Saturday, September 24, 2011

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night

The line from that Bay City Rollers song decided to enter my brain and Pandora radio is not on. Ugh!!! Oh how long has it been since any of you have heard that song? Lucky for me that is the only line I remember from that song.

I remember when I was a young teen I could not wait to be old enough for an outing that did not involve family and Saturday night in the same sentence. I was not allowed to date until I was sixteen and my friends and I lived in the middle-of-nowhere so our Saturday night fun had to happen during sleep-overs.

When I was in elementary school my best-friend was also a Belinda and when we were in first grade we had our first sleep over together. I do not remember a whole lot about the sleep-over. I do not even remember if I made it all the way through the night or if my Dad had to come and get me. I do know that she lived in a two-story house on a pretty steep hill and she had neighbors; it was a very small housing development. I thought they were rich and that she was the luckiest girl I knew because she did not have to collect eggs from the chicken coop or deal with the nasty smell of cows.

The sleep-overs are remember the most are all jumbled together because as I entered Middle School Belinda and I developed different interests and Debby and I became best friends. We are still close even with several miles and states between us. She is godmother to son #1 but now I am chasing rabbits. Back to sleep-overs.

We lived several miles apart when we were going visiting that meant a parent had to drive us. This was a good thing because it often meant that we could turn a one night sleep-over to a several day sleep-over.

There are three that I remember the most that I am willing to write about. A girl has to have some secrets.

The first one I remember was the night that we stayed up and watched "The House Of Wax" with Vincent Price. The movies left us so terrified that we checked in the closet (multiple times), under the bed and even all the other nooks and crannies that we could think of. We left all the lights in her room all night long. I know I did not sleep much that night. To this day I still do not like scary movies.

The second one was not so much the sleep over but the event after the sleep over. My mom and dad came to pick me up from Debby's house; which is located on a very steep hill. There was ice on the hill from a storm that had passed though and our car was at the top of that hill; no one was in the car at the time our parents were talking when all of the sudden our car started to roll backwards down their driveway. My mom yells the car is moving stop the car. My dad without thinking does what she says. He tries to stop the car but instead of stopping the car he fell backwards on the ice and hit his head pretty hard. Man...when he stood up he was madder than a wet-hen. Luckily he was not hurt and the car was not really damaged either. We laugh about it now but at the time it was a little scary.

The third one was actually a sleep over at my house. Once again it was not the sleep over but what happened when the two of us were together. I had decided to enter the Miss Renssalaer County beauty pageant. Deb was in the audience with my parents cheering me on. I placed 6th. It was fun and I liked that my best-friend was there for me.

I guess this isn't really about Saturday nights anymore but it is about my best-friend since forever.

This is the same friend that let me cry on her shoulder when I had my heart-broken; I am a hopeless romantic so it has been broken often. She was part of my wedding party, and we see each other whenever I come to town.

She also made the trip to Fort Worth to visit. Not once but twice; both times while my husband was away on business trips so she helped me keep my sanity. I was a brand new mom with a baby that got sick often and he did not sleep well. She gave me time to shower and nap if I needed to.

Her birthday has just passed and she usually reminds me that she is younger than I am, by less than 2 months but she still reminds me. So instead of wishing I was out on an S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night I wish I was having a sleep-over with my best friend.

Love ya lots and lots Deb and Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I am going to enlighten you about the use of maps in my class.I am not sure if I find what I am about to tell you funny or sad; maybe it is a little bit of each.

Last week I had my students create a mental map of the world. They were given a piece of plain paper and they needed to draw the world. Once the world was drawn the continents, prime meridian and equator needed to be labeled. I do not care how perfect the continents are because I can not draw but their placement and realitive size need to be correct. The also need to indicate where the following places are: The Galapagos Islands, The Amazon River Basin, The Gulf of Guinea, Lake Victoria and Borneo. For those of you that do not know the importance of these is they are all on the equator. They also have a list of events, cultural items, ect. to place on the map.

I am grading these assignments and this is the part that makes me smile, laugh and cry all at the same time. Africa is smaller than New Zealand, Lake Victoria is located in Mexico, Asia and Europe do not touch each other. Mexico is bigger than South America, the Atlantic takes up almost the whole page. A few of them are actually pretty good but most of them not so much. So we will be completing more of these as the year goes on and my hope is that they get better. I also hope it is sooner rather than later.

If you know what the world looks like without looking at a map or a globe please take the time to thank your World Geography teacher.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday Monday Monday

So Monday was very interesting indeed.

I left work a little early (with permission) to go see the orthopedic surgeon. I have been bone-on-bone in both knees for several years and I can no longer take the medicine that has been controlling the swelling and pain in my knees so my rheumatologist sent me to see this doctor. Good news; I do not need to have knee replacement surgery because there is a new injection out there that adds cushion back to your joint. This injection reduces the pain and swelling which means no knee replacement for at least 5 maybe 10 years. I liked that news. The bad news from him was he can not help with the tendon in my foot, I knew he would not be able to but a girl can hope. So I get to go see a different specialist at the end of the month. Fun for me!!

