throat hurts. Of course I would be sick on the first day of Winter Break. After I put my clean sheets on my bed I had to lay down because I felt like I was going to pass out.

Oh, I forgot. I watched The Office on-line and the clips of Ponderosa: Shambo for Survivor. The Survivor finale is on tomorrow and Brett is totally going to win. He's in the final five and won the last two immunities. In case you are wondering why I care about Survivor, it is because Brett went to high school with my roommate, Natalie, so I pretend like I know him.

The 12 days of Productivity

Today marks the first day of The 12 Days of Productivity. Work ended yesterday, and now I have two weeks off. Being productive during your vacation seems almost a sin, like playing cards in church. This is how I am looking at it: I want to go into the new year with no loose ends. And you have to understand, a lot of the things on my To Do list have been on there since August. I tried not to make my list longer than 12 things, because who really wants to do more than one productive thing a day? I plan on sleeping in till at least ten everyday, staying in my PJs for another hour, and then finally getting something done around 3pm.

Here's my list, in no particular order:

*seal tile in the bathrooms. I bought the sealant the second week I moved into my house, but I just never did it. Probably because it involves scrubbing.

*sealing the showers. I never did this because I have to clean them quite thoroughly first, or else I'll seal in grime.

*get bookshelves for my living room. This is one of the things that has been on my list since August. I have books stacked up in the garage, around the floor of my desk, in the trunk of my car, under my bed, sitting in kitchen cupboards, growing out my ears, you get the idea. They need to be shelved.

*finish reading The Time Traveler's Wife. I got the book for my birthday and haven't finished it, not because it's not good, just because I lack time. This will be an easy one to accomplish.

*buy/craft Christmas presents for my family.

*buy new gym shoes, because mine are falling apart.

*organize the garage and take a car load of stuff to Goodwill

*get my eyes checked, because I might be going blind and I just don't know it. I realized that I should get my eyes checked when I was at the gym on the elliptical and couldn't read. Granted, I was moving up and down, but still. I  used to be able to do that.

*get a massage. Again, easy one to accomplish. It's making the appointment that is hard for me to do. But I love how they answer the phone "Good morning! It's a fantastic day at Massage Envy. How can I help you?" or something like that. I'll write it down word for word next time. But Jeanna is always very chipper.

*go to Home Depot and buy Styrofoam block vent things for under my house to hold the heat in better. I have to measure them first though.

*and a partridge in a pear treeeeeeee!

 I am not counting on being productive on the following days, so I eliminated them from the possible dates: Christmas Eve (duh), Christmas Day (duh), New Year's Day (hangover), or January 2nd (family stuff).

I'm fascinating, I know.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I teach

Because if I don't fight for them, who will?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teacher Talk

I apologize for talking about my work. 

I'm thinking about how I can become more or a hard-ass of a teacher. I'm not talking about being mean and getting kids in trouble, I'm talking about pushing them. I admit, I felt a bit rude during a conversation with my highest reading group. They had two days to read three chapters and do an assignment. I met with them and they had to share with me what they wrote.

One kid, who was the Word Wizard, tells me the word and page number of a certain word. We read the word, make a prediction, and then I ask him what the dictionary definition is. He tells me he just knows it. I say unacceptable, you still need to check the dictionary. I ask him if he has another word (he's supposed to have at least 3). He tells me the word, and the page number, but then says he didn't look it up in the dictionary.

I say, in front of all the other kids in his reading group, "N, you are telling me that you had two days to do this assignment, and that you were reading a book of your choice this afternoon because you said you were done, but you are not really done? You were not able to look up three words in the dictionary within two days?"
He looks at me, kind of drags his head, and realizes he can't get away with that crap. Similar conversations happened with three of the other kids. They need to get it together.

I realize kids work a lot harder and faster when you put an immediate due date on it. For example, for math today, I listed the assignment on the board

Pgs 43

Due by 12:00

It was 11:15 when I wrote this. I always tell them their work is due by the end of the day, but for some reason, writing 12:00 really got them motivated. Kids asked me "What if it's not done by 12?" I tell them "It needs to be." And they say "but what if it's not?" and I say "stop taking time talking about what if and just do it." And they get to work.

It reminds me about a quote that I read about how it takes as long as you have to do something. The shorter amount of time you have, the shorter it will take you. If you have ten days to write a paper, it will take you ten days. If you have two hours to write a paper, it will take you two hours. Cut them off. Give them a short deadline. It creates a sense of urgency. Get it done.

There are two days of school left, and then we have a two week winter break. All I know is that we are starting January off hardcore. They need to be more responsible for their learning, and I need to raise the expectations. Our class is going to kick 2010's ass (if they don't kick mine first).

Monday, December 14, 2009

What deux yeux have teux deux tuexday?

Jeesh, sorry for the broken link I gave you in two posts to the super awesome online to do tracker. Because I know you are just dying for it. I fixed the posts, and here it is again. Seriously, it's your new favorite thing. I am creating a separate account for school and I'm going to keep track of all the crap I have to do there on my work computer.

Two of my girls asked me what I did over the weekend. I said I went to my sister's and watched a Christmas movie. Gracie tells me "I video chatted all weekend with my friend." She's nine years old. Trying to not act surprised, I say "On Skype?" She tells me, no, on Yahoo Messenger. She's going all iCarly on me. If you get that reference you watch the Disney Channel too much.

Four days left. All the other teachers are like "I can't teach anything, my kids are going crazy. I think I'm just going to review management today." I'm working my kids like mules. We have a ton of math to catch up on, and I told them if they don't get their math homework done we'll have to have two hours of math in the same day to make up for it. Plus I am really pushing them in writing. While all the other teachers are showing Christmas movies and making crafts on Friday, we are having a Fairy Tale Showcase, where upon all the students will read aloud the fairy tales they adapted.

I'm super hungry and Britt just made tofu enchiladas, so adios, porque tengo muy hambre.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 days until winter break

I want this.

Instead of figuring out what I am teaching for math tomorrow, I am Googling images of Holland Lop rabbits. I am determined to get one next spring and name it Hopscotch. 

Remember how much I love Well, you cross things out when you get them done (duh), but if you don't cross something off, it automatically gets moved to the next day. Ha! That means I can't accidentally on purpose forget about things that I should have done days ago.

My roommates and I went to our neighbor's church to watch their daughter perform in the Singing Christmas Tree show. Essentially there is this giant pyramid that is supposed to look like a tree but mostly looks like a nine layer, tiered, white frosted cake, and all these people's heads are sticking out of it and singing Christmas songs. The adult choir was stuck in the tree, and I noticed that on the second to top row was the secretary from my high school--singing her lungs out. Also, when the lights came on we discovered we were sitting in a pew that had dried puke on the floor, left from some cherub that had sat their previously. No wonder it smelled so weird.

Also, we made about a hundred sugar cookies last night for girl's night, and I've been eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today. Must stop. While baking, we realized we did not have a rolling pin to roll out the dough, so what we did was throw a handful of flour on the counter top, plop down the dough, and then took a wine bottle and rolled it out. We didn't have cookie cutters so we used the rim of a glass. It was very messy but quite fun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

13 days until Christmas

Happy Saturday!

