Friday, April 30, 2010

My handwriting: a sample

Here's a fun idea for a post that I stole from Hutch.

Easy peasy. Directions: Write all the following things so we get a peek at your handwriting, then scan the paper and put it on your blurg.

1. Name/Blog Name
2. Right handed, left handed or both
3. Favorite letters to write
4. Least favorite letters to write
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:
CRAB
HUMOR
KALEIDOSCOPE
PAJAMAS
GAZILLION
7. Favorite song lyrics
8. Tag 7 people
9. Any special note or drawing

Here's mine:


Holy left slant, Batman.  This is my "trying hard" handwriting.  It's worth noting that I also have whiteboard handwriting, lazy handwriting (AKA grading papers handwriting) and sign handwriting.  But this is me, putting my best foot forward.

Whaddya think?

How I'm going to ruin my day off:

I'm furloughed today. No work for no pay. I'm trying hard not to take it like a bad thing. I'm playing this little mental game with myself where I act like I just took too many sub days and got docked--which is honestly what's happened every single year I've been teaching, anyway. (And--sorry to admit this, E--that doesn't really ever seem to bother me.) I had Roo my first year teaching, so the combo of little kiddos and always being sick meant I generally use up my 10 freebies by about March. Docked paychecks at the end of the year are nothing new for me. (I'm not good at saving sick days or money.)

Anyway, I had/have big plans for today, to get things done but I can already tell that I'm tethered to my couch for as long as it takes me to sort those plans and make a list of the perfect order to do things. Which basically means all morning. Oh, and then I had to take Roo to school, which means the whole dumb process starts over again. So we may be looking at the whole day, at this point.

I was going to work on the surprise I'm making, but I needed a babysitter and my only free family option couldn't do it today. No biggie, but I'm sure trying to work on anything with Henry wanting to help is probably worse than not working on it. Oh, and did I mention that he's being a total BUTT today? Now, "butt" for Henry is probably only "annoying" on a scale for lots of other kids, but we had a battle about Honey Nut Cheerios this morning that almost rivaled the night I wrote this poem.

So then I thought maybe if I can get Henry to calm the freak down, I will take Hurley to get his second round of puppy shots. Only the SPCA doesn't open until 11:00, which is annoying. Which turns me into a butt. You don't open until right smack in the middle of the day? Really, SPCA? And Addie has a minimum day today--I hate minimum days. Why send them to school? Ugh. YES, I'm a teacher. But as a PARENT, it's just annoying. What's the point, School? So if I start to work on anything--cooking, grading, shopping, secret project-ing, I have to drop everything and be at her school by 12:30. And don't EVEN get me started on the fact that for some JACKED UP reason, Elementary schools and Secondary schools are on different calendars on my district. I might violate my own niceness rule if I get started on that one.

No, it's not helpful if you tell me I'm wasting valuable time writing about all this on my blog. That's what I do, waste time. I thought this might help me come up with a solution. Instead, it means I've been sitting on my couch for a half hour longer than I already planned. *sigh* I know I'll end up sitting here for so long trying to figure out how to get things done that I will get NOTHING done. That's just how I roll, I guess.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Parent of the year

Hi Henry. I know you're going to read this when you're 18 and contemplating therapy. I didn't mean it. I really didn't.

They're not going to be handing me any awards for parenting anytime soon. But then I thought for sure they were going to revoke my parent card when I drove a two day-old Addie to her first doctor appointment, parked, and turned around in horror to discover that her infant car seat wasn't secured tightly and she had tilted to about a 47 degree angle (though she was still buckled in). There she slept, angelically, strapped in like she was about to go for a roller coaster ride--one of those ones where you dangle over something. Thank God for seat belts and the passing of time that helps us forget just how horrible we feel. Thank God she wasn't old enough to remember that or read something into it.

I'm waiting for time to pass on this one. Henry has calmed down, but this one is going to stick with me for a while. I'm such an idiot.

