12/22/03

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Oooh earthquake!!

Just has a 6.5 about 2 hrs south of us. This was a big one lots of rolling around and doors swinging. At first I thought I was just delusional from all the work and late hours but it kept going and going. Alex didn't feel it and he was outside working on the car. Poor guy he's dissapointed.

I may be crazy but I love earthquakes.

12/11/03

Catching Up

Grrr to nights where I think so much that I can't sleep..not to mention Alex is working late on a report and I can't seem to sleep anymore unless he's in the bed with me.

I haven't updated in over a months and so much has gone on. Some good, some sad, and some down right shitty.

Work has had it's ups and downs. We are going through accreditation right now. WASC is a bitch. Tons of meetings on top of meetings to write this huge document to prove we are a worthwhile school. This of course leads up to observations and such. Last year at the preschool we went through Cal State funding rigmarole and that was a treat in and of itself but it was nothing like this. Last year I sailed through it not even needing to go through a personal inquisition because the State went through all my paperwork with a fine tooth comb and found it "flawless". We received a perfect score. I'm sure this will go just as well but I'm afraid for the inquisition mainly because I am new there.

Second grade is growing on me more, though there are some days all I can think about it coming home and going to sleep as soon as I get up. We had an excellent unit on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the end of October/beginning of Nov. We had an altar set up in class with pictures of loved ones who had passed along with candles, marigolds, and our decorated sugar skulls. The children were so interested in it, it was a beautiful thing. We are very fortunate in that we are a private Parochial school because we are able to cover things that many schools could not.
This mainly is the religious aspect of cultures.

On the last day of out unit we went into the Mission graveyard and had a prayer ceremony and the children were able to lay flowers on the Native American graves there. It was very moving with the children being so respectful and happy to be able to gift them with flowers. It really helped bring the idea of remembrance in death. Of course I cried when we all talked about those that had gone in our families who were special to us. The looks on the kids faces were pure shock. Some even started to tear up themselves. Seems they never saw a teacher cry before but it gave us an opportunity to talk about missing those we loved and about how anyone can cry and it's ok.

Thanksgiving went well too...at least in the classroom. There is nothing better than being able to dispel a myth and teach the truth. Luckily the resources on the 1621 Harvest Festival are growing and today's children will hopefully have teachers who refuse to teach stereotypes. Again I must seem like the militant socialist at school or something because my mother was absolutely livid with me when we had a conversation on the subject. She doesn't understand why we can't say Pilgrims or why I refuse to say Indians. She thinks the traditions should stay in place and doesn't believe me when I say ther aren't true. *sigh* Some people are so stuck in their ways.

Thanksgiving itself started out pretty lame. For some reason I turned on the parade..why? And there was this big ol' float with Judy Collins singing on it and all sorts of happy "pilgrims and indians" dancing around it. What the hell!!! The colonists never wore all black or those stupid tall hats. The Wampanoag didn't wear long flowing feather headdresses!!! Don't people realize by portraying Native Americans all the same way that it would be the same as saying and portraying all Europeans wearing the same traditional dress and speaking the same language? Grrr I could go on but I won't.

All I know is for some reason my views became comical relief to my mother and to my family at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, with my cousin's husband going, "So Jennifer I hear you have a problem with Pilgrims and Indians." Everyone laughed at the following conversation..they thought it hilarious. I ended up crying and walking out of the building. Alex was pissed, he almost had us leave. They are just ignorant, what can I do? Ok so maybe ignorant isn't the word. They just haven't had their eyes opened to the world around them and freed themselves from the American world view. There..that's nicer.

On the Alex front things are going very well. We had such a wonderful birthday weekend for him. It was just pure happiness. It was funny because he brought up a ring discussion and talked about where we might get married. That made me happy because I so often suppress any wedding thoughts or convos cause I don't want to freak him out. I've been told a ring will not be an Xmas present but maybe soon. I just know he's the one for me, he supports me, he loves me, he makes me happy. He loves my rats, he makes me steaks, and he cares for the world as I do. How lucky am I?

11/6/03

Some Days you Just Pray for it to be Over

This week has been parent conferences and all of them so far have gone great, the parents have been very supportive and understanding of why their child received the grade they did. They have been willing to work with my suggestions on how to work on certain subjects.

Then several parents have also mentioned my "friend" Nicholas, voiced concerns over his behavior in class from what their children tell them. One of my students even plays "Ms. Jennifer" She dresses up in her moms high heels, puts on glasses and lines up all her stuffed animals. She also has to repramand her stuffed Nicholas A LOT. How sad is that? He not only is effecting the children at school, he is also going home with them. It makes me very sad. It isn't fair that I have to devote so much time and energy to a child who could give a shit and who behaves horribly while the others stand by and wait. I am just getting so anry inside about him and it really scares me because I've never felt that way towards any child I've worked with.

Things had been getting better. He had started using the Hooked on Phonics program and with his improving reading skills he was feeling better about himself and about school. He became sort of a buddy and though he still misbehaved quite a bit, he was easier to deal with and teach. Last week things started going downhill. He wasn't listening or following directions as well. He started ignoring my requests to unpack his backpack or clean up his area around his desk. He spread his papers and books all over the floor and played constantly with his pencils and crayons. He continued his way of walking into the classroom after the bells, walking slowly like an old man, far behind the class and deliberatly holding us up. He added this behavior into the classroom whenever he needed to go back to his seat. Whining "I am!!!" When I asked him to please walk quickly back to his seat.

Last Thursday I called him back into the classroom as he was going to lunch to clean his area. Imagine books and pencils and papers and a jacket all spread out on the floor and on the desk next to him. I told him to clean it before he left for lunch. He tried to put some of it in the empty desk next to him (the buffer desk) I explained to him that he had his desk and that his things were to go into it. He whined and ignored my requests, putting the things into it anyway. I reminded him that he refused to sit in that desk before when it was his assigned desk and that now he had made his choice and had to stick with it. Basically it became a battle of the wills with me refusing to let him do anything until he put his things away in his desk and hang up his jacket. He backtalked me several times and after a warning from me, left the room.

I go to my lunch and immediatly am confronted with a gaggle of 1st grade girls who tell me Nicholas hit them with his lunchbox, that he was swinging it at them and hitting them. We are talking about five girls crying about being hit. So I write him up and the principal decides he will be suspended the next day, Halloween.

The parents are called and from what the principal told me the mother freaks out, saying that she feels we pick on her precious poopsie. Whatever. The principal wants me to write him up for disrespect for me but I didn't. Turns out somewhere in a parent meeting the principal had with his parents, that Nicholas is allowed to come to school the next day and join in on all the school fun. How that happened I don't know.

So things have just gotten worse. He argues with me all the time. He left his backpack on the ground the other day after I asked his row to unpack (I call the children by rows to unpack). So I remind him his row was called. 10 min later it's still on the floor. I tell him he needs to put his pack away. He argues with me that I hadn't told him. "Nicholas, I did" "No you didn't" Seriously argues with me even when the other kids say yes I did. Today he left his backpack on the floor for 45 min. Tomorrow if he does it again and tries to talk back to me he is going to the office. And if he refuses to go like the last time I tried to send him off, I am calling in the very big math teacher to come carry him out. I'm tired of that shit.

The whining, the picking, the arguing, the willful disobediance is driving me crazy and making me not want to go to work.

To make matters worse the parents send a note attached to his reportcard today listing all the things they want to discuss with me tomorrow. Things like:

-"Under spelling it is noted that he needs improvement with assigned lists. Based on tests it appears he does well. What improvements would you like to see?"

Hmm ok lets look at the grade book. First of all the category for improvement was "Mastery of assigned lists" He has a score of, 100, 0, 94, 100, 56, 82, 60, 94 for an average of 73...no mastery there.

-"Under conduct all boxes are checked as needs improvement. We were questioning the "respects school property" and "respects personal property"> We have not heard of any problems before."

He trashes his desk, throws his books around (which are school property), refused to put his clothes in their proper place and constantly picks all the erasers out of the classroom pencils. Not cause for a parent conference but certainly cause for a mark on his report card.

-"We noticed low score in conduct (Oh really *snark*). Previously I suggest a behavior modification program, but I have not received any feedback regarding behaviors in the class".

They were also told they needed to write up a letter with what they were doing to help Nicholas and finally turned it in. They also stated that hey were going to put him in counseling. I thought that was what the list of behaviors was for. They cancelled their appointment with the therapist and now say he doesn't need one. So why do they need a list? Besides, why ask for a list full of negative behaviors when they'll never believe it anyway. They run the gamut and cover all negative behaviors...seriously he does them all except for like setting fire to things. I have discussed things he does in class with them in meetings and in notes and they always say he never does anything like that at home.