I woke up, ate prepackaged french toast (not recommended-I'm glad to be done with them-why did I ever think it would be a good idea?-the pictures lie). Then I blasted some Christmas tunes while hanging my childhood ornaments on our Christmas tree. In my opinion, it looks a lot better. At least, it's nostalgic to me. I think my favorite part was unwrapping my little golden sled from tissue paper.

I did some light cleaning, then discovered and immediately made it my homepage. It's very simple and highly useful. I made my To Do list, including things like, but not limited to:
*returning a crate of books to the library, because if I have all those books out for even one extra day, the fine will probably be $10.
*going grocery shopping so I am stocked up in case a blizzard comes.
*going to Craft Warehouse to get some crafty things.
*attempting to get my missing car door handles replaced, because this window rolling down thing is getting pretty annoying.

I finally took a shower at one, ate lunch, and now I need to actually do things on my to-do list. That's always the hard part. The easy part is making the list.

P.S. You should watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer tonight on ABC. It's on at eight. Every year, that poor little elf still wants to be a dentist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Eggs, Potassium, and Iron

It's Wednesday and I'm at the gym for the first time since last Thursday. It's not because I didn't want to go, it's because I had prior engagements (none of them involving a diamond ring). I didn't go last Friday because of Liz's birthday. I didn't go on Saturday or Sunday because, well, I never go on Saturday or Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday I had work meetings that went deep into the night.

So there I am, pumping some iron, when I feel my eye start to twitch uncontrollably. It's spazzing out, and I'm thinking, I really need to go home and take some vitamins. What I want most is to be done with the gym and be at home, sipping a chocolate-banana-milk smoothie and downing some vitamins. I push through, like a Spartan.

I even torture myself for another hour after that, staying for Group Kick. Ugh. Finally, at 7:45pm I am on my way home. I have to stop at the ATM and make a deposit/withdraw some cash. I punch in my secret pin, and then I punch in how much I want to deposit and hit okay. Let's pretend I wanted to deposit $115.00. Instead I punch in that I want to deposit $1.15, which is quite different. But I've already hit okay so by the time I look at the screen and realize my error, it's too late. The machine has opened its mouth and is begging "Feed me! Feed me!" So I put in my deposit envelope and the ATM sucks it up--Slurp! The bad part is the amount wasn't $115 (that was just an example). I figure that the error will be resolved tomorrow when a real-life human takes it out and realizes the deposit was supposed to be for much more.

I blame the whole thing on my vitamin deficiency.

So I get home, immediately make my chocolate-banana-milk smoothie, and crack open the cupboard. I look for every vitamin I have, and down one of each. Then I resolve to make some egg drop soup. The soup set me back only forty cents, which is good considering I just made a deposit for $1.15. I'm home all alone, and the kitchen has been left in disarray. There's still some yam fries on the stove top, dishes in the sink, and a shopping list or recipe scribbled out in a notebook. I think to myself, my roommates must have left in a hurry. Whatever. I make my soup.

I need one egg. I boil the water and add the seasoning and open the fridge. Lucky for me there is exactly one egg left. I actually say to myself, or maybe to the fridge, "Egg-cellent." Then I crack it open on the microwave. Whenever I crack eggs, I crack them on random surfaces. The edge of a bowl, the wooden cupboard, the counter top, etc. This was the only time I got goop everywhere. I threw the egg in a bowl and then wiped the yellow snot-like substance off the microwave.

I finished my soup, let it cool, and then my roommates came pounding on the door, begging to be let in from the bitter 28 degrees temperature, all while carrying their groceries.

And that was my evening. I know. You wish you were me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Advice

As the holidays arrive, some people are put in awkward/frustrating/stupid/weird situations where they just don't know what to do. Here, I offer advice.

Dear TRP,
I'm leaving college to go home for the holidays. On Thanksgiving, I totally felt like I was 14 again. What can I do so that I don't feel like a baby this Christmas? I want my parents to realize I've grown up.

Dear Baby,
Drink a lot of vodka or put peppermint schnapps in your hot chocolate and watch a lot of R-rated movies. Make sure to stay up as late as you want and eat cereal for dinner like you usually do. This will help make you feel like you are still living your grown up lifestyle. Your parents will realize how mature you've gotten while away, and they'll stop treating you like a baby.

Dear TRP,
I already have too much stuff and not enough money to buy gifts for everyone, so I don't really want my friends to get me things for Christmas. What should I say when they ask me what I want for Christmas?

Dear Poor Clutter-Catch all,

Chances are if you say "nothing," they'll end up getting you something anyway. A lot of people just like to give stuff, because it makes them feel good about themselves. They don't give you presents because it makes you happy, they give gifts because it makes them happy to think that they've made you happy. So do yourself a favor. When they ask what you want, be uber-practical. Ask for stamps, toilet paper, scented soap from Bath and Body, and Crest toothpaste. Every year I ask my mom for dental floss and mascara, and I have yet to run out. If you're worried about returning the favor, buy them paper towels, Kleenex, shampoo, or paper clips (if they work in an office). They'll be elated with the practicality of your gift.

Dear TRP, 
I have a work Christmas party coming up and no significant other to take with me. What should I do? I don't want to be the only loner there.

Dear Table for One,
You have tons of options here. You could invent a fake boyfriend who is a businessman or musician, and make up an excuse for his absence. Or you could make sure everyone gets a lot to drink so that they stop being so judgmental. Or you could drink a lot while you're there. Or you could find a male escort like on The Wedding Date. Or you could arrange a first date via and tell him to meet you at the party. Just don't let him know it's a party. Tell him that's where you live. Or you could text people all night long and be elusive in the corner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why my car is a piece of crap

I am going to burn up in a fiery blaze. Here's why:

I am pulling into my parking spot and the gym, I turn off the engine, and then a bit too eagerly I pull at the door to get out. The entire handle breaks off in my hand. I am holding the easiest way to exit my car in my palm. It's just a grey piece of plastic, but it's the chunk of plastic that could save my life, had I gotten into an accident and needed to get out.

I think to myself, "Shiitaki mushrooms, how am I going to get out?" It's kind of embarrassing because someone else is waiting in their car parked across from me. They don't know I'm stuck inside. I try to jam the handle back in and open it. Okay, maybe you need a bit of a back story.

The plastic rim around the handle cracked about a year ago and the door handle basically fell apart, but if you jammed it in just so, you could open it. It never actually fell off in two pieces though. The same thing has happend to my passenger side door. Whenever I have passengers I have to lean across them and open the door myself, because they can't figure out how to twist it just right. Leaning across them to let them out is basically my excuse to make out with my passengers. You know, he's all "How in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks do you get out of here?" And I'm all "Oh, it's easy, you just have to go like this." And I lean across him and while I am there we smooch for a bit. It happens all the time. So I didn't really see a reason to get that one fixed. But I need to get out myself. Back to the story.