Today when we got home I told the kids to hurry and come in the house--I was going to run out back and check on Hurley and water the garden. Henry has been taking longer to get out of the car than a comatose tortise, so I've been going in the house and leaving the front door open for him to come in when he's ready.  It makes me nutso to stand there and watch him stall.  He's fully capable of unbuckling, grabbing his backpack, and getting in the front door. Roo's faster, but she was out there with him so I didn't think much of it.

I went out back, tried (ineffectually) to get Hurley to pee before I brought him in the house, and checked my burgeoning garden. When I walked past the screen, I noticed that the front door was wide open. This is another of Henry's recent habits, and it drives me batty. I came in the house, shouted toward the kids' door that I was going to water the garden, shut the front door, and went outside. Roo joined me soon after. We watered the plants and once Hurley did his business, we came in the house.  Check, check, checketty check.

This probably took ten minutes.

Once in the house, we shouted to Henry that we were done. I couldn't help but wonder why it was taking him so long to change or go to the bathroom. I asked Roo where he was. "Um, Mom, I think he didn't come out of the car yet."

WHAT?

We swung open the front door just as a red-faced, snotty Henry ran up the drive with his backpack and Lucky Puppy in hand, looking betrayed by adults. Or I should say, just one adult.  Through his hysterical sobs I managed to figure out that his door wouldn't open (the latch on the child lock got bumped) and he "got so sad because he thought nobody was coming back for him." Oh, the pain and guilt I feel.  My boy.

He finally managed to crawl up front and get out of the passenger door. He didn't think to go out Addie's door, which wasn't locked. I feel terrible. Poor kid. His mama didn't think to wonder where he was. I just assumed he came in and went straight to change into his cozy pants like he usually does. It never occurred to me that I abandoned my child in the driveway.

*sigh*

I didn't mean it.  I hope you can forgive me, Bud.




Have you ever done something by accident that was terrible?  I have way too many of these experiences to count.  You must have done something.  I can't be the only one.  Spill it.


3 Things

It's green, if you're wondering.

3 names I go by…
1. HP
2. PDawg
3. Heath

3 jobs I have had…
1. Barista and milk steaming goddess
2. Ballet Teacher and cleaner-upper of preschool pee
3. English Teacher and crusher of dreams (Since '02)

3 places I have lived…
1. Elk Grove, CA
2. Modesto, CA
3. Stockton, CA
Exotic, no?


3 TV shows I watch…
1. The Biggest Loser
2. The United States of Tara
3. Community
(and basically anything else on the boob tube.  I love teeveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

3 places I would like to visit…
1. Fiji
2. Italy
3. France
(followed by Ireland, Scotland, Greece, and Denmark.  Danes FTW.)

3 fave retro TV shows… (retro meaning--to me, in this case--not on the air anymore, not OLD, though I like those too)
1. X Files
2. Star Trek Voyager
3. The West Wing

3 fave dishes…
1. Anything from mom's house with gravy and rice
2. Filet from Ruth's Chris with blue cheese crust
3. Green bean casserole on Thanksgiving


3 things I am looking forward to…
1. E passing the Bar/ someday earning enough where we don't sweat the last grocery trip of the month
2. Summer off
3. figuring out what to be when I grow up

3 people I am tagging…
Fact.  Tagging people gives me the pit sweats.  What if they forget to do it or they just hate me so they don't?  So I tag everyone. Tag.  Wait.  Untag.  You don't have to if you don't wanna.  Okay, tag.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear you,

Dear person reading my blog,




Hi. I see you there, in your old sweatpants and that T shirt with the hole in the armpit. I know you've been checking back to see if I've written a "good post" lately. You're checking my blog on your phone, during your lunch break, or on a window you'll minimize when your boss looks over your shoulder. I know it's late and you only have five minutes to check before one of the kids gets up. Or maybe you're sitting in a dorm room, trying to ignore your roommate's romantic interludes that are awkwardly too close to your personal space, and wondering how this person who taught you in high school is actually so damaged in real life. You're in Spain. And DC. And Panama. And Galt. Maybe you're like I was when I discovered blogs: clandestinely searching through every detail of someone's life, relieved and surprised at the familiarity you feel with a complete stranger. I see you all.

