Thursday, April 30, 2009

Round Robin Writing

I did a round robin writing activity with my classes today. Some of my students just amaze me. They are worse than second graders. I gave each student a story starter, explained what we were doing and how the period would work. Some of them just looked at me in awe; they stated they were confused and didn't know what to do - how could they start a story from the line I gave them??? UUUUGGGGHHHH. I swear.

Monday, April 27, 2009

10 Noteworthy Events in the last 24 Hours

1. I went to church alone but felt nowhere near alone during the service.

2. I visited Versailles State Park with family and friends including having a wiffleball game.

3. I cried about something.

4. I couldn't easily get to sleep.

5. One of my students got into some serious trouble.

6. I finished a yearbook layout.

7. I showcased my yearbook class for the school board and community.

8. I talked to my dad on the phone.

9. I showed a film to try and nudge the hearts of my students to prevent unkind behaviors toward others.

10. I cleaned out one of my desk drawers at school.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Boy in Striped Pajamas

Since my class has read the play adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank, I thought it worthwhile for them to view the recent film about the Holocaust titled, The Boy in Striped Pajamas. We started it on Friday and will hopefully finish it up tomorrow. I just finished watching it myself and it is quite powerful. It's worth renting on DVD for the general public, not just academically. Go see for yourself and let me know if it pulls your heart strings.
Tough day for me today emotionally. Can't narrow it to just one reason. I think I've had maybe one complete conversation all day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm a sucker for...

So I mentioned selling suckers for a fundraiser for my yearbook class/students. Here's how it was supposed to work: I ordered three cases (very large boxes with eight internal boxes) of assorted flavors of round suckers. These were supposed to sell for .50 cents a piece. We paid $432 for them and was supposed to make $432 in profit. For you mathematicians, that is a fifty percent profit.
I grilled these kids about not giving any freebies away, watching how they sell, keeping things straight. Long story short, we did NOT make the profit we intended to because of theft. Middle schoolers in my school strategically stole many suckers right from the table where they were being sold. I don't have the final numbers, but we made from 40-80 dollars less than what we were supposed to. That sickens me. Literally. But, what it amounts to is that my yearbook students won't have enough money to get t-shirts or what have you with the profit like they wanted to. That's really no skin off my back. It is partly their fault since I continued to coach them and warn them of the pitfalls of not selling correctly or accurately. So, tough cookies. Yes, it angers me, but to no avail. I'll end up getting my two co-editors special gifts from me for all of their hard work and the rest will get little to nothing. (may sound harsh, but these kids have stuck me with much work and responsibility with no remorse)
Funny story: a friend of mine (choir teacher) at school had a mishap today. She, on her prep, was going to return a CD to the high school choral director right up the drive from our school. She decided to go a block away to get a "slurpie" as she called it and gas. She prepaid, went to the pump, pressed necessary buttons, and the gas began to spew out at her in all directions. The pump was "set" by someone. She had a concert tonight. She needed the dress clothes she was in. She returned to school, with many turned heads and held noses. She had to change her clothes and wash the dress clothes soaked in gasoline. As of the end of school, they were on their third washing. They still smelled like gas. She was going to the high school choral director's house to shower before the show since she lives 45 minutes away. She was hilarious in telling the story with drama. I was laughing.
Seems fitting - weird week, weird happenings.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Something in the Water

In honor of Earth Day, our cafeteria must have put something in the batter for the yeast rolls or something in the water. I mean, seriously! The students were simply out of control today! I handed out period detentions, lunch detentions, and write-ups! They acted as if they'd eaten 'shrooms or something.
I, along with other colleagues, could not wait for 3:00pm to come. We waited with heightened anticipation. We emailed back and forth, we gave those raised-eyebrows looks to one another, we smirked and raised our hands in question. This was one of those days where you just want to run to your car after the bell rings for dismissal and race home to a nice, chilled glass of wine. Too bad I must pick up and drop off my daughter from event to event. No glass of wine for me, then.
Instead, I get to run to the grocery store to pick up soft taco shells and sour cream so that we can have our fiesta for dinner. Tacos, burritos, taco salads. That's what we'll be having. Did I mention said daughter has to do so in under an hour? Eating on the run. Parents of young children, get used to it if you plan on having involved kids. I understand why statistics state that students who are involved in extra-curricular activities are less likely to do drugs and get into trouble. They don't have time to!
Okay. Enough stalling. I must motor.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shot Through the Heart, and You're to Blame