So I have a chunk of plastic in my hand which is essentially useless to me. I throw it to the side and contemplate my escape. I could shimmy over the seat and exit through the passenger door, provided the handle doesn't break off in my grip too. What's easier is sticking my keys back in the ignition and rolling down my automatic windows. I do this, stick my hand outside, and open the door from the outside. Then I roll up the window, turn off my car, and get out. Sucess!

I call Natalie to tell her the unfortunate event.

I work out, get back in my car, and get home. I pull into my garage and try to get out. I remember that I have no handle. Once again, I put the keys back in, roll down the window, open the door, roll up the window, and then turn the car off.

This happened to me on Wednesday. So far I have forgotten every time that I've used my car that I cannot get out. I always turn my car off, tuck my keys in my pocket, then realize I'm stuck.

Like I said, the reason I am going to burn in a fiery blaze is because if I get in an accident, my car will be a total death trap. I won't be able to get out either door, so I will have to crawl into the back to open one of those doors. But chances are my legs will be broken or the back end of my car will be smashed up. So I will just burn. Which is why I need to cough up some money and get it fixed. It costs a lot more than you think it should--I checked. Or rather, Natalie helped me check, because she is concerned for my safety.

Here's the other thing--I really need to get my oil changed. I need to take it in and get it checked, but when the mechanic gets in my car to move it, he won't be able to get out. I'll have to tape on a sticky note that says "exit through window" or something like that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hey all you Martha Stewarts

If any of you are talented at crafting, I could use some ideas. On December 17th the fourth and fifth grade classes are doing a winter craft exchange, and I have no idea what to do. I have to teach the craft 3 times to about 24 students, and I have about 45 minutes to teach the craft. The materials aren't provided, so it either comes out of my pocket or my classroom budget, which I'd rather not spend on foam penguins for other teacher's students. Basically, I need something cheap and easy to do, like a prostitute. The materials I have on hand are: construction paper, popsicle sticks, glitter, cotton balls, tissue paper, and pipe cleaners. Let me know if you come up with a brilliant plan. I got out of doing this last year because it snowed so bad that school was canceled for the week before break officially started.

Oooh, I have a lead. I'm going to look in my book I Like You by Amy Sedaris. She has funny crafts that are cheap and you make out of household stuff.

P.S. On a totally random and unrelated side note, is it creepy if you e-mail/Facebook/blogstalk someone you haven't seen in person for a while to let them know you've been thinking of them? I want to say something, but I feel like it's been so long that it would be weird now. Maybe we'll just do this: If you've wished that I have been thinking of you, then I have been. No, seriously. Chances are I have. Especially if you're a person I haven't seen in a long time. Miss you. Maybe you should say something to me first--I promise to not think you're creepy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Some Numbers

She asks, "how often do you think of me?"

He says, "All the time. I think of you every minute of every day. You grace my dreams and my reality."

She asks, "How much do you love me?"

He says, "I love you every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I love you 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, 365 days a year. You are everything."

She asks, "how many ways do you love me?"

He says, " I love you 60 different ways every minute, and 60 other ways every hour. I love you 24 different ways each day, and 7 different ways every week. Each month I love you 30 ways, and every year I love you 365 different ways. I love you a lot. I love you 31,536,000 ways a year."

She smiles. "That's sounds like enough."

He says, "I wish it were more."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Are Loved

You'd think with a whole week of not teaching I'd have all this time to write some really riveting things. In case you have not yet figured this out in life, what you think rarely ever comes to pass. It's not like I've been totally swamped either. I did not go shopping on Black Friday. I didn't do a lot of anything.

Here is what I have been doing:

*eating mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie leftovers just about everyday. They're gone today.
*picking up massive amounts of yard debris. I raked a few leaves, picked up about 67 pine cones, and raked a copious amount of dried up pine needles out of my yard (if you could call it that. It's not so much a yard as a strip). I was feeling pretty good about myself for doing this on Friday.
*getting a haircut, which I am still trying to figure out how to style
*organizing my childhood ish in my garage. My mom made me take everything out of her extra room the night of Thanksgiving.
*updating my iTunes library, and subsequently, my iPod, which has brought nothing but frustration to me. It is being a royal PITA. I don't know why it won't load what I tell it to, when there is fully enough space left to do so. I am trying again tomorrow, after I pray to God, go to church, and repent for my recent sins. Sometimes I think God is trying to punish me gravely, and this is one of those times. Another time I was severely punished was senior year of high school, when the guy I was drooling over all year never asked me to prom, even though I prayed to God every night that he would. I went through punishment, because God does not look kindly upon those who lust. Instead he prefers to make them single for two decades. Here is the part where I am struck down dead for talking smack about God.
*going to Home Depot to find a curtain rod, but then ended up going to Target and buying a curtain rod, plus a movie, plus a nice warm sweatshirt.
*ironing fabric for Britt to sew said curtains.
*reading The Time Traveler's Wife.

So I apologize for not crafting The Great American Novel over my week long break. Sorry. Really.

P.S. I secretly want to title this post "Go eff yourself," not because I hate you, but mostly because I am still bitter about the whole iPod/no prom date sr. year thing. Conversely, I chose the above title. In short, I am feeling a bit like Calma Harrison from Am I right or Am I right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Cliche

I am guessing that on thousands of blogs everywhere, people are posting what they are thankful for. I thought I could be controversial and post a list of things I am not thankful for, but that seemed a bit Grinch-like.

(In no particular order) I am thankful for:
1) having a job, even if it majorly time consuming and stressful
2) my house, even though we have an ant problem
3) my super awesome next door neighbors
4) my roommates and close friends
5) my fake brother even though sometimes he is mean to me.
6) Charmin ultra soft toilet paper
7) Amy Sedaris videos on YouTube
8) my students this year, because they are a lot nicer
9) not having to drive over the Marion St/Center St. Bridge every morning and evening
10) free address labels
11) Wendy's
12) the library
13) Mapquest, because otherwise I would get totally lost all the time
15) Morningstar Farms Grillers Chik'n Veggie Patties. Yum! So happy they brought them back after a year long absence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

T minus 2 days

Sorry I've been ignoring you, but last Saturday I had to go into my classroom, Sunday I was getting ready for conferences, and I had to work 12 hour days on Monday and Tuesday for parent-teacher conferences. Good news is I don't have to work on Wednesday, so maybe if you play your cards right I'll tell you something interesting.

On Monday I wrote a possible post on notebook paper. I was in my classroom having an anxiety attack. But that has passed. 

A confession: On the week that I need it most, I am only planning on going to the gym one time. All the other days I will be eating pie and mashed potatoes.

P.S. The T in the title stands for turkey, not time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I like to do on Friday nights

After going to kickboxing, I like to go home and relax by...

1) checking e-mail, Facebook, and blogs.

2) eating icecream after dinner.

3) cleaning up a bit. You know, get an old toothbrush and clean the gunk around the drains in the sinks. Because this pink stuff starts to build up. I still haven't asked my dad (the water expert) why my water turns stuff pink. Note to self: start this stimulating conversation at Thanksgiving dinner.

4) calling my sister to see if I can go over to her house and watch her cable TV.