I left the doctor and headed for Target where I found everything I wanted in record time. Well almost everything...I am looking for a pleated skirt and I can not find one. I found one I really liked on-line but I am not wealthy enough to pay $750 for a pleated skirt.

I left Target and head for home during rush-hour and as I approach one of the busiest intersections in town my car would not even make a clicking sound. Of course when it comes time for me to "go" I can not because my car died. Instead of getting out to help me the two young guys in a massive SUV start beeping at me. "REALLY" like that will make my car start. All these people go around me beep at even flipped me off. "Oh Okay Big Guy... I hope your Momma/Wife/Daughter/Sister never ends up in this situation". Out of nowhere comes this African-American man that looks like he is in his 50s or 60s and very skinny and he helps me get my car into the parking lot that I am not very far from. We did have to navigate 3 lanes of traffic to get into the lot. As he is moving my car and older Hispanic man gets out of his truck and blocks traffic to help Issac push.

I did not see where Issac came from because Issac had been on the city bus traveling in the opposite direction when he saw my problem he told the bus driver to stop he needed to get off and help me. I had never laid-eyes-on Issac until that day and I probably never will again. When I asked him why he stopped he said he saw someone in need and he knew he had to help because no one else would. Issac and I got to know each other a little bit while I waited for my husband to show up.

Issac lost his job at almost 50 years old in July and he became homeless at the beginning of September. While I waited for my husband to come and meet me I bought Issac dinner at Jimmy John's. As he and I sat in Jimmy Johns talking we did get strange looks from the customers that walked it. Issac was missing his two front teeth and his clothes were well worn. They did not have any holes and they were clean but slightly large on him. I just smiled at them as they looked at us.

Jimmy John's was another wow. When the manager realized what had happened he would not allow me to pay for the full meal. He charged me for the drinks only. Once Paul arrived I gave Issac some money so he could rent a room for the night instead of sleeping in the shelter or on the street. I know some people will think he will just use it for alcohol or drugs. I personally believed Issac when he said he did not need money for his deed and thus I offered. We have two large shelters in our downtown area and while both are well funded they are still shelters and men always get the last spots in the shelters. With the economy the way it is right now they shelters are bursting at the seams with families. Several of the students at my school are living in those shelters because their families have lost their income and have been evicted.

My battery was dead but still under warranty. The real culprit was my alternator, so it is at the shop being fixed.

Monday September 12th is not a day that I will soon forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just another Saturday....

If you have followed my blog at all you know I work in an urban district at a low performing school. With that comes extra work...I knew it when I signed on and I am good with that.

Today was one of those extra work days. We walked the neighborhood to find kids that are not coming to school. Well I did not walk because of my foot but I was on campus in the front foyer to greet anyone that came into the school. This year we did not have as many students to look for which was a good thing. The flip side...the students we needed to find were not found.

After lunch we started our Professional Learning Communities (PLC). I am part of the student achievement PLC. I am paired with a great group of people and I am not in charge...score for me on that one. Our task is do find out why we have low student achievement and then what are we going to do to fix it. We already have some great ideas and if we make the kinds of gains this year that we made last year we will be off the list. When we get off the list you will hear not only me but everyone that is involved with the campus cheering. So in May of 2012 it will not be an earthquake you feel it will be us stomping and cheering.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Right

Sticking with my theme this is going to be short and sweet.

Today was another first for this school year. Today I went to the doctor for an ear infection that I picked up at school. Oh joy for me.

But even better while I was at work today; I popped something in my foot. So now I am wrapped with an ace and I need to go see a specialist about my foot.

A student of mine is missing the first three weeks of school. She is in the hospital and has been since the beginning of August. Hopefully she will come home this weekend and come to school Monday.

On a better note; I got 4 yes 4 new students today. They are really great students; I am getting 2 more tomorrow. Even so my classes are fairly small. This year is just so smooth for me so far. Here's to a year that just continues to get better.

I do think that taking the month of July off also helped me to find myself and get rested and unstressed so that I could come back with a ready mind and body for work.

I would say it is Just right.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A new school year

Today is our first day off in the new school year. We start August 22nd so while my family that is up north have not yet started I have already completed 2 weeks of the new school year.

This year the opening of school was much smoother compared to last year. When a plan is in place and everyone and I do mean everyone know what the plan is and then they follow it life is so much better for everyone.

I still have a few frustrations; I teach 10th graders so one would think that parents would say my child will need standard supplies and purchase them when the sales run. Every year I have students that come to school with nothing. Not even a pencil. Of course I have some on hand but I do get frustrated that there was no thought about essential school supplies. I still have kids that do not think they should have to read or do homework. They will quickly realize that they must do these things or they will not pass my class.

On the flip-side I have my joys; students that love history and want to be challenged by me and they specifically requested my class. I get to teach a special topics in history class this year so I have the best and the brightest. In fact they know what they are in for because they have had me before. I did have to give up my language center kids because the district moved those kids to a different building. I do miss them.

I did have a sad moment when we started the year; our long-time department chair retired at the end of the last school year. I miss him very much and still get a little misty-eyed when I realize he is not in his classroom just down the hall from me.

I decided to free write for awhile and see if it unclogs my stress and inability to write.