Good Monday morning to you all! (smile) I could have slept for three more hours at least!
This week is full of activities, some fun, some not so fun. Tonight, however, we have a home track meet (jr. high). I have to work long jump. Cammi is throwing shot and discus. Last Thursday, at her very first meet ever, she won the shotput throw. (Hence, the title of the post). I can't wait to see how she does tonight.
I never was into track when I was in school. I think I went to two meets. My general impression was that I stood in wonderment because it looked a bit like organized chaos - there were twenty things going on at once, with an unseen continuity that non-track people didn't understand.
I'm glad Cammi has taken this up. In the long run, I feel she can be damn good and competitive against other girls from around here. She's got the guns for it, that's for sure. She could kick my butt, truth be known.
My final test on Anne Frank is today. I'm worried the kids might not get the deeper level thinking questions. They struggle with those.
And, my yearbook class is starting sucker sales today. I'm a bit anxious about that. Money, keeping the items straight, not giving away "discounted" know.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Day of Writing

I attended my first day "orientation" of IUS Writing Project in New Albany today. I wrote many pages of different things, brainstormed many ideas, met new people, and was inspired by the whole thing.
I can't wait.
Hard work? Yes.
Worth it? Yes.
Will I be upset when it is over? Yes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hello, Dolly!

My girls and I just got back from watching a final dress rehearsal of our local high school's musical, Hello Dolly. Let me tell you, the lead was phenomenal! She has some real, innate talent. If she wanted, she could pursue a career in the field.
I hope the locals will go see it on Friday and Saturday. My friend is directing the pit orchestra for the production. She does a grand job, too.
Only one problem with the show: it gives me the fever, the bug, to be on stage myself again. (It's on that darn bucket list of mine...)
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


An odd thing happened to me last evening.
First of all, I am having a hard time sleeping due to the medication I am taking. My sleep is not REM sleep for long spurts of time. Instead, I get interrupted sleep, waking up feeling very tired. I won't stop the medication, though, because I need it. So, I stick to the grind of bad sleep.
Last night, I had a weird dream or two or three or four thousand. One was about snakes. Symbolic? Perhaps. In more ways that you know (right, Hope?). Okay. So, this dream was filled with all kinds, sizes, and strengths of snakes. They were crawling on me, over me, biting me, etc. I am scared shitless of them. I don't even like to see them on the TV screen or on a page in a magazine. They freak me out. So this dream was torture.
I also had a dream about babysitting a co-worker's newborn baby girl. I had to bathe her, change her, and take care of her under the watchful eyes of her family members. She was screaming during the bath, then fell asleep on my shoulder with a diaper on and nothing else. She had a beautiful head of hair, just like my girls did. I was anxious about taking care of her, though. As if I haven't done it a hundred times with my own kids AND others' kids. But, for some reason, this was weird to me. I didn't feel capable, not in my eyes, but in the eyes of her family and those watching. Weird, with a capital "W".
What do I make of these? Blame it on the meds? Underlying message?
I can't wait until the ten days of medicine are up!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Losing my Religion