Well, I hope I do. So many bloggers perpetuate the "I only write for myself" mantra, but (maybe this is betraying one of my secrets, but) that's not all this is. I do, on occasion, write just for me. I use my blog like a personal bulletin board, bookmark, and journal. I'm willing to be transparent about things if I see a purpose in them. But I mostly write knowing that you, or at least my sense of who "you" is, will read this. I hope that you will. I put my thoughts out there to be analyzed, consumed, discussed. This is okay. I write for us both when I talk about how bad our marriage was--I never want you to feel as alone as I was in a troubled relationship. I write for you when I talk about how messed up it was to be separated--I don't want you to think something is wrong with you if you're alone. In some ways, I write so that there's proof I am a human being, though the nature of the teaching beast seems to be hell bent on proving otherwise. (Why, did I choose a profession that presupposes perfection? Ugh.) And honestly, I always write knowing that anything on here could come back to haunt me someday, should a malicious person find it and twist my words. I know I can't completely protect myself, but I try to consider everything that's posted here carefully. In the end, my test is always would I answer a question about that if they asked me personally, with an earnest spirit? If the answer is yes, and I'm not being mean-spirited, then I write it. If no, then I don't.

Occasionally I'll walk past someone in the grocery store, and I can tell instantly that they've seen my blog and they're wondering if they should say something to me. It might be some classmate from high school with whom I maintain a quiet Facebook friendship, or an acquaintance of my parents' (hi to you too!), and I can see on their furtive little glances that they don't know if it's okay to talk to me about this whole schmear I call a blog. They don't know if we should talk about it, if it's okay. They wonder how they would begin the conversation. So, um, I read your private diary... Or I get the kind of comments like "I read your blog--a little." I'll also get the occasional email from a former student (or someone who found me through a Google search for Retrouvaille) that says something to the effect of "I hope I'm not stalking you or that it's not an intrusion, but I read your whole blog from start to finish." I'm okay maintaining these quiet exchanges but it's also worth mentioning that I don't mind if people read any of this. In fact, I sort of want that. And I never mind talking to people about it, if they want to. I'm not going to bring it up all the time for fear of sounding ridiculous but it's no secret. It's on the INTERNET, folks. Go ahead and talk to me.

I started blogging out of despair, loneliness and confusion when E and I were separated. I'd worn out the ears of every friend I had and I still had 14 volumes of things to say. I blog because I will always have 14 volumes of things to say. I write posts in my head all day long. I relish strange and awkward experiences now, because I know I'll get the chance to explore them in writing. And I write for YOU. I write with you in mind. I write and I know that once I say something like hoo-hah or divorce, you'll know that about me. Forever. (ZOMG, she said hoo-hah?!?!)

It's freeing, though. For someone like me who has been so pent up by self-imposed rule following and good-girlishness, it's sooooo freeing.

The longer I do this, the more I realize how like each other we are. I realize that I'm surrounded by people (and have been, frankly, for some time) who have gone through many of the same things I do. Maybe we just don't talk about those things though, because it's hard. I have true, close, good friends with whom I know I can't ask them certain things--not because they wouldn't answer, but because I am too scared to ask. So I write those un-askables and put them out into the universe.  Always with a sense of my audience,and a little fear that they might judge.  (Audience, here, meaning those who read my blithering blabber, not like the kind who stands up and claps for something--ew.)

And honestly once I get it all out of me and written down here, it's not about me so much anymore. It's about what all writing is about, which is the life experience that every person brings to something when they read it. It's about finding something common, something universal. I'm not a believer that everything I do here is going to strike a chord, but maybe it might every once in a blue moon. That would be cool with me.

So thanks for lurking, for reading, for commenting, for whatever level of audience-participation reader you are. I'm grateful that you're here.

Heather


...
Prompt for this post courtesy of Travelin' Oma:

~Who are you writing for? Write a letter to them.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all good except for those Swedish words.

Damn. It's 9:00 and I just woke up from my second--yes, second--nap of the evening. I didn't intend to sleep, but I made the mistake of trying to read in the sunbeam on my bed and somehow I ended up in Sleepytown, USA. I'm reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is sort of meh so far... it's getting better, but there are so many Swedish names and places. I'm convinced it was written by this guy:



Don't take the meh as my official review. It takes me a really long time to get into any book. I'm not good with names, so that's really a handicap when it comes to being an English teacher and reader. It just takes me longer to figure out what most readers can get down early. Le sigh.

