Sunday, May 27, 2007


Its Memorial Day weekend. 2 years ago, Dad was still with us, walking around, watching the Indy 500 with diligence.

Dad's been very much on my mind this weekend - we watched the Indy in his honor (and Parker loves all those cool cars... plus we have some 6th-degree of seperation thing going with Danika Patrick) I actually enjoyed the bits of the race that i saw...

Then, I spent most of the afternoon in the pool. Dad would have been proud... We had this barnacle-looking gunk building up along the waters edge. Its mostly calcuim and salt deposits from our lovely hard water. So, today I took a putty-knife to it and scraped it all off. It reminded me of the annual spring cleaning Dad would do of the pool in CT. Dad would have liked that I did it myself and did not ask the pool guy to do it for me.

The boys were even talking about Dad this weekend.... It makes me so glad they still remember him.

I hope your memorial day is spent reflecting on all we have and being thankful of those who have given all they have so that the Dream can live on...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Birthday Woe

Its getting to be that time again -

Birthday Party Planning for Parker.

How did birthday parties become Birthday Parties??

I had parties every year, but small ones, just a few friends (like, oh, 3 or 4) and it was at home. I think we have a unique (at least I hope its unique and not ubiquitous across the nation) "one-upping the Jones's" thing here in Scottsdale where the bigger and more extravagant the party, the better. I feel like a heel having a swim party with a barbeque in the back yard because the bar has been set to rent out this space or that space and invite 100 kids.

I refuse to participate. Parker does want his party at a place called "Line Drives" which has indoor batting cages. We will think about it, but he will be limited to 5 or 6 friends.

And while I am on the topic of things gone crazy, what's up with the favors?? Those are way out of control as well. I think its enough to invite a kid to a venue and feed them and babysit them for 2.5 hours. I know we apprecite the fact that our kid's friends actually come to the party, but must we GIVE them something as well?? Really??

I think this year our invitations will read "in lieu of gifts for the birthday boy, please bring unwrapped gifts for the children's wing of Scottsdale North Hospital" or something like that.

Perhaps I will get laughed out of town by all the ne'er-do-well moms. But then, perhaps I might just make them think.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yesterday, our school psychologist gave me an article from the Wall Street Journal that detailed out exactly why I am so unbelieably frustrated as a special ed teacher. We are powerless as teachers, administrators and schools, to do what is right, not only for the student in question, but for the community of students. What the following video fails to mention (and I find that interesting for many reasons) is that for years, the school, the psychologist and the district recommended alternative placements for this child, and the parent would have nothing to do with that. And, in the end, the parent won.

Its a rhetorical question, but I am forced to ask WHY?

Watch this - its about 3.5 minutes long.--->> Educating Eric

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

8 random things

I've been tagged now by Nancy and JennT. If you are not either Nancy or Jenn, then consider yourself tagged and add 8 random things to your own blog (and then send me a link!)

1) I just got new business cards for my photography biz. The baby's foot (Chris was my willing model) is adorable and I love it, but it does limit me to babies. Not that I mind, but if we go through a dry spell of pregnant women or wrinkly newborns, I'd rather not get left out in the cold. (or heat. Its officially HOT here now...)

2) There are many things I will not miss about GWB when he leaves office. Actually, there is nothing I will miss... but one thing I hope gets changed with lightening speed is our nation's thoughts about special education. This is coming from a special education teacher, to please don't flame me by telling me I have no idea what I am talking about... We've got to rethink this whole idea of including kids with regular kids when there is justifiable reason to keep them seperate. I could seriously care less about the spirit of the law on this one, but when one student who should be educated in a seperate environment is hindering the education of other students just because we don't want to "Exclude" anyone, I have a big problem with that. BIG. Its been my rant of late...

3) Same goes for this "Open Enrollment" crap that our district embraces. If we accept a thug into our school (who reason would say has not been successful in his/her home school) and we loose a good kid because of that thug, well, we are at net-zero as far as dollars go. Only, we are now left with a school of thugs because the good kids have all left for other schools.

4) I don't have enough to do, so I am joining the Board of the USC Alumni Association/Phoenix chapter.

5) Parker has only 2 baseball games left this season. Baseball has been a resounding success here!

6) Can I just mention once again that Grammar Girl is my hero??

7) Matthew has now lost 3 teeth. He looks crooked because his teeth make a right-triangle in his mouth.