Sure they are song lyrics, but they are applicable. Throughout my life I have been to different churches and have experienced different avenues of faith, even worship. I am a Christian, that much is for sure. What perplexes me, though, is where I fit into the spectrum of religion.
I was baptized Catholic at a very young age. I believe I was months old. Growing up, we were Catholics. We attended Mass with my grandmother mostly, with most of the family together. My mom, her brother and sisters, etc. When my first daughter was born, she was baptized under that religion as well. I made my first communion in second grade, as the story goes. I did not, however, go through confirmation with my peers as a high schooler. Instead, as an adult, I went through the process after returning back to college with two kids. Finally, after college and at my first teaching job, which was at a Catholic school, I became a Eucharistic Minister. (basically means I served communion to church members during mass) All of my daughters were baptized Catholic.
I got divorced while working at this school and was given the Book. I was told I could not take communion any longer, was fired from my job (for being a "bad influence" on the students because I was divorced), and could no longer be a Eucharistic minister. I was, what it felt like, ex-communicated from the Catholic religion.
I moved on to becoming a Methodist. I felt welcomed, worthy, and respected. Sometimes I would have feelings of wanting to attend mass, but would then revert back to the condemnation and anger I felt. This past Christmas, for the first time in many, many years, I attended a Catholic Midnight Mass. Being in God's house felt good, but there was just something missing. I took communion, though I had been advised against it. I have never returned.
Today, for the first time since that Christmas mass, I attended church. I thought I would try something different. There is a very active church here where I live. I debated on going to a mass, even though I didn't really feel I would get much out of it. I decided against it and attended this church where many people go and speak of. One issue, I felt a bit uncomfortable because it is a Baptist church. I have attended a Baptist church before with friends while growing up. I have never attended as a church seeker, though - an adult trying to find her church home, trying to find just where she fits.
I was impressed once I let go of the jitters, the judgment, the control. Sure, the service itself was different than what I am used to, but that's not entirely a bad thing. The message was good, the atmosphere was inviting, the church was gorgeous, and the people were nice. It felt good to be where people seemed to get something out of the service, something to take away and use to live well.
This leaves me, as so many times in my life have, questioning some things. Why do we label our religious ties? Do we need to? Are they interchangable at different times in our lives? Should it matter which denomination we affiliate with as long as we are believers? Why do I feel I should remain Catholic when I have been treated so harshly and when I don't get the same feeling from a mass that I do with other services?
Sometimes, in situations like these, I feel like a lost teenager searching for her identity all over again. I don't like that feeling. It scares me.
I am thankful, on this Easter, that I went to church today and that I was able to feel the spirit of the church I attended. Am I Baptist? Catholic? Methodist? or nothing? I don't know. I'm just a believer I guess. There could be worse things. . .

