Sunday, December 30, 2007

Noooooooooooooooooo! Don't make me go back! Why oh why do we have to start back to school in the middle of the week? If I had more days saved up, I wouldn't start back until next monday. I'd let the other teachers calm the kids down.

Cleaned the house last night, actually, I threw a bunch of stuff away, so that left very little to put away. Had to wait until the family was gone to do it, oh but IT FELT SO GOOD!

Anybody else get a theraputic kick out of throwing stuff away?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cough, cough, hack, hack, that's what's going on over here. Oh, and obsessing over gardening magazines, again. It's that time of year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

As I get older, the more days I need to recover from Christmas. My kids were the "typhoid marys" at the family dinner yesterday, hacking and coughing all over the buffet table. My house lay in ruins, toys are eveywhere. Dishes and laundry are piled sky high. My hopes of cleaning and baking during my free time are dashed. Recovery will be slow, but I'll get there. Maybe I'll even find time to make something fun over the next few days. I have a recipe for silly putty.

Weird family stories from the holidays! I want to hear them if you have any!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The season of Winter Holiday Programs is a low point in the Music Teacher's year. It's stressful, everybody including the principal has to put their two cents in, and the kids are wound up. Sophanne is a pro, she's been doing these for years. This year was my first.

Parents are a hoot; overheard at Sophanne's concert: They didn't tell me I had to dress him up. [duh!] That would be the parent who would walk out without realizing how much work (blood, sweat, tears (mine) and drink) goes into 50 minutes of kid entertainment.

And then there are the Choir field trips. Oh. My. Gosh. Choir Field Trips are like a children's Birthday Party on steriods. So my principal scheduled 4 stops for us, one of which is another nearby elementary school (Elementary School D). His reasoning for stopping there was so the kids could eat a healthy school lunch, because McDonald's wasn't healthy enough for him. And while we are there, he and the other Principal (henceforth known as Principal of Elementary School D) thought we could sing for the kids there too.

I was stressed.

Bits from Choir Field Trip Day:

My Principal: Did you call a sub?
Me: No, I thought you did.
Principal: That stinks. (Frantic rescheduling)
Coach: Those two are going to kill each other on the trip.
Kindergarten teacher who's missing her extra plan: evil look as she passes me in hall.

At Elementary School D:
Principal of Elementary School D: Maybe we won't take your kids on a tour of the building. They're a bit excited.
Me, justing coming out of bathroom: evil look at choir.

Music Teacher of Elementary School D, from up in bleachers: Do you need any help? [the night before she emailed me to see if her choir and my choir could do a few songs together. I turned her down.]
Me, sitting on gym floor with choir who's being extra well-behaved/scared: No thanks

Principal of Elem School D: passes out chocolate covered pretzels to my choir on their way out the door.
My Principal: does a slow burn because the kids just got juice and cookies from the previous place and he doesn't even let them bring in candy for school Halloween parties

My Principal: Since we're running ahead of schedule, let's stop by the School Board office, they're having a luncheon. We'll sing for them.
Me: Sure kids, eat your chocolate covered pretzels
Me to bus driver: There's going to be some heavy drinking at my house tonight.

So we sang at board office. Assistent Superintendent introduces herself and cryptically tells me, "We've heard so much about you." Does that mean good or bad?

I introduced the Big Boss Superintendent to kids as "the man who calls off their snow days". He told them they could have all next week off. One kid was like, "wait, we already have that off..." I was suprised the board office people laughed at my stupid jokes. The kids were wedged in between the tables of food.

Last we went to the cold stone creamery. Principal kept calling it "stone cold creamery" until store owner corrected him. We sang. They got free icecream. Someone (can't imagine who) called the newpaper reporter, so we had to sing again because he was late.

I went home and opened up a bottle of wine. By the time I recapped it to my husband, everything was a huge joke to me, and then I fell asleep at 6:30.

I feel so much better the next morning.

I'm so glad that's only once a year. I had enough excitement to last for a while.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

7 weird things about me

Tag! I'm it. 7 weird things about me...I've weird, but what can I put in print?

1. I'm facinated, maybe slightly obsessed with finding old roads. Not back roads, we have lots of those. I mean the original paved portion of the road made before they began straightening them out by cutting into the hills and stuff. Like old Rt. 51 in PA for example. I look diligently for how the old road went. I'll even go out of my way to drive on it.

2. I love maps. I love to see where roads go and how places are situated in the big scheme of things. I'll study them with a cup of coffee.

3. I am extremely vain about my hair. I have lots of patience for my hair.

4. I have very little patience for many other things, such as decorating the christmas tree. Let kids and hubby do it. Decorating my house, not! Is my piano in tune? Nope hasn't been for years and I play it regularly, ignoring the out of tune sounds. (Maybe that's why it doesn't bother me when the kids at school sing out of tune?) Makeup? Not usually. Do my clothes match? Only if hubby helps me match them. Let's just say I don't go shopping by myself anymore because I have terrible taste.

5. Another reason I shouldn't go shopping by myself is my slightly compulsive tendencies. (I'll blame that on the meds). If one is good than 5 will be better because I'll need to stockpile in case something happens to that one....

6. I read and own most of Tom Clancy's books. Nobody would buy me any of those when I was part of the "secret sisters" at a church a few years ago.

7. From the time I was a kid, I've had a phobia about swings, especially the old playset ones in backyards, because if you swung hard enough, the feet of the swing set would start rocking out of the ground. This really freaked me out. Even if I'm on a real playground swing, by the time I get to the top, I start having panic thoughts: what if the swing lets go? How far will I be hurled into the air? What will I break when I fall? But I like to swing, which is why I get on them, and then I start to panic.

Okay, if you want to play along, no pressure, I'll tag Haley (labor of love) and Gina (you know who you are up in that snowy city).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

So What's New, BBQ?

Thanks for asking! I'll tell you:

-After the college football team suffered a humilating defeat Saturday night, our college party town still celebrated by setting things on fire.