I woke up craving brie and chocolate ice cream. We have neither. Nope, I'm not pregnant. Don't go asking. I just love my dairy products. Who craves brie, though, really? Tonight I tried some sheep cheese from Whole Foods in our dinner. It almost tasted like a real people meal--corn pasta, asparagus, leftover rotisserie chicken, lemon juice, sauteed onions, and pecorino (sheep cheese). All of those things together tasted like a completely ordinary meal. That's rare around here. I'm hoping sheep cheese works out for Gluten Free E's tummy requirements. I'm strongly biased toward sheep products over goat. Goat things just taste too goaty to me. I miss cheese from our pre-allergy aweareness days. Oh sure, I get my fix out on the street. But we're not nearly cheesy as we used to be when it comes to family dinners.

My complex about character names in the book reminds me that this is a longstanding habit and I'm basically the same way when it comes to movies. When I was in the 10th grade, my history teacher (and now longtime friend K, if you've been following along) would give us a character list before we'd watch any movie in class. I always needed to peek at mine frequently. I remember feeling supremely proud to use my first-year French for a giggle at Front de Boeuf's name in Ivanhoe. I believe we got character lists for A Tale of Two Cities, All Quiet on the Western Front, Ghandi, Empire of the Sun. K continued to aid me out and gave me the same sort of verbal helps when she loaned me the first season of The West Wing ("Watch that Sam guy. And Josh Lyman...") and when she got us to watch Rome ("so Pullo and Vorenus, those are your guys...") over the last few years. Immensely helpful for someone who has my problem sorting characters. And remember my Hamlet chart that I made for my class? Mostly it's because I don't want to keep looking up the difference between Marcellus and Bernardo. BECAUSE I CAN'T REMEMBER even though I've been teaching it for like five years. Not so good with the names.

I'm just realizing I need some kind of character name cheat sheet for everything in my life. Confession: I'm loving watching The Pacific on HBO, but I have almost no idea who any of the guys are. I can't keep them straight from each other, which is difficult when they keep dying. I try to play little games in my head--the dark haired one, the blonde, curly haired one, Sledge--so inevitably the one I think I have pegged as "the dark haired one" gets shot... but in the next scene, there he is tending to his buddy who ALSO HAD DARK HAIR. So confusing. I can openly admit to the world that I have no idea any of the character names of the ad guys in Mad Men, either, though I've been watching for 3 seasons. Okay, maybe Pete. But the rest? They all have dark hair. Who could keep track?

I'm officially a seventh grader.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why?



Why is this cold taking so long to go away? Did it just come on because I had a spurt of healthy motivation to run again? Why is it in my chest even though all the yuck came out two days ago? Why is cough medicine USELESS in my life right now? Why do I sound like Wheezy from Toy Story 2?

Why did my bloody toes have to stick to the flannel sheets last night, forcing me to peel them off, fuzzy and sticky, this morning? And why did I decide it was better to do dishes this before school today in lieu of taking a shower? And why no makeup when I already had frizzy hair? And why the too-short T-shirt, rather than finding some appropriate clothing befitting an educator? And why an AP class that's simultaneously failing at anything resembling homework or studying but succeeding at asking me every five minutes what they should do with their lives? Why are they such energy vampires? And why did all that good fortune and patient, frizzy counseling precede a surprise observation by my administrator today? (Which went fine, but you bet your sweet bippy my heart did a little skip when I realized I was being evaluated, greasy hair, bloody toes, squeak-toy cough and all.) And WHY CAN'T MY FRESHMEN JUST BE QUIET FOR THE LOVE OF GRAPEFRUIT? ...at least when someone else is watching? *sigh*

Why did I discover tonight that I gave Hurley and owie scrape on his chin when I tossed him outside last night to pee? And why did Roo have to be in tears when I picked her up from school because nobody was impressed that at seven, she'd learned to ride a bike by herself? Why is it that we have to let our kids feel their hurts so they can learn to deal with the world? Why does that hurt so bad? Why can't I believe myself when I tell her that all that matters is that she's proud of herself?