8) If there is Karma in this world, can it just say I've paid my dues to society and find me a teaching gig with some "regular" kids next year??

Monday, May 14, 2007


I sent the following email to my dear friend, Nancy; a woman who has the most wonderful way with words and is an editor/writer in her free time. I decided to open it up to the hordes of folks who hang on my every word as well...

Two things...

1) Have you come across "grammar girl" in iTunes? I'm addicted. She is my hero. The frustrated Engligh-teacher inside of me has scads of lessons all worked out in my head using Ms. GG. Sadly, in my head they shal remain because I am pigeon-holed into the job of trying to teach a group of hoodlums who do not want to learn. That discovery, however (GG) leads me to question #2...

2) Do you have the difinitive explaintion for why people should use "finished" rather than "done"? My friend in college put it in terms I simply cannot use with my students, namely, "Turkeys and whores are done; people are finished". I try to use "batch of cookies" to replace the more colorful terms, but would love to find the actual reasoning behind this rule.

Any thoughts??

The latter quirk in the English language is really a sticking point for me. In the same manner as "can I go to the bathroom" leads to "I don't know - it sounds like a personal question to me", I am forced by some unseen entity to rephrase my students, and even waitstaff, when I hear "I'm/Are you done". Its nails on a chalkboard to me. And while I can explain pet peeve #1 (can/may) I am stimied at done/finished. I'd love some ideas on that.

Speaking of words, I do have something to be quite thankful for. (and yes, reader, I intentionally ended a sentence with a preposition. So shoot me already... there are times to sound proper and stuffy and there are times to just write, and this is no time for stuffiness) Christopher is gathering words into his little vocabulary with amazing speed right now. He loves to name off body parts (head, ear, toe, shoe) and is trying to name his toys as well.

My thankfullness comes in the form of the word "TRUCK". I am thankful that at this tender age he is not even going to attempt the /tr/ phoneme, which is far too advanced for him in an articulation sense. His brothers all tried it way too early in life, meaning I held my breath in fear every time they played with a truck. God forbid someone, such as an orderly, should ASK my dear sons what they were playing with, such as a truck, in a public place, such as a hospital waiting room. Because, the Jensen boys are more than willing to answer questions when asked, and they answer with gusto - and you can imagine the looks I got from those answers...

No - Christopher veers away from his brothers in may ways. Not the least of which is the fact that a "truck" to Chris is simply a "tuck".

Thank god for small favors. Or phonemes...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

5 weeks - coming out of hiding now...

Its been about 5 weeks since Easter - I try to be better at this than I turn out to be. Good intentions, and all that...

I've decided the last quarter of school each year is basically a wash of insanity, exhaustion and frustration. It started 3 years ago - it's the same now. To go into detail would just exhaust me again, but let's say that being a "tenured" teacher ain't all its cracked up to be. I've been pigeon-holed into a job I want to get out of, and it appears I am stuck.

In these 5 weeks, we fostered a BMD pup for a family going through a very rough patch. Bentley made fast friends with Schooner and we were all pleased to see that she actually grew up when she was no longer the baby in the house. Keep your fingers crossed that it's a one way street!!

To top off my somewhat foul mood, we have had temps over 100* for the last 3 days. Eventually, we will get used to it and 104 will be a welcomed relief from 118, but in the interim we are all hot, sweaty and cranky. Me, probably most of all.

I was sidelined with a foot injury about a month ago - I developed Plantar Faciitis in my right foot. I am now seeing signs that I may actually HEAL someday, but I've been unable to run and that has really not done good things for either my overall demeanor or my waistline. I am both pleased and somewhat amazed that I am still comfortably in my "one size bigger than I want to be" shorts so no too much damage has been done. I started back this last week on the treadmill and so far so good. I've said a million times that I will let my head, not my ego, determine how hard I run. One day I might just remember to do that!

While not running, I have gotten back on my bike lately, and that's been good. As a Mothers Day treat for myself, I explored a new land - the famous Scottsdale Greenbelt. It's roughly a 2.5 mile ride TO the Greenbelt and then I rode probably another 4 miles or so down the belt. Its lovely - makes you forget you are in the desert - grass, lakes, trees, shade... I thought at first I went about 11 or 12 miles, but I generally keep a 15mph pace on flat roads, and this was flat. I'm thinking it was closer to 13 or 14 miles. Now that I finally got my little GPS gadget to work, I will be able to actually TELL you just how far, how fast and how hard my heart worked in the process...

I love numbers!!