Sunday, November 30, 2008

An athlete, I am not...

But, I'm trying. Someone, a friend of mine, made a comment about how my daily "runs" have turned into "walks" and questioned what was up with that. (yeah.. I'm talking to YOU.. YOU know who you are.... Uh Huh... that's right!! See where any off-handed remark can lead?? You are now responsible for a blog post - hope you are happy with yourself!)

I try to be somewhat athletic. I try because I know if I don't that I will be overcome by the Battle of the Midlife Bulge, and I will loose. So, I continue to get up at the crack of O'mygoditsearly and do something. Admittedly, I have lagged a bit from trying to regain my stamina from earlier this summer. But I am just one of those people for whom no good deed goes unpunished... the more I try to do for myself, exercise wise, the more I get hurt! Last year it was my foot and a nasty case of Plantar Faciatis, and now it is my shins. Shin splints are not fun and I seem to get them with relative ease. So, when the shins started to sting a bit, I knew it was time to do 2 things... 1) slow it down and 2) buy new shoes. You'd think the second one, with me being of the female persuasion and all, would be a delight. Pumps are a delight - cute, sexy little slingbacks are a delight. Running shoes are NOT a delight... they are a necessity like groceries.

But - today, before the delight of 165 minutes of Hugh Jackman on a larger than life screen before my eyes, I went to the local running store and bought a new pair of running shoes. And a flashy-thingy for my arm so I can be seen in the darkness of O'mygoditsearly since clearly I cannot be seen and was nearly hit a week or two ago by some idiot. And I got some gloves because finally, after months and months of waiting, its getting cold.

So, today, I stepped it up a bit and ran out, walked back home. Tomorrow - no excuses - new shoes, running.... See - take that "walking"!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm not ready for the Christmas music yet!!

The turkey is done, a big pot of chili is cooking on the stove as I type, and everywhere I go I am hearing Christmas music. From the moment we don the Halloween costumes, it is full steam ahead to the new year... so I suppose that whooshing sound I hear is time passing me by.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving... hope all you reading this (all 5 of you!) did as well. For those who were concerned that perhaps I had killed a member of the administration for the horrible class list they gave me for sex-ed can rest assured that I made it through. And, if truth be told, it was not all that bad... but SHHH - don't tell anyone I work with - I still have a huge sympathy card to play out! The kids were decent and I survived to teach it another year. Yipee...

I was at the grocery store today buying all the necessities for a good pot of home made chili and the music being piped into the store was Christmas carols. Neighbors are putting up lights. Some have the whole scene ready to go... even my mom has her tree up. Me? I'm SO not ready.. I realize Thanksgiving was late this year and time's a-wasting but ACK - I'm not ready for it to be Christmas yet. That means only like 13 days of teaching left - and that means all my kids have to endure another round of benchmark testing and I'm not ready yet!! How does this happen? I've had 9 weeks to plan out my quarter and now I am scrambling... feels like college end of semester all over again!! I guess old habits do die hard!

So, its been a nice break, this Thanksgiving holiday... 4 days off. Ahhhh - it was needed! I've been able to even get a nap in nearly each day so far, and can see it happening again tomorrow!! However, I have also walked 12 miles so far, done 6 loads of laundry, shampooed the carpets throughout the house, steam cleaned the floors, scrubbed the bathrooms (eeewwww), windexed all the mirrors, changed the sheets on the beds, washed all the sheets and made a pot of chili.

And someone called this a 'vacation'?? Really??

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are they TRYING to get me to quit??? One wonders...

I didn't protest (much) when the admin made me teach elementary kids. I didn't protest (again, much) when forced to teach 4 preps a day. I actually welcomed taking on the regular education math class. I know it is totally messed up, but over all I am OK with teaching 3 subjects to 4th graders, a self-contained Language Arts class, an LRC support class where I support all 4 subjects, and Math for 6th grade. Its a lot - but its fine.

THIS - however, is NOT fine. This is not, in any way, shape or form, OK. How on earth I got saddled with this is beyond me. I want to ask what I did to really make someone angry or should I just take the hint that they want me to quit???

Every year, as a district, we have to teach Human Growth & Development. Sex-ed to you and me... Its an abstinence based program, pretty mild but still... its difficult material and it makes the kids all goofy and giggly and hormone-crazed for days. In short, we try, whenever possible, to make sure HG&D coincides with either a weekend or a vacation.