Why am I so scared about finances for next year: furloughs and paycuts that might not even save the people we need to run a school? Why can't E just get a firm answer on the job he interviewed for last week? Why can't we just have some calm and some stability, huh? Why is his Bar exam result date looming in my mind with a giant imaginary red circle?

And why ON EARTH, SWEET BABY JESUS, did E have to eat salami and sit down on the couch with me just now? Why does salami give you corpse breath, anyway? Why did I become salamiphobic?

And riddle me this: if every pair of jeans I own is a size 8 LONG Stella Bootcut W10 from Express, why was one pair made for a giant with toothpick legs? Why does another help me wade around with Noah, waiting for his flood? Why does one pair make me the muffin top master? Why am I a fatty fatty two by four in another? Why is one the perfect mix of slimming dark wash and flip-flop gracing length and a distinct knowledge of how NOT to ride up? Why? If they're all the same cut from the same store in the same size, WHY?????????????

Why?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hurleyku


Joy he brings, and pain.
Wants to bite my feet and pierce
sole and soul alike.

Holy exciting weekend, Batman!

I've spent WAY too much of my time tonight trying to figure out how to transfer a picture of my bloody toes from E's point-and-shoot camera's internal memory onto its memory card so I could post it here. BLOODY TOES, I TELL YOU! But the picture is locked up for now, as long as we can't find the cord. So, um, sorry you missed out on that, world. I'll explain about the toes in a sec.

But today was great. Landmark day for Miss Roo. She went from not being able to ride her bike, sans training wheels, to being able to take off down the street and ride on her own. I'm so proud. Truth be told, and I've blogged about this before, Roo is not my brave child. She didn't want to jump, for Pete's sake, until she had a brother who got old enough to try such things. School has been good for Addie in the areas of courage, running and physical activity, but we still had this one huge thing to conquer. Fear was holding her back on her bike.

I'll admit it. Last summer it was too annoying to take her for a bike ride, because even with training wheels she was so timid that she had to walk her bike over every single bump or curb. It took us 40 minutes to go two blocks to Grandma's house. So we were determined to help her conquer this before summer.

E took the wheels off and they spent some time giving it a shot yesterday. It wasn't happening yet. The lean and the movement were freaking her out. I went out for a short while after lunch and the whole thing ended in tears. She's used to things coming to her easily--especially in school--and she's already learned the smart kid art of avoiding situations where she might not succeed right away. As much as it breaks my heart to see her cry, I wanted her to keep trying. I kept repeating to her that she's so good at things because she knows how to keep trying when it's hard. We tried for a while and E encouraged her that it might not happen today.

Right before dinner she wanted to give it another shot with her Dad (after helping him put together a new gate to go with the new fence). They tried for a while and then I went out with her while he checked the steak in the backyard... and it happened! It was that magical moment where I let go but she didn't know... she looked over and I was running along instead of holding up the bike. Her face lit up like Christmas morning as she shouted "I did it! Mommy, I'm doing it!"

Of course we had to call E and Henry out to see it... and then I remembered that we might want to grab a camera. Oh--I remembered to grab a camera right after I managed to stub my second and third toe like an eight year old because YES, I was running in the street with no shoes on. Old habits die hard, I guess. But I ran in the house, dabbed the blood off my feet, and came back outside to record our little Roo.



She still needs a little help getting started... but watch her go!
(Note Henry trying to control Hurley on the leash too.)



Lots and lots of tries...



but overall, a success! I'm so proud of her.

I really wanted her to experience some kind of success today. I didn't fully expect her to be able to do it, but I wanted something to go right so she'd want to keep at it. When we came inside, E and I were musing about what a big day it was:

E: I can't believe you got her to do it. I don't know what you did. You have the touch.

Me: I just let go. We'd been practicing how she could stop and put her foot down all day, so I knew she'd do that.

E: I just couldn't let go. Just couldn't do it.

