Friday, September 15, 2006

I have eaten bagged spinach every single day this week. I always put spinach on salads and, as part of my health kick, I've been adding chopped cabbage and grape tomatoes as well. Now I read on yahoo that there is an outbreak of e. coli in 20 states and it has been traced to bagged spinach. Okay.

I am trying to pretend we are not doing this kitchen remodel. I have to distance myself from it mentally in order to endure the mess. I hate mess.

Jessica is having a terrible year. I am deeply burdened by it. She's already been in in-school suspension a couple of times. The teachers on the other hall do not even try to get to know her. It reminds me of Joe. I taught him for two years, and most of the time I spent defending him from the other adults in the school. Both of these children went through things when they were toddlers that no human should ever experience. Then they came to our school, a place full of Christians, and couldn't even get a cup of cold water. I just don't believe things like that go unanswered.

Lizzie lost her first tooth today. It's been loose for six weeks, at least. I thought it would never come out. I sent her down to the kindergarten so Janice could pull it. I don't pull teeth. I've never pulled one of my children's teeth. It's always sad to me when they start to lose their baby teeth. They have such a different look about them when those bigger teeth start to come in.

What in the world is reformed theology? I've been reading some things about it tonight, but I can't seem to wrap my brain around it.

I've seen a few lovebugs, but not anywhere near as many as post-Katrina. Last year, they were a pestilence of Biblical proportions. This year, I've seen fewer than ten.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I just read several entries from Jen’s blog, and I think maybe she and I are experiencing some of the same frustrations. Funny that I don’t know how to call in sick, either. It’s just so much easier to go to work than it is to plan to be out.
I see Leslyn has started a blog too, and Rachel e-mailed me that she signed up for one. It somehow makes me feel more connected to all of you. It’s funny how I check several blogsites of friends every day, and I get irritated if they go for a while without writing, yet I seldom ever write myself.

I found this passage from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend in 1820:

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

I believe that, and I work so hard not only to try to keep myself informed, but to inform those around me (whether they want to be informed or not). However, sometimes I get really mad because I think people just don’t have enough backbone to do what’s right. There was a situation at the beginning of the year at school that was just flat out wrong. It involved a child in my class–a placement error–and I informed the principal of it the day before school started. I’m not going to go into details here, but it smacked of the whole "Texas Miracle" thing that of course turned out to be the "Texas Myth". Well, anyway, nobody wanted me to say anything about it, so I of course told everybody about it. I am first and foremost a child advocate. Anything less would be educational malpractice. So, for the first few days of school, I kept pointing it out and pointing it out. Finally, they removed the child from my class and put her with another first grade teacher they knew wouldn’t say anything. I keep telling this other teacher to put her foot down and get that child some help, but she won’t do it. Says she’s not the type to rock the boat. So, every chance I get, I "inform her discretion" and tell her she’d better advocate for that child. I try to fire her up by saying things like, "if not you, who?" and "if not now, when?" and other go-fight-win speeches. All to no avail, I’m afraid. She’s not "exercising her control with wholesome discretion, that’s for sure."

Speaking of exercising, I’d better get after it.
I just read several entries from Jen’s blog, and I think maybe she and I are experiencing some of the same frustrations. Funny that I don’t know how to call in sick, either. It’s just so much easier to go to work than it is to plan to be out.
I see Leslyn has started a blog too, and Rachel e-mailed me that she signed up for one. It somehow makes me feel more connected to all of you. It’s funny how I check several blogsites of friends every day, and I get irritated if they go for a while without writing, yet I seldom ever write myself.

I found this passage from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend in 1820:

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

I believe that, and I work so hard not only to try to keep myself informed, but to inform those around me (whether they want to be informed or not). However, sometimes I get really mad because I think people just don’t have enough backbone to do what’s right. There was a situation at the beginning of the year at school that was just flat out wrong. It involved a child in my class–a placement error–and I informed the principal of it the day before school started. I’m not going to go into details here, but it smacked of the whole "Texas Miracle" thing that of course turned out to be the "Texas Myth". Well, anyway, nobody wanted me to say anything about it, so I of course told everybody about it. I am first and foremost a child advocate. Anything less would be educational malpractice. So, for the first few days of school, I kept pointing it out and pointing it out. Finally, they removed the child from my class and put her with another first grade teacher they knew wouldn’t say anything. I keep telling this other teacher to put her foot down and get that child some help, but she won’t do it. Says she’s not the type to rock the boat. So, every chance I get, I "inform her discretion" and tell her she’d better advocate for that child. I try to fire her up by saying things like, "if not you, who?" and "if not now, when?" and other go-fight-win speeches. All to no avail, I’m afraid. She’s not "exercising her control with wholesome discretion, that’s for sure."