-"We are flustrated (huh?)with communication since school started we have only received about 2-3 notes. In order for us to help we need more communications."

I have four notes, two conferences, and four notices of concern (ie. referrals). Perhaps she is referring to the stalker like activity of her two calls to me at my HOME one night and then once the next morning before I went to work. I don't take business calls at home and I didn't answer the phone.

Anyway it goes on and on and I am hoping it goes well tomorrow. The V. Principal is going to be sitting in on the meeting, supporting me. I am soooo angry and soo tired of the whole situation I just want to run away. I'm tired of the blame on both the parent's and child's part. For christ sakes he blames everything on me or his classmates. "My stomach is mad at you!" "Why?" "Because it's hungry." Yeah all my fault.

If you are a praying sort please offer up something for me. I could use all the help and good thoughts, spells, incantations whatever, I can get. I feel so negative and so worn down from this situation.

10/27/03

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg

Total frustration...

I should be working on lesson plans right now but I am upset by a "meeting" my principal and I had. Seems she thinks I am too dependant on my mother...that we have lunch together already so I shouldn't need to sit next to her at meetings. ??? Didn't realize there was anything wrong with sitting next to a certain person at a meeting.

She insinuated that I needed to be more social with everyone else which is a bunch of hooey. Anyone who really knows me knows I talk to everyone. I told her that I didn't sit next to my mother to talk because I was under the impression that we were having a meeting not a social gathering. Anyway long story short she made me cry and I really get po'd when people make me cry.

She ended up saying she was sorry that she offended me. Seems she was a bit jealous as she thought I was confiding my woes with my mother and not with her. *eye roll* Whatever. I don't tell people that crap...well except for my journal right ;)

10/24/03

Beyond Borders

Just got back home from seeing Beyond Borders with Alex. It was avery powerful film for us almost reducing us to tears throughout. If you are a sheep I would not recommend seeing it as it isn't an entertaining movie. It is instead a movie that forces you to realize the reality that is beyond our happy, comfy borders of McDonalds, malls and fast cars.

It made me want to do something even more, as it did Alex. He said he would leave right now if it weren't for the kids. I understand for I'd be out there if it weren't for my family. I don't know how I could leave my mom behind but I feel this calling in a way that has been growing steadily for about 2 years now.

Where do I go...how do I even begin?

On a different note, the army once again fucked up.

Fort Ord Burn Out Of Control
1,270 Acres Of Thick Brush Burned

POSTED: 3:30 p.m. PDT October 24, 2003
UPDATED: 9:29 p.m. PDT October 24, 2003

SEASIDE, Calif. -- A prescribed burn at the former Fort Ord has blackened 1,270 acres and is out of control, Action News reported Friday afternoon.


The burn started about 8:30 a.m. and the smoke from it could be seen for miles as it drifted out over Monterey Bay and into some communities.

About 500 acres of thick brush was scheduled to be burned in an effort to remove thick ground cover so that crews can reach dangerous unexploded ordinance that lies beneath.

Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the company in charge of the burn, Firestop, said it was a successful burn, although not everything went as planned. Officials said the blaze did escape the fire line at one point, forcing engineers to change their plans, but that it was not out of control.

"Wildfire is sometimes unpredictable. It has a tendency to do the things it wants to do ... all we can do is plan for those contingencies, which we did, and bringing it back into line when it gets outside of what expected," Firestop spokesman Rich Foster said.

More than 80 personnel, including 12 helicopters, are on hand to battle the flames.

Army officials said there are no more burns scheduled at the site until next summer.


...Not out of control MY ASS! We drove by it coming home and there were massive flames dangerously close to homes in Seaside. Interesting how we got a notice that the fire was 90% contained at like 11am.

10/21/03

It's almost Wednesday

Just wanted to show everyone a picture I took today.



We may look sweet, we may look cute...but ooooooohhhhhh.



I had another observation today. The day wasn't working in my favor. Coach was on leave today so we had no PE my prep time for my science lesson and the lesson in which I was to be observed and graded. So there goes the prep time. I was amazed however because for an hour and a half straight they we silent as can be...perfectly well behaved and calm..working hard on handwriting and then art projects. I was shocked. Then Rey came in for science and it was a whole different story. My computer and projector set up didn't work and they started spazzing out towards the end. *sigh* Hands on science became let's toss the rock around. I had to really raise my voice.

Rey strangely loved that...okay....you wouldn't think they would want you to "yell" at your students but whatever. I got a glowing review. Another shocker but hey I'm just glad this bout is over until next month.

I also collected about 7 or 8 cards and pictures today. for some reason the kids were being loves and handing me pictures and poems left and right. It made me feel good because after visiting my former school last Monday I was missing my babies real bad along with all the love they share. A teacher needs to feel appreciated and loved you know?

10/12/03

Why in God's Name?

U.S. May Expand Access To Endangered Species

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 11, 2003; Page A01


The Bush administration is proposing far-reaching changes to conservation policies that would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.



Giving Americans access to endangered animals, officials said, would feed the gigantic U.S. demand for live animals, skins, parts and trophies, and generate profits that would allow poor nations to pay for conservation of the remaining animals and their habitat.

This and other proposals that pursue conservation through trade would, for example, open the door for American trophy hunters to kill the endangered straight-horned markhor in Pakistan; license the pet industry to import the blue fronted Amazon parrot from Argentina; permit the capture of endangered Asian elephants for U.S. circuses and zoos; and partially resume the trade in African ivory. No U.S. endangered species would be affected.

Conservationists think it's a bad idea. "It's a very dangerous precedent to decide that wildlife exploitation is in the best interest of wildlife," said Adam Roberts, a senior research associate at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, an advocacy group for endangered species.

Killing or capturing even a few animals is hardly the best way to protect endangered species, conservationists say. Many charge that the policies cater to individuals and businesses that profit from animal exploitation.

The latest proposal involves an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that deviates radically from the course followed by Republican and Democratic administrations since President Richard M. Nixon signed the act in 1973. The law established broad protection for endangered species, most of which are not native to America, and effectively prohibited trade in them.

Kenneth Stansell, assistant director for international affairs at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said there has been a growing realization that the Endangered Species Act provides poor countries no incentive to protect dying species. Allowing American hunters, circuses and the pet industry to pay countries to take fixed numbers of animals from the wild can help protect the remaining animals, he said.

U.S. officials note that such trade is already open to hunters, pet importers and zoos in other Western nations. They say the idea is supported by poor countries that are home to the endangered species and would benefit from the revenue.

Officials at the Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife, who are spearheading many of the new policies, said the proposals merely implement rarely used provisions in the law.

"This is absolutely consistent with the Endangered Species Act, as written," said David P. Smith, deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. "I think the nature of the beast is such that there are critics who are going to claim some kind of ulterior motive."

Animal welfare advocates question the logic of the new approach, saying that foreign countries and groups that stand to profit will be in charge of determining how many animals can be killed or captured. Advocates also warn that opening the door to legal trade will allow poaching to flourish.

"As soon as you place a financial price on the head of wild animals, the incentive is to kill the animal or capture them," Roberts said. "The minute people find out they can have an easier time killing, shipping and profiting from wildlife, they will do so."

The proposals also trigger a visceral response: To many animal lovers, these species have emotional and symbolic value, and should never be captured or killed.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits removing domestic endangered species from the wild. Until now, that protection was extended to foreign species. Explaining the change, Stansell said, "There is a recognition that these sovereign nations have a different way of managing their natural resources."

10/3/03

Oh the Guilt

The last few days have been something else. Last night I had to attend and be a speaker at the first Sacramental Preparation meeting for my second grade parents and those parents of the parish children going through the Sacraments this year. This is the reason I didn't want to teach second grade. I went through all the Sacraments myself but I probably shouldn't be teaching them. I also am divorced and living with someone which is a big no no.

So right before the presentations start Fr. Emil who is a youngish priest who will be part of the Sacrament program asks me when he finds out who my mother is (the school secretary) if I was the one getting married...no I say. "Oh is it your sister?" No I don't have a sister. The Sunday School teacher then pipes in, "Jennifer you'll already married aren't you?" Which I have to answer I was 'cause I can't lie *sigh*. So then I mention that I was wanting to get an annulment to which Fr. Emile says he's on the tribunal and we can talk about it afterwards.

So the meeting bombs...for me at least. Being a theatre person I can talk out my ass for ages...have no problem being in front of people but I was not doing well this night. I should have sounded canned and read off my handouts but nooooo I had to try to wing it without reading and sounded lame in the process.

