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June 1st, 2010
So much for my promises to post updates more often. I'm just very, very tired, discouraged, and sad these days. Friends have died, friends are sick and /or hospitalized. Brother has had another brain tumor removed. Still mourning another brother five years on. Found out one of my most favorite, special students is being beaten by her dad.Another student has been behaving in a highly sexualized manner (for a ten year old), and it's looking like he's been abused. :
The world is broken, indeed. Somehow I find a way to keep getting up and trying, but I really don't have much to report. Maybe later this week.
February 21st, 2010
Maybe I should hire the TSA
Dear Sixth Grade Parents,
Please be aware that, in the interest of protecting students and staff, the following items are now prohibited here at Happy Meadows Middle School:
1. Any food with a diameter of less than three inches, such as Skittles, M&M's, peanuts, raisins, grapes, etc. Such foods become projectiles and could put someone's eye out. For packed lunches, we recommend soft foods such as cottage cheese,yogurt and pudding.Lunches will be thoroughly searched, and all contraband items will be fed to the 8th graders, whose legs are hollow.
2. Any pen or pencil which can be disassembled or dismembered easily. Sixth graders are very skilled at turning ordinary writing implements into weaponry. Please send fat crayons instead. We can't read their writing anyway, but fat crayons will allow them the pretense of performing actual written work at school.
3. Any jewelry item. Apart from the danger of ingestion, jewelry is pointy and sharp.There's time for bling in high school.
4. Pencil sharpeners. A sixth grader's first action upon seeing a small pencil sharpener is to try to sharpen his finger. The blood loss is appalling. Besides, the kid's not allowed to have pencils. Fat crayons, remember?
5. Erasers. Apart from the danger of ingestion, erasers can be turned into projectiles easily. (See #1 and #2) Anyway, erasers don't work on fat crayon marks.
6. Clothing or shoes featuring zippers, buttons, metal pulls, or hard decoration of any type. See #2 concerning weapons assembly expertise of tweenagers. Only velcro fastenings will be permitted. Children wearing dangerous clothing will be given special HMMS body diapers to wear instead.
Please know that all children will be searched upon entering HMMS, and that your child will be educated in a safe environment free of any potential risk from the profound lack of judgement that is the shining hallmark of your average 6th grader. Once puberty has been attained, your child will be allowed to use pencils again. Thank you for your continued cooperation, and have a great day!
February 1st, 2010
"Snow" is a four-letter word
When you live in Tidewater, and snow is predicted, two things are wise: buy lots of food and STAY HOME. No one seems to know how to drive in snow down here, unless they've lived somewhere that has real winter. Two inches of snow slows us to a crawl, and the 6-10 inches we got halted everything, even church!
We're going on day two of no school (tomorrow), which will mean make-up day misery for us teach'ems. WE are required to make up every nanosecond of missed time, despite the way that most of us get there early and stay late. I've been at school an average of 90 minutes extra every day for twenty-three years, usually longer. Add in my at-home work time and I think the School Board gets its money's worth from me.
It has been fun playing in the snow with the Thunderpup, who seems to think we made the yard all weird just for his enjoyment. When not romping, he has been glued to me, so that I may enjoy his snoring and his noxious gases. I've been reading and cooking,keeping the Samurai's tummy stoked.
I am also nursing a mean cold, so some extra downtime is useful. Still, we're getting a little nutty here. More snow is possible this weekend; I guess I'll need more books.
January 23rd, 2010
Sometimes grief is a ninja. You'd think I knew this already, being of an age wherein I have lost many dear to me already. I know the way my throat catches when I read a recipe in the Samurai's mom's handwriting, or the tears that start when I find an old note in my uncle's handwriting. You never really forget, although the remembering is triggered in strange ways. Sometimes you're ambushed just when you think you are the happiest.
So, last Saturday I was sitting in a candlelit War Memorial Chapel, watching our cousin, the MP, as he awaited his bride. He was resplendent in full dress Army uniform, looking young, vigorous, and joyful. Surrounded by family, I beamed at him, and then the music changed to a medley from West Side Story.
