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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