Afterwards. I talked with Fr. Emile in the rectory for a couple minutes about the whole annulment thing. I had to cry of course. Sometimes divorce seems like such a shameful thing, you failed or you didn't try hard enough. He was very kind about it and said some people were just not meant for each other. Then the whole cost of an annulment came up and I burst into tears again..even worse when he said that I wouldn't have to worry about it and that he would have the church take care of it. It's damn expensive and partially the reason I've waited for so long.

So now I have to fill out all the paperwork, obtain witnesses (5 of them), and write out our history (5 pages worth). Then it goes to the diocese tribunal (court) and then to the archdiocese if it makes it through the first round. All this to clear my marriage slate. Or not, as Fr. Emile said, to say it never happened but that it was non Sacramental. *sigh* I don't plan on getting married in the church again but I didn't want to be committing a major "sin" whenever I do get remarried.

Either way my future with communion is doomed..which sucks for my job.

Sometimes religion sucks.

And that brings us to today. My relationship with the secretary at the school is unique because well she's my mom..so I see my mom every day. After school she came into my room to talk with me about something I was angry with her for doing. She had told me that she sent my ex a birthday card. I know she had done this the last two years we were not together as well as to all his family but give me a break...we're divorced now...I have someone new. So I was mad. She said she didn't put love on it or anything. She just wanted to send him one since she sends them to everyone else in his family. I explained why I was angry and she understood but didn't say she'd stop.

Then she started tearing up about the whole loss of "family" (like we all were that close) with the divorce (like they talked to me at all after the separation). When she cries I cry so I was trying to hold it together. Then she starts in on the full blown tears because she isn't a grandma yet and "she wants a grandbaby". I don't need to hear that crap because I already hurt not having a kid. I want one so bad it drives me batty but what can I do? I can't have one now, I'd lose my job. I don't want to have one before I get re-hitched anyway. She thinks she is going to be an ancient grandma but she doesn't realize that I don't want to be an older mother either. Her crying and making me feel like shit doesn't help anything. It just makes it worse.

Alex told me the other day he wasn't ready to get married right now because he wasn't happy with himself. Well I would think if that was holding me back I would start doing something about it. I don't see him doing anything to lose weight which is what he is unhappy about. Eating HUGE portions of food and snacking all through the night doesn't help. I can't help him and I can't ever talk to him about it because he just gets mad. So no self satisfaction, no ring...no babies. *sigh*

9/30/03

California Dreaming

It's too bad California and especially the coast is such a beatiful state, otherwise I'd be getting the hell out. Housing is astronomical and now I'm going to have to vote for an idiot of a governor because I don't want a bigger idiot to take his place. Yes I'm talking about Ah-nold...*grumbles* I signed the petition to get Davis out but I sure as hell do NOT want Arnold to get in. What does he know about politics, about how to run a state, especially one like california? Nada!!

Here are some Arnold gems I found:

- On Multi-Culturalism -

"I don't understand how they can call me anti-Latino, when I've made four movies in Mexico."

- On Gay Marriage - "No, I do not. I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

- On the Environment - "Don't worry about that!"

- On the Status of Women - "Whatever I thought might hold me back, I avoided. I crossed girls off my list -- except as tools for my sexual needs."

"It was a handful. I never know if my wife’s watching. I’ll tell her it was a stuntman." [after touching British TV host's breast on air]

[discussing a scene in T3, in which he pushes the female cyborg's face into a toilet bowl] "I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this -- to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating there ... The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman -- she's a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group."

- On If He Wins - "I will be governor for the people for a change because, because I want to represent the people because the only thing that counts for me is the people."


Dude is a dolt! *sigh* I was going to vote for Arianna but now I have to vote for the lesser of evils...This sucks.

9/20/03

And So it Continues

The last couple of weeks have been sort of a blur or activity. I thought I had updated but it seems I hadn't. Maybe I just update in my mind.

Anyway my friend Nicholas is on my mind so much now I even dream about him...ahhhhh!

Last Friday during the spelling test he freaked out and just sat there. When I went over to him to see what was the matter, he said I was going too fast. Let me state that our spelling tests take about a half hour due to the lag so I know I was not going too fast. I told him I would go even slower if it would help but he then proceeds to get on the floor and wrap himself around his desk legs in the fetal position. I try to encourage him to get up, I remind him of his responsibilities and consequences..he does not get up. So in the middle of my spelling test with all my other students quietly waiting for the next word I call the office to find someone to extricate him from his desk. The principal came down and pried him off and down to her office.

Of course Nicholas loves to blame me, I go too fast, he wasn't ready to start..etc. etc. Seems it's easier for him to blame others than himself. His parents, the principal and I had a meeting this week to discuss his behavior and what needs to happen for him to continue at the school. He should be starting with a new therapist this coming Monday so that will be good. They also had him tested by Sylvan Learning Center this week and I was blown away by his Language Arts scores. The child was in the 28th percentile with his vocabulary and in the 1st percentile in his comprehension. He's at a preschool level!! This is NOT ok. His emotional and behavioral problems are effecting him terribly. At this point I am at a loss with what to do for him. He is so far behind I don't have the time to work individually with him in class as I teach everyone else. If he gets sent back to first grade he'll be way ahead in his math. Not to mention the new first grade teacher will just want to die as she already has her hands full with a "friend" of her own.

I also have a new student, moved up from first. Daisy is a dear little girl and is fitting in quite well with the class. We were talking about collections the other day and she found out I collected rubber duckies. And wouldn't you know she brought me her two rubber ducks yesterday as a present. Kids amaze me sometimes in their kindness and thoughtfulness.

On the Cal State Teach front I think I'm giving myself an ulcer. The work load is insane. They say you should spend approx. 10-12 hours a week but that is bullshit. If I have to continue at this pace for the next 16 months my hair is truly going to be white. Nice to know I get to plan out my entire year of curriculum in a couple days. Grrr. I may have to go into the split track. It's more money and more time, 20 months to complete, but it won't be so fast.

9/11/03

My Life as it Were

Lots to update on I suppose...


The concert was awesome!! REM puts on the best shows. I have always had the greatest time at the four or five now, I guess, that I've gone too. Funny thing is on Monday when I asked the kids what they did on the weekend one of them says she went to an REM concert. Turns out her parents are friends with REM's gen. manager and they got free tix in the front and went backstage!!! Grrrr no fair! I pouted majorly that day. Her mother is going to give me a copy of the tape? her friend gave her of that night's show. I just thought that was pretty funny one of my kids was there.

Sunday was a bummer because one of our lizards died :( It was a slow yucky death as he had been looking pretty bad for a few days before and all day he was trying to die, almost drowning in his water dish a couple times. I actually was watching as he died. So sad. Even if they are reptiles and aren't "cuddly", it still is sad to see them go through that. I had to cuddle my fuzzies after that.

Last night was Back to School Night or "teacher hell". At my school we have two sessions of 20 min each where you have a spiel for the parents. I started with my rules, procedures, rewards and consequences as that's what I go over first with the kids. Then I went through my curriculum explaining what we will be learning this year in second grade. Next was special activities such as pen pals (crosses fingers and more later) and our field trip. Last was a Q&A session where I got to be grilled by a roomful of parents. All in all I think it went very well. My theatre background comes in very handy as I am not real freaked out by talking in front of people. I made them laugh and made them smile so that's good. The whole reading situation was brought up. Seems the parents were unhappy with their reading level coming out of first grade and wanted to know where I thought they were. So that was pretty hairy for a sec. They all expressed support and confidence in me though so that's good.

Apparently parents had been calling the office today saying how great I was so that makes me feel good. Today was a good day in general. Mainly because Nicholas was not at school. He was suspended due to two instances of striking other students. I have a meeting with his parents tomorrow but there are MAJOR issues with this family that I have been filled in on. I feel badly in a way for saying that we had a better day without him but it is true. It's truly amazing how one child can affect a whole classroom. The kids were more relaxed, on task. It just was a better environment for all. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Our journal this morning was for them to write about their favorite thing about school and what they were looking forward too. We had written about favorite school things a month ago during our first week but I wanted to see if it had changed. Two of the children had written that I was their favorite thing. I can't tell you how that made me feel! I still wasn't sure if the kids even liked me because frankly I am sort of stern at times...you have to be. Between the parents the night before saying how their kids liked me and these journal entries I felt great. Then things only got better. For religion homework they needed to write about their favorite real life hero. Dear little Elizabeth said me...because I was smart and kind and helped her.

It doesn't get any better than that.

9/6/03

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I've been pretty frustrated the past 24 hours with a situation at work.