5) going to Flickr: The Unclutterer Workspaces Pool to look at photos of organization. Then I laugh/realize how anal some people can get, like in the photo where someone full on velcroed their pencil to a desk. Actually put a Velcro dot on the desk and on the pencil. Ridiculous. But then I get jealous of some people's garages. No bikes velcroed to walls, though.

6) reading books I got for my birthday.

7) going to bed early.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In My Defense

I am at home, in front of the computer, googling images of James Mcavoy. Okay, so maybe not, but I wish I was. I am on my computer when I hear Natalie yell from her room "Joelle, you do not have a Twitter account!" She's shocked. She's outraged, as mad as she'd be if I were suddenly addicted to Twilight and started buying New Moon brand clothes and vampire gloss from B.P.

So let it be known: I only started a Twitter account so I could follow these 3 people that I read blogs/websites of. Three people I swear. But then people started following me, and I felt lame for not "tweeting" anything. But I still didn't do it for like three months practically. I would just check the 3 people I followed because I really was actually interested in what they were doing (they are authors), and liked all the links they posted. Mostly, I got mad when they didn't post a new blog daily, so I stalked them on Twitter instead. But like I said, I started to feel lame that I never said anything. So I started saying lame stuff on my account, like most of the population does.

Because you know, maybe there is that one reader that gets mad when I don't post daily, but they feel relief that they can follow me on Twitter. You never know. I wouldn't want to be the reason someone has a bad day. So yes, Natalie. I have a freaking TWITTER!

Love you. ; )

P.S. I don't really like it. I do it out of obligation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things that don't make sense

While driving home I saw a reader board that said: dispose of ashes in a proper manner. The first thing that popped into my head was "cremation." Maybe this was because I was reading about animal cremation before I went to bed last night. But the reader board was outside the fire station, not a veterinary office.

Additionally, while on the way home I listened to the song "One less lonely girl." I wondered to myself, why the heck are they playing a song sung by a nine year old? This is so weird. So as soon as I got home I googled the song title, which led me to the music video. I suffered through watching the whole thing just to tell you I am highly disturbed. It starts out in this laundry mat, where it seems like some mom goes to wash her clothes. The kid is sitting in the corner with a guitar. The mom-like-woman keeps smiling at him, like she's flirting. I think, okay, this is a little weird, but I smile at cute little kids, so what? But then she leaves her red scarf. The little kid picks it up and then makes all these signs for the older woman. He leaves them at the laundry mat so the next time she goes she sees them. Then she follows them, laughing in a giddy manner the whole time. In the end she finds the kid, and they get dangerously close while dancing. No kiss, but noses were touching. This is highly disturbing. Like, I cannot go to work tomorrow.

Reminds me of what a nine-year-old student said to me after receiving his class pictures. "Wow, I look really hot. Miss G, don't you think I look hot? Would you date me?"

"No," I say flatly. God save me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kate Gosselin Hair

We were second to last for lunch, standing in line near the not-cafeteria (it is a hallway that they wheel a salad bar into), when I look at Grace. She has her eyes closed.

"Grace, what are you doing?"
"Praying that there will be chicken nuggets left."
Ten minutes later, she joins the line of kids waiting to go back to class with their lunch.
"I see you got some chicken nuggets," I say to her.
"Yup. Praying always works."
See, she knows.

Transition to story number 2....

I was at the gym and realized that this woman I have seen many times before has Kate Gosselin hair, only I didn't notice before because she is a brunette. But it totally is. Longer and straight in the front, spiky in the back. As SNL would say "It's like the front is walking into a job interview, and the back is leaving a rock concert."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Morning News

Good morning, it's a sunny day on The Real Pretend at 47 degrees with a humidity of 70 percent. Wind is flowing at a gentle 8 MPH.

Stay tuned for these news stories:
*What new blogs Joelle recommends
*How her name is sort of like Cher, but mostly not
*What she discovered on her trip back to high school

But first, some harsh judgment by yours truly. While I was at the grocery store on Wednesday, this is the conversation I heard behind me, between mother and child.

Mother: Look, it's Grizzly Adams. (Points to tall, oldish man with long gray beard standing in the checkout line RIGHT NEXT TO US.)

Child: Who's that?

Mother: You know, like a Mountain Man.

Two minutes later, another, even taller man wearing a black suit joins the neighboring line. He has dark hair and a mustache.

Mother: It's a mortician (whispers to child).

Child: Creepy.

Three minutes later.

Child: Mom, when is Thanksgiving?

Mother: I have no idea. I think on a Thursday.

I think: Really? You are an adult and you do not know that Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of every November? It's the only holiday that is consistent like that. You think that it is on a Thursday? Oh my god. She probably doesn't know the date of the Fourth of July either.

Now back to our topics at hand.

I was on, which I ironically visit when I am putting things off (mainly cleaning), when I found a link to LobotoMe, which is not a doctor owned and operated site, when I found more links that led me to blogs I like to look at. These include Black*Eiffel, which sounds sort of French but I'm not sure if it is, and Mer Mag, who is this artsy mom who has adorable blond children and does all sorts of crafty things for them that makes you wish she had been your mother. It has a lot of photos of purely whimsical subject matter. Search through until you find the Peter Pan birthday party, it's my favorite.

Next, how my name is like Cher but mostly not. If you mention the musical artist Cher, everyone knows who you are talking about. Cher. No last name is needed. In fact, most people don't know she has a last name. She's a first name kind of girl.

I was at the gym and it was launch week, which means for every class you go to, you get entered into a raffle. They gave me a card and a pen, and I wrote "Joelle" on it. I later realized maybe I should have put my last name on it, but I probably didn't need to. I am 99% I am the only Joelle who attends my gym. It was kind of like in college, where if you said my name to someone, they knew it was me because I was the only one. In fact, my parents probably could have left off my last name. I know there are other Joelles, but I think I could have been distinguished easily like this: "Joelle" "Who?" "Joelle, you know, the one from 1985." Because who else named their baby Joelle in 1985? No one.

Sorry I am such a liar, but the part where I tell you about what I discovered at my high school when I went back will have to wait. I've lost my attention span, and chances are you have too. So you know, more later.

I am going to go buy a winter coat at Old Navy, because they are 50 percent off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I did some math and when I turn 28 my birthday will be on November 12th, 2013. That's 11/12/13, which is probably the day the world will end, not 12/12/12, like the new movie and ancient Mayans predicted.

When people thought chaos would ensue for Y2K, I was mildly excited. For months before, my mom stocked up on dried beans and rice. We had buckets upon sealed buckets of food stored up. We even bought our own flour grinder. I had just started public school and was excited about the prospect that everything would crash and schools would close, but I would still get home schooled and get smarter than every one else*, while they were at home in the dark, not eating toast, because even the toasters had computer chips in them set to combust on 01/01/00. But Y2K didn't happen, and we ended up having over 200 pounds of dried foods left in a closet in our house for six years instead. However, we were ready to reenact the Oregon Trail.