-One of the local fraternities decided to get in the christmas spirit by cutting down a pine tree from a city park.

And the biggest news of all:

-Extreme Home Makeover is in our neck of the woods, North Central West Virginia. The big revealing of the house they built will happen today at 2:00. All the kiddies are home from school today, maybe we could all drive up and see...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Polite conversationalists do not discuss...

Faculty lounges have a life all of their own. Things one should not discuss:
1. Politics
2. One's indifference towards the local football team
3. The fact that a certain female music teacher told her 5 year old daughter that there is no Santa Claus, mommy and daddy buy her presents.....Holy smokes, you would have thought I was the devil herself....

They were all discussing the moment in their lives when they realized there was no Santa Claus. I wanted to save my daughter from that traumatic moment in her life. I wanted her to believe that the things I tell her are true, always true....

Should have kept my mouth shut
Should have kept my mouth shut
Should have kept my mouth shut

After patiently listening to my lunchtime experience last night, my husband says to me, "Speaking of santa claus, where is the "night before christmas" book? I wanted to read that to our girls."

After a moment, I sheepishly replied, "It's at school, I was going to read it to my classes...."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

still chanting...

The power of bobbly snowman earrings and a snowflake pin (doubly powerful since it was given to me by a student), be with all of you hoping for a snowday!

For those of you who got dumped on and have more snow than a Hallmark Christmas Movie, I'm sorry. I'll stop the chant now and go put my accessories away. The snow clouds merely got lost on their way to my house and dumped their load on you.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


snow day, snow day, snow day, snow day...!

Rain! Wind!

Ooooohhh noooo, power outage;
......lights stay on, lights stay on, lights stay on...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

okay, so what have I done so far?

My neighbor called. He wanted to know if I was missing a pool. Well, no not really since it's 30 degrees out and I don't do the polar club thing...oh, it's a plastic blue wading pool? Come to think of it, that empty spot under my porch hasn't been looking so junky lately; yeah I guess I am missing a pool. What? It's been in your yard for a few days? Well, Merry Christmas, why don't you put Santa in his skivvies inside, decorate it with lights and call your christmas decorating "done". Guess I'll take my ugly pool back home. Really I wouldn't have blamed him if he threw it out. When would I have noticed it was gone anyway?

Still no gifts bought, still no money to call my own. I really did a doozy. Should be digging myself out soon. My christmas letter is done, but not copied, printer's out of ink. Need to get that taken care of. House is semi clean, hopefully I can keep it that way. Oh Man! Hubby is taking out the garbage w/o being asked! Really, what more do I need for Christmas? Maybe a clone to come teach my music classes for a few days?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

You all know what today is: today is the day I wish I could be shopping, even if it's online (my favorite type on black friday), but I can't shop because I'm still broke. Two paychecks later and my bank account is still recouperating from my brief elated illusion of wealth because I have my first "real job". I think it'll take a few more paychecks until I can pay for something other than bills and food. Oh well, it felt good while it illusions that I was Donald Trump....

On the other hand, today I can set a Christmas budget and make some lists. I don't intend on buying much, my girls have everything thing they need. I always "boggie" (remnants of flylady) their toys before christmas to get rid of the stuff they've outgrown, or no longer play with. Today we "boggied" their dvd's and vhs movies. They helped me, which isn't alway easy to do. Goodwill is my friend.

I started my christmas letter, I wasn't going to this year, but I guess I was being too grinch like. I said, what do I have to talk about? I worked, who wants to hear about that? Hubbie said, write about the girls. Yeah, when all else fails, write about kids, they have built in entertainment. Like the time my stubborn Bibi slipped off the seat into the toilet at McDonald's when she insisted that she didn't need any help from me.

Let's see, what else is on my todo list? Decorating the tree (it's already up), starting my christmas cards (the letter will go inside), and watching some of my christmas movies, maybe folding clothes while watching and drinking something hot. For tomorrow? Making cookies, my kids are going to go crazy if I don't make gingerbread men. Do we as humans, really derive some sick subconscious pleasure eating the limbs, one by one, off of the gingerbread man?

Oh, and maybe I should actually take a shower today....and take my meds. Have a good day everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What am I, crazy? No, just procrastinating getting ready for today.

Wednesdays are tough, my toughest classes all before lunch. And 3 more wound up ones after lunch. So, I wanted to answer the meme (what does that mean?) Thanks Sophanne, for a little bit of blogging material!

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? Emmy, she was falling asleep during her favorite movie...I pointed that out to her and the look she got when she made her eyes big was hilarious

2. What were you doing at 0800? Haven't gotten there yet today, yesterday, I was planning lessons

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Drinking coffee, folding clothes, laughing at our local tv news broadcast

4. What happened to you in 2006? I started collecting animals, the live kind, I think I'm over that now

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? Tubby (my cat) you're so sweet

6. How many beverages did you have today? 1 coffee so far, anticipate a few more hot beverages, so waters, and something alcohol depending on how my Wednesday rates on the horrific scale

7. What color is your hairbrush? which brush, red I think

8. What was the last thing you paid for? I have no money, I spent too much with no budget, I am utterly broke

9. Where were you last night? In bed

10. What color is your front door? white

11. Where do you keep your change? In a milk can

12. What’s the weather like today? Not snowy enough for a snow day

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? aww, I'm not crazy about icecream, maybe cookie dough

14. What excites you? Sorry folks, I can't talk about that

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Haircut! Tomorrow night! woo hoo!

16. Are you over the age of 25? No, I quit aging when I reached 25, or was that at 29?...

17. Do you talk a lot? It depends.... usually, yesterday was a quiet day for me, and coworkers thought I was sick

18. Do you watch the O.C.? No, although I think it is on one of the 4 channels we can get with our rabbit ears

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes, steve, sheryl's husband

20. Do you make up your own words? Yes, but not always on purpose

21. Are you a jealous person? sometimes

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A'. Can I make up a word here?