I've always taken 'one for the team' so to speak, and have volunteered to teach the boys. I have 3 boys, I will never have to give the "period" talk to a daughter - seemed fitting. I'm also a 6th grade teacher, so I have, typically, worked with the 6th graders. And, as a team, we have always tried to even out the pile - group some of the more 'challenging' kids with some quieter kids rather than dump all the rabble-rousers into one room.

So, I take today off. It was a well deserved and much needed day off. I check, against my better judgement, my work email to find "the list" of kids for HG&D. I suspected that I would be forced to have 8th graders - I had put my protest about this down in writing yesterday and heard nothing back from the administration, so I could only assume they pretended to not see it... BUT THIS??

Not only do I have 35 8th grade boys, which is hell on earth enough by itself, but they gave me every single delinquent in the 8th grade. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!!! These are kids who, everyone knows, cannot be in SCIENCE or ART together because of their behavior, but they think it is OK to put them in a room with ME when we are talking about puberty and sex glands and such????? REALLY?? And what, you may ask, did they do to the teacher who gets the other group of boys?? Yeah - the MALE teacher teaching 8th grade HG&D gets the gifted, National Junior Honor Society boys.

I'm seeing red, I tell you... I sent a very carefully worded email to the admin. If they do not change this roster, I will exercise my right to refuse to teach the class. Am I seriously not dumped on ENOUGH already??? GEESH! There's got to be an easier way to make a buck these days!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In the absence of Fall...

The desert is never about middle ground. We have some of the tallest mountains in the Southwest right next to some land ridiculously below sea level. We seem to be all about the extremes here... from our landscape to our weather to the conspicuous consumption I see all around this town, even in the current turmoil of economic uncertainty. I marvel every year at how we go from having the AC on one day, to needing the heat on the next.

Its happened again... welcome to Winter in the desert. Sure, it will get colder, wetter and may even grace us with a flake to two (which brings Scottsdale to a comical HALT) than it is now, but we have turned the corner... and I, for one, can breathe a sigh of relief.

But there is something nice about those two beautiful transition seasons - fall and spring. They prepare us, the tease us just a bit, and they lay the ground work for us to say good bye to one season and get ready for the next. Sure, there's a misstep every now and then, like the day I remember coming home from school before Halloween, and seeing my neighbor DeeDee Boyle dashing to a car, covering herself to protect her from the VERY wet snow that was falling... Or the time my friend from middle school and I were taking pictures of each other in sundresses and sandals in January, when the temperature reached a balmy 61*. But usually, the seasons beckon us, gradually, allowing us to get used to the change and accept it.

Not here... one day, its 98*, the next, its 88*, and the next, its 68*. BLAMO - just like that. From flip flops to cashmere sweaters within a week. Kind of makes your head spin, just a bit!

Monday, November 10, 2008

And the world keeps on spinning

The velocity of the earth must be getting faster... the passage of time can certainly NOT have anything to do with my age, right? We blew through Halloween and are staring Thanksgiving down the barrel. Holy smokes - Christmas is right around the corner, then its 2009.... WOAH.. gotta slow it down a bit and enjoy the passage of time (rather than hear it whizzing by my head!)

The boys had originally told me, back in September, that they did not really want to go trick or treating this year. Huh?? The all-American holiday that pays homage to sugar and trans-fats? And they don't want to participate? I knew they would eventually change their minds, so I went along with a simple "Ok, if this is what you want, just realize that you can't change your mind last minute". I got a "We won't" in response.

Guess what they did about 10 days before Halloween?? Yup - changed their minds and wanted to go out. So, quick thinking and a phone call to my own personal Martha Stewart (Thanks Libbet!) we had some good ideas for home-made costumes. Admittedly, I found something simply adorable and irresistible for Christopher, so I had already stocked that one away.

We were originally going to get together with a friend from swim lessons, Asher, and his family to watch the USC v. Washington game, but the day was going to be crazy, so we decided to do Halloween instead... everyone had a delightful time, the older boys took to escorting Asher and Christopher around while the moms tagged behind for safe measure... it was probably one of the best Halloweens on record.. at least, for us!

Now we are headlong into November. I had my big, huge State test on Saturday so I can breathe a big sigh of relief, unless I didn't pass it in which case I get to try again. Hopefully by mid-December, I will have my results.

The air has started to cool, but I still hear the air conditioning click on occasionally. I refuse to turn on the heat while we still need the AC, so mornings in the house are becoming a tad chilly. Its amazing how, over the course of 3 days, we cam move from summer to winter.

I'm not feeling particularly poetic or verbose tonight - just wanted to give a quick update and share the following... how cute were our little monsters??