*While I was in school I thought it was important to be smarter than everyone else. I finally realized this was a bad idea, because all it meant was that you had to be the one in charge of group work, since you knew the most. Also, that boys you had crushes on would try to work with you in biology class, not because they liked you, but because they were lazy and wanted the answers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nobody Likes You When You're 23

I feel like I typically look forward to Veteran's Day more than my birthday. It's one day before, and I never have to go to school (or now, work) whereas I do have to work on my birthday. Also, it's never a let down. There are no expectations, just me doing whatever I want on my day off. My birthdays have a pattern of sucking since age 14 (minus last year when Liz and Natalie coordinated an excellent Trailer Trash Tragedy murder mystery).

So if:
*it rains today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*I don't get presents today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*no one tells me "happy birthday" today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*my former best friend decides not to come to my party today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*I wake up in a casino parking lot today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*I have to wait 2 hours just to eat cold noodles for dinner today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.
*my friend talks about how she's planning a surprise party for someone else today, I don't care, it's not my birthday.

It is, however, the last time in my life that I will be twenty-three. But I guess it's okay, because like Blink 182 says, nobody likes you when you're twenty-three. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

If I loved someone from far away

If I loved someone who lived far away, this is what I would do during the month of December--Side note: I don't like it when people talk about Christmas before Thanksgiving is over, but I've been reading some other people's blogs and it's got me thinking--It's really too bad that you aren't in love with me and live in Colorado or Maine or Alberta, Canada or something, because this would have been very exciting for you. There's still time.

Again, If I loved someone who lived far away, this is what I would do during the month of December. Actually, I probably would start the last week in November, just so I would be ready. I'd go to the Craft Warehouse and buy all the delicious paper that I covet, and then I would craft a whole slew of envelopes and cards. I would need 25 of them.

I would write something sweet on each card. Probably just a sentence, because I think something pithy makes more of an impact than a ten page love letter. The max I'd probably go is eight sentences.

Then I'd go to the post office and buy some stamps. I would stick a stamp on each envelope, and mail a new card everyday. I might send the first one on November 25th, just to be sure the first one arrives in time. I would send a card everyday, so that whomever I love would receive one from December first until Christmas.

People get so caught up in buying presents, but don't you think this is something that you would remember forever? That you would keep and look at again in the future? And it's economical too.

Estimated cost:
stamps 25 X 0.44  = $11.00
paper and envelopes = $15

Total: $27.00

It's too bad I don't love someone far away.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Post Number 301

What I am doing tomorrow (Friday):

Waking up early, putting on jeans and a hoody, messy hair, then to the tiny diner down the street for breakfast with Natalie before grading day.

Grading writing from 8 to 10am
Grading math from 10 to 11
Grading science from 11 to 11:30
Grading reading from 11:30 to 12:30
More reading grading 12:30 to 1:30
Fill out paper progress reports 1:30 to 2:30
Fill out on-line progress reports 2:30 to 3:30. Oh wait. The pie social is at 2:30....uhhhh I don't know. I don't know how I'm going to get it all done. I'll probably stay late, as per usual.
Kickboxing from 5:30 to 6, because I have to peace out early so that I can go to a high school play (Beauty and the Beast). I'm really excited to see my old school's new campus, and to check out the new theater, because it totally sucked when I went there.
Then I am going to go to sleep like a rock.
And mostly I just did this post because I didn't want to miss a day, which is exactly what they say not to do in writing. It's about quality, not quantity.
Last thing I'm going to say is props to Jenn for using Cooktop Magic and making my stove sparkle. She owns her own cleaning business, so if you need some clean-up, lemme know. Also, Kaitlynn, I miss your face.
Additionally, I turn old in 7 days. Probably should go pick out my dentures now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Someone call 911

I'm going 4 for 4 this month. Quite amazing, really, considering what a big slacker I typically am.

Let me tell you what I witnessed.

I was at the best store in the world, Target, buying some more ant killer. I made my purchase and then decided to go to Wendy's because a) I was hungry b) It was nearby and c) it was 8:15pm. I had just got my order when a skinny man with a tattoo in his ear comes in. He's talking on his cell phone and asking the girl behind the counter for a bag of ice.


"A bag of ice. The girl out here is kind of hurt." He talks into a cell phone. "Dude, you would not believe what just happened. I was pulling out of Wendy's and clipped this girl who was on a bike. Yeah. I didn't even see her, and she didn't see me. Yeah. She's okay and everything, but we are really shaken up."

I decide to leave Wendy's, because clearly, it is hazardous to my health. I get out to the parking lot and her an ambulance. I see flashing red and blue lights. I wait awhile, and then pull around the other side of Wendy's so I can exit. Right there on the corner, in the little patch of grass, is a woman who is being all strapped together by five very attractive paramedics. They have a stretcher and are about to place her in it. I'm seriously right there, where I can see her face.

Confession: Instead of thinking "ohhh, I hope she is okay," I was like "ooooh, hot paramedics." And then I started to think about what it might be like to be rescued by five such paramedics. And spend some time in the ambulance with them. Which reminded me of the time I dislocated my knee cap in Valsetz freshman year of college. I had slipped on a puddle of water. The grilled cheese sandwich I had on my plate went flying, and within five minutes I had two of the public safety academy trainees assisting me. They told me their name so I wouldn't be freaked out (like I was. It's just what they are trained to do). They told me not to move my head even though it was fine. What they should have said was don't move your knees. Eventually I was able to hobble back to my dorm room, without any dinner. I should have sued the university so I could have gotten free tuition. It was negligence on their part.

So anyway, pray for the girl who got hit, you know. But I think she'll be okay. I didn't see any blood.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

um, there's some hair on your butt...

reason number 29 not to own a cat: white hair will get stuck to the seat of your ill-fitting black sweat pants, causing the people behind you at the gym to laugh inside their heads at you.

Seriously. This woman had cat hair stuck everywhere. I was behind her during Group Power. Way funny. But mostly gross.

Confession: I've been sitting here for eight minutes trying to come up with something clever to say, but my brain is taxed. I apologize. That's all I've got for you today. But I'm going to log off and go work on a ridiculous short story, which may or may not be season two of The Roommate Adventures.

Again, sorry for the lapse in brain synapses. Check back some other time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

From the Files of...

I've been struggling to spell definitely since 1994. I'm really self conscious about this word, ever since the 8th grade when I wrote it on a poster in colored pencil. My teacher marked it in red and deducted 2 points. I want to spell it definetly all the time. I seriously take ten seconds every time it comes up and think de-finite-ly. Do you think the reason mom was mad was because I couldn't spell? Or because Jess was being weird? Or maybe because I only wrote three complete sentences for my writing assignment that day? You'd think from my journals that I hated writing. I probably did at the time, because I would rather read than write. I keep telling my mom that I don't remember learning to write when I was home schooled, and here is the proof. I honestly do not know what sort of transformation happened, because starting in 8th grade I always got As in English. You know, minus that 2 point deduction thing.

Here's another one.
  Wow! Really? Developmental Mathematics Level 8 Multiplication Concepts and Facts by L. George Saad, Ph.D? I'm glad I can refer back and see exactly what text I was using to learn in 4th grade...Oh my gatos. I just Googled it and I can see all the objectives and everything right here. Oh my lord, and you can see what kinds of problems I was solving here. Way to keep accurate educational records, Jo Jo.