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. See above.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Hubby

25. What does the last text message you received say? No text messaging in my life

26. Do you chew on your straw? no.

27. Do you have curly hair? Wavy

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? work

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? someone who exists in the confines of 5th grade

30. What was the last thing you ate? dinner broccoli

31. Will you get married in the future? no, currently married

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I took Emmy to see the Bee movie, it was cute

33. Is there anyone you like right now? well sure, my cats, my husband, my kids (at least at this point in time)

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? Last night

35. Are you currently depressed? anxiety

36. Did you cry today? No

37. Why did you answer and post this? See title of blog

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. I'll invite anyone

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

The new paint in my kitchen and family room looks good. Hubby did it all, he's amazing. We finally bought a new sofa, loveseat & "man chair" for the family room. Visions of dustmites in the old ones made me do it. And Bibi broke the old "man chair", so hubby was "sold" on the idea of new furniture.

Hubby also made our jack-o-lanterns (above and below).

So what have I done lately?

"By faith we understand that the house was cleaned at mom's command, so that what is seen was not done by what was visible..." (my apologies to the writer of "Hebrews"). In other words, I made sure the laundry fairy and cleaning fairy showed up to work everyday.

Sorry, I have such a warped sense of humor....Have a great day everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2007

new monday

Lots of new stuff going on. Hubby decided to paint the walls in our house. We chose the colors, I dragged my feet about starting, but he went ahead and began painting. He's painted the kitchen and the family room. The walls were white, and now they have some color, instant gratification!

The house itself is a mess. There are items on every flat surface. It will look nice once it's put back together.

I went to CPI Training this weekend, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training Program. The school didn't require me to go, but it was suggested to me last year. It's not all about restraints, it's more about recognizing the levels of a crisis and responding in a way that would prevent having to restrain the individual. I thought they had some good information, definitely information that I needed and can use.

Have a nice week everyone.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

woo hoo!!!

I'm getting a haircut today! Anyone who's lived with a bad hair cut knows the joy in this feeling.

Trying hard to keep work at work. I've been keeping a work journal. I write in it after each class, the good, bad and ugly. What I liked and didn't like about my lesson, and notes on particular students. It's helped me to defuse.

Emmy's taking gymnastics. She's worried about "breaking her egg". Apparently, they pull their legs up to their chest and wrap their arms around their legs, making an "egg". Then they try to roll/sumersault while staying wrapped up in their "egg" shape. I told her to practice at home, that's her homework. Daddy, being the sweet one, said we'll help her.

Bibi, who is no longer called "Bibi" by her sibling (now her sibling can not only say the "V" but spell her sister's full name as well), is getting so tall. No more breath holding temper tanturms, thankgoodness. The doctor said she'd outgrow them, and the doc was right. Bibi would hold her breath to the point of passing out. It was exciting times.... I guess I used to do that too. God's vengenance was upon me.

My husband got really mad when I told my oldest (during one of her stubborn moments- those moments when she says, "I WONT' HAVE ANY MORE BIRTHDAYS!" she's 5), I said, that God put her here to test me. Not a great way to endear her to God, I suppose. Not very mature on my part either. Perhaps I said the birthday thing to my own mother, and really did quit aging at 11 years old...

One can only hope that their kids will have children of their own.

Have a good day everyone!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So There, Life!

Warning, the happy picture is probably the nicest thing about this posting.

There's something to be said for the innocent 3rd grader who shows everyone the bandaid on her middle digit.

Wednesday is my song and dance day; 4 tough classes back to back before lunch, throw in a few violent kids, a lack of aides to travel with them, and I'm exhausted by 4:00.

(Some of the following are real scenarios, and have happened to various teachers in my school. I have not named names.)

What do we do with the big kids who just say no to teachers? What do we do with the little ones who head butt teachers and bite aides and other students? At our school, apparently nothing. So I've taken to whispering instructions to these few. If they don't do it, the other kids will not see them not listening to me. So, the child and I are not in a power contest with each other.

One of the teacher unions sent a student discipline survey around for us to fill out. It mentioned the safe schools act of 1995. I wrote in, what happened to safe schools for teachers?

Just because one child has a right to the same education as everyone else, should not mean that he takes away everyone elses right to learn by bullying, biting, and, or distracting (like crawling on the floor waving a confederate flag, poking other children when they ignore him).

I have 30 years before I retire. Unless I consider a career change before that. I love my job too much now to think about that, but what happens when the honeymoon is over...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bugs and school

So how is it that my friend Gina can post every single day since the beginning of school, and I'm lucky to post once a week?

I'm still overwhelmed with this new thing called "a job". Now, technically I know I started in january, but it's easier to jump in during the middle of the school year, as opposed to starting up a school year.

On the bug front, my house is a new haven to fruit flies (gnats), and I've just had my very first (drum roll please) case of "daughter bringing home head lice from school". Now I truely have been christened as a mother. Washer and Dryer, don't quit on me now!

Today's Picture Day at school. So I get to go have my picture taken with a freshly washed head smelling of lice shampoo.
"At least," my husband so kindly pointed out to me, "it's not a scratch and sniff picture."

Friday, September 14, 2007

You're in Charge

So when I get to school yesterday, I'm hearing jokes from the other teachers saying "you're in charge".


Mr. Principal sent an email out to everyone: He won't be at school today, not even for the assembly, and the Art and Music teacher are in charge.

Art teacher has only been at the school for 3 weeks. I've only been there since January. (Thank goodness for Coach, our intercom announcer and calm head.)

I check my email and Mr. P wrote, "by the way, I've invited so and so. Make sure you introduce her and give her time to speak. Oh, and take pictures for the newsletter..."

Well, the entire assembly went ok. Really, the only chaos was in my head. "So and So" had time to speak. I delegated the picture taking responsibility. Trying to practice with Choir when I have 20 kindergarteners I'm supposed to be teaching at the same time isn't a bright idea. I could have strangled choir for being so loud when they shouldn't have been, and too quiet when they were supposed to be heard. But, it's done, thankgoodness.

