Monday, August 19, 2013

A Look Back

     A couple of days ago Doug and I were talking about a trip we made on Route 66 in 2008. He decided to see if it was still available on Google. I blogged almost every night of that trip and even though it is not as polished as this current blog, I had a good time going back and reading about our adventures. For any of you who would like to take a look here's the link:
     It is such a busy week, again, this week. So much to do. Last week was the first week of school and we get a lot of preliminary work done for the semester and this week the work really begins. We have to fly through the weeks as I've mentioned before.
     Had a very busy weekend. Went to a yard sale, a good friend was having, on Saturday morning. Then the overdue trip to Costco. You would think with the large amounts of any given things one buys every time they go to Costco, it would take forever to run out of stuff. Not true.Then on Saturday afternoon and evening I baked. I found a bread recipe that I wanted to try and finally gathered all the ingredients I needed. And I also tried a cake recipe. Jennifer's birthday is on the 29th and I wanted to make her a cake we could all enjoy which means it had to Gluten free and dairy free. I made a chocolate one but it wasn't quite right. Not horrible tasting just more the consistency of a brownie, not light and fluffy. Will try another this week. The bread turned out very nicely so that recipe gets a gold star! Sunday I spent with my neighbor; taking her around to buy plants for her front yard. I'm tired this morning but it felt good to get so much done. I had planned on sewing a little also, but my machine is doing some strange, hair-ball thing with the thread. I suppose I will have to take it to the shop in Morro Bay to get it looked at. I could have used my other machine, but that I carry in my car for sewing days with friends, and I was too lazy to go and get it. Hope I have time as the week goes on to blog. If not I will return soon; I promise! Enjoy the trip on Route 66!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

So far, so good

     Today was the third day of the school year. So far, I think I have some very nice kids. There is always a honeymoon period; where the kids are nice and quiet and do what you ask them to do only because they haven't gotten bored yet, or because what you are asking them to do isn't very difficult. We'll see what happens when the real work begins, which should be sometime next week. Can't tarry too long, this semester passes by so quickly and we have a very full curriculum calendar. The spring semester drags a little, because of testing, but this one flies!
     I have two blocks of juniors this semester and one block of sophomores. Juniors study American Literature, my favorite, and sophomores study World Literature. World Lit. is o.k. too and I am excited because we got a new book in the textbook novels: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It is part of the new "Common Core" Standards that have come along. I had the opportunity to read it this last spring and I think the kids are really going to like it. I thought the writing was very good and the fact that the narrator is Death, is a sure bet with teenagers. I hope it goes well and they like it as much as I did. I struggled with the German in the book but I solved that problem by getting the audio CD's.
     My classes are full, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of switching around. Usually the first two weeks I have kids dropping my class for another and other kids being added to my class. I do quite a bit of prep work for the semester in the first week so it puts the new students behind right off the bat. But that doesn't seem to be happening this year. I am glad. It makes for much smoother transitions for me and my students when we are all together from the very start.
     I decided not to carpool this year. I like the freedom of not being on someone else's schedule. I know. It's cost effective to carpool but I have done it three years out of the seven so I figure I am ahead of the game, so to speak. Not carpooling gives me more time in the morning, the freedom to run late, although I am rarely late, and the freedom to stop on my way home to run an errand or shop. It also gives me the freedom to stay after school for just a little while in case a student needs some help. I haven't been able to do that, and the only other time available is at lunch which the kids hate to give up (me too!) so I think, overall, it was a good decision.
     So, this is all for today. I need to head home and put my feet up for a while, feed Jerome his Greenies and plan for tomorrow, which is Friday; a very good day, indeed!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Almost Over

   I have already had most of the dreams I have every year before the beginning of the school year. I usually have three different ones that kind of loop around every so often, on no particular schedule. They mainly pertain to someone changing or moving my classrooms into different places, configurations, changing the room number. The one I had the other night had a new twist to it. I came into my classroom, which now looked like a basement room with support pillars spaced around it, and found all the walls bare and the desks stacked up to the ceiling on the far wall. It was 5 minutes before the morning bell and there was nothing to be seen: walls blank, my desk and bookcases bare; like some kind of school locust swarm had come through and eaten their fill. When the bell rang, the kids came in and I had them un-pile the desks and put them into rows. I didn't have enough. Students kept coming in and asking me where they were supposed to sit and what my name was. I decided to have everybody sit on the floor, including me. And then the bell rang, and I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, that 95 minutes went fast! And I didn't get to do my seating chart or play my first-day, M&M game!"
    Today is Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday and so ends the summer for me. Actually it ends today because I have to go in and work for a day, according to our contract, sometime between the beginning of August and the day school starts which is this coming Monday. I picked to do that duty tomorrow; Friday. Nothing like waiting till the last minute!
     Where did the summer go? I always ask this right before school starts. This summer has actually been filled with a ton of stuff. I got a lot of things done. I'm not sure I got all the things that were on my list of "things to do" done, but I did do some of them and also some things that were not on the list.
     I finished one quilt and am half way done with another smaller wall hanging and a purse. I read four books. I tried to perfect a cracker in a gluten free existence. "Tried" being the operative word here: I gave it three shots, with three different recipes and none of them worked. I think it is one of those things like pie crust; either one can make one or not. Me: not. I was able to perfect a protein bar recipe, good to go for lunches and I found and made some great gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cookies. I got two chapters of my book written and have enough material to write a third. Making slow progress, but progress. I got to spend some good times with my daughter and husband; but more Jennifer because she is a teacher, too.
     We went on a two lovely trips. The first started with a trip to San Francisco to visit David and Josc, where we went to the Walt Disney Museum. I finally got to see the wonderful Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sister, OR. We also went to a lavender festival. We went to Albany, OR to see the Carousel the whole town is creating and this week we went to Santa Cruz and played on the Boardwalk. While we were up near SC we took the train ride from the boardwalk to Felton and then back down the mountain (a three hour, round trip journey through beautiful redwoods.) We had a great time! I spent two days with my sister, Lea, shopping and talking. I pruned my roses and did some other up-keep in the yards. I planted some flowers and some new succulents I got. I slept in and took naps. I went, once each, to the dentist and podiatrist and endocrinologist and visited my acupuncturist 4 times. Formatted my common notebook for my classes, and got lanyards put on all the thumb drives the kids use for moving and temporary storage of their essays. I was able to contract a security guard for the Auction my guild is having in September, and created the tickets; got the venue insurance.
     Having gotten all that done, I think I am ready to go back to school. Having the summer off (and three weeks at Christmas, and a week in the spring) is really a blessing. Teachers work hard during the school year and we don't get paid for all the time we spend grading essays at night, researching lesson plans, prepping for projects and emailing counselors, administration and each other for school related business. Often it is an all-consuming job. I am sure that is the reason for the dreams before the first day. No one disturbs my room during the summer. Even the years when they have used my room for summer school, the teacher left it in perfect condition. They sometime do move the desks to clean the carpet, but I must admit, they do a pretty god job of putting things back where they found them.
     I, as a teacher, am not alone in having these dreams. Other teachers I know, including my sister, have them. And they are usually the same ones every year. So I guess I am not any stranger than anyone else in my profession. I'll be glad when they stop (and they will) so I can worry about other things in my a new project for Romeo & Juliet, or better yet, something new to reveal about Catcher in the Rye!