Me: Awww! It's like a little metaphor for how you feel about your little girl! Nemo!

E: I'm aware of what it is.

...

Being a parent is so rad.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Garden Saturday

What a great little Saturday!

I didn't manage to convince Henry or Hurley to come with me on my errands, but Roo was happy to oblige.  We explored the farmers' market and came home with a bunch of new veggies to try, swung by the yard sale at my school, and stopped in to visit Gram and Gpa and get some tomato cages.

When we got back, E was hard at work on the new fence.  I managed to get our whole garden planted, then we had a nice lunch outside.  All those gardening metaphors and life lessons exist for a reason.  It's just good for your insides.



Finished fence!  Pretty.


This rosebush was a gift from some friends when we lost Gus and Cal.  This was Cal's favorite spot to sit and soak up sun every morning.  I thought it was fitting to plant it here.  I've had it for a while, but I finally got it in the ground!  It's such a great little reminder of our boys.


Some pink flowers that Roo planted, lemon cucumbers, cantaloupe.


Peach tree... didn't plant it, but spent a while thinning it this morning.  It has the best peaches and it's an early peach so it usually ripens right around the 4th of July.  I can't wait!


Peppers galore!  LOTS of little sweet peppers and two kinds of bell peppers.  Behind that is a row of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash.


More peppers, some onions in the back.


SIX tomato plants and some basil and cilantro (which may be coming inside, which is why it's in the small pot resting on the planter).


I spent the rest of the afternoon with a friend, working on a lovely surprise that's coming up soon.  There's something so JOYFUL for me about trying to do something cool for someone else.  I have a huge smile about it right now.  Hoping it turns out as well as I think it's going to.

So I came home to a clean yard (the E man spent ALL DAY LONG working on cleaning and beautifying the yard) and two happy kiddos.  I didn't manage to tackle the disgusting mess that is our house... at all.  But it was such a productive day, I'm okay with that.  :)

Have a great night.


On tap this morning:

What's crackin', 7:30 AM?  Here's what's up before lunch today:

1) Awesomeness
2) Farmers' Market
3) Swing by fund-raiser yard sale at school
4) Swing by Gpa's house to get tomato cages
5) Come home, plant garden
6) CLEAN THIS FRAT HOUSE we're living in

So I ask Henry, thinking he will want to spend some special time running around with Mommy, "hey bud, do you want to go to the farmers' market with me?"

Henry's response? "Not really mom.  No thank you."  Man.  Shot down by a five year old.




Maybe Hurley wants to go with me, but he'd have to stay in the car.  Maybe that's a bad idea too.

E and the next door neighbor are rebuilding our fence today.  Right now it's down between three houses in a row, but the front gates all still stand.  It's very Big Love of us, and I sort of wish we could just keep it.  Of course I'm pretty sure we're the people that other people want to keep out of their yards.  Whatevs.


Friday, April 23, 2010

On a serious note...

Maybe it's because it's Earth Day (week) so all of this is out there and I'm noticing it more. Maybe it's because I've been really trying to watch what we eat to avoid allergens for E, so I've been reading more and more about food, which led me to food blogs and food books etc etc etc. Or maybe I just watch too much Bonnie Hunt Show online (yes I do... ain't showin' here anymore) and Lordy, too much Oprah. Don't know. But I'm feelin' the weight of the world this week.

I've got some things on my mind, so I thought I'd share. I'm not even sharing to say, "hey, here's this thing I watched/read/listened to." It's not even that. I haven't read or watched any of these things yet. But they're percolating and I'm thinking about it. I think it's fair to admit that, right?

You know from my post about a program that we ran at school that things affect me more than the average bear. That's the reason for the hesitation. I try to give things serious thought before I absorb them and consider whether or not the benefit of information I'll gain will be greater than my discomfort. Sometimes, honestly, it isn't. But all of these things have been catching my attention lately.