Mr. P. showed up at 4:00 wanting to know how everything went. I said pictures are on your desk, next year let's have a quiet celebration in the classrooms.

He says, "Huh? Why don't you want to do it again next year?"

I say, "It's 4:00, I gotta go."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Constitution Day and Country Roads

So our school has to celebrate constitution day. Not a bad thing, but at a bad time of the year. I figured choir isn't doing anything constuctive this time of year anyway, so I put together a patriotic medley and said, here, sing this. Of course, living in the grand state of West Virginia, I decided to include Country Roads. It's not exactly patritoic, but I knew it was a song the kids would know. And, oh yes, did they ever know it! I finally shut up and quit singing it with them because they knew it better than me! After all, I did grow up in Pittsburgh, PA.

Lesson learned, don't try to teach the "nativer" their own songs. Just shut up and enjoy the music : )

Country Roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain Momma, take me home Country Roads....

Monday, September 10, 2007

I thought something Bitter Sweet would be more appropriate

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Alice's Adventures with Michael and Weird Al (or CMUS)

I needed a good laugh tonight and the heavens opened! Thank you YouTube for reaquainting me with Michael Jackson and Weird Al.

Michael's "Beat It"

Weird Al's "Eat It"

CMUS- I wanted to marry Michael Jackson when I grew up. I went to bed everynight listening to Thriller on my Walkman. Little did I know, eh?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

hello from wonderland

At least I feel like Alice in Wonderland. A teacher's life has so many parallels to that wonderful story. I'm sure if I think about it, I could come up with some wonderful the mad hatter class, or the kid, I mean queen, (or administrator) who says "off with her head". How about disappearing down the rabbit's hole?

Sorry for the long pause between posts. I'm just sticking my head above the water to take a breath.

Now I'm going to play catchup with everyone elses' blogs.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

yea! long weekends!

Happy first of september everyone! It is so cool out this morning, I had to go back inside to change. (I'm a sissy). I have on the "workout" clothes that my husband bought me in hopes that I'd "Work out". Work out clothes are really great for bumming around in, they are so comfy.

My week at school ended well, much better than the beginning. I hope it's a good sign for the year. I'm supposed to be planning lessons right now, since I"m a social butterfly and run my mouth during my planning time.

I think I'll do a unit on cats in honor of Tubby. Tubby...I had such high hopes for her losing some weight when she came to us. I pictured a sleek, trim kitty, happy as a kitten. Unfortunately, Tubby's gotten even fatter, if possible. She really looks like a tadpole when viewed from above. Big brown blob with a skinny little tail.

I found out my 4 year old daughter feeds the cats everytime they give her their begging eyes.

So to tie the kitty lessons in with "journeys", I think I'll do the song about the kitty who went to london to visit the queen. The words are "pussy cat", but I decided a discreet change to Kitty cat would be better. And then we can go into the song about that naughty kitty cat who is fat because she's been sneaking the butter. I'll bring in a few pictures of Tubby. I think I'll make a cat puppet too.

I don't know, is it PC to talk about "fat cats" in school?

Perhaps my husband needs to buy the "work out" clothes for Tubby instead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tiny Sucesses

Thank you everyone for all of your kind comments and encouragement. It helps, a lot.

My outlook is brighter. My situation hasn't really changed, but the students have been better than I hoped for. They've been so kind, offering to help me move instruments, and I've received lots of hugs. I love those hugs. We're not technically allowed to hug the students, but they can hug us.

It's nice that the students and I are starting together, as opposed to last year I started in the middle of the school year. They were already set in their ways (and those ways were not good). Now, we can set up our expectations together.

Finally, my tiny sucess: my holdout class from last year-I had no idea what I was going to do with them for the Spring program because they were used to sitting on their bottoms for music class with their old teacher. And by gosh they weren't changing for me! Yesterday was our second day of music together this year, and we MADE MUSIC! The first time they realized it, there was kind of a shocked silence and then excitement that went over the room. I was just as surprised as them, but I thought, "see, all you guys had to do was trust me."

Thankgoodness for tiny sucesses.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An Imperfect Fit

So I'm putting hubbie's clean clothes away, and I run out of hangers. Instead of looking for a hanger to hang up his last shirt, I grumble, roll it up into a ball and stuff it into the closet somewhere. And then it struck me, a perfect analogy for an imperfect fit.

My moral is low. My first week of work in a poor state and poor county. I'm a music teacher so I'm an "in the way" necessity. A necessity because, hey I"m just a planning period. "In the way" because, they have to provide a place somewhere for me to teach. Unlike other states, many music and art and PE teachers don't have their own room to teach in. And so, I'm "stuffed" somewhere. Hey, it doesn't matter if it's not the same room everyday. It doesn't matter if I have an 18 piece Xylophone (Orff) ensemble to move everyday.

It doesnt' matter that I spent thousands of my own dollars taking Orff Schulwerk classes in NY to become a better music teacher. It dosn't matter that I'm certified in Music, but I"m going to be teaching Reading classes. At least I'm "put away" somewhere for the day.

An Imperfect Fit.

What Am I Doing Here?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Secret Fun

My school (one of them, I travel to two) is a technology prison, no email (only a school account), no internet use except for academic stuff, no nothing. However, one of the neighbors has wireless internet. It's quite nice. It's lunch time. I'm enjoying it out here on the playground! It's my secret fun, shhh! Loud music and headphones block out any noise but my own chewing. I'm going to enjoy catching up everyone's blogs!

Friday, August 24, 2007

On A Lighter Note

Too tired to write, but not wanting to leave everyone on a downer, I'm going to shamelessly base this blog on someone elses' material.

My NY friend, Gina had an interesting dinner conversation with her Grandmother, her Mom and her Dad. Svelt vs. Smelt. There's so much going on in this conversation on so many different levels, it's really too funny.