Speaking of exercising, I’d better get after it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I finished three miles of a four mile workout, then ran out of steam. I really don’t have time to work out twice a day, but the 5:00 a.m. workout gets me going for the day and the p.m. workout helps relieve a lot of stress. I’m not going to be hard on myself if I don’t make it all the way through the evening one.

It was good to see the comments from Jen and Leslyn t his morning. I’m not sure I knew Jen had left USM. I’ll have to find out the deal with that. All the more reason for us all to get together. Of course, it’s ridiculous to even say that when Kim planned a dinner meeting last night and I didn’t go. She told me they discussed Maja Wilson’s Rethinking Rubrics. I’m sorry I missed that, but there was no way I could make it.

I was going to write something funny about the two visits we had Saturday: one from the preacher, the other from several members of the youth group at a church we visited last Sunday. They’d been by a couple of times to invite us, and last Sunday morning we decided we’d just go there instead of driving to Hattiesburg. (I could really write some funny things about the service; not that I’d ever make fun of anyone’s form of worship, it’s just that several things were really funny.) Anyway, we were in the middle of some serious yard-mowing Saturday morning when the preacher and his wife drove up. Now, I’m not big into wearing a lot of clothes when I push a mower, and we won’t even get into the hairdos I come up with. Suffice it to say, I think they may have been somewhat uncomfortable. Truly, and you may all laugh at me for this, I am from the school of thought that says you absolutely do not ever drop in on someone. I see that as a social faux pas. My sister and I are very close, and I always call before I go to her house, just as she calls before coming here. So, really, I was a little irritated that they just showed up. I invited them in for coffee or tea, but they declined. I really did want to talk to the preacher about the way he taught Hebrews 2 completely out of context, though. Or, at least, the first three verses. I was real surprised that his "text" was three verses, but Shontelle assures me that three verses is the norm.

Anyway, they finally left, and we mowed a while longer, then came in for a little lunch. Tim got back out to the yard before I did, and when I turned the doorknob to go back out, I saw the youth group in the driveway talking to Tim. (Shontelle says this was the "second team".) I decided to just stay inside until they left. No need to scare the children with my attire. So two drop-in visits, all because we went to church there one Sunday. I was more than a little confused by the whole thing. I mean, none of them asked us anything at all about our relationship with God or anything like that. It was just all about how they offer this and that and the other for the youth, and they offer this and that and the other for the elementary students. None of that interests me in the slightest. In fact, it all seemed rather secular, to tell the truth. Pizza outings and swim parties and volleyball games. I have nothing against any of those things, but I don’t understand why they think it will make us chomp at the bit to go to their church. Well, as I said, I was going to write something funny about it–I even had myself cracking up over it while I was working out–but I can’t for the life of me remember any of it. I promise I was not going to make fun of them; it was self-deprecating humor. Really. It was. But I can’t seem to recapture the wit.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nine Eleven

I don't have much to say about the anniversary of nine eleven. Mary Lou is subbing right now for a teacher who had surgery. She came by today to tell me she will always remember that I'm the one who told her about the planes.

Today is Hannah's fifteenth birthday. A big one, it seems. I was in labor 22 hours with her. From 9:00 on the night of the 10th until 7:30 on the night of the 11th. She was two days past her due date. We'd had several fire drills at school the day before. I remember waddling out to that playground over and over, herding the children to our assigned spot. Mr. Carr would come out with the bullhorn and announce that we had to try again and get it faster. Finally, after the third time, he remembered my condition and announced that my class could sit the rest of them out. I was sure thankful. It was way too hot, and I was way too big.

I got an e-mail from Miles today. He sent me a link to a letter of his that is published in tomorrow's edition of The Guardian. He wants my thoughts on it. I'm not sure I have any--don't know much about foraging, really. (Here's the letter: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1870043,00.html). When I read The Poisonwood Bible I was struck by the way keeping food on the table consumed their entire day. Not to whine or anything, but truly that is the way it was here for at least a week after Katrina. A grocery store opened in Seminary six days after the storm, but there was nothing on the shelves. By then, we'd lost everything in the freezer and the refrigerators. I don't want to sound as if I'm complaining. I am not. We had food, for which I am eternally grateful. What I'm saying is that getting those meals on the table consumed my days. I am pretty certain I cooked some bad chicken around Friday of the first week, and I was praying hard the whole time we were eating that meal that we wouldn't get sick from it.

