Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wha....???

I've decided that if I had to choose between losing my hearing or my sight, I'd choose my hearing, but only with one stipulation: that I become all the way deaf and not just sort of. See, I just found out yesterday that I have an ear infection. I was catching a cold before I left for New York but apparently flying is not so great on the sinuses, especially when you're full blown-head cold sick....like for instance, on my way home. And boy did I learn that the hard way. The doctor told me that flying probably made my infection worse. Great, thanks.

So the following are reasons why ear infections su-huuuuck:

1. I can't hear anything. It's like I went swimming and I got water in my ear and I can't get it out. But it's been 2 days. I'm in a hearing fog.

2. Oh wait, I can hear myself chewing. It's amazing how crunchy the granola that I put in my yogurt actually is when you listen to it.

3. I've lost one of my teacher superpowers: I can't hear my kids whisper. On top of that, they ask me questions and I can't hear where it's coming from. I feel like they're all laughing at me. But I wouldn't know because I can't hear their snickers.

4. I can't tell how loud I'm talking. I swear I think I'm shouting at someone and they don't even look at me. It's very deceiving.

5. I can't tell how loud my TV or radio is. And I hate it when people listen to their stuff too loud. Like when the TV is vibrating because it's so loud or when someone's blasting the music in their car so everyone will look at them. However, my sense of vibrations are alot more keen. I know that movie that I put on in my classroom today was too loud because the floor was vibrating. And my radio, which sounded normal, must have been loud because I could feel the bass. It was a little embarrassing.

6. If I tilt my head at a certain angle, I can sort of hear clearly out of one ear. I get excited for a split second and then realize my ears were just being whorish teases.

7. My cough is ridiculously hacky. It gets so bad that sometimes my eyes start watering and I can hardly catch my breath. It's attractive when I'm in public.

8. My voice is manly. No thanks.

9. My ears itch. I want to stick something inside and scratch but I'm afraid I'll pop something.

10. When I blow my nose, my ears painfully pop. Well, the left one does. I actually let out a cry of pain each time.

Dear Doc, when will the meds work??

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gotta cut loose

Tonight I watched one of the greatest 80s movies of all time. Ok, maybe I'm overexaggerating a teeny bit, but I do love it so...

Footloose. Kevin Bacon, the newbie in town just wants to listen to music and dance. But there will be no such thing while the very strict minister, John Lithgow, is in charge. However, Kevin hooks up with John's rebellious daughter, Lori Singer, and they end up setting up a prom for the kids at school to dance. Yessss. Score one for the kids. If you haven't seen it, you've obviously taken residence under a rock. And are a total loser.

So this got me thinking about my high school dances. The ballooons, the music, the glitter, the funky fashions of the time. I thought I'd share the pictures of the dances I went to. Enjoy...


Sophomore year Winter Formal with Derek B. I had such a crush on him. He was a year older than me and he played soccer. We actually "went out" but at this point I think we were just friends. Though I'm sure we made out this night. I think he was my first high school "hook-up." I'm so proud of that. Score one for my team. I'm not sure what I like more, the velvety dress or the frizzy hair and eyeliner. Nice bangs.


Junior year Winter Formal. Ryan F. Ha! I thought I was the coolest person because Ryan F. liked me. Turns out we broke up days before the dance but we still agreed to go together. I don't remember any of that night so I couldn't tell you if it sucked or not going with my ex-boyfriend. But I can say that this was my favorite dress of all the formals I went to. Too bad one of my friends had the same dress on.
Nice bangs.

Junior year Prom. Jason Oster...something. We were good friends. I think he had a crush on me but it wasn't weird. I think I had a blast at this one. My dress was dark green and hugged all the wrong places. And seriously... what's with the bangs??