I have been very excited to start a pen pal program with my second graders. I signed up at Epals an online pen pal service for schools around the world two days ago. They seem pretty excited too, telling me which countries they'd like to have pen friends in. So yesterday in my excitement I was pointing on the map the various places I was considering contacting a school. I have many possibilities in the UK, Australia, India, Japan, Russia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Egypt, Norway etc. Even Uzbekistan, Romania, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.

What really upset me was when I mentioned Russia my most outspoken charge says, "Eww they're bad people". I then tell her that there are bad people everywhere even in the US. "No there isn't." She's dead serious. When I mention Zimbabwe she says "They're evil." She probably hasn't even heard of Zimbabwe before! And about the Russia thing, this isn't the Cold War! I was shocked. I explained how I felt that there weren't any bad countries in the world just bad people. They seemed less than convinced.

So I thought it was time to break out my Unicef books. They are a wonderful set of books depicting children from around the world. One deals with celebrations, another with children's lifestyles and families and the last is aimed at older children and shows the living, schooling, working conditions of children throughout the world. The photography is stunning and shows things as they are.

Of course my friend Nicholas immediately launches into those people from India are funny looking. I try to explain that people from different cultures look and dress differently from us and that we'd probably look funny to them. He didn't believe me that his light blond hair and blue eyes would be weird to them.

Then things just get better. *smell the sarcasm* Religion was just a mess. They were not retaining anything (Fridays *sigh*). I asked them if the Church and Jesus except everyone? We had been talking about how anyone is welcome to join the church. Alexa then blurts out, "Not people from Iraq!" I ask her, "God doesn't love people from Iraq?" "No they're evil."

I could have cried. You hope as time goes on that people are actually changing, that they are learning about the world. What ever happened to loving each other? For God's sake isn't the Christian way to accept and love others as Jesus would have done? Why am I finding more and more Christians to be so closed minded and condemning. Frankly, Jesus would be ashamed of them. I wish they would realize that. They are what he fought against.

I love everyone regardless or race, religion, or nationality, I don't care if you worship monkeys. It's all the same God in my opinion anyway. The state of today's America as I have said before sickens me. All this nationalistic crap. All this flag waving camaraderie of we are right and they (every one else) is wrong. Bullshit. Iraq isn't evil, Russia is not evil. Sure they have had rulers at times that have been evil people but why don't we look inward and look at our own government? Do we have clean hands? Are we without sin? I should think not! If they are evil so are we and so much more so.

9/2/03

Hooray for Squeakers!

I had been planning on getting Sadie a new little friend soon because I feel badly leaving her all alone during the day and rats are very social. I thought I would get one for her after my first paycheck but Alex just bought me one today :) So sweet he is! She was so cute we just had to take her home! She was the runt of the litter and is just the tiniest little thing. White as can be and just cute as a bug. Like sadie, we were in love with her immediatly. So Chloe is now a wonderful ratty addition to our growing menagerie.

Here are some pics of our little ladies. Sadie is about 6 months old and Chloe is probably a month old.

9/1/03

Now to Vent

I was asked the other day by a friend (a teacher who hadn't gotten her first job as of yet) if I was having fun in my new job. A couple days later I was asked it again by someone else. My reaction both times was a pause and a "no". My friend got a little pissy with me but I was being honest so sue me!

Not to say I don't like my job or my students or that I'm not grateful for this opportunity. I'm just not having fun yet. I'm hoping I will in a couple weeks when I get used to everything and every one is in the swing of things. Frankly I'm tired and it's a hell of a lot to take in..let alone the responsibility is insane. Things were tough in pre-K but things are tough in Elementary ed in a different way. I am alone in my classroom with my munchkins all day. I am all these kids have and I better not screw it up!

So my friends who started off the week on a less than great note ended the week as such.

My friend Nicholas is a mess, just a total wreak. I have changed his desk repeatedly to try to find a spot where he would be able to focus, where he'd be able to follow class rules and keep his hands to himself. No such luck. The third day of school he received a "Letter of Concern" for hitting and scratching a classmate at lunch recess. He was also sent to the office by me for deciding he needed to stay in the bathroom rather than return to class. He was there for about 15 min before it was time for the kids to go to P.E. At that time I went down there to sit with him and discuss his behavior. Seems some friends didn't want to play with him and in his hurt he hit them. *sigh* We talked about how hitting never solves such problems and that if they were hurting his feelings he should find an adult or myself to discuss the situation. That was Wed. after a note a day was already sent home. Friday was a half day and Nicholas spent some of the day sitting on the floor during Religion with his sweatshirt over his head, or lying face down in the reading area during Language Arts. He was given the option of either taking responsibility for his actions and work at his desk or go down the hall. He chose his classwork but crawled and whined the whole way. Earlier he had come up to me and cried that I had didn't want to help him. This was as I was answering another child's question. Seems I didn't drop what I was doing that second.

I am at a loss. I've had children who hit, I've had children who swore, I've had children who threatened another teacher's life but somehow this one is different. I've never had a child whine and whimper so much. I've tried reasoning with him and it doesn't take.

For instance on Friday he had scooted his desk back from the second row until his back was touching the front left corner of the desk behind him. Then he had his arm draped over poor Kendra's desk. I moved his desk back with him protesting all the while, "she's bothering me!! She always bothers me!" Keep in mind Kendra is one of the most quiet girls in the class. Kendra who is kind to everyone and doesn't speak up when another kids is touching her desk. When I point out that she her arm wasn't on his desk it turned into a, "She doesn't like me!!!" Can you hear it? Can you feel my pain?

I've discussed this with the principal and will be having another conference with the parents this week hopefully. Seems that this behavior has been ongoing since grade K. I would bet that he will not last out the year at the school without some intervention.

My other two friends pale in comparison but I will be speaking to their parents this week also. One is a should have been held back issue, another is a medication issue. I hate lying parents. Don't tell the teacher your child is on medication when she asks yet the child will certainly tell you not only by demeanor but in words. *sigh*

8/25/03

One Day Down

...and a half day at that.

School is n session and I had my work cut out for me. I am lucky to have a very small class, 9 boys and 7 girls though a couple of them make up for it.

Despite some stomach issues this morning I don't think I showed I was that scared and the day went pretty well...again half day. I found I hadn't planned enough because they were speeding through everything. As if they give you enough room on those damn lesson plan books anyway! It's all about learning for them and me anyway right?

Only had to take back one ticket (the kids earn tickets for being responsible for their actions/good behavior) and write one "bad" note home to parents. Yes it was the same kid. I wrote a "good" note too for a child who went out of his way to help others. I'm hoping my friend Nicholas was just trying to test the new teacher and will toe the line tomorrow. I may have to get him tested for LD as he is showing some signs...that will remain to be seen by the end of the week.

*sigh* It's 6:40 and I'm ready for bed.

I took some pics of my classroom today so after they get developed I'll post them.

Congrats to Lori and Erika

Posted on Sun, Aug. 24, 2003

Henning-Dyson

Lory Anne Henning and Erika White Dyson, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were married Aug. 16at the home of Ms. Dyson's mother and stepfather in Etna, Maine. A reception followed at the home.

Ms. Henning is the daughter of Kathleen Henning of Ludington, Mich., and the late Charles Skouson. She is a production coordinator for Blue Man Productions in New York.

Ms. Dyson is the daughter of Charlotte and Jared Greene of Etna and Lloyd G. Dyson Jr., of Amesbury, Maine. She is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University in New York.

Standing with Ms. Henning was Eve Muson of Cambridge, Mass. Escorting her down the aisle was Dan Beck of Monterey.

Standing with Ms. Dyson was Lloyd G. Dyson III of Jamaica Plain, Maine.

The couple honeymooned in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the Maine coast. They reside in Brooklyn.


The silly thing is they even made the news due to being the first same-sex marriage announcement in the local paper *rolls eyes* Anyway lots of love to the both of them. Had I been able to afford going to Maine I would have been there last weekend. What a beautiful day for them :)

8/23/03

You Showed Me Yours now I'll Show You Mine

So Britt wanted to see my tat so here goes... Keep in mind the pic is not very good.

I got it as a turning 30, finally graduating college, happy divorce present to myself a little over a year ago. I had always wanted one but my ex would always pitch a fit about how it would "ruin" my body and that I couldn't get one. Yeah and drinking as much as he did wasn't ruining his *eye roll* Damn loser. Anyway...I had even designed one 10 years earlier but had never gotten it done.

The design I ended up with is very meaningful to me on different levels. I've always loved birds. They seem so free and to me this tat had a lot to do with freedom and growth. I also chose to have it done in white ink. I have Vitiligo, have since I was 8. It's a skin disease that leaves white patches on your body due to lack of melanin. I have had a hard time due to this condition and I wanted to make the choice to put white on my body my own self. It turned out beautiful. Almost like a brand..which is what many people who see it think it is. I don't know if it's possible to be in love with a tattoo but I am with mine.