This year is killing me. I am taking good care of myself out of absolute necessity. I am eating right and back on a regular exercise program. It occurs to me as I am sitting here typing that what I desperately need is a support group. I need some people to tell me I can do this. Maybe some of the SMWP bunch can start blogging about our school days on the SMWP blog site? Anybody else having a bad year? Anybody want to blog with me about it?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Just an Entry

I know I should be at the ballgame, but I just couldn’t wake up enough to get dressed. I sat on the couch with a book for just a minute when I got home, and the next thing I knew it was 6:30–time to have already left. So Tim went alone. I saw Hannah cheer at her first varsity game last week, I’ve seen her at the first two pep rallies. I shouldn’t feel guilty. But I do.

It took me a while to wake up; I think I could’ve easily slept through the night. I was up with Lizzie at 3:30 this morning–bad dream–and then by the time I got settled in again it was 4:30. My alarm was set for 5:00, so I just stayed awake. I’ve never needed a three-day weekend as badly as I need this one. I’ve never worked as hard as I’m working this year, and the weekends are always filled up with things that keep me from getting any rest. The last two Saturdays, I had to go to birthday parties for my students, so I almost cried last night when Tim handed me the phone and it was Erica inviting us to Seth’s birthday party tomorrow morning at 10:00. It’s a two hour drive, which means four hours in the car for a two hour party. She told me all about getting all her landscaping done, and I do want to see it. Her new house is beautiful, though I still don’t understand why she needs six bedrooms, four baths, a six-burner stove. She doesn’t cook. I guess it’s not my business. This summer, I started watching House Hunters, a show on HGTV, and I’d get so frustrated because the couples never seemed to know what they needed, whereas I knew exactly which of the three houses they should buy. Tim would walk through and I’d say, "These people are so short-sighted. Why can’t they see that as soon as she gets pregnant they’re gonna’ wish they’d never bought that house? And of course they can never resell because that is one ugly house."

I really should be updating my classroom website right now. I mean, if I’m going to skip the ballgame, it should be for some productive purpose. I’ve asked around about how to put videos of my students online, and I am to the point that I just want to slap people around. Really, I’m that frustrated. Last week, I asked Tom, and he responded with an e-mail to this effect: Shmirken shnitzel fleikel yerken. Or at least that’s what I got out of it after several re-readings. I am beginning to think that maybe computer snobs enjoy keeping the rest of us confused and in the dark so we’ll stay off their turf. Or maybe they’re just purists or something. There is one thing of which I am absolutely convinced, though, and that is that nothing has to be as difficult as they let on. Here’s a parallel that explains my hunch: It’s as if you asked someone how to make a peanut butter sandwich and they said, "First you must go to the field and gather a pint of peanuts. Roast them in a 400 degree oven for an hour and a half. Once cooled, pulverize the nuts with a mortar and pestle. Add one tablespoon of peanut oil and pulse in food processor to desired consistency. For the bread, open a package of yeast. . ." See what I mean? Probably the answer to my video question could simply be "right click this, left click that, etc" . To the purists, that would be the equivalent of Wonder Bread and Jif.

Hannah went and got herself elected freshman maid in the homecoming court. She asked if she could run for Class Favorite (nothing wrong with being popular), Treasurer (why not? high school freshmen don’t have any money), and Freshman Maid (hmm. . .three expensive outfits, rent a convertible. . . I don’t know), and I signed the form. She got it all, and now I have to buy a cocktail dress, an evening gown, and sportswear, and Tim has to find a convertible and make sure his suit still fits.

I wanted to write about The Magician’s Nephew and other things we’re doing in the classroom, but this headache I’ve had since Monday is starting up again. I have classic migraine symptoms, complete with aura and everything, and I’m trying to pretend that’s not what it is. It started last May, the day before school was out. I went to the bathroom at school, and I had to stay there for a while because there were dots swimming before my eyes. It was pretty bad and shook me up a good deal. Then the next day, I had a piercing pain right behind my right eye. It lasted for just under 24 hours, and when it went away my right temple was sore for three or four days. I had two more episodes of that same thing this summer, with the swimming dots coming about twenty-four hours before the piercing pain. Now, just since school has started, I’ve had three headaches, and this one has been off and on since Monday. Aspirin takes the edge off it and makes it bearable, so I am thankful for that. I just don’t have time to go to the doctor for a prescription.