From reading food blogs I hear a lot about food books. It's only natural. I already know I'm not going to read Skinny Bitch. I'm sure it's cool and funny and informative, but the reviews I read about scare tactics already scare me. I just don't think I can do it. I'm not going to be able to be a vegan, no matter how upset I get about animals. I'm just not. But I will get hopelessly upset. I know myself. But in reading Caitlin's Healthy Tipping Point, I also heard about Michael Pollan. I've since seen him on several talk shows and I'm really interested to read this, In Defense of Food:




I added it to my Amazon wishlist. Gonna upload it to the Kindle just as soon as I finish the puppy book I'm currently reading and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (Neither of which are controversial, to my knowledge.)

I ended up finding this old (2007) New York Times article from Michael Pollan the other day and though it's lengthy, it's one of the most interesting reads I've had in a long time. I like how the information is presented in such an intelligent way. I like that there's no Michael Pollan diet. I like his first words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

So since I have food on the brain (always) I've also been paying minimal attention to Food, Inc. Actually, I've been trying to ignore Food, Inc for quite some time because I'm afraid of it. I'm afraid to know. But it's showing on PBS right now and after seeing the director, Robert Kenner, on (my fave) TBHS, I honestly think I might want/need/be interested to watch it. I have not decided. But it's on my radar now.

The food thing is a hot topic right now with Jamie Oliver's school lunch movement. I have mixed feelings about the school lunch thing--of course our kids should have better food--but next year my school's looking at not having a LIBRARY for the love of Pete, and we might be down to two counselors and one administrator from budget cuts. The idea of expensive, handmade food seems about as far out of our league as a transporter. Would it rock? Yes. Possible in this economy? Not sure.

It's heavy stuff. Even the clips are hard to watch. I'm not saying you should--heck, I haven't even decided if I can handle it yet--but if you want to see it, you can stream it live on PBS by clicking here. Or you can DVR it, as I did. Maybe I will make E watch it with me. I really don't know yet.

This last one I first came to hear about from Carrie Ann Inaba's tweets last year. It's a documentary called The Cove. Of course I tried not to think too hard about it either, since I knew it would get to me. Even when I saw these guys win the Oscar I wasn't sure if I could handle it. I think I want to watch the DVD, after seeing the filmmakers on Oprah today. Here's a PSA about it. But like all things, I'm not sure I can do it. Either way, this is a story that should be told.

I've embedded the PSA below.

PLEASE DON'T WATCH THIS IF YOU ARE BOTHERED BY THINGS THAT ARE VIOLENT. I'm not telling you that you need to watch this, but it affected me today. Please know that kids should NOT watch this, and that it is potentially disturbing.





Listen, I'm not a dolphin person, really. I mean, not more than any other animal. But I respect their intelligence and the connection that many people feel to them. This is just... hard. Good segment on Oprah today about it, if you want to check that out online to see what I'm talking about. It's kind of amazing how these filmmakers risked so much just to tape this.

So heavy stuff today. I apologize for being such a downer. This has all just weighed on me this week, and as usual this is a good place to work things out for myself.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rooasaurus Rex

Loooong night, y'all. I have a love/hate relationship with my online gradebook. Our school uses a program called School Loop for grades/parent contact. It's great that I can enter things from home, but that also means I can enter things from home, you know? It used to be that I couldn't do that; it wasn't an option. But tonight I spent hours tapping away at the office keyboard to enter scores in the hopes of avoiding a level 7 freakout tomorrow when my grades are due. The whole School Loop thing has its advantages, but it also has quite a few disadvantages... I'm not sure how much I should complain about this. You know, dissent isn't so PC. Don't want to get Dooced. (No I don't really think I will. Just wanted to say "Dooced.") But I've tried to embrace it this year, so I guess that's what matters.

Tonight I'm only getting to blogging at quarter to ten because it was also Roo's Open House at school. Just like last year, she had a purple dress all picked out just for the occasion. She's been counting down the days since last week, she was so excited. I love how proud she gets of her schoolwork. This was the first time E's been able to come, now that he's done with night school. It was quite the little family outing.



I was sooo tired, as evidenced by undereye circles and greasy face.
It's been a hard week of sickies around here.


Apple, not falling far from tree.