I'd like to get another one cause, yes they are addicting. I'm thinking white stars on my inside wrist but due to teaching at a Catholic School that might not be a good idea.



Actually it's funny when I taught preschool most of the parents were younger than me so they had a lot of piercings and tattoos. The kids were used to seeing them and would often talk about what designs their parents had much to the chagrin of my Mormon co-teacher (she never found out I had one). I often would feel little hands touching it as I would lean over and it was visible (dang pants now-a-days).

One little girl, Emily, drew a picture one day that looks suspiciously like my tattoo...individual feathers and everything. I asked her what it was and she said it was "your bird". LOL!!!

When my mom found out by accident she freaked out, seriously cried and everything. She acted as if I was dead and said she had, had such high hopes for me...*sigh* I was 30 for god's sake!! Anyway she doesn't bring it up much anymore (denial) but she has seen it plenty I'm sure when we go shopping and are in the changing room..lol

My aunt wanted to see it and she goes, "where is it?" Seems she was expecting black line work like my cousins have. If only my mom would look at it and see how beautiful it is :)

8/13/03

Thoughts...

I was thinking the other night about how screwed up things are in the world, particularly in the US. Sometimes I just want to drop everything and be a philanthropist. How I would love to be in the Peace Core in Asia somewhere or bring medical supplies to children in Cuba. I just want to help people. I feel like it's the only worthwhile thing to do.

Alex would like to do it too...we've talked about it often but with his kids here in the states that wouldn't work and the Peace Core doesn't accept Canadians :( Maybe next summer I'll do the Cuba thing. I've wanted to do that for about a year and it's about the only way I could go legally into Cuba. Damn embargo. I could start in on how this country is going down a flaming piece of shit but I don't care to read flag waving responses ;)

All I can do is try to give my students an unbiased world view. I am going to arrange for all of them to have email penpals from all over the world...seems you can't do it by mail anymore(grr). I want to instill a sense of equity with all cultures in their little minds so that they can care for the world like I do. Blind nationalism makes me want to hurl.

8/11/03

What Grey?

As I was getting ready to take a shower last night I discover, horror of horrors, my second grey hair. And no it wasn't merely grey...it was white. So it went the way of my first grey hair and was plucked out. I had saved the first, god knows where it went so now I have this white one in a little plastic petri dish thing. Don't ask me why I kept it. I think it would be funny to give to my mom. "Here you go mom you have my first haircut hair..now you have my first grey hairs" She's a packrat she'd probably keep it

And on a side note...mental note for future rental and peace of mind:

1)bedrooms far away from adults
2)bathrooms far away from adults
3)males clean the bathroom
4)the men in this house will never, ever, ever learn to replace the damn toilet paper. Grrrrr

8/7/03

It's About to Begin

Yesterday I had a meeting with the head of the youth ministries at the Mission and with the former 2nd grade teacher to discuss First Communion and all that it entails. *sigh* I just sat like a little sponge trying to soak it up. It makes me afraid. And of course I got the question, not the most feared question, but a question, "Do you go to church at the mission" Ummmmm "I did when I lived in Carmel." Yeah I'm a bad Catholic..hell I'm a normal Catholic.

So then I went to my classroom. They look exactly the same as when I went there, though I didn't go there in 2nd. Except now there is a whiteboard. A WHITEBOARD!!! Can I tell you what teacher heaven that is! I have the only whiteboard in the whole school and I could just kiss it. Alex jokes that I have OCD (Grrr) but I just can't stand to have stuff on my hands and chalk dust makes me want to heave.

Now-a-days each classroom has two computers, it's own overhead (JOY!), and it's own TV and VCR. Luxury I tell ya. So as long as my class size stays at 16 I won't have a coronary. Though when she pulled out my teacher manuals I almost did. Seems there's a new type of reading instruction called Open Court and damn if they don't have second graders reading stuff that looks like it came out of a 5th grade reader.

So here I have all my curriculum and an empty classroom and I'm scared as can be. Two weeks....

Ooooh and as an addition I got accepted into Cal State Teach. So I will be going to school as I teach school. I can make it...well I think I can.

8/3/03

A Certain Sort of Guilt

Yesterday, I went to Emily's 5th birthday party. She was one of my preschool students and is also going to attend JSS next year. That, I think, is going to be pretty unique, teaching a student in two stages of her life.

As always it's great to see all the kids. They always seem so thrilled to see me, "Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Jennifer you came!". They hugged me and sat with me, drug me into the bounce house (which I had never done before) and all taking turns being the one to hold my hand. Nothing makes you feel love like preschoolers I say. They are free to show you and they do it often.

Most of the parents there know that I am not coming back. Three of them are very close friends of each other and friends of mine. They in turn have told a few others. It was a topic of the day, my new employment. I had hoped the school would make a formal announcement but they hadn't so one family found out when another parent asked me when my new job started. The look on that mothers face was pure shock and panic. I hadn't meant for people to find out that way. As the party drew on it had been mentioned that Teagan was leaving "she wouldn't be challenged next year", Lyla's mom was trying to forge her birth certificate to show she was two weeks older so she could attend Kindergarten this year, "I only had her there because of you." And the two very influential university staff parents whose children were moving over from the toddler side had already pulled their children out of the school. I know it was because I wasn't going to be there.

So now I have this bit of guilt. Don't take me wrong I wouldn't have given up this opportunity of a lifetime to be at the school I always dreamed I would, but I do feel badly that I am causing people to leave the center. I couldn't have been the only good thing at the center.

I will miss my babies, miss their hugs and their little hands, their smiles and their funny jokes, miss them shouting, "look what I learned!"

Yesterday 3 year old Adara told me a joke I'd like to share:

"Ms. Jennifer wanna hear a dirty joke?"

"Uh...ok"

"A pig went into the mud" (she laughs hysterically)"That's really dirty huh?"

7/27/03

Adios Motherfucker (Debauchery Within)

Last night was my best friend's 29th b'day party...grr to her not being in her 30's yet. LOL I went up to San Jose Friday night late so I could help her get ready all day Sat. The theme was a fetish party, though rather low key in reality. I mean we are just talking about adults dressing in revealing costumes and getting wasted. Amber and I went to an adult store and got tons of fun partyish things to decorate with. She didn't want the "pin the manhood on the man" game though. Oh well, her loss. Then I got busy with finding and mixing the most lethal drinks I could find. So we had vats of "Adios Motherfucker" and "Hawaiian Spooge".

My outfit was kind of a bummer. I had brought two with me just in case one didn't work out which was such a good thing. I was thinking of wearing my old fashioned playboy bunny costume, complete with a pink satin corset but I had left my dance pants at home and no way was I going to walk around in see through black lace panties, party or no party. So I ended up wearing my catholic school girl outfit. Ehh whatever I wasn't there to impress.

We had decided early on that the "AMF" drink had to be a shot drink, that it was too lethal any other way. It was a very popular one however and everyone was having a great time. I, of course, was the lone sober person which is what usually happens. It's not like I choose it, it just happens as I have some funky tolerance of steel.

At one point in the night I had had three shots Of "AMF" and four mixed drinks and was stone cold sober. It was announced that I was always like this so one of the larger guys there proceeds to claim that he was going to "drink me under the table". Yeah ok, whatever dude. I dated a Swede and he couldn't even do that. So being up for a challenge I go over to the vat and we have a shot. Ten min later dude is still talking smack saying "You're going down" and "I'm Irish" and he dares me to have another shot..Ok so I do. He gets himself one and it's only filled halfway. I call him on it and make him fill it to the brim. More shit talking.

Let me just say no more than 20 min later he says, "The room is spinning" and promptly goes into the bathroom to puke and remains there for the next three hours!!!! So then one of Amber's female coworkers decides I was faking or something cause she says I don't believe you have another one. *sigh* Let's just say I had approx. 8 shots and 6 large mixed cocktails and I was the only one up at 9 am, hangover free, cleaning the whole house. Now kids I don't recommend that to anyone I mean, I made a grown man cry in the bathroom (I did keep getting him water though cause I'm nice like that)but sometimes it's a bitch to be sober. I don't think I'll ever have to prove myself again.

Anyway it was a pretty fun night..lots of loonies, some really good convos, and seeing Amber get shackled to a ladder and smacked with a wip 29 times, all the while cracking up in her pink dayglo wig, made dealing with everyone's hangover crankiness the next day worth it.