Senior year Prom with Will S. By far, the most fun I had at all of the dances I went to. We were total buddies, no weird crushes or anything like that, and we had such a blast together. He kept me laughing all night. I liked this dress because of the color. It was royal blue and it looked hot on me. I won't lie. And look how cute Will looks in his white jacket and blue accents. We rocked! I remember the theme of this one as Stairway to Heaven. Lame theme, yes. But every time I hear that song now, I think of Will and I dancing awkwardly, but hilariously, to that song. F-ing bangs......

How come we don't have random dances like this for adults? Oh wait, we do. They're called friends' weddings. It's almost just as bad. Trying to find a date, looking for a cute dress, trying to hook up with the other guys at the reception because your date sucks. It really is like going to high school proms. The good ol' days never end....
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Friday, February 15, 2008

My job sucks...

The Boy: Miss Teacher, The Girl cut herself.
Me: What do you mean, cut herself? Is she bleeding? Does she need a bandaid? Is she ok?
The Boy: No, I mean she cut herself. On her wrist. On purpose. That's why she's wearing the glove.
Me: What? Does The Girl know you're telling me this right now?
The Boy: Yes. I told her I was going to tell you.
Me: The Girl.... Can you come here?

The Girl comes over.

Me: What's going on with that? (pointing to the 3 scabs on her wrist hiding under an 80's fingerless glove)
The Girl: I don't do it anymore. I haven't done it in a long time.
Me: The fact that it's a scab tells me that you've done it within the last week. You know, I have to tell someone about this.
The Girl: No! Don't tell my mom! I already told my counselor.
Me: It doesn't matter. It's the law. I'm obligated to tell someone when I see something like this. I don't have a choice.
The Girl: No, please don't tell anyone!
Me: I have to. I'm telling you that I don't have a choice.
The Girl: Nobody cares if I die anyway.
Me: (searching for strength to say the right thing) I care about you. The Boy cares about you or he wouldn't have come to me about it. Don't say things like that.
The Girl: I don't even like The Boy! He's like my extended family cousin.
Me: Well, The Girl, I need you to know that I care about you. And I will be telling the principal and the nurse after school.
The Girl: (angry now) Whatever. Fine.

This 30 second conversation put me out for the rest of my day. I couldn't think. I could hardly concentrate. An 11-year old girl's cry for help. An 11-year old girl. I think back to when I was 11. My main problem in life was whether or not I'd get picked for soccer at recess. And this girl? She's dealing with problems that I have never had to deal with. At 11. WTF is her parents' problem?

I had a long conversation with my mom about it today. She tried to talk me down from my anger at The Girl's parents that would allow their child to suffer so much. It's their fault. Their lives apart force her to become two different people at two different houses. And she never knows who she has to go home to at the end of the day. Her only safe haven is with me. And now I feel like I broke that for her.

I wish she'd understand that I did it for her safety.

She didn't come to school today. I hope her mom got her help.

What a horrible day to be a teacher....

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who is this Valentine character, anyway?

Ahhh, yes. Valentine's Day. The day of lovers. The day to buy ridiculously expensive gifts to show you care for your significant other. The day to take them out to dinner only to overpay for food and horrible service. The day to shower them with love. Because one day, a long time ago, some saint did something to that effect. Though we're not really sure what the whole story is.

I look back through my history of Valentine's and many stick out in my head....

Like when I was younger, it was the day to buy the Valentine cards that I felt best represented what I liked that year (NKOTB? Hello Kitty? Rainbow Brite? Strawberry Shortcake?). And to overanalyze the ones I got to see if the boy I liked wrote his name differently on mine than he did on the other girls in the class.

Or how about high school? When all of the popular girls with boyfriends got stuffed animals and balloons and I walked around wishing I was them. Or when someone would come in to deliver the Valentine grams and I wouldn't get any.... or maybe I would, but only from my friends.

And then I got older and it was the day that my dad always brought me home flowers and made cute little cards that just said, "To my baby. I (heart) U. Love, Dad" and those were never enough for me. I always wanted a real boy to buy me flowers or send me a card.