And a G.C.C. meeting? The first of many secret meetings I would hold in my life. Also, in case you were wondering, reading a hole book is easier than reading a complete book, just like eating a doughnut hole is easier than reading a complete doughnut. But they don't sell hole books in the pastry aisle, so don't bother looking.

Happy Monday. Much love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November First is here

I woke up and saw it was a gorgeous day. Then I remembered it's November first, which is the beginning of NaNoRiMo. And I thought, "Oh crap." I'm not sure if I'm going to participate this year. If I do, I'm cheating. The rules are you have to start a brand new novel and write 50,000 words by the end of the month. But I sort of have four novels that need finishing, so if I participate, I'm just going to get 50,000 words spread out over those novels. Because I am a procrastinator.

I know I can finish one novel in 10,000 words or less, because it is almost done. Another one probably needs 40k on it still, and another needs maybe 30k, and the last one that I started over the summer needs like 55k. But no way in hell am I writing 135,000 words in one month. No.

It's time to get inspired. Which means I should read.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fourth Grade Diiirt.

I know you are hanging on the edge of your seat, waiting for something fresh this week. It's 10:49 and I finished all my effing weekly progress reports. Why I thought volunteering myself to do this was a good idea, I have no clue. It needs to stop.

A student asked me today if I have Facebook. I ignored his question, because that's the last thing I need, students finding me on Facebook.

Student's asked me today after clean-up how much I weigh. I said that's kind of a private question that adults don't like to answer. Jose guessed 77 pounds. I knew I liked that kid.

The girls are harping on me during recess duty to tell them how old I am. I said between 21 and 28. They are pleading with me to know the answer. They also want to be invited to my wedding. Funny, so do I. When is it? I told them they could be my flower girls. Grace wants to be a bridesmaid. Thing is, she's probably not too far off. I mean, she'll probably be 19 by the time I convince someone to marry me. These three girls also want to plan my wedding. They're nine years old.

We had to do state testing today, and Gerardo really wanted to wear his glasses. They are black, oversized, made of plastic, and have no lenses. Not even just plain glass. He says they help him think. I say they cause a distraction, because they are funny to look at. I think he's TAG. He passed without them.

This morning I had a half-day sub because I had to do DRA testing with kiddos. She was very nice, but reminded me of how my life could have been (or might still go) had I not gotten my braces off in high school, gained a little bit of edge due to last year's students, and kept wearing what I wore when I was home schooled in 7th grade. I mean, my god, add some cats, knitting, and we essentially have Drew Barrymore from Never Been Kissed. Only minus the fact that Drew Barrymore is Drew Barrymore. And Michael Vartan is no where in sight, because this isn't high school Shakespeare, it's fourth grade. I mean, there are no love connections here. Unless your an administrator, divorced your wife, then had an affair with a man-eating primary teacher. Oooh, did I say that out loud? But what do I care. They are out of the country.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crafty Beavers go Postal

On Saturday I spent about two hours at the Craft Warehouse. I met Kaitlynn there, and we wandered around a bit. My purpose was to find a board and some paper or something to create a cute welcome sign for my house, to make it look like someone actually lives here. We got there at about 12 or 1, I don't really remember. But it was hardly crowded.

We were looking at frames when an announcement came on: free popcorn, free cake, and raffle tickets. I hadn't eaten lunch yet, so I was all over it like strawberry jam on toast. Then the madness began. Crafty beavers came out of the woodwork. Women and children of all shapes and sizes, eager to craft their day away sprung into the aisles. They just appeared. And then I went nuts.

I was looking at the paper aisle when I realized I wanted it all. I had no purpose for it, but the paper was too cute, or too shimmery, or too trendy to be left in the store, and it was too much. I started babbling to Kaitlynn about how I should own a paper store. I love to smell paper, look at paper, feel paper, taste paper...okay maybe not the last one. My problem was that while I saw all this paper I wanted, I couldn't find a suitable paper for my welcome sign background. Kaitlynn suggested we take a break from looking at paper, like how a mom might suggest to her son that he take a break from working a puzzle, because his spatial recognition isn't that great yet and he keeps trying to cram the square shape into the circle hole. 

I obliged and we wandered over to this section that had all these crafty demos. We both really wanted to make these wipe board calender things, and then we wanted to make double-framed ones, and then we saw the triple stacker and wanted more, more, more, like a fat man ordering super sized fries at McDonald's. The employee in her apron was telling us how easy it was to make the jointed-framed-wipeboard-calendar-magnetic-do-dad, like how a contortionist might suggest to you that cramming your body into a box really is not that difficult at all, as long as you stretch first.

We decided to take a break and go back to the paper. I still couldn't make up my mind, and Kaitlynn had to go take engagement photos because she's a pro and snaps excellent shots. Then I splurged. Like a child eating all the cookies when no one is watching.

I found these little 2 inch square chip boards that came in a pack, and I bought all the paper I wanted with the reasoning that I could glue it on to the chip board and make cute magnets. Never mind that I didn't buy magnetic backing. And I bought these dog-tag-esque charms, and some alphabet rubber stamps, and Christmas paper even though I hate it when people start decorating before Thanksgiving has even passed. But it is way cute. It has reindeer on it. And little peppermints. Basically, I'll take Christmas card requests, so that way I can craft you one and mail it to you. And then you will see how glorious the paper really is.

I paid for everything and then drove home, high on my purchases. I have yet to craft my welcome sign, but I am super excited for when I have more time to actually make it. I don't think I'll go to Craft Warehouse on a Saturday again, though. The mob of women is outrageous. And I am a part of it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Digg it!

And you should digg it, too! Check out the links.

What I am digging this week:

Owl City. Maybe you've heard Fireflies on the radio. All of the lyrics are soft and sweet and nostalgic. Reminds me of childhood, of salt water taffy at Seaside, of nightlights, frogs in the swimming pool, etc. I bought a copy of Ocean Eyes via iTunes and have it in my classroom. I always play music in the morning, all of which has been non-lyrical. I've got Mozart and Bach and some piano from a woman I know, panpipes and ocean sounds, etc. But I think these lyrics are kid friendly, and a few of my students like to dance in the morning. Good way to keep 'em excited about being at school.

I Love You, Miss Huddleston (and other inappropriate longings of my indiana childhood) by Philip Gulley. This book is hilarious. I've only read two of the short stories and am chuckling. I haven't had time to read in awhile, but the fact that they are separate shorter stories makes it more manageable to read. I'll probably finish it this weekend. Looking for an example? Something you can copy, paste, and edit? Find it here. Resumes, contracts, forms of all kinds. Why reinvent the wheel?

Anti-paparazzi purse Someone's created a purse that reflects light or flashes or something, so celebs can tote it around instead of their Louis Vuittons. When a paparazzo is about to snap a picture of Kate Hudson with no make-up or whatever, she can hold up the purse and the paps won't get a good shot. Brilliant. In more ways than one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Picasso ate Cheetos

Adorable child I had as a student last year comes up to me.

"Teacher, did I draw you a picture of hot cheetos?"

"No, you haven't."

"Oh, I thought I did."