Since we've been discussing Technology and Ice Cream, I feel that this loosely, in the absolute worst sense, ties in with my previous blogs. And even if it doesn't, it ends my week on a good laugh!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Sophanne and I have been blogging about the same meeting. Yesterday the entire staff of our school district (1000+) had to meet at our local university in a town already packed to the brim with 27,000 university students. Brilliant idea. And then the speaker, who was mostly interesting, sang our schools' ( all of the schools in North America) Swan Song: Technology is leaving us behind. America's days of economic leadership have come to an end. Our schools have become "museums". All because we focus on standarized testing. (And it's taken him how long to figure that one out?)

Now, I'm not saying that I disagree with him, but he's preaching to the choir here!

I agree with Sophanne. Related Arts teachers have the capability to use technology and use it well in real life applications in the classroom. But we are the least likely to get it. During our staff meeting today we were asked how we would use a video as a type of a tool. I said, "First I'd get my imaginary laptop out. And then I would use it on my imaginary white board..." They cut me off. I didn't even get to the part about interacting with it, Power Point and Internet. When I get evaluated as a teacher, there is a "use of technology" section. Do you know what most principals fill in there? "Uses instruments".

Thanks for letting me blow off steam, sorry for the bitter rant. Thus, the ice cream, and I don't even like ice cream. I remembered that as I was at the bottom of my cup.


(To the tune of Yesterday)
One thousand teachers and administraters in one room,
One speaker telling us our schools are doomed,
Oh, I'm so glad it's not yesterday.

Who's bright idea was it anyway,
To meet at the University (record enrollement of 27, 000 students).
Oh, I'm forced to park a mile away.

I fought with traffic and picked up my kids,
Went to the ice cream shop and ate like a pig,
Oh, I'm hoping for a Better Day.

Yes, I'm hoping for a Better Day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday, Smoozeday

Does that make any sense? No, but it sounds cool.

See what happens? I gripe about my area being the "backwoods", so the electricty goes out and stays out...for 14 hours. I had enough time for my first attempt at a nightie for Emmy. Ugh, must try again. Too small in the chest, and the cut is all wrong.

Thankgoodness the power came on in time for our first cup of coffee this morning! I'm going to try the nightie again!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Living in Denial

Living in Denial that I have to go back to work on wednesday. WHERE DID MY SUMMER GO?!!!!!

I'm going to sew like crazy over the next two days, want to make a skirt for myself, and two nighties for my daughters (consolidation for them accompanying me to the fabric store yesterday).

Yes, I went to the fabric store again insearch of silks to make a "magic skirt", a two layer silk wrap around skirt made with contrasting/sorta matching print. Can be labled as beachwear. Have you seen something like it? I bought one, a beautiful full-lenght, at the beach. It's just a half circle skirt with two layers, one shorter than the other, with ties and button holes, so you can wrap it. And I have the crazy idea that I can make one. Unfortunately, I cannot find any beautiful printed silk down here in the, gripe, gripe. So will have to order online, yikes! Maybe that will hapen someday after I learn how to knit.

I did find a cotton print I like, so I'll make a fun little skirt to wear back to school. But it's not the same...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crack Me Up Saturday

Thank you all for your encouragement. I'm beginning to get brave enough to try. I think it will be fun!

This is my first "crack me up saturday" post. Thanks Sophanne for starting the CMUS.

So I was researching knitting and crocheting online yesterday and came across *this* (warning, not for immature eyes).

Oh my gosh, ROFL! It put me into snorting fits.

It's courtesy of what not to crochet. The comments are even funnier, especially on the American Thanksgiving Cornucopia thingy. (The cornucopia thing is on page 2, you'll have to click back to the previous page.)

Good for a laugh you all, if you haven't come across this site before! Happy weekend!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Holdout, maybe no more?

Okay, you all may have done it. I'm tired of living vicariously through you all. I want the real thing.

Looking at a year ahead full of meetings, coupled with sharing my room with the art teacher, and no internet (because, really, why does a music teacher need internet access- do you hear the sarcasam in my words?), and I am seriously considering taking up knitting.

Knitting or crocheting, which do you recommend? This is for my sanity only. Although I like hats, scarves, and socks, and would get a kick out of wearing my own.

I've been a holdout for so long. I grew up with a family that spins, knits and weaves. I own all sorts of angora mittens, wool socks, and woven scarves (my fave? the pink mohair one, also love that white angora/wool head wrap my mom wove.) No mom, I'm not buying your loom yet.

On the home front, Bibi is feeling better, thankgoodness. She slept all night without any coughing fits. Thank you for all of your best wishes for her.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Poor Bibi

My littlest one has not been feeling well the past few days. It's some sort of viral thing. She hasn't been sleeping well. So she falls asleep where ever she happens to be during the day.

Tubby is keeping vigil.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast

Okay folks, I tried it: Sophanne's Peanut Butter Breakfast and I like it! I love bananas and peanut butter together anyway, and bananas and milk, so it's a perfect fit.

I was searching everywhere for the crunchy peanut butter. I thought my kids, in their wrath, threw it out. I guess crunchy peanut butter on a pb&j would be an unpleasant surprise if one was expecting creamy peanut butter.

In my search I found two already opened creamy peanut butters in the fridge and one unopened jar of creamy peanut butter in my pantry. I also found an abandoned head of garlic by the oats, and a lone onion that should have been thrown out. I guess it's been 4 weeks since my pantry has seen the light of day.

Finally, during my third frantic search of the fridge, I found the crunchy pb in the door shelf. Really! The door shelves are no better than black holes in my fridge. For some reason they are always overlooked when I clean out my fridge. I'm sure an entire blog can be written on abandoned items (and the various life forms they have taken on) left in door shelves.

Finally a quote from my husband during our vacation in response to my complaining. This actually made me laugh; Hubbie said, "You took your happy pill right? So be happy."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Picture Day of Our Beach Trip, Oak Island, NC

Click on any picture to enlarge.

The Girls are flying kites with daddy's help.

Daddy and girls build a sandcastle.