My throat closed, my eyes overflowed, and the Samurai tried vainly to understand my distress. I was remembering a wedding twenty years ago, when a young couple who had nearly broken up came together instead,as the bride's uncle played the same music on his trumpet. I saw the Pilot in his dress uniform as his golden Beth made her appearance, and the tears that streaked his face, and ours.
"There's a place for us," the music promised, and I know there is, but their place proved not to be here. My prayer for the MP and his lovely Sara is that they have their place together on Earth longer than Beth and the Pilot did.
January 18th, 2010
Proceed to the nearest exit.
We spent our weekend in Blacksburg, helping one of the Samurai's cousins get married, and had loads of fun which I shall detail later (maybe tomorrow).
The Inn at Virginia Tech hosted the reception, and most of the family stayed there, including us. It felt odd to be sleeping on what used to be the golf course, in a giant Hokie stone edifice, but we adjusted. Our rooms were comfy, and we snuggled in for a well-deserved rest on Saturday after closing down the post-wedding fun.
As I drifted off to sleep,while the Samurai watched football, I congratulated myself for bringing a flannel nighty (comfy) instead of PJs (more restrictive). I had initially gone for the PJs in case the hotel caught fire, then castigated myself for being a worrywart.
Sometime around 6 AM, we were awakened by strobe lights and a loud voice urging us to exit the building via the stairs. (Did I mention that we were on the top floor?) I slung my parka on over my floral flannel nightie, shoved feet into shoes, and grabbed my purse. We schlepped downstairs, adrenaline coursing madly (as it does when an authoritative male voice keeps saying EMERGENCY and GET OUT OF HERE), only to be held up as everyone halted at the door to the outside.
"It's raining!" someone whined.
Seriously? You'd rather let the REST of us fry than get your bedhead wet?
We finally got outside and stood under the hotel's entry awning, watching the fire marshal arrive. No firetrucks, which I took to be a good sign. Huddled up with our cousins, so we weren't too cold.
Finally got to go back in and return to bed, grumbling mightily. Found out the next morning that four sorority girls had decided to use LOTS of hair spray and blow dryers at the same time, setting off the smoke detector in their room. Had I known this at 6 AM, I would have been looking for the four people in the crowd WITHOUT bed head. My size ten wides would have met up with some skinny buttocks right smartly.
As it is, I am strictly a PJs-at-hotels girl forever, now. I'll have my bugout bag ready to go before I sleep, too!
January 3rd, 2010
I've been a total non-posting slacker. I will do better in 2010, if only to entertain Isaac. (Hi, Isaac!)
We traveled a lot over the holidays, to Nashville where we saw all the Huge Persons who purport to be our nephews and niece. After one day home, we headed to Two Dog Hill for New Year's Eve with Corby and Blueleader. In their infinite kindness, they let us bring Thor.
It was the Thunderpup's first long car trip, and he snuggled right down and slept the entire way. Once we arrived, he discovered snow--which he did not like much--and girl dogs, which made him happy. Thor loves all other dogs unconditionally, even growly, snappy ones. He approved of the spacious house and its full water bowl, and decided we could stay a while.
After dinner, he got a big surprise. People started arriving--people he knew! Oh, joy and slobber! More and more people! Thor got lots of petting, made new friends, and managed to plop himself down wherever the greatest concentration of humans happened to be. If that turned out to be the dance floor, no worries. He doesn't mind if you dance around him.
Thor got to sleep in a room with Mom and Dad, with his head on Mom's foot. That was cool, even if Mom's foot got pretty damp. He's been sleeping ever since we got home, but I can tell from the way his paws twitch when he dreams that there's still a party in his head.
Happy 2010, all!
November 12th, 2009
We are here in the Big Dawg Bungalow Ark, safe and sound, as Mom Nature tries really hard to clean all the people off of Tidewater with rain-spit and a big ole wind hanky. No school today, none tomorrow, which means we can lounge in sweats and get our grades done, while watching Firefly DVDs and taking chase-the-puppy breaks.
We'll have to make up for it later, but right now it's good to have a vacation.
When we bought the Bungalow, I knew it was on what passes for high ground in these parts. It's very close to two late-18th c. farmhouses, a block off one of the first roads ever built here, in the 1600s. When that stuff went up, people could choose to build on higher ground (and did, sensibly), unlike newer developments around here, which go up wherever there's room. Our street and yard don't flood, except a few spots in the side yard.