7/25/03

Yeah Baby

Today was another drama filled day. I have no idea why Alex cannot have one cranky free day. I don't understand why life has to be so hard. And here I was stoked to get to see Tomb Raider and the day was *that* close to be ruined. *sigh*

Oh well we saw it and...yeah...Angelina rocks. I love her. Ya know it's not the best flick in the world but from the time I started playing the games years ago I was enthralled with the smart, globe trotting, butt kicking brunette heroine. The fact that Angelina plays the character in the movies just makes it all the better.

7/24/03

Aren't Roller Coasters Supposed to be Fun?

Sunday we took the kids to Paramount's Great America with my best friend. Alex's statement towards the end of the day. "Never again!"

I thought as a teen you're supposed to love roller coasters, you love amusement parks? I did when I used to go there as a teen. Sadly the day held no amusement.

Early on we went on Rip Roaring Rapids, a ride I've never been too thrilled about, something about walking around in wet clothes all day, don't really like it. Of course I got completely drenched, worse than I ever had before. Seriously not a dry section on my body. The worst thing was that at the last "pay money to completely flood the tube of strangers" spot, Alex's new and expensive glasses flew off and haven't been seen since. Then the day just seemed to get better.

Emrys refused to ride anything. He was bored, he was hot, his legs were tired, he had a headache, he was DYING of thirst. Seriously I've never seen a kid look so morose in such an environment. You'd think we were leading him off to listen to Lawrence Welk for 6 hours. Alex finally gave him some money and sent him off to play at the arcade for the second time that day. Bethia was a good sport and rode the roller coasters with me but we didn't even ride the Demon. We missed about half of the rides, something I've never done. So Alex is right, never again, for as much as a day in the park with four people costs I could be heading somewhere tropical.

We are learning so much this summer, or at least I am.

A Late Update

NAVY SEALS ACCIDENTALLY STARTED FIRE
Fort Ord: Blaze rages as crews work to contain it

"...A military spokeswoman had said Thursday that no training was going on near the fire's origin at the FBI's Military Operations on Urban Terrain area -- a compound of buildings and streets nestled in a wooded area off Eucalyptus Road near Barloy Canyon Road.

But on Friday, Installation Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Cairns said a team of Navy special forces was on the site on Thursday and unintentionally started the blaze while preparing to leave about 3 p.m.

"There was training involving blank ammunition and smoke grenades," Cairns said. "We believe a smoke grenade likely started it yesterday afternoon."

SEALs were finishing up training and were setting off ammunition and smoke grenades that had not been used during their training, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Bender, a spokesman for the Navy's Special Warfare Command Center in Coronado. He would not say how long the team had been at the site, but nearby residents reported hearing machine-gun fire and explosions beginning on Tuesday."


This was the headline last Saturday on the front page of the paper. When you are right, you're right.

7/18/03

How Ironic

There's a fire burning pretty close to my house. As of 11 pm it was up to 1000 acres. Guess where it is. Yep you guessed it, right next to the forbidden city. Alex and I when we heard the news were taking bets on whether it was started by a wayward shell or flare or some such other nonsense they were playing with up there.

Of course they won't directly say they caused it and gee it's so funny how they, all of a sudden, stopped shooting after 4 whole days once the fire started. Bastards. They can't even work on containing it right now cause it's in an area of unexploded ordinance and stuff is blowing up all over the place.

7/15/03

Awake and Not in a Good Way

Thank you Forbidden City.

Thank you for firing explosives after midnight. Thank you for deciding someone can play post apocalyptic urban soldier in the middle of the night. I realize it's for the benefit all of the US of A when the rest of the world comes gunning for us. I don't mind feeling like I'm in Iraq or being able to count how many rounds you guys are shooting off. Yeah, I'm sure the kids don't mind either....Grrrrrr

For those that don't know I live on a massive former Army base, half of it is still Army property..the other half a university. Ironic isn't it? Anyway, there's an area up in the mountains called the Forbidden City. It's a scale replica of a city made entirely out of cinder blocks complete with a sewer system. High up military types, CIA, FBI, Navy Seals get to go play GI Urban Assault Joe and shoot like crazy up there. Usually at night cause jeeze we like to shoot people at night don't we? I've even seen those yucky silent huge ass helicopters fly in a formation over campus housing a few times. Gotta love big brother.

Tonight isn't just assault riffle rounds, it's bomb blasts. I would appreciate it if they leave the bombing out of it.

7/14/03

Cars are the Devil

I just got off the phone with my new principal. Why should it matter to her that I don't drive? Why should she make it some personal professional goal for me to get my license? Why should she even give a shit? I have never let my lack of driving effect my work, my schooling, anything! It makes me so damn angry. She wouldn't shut up about it and I'm the type of person who, you try to force me to do something like that and I push all the harder back to not do it.

Yes, I am 31 and I don't drive. I don't want to drive. It scares the crap out of me. I've tried to get my license and both tests were horrifying. Why can't people just understand that you aren't incapacitated and that maybe some people choose not to drive? I fucking hate America and it's stupid SUV obsession..its now, now, now attitude. Why can't I be in the UK where sane people take the tube to work and buses and trains?

7/11/03

Coolness



I touched one of those today!!! I am in awe.

I have been in a teacher institute at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the past week. For those that do not know. MBA is just about the best aquarium in the world and it's right in my back yard. It's actually turning 20 next year. I was given the opportunity to participate in this institute for Pre-K to 2nd grade teachers. It was a week long, all day long program geared towards teaching science in your classroom, specifically marine, life, and conservation. It was an exhausting albeit wonderful week. They Aquarium was overly generous in supplying us with supplies, books, cds, food, and stipends for even being involved in the program. Then they pair you with an Aquarium educator buddy who comes to your class three times to work with your kids in science. Then you have a field trip. Excellent.

We took a behind the scenes of the Aquarium tour today and I touched a Moon Jelly. It was magic.

7/1/03

Frustration

Sometimes I just want to kick certain people.

Dan, my ex husband, called me today to tell me he was sending me $200.00 (out of the $1400.00 he owes me). He proceeds to go on and on about how he misses me every day and how he misses my widow's peak and whatever other body part he happens to throw in that day. Told me he loves me. How the hell does he expect me to react? I don't give a damn that he dreams of me or that he can't get over me. I mean he couldn't say anything nice when we were together. All I got then was awful, evil shit I can't even repeat it hurts so bad. Obsession over body parts just makes me feel like the sex object he kept wanting me to be. He was too lame to realize that words and actions really affected my perception and desire of him.

All I could say was, "Dan it's been two years". I have no other reaction to him when he says these things. Apparently he tried to date but can't...talks about me all the time. *sigh* He knows I've moved on and am quite happy, at least I've told him that. Whether or not it computes is another thing.

What really pissed me off was the fact he mentioned a son of some friends of his (former friends of mine). He said how the kid was so great and how wonderful it was to play with him and be with him, hold him...how he'd like to have a kid. I could vomit...really. I told him I never wanted to hear those words come out of his mouth. HOW DARE HE??? Besides the alcohol consumption, the children issue was the largest problem. He knew I wanted a baby so bad and yet changed his mind on me saying no. To hear him say that kind of shit makes me livid.

I also found out he's good friends with some older woman who's a new teacher at the school I'm going to teach at. She knows all about me. I don't even have to explain why that's irritating. She better not EVER talk to me about him.

It just upsets me how no matter how happy and stable I am with Alex, Dan still can piss me off to no end and remind me of how we were a failure. I never expected to get divorced. When I got married it was for good and it still hurts that it has gone down like it did. And he telling me all this crap, how the hell am I supposed to react? Am I supposed to run back to him or something? It's no going to happen...it's too late.

6/29/03

Life as a Mommy...Or Something Like It

We picked the kids up yesterday, both looking taller than ever. I don't know what they put in the water now a days but it's probably all the hormones in the milk or something.

We spent the late afternoon traipsing through the Valley Fair mall trying to find a couch cover for the nasty couch since the hamster bit a huge hole through the last one. Bethia and I ended up going into Limited Too, each getting a pet pet plushie. I bought a kadoatie and she got a ba baa. Very cute!

Next to target to pick out the couch cover we couldn't find at Macy's and new bedding for the kids. This brought us home very late so we ended up eating at 10 pm. Not the best schedule wise. We had a great talk after dinner. It felt very good for all of us to be able to communicate like that. There were no upset feelings like some of the convos at Christmas and everyone was able to open up. Both the kids expressed an interest in living with us if their mother had to move out of their current school district and enroll them in new schools. Seems the only thing keeping them there at the moment are their friends, at least in Bethia's case.

Today is a lazy day. We are eating breakfast late and plan to take the kids out to Indian for dinner. A new adventure..lol

OMG I just realized...there was no angst in this post...none....haha...weird.