I'm splashing in the waves. Some of them were rough.

We stopped at a rest area on the way home to let the girls stretch their legs.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday, blah

Back home, from the flurry that had been the beach and the 2 weeks in NY, with a week in between...Now I have to put stuff away, thus the "blah". I've been away from home so much I seem to have forgotten where things go.

I start back to work in a week and a half. I don't know how I'm going to handle the change. The nice agreeable Lydee will have to come out of storage, but I think I left her somewhere, because I can't find her right now.

My cats were thrilled when we arrived home the other night. We crashed in bed, but the cats obviously wanted to socialize with us some more. They started off by sleeping with us, which should have been my first warning. In the middle of the night, Princess began attacking my feet under the blankets. So out the door she went. Next Tubby (who almost never plays) started jumping on my feet. Out she went. Princess snuck back in with her squeaky toy. "Squeak! ....Squeak!" Out the door she went again. "THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!" What in the world is that?! I go out to investigate. The cats are playing with the glider/rocker and banging it up against our bedroom wall. I move it. "MEOW!" Hubbie lets Princess in to use the litter box.... And so on it went the entire night.

And then Princess had the nerve to take a nap in front of me the next morning! She was just so worn out!

More pictures later...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pics from the Beach

Picture Day, well actually I've only taken a few so far, and it was in the evening, so they're not great, but I'll take more later.

Click on any to view full size.

Bibi and another "critter", a crab

Hubbie and girls. Emmy has a lollipop in her mouth.


Hubbie and girls

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Cue the comes Jaws.

Yesterday we saw our first live shark at the beach. Luckily none of us were in the water. It was close, right were we would have been, had we been in the water. It was during high tide, and the water has been really warm. We decided it was time to go in and take a nap.

Anyway, we've been the in the water during low tide and have had a lot of fun. I need to take pictures. I hate taking electronics on the the beach, but I'll have to get some pictures. The girls have been making sandcastles and friends, other little girls about their age.

Bibi has had a great time looking for critters on the beach. She's dug for clams, and sand fleas. Yesterday she brought a sand flea to show me and accidently dropped it in my overstuffed beach bag. That created some excitement. Poor thing, he was dazed and comfused by the time we finally got him out.

It's low tide this morning, so we're going to head out.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beach Houses know...bugs

Last year we stayed in an condo. After washing the throws on the couch (because they smelled strongly of someone elses body) and have a neighbor's whirlpool flooding our bathroom, I insisted this year on a clean looking, newer house to rent at the beach. So we are in a beautiful house, not huge, but very nice, new and tastefully furnished (if you can believe it, no seashell lamps and cane furniture).

So what so I see skitter across the kitchen floor? My Favorite Phobia, The Roach. Oh my freaking gosh! After the dust settled, hubbie saw this memo on the fridge. I quote verbatium with my own comments added inside [brackets]:

And now to everyone's least favorite topic...bugs (yuck!)

There is a chance you may see a Waterbug also called Palmetto Bug in your home or condo. [how funny, cute names for cockroaches, nothing like denial] These "outdoor" insects live in the moist ground cover, mulch, underneath decks, lumber, etc. There are three reasons they may be seen inside.

During mating season, the female emits a light, so the males see the lights on in a home/condo and think it's their mate. [translation, turn the lights off and you won't see them skittering across your countertops]
Seeking water and moisture [translation, I think they meant to say water and food, but thought better of it]
Seeking shelter from excessive rainfall

Once inside, these insects will die within days because they cannot live long outside their natural habit. [here's the link that talks about roaches surviving a nuclear blast]
So, if you see one of these "Southern residents", keep in mind that they cannot be eradicated [translation, it's not our problem]
However, if you think the whole family has moved in, we'll be happy to send an exterminator to help "control" the uninvited guests! [if you're threatening to sue, we'll try to do something]

End of memo.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

We Made It

We made it to the beach last last night. Our trip was greatly IMPROVED from last year thanks to the portable DVD player (duel screen, with headphones). And nobody peed themselves. And I had stocked up on water and snacks at walmart the night before instead of spending too much on them at the gas station. Maybe it was the mega M&M's that really made the trip bearable for my husband and I.

Emmy does have strep throat, thankgoodness I took her to the doctor's before we left. They're treating both girls with antibotics, gotta watch that sunburn as a nasty side effect, I know. I found that out the hard way a few years ago. Anyway, the girls seem to be feeling better.

More later, family is waiting for me so we can make another run to the store. Popcorn and hot chocolate are calling me.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Packing Up Again and Children's Illnesses

Thanks for your comments and encouragement on "In Defense of Hubbie". I have revealed Anonymous's identy in the comment section.

Early tomorrow morning we leave for Oak Island, NC. So that means I'm packing up...again. As you all know from my previous posts, I'm a bit of a procrastinator in the packing department. Bibi's suitcase still isn't unpacked from her stay at Grandma's during my second week in NY. I have half a mind to zip it up and call it done. My older daughter Emmy can pack for herself with a small amount of guidance.

Speaking of my oldest daughter, we have been at each other for the past few days. She's only four but has already discovered the "nobody likes me" phrase. I tell her to go eat worms. She does something to her sister, I reprimand her, she says, "then I won't have ANYBODY to play with." Convinced that it just one of those "alien takeover" phases of her life, we go to visit grandma last night.

The first words out of that child's mouth is, "Grandma, my throat hurts." Well! Why didn't she tell me, her own mother! Sure enough, one look at her throat confirmed that she's sick. Her sister has a red throat too. That explains the "alien takeover". I just wouldn't have expected it in the middle of summer.

And then as we were pulling into the driveway last night, she threw up. She said, " I have to throw up. " Poor Bibi, I yanked her blanket out of her sleeping hands and held it over Emmy's mouth. Bibi woke up, she's crying and trying to get her blankie back, I'm trying to catch the barf in the blankie. Hubbie's trying to hurry up and park, and he's telling me not to let Emmy choke on the barf.....and the barf consisted of the fresh corn she had at Grandma's. Why is it alway corn when this happens?