I spent a lot of time this summer improving our gutters and waterproofing the foundation, so my main concerns are the roof (holding up well, so far) and losing power, which happens a lot in Kempsville. Many of our friends in Norfolk are under water, or have ceilings and roofs caving under the weight of 48 hours of driving rain.
We have food,no reason to leave the house, and plenty of stuff to amuse us. Life is okay!
September 27th, 2009
Dance like no one's watching!
Friday night, I chaperoned the first school dance of the year. For my 6th graders, it was their first school dsnce ever. They begged me to come, so I signed on, and at 6:30 I was urging hordes of chattering, bright-faced tweens into the balloon-festooned school cafeteria. Some of them swaggered in wearing fine new dancin' clothes: girls in neon skirts and matching Mary Janes, boys in cool Hawaiian shirts and new Vans, one wee hipster in stovepipe jeans, black dress shirt with the collar up, and enough hair gel to make him look like a large hedgehog. They had a grand time bopping around, doing the zombie dance to Thriller (and they all knew it!), drinking waaay too much Mountain Dew, and talking REALLY LOUDLY.
We had one boo boo when a boy tried break dancing on the slick cafeteria floor, but we're pretty sure his front teeth can be saved. There were a few weepy moments as friends fussed, but overall I think everyone had fun. I got lots of hugs, to my surprise--eighth graders aren't given to hugging, but the little guys really are. I caught up with one special parent of a new 6th grader; she was my student for both 7th and 8th grade, and we've stayed in touch. Her son isn't in my class, but I'll be keeping an eye on him anyway.
I can't wait for the Halloween dance. The kids are already giving me costume suggestions.My favorite is "Old Harry Potter."
September 18th, 2009
It's Picture Day!
The annual school-induced IQ regression has begun. Yes, I am so tired at the end of the day that I forget the alphabet entirely and cannot type, so no LJ postings. Tonight, fortified by a nap and an episode of Glee, I must share with you a tale of eleven-year-olds.
This year, I am teaching sixth graders exclusively. I have been an eighth grade teacher for sixteen years, but last year I did half sixth and half eighth. This year, I annoyed someone in the office, so I'm all sixth, all the time.
I am pleased to relate that it's not that bad. My kids are generally polite and sweet, reasonably intelligent, and cute as bugs.However, they are still (mostly)eleven. This means that they are totally illogical and loony,and hysterically funny. I have to fight not to giggle all the time, especially when I'm fussing at them.
Today, for example, was school picture day. I stood at their lockers as they arrived, reminding them (at least sixty-seven times) to bring their picture money to class.
Of course, when we got inside and seated, four had to go get their money. Later, when we started to line up for our trek to the gym, two more had to go back to their lockers. I repeated several times that they needed to have their picture money in their hands RIGHT NOW. As we were about to leave, two more headed to their seats to get the money they were supposed to be holding already.
We trooped off to the gym, in line by height,but when we FINALLY got there, the last girl in line told me she needed to go back to the locked classroom to get her money. Sigh.
Everyone else seemed to get things straight well enough.Hair was combed, pictures were snapped,and we wended our weary way back to our classroom.
As the kids got seated and ready to begin a city-mandated pretest,one of my more adorable critters raised his hand, blue eyes wide, goofy grin splitting his sweet, vapid little face. In his hand he held a picture form and a grubby check.
"Was I supposed to give this to the photographer?" he chirped.
August 21st, 2009
If it's not one thing, it's another thing.
Roseanne Roseannadanna had it right.
My husband likes to call me Sisyphus, referring to the never-ending hamster wheel I always seem to be occupying.Today the stone I am rolling uphill is this badword-filth-foulness house.
My reward for replacing all the kitchen cabinet hardware with lovely new hardware is that now some of the cabinets don't close properly, I've discovered some rot in the under-sink cabinet, and a drawer support has fallen clean off. I'm supposed to be scraping expletive bathroom walls, but I'll be repairing cabinets instead.
If I could rewind, I'd have gutted the kitchen and bathrooms and replaced EVERYTHING before we ever moved in.