December 26, 2008

And Now a Rest?

The first week of break has gone by so quickly! We had a lovely Christmas--I made fajitas for dinner, for those of you who were following along. Simple and yummy and followed with my sweetie's favorite birthday cake: angel. (I think it's an amusing favorite cake for someone born on Christmas!)

We tried to go out for a walk at a park Christmas afternoon, but it started raining and blowing. So, we took a drive in the rain instead since we were out anyway.

Christmas night and this morning were busy times cleaning the house, putting away Christmas decorations, finding a place for gifts, laundry, and packing for the remainder of the break. This afternoon, we took the kids to California to spend the rest of their vacation with their maternal family, and in the morning we hit the road for northeastern Utah to visit my family.

So far, no rest for this chyck. I mean, it hasn't been as stressful as regular life, but certainly not peaceful. I only hope our drive north is clear tomorrow. The drive to California was not peaceful at all: accelerated--slam on brakes--coast--coast--coast--accelerate--accelerate--driving, getting somewhere--slam on the brakes. Over and over. I remember now why I rarely accompany them to the drop off/pick up on visitation weekends.

The funny thing is that deathly, stressful 90 mile stretch of I-15 between California and Nevada will be nothing like the open stretch of I-15 we'll drive for 380 miles through Utah. Crossing our fingers the storm that slammed the state on Christmas has completely moved its way through--or it could be a repeat of brakes and coasting from today. Otherwise, it should be pretty easy driving.

I have fresh batteries in my camera, so maybe I'll be able to get some pretty snow pictures. I'll be looking for the kind with sparking crisp snow and bright blue skies! That sounds peaceful, doesn't it?

December 22, 2008

You Need More Than Christmas Cookies

Not a lot of time for reading yet. I'm The Mom. That means I spent the weekend doing Christmas shopping. It's not that we're even buying a lot this year, but it takes time to navigate traffic on the streets and in the stores. Both Saturday and Sunday I came home simply exhausted and desiring a nap.

I'm back out on the streets today to pick up the major gifts I could not buy because I had one of the little elves by my side the whole weekend. And then to the grocery store. Ugh. The grocery store. Not just for holiday food, either. We are out of bread, eggs, milk, coffee, fruit, vegetables--just about everything--and have been for a few days. That has nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with being The Mom who is overextended in life.

Oy, but the holiday food! What am I making for dinner?
I'd like to make something nice, but I'd like to not spend a lot of time doing it. That's my feeling toward most dinners, thus we eat a lot of soups and stews--we usually get two dinners for the effort of one. "Merry Christmas, dear family. May I present the special Christmas stew?" Uhm. Maybe not. As for the traditional meat on sale at all the markets, I like ham sandwiches, but I don't like my house to smell like pork. So actually buying any form pork requires cooking is out, out, out.

My fav market has all kinds of veggies on sale. How about a nice Christmas ratatouille? A little work intensive with all the chopping, but I have some elves who would love to help with that!

Oh! What about a Christmas meatloaf? My family likes meatloaf, but...maybe not.

Or fish! No, not lutefisk. (Thankfully, that was never a family tradition. Let the other Lutherans eat that.) Tuna steaks. Marinated with some simple soy and wasabi. It's green and red! My kids will eat wasabi, but not rare tuna. Weirdos. They do love my talapia, though. We might be on to something. Simple, but good.

I wish I had some connections to a mom who makes tamales. Christmas tamales. Yum.

What about Christmas fajitas? That would be very festive with all the reds and greens, right?

Enough procrastinating. I'll just have to stand in front of the meat case until something pops out at me like I usually do. Or, maybe that's not a good idea. That tactic often results in spaghetti without meat sauce or eggs for dinner. Something tells me that's just not going to fly.

December 19, 2008

I Can Read Books For Pleasure!

Thanks to two dear friends--one is our librarian, and the other, the 7th grade English teacher with whom I share book interests--I have three books to read over the break:
I have a few of my own at home to read, too. I have East of Eden by Steinbeck and Pillars of the Earth by Follet collecting dust by my bed, but I think I'll start off with something lighter. Normally that would be some Christmas romance--who doesn't like to find true love at Christmas time--but I suppose I've been saved by a young adult book instead.

I'm certain my spirit will be restored over the long winter break once I get some fresh literature to quench my stifled brain. I need a fix so badly I could cry.

December 17, 2008

Snow Panic

You know times are slow on the blog when I talk about the weather, but this is pretty serious!


It's a pretty big deal. It doesn't happen very often. Like once in 30 years. Maybe not that long, but maybe more than a decade, but amounts we are getting is forcing news channels to show pictures from 1978. Actually, it snowed on the west side of town earlier this week, but it's snowing on The Strip now. My work 'hood is close to Downtown, and my house isn't too far from that, and we have snow, too. Lots of it. And some rain, too. It's a mess.

And tomorrow we have a SNOW DAY!

It's kind of funny to me because I lived in northern Utah for 20 years, and I don't ever remember a snow day. I remember having to walk to school in the snow. I remember years with lots of snow. I remember slipping and falling on my bum a lot. I remember always being wet and cold. Snow days? Nope.

After I was an adult, I remember many mornings having to wake up early so I could shovel my way to the car so I could "pre-heat" it for 20 minutes before inching my way down unplowed roads to work.