Now the time has come where I finally have someone that does that for me and I think, Why do I subject him to this? Why is there so much pressure for him to BUY me something or take me somewhere on this day? What is it that he and I are actually celebrating together?

Don't get me wrong, society has conditioned me enough to still want things on Valentine's Day. Sadly. But I don't get upset that my boyfriend has to work and I don't get to go out (or even see him for that matter). And I don't get upset when all I get is a card telling me that he loves me. Because that's really all I need.

I've come to realize that Valentine's Day is just another weird American tradition. Sure, it's fun to celebrate it, but do half of the people that want and do on holidays like this even know why it exists? And if the answer is no, why are you celebrating it? Why are you ultimately forcing someone to buy you something just so that he shows you that he/she cares?

Think about these things people. Please.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Some modesty, people...please??

OK, really, what is the deal? I was at the gym this week, in the locker room before my workout, and there was literally a naked woman on the scale. W...T...F...? Ok, maybe you're wanting to shed some extra ounces perhaps as you jump on the scale to see if you've lost anything after your workout. But take off your shoes, unhitch your iPod, maybe stand there in your skivies. But naked? Really??

And really, this woman had no business being naked. Aside from the fact that there were unsuspecting victims around that she didn't know, she was probably in her late 60s and most likely had great-grandchildren. That feed her candy and donuts everyday. Eckgh....

I had just gone to the bathroom and looked over when I saw her. I was washing my hands and almost began scrubbing my eyes after the incident. And as if that wasn't bad enough.... the woman waddled by to the showers. Naked. Oh wait, she had a towel in front of her. Or maybe she was just carrying it, I don't really remember. But I do know that the only peice of clothing she did have on was her flip flops. Because I could hear them as she trudged along behind me. It's not like she was trying to hurry either, like she was embarrassed. Nope.

I looked around to see if anyone else saw it and could share in my embarrassment, and there was one woman standing at the sinks with me. But she looked like she hadn't seen a thing. Really? How could you not see that? Or see it and ignore it??? There's not a chance in hell that can go ignored.

I've decided that I must walk around the locker room with my head down. And stand facing the corner. Or perhaps blindfolded. And remind me to never use that scale. Ever.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Urination stations

So I was thinking, as I was reading this post today from the always-funny guy on 15 Minute Lunch, that a public bathroom experience for a guy and girl are completely different but oddly almost the same. . .

I've never understood how it was ok for guys to urinate out in the open, for all other guys to sneak a peek. I couldn't do it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I can pee anywhere when I really have to go. I don't have problems with stage fright or anything of that matter. But if I had to go into a public restroom and whip out my goods next to someone else without a wall in between, I would probably never pee in a public restroom. Ever.

So he's talking about the horrible design of urinals, which I, as a woman, have never thought of. But they all make sense. If you don't want the backspray, you have to get close. If you get close, you run the risk of getting someone else's pee on your pant leg. Gross. But valid points as I actually sit down and map it out in my head.

Though, I'd like to interject my opinion about guys having it so difficult in the respect of a public restoom. The other person's pee is there for them to stand and look at. Women, on the other hand, are expected to sit in it. Oh, we're supplied with those fantastic seat covers that are about as thin as a mouth strip (and feel like they dissolve as quickly as one). Thanks! And what if you have to really pee? It takes you about 5 minutes to figure out how to rip open the hole part and once you go to set it down, it always manages to catch a breeze and land awkwardly on the toilet seat, sticking to the leftover pee from the person before you. And then if it's stuck, it won't flush, which means that you have to unstick it and flush again. (On a side note, when I was on the East coast, the public restrooms did not supply seat covers. None. Not one bathroom we went in had one. We thought it was odd and interesting all at the same time.)