So we go to the doctor's today. At least this didn't happen while we are down at the beach. Poor little things, I hope they feel better soon. I don't know but this doesn't seem like a good omen.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In Defense of Hubbie

Ok, so hubbie was taken aback when he glanced at my Transitions post. Really, hubbies shouldn't look at blogs sometimes. So, in defense of him (he thought you all would think he was a pig), I must tell about the wonderful surprise he did while I was gone. He painted the girls bedroom and ours. Up to this point we just had the white primer paint on the walls. He also created two chalkboards over each girl's bed with chalkboard paint and molding (painted in a complementary color). He used a router on the bottom piece of molding to create a chalk tray.

In our room he built me a bigger and better bookshelf (that's a man after my own heart), chose a perfect color of paint, rearranged a few things, cleaned it, and found a gorgeous bed in a bag on a fabulous sale. Candles and flowers completed it. It was beautiful. He has the designer's gift, I definitely don't.

So now I'm feeling slightly ashamed of myself. He is a good hubbie.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"The Full Monty" Triathlon Style

In honor of my first "exposure" to The Full Monty, my triathlon hubbie thought this might be a triathlon I'd actually be interested in watching The Bare Hare Triathlon. He says, "sweetie doesn't this tri sound fun. since you are into the whole feeling free and unhindered thing..."

Unfortunately no general spectators allowed, only participants and guests. I suppose hubbie could sign me on as a guest. I'd love to see how they manage the bicycle part of the race.

There will be a group photo, "Bare or clothed..." I think we'll leave that to the imagination...

Make-Ups and The Full Monty

Hubbie and I have made up. I think. It's hard giving up 2 weeks of blessed independence. But I wouldn't be who I am without the support behind me. I love my family and thank God for them.

On a completely different topic, a friend and I went to see The Full Monty and got... the full monty! I really didn't know what the "full monty" meant. I do now. "Woo, Honey! Are we feeling a breeze in here?"

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on who you are) I did not take any pictures. I suppose if I did and posted them, it would affect my blog rating, LOL!

Well, we'll just rank that little bit of naivete up there with the dry martini I ordered last week. What a week of education for me!


Monday, July 30, 2007


Does anyone else have trouble with transitions? I thought I was doing well and commented on it in an email to Gina. Here's an excerpt from my email to her of my lastest fiasco:

(This refers to the musical group Celtic Woman)
.....Reading the bios of the singers was a very humbling experience for me. So much for my dreams of being a celtic woman. Either that, or I'm going to have to start performing a lot more, because I'd have a lot of catching up to do. Can we say auditions?! Ooo, that's a bad word in my vocabulary.

I spoke too soon; Hubbie and I argued last night. I was upset over the mess (which made it hard to find things and put away), and knew I was tired, so I should have went to bed. But I had to pop off one comment about never having to deal with as big of a mess at gina's (even with dishes and all). Quit your laughing! In hindsight, it is sort of funny.

I went to bed and calmed down, but Hubbie started slamming things around putting them away, for an hour (it was a big mess), so I couldn't go to sleep knowing he was upset. And so on it went until we started yelling at eachother.

But that really wasn't a transition arguement, that could have happened at any point in time. I was upset though because I was trying hard to ease back into reality as painlessly as possible.

I was having a hard time because I left the house clean, but came home and couldn't turn around without 10 things on every flat surface screaming at me to put them away.

Actually if that confrontation hadn't happened last night, it would have happened today, because my parents just called and they're coming down for a surprise visit. I would have been flipping out trying to clean that mess up.

Hubbie left a very nice apology letter on my computer, and I'm sorry as well, so things will be ironed out. Sometimes though, I just wish I had my own mess to clean up....

So began my trip back to real life, but hey, things are looking up!

Gina and I (and bass recorder). Notice I don't have the "big sister stranglehold" around her. Guess my little brother and I are too far apart in age for me to have aquired it.

Thought this pic of my daughters is a funny comparison to the one above.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Here I am, Home again

Home at last, after the grueling 350 mi drive. I only got lost once. I never used to get lost. I must be losing my touch. It's because I insist on taking back roads in NY. Loud Rock Music kept me awake during the drive on I 79 between Erie to the PA Turnpike, the most boring stretch of road I have ever experienced. At least in WV you can look for old log cabins and the beautiful mountains.

The Third thing I did when I got back was take a nice long bath. We'll leave numbers one and two unspoken, only to say that it may have involved the 6 bottles of wine I brought back from NY. I am enjoying a sweet Niagara white wine right now.

It's a big improvement over that Martini I had at our past Thursday night dinner. So I'm uneducated about drinks. And I ordered the first thing that pops into my head, probably too many James Bond movies. I was being quite discreet about it until Gina wanted a sip and made a horrible face. My friends at the table sent it back while I was on the phone to have it remixed with something sweet.

Friday at Eastman we had our final performance, our farewell also. I'd traveled through all three Orff levels with 6 of my classmates, and it was bittersweet. I had waited so long for my Orff Certification, but it was sad knowing that I wouldn't be traveling up to NY to see them again. I can go up to visit, and I will, but what we had was very special. One forms a bond with people that they work closely and intensely with for two weeks. You all are such accomplished teachers, I'm proud to say I'm a collegue with you. I love you all, and I'd better either a. stop blogging at this point, or b. quit drinking that wine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Genesee Country Village and Museum

We went to a historical outside museum on Sunday. We could have spent a few days here. Here are some of the pics from the Genesee Country Village and Museum in NY.

Sarah's knitting in the backseat on the way there.

These women were very friendly. We enjoyed watching them work.

Freshly dyed

There were many types of musicians.A limber jack.

A Civil War Reenactment

There were a number of beautiful historical homes trucked in from elesewhere and set on a foundation. They were set up like a village or a town. We were able to tour many of the buildings.

I had a great time and hope to visit again.