I think the biggest difference is that Clark County reportedly has 12 snow plows, and half of them are on the mountain that always gets snow. With only six plows, it might be a cold day in hell before you get your street cleaned off. Although, it is kind of a cold day in hell right now.

Sadly, I am hanging with Miss A, and I wish I would have brought that large stack of essays or some yearbook stuff that we are behind on. It was coming down hard when I left the building late in the afternoon--and I had to use a plastic bag to clean two inches of snow off my car (who has a snow scraper?)--but I never thought it would lead to a day off tomorrow.

It's madness.

Guess I don't have to call in cranky after all!

Thinly Disguised "Wonderings"

  • If that kid is so smart, why does he submit his work to the "Return" box at the back on the room instead of the "Inbox" on my desk? Why does he still not know about this procedure in December?
  • Why did I not know that the in-house suspension room doesn't open until 8:00 a.m.? What about the students who have an early bird class at 7:00 a.m.? They get to attend one class and act like jerks? And since the office knows more than I do about the hours of in-house detention, why request work from me if the kid is suppose sit in my class? Thank you for your support, for making me look like a fool when I chew out a student for sitting in my class when she can't report to in-house, and for wasting my time as I prepare work for the student who won't be missing my class for in-house.
  • Why does it feel like the air conditioning is on at one point in the day and later the furnace is on full-blast? I can't figure out the pattern either. It just goes back and forth.
  • Are 50-foot ceilings really cost effective when it comes to heating?
  • Am I the only one that has figure out that my high-schoolers are so hot because they won't take off their sweatshirts (school-approved). Under the sweatshirts, they aren't wearing their collared shirts. Betcha anything. Sorry kid, I will not be opening the door or turning on the fan. Take off your sweatshirts! Can't? Tough!
  • Am I the only one who hates group activities for online classes? I can't follow the conversation in the stupid threads. Why won't the university use an application more conducive to creating online group papers like a wiki or Googledocs? I suggested using a wiki with my group last quarter, but they couldn't figure out how to use it. Sigh. I guess we all have our deficiencies because I have a hard time following multi-topic discussions with five people about multi-topic papers while keeping up with who thinks what, who is doing what, and who is revising what.
  • Am I too old to throw tantrums when I get lost and confused?
  • Can I call in "cranky" tomorrow?

December 12, 2008

The Time Has Come

That one last nerve I have is completely frayed.

Yes, I only have one. I think I have mentioned that before, but I can't find where. Trust me, though. It's true. One. I lost all the others my first three years of teaching.

Here's the teacher dilemma:

Should I put on a happy face and pretend like all loud noises, including whispering, are not going to drive me to drink, or should I warn them upfront that their normal teen behaviors might be the cause of their deaths?

In one way I'm not being true to myself, and the other way I'm just being a biotch if I mention it. It's okay to reveal your feelings as long as they are happy, right?

HappyChyck is not so happy.

I'm feeling a lot of pressure to be a nice, compassionate teacher who does not have inhumane feelings from time to time. Only, that's not how I feel right now. In fact, if you could look inside my head, you might recommend that I not spend any time with impressionable young people.

You might recommend I take a few days off to adjust my attitude before someone gets hurt.

But would you recommend I do it now or wait a mere five more days?

Let's talk differentiation for a minute. Not all learners learn at the same pace. They are all unique.

Teachers are unique, too. Not all teachers can hold out a few more days for a much deserved break.

Makes sense to me.

December 8, 2008

Yearbook Ponderings

We are in too deep to be thinking about such inane things, but to my fellow yearbook advisors, what do you call your individual pictures? When I first learned this gig we called them mug shots, but I notices in the last few years, the term used is portrait pictures.

I prefer mug shots--sounds cooler and fewer syllables when you are barking out orders, ya know? It takes the newbies some time to catch on, but it makes it even more confusing for all of us when the company and its web-based program uses the term portrait.

Do I have to use the new jargon? I like the old jargon. Sure, I bent a little when I labeled all the mug shot pages as portrait pages on the ladder.

But then I thought...

...maybe we need to give a few years to see if these subjects of these pictures are more portrait-worthy or more mug shot-worthy. Just a thought.

December 5, 2008

Jose 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6?

Dear Jose,

You know you are one of my favorite students, but it is necessary for you to label your paper with not only your first name, but also your last name and the period number. Apparently Jose was a very popular name the year you were born, so I have six students with the same name this year--and three of them are in the same class with you! Perhaps you've noticed that I alway call your name with your last initial, too? It's not because it sounds cool--although it does sound a little cool and edgy--it's so I don't bother the other Joses when I'm really calling on you.

Yes, I know you make your Js in special stylized way that the other Joses don't do, but they also have special, cool ways to write their names, and well, it's not that I wouldn't know yours over theirs because, like I said, you are totally my favorite student. I'm old and I'm kind of busy, so I get confused about stuff. So, help me out, Jose, and give me a little more information when you turn in your papers. Just so I don't get confused. You know us teachers...

Thank you! You rock!

Your favorite teacher,

Ms. HappyChyck

December 4, 2008

A Little Slow on the Uptake

Progress grades have been posted on the board for three days.

The students have been working in their groups and independently for 30 minutes during class today.

It's time to transition into a test review where I need to direct the whole class.

Students, why is this the trigger that makes several of you rush up to ask questions about assignments you thought you turned in?

DO take it personally that I'm irritated and cannot give you even 30 seconds of my attention.