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Some people become desperate when they feel they are in a situation with little to no options. Exhibit A: me.
I don't feel desperate, but I do feel like I'm in a situation with not many options. You see, I went to a doctor's appointment today that I called and made yesterday after a week's worth of suffering. (right now, at this point, a bit of guilt moves in -- I don't have a terminal illness or disease, so I feel guilty for even speaking of my small ailments in comparison) I thought I was having a bout with allergies like many people are right now. No, not the case. I have a sinus infection. I've been told by ear,nose, and throat specialists (many years ago) that I have chronic sinusitis. No shit. This past fall, after being on many rounds of antibiotics and being sick for months, I was told the same thing again by my family doctor. I agreed that, yes, I am aware that I have had issues with sinusitis in the past. Yes, we could take an aggressive antibiotic approach. Yes, I finished the medicines. Low and behold, here we are again at this juncture. Long, long ago I was told (e,n,t docs) I could either have sinus surgery (with no guarantees), or deal with it. I chose to deal with it. I have been choosing to deal with it for many years. I'm sure I'm resistant to medication now, as I was told I would be. So, I hesitate to go to the doctor to get prescriptions of antibiotics. Nonetheless, I get to a point where I don't function well -- wanting to cry from feeling like garbage, not wanting to get up and go to work feeling like shit, not having my usual appetite, whining, wanting to live in sweats and sweatshirts, get the idea. Once I get to that point, I go to the doctor. Same old song and dance. No options.
Pisses me off!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Since I am a yearbook adviser at the middle school where I teach, I have just a tad bit of stress to go along with the job. Now, picture this: a classroom full of antsy, social, loud, hyper teenagers who need constant movement and excitement but are not really motivated to do much of anything productive. Couple that with an intense, deadline-driven task of completing an in-depth yearbook online with many software quirks (AKA problems), and you have yourself one sad story of evil and despair. That, my friends, is what I am up against.
What happens, then, is this; I, being somewhat self-conscious of how this will make me look if the yearbook is horrible, am forced to be the motivated individual who does the MOST work on this book. Hours of slaving, worrying, sweating, planning, executing, and cringing. Then comes the anger. Mad at the kids for not giving a shit, mad at myself for not letting the damn thing flop, mad because I don't get paid enough to put in the work I am putting in on it. I then get up the next day and do it all again. How does this relate to the title, music? The "theme" of the yearbook is Panther Playlist. (as in our mascot and playlist as in iPod and music) Try to stick with that theme for all headlines and graphics. Gets difficult at times. I'm managing, though. I think?!
I hope the freakin' thing turns out well and is something at least I can be proud of. I hope.
On a lighter note -- NOT!!! -- there is a horrible story about a man from my hometown. He got shot in the head at a gas station/convenient mart here in Indiana last Saturday afternoon. He was shot by a random guy who was "distraught" over losing his job and being down on his luck. The victim is still alive. The man drove home, put his gun down on his table, told his wife he shot someone, and called 9-1-1 himself. I mean, seriously? Down on your luck so you shoot someone? Damn. Get some help. He needs locked up for good. After all, if he doesn't get love letters from his wife daily in prison, what will he do then? Eat someone alive? Puhleeeze.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I just watched the Will Smith movie Seven Pounds. Of course, I cried. I was told I would, and I knew I would. Many reasons why, naturally, if you know anything about me. Suicide, in general, is a difficult subject for me. My maternal grandfather shot himself when I was in fifth grade. It impacted my entire life. Some say or think that I should get over it, in a nutshell, but too easy to say and not easy enough to do.
Organ donation is big for me, too, but for different reasons. From the time I could get my driver's license, I have been an organ donor. I believe in it. The "person" is the spirit, not the organs, so why bury them in the ground for them to rot away and not help a single living human being? Donate them and let someone else go on living if they need organs. (not being very eloquent here; sorry.)
Love. That's also a soft subject for me. There are many ways to love and be loved. This movie I just watched was a prime example of the many facets of love. Just watch it and see for yourself.
I also rented a couple of other movies to watch. I am going to show my kids The Up to this point, I have not allowed them to see it, for violence reasons mainly. But, I think it's time.
It is so difficult raising a teenager. I'm convinced it is even moreso with a girl. There are struggles, moods, words exchanged, and more that make me an emotional wreck at times. I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just pointing out the obvious. One can only hope she is being the mother she needs to be in certain times. It's tough. Very tough.
Only a week and a half until my full day of orientation at IUS. I am excited.
Allergies killing me. 'Nuff said.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Weekend Warriors

It's the weekend, finally. This week has seemed so darn long! It must be because it was the week back from spring break. Yearbook work has been hell this week, naturally. Try, re-try. Fail, re-fail. Do it over; no new results. Change pixels, nothing. Reformat, nothing. I'm stressed.
My two younger daughters got all A's on this report card they received today. Woohoo! They are excited because they now get twenty bucks. Of course, my youngest stated she wants to go to Hot Topic to get a "Chowder" shirt. My middle daughter wants to get a baseball shirt with Twilight stuff on it. I must admit I liked the movie. I'm a sappy romantic.
I just got back from laying in the tanning bed. Go ahead, send me hatemail. I don't care. I'm going to keep doing it. It makes me feel so much better. Seriously! Once it gets warm, I won't go any longer. I'll just bake myself in the real sun. hahah
I think tomorrow night is going to be a date night for me. Not sure what we're going to do, but SOMETHING! I feel like I am surrounded by kids, either my own or other families', at all times. I need some adult time. Dancing sounds fun. Definitely dinner somewhere.
I have so many pictures that I need to get printed. I have red-eye reduction to do on them, some cropping, photoshopping, etc. It will take forever. I don't feel like doing it for hours. I do it all week at school! But, I'm going to try to work on it. Sounds like a good weekend warrior project.