6/27/03

I Am So Going to Throw Up

So Alex is coming home and then we will head over to the center so I can turn in my resignation. I just called to see if my boss (soon to be former) was there and she was. She was so nice and happy to talk to me. She even said "Oooh I can't wait to see you" No you don't..you don't want to because I'm the doom faeire. *sigh* I don't know if I can handle this. I've never had to resign and this is going to completely blindside them. Why do I feel evil when I'm finally doing something that is GOOD for me. I would be an idiot if I didn't take this opportunity and I just hope they see that.

6/25/03

OMG

So I am now a 2nd grade teacher. I don't even know what to say. I'm in shock....

6/24/03

Preparing for D-Day

I woke up this morning to a call from the principal at my prospective new job. We set up another interview tomorrow to talk over "ideas and possibilities" *sigh* I HATE waiting.

I'm scared about the whole prospect really. I've become quite comfortable in my situation as a Pre-K teacher. I know I am the best teacher these little ones can have. Sure lots of stuff at work stinks but there's a lot of positives as well....the kids and housing with free cable modems being one.

A new job means having to move again, not having the security ion the position I have now. I am having real fear wondering if I can actually teach older ones. I'm sure I can, I just am scared about it. I mean my god now I'm going to have to teach them how to read!!! This is if I get first of course.

Second grade is another story. Two teachers, the Vice Principal and the former Second Grade teacher (she's now moving to 8th)have said they think I would be excellent in 2nd. This is a major freak out point for me because as the 2nd grade teacher I would have to teach and plan the kids first Penance (confession) and first Holy Eucharist (communion). This is a BIG deal. To be in charge of First Communion for the Carmel Mission Basilica, the most famous mission of the California Missions is a HUGE deal. Not forgetting that I never had my own first Penance because I don't believe in it and neither does my mother...lol I've had almost all the other sacraments including Last Rights.

I guess we'll just have to see what happens. After all I believe things happen for a reason and if 2nd is where I am supposed to be...then 2nd it is.

6/5/03

Please Make it Stop!

I have been running on empty lately. Physically and emotionally. The paperwork has buried me this year and the fact that my co-teacher and I, who have always gotten along, are now grating on each others nerves (at least she is on mine) isn't making things better. I know Head Start is a good program but to be honest I wish we were not in a partnership with them. They do not have the attitude of partnership nor does my co-teacher. With Head Start they believe their ways are best, do as we do. A lot of it just makes me want to puke. With my co-teacher it is the same way. Very unchanging and unwilling to compromise.

We have 27 students. Most of them are Head Start students. All but one are also State students. This means I am responsible for the paperwork for 26 student whereas she is for 19 or so. She also doesn't have to do the exact same paperwork as me, so while she does have lots to do it is not the extent I am doing mine. I also have to do mine all by myself on my own non-paid, non-benefited time.

I have been up till 3:30 am two nights in a row trying to get my paperwork done for parent conferences. This is a lot of stuff. For example we had 5 yesterday and were to have 5 today. She springs two new conferences tomorrow on our already planned two. Didn't bother consulting me, asking if it was ok or could we switch it to next week. Oh no, she has to go by her schedule forget the fact I haven't slept in days and maybe just maybe I can't get three new files done in one evening.

If I'm here next year things are going to change!!!

6/1/03

Dancing the Night Away

Ok, realization, I'm not as young as I used to be...lol...and It's very hard to stay awake when you are stone cold sober.

Alex, my best friend Amber and I went up to the City (San Fran for those not in Cali) to go to a club to see Infected Mushroom. They are Israeli Psychedelic Trance DJ's whose sound really just kicks your ass it's so hard. Awesome, awesome stuff. Of course Thump always puts their headliners on around 4 so that sucked. We danced super hard to some guy who played before them. Man was he good. Sadly all my energy was then spent my the time Mushroom got up to play. At that point Alex and I just sat and listened to the music and watched people just go off around us. I just love watching some of the dancers at these things....such joy and life in their dancing. It's wonderful. Those of us in this scene have all been there, that transcendent place where you feel one with everyone around you and with the world. It's as if you can accomplish anything. And all through music. I wish more people, those outside of this circle, would understand.

Earlier in the night in the upstairs room there was a DJ who was also playing guitar over some beats while a woman sang some middle eastern songs...wow beautiful. We sat up there for that whole set just listening to her. People got a big kick out of my flouro pants. Got asked left and right where I got them. Sorry folks gotta go to England for those babies.

It was a great night though I am sooo tired. A 5 am bedtime is no good for me. We slept until about noon in San Jose at Ambers and then went out to eat breakfast before heading back home. Ack it was so hot I thought I was gonna die. After Orlando and everything I am so done with heat...that is unless it involves a Hawaiian beach or something...lol

5/30/03

Thank God it's Friday...But More Work is Coming

So today was our end of the year celebration (can't call it graduation because it's developmentally inappropriate sayeth my director) and things seemed to go fairly smooth for a classroom of jumpy kids and their parents. It's funny how the kids get even spazier when their parents are around. It's much easier to get them to sit and listen when mom isn't in the room.

We had some special activities, a pinata, we sang songs, watched a slide show of the children and our year, and had a pizza party. Why are pinatas these days so damn hard to break? Seriously each kid tried two turns to break it. Finally, one of student assistants had to whack away at it before it would even come off the hanger. What happened to paper mache? Not that I was thrilled to have the kids hopped up on candy anyway. Due to 4 year old Jacobs suggestion, we changed the lyrics to "Six Little Ducks" to "Four Little Ducks" in honor of our four duckies. I also changed the song further to reflect our duckies names:

Four little ducks that I once knew,
Flip, and Shrek, and Peanut too,
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
Quackers led the others with his quack, quack, quack.
Quack, quack, quack. Quack, quack, quack.
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack.

The song goes on but let me tell ya it was cute and the kids loved the fact we had our ducks in the song.

The powerpoint killed me...that sort of thing always does. I've kind of been in denial about the end of the year coming. Seeing all those little faces on the screen to the tune of "It's a Wonderful World" did me in. Especially the end with the big "Thank you Ms. Jennifer we love you" On the screen. I love my babies and I have some very special ones going away to kindergarten.

So I went home a little early, it was kind of a crazy, sugar filled day and I was going to take a nap but I got a call from my mom. Seems the place my grandpa in isn't very good...my grandpa's all unshaven and his hair's a mess. He can't see to use the restroom and he was yelling for someone to help him get there. My aunt is coming down and they are going back tomorrow to see him.

Then she tells me my prick of an ex husband called my grandmother to tell her he missed her and my mother. Yeah whatever, like he ever wanted to see them when we were together. Drama I tell you. I still haven't gotten that pitiful 3 am, I can't believe we're divorced call yet. I'm surprised. I got them all the time but drunk when we in the beginning stages of our divorce. I'm glad though cause I don't care to hear it.

Then my mother tells me the principal of the school she works at, my old elementary school, wants to meet with me about a job and do I have all my stuff together. Ack!!! More stress. I will have to get my emergency credential and apply with the Diocese of Monterey right quick before I blow my chances and when exactly do I have time amid teaching and parent-teacher conferences? *sigh* And here I thought my stress was relieved. It's my dream school to work at though so all I can do is my best and hope.

5/29/03

Two More Weeks You Say?

Time for a lunchtime rant hehe...

Inequity really bothers me, especially inequity in the workplace. I love how my co-teacher fells entitled to do whatever she wants. This includes coming in late 10 to 15 min late every day, or making up excuses so she doesn't have to go on the play yard.

What am I saying, she doesn't say anything she just doesn't go out, or she stays in the doorway. I don't like going out all the time either, especially when it is cold, like today. But the children need to run and get some energy out that they just can't inside. She'll make sure she takes her break when we are outside, saving herself 15 (or 20 depending) minutes outside and then sometimes fiddle around afterwards. Today she put all the sleeping mats out and fiddled around just so she could stay in. Interesting seeing how I put the mats out during lunch and if I was ever busy with a parent to do it you'd think her arm was broke cause she "couldn't do it". It just shows that we humans can do anything if we put our mind to it ;)

Anyway enough of that crap. Tomorrow is my assistant's last day with us for she is heading to her camp position in Maine and then heading on to a new life in D.C. I'll miss her terribly. This past year she has been an incredible support. We think very much alike and I really needed that sometimes as I was often set adrift in the sea of Head Start (Ms. Jenn will know what I mean). I never felt she was an assistant...to me she was truly a peer and I hope she felt that. The kids will also miss her, I know. I wish her all the luck and attractive, forthcoming and intelligent men she can handle.

Lose von Liebe und Dank, und k├Ânnen wir treffen wieder.

5/26/03

Today was a Good Day

So today was a good day.