Half Circle Tuesday

This post is for Gina's friend Sarah, who is extremely talented in many areas, textile arts being one of them. This is my "half circle" skirt and here are are the directions for making one.

The three of us went to the Genesse Country Village and Museum on Sunday. We had a wonderful time. I will post pictures. I just need to go get some homework done right now.

We had a great time at our English Country Dance last night. It was a blast, but I'll be taking Advil today!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am, The Other Woman

I've been thinking about how to diplomatically blog about this, you know, you don't want to post anything you wouldn't want on the front of the newpaper, and so on. But I figure I'm just going to go for it.

So, some of you may know how excited I am about my new music teaching job. It was a long time coming. I was a permanent sub the second half of this past school year, and when the job came up for bid, I bid on it, and got it. There was also a second permanent sub in our district who also bid on her job and got it, let's call her teacher "B".

Henceforth: enters the third, in our little music teacher triangle. Another girl, a wonderful out of state teacher whom I like very well, put in her bids on both jobs, we'll call her teacher "C". I and a professor friend mentioned "C" to my principal and we were rooting for her to get the second music job. Well, she didn't as you already know....however all three of us, the professor friend, "C", and myself happen to be at this same school at this same time. I'm taking the advanced level of our course, and "C" is taking the first level.

So, professor friend and I are discussing my excitement over my new job. Along comes teacher "C". We ask her if she had bid on any of the music jobs in our area.

"Oh yeah," loud voice, "I bid on both of them but the board never even called me. They put "teacher B" in one of the jobs and just swung SOME WOMAN into the OTHER JOB...!"

Silence. Professor friend is the first to break it to "C",

"Lydee here, is THE OTHER WOMAN."

"Oh...I mean...they told me she was 54....she's been around forever...."

(Gina's in the background trying not to crack up. Houston, we have a problem.)

Yeah, so I rooted for this child. I tell her it's okay, I had a similar situation happen to me just two short years ago. After all, I've "been around forever."

I am, however only 29.

I think I'll enjoy being THE OTHER WOMAN. (Sexy grin, evil laugh)

What was that smell last night?

Ahh, I slept well last night. I've been up late every night composing pieces and writing lesson plans for our class, and practicing recorder. I'm sleeping on my mat on the floor in Gina's apartment and I woke up in the middle of the night. What is that smell wafting through the windows? It wasn't cigeratte smelled kind of sweet...and then I could hear the guy who lives below Gina. He was chanting like. But the word chanting wouldn't do his tone of voice justice. The only way I can think to describe it, from my pentacostel upbringing, it sounded like he was speaking in tongues. And it was just as loud as though he had an urgent message from God.

I was ferverently wishing for Gina's earplugs. Clue: if roommate goes to bed wearing earplugs- buy some!

My sleepy overworked brain put two and two together and deduced that wafting smell was weed and the gentlemen below Gina was indulging himself in a little weekend vacation to the netherworlds. I offered up a prayer to above mentioned God for me to get some sleep.

And so I did. But I couldn't avoid that wafting smell. Perhaps that's why I slept so well? Perhaps, I shouldn't drive today. I wonder what the effects are of second hand weed smoke? Hmmm....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wicked Wednesday

My friend Gina (who has so graciously allowed me to invade her home for the next two weeks) is quite frustrated that no one will play the "wicked hard" recorder music in an ensemble with her. Perhaps, Sophanne you could come up and be her recorder buddy. She's dying to use her bass.

I'm in the "wicked easy" recorder group. However I am playing the tenor recorder (it's gina's, she has one of every flavor), so two toots for me! I'm not a completely incredible sissy.

So sorry I haven't posted earlier today. Not functioning this morning because I was up late writing melodies in modes. Bless your heart if you haven't heard of modes. I wish I hadn't heard of them either. They're running through my head, day and night, making wrong notes sound right, and if you're hearing this in a recitative you understand why I can't sleep!
Because of the music in my head! In my bed!
Heaven help me I just can't quit composing,
Somebody needs to turn me off.

The weird things are starting in class. Today I noticed the beginnings of irritation and frustraton. It will grow and eventually resolve itself. We hope so anyway, we really are a nice fun-loving bunch. Alas, strange atmospheric twinges surround teachers who work together 8 hours a day for 10 days in a row with stretched-to-the-max creativity and tired bodies.

By the way, I'm eating well up here. Java's coffe/sandwich shop is an incredible treat with funky service to match. I can't help leaving them a tip! hey, they remember me, what more do I want? I did discover that I get really strange after a double shot of expresso-latte. Two toots! Ha ha!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tuesday at Eastman

My first day wasn't too bad. I survived the homework (and I'm done before midnight!) and I'm actually not as bad at recorder as I thought I was. It really is fun! I forgot how much fun we had in recorder class last year, until we got together again this year.

I took an online quiz what be your nerd type and it says I"m a music geek, even when I tried answering so that it wouldn't say that! Imagine being in the room with 20 music geeks. That's our class. Weird things can happen... and by the end of week two they will...will keep you posted.

Monday Here I Am

350 mi of driving. 7 1/2 hours on my butt. Got lost twice. (And this is my third time up here!) Finally, I am in Rochester, NY. Today is our first day of classes at Eastman.

I think this is such a beautiful area. As usual I stopped in Dunkirk, NY and stretched my legs. There is a park on the beach of Lake Erie. (Pictures below, click on any to enlarge) What is it that I love about this particular spot? I think it's the element of surprise. As a native Pittsburgher, we always joked about Lake Erie being a garbage dump. And then, of course, it's inland. And I'm not accustomed to living along the Great Lakes. So, such beauty from such an unexpected place adds to the pleasure and surprise.

More later...

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Hmm, seems somewhat redundant. I'm a mom of 2 lovely ladies. I'm the wife of a triathlete machine. I'm a general music teacher in a public school. I like to take pictures of things, especially things i consider beautiful. I like to share. As long as it isn't food. Enjoy!

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