Monday, October 27, 2014

Parent Teacher Conference Week

And that says it all. 

Of course, we usually have Friday off, so there is that to anticipate.  Not this year.  Full week of school this week.  Full week of school next week, and THEN a four day weekend for Veteran's Day. 

We're in it for the long haul, people.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Clutter, Aches and Pains, and Political Ads

*Every day I keep wondering where our "fall" weather went.  Summer temperatures are still around and so are the allergies.

*Aging aches and pains:  3.  Me:  0.  Back, neck, and right foot are all giving me grief.  And none of it is related.  The neck is a bit stiff every day, but really bothers me at night. The back pain is sporadic--but when it hits, it almost takes me to my knees.  The foot is just weird.  It hurts right under my toes on the pad of my foot.  Who knows?? 

*Every activity in class this year takes three times longer than I think it will.  I rearrange lesson plans on a daily basis.  It is killing me! (My schedule was shot on the 3rd week of school.)

*I started the year grading on google docs and am saving the school tons of paper.  The kids share the paper with me on google docs, and I have created class folders that organize their work by hours.  And now instead of red ink, the students see little yellow highlights and lots of comments.  My first try at this a couple of years ago was overwhelming.  Now?  It is almost as easy as writing.  Almost.  And I love not having stacks of papers.

*Single best change for this school year:  Interactive notebooks.  Students keep all their daily work in a notebook.  A Table of Contents is supposed to make it easier to find subjects covered.  (That is, IF the students keep it correctly.)  I check notebooks two-three times a grading period. Sometimes, I walk around the room and stamp an activity to make sure they are completing the assignment.  Once in awhile, they can use the notebook on a quiz or test. (Incentive to do a really great job of keeping notes.) Best part of these notebooks:  not having stacks of daily work papers.

*Noticing a theme?  I hate stacks of papers!  The older I get, the more clutter is driving me crazy.  True both at home and at school.

*I absolutely can't wait until this round of elections ends.  The political ads are driving me crazy.  C-r-A-z-Y! It isn't enough that we see them on TV.  We get phone calls, daily mailings, and my inbox is full of politicians begging for money or votes.  One. More. Week.

And there you have it.  I figure if that is the worst I have to complain about, life is pretty darn good.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And the Really Big News

the Bug is going to be 
a Big Sister
sometime in late April or early May.

And we couldn't be happier on Easy Street. 

Not Exactly an F

I didn't fail my hearing test; I didn't quite pass it either.  I have what my Dr. likes to call "nuisance" hearing loss.  (He compared it with needing glasses but not wearing them.) Many people would just live with it.  I don't happen to be in an occupation where "living with it" works.

I guess teachers and lawyers are the first to see a Dr. about "nuisance" hearing loss.  We think students or clients or witnesses are mumbling or looking down when they are talking, so we miss what they are saying.  Bingo!!

It is fairly important we hear what is being said in our classrooms or courtrooms.  So...

Next up?  He is fitting me with a hearing aid. I will try it out for a week to see if I like the results.  (He seemed pretty certain that I would.)  I won't be crazy about the price.  (He seemed pretty certain I wouldn't.)

After the trial period?  Well, a pretty good chunk of change will be expected. Unfortunately, our insurance doesn't cover a hearing aid. So....

Pencil to paper and taking scissors to the budget.  Squeezing blood out of a turnip.  All the cliches fit here.

I suppose robbing a bank is out of the question...

Or...maybe I'll actually hate hearing everything that is said to me.

I'm pretty sure this won't be the end of the story.  Stay tuned for the sequel.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Biting the Bullet

They are scheduling my hearing test.

This is a case of how many times can I say, "Excuse me?"  "Come again?"  "Could you repeat that?" 

Family is annoyed.  Students are annoyed. 

The kicker? 

Driving the Bug to ballet, she was talking from the backseat. 

"What did you say?"  "Can you say that again?" 

Said with a little sigh, "Never mind, Nana." 

Yep.  Hearing aid, here I come.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

End of the Nine Weeks

How can you tell it is the end of the nine weeks?

Stacks of papers.  Check.
Messy desk.  Check
Neck and shoulder pain.  Check.
The overwhelming feeling of something going on every evening.  Check.

The nine week ends on Thursday, and all the "signs" of it are present.  *sigh

Monday, October 13, 2014


Favorites from the weekend:

*Steak and ale pie made by Niece LuLu.  Yum! And quite British!
*Warm socks, a fake fireplace space heater, and an electric blanket.  We are working hard not to start the furnace.  With daily temperatures to be in the 70's, it would be crazy to start it now.
*Popcorn balls. Sticky? Yes.  Messy? Yes.  But...they are a reminder of childhood and Halloween.
*A white elephant auction at a family reunion that has actually become a redistributing and sharing of family keepsakes.  Sunday's purchase was a bracelet made from Grandma's button collection.  (I spent hours digging through her buttons, stringing them, and then taking them off again!)
*A load of summer clothes and shoes (that didn't get worn this summer) delivered to Disabled American Veterans. 

Not so favorites from this weekend:

*Popcorn hulls in my teeth.
*Leaving lesson plans or grading until Sunday night. I hate spending my entire Sunday evening organizing my week.
*Not knowing how to dress for this crazy weather.  Layers. Layers.
*Shopping online.  Besides the security issues, surfing the websites makes me dizzy and nauseated.  I hope I'm not the only person who still prefers to shop in stores.