Whatever the case may be, those seat covers do little to mask germs, or whatever they are there to protect you from. Because women somehow manage to get their pee on the toilet seat in public restrooms. I assume this is from the mere fact that most women squat. Which brings me to this point: Men don't have to squat. They don't have to endure pulling their pants down, getting themselves in the perfect position, and having their legs shake as they are relieving themselves. So, my theory is that the women that squat and leave pee are probably the ones that are incapable of getting into the deeper squatting position. Such a shame. Squatting does wonders for a jiggly rear.
So what is my point? Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure. But after being educated today in the ways of the urinal and it's problems, I wanted to give a stance in the difficulties that
are presented in women's bathroom design as well. I felt like it was my duty to represent the squatters out there... both deep and shallow.
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Only because it looks great on the wall

Three-day weekend #1 has officially begun. Hallelujah.....

Yesterday I ended the fabulous week with building our miniature paper Egyptian sarcophagi (I hate it when a word looks weird). Each year, they see the project and are sooooo excited and think it's soooooo cool (and it does look great on the wall). And each year, I get excited to show them how to build it. And really, I have no idea why.

It always starts out fun and exciting. "Yay! We've finished our pieces! When do whe get to put it together?"

Me, equally excited, "Cut them out for homework tonight and we'll put it together tomorrow."

So the "build-it" time comes yesterday and they're all ears and super pumped. There are plates of glue on their tables, pieces are laid out on each person's desk, smiles and excitement.... And then one of my boys says, "Wait, we have to touch the glue???" To which I try to hide my laughter and respond, "Yes, believe me, it's much easier when we do it this way. This is my 6th year of doing this."

And we begin.

And the first few pieces are easy and fun (which is exactly how I plan it). And then the more difficult pieces to stick on come along and I literally have kids telling me, "I can't do this." And other kids slamming it on their desks and punching it with their fists. I'm so not kidding. And what's always interesting to me is that these are the kids that are usually good at everything. Year after year, it's always the kids that are good at everything. Somehow, the synapses in their brains malfunction for tactile activities that involve glue and super high expectations. I almost had one boy in tears because he was moving soooo slowly and I kept moving on to the next piece.

The good news is, I successfully led 25 students through the process. And 2 students successfully lead 2 other students through it. The bad news is, I had 3 students absent. And I would have built theirs' as an ongoing model, but all 3 of them had their pieces at home. Great. But I already have volunteers to help them through it on Tuesday. Whew. Again, one of the many reasons I love 6th graders. They can understand a process and then go and help someone else through it so I don't have to suffer through one more explanantion this year.

Until I have to endure it again next year..... I can't wait.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stuck in a rut

This really has to stop. I can't do it anymore. I can't continue to feel like I'm trying to be taken advantage of every day. I can't feel like I'm short-changing them at the end of every day. I can't feel overwhelmed because I'm getting great ideas but don't know how to work them into my lessons. And it's probably all because it's February... the official half-way mark of the school year. They have one foot in elementary school and one foot in jr. high. They think they're in jr. high already and are so over elementary school. But guess what? They're still in elementary school. They're still in my class. And I still have to deal with them. But I'm about to rip some of their faces off. Literally.

They keep lying. They keep being lazy. They keep not paying attention.....I guess they keep being 12 year olds. But they need to stop!!! It's driving me mad.

And my teaching has been affected by all of this. Their laziness is rubbing off on me. I've lost my drive to want to teach them to the best of my ability. I try new things and I get discouraged when they don't respond how I want them to. I taught a lesson today in math with manipulatives and although I feel like they understood algebra more than any other class I've had, I still feel like they were bored. It's like nothing is making me happy about my teaching right now. And I'm blaming them. But is it really them? Or is it something that I have to change?

I don't know. I'm lost for words. I'm lost for an answer. I'm hoping that these two consecutive Mondays off will let me sit back and digest some of this. I just need a change. Not in my job... I love it, I really do. But I'm just so frustrated with it right now. I need something that will make me enjoy some of those kids that I'm having a really hard time dealing with every day. I think I need a summer vacation.