Monday, April 27, 2009

Planning for the Future

Today I saw my teaching schedule for next year -- and it made me deliriously happy. If you get a schedule with good classes -- the ones you hoped to teach and that other teachers hoped to steal away from you -- you always feel relieved. The woman who runs the SPED department in my school is a phenomena -- she is everything one would want in a department chair. She is fair, she is honest, she loves kids, she is a strong supporter of good education, she supports both the school and the district in fundamentally sound ways, she carries enormous power with the administration, and she is pro-union. I respect her on a level I have only held for one other boss, also a strong, intelligent woman.

Anyway, my teaching schedule for next year is a sweet one. I have first period off, which I really, really like. I almost always get to school an hour before the kids. We have 90 minute periods -- only four a day. With first block off, this gives me plenty of time to do lesson plans, get copies made, sort books, arrange desks, etc. I much prefer the early morning preparation routine as opposed to staying after school for an hour or so. And because I'm really not a morning person, I don't have to face kids until 9 a.m. I'll continue to teach my English classes -- grades 9, 10, 11, 12 -- one of each, though the 11th & 12th are a combined class. One of the newly hired SPED teachers this year desperately wanted to "steal" one of my classes, but so far, she has not managed this feat. I didn't campaign to remain in my position -- simply said that we had enough students to separate the English 1 & English 2 classes. Luckily, so far, I'm scheduled to teach them both. Hurray!

I won't complain, though, if the schedule changes - as it is apt to do before next August. As I told the SPED chair: "I count myself so lucky to be in this school and working with this great staff that whatever you want or need me to do, I'm up for it!" And I meant that. Luckily, though, so far, I'm not faced with having to live up to those words.

PS -- if you want to contact me on Facebook, send me an E-mail at and I'll send you an invite to become my friend. Having 20 friends would make me feel really "cool!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009


One day about ten months ago when I had 15 minutes with nothing to do I thought I'd check out Facebook. I actually did the same thing with Twitter but I have to admit I find no interest in Twitter at all. I like long winded sentences and writing with three or more paragraphs. Momentary comments don't interest me at all. I have no interest in telling -- or in knowing -- that the soup is hot or the phone is ringing or the dogs need to go for a walk. Facebook was just interesting enough that I made a homepage. Facebook then looked in my address book and determined that I knew two people who also had Facebook pages. I contacted one of them, a dancer in Chicago that I communicate with regularly. She kindly accepted my request for friendship.

A week or so later the other person contacted me. I then had two friends on Facebook. Months elapsed. Celebrities and young people got 300 friends. I remained static with my two. I forgot to check the page but when Facebook sent me a message that a third person wanted to befriend me, I ducked in and accepted her. Facebook then told me that two other people I knew had accounts. One was so darned handsome (and very sweet natured) that I actually asked him to be my friend and, being so good-hearted, he kindly accepted. I rather patted myself on the back that now I had at least one "status" friend -- not that the others weren't cool and interesting -- but they were all my age and steady good folks. This guy was H O T! Of course, in my defense, I also asked his wife to be my friend -- and she accepted, too -- and she's pretty darned HOT in her own right.

Now Facebook tells me I actually have 12 friends. I'm rather amazed. None of my family (count that one sister-in-law) has a Facebook page, so these are people aren't actually required to know me. Then the amazing happened. I actually was "found" by a person from my long-long-long ago past. I'd heard that folks from your high school days were contacting each other (God forbid!), but that never happened to me. This person was even further back than high school!

Facebook has lots and lots of features. You can "poke" people -- though I'm not sure why. People send each other cyber-gifts through Facebook. You can't seem to do anything with these gifts but people do seem to like to collect them. People take all sorts of quizzes on Facebook to prove they are human, angels, devils, smart, or Baby Boomers. I don't actually get that either. You can use it like Twitter -- jot down your immediate thoughts or activities. I have no interest in exploring all the features of Facebook but I'm actually kind of proud that I have 12 people who were willing to befriend me.

I honestly am quite the loner, you know. In real time -- I can't claim to have 12 true friends who interact with me regularly.

Totsie Comfort

I gave up anklets / socks ever since I graduated from high school. During my teen years I religiously wore a pair of Weejun loafers with white cotton socks, never rolled, always pulled higher than my ankle. I didn't own any sneakers or casual shoes. I had a pair of brown Weejuns and one pair of black heels. Shoes were meant to be utilitarian in my household.

During my 20's I made up for my shoe dearth with a vengeance. I owned over 300 pairs of shoes, usually high end (but not like today's shoes which cost $300 and up) and I had a rainbow of colors. This time around I went in for the "dress" shoe, mostly lower heels and flats, because I seem to have always had really bad feet.

During the 1990's my feet got really bad. Plantar's fasciitis took a deadly toll, as well as ingrown toe nails. Eventually I took to wearing ugly tie-on shoes -- even more pricey than my beautiful rainbow dress shoes -- that provided excellent support for my feet and plenty of room for ouchy toes.

In my 50's I gave up the dread panty hose and switched to tights. But after three years in construction, even that seemed to complicated and dressy. Now I wear socks, good old cotton socks (blended with nylon and synthetic fibers).

The problem for the last five years, however, was that I didn't buy socks, I just acquired them. Garage sales had been the major source for socks for me in the past. I'm not rough on them and these socks lasted and lasted. They just weren't pretty or interesting or even very well fitted. They did not, however, have any holes.

Last autumn we found a sock outlet going out of business. I went in and bought every single -- YES, you heard right -- EVERY single pair of socks they had. The socks were 75% off. I spent $350 on socks but only paid $85 for them.

I unloaded all the old, dull socks, and now I have soft, pretty, interesting socks for every occasion. I love them! Every day is a new sock adventure!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Long Time No See

Whoa! It's been a long time since I've check-in here. I miss writing . . . but lately I haven't had the energy to even jot down boring daily occurrences. Maybe I'm turning a corner, though, because in the last few days I've felt more energized and less totally exhausted. I've managed to clean up things that have been hovering over me for the last 12 months. It feels good to get the long-term things accomplished as well as the short term items I've been putting off.

I paid the bills this month. Last month I didn't -- except for the credit card statement. All the utilities were a month in arrears. I finally found out how to get the state teaching license for the state I work in now -- I hold a life-time license for the state I live in -- but I somehow could never manager to acquire the proper license for the neighboring state. And I've waited long enough so now the procedure is a slam-dunk. Three years ago when I started it was a horrible ordeal.

I got "sending" capability for my PC e-mail. Once we had the PC wiped clean I somehow lost the ability to send e-mail but Earthlink finally managed to hook me up. I cut out e-mail services I'd been paying for the last ten months that I never used -- granted it was only an extra $10 a month but after ten months that does add up to a hundred bucks.

My whole like hasn't been a bout of procrastination, though. My class at school is happily wading through Shakespeare -- and doing a damn fine job of it, too. I been good with the doggies -- changed Gus's diet so he would lose weight. We got him a full dental and poor boy lost a few more teeth. Mostly the laundry gets done in a timely manner. The PC has been completely restored -- except for the e-mail thing. Today I down loaded my favorite recipe program and even got the newest version. I had been using MasterCook 4.0 and today I got 9.0 which is quite a difference from what I had been using. I wallowed through Holy Week and Easter and we even cooked Easter dinner at home. I got the winter clothes put away -- mostly -- and the summer clothes out -- mostly. I got enrolled for grad school for summer and even had a talk with my advisor about how many courses I had left to take -- dear heavens! way too many.

There are still things that need doing - hair cuts, house cleaning, MAC instruction, and this blog to update. I'll get to it all eventually.