The A-OK:

*The gray hair.  It has grown on me--both literally and figuratively.
*The leaves slowly turning.  (They could hurry it up a bit.  Some years, they turn and fall at the same time, causing me to miss the photo ops.
*Dental floss.  I have it stashed everywhere: at school, in the drawer by my living room chair, in the bathroom, and in my purse and computer bag.  I'm always prepared.

The not so OK:

*No winter coat. The zipper broke on my anorak last winter.  I hate buying coats, so I need to buy one I will wear for many years.  Pressure. Pressure. And I can't wait much longer to make a decision
*My iPhone battery issues. I've been looking at phones, but I still haven't decided what I want or what to do. Too many options make it hard to make a decision.

And if I were a worrywart:
*L's coughing is reminiscent of her pneumonia scare.  She promises if it isn't gone tomorrow that she will call her doctor. (And she better!)
*The nine weeks ends on Thursday. Where am I going to find 12 extra hours for grading? Yikes!

And I think that pretty much covers it. Oh, except for these two pictures that show how the Bug and I have a heck of a time taking a decent picture.

2014 Christmas Card? I think not. Think we'll ever get it together? Maybe we could photo shop the two together?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Learned from Nana Daycare

Armchair arms can be ridden like a horse, used as a slipper slide, or relaxed on like a bed.

The Bug has become my workout buddy.  She taps my fitbit (pedometer), looks at the number of lights that illuminate, and says, "Steps, Nana! Steps!  You need steps!"  Little Hitler.

Hullabaloo, which isn't even on the market any more, is a great game for kids. I loved it, too.

You can watch Frozen many times--and love it every time.  Then, expect a 3 year old to run around the house and shoot ice out of her fingers.  I also learned that Queen Elsa is better than Princess Anna because Elsa has "the power."  (Hence, the shooting ice out of her fingers.)

When Nana is asked to attend on a trip to the bathroom, it isn't because she can't do it herself--she just wants company.  I guess when you potty, you just need someone to talk to.  If you happen to bring a book along, she will sit there (doing nothing) while you read the book--or two.

If the job is messy, the Bug doesn't want much to do with it.  Painting a pumpkin is fun, until she gets a bit of paint on her fingers.  Even pizza is eaten with a fork.  Of course, the messiness doesn't apply to feet. I have taken shoes off to discover the sandiest, dirtiest feet I've ever seen.

If you play hard, you nap hard.

What did I learn? Be creative. (A chair doesn't have to be a chair.) Workout and get your steps.  If you want to be good at a game, make sure you are flexible enough to put your nose on the floor. (Hullabaloo)  Be the person with the power.  Everything (even pottying) is better with a friend. Keep your hands clean, but it is OK to let your feet play in the sand and dirt. Play hard. Nap.

There. The philosophy of life from my favorite three year old.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nana Daycare

The Bug's daycare provider is closed today. This is the second Friday in a row.  Daddy CT stayed home with her last Friday for a Daddy and Buggie day.  Mommy doesn't have that many days yet, since she is new to this job.  So, today is Nana and Buggie day.

What do we have planned?
*A bath.  Momma says she has to have a bath.
*Cookie baking
*Frozen Match Game (She is bringing this one.)
*A movie and popcorn
*Reading books (The Little Mermaid is a new favorite.)
*If it isn't raining, I'm hoping for a walk.
*Pumpkin painting. (It's a little early for carving.)  I made this one Wednesday night with black chalkboard paint and white thumbtacks.
I'm not sure what the pumpkin decorating will be like today, but I'm pretty sure it will have to be as easy as this one.

Oh, and I'm certain there will be a nap in there; if not for the Bug, at least I will be taking one!

Did I mention that there is a Papa Pizza delivery coming at noon? 

Yes. This has all the makings of a red letter day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Here We Go Again...

Funniest things to come out of the mouths of sophomores:

*"Mrs. E, we've got to get you a new hobby. This desk rearranging is getting to be an addiction."

*"When you say 'double space' does that mean you hit the space bar twice between every word?"  *sigh!  Yes, this is year two of that question.  Sadder?  Even after explaining it, she submitted her paper with two spaces between every word.  Ay yi yi!

*"After a comma or a semicolon, I don't have to space, do I?"  (You'd be amazed how many sophomores don't space after any punctuation. Drives me right up the wall. I now correct as many formatting errors as grammar errors. Holy cow!  Like it wasn't enough red ink already.)

*Student:  "Why did you sign me up for tutoring?"  Me: "Well, you've been gone for a week and need to catch up." Student: "Oh, you want me to make that up?"  Me:              (What do I say?  Why yes, sweetheart.  I think you better make up the work you've missed. Well, if you want to pass the class anyway.  argh!!!!) 

*Me:  "Why was another student logging in as you to take an Accelerated Reader test?"  Student: "Well, I gave her my login information for Biology, and she just typed in the wrong log in. That's all"   Me:  "You're talking about the login that is your first and last name?  And she mistakenly thought she was you and typed it in?"    Yes.  My students think I am stupid.

*"Mrs. E?  Do you know you have the date for today as September 24, 2010?"  And then I prove to them that I am stupid.  (What the heck was I thinking to write that on the board??)

And actually, this has been a great year.  Scary, isn't it?