"Nope. I haven't seen it."

"Oh. I'm gonna make you a picture of hot cheetos," (smiles).

"Okay, I'll be waiting for it," (smiles back and waves as he gets on the bus.)

A drawing of hot Cheetos? What could it be like? He's really making artwork from the subject matter of greasy snack food? I'm imagining some orange Cheeto people. You know, with faces and stuff. Maybe hiding in the couch cushions. I am seriously looking forward to this masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Should you ride horses on your honeymoon?

A summary of my phone conversation with Kaitlynn, more or less:

J: My neighbors are going to move sometime. They can't move. They're perfect. They need to be my neighbors forever.
K: That's too bad.
J: I know. How am I going to mow my lawn? I'll have to buy a lawn mower. Which is kind of dumb because my lawn is super little. It would be more cost effective to buy a goat. Then he could nibble it down.
K: You'd have to put a gate up.
J: True. Too bad I didn't still have my miniature horse. Then he could just eat the grass. Man, I miss him. Did you ever see a picture of him?
K: No, I don't think so.
J: He's so cute. I always wanted a miniature horse, and then eventually I got one.
K: If you miss horses, my neighbors have some. You could come ride them.
J: Oh, my parents still have horses at our house. I haven't ridden them in like three years. (I grew up riding horses).
I thought about riding them this summer, but I didn't. I couldn't find the saddles. And no way was I riding bareback, after not riding for three years. It kills your thighs.
K: That's why they say you shouldn't go horseback riding on your honeymoon. No romantic horseback rides on the beach.
J: I feel like if you were on the beach for a romantic ride, you would just be walking your horse. And that doesn't hurt. It's when your horse trots that you have to grip it with your thighs.
K: I don't know. Would you really want to risk it? Haven't you ever heard that?
J: That you shouldn't go horseback riding on your honeymoon? No. But I guess it makes sense. I mean, no three hour rides. But I still think you'd be fine riding a walking horse on the beach. I mean, unless you have really flabby thighs with no muscle tone whatsoever. Then it might be a total shock for you.
K: Which is why brides try to work out before their weddings. It's not to look good in the dress, it's so they can go horseback riding on their honeymoon.
J: Exactly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Summerland Flashback

In 2004, there was a show called Summerland on the WB, now the CW. It was created by Lori Loughlin, who was Becky on Full House. I think maybe she was trying to create a comeback or something, but she mostly just looked too blond and too tan.

I started to watch the show for two reasons: Lori Loughlin (Ava) and Merrin Dungey (Susannah). I was a loyal Full House viewer, and thought I would give Lori a chance. Also, Merrin had played Syndey Bristow's best friend on the best TV show of all time, Alias, but she had been killed off. I thought she deserved another chance.

The story line is that Ava lives in California on the beach with her friend Susannah, and they are fashion designers. Ava's sister, who lived in Kansas, was killed in a car accident along with her husband, leaving three children. The children come to live with Ava and have to sort out their emotional problems.

Besides Lori and Merrin, can we please talk about who the rest of the cast was? They were barely known and nobody cared.

The oldest child, Bradin, was played by Jesse McCartney. This was before he became a pop sensation and every girl wanted to rip his shirt off.

The middle child, Nikki, was played by Kay Panabaker, who isn't super famous, but has definitely become a Disney Channel regular. She was a character on Phil of the Future, starred in the movie Moondance Alexander, and was in the recent movie of Nancy Drew.

The youngest child, Derrick, people could still care less about. Which is why I didn't include a photo.

Bradin (Jesse McCartney) had a love interest on the show, played by Sara Paxton. After finishing Summerland, Sara Paxton later went on to star in the kids' movie about a mermaid, Aquamarine. She also had a TV show of her own, called Darcy's Wild Life, where she lived in Africa or something and there were all sorts of animals to take care of. She was also supposed to star in a new show quite recently called The Beautiful Life, where she plays a model, but after like two episodes airing, it got pulled.

But who takes the cake? Nikki's friend, Cameron. Cameron's father was going through a divorce, and he hated the world. Nikki sort of had a crush on him, and I couldn't see why because he was this dorky kid with bad hair and a gap in between his teeth. He would also scrunch up his face a lot to show emotion, but mostly I just wanted to slap him. I was like "Nikki, move on, he's not worth it." Who was Cameron played by, you wonder?

No big deal, just Zac Efron. Yeah, when he had a gap in his teeth. He was not popular, he was just some dumb kid the WB pulled to play stupid Cameron. And now where is he? All High School Musicaled out, making tons of money.

 But you know who my favorite actor to appear on the show was? The hobo man on the beach, that gave Ava advice when she didn't know what to do once time. It was none other than Sully from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I freaked out when I saw him. Even though he was playing a homeless man, he did not have his wolf dog with him.

The Summerland Cast

The other two guys (not Jesse or Zac) were actually very hot. One played a real estate agent and the other was an Australian surfer. Sizzzle.

Thank you for viewing this E! True Hollywood Stories episode of Summerland: Where are they now?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Does Al Capone do your shirts?

Okay, so I know laundry isn't the most thrilling topic, especially for guys. But I was reading this article about how a family of four might typically wash things as follows:

Monday: Launder all the sheets from all three beds. (1 load)
Tuesday: Launder child #1 and child #2’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Wednesday: Launder adult’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Thursday: Launder towels. (2 loads)
Friday: Launder child #1 and child #2’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Saturday: Launder adult’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Sunday: Rest, or launder a load of delicates.

If you are like me, then you might be thinking "Oh mis gatos y holy frijoles!" Who wants to do laundry every day? Seriously, you have to wash your clothes twice a week? And okay, I get it, if you have an uncontrollable sweating problem like my high school biology teacher did, and you pit-out in every shirt you wear. But if not, it seems unreasonable. Am I gross that I don't wash my shirts every time I wear them? Do I smell? Somebody, tell me, please. Granted, I wash my clothes more often during the summer on account of the whole perspiration thing, but still. Twice a week?

I usually do my laundry every two weeks, minimum. I know I've gone longer in between. Here's why:

I own 37 pairs of underwear. Subtract the 11 pairs that aren't that cute, or ride up, and I typically utilize 26 of them. That's just about enough for 4 weeks.

I own 26 pairs of socks. I usually don't wear socks at all during the summer (except when I go to the gym) because I am wearing flip flops most of the time.

I know I own at least 30 shirts, but I'd rather not count them.

Pants/shorts, meh. I don't really know, but I don't think it's a lot. I have like my favorite four.

I use one bath towel a week. You use it after you're clean, so why get a new one each time?

Confession: I pretty much wash everything together. I don't separate whites from my jeans, or look at the tags to determine fabrics that should go together or anything like that. I've had maybe five problems my whole life.

And that's it. Am I a freak? And seriously, do I smell? What's your laundry schedule like? How many loads do you do a week? Do you re-wear without washing?