I slept in, got to spend some time with my honey, played with duckies, and avoided some work but later returned to it.

Found something curious on my fridge calender...the one I haven't updated in ages...lol. Alex redid it last since I left it at March (it's a dry erase) with how busy I'd been. So on the bottom he had written 6/16-JP. Now what's that? My paranoid and curious self wonders if it means to be a reminder to propose to me. Like Jennifer Propose. 6/16 would be two years from the day we first met.

Of course I am most likely reading waaay to much into it. Just thinking about it made me peruse the net for wedding dresses as I do so often. Isn't that horrible? I just had by divorce finalized after 2 years of lag and I'm already planning a second one. To be honest I was planning with Alex almost from the get-go. We knew right away we were meant to be together. We started talking about getting married before we even met in person. Crazy.



The duckies were soo cute today. Yesterday Alex had made a pen out of cardboard and set it up in the dining room. We have a big plastic tub they swim in whenever they want and a ramp leading up to it. They are much quieter now than when they were in their little duck house. Of course that could be interpreted as not very quiet at all...lol Quackers especially lives up to his/her name and is super loud squeaking away. They really like to squeak when I leave the room. Too funny though to watch them swim away in the clear plastic tub and hear them go flap flap flap with wet feet on the floor. Tomorrow they go back to school and I'm sure they'll hate it. Poor duckies, cooped up in their cage again.

Like me at work sometimes...lol Just kidding ;)

5/25/03

And So it Was Done

Yesterday was a hard day.

My mother and I moved my grandpa into the home. The day previous he had stated that he would try the place out but if he didn't like it he would come back home. Yesterday after talking to him it seemed as though he was taking it as a vacation of sort...certainly not permanent. My crazy step grandma had convinced him he should live there with her and I guess he now believed so. He also told me that he was VERY unhappy with my two step uncles, how they were taking things out of the house. He couldn't "see so he couldn't really do anything about it."

So off we went to this place, my grandfather already crying as he left the house. We get there and my step grandma (sg) comes into the room. She didn't even acknowledge my mother and I and proceeded to drag my grandpa around the place and demanding that her sons bring more furniture to the home for his room, furniture that would take up more space and be in his way.

Maybe she's trying to trip him and make him fall down like she did before she hit him with the skillet. She would change the furniture around in the night, blocking his way with chairs.

She seemed rather worse for wear and that was very sad. It was sad that she ignored my mom and I. It was sad seeing two old people hug each other and my grandpa cry. He just sat there confused about the whole situation. According to him "It was the worst day of his life". My mom and I told him over and over that he would just have to say word one and we would get him out and take him home. *sigh* We'll just have to see what happens.

Then, when I got home, Alex and I got into a huge fight, our second ever. I can't take it when the other person runs away and refuses to talk it out. It frustrates me to no end. What is it about guys? They always pull the "fine then I'm leaving" crap until they realize you're crying your eyes out and then they wise up. I hate fighting...I did it too much in my marriage and I don't want to do it in this relationship. This one means too much to me to let it go that route.

Later we went to the tail end of a grad party for my friend Jenn and in the evening I went out with another grad friend Heather. I felt badly about missing their graduation but family stuff had to come first yesterday. The evening events were interesting. I should have gone out with Jenn most likely but the group I went out with was pretty fun but extremely hyper and I was not in that space. Things perked up a bit when we met up with one of the girl's roommates. He's the language lab head and I knew him from my ASL days at school. Cute! Anyway it was nice to chat with him because we had quite a bit in common, age, eurotrashness, and divorced (his was going to be final today). We weren't in the get trashed frame of mind so it was good to bond.

We ended up at Denny's *eye roll* How 1992! Hehe And played "I've Never"...and...I LOST. Go figure. I always do. But Gus came in a close second so we laughed over that.

Today was a fine day. Played with the ducks and went to a students b'day party. Happy 4th birthday Teagan :)

5/23/03

This Week Just Gets Better and Better

In case people couldn't tell, I am being so sarcastic.

A while back my step grandma had a stroke and in turn became nutty. She tried to kill my blind and nearly deaf grandpa with a cast iron skillet. It took 4 officers to pull her off of him. It would sound amusing if it didn't happen to be my family. My step grandma ended up being sent to a home while my grandpa stayed on at the house with a live in helper, a wonderful woman. My step uncle however wanted my grandpa to be sent to the home while his mother stayed at the house. Both my mother and my aunt put their feet down and said no.

So, I get a hysterical call from my mom tonight (to add insult to injury with my current state of mind)saying my step uncle called her to say they were moving my grandpa to the home on SATURDAY!!! and selling the house, saying it's done. I am so upset I can't even describe it. Somehow he manipulated my grandpa into thinking he wanted to be put in this home even though not even a week ago he told my mother he didn't want to leave his house. Seems he took my grandpa to visit my heavily drugged grandma and made it seem all wonderful or something. Needless to say myself, my mother, my aunt and my cousins are livid.

First of all why would they even think to send a poor defenseless old man to a home with a nutty wife who already tried to kill him once and threatened to "straighten him out" on other numerous occasions? Secondly they will sell the house which for some reason was put into both my step grandmother and grandfathers names. This means the house will be split up 4 ways, my step-grandma's two sons and my grandpa's two daughters. This is so fucking unfair you can't even believe. My step grandma had her own house...which her oldest son currently lives in...rent free. If nothing from that house would ever go to my mom and aunt why in hell should my grandpas house (which my grandmother resided in before the divorce and in which my mother and aunt were raised) be split up between her sons too?

They're already moving crap out of the house. Funny how they tell us one day before the move...probably so we can't do anything about it. Alex is going over to talk to my grandpa tomorrow morning and my aunt and cousin are traveling down to go to the house with my mom. I don't get to go cause accreditation is showing up tomorrow. Of all days. Personally I could give a damn, my family is much more important than work.

Plus I burnt my hand to blistering by some steam on dinner. Isn't life grand? I swear when it rains it pours. I'm so sad and frustrated right now...

5/22/03

Work Dumpster

AAAAAAAAAccccccck!!! Nothing bothers me more than people putting words in my mouth and making me seem like a liar.

I have been working on these assessments for months now, it is the second round of them which are due at the end of the school year. My co-teacher is on a different schedule with hers since she's a Head Start teacher and I'm a State Preschool teacher. I have been struggling with mine since we are to conference with the parents together and she hadn't had any of her information together. Now it is down to the wire and we haven't met at all. Today we were to have a meeting to go over three children's files and she wasn't there.

Seems later the center director talked to her sup. and it was brought up that I had told my co-teacher that I couldn't meet or some such nonsense. No wordage resembling such a statement ever came out of my mouth. So of course to her her sup. I look like a big, huge, nasty liar. Grrrr.

When my co-teacher finally did come back to the center she wouldn't speak to me. I brought up the fact that I was disappointed we hadn't met to discuss the children. She then goes on and on about how before she had left for her lunch I had said that "I was stressed out with all my paperwork". Perhaps it's some language barrier thing but I'm sorry, saying I'm stressed out in no way shape or form means I can't meet with you. I'm direct, I'll say, "I can't meet with you today". I told her I was sorry that she took my statement to mean that we couldn't meet, that it certainly wasn't meant to be taken in that way.

I won't even get started on how she treats the aides and assistants like maids, despite the fact that she doesn't even have her AA. Sometimes I really think Head Start needs to get their head out of their ass.

Sometimes I just want to pop people one :(

At the Salt Mines

My grandmother always used to call work the "salt mines". How did that phrase come about anyway? Are there even that many salt mines around? Somehow I don't think so.

Today is a usual school day except for the fact school is about over for many of their parents. It's finals weeks and the kids are reflections of that fact. Can you say CRAZY! It's also very cold today, a huge departure from my short stint in Florida last weekend. To think I actually cursed the heat...lol. My students went for a walk today to warm up, it was that cold.

Our class ducks are just over a week old and boy are they getting big. They are uber messy as well. I barely change their newspaper and they've got all of their water dumped out and have crapped everywhere. Good thing they're adorable. Some day I'll figure out if I can upload pictures to this thing (still getting the hang of lj and all).

I'm STILL working on the class DRDP's. I am so tired of all these assessments. I'd laugh in anyone's face who thinks all Pre-K teachers do is play with playdough and sit on the floor. Oh, if that was all my job consisted of it would be pretty kush.

5/21/03

And So It Begins

I have yet again started myself on something that I probably shouldn't, however it most likely is needed.

I haven't had any type of journal outlet for a long time, since I got engaged 9 years ago actually. Funny how when I really needed it most I gave it up. That part of my life over and my life moving on, I am journaling again but in a different form.

And so it begins...