Bonus: I really want to read Al Capone Does My Shirts, but I haven't yet. I have no idea what it's about, but it sounds interesting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Crimes and Punishments of Ms. G

I am a cruel, horrible teacher, like the one from The Crimes and Punishments of Miss Payne. Last year I flat out disliked some of my students, and I couldn't wait until they would be gone from me forever. On Monday I saw one such old student, and the only thing that kept me from pointing and laughing at his circumstances was the birthdate on my drivers license. If it wasn't for my semi-maturity, I would have poked fun at him.

These were his circumstances: Last year he was a mean, horrid child who was always off task and never but any effort into doing his work. I had conferences with his mother, and she kept insisting that he is smart, but doesn't apply himself. I thought so too at first, but the more I disliked him the more I was convinced he was just dumb. State test scores confirmed it. He didn't pass, even after his third attempt. He would hardly get his math work done. Consequences for this year? He has to go to math tutoring. That's right. I saw him in the tutoring line, and now he has to stay after school twice a week. Ha.

And that is why I should be fired. I am mean and silently poke fun at children.

Here is why I am not as horrible as all that:
I love my this-years-students. They are sweet and mostly do what they're told. They have a lot of potential and more skills. I have goals to have them all pass their reading and math state tests. Last year about 80 percent of my kids passed. The 4th grade writing test is a different matter. Last year, only 5 out of my 28 kids passed. This was typical of all fourth grade classes, not just mine. No, I do not suck at teaching writing. We are practicing very hard this year, and I am training them earlier than last year. I want to blow this out of the water, and get at least 15 out of my 27 kids to pass writing. It's not an easy task. Mostly I just want to beat out the other fourth grade teachers (sorry Susan). Wanting your children to be brilliant is very difficult, because you can't take them home with you and make them work even more after dinner. Yes, I am a slave driver.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am going to live in an RV

I am thinking about how cool it would be to live in a trailer, you know, temporarily. I was thinking about when I go punish myself back to school to get my Masters, and about how much I hate driving. It'd be sweet if I could just live in a trailer and park it nearby during the week, and then come to my house on the weekends. I could live in a canned ham trailer, like the main character in The Higher Power of Lucky (read it, it's excellent). These thoughts were revisited this afternoon when I was driving to the gym. I passed an RV park and it seems like it would be fun, like you are camping out the whole time. My parents totally have one I could borrow, I just need a cause for it.

Check out these awesome trailers. I don't know whose dumb face that is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What Changed

When I was seven years old, my family built an addition on to our house. This meant I was subject to many boring trips to Home Depot. I remember riding in the cart and being pushed past the pink insulation. I remember my mother spending hours deciding what color/kind of light switch plates to get. It smelled of wood glue and lumber and paint. It was hot and stuffy and pure torture. I actually cried while in Home Depot, I hated it so much.

What changed (if anything)? Because I have fully gone to Home Depot more times than I can count in the past two months. For a week or so, I was going once or twice a day. I needed more paint for the bathroom, I needed a dimmer switch, blinds, a fridge, etc. etc. etc.

I made a trip last night by myself and I felt my old childhood feelings creeping up. It was chilly outside, but the store still seemed to hot. I could smell the insulation aisle even though I was clear across the building picking out things in the Home Garden section. I had a small desire to go to the outlet aisle, pick up a handful of light switches, and just throw them at people.

This is all very misleading to potential customers. I don't want to deter you. All of the employees in their little orange aprons are very helpful. But I feel some sort of anxiety creeping up when I go, like maybe I should take some meds prior to getting a shopping cart.

This is why I can never build my own house. Undoubtedly, I'd have to go to Home Depot at least three times weekly, and I would for sure have to be put on Xanax.

So parents, please, take caution. Home Depot is not a place to take children. Not unless you want them to have anxiety attacks while picking out flower pots.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Failed at entertainment

I tried four times to upload this really stupid video of myself crafting things in the truck while my sister drove to Florence during the summer, but it was an epic failure. I am so mad, because I really don't have anything witty to tell you today, and I was hoping the video would amuse you for a long time. You know, like the Grape Lady Falling on YouTube. Only I'm not that funny. I don't fall out of buckets often.

I think Britt, Natalie and I have watched the Grape Lady everyday this week. And last week. I definitely watched the Grape Lady the day I was supposed to be at work but stayed home sick.

I'm watching Survivor tonight with the Galu gang, so maybe I'll have comment about it tomorrow. Or not. But I was lying in bed the other night and I thought about how I definitely need to have a post on how the characters from Summerland have changed. So more on that some other time when I am not so lame.

And hopefully I'll get this video to load.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The cost of convenience

The ATM stole my money. Or rather, it asked permission first and I said yes too fast before I realized what was happening, like how what's-her-face got impregnated at camp on The Secret Life of an American Teenager. I was depositing some checks and I realized I needed stamps so I could mail some of my bills (you know, the old school ones that don't have an option to pay on-line, like to the garbage service, which has a really sketch barn type building out in the middle of a bunch of fields).

Going to the post office was out of the way and a pain, so I punched the button that yes, I would like to buy stamps. The screen came up and I selected 18 stamps, mostly because they didn't have an option for seven. Then I quickly clicked yes again on the next screen, because I was super hungry and wanted to go home and eat. It was after I punched the yes that I briefly scanned the small print telling me that the stamps were valued at $7.92, though I was paying $9.54 for them. Crap. Too late to go back. The machine spit out my stamps and I went out to my car to do the math.

Each stamp had a service charge of nine cents. That was ridiculous. That was twenty-percent of the cost of a stamp. I was being charged 120%. I was rather outraged for a while, but the closer and sooner I got to my house, I realized it was sort of worth $1.62 to not go to the post office. I mean, I'd have to spend my time driving there and waiting in line, and I would have to burn gas to get there as well. Nevertheless, I am hoping these 18 stamps last me a long time.

P.S. Can we talk about how I didn't go to work today because I was sick, and even though I had 8 extra hours to get grading and planning done, I still did not finish my PDP and yearly goals, even though they were due to my principal two weeks ago? Though really, why should I work on my sick day? But I fully graded 23 writing samples, did GLAD unit planning, and filled out weekly progress reports for my kiddos. All while in bed, sneezing out yellow snot and drinking OJ. Do you like how I make myself feel guilty, and then try to justify my actions to you? I am pretty sure there is a psychology term for this.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Top 10 Things to do during prep besides prepping

I used to write Top 10 Lists all the time. I don't know what happened. I'm bringing it back. Like Justin would.

Top 10 Things to do during prep time at school besides actually preparing for teaching students:

1) Eat chips and salsa, complimentary of the staff room.
2) Visit Susan.
3) Check work e-mail thinking you would respond to some of it, but then get overwhelmed and check your personal e-mail, to see if you have any updates from Facebook.
4) Call your bank, insurance agency, and local furniture store in effort to take care of business that you cannot do after five o'clock.
5) E-mail Natalie at work via district e-mail.
6) Organize your desk/classroom.
7) Go to the office under pretense that you are there to copy something, but talk to the office women instead. OR
8) Go to the office in desperate need to copy something, but then spend 20 minutes trying to unjam the copier.
9) Make lists of things you need to do over the weekend, like clean your kitchen or vacuum or whatever.
10) Use the bathroom. Because otherwise you've gotta hold it until 3.
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