Wiping my eyebrow from his forehead. He gave me a kiss in the house and my brow liner smudged off. God, I hate having nearly clear eyebrows. I have drawn them on every day since I was about 16, and they come off all the time when it's hot. And I just wish I could swim and keep my eyebrows intact. :( Or kiss my boy.


Lint rolling in the parking lot. Apparently Hurley isn't so shed-free.


Aw.


So excited.


Checking out all her hard work.


Showing Daddy all the Dinosaur stuff.


Seriously love this. It's an illustration for a story she wrote about an Addiesaurus.


My favorite part? "Usless arms. [sic]" Ha. Sweetie.










Stopping by Grandma's room to see Grandma and Grandpa. Good thing I got the memo about dressing up, huh? At least everyone else is cute.


Successful Open House!

...
"Hey E, let's go out to dinner. I don't feel like cooking."


"Heather, you give me stress. Look, I'm stressed. You are the reason we are in debt this month!"


"Nuh uh! Everything is going to be FINE!"






99 cent chicken tender night? Yes please.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's not right how much I like this:



Or this:



Or this:



And this:



Ooh, and this:



Or this:


Or, really THIS. *sigh* (For ML--isn't he so appeeeeeeealing?)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stuff I'm not good at

In my fight with a cold this week, I'm big time obsessed with Words With Friends on the iPhone. This marks another my being late to the party but nerding out about how much I like it. (Hit me up for a game--username is coachpdawg)

But WWF also marks another example of something that you'd think I'd be good at that I am completely and totally not. Confession: I am not good at Scrabble. Like, it's embarrassing how bad I am. So let's just go there:

THINGS YOU MIGHT THINK I WOULD ROCK BUT I HONESTLY TOTALLY DON'T

1) Scrabble. Like I said, not so scrabbletastic. What makes this worse is that everyone assumes English major = awesome at Scrabble. Not so, mon frere. Yeah, I like words, but I like what they mean, not the cool patterns of letters that they make. (Also, see my color/number crazies for even more PDawggy confusion.) Scrabble seems, to me, to be the reduction of euphonic, meaningful, God-given words into something (ew!) mathematical--patterns, logic puzzles, etc. It has nothing to do with imagery or metaphor or sound devices or wit or any of the things I like about putting words together. I'm also terrible at spotting patterns, playing strategy games, and anything requiring patience. So if you hit me up for a game, as I suggested, it will be an easy win. Scrabble gives me the pit sweats. Everyone expects me to be good and I ain't. I honestly prefer to be drinking when I play--at least then I can blame my use of such sesquipedalian words as "the" and "dog" on the wine.

2) Spelling. I do okay, you know, my spelling is respectable, but I spent about three hours of teaching time every year telling kids, DUDE, I DIDN'T MAJOR IN SPELLING and I am not going to tell you how to spell that. Also along these lines is the fact that NOBODY LIKES TO BE YOUR HUMAN DICTIONARY, YOU LAZY BUM. Kids want an easy answer because they don't want to learn how to spell things and they don't want to get up and walk to the dictionaries across the room. I don't want to be their enabler. But back to my skillz. Like I said, I know some stuff about spelling, but not everything. I don't see it as a linear assumption that if I like to read books, I've memorized the dictionary. The dictionary is BORING. I know a lot of words--more than some people, sure--but I don't have the kind of mind that looks for errors in spelling or grammar, and spelling almost entirely ignores the richness of meaning and sound. I have to force myself to read that way. I don't read like an editor. My mind is more like a kindly grandma at your kindergarten piano recital when it comes to those kind of errors--she can only see you and your beautiful effort rather than your little tiny mistakes. If I want to read for errors, I have to switch out of Gma mode. (E is constantly finding spelling and grammar mistakes on my blog, FYI.) I'm constantly learning new words, though. Learning = not being comfortable with, yet. Learning means it takes time. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have to look things up all the time. I'm curious, so that means I have to put in some work to move forward.

3) Helping you transform your lame essay into a stone tablet of awesomeness. Listen, sometimes your essay really sucks and there's only so much I can do. I can shine it up, but I can't make it be something it's not. Maybe your writing has potential, and maybe it doesn't. If I'm being honest, there are some steaming piles that I just can't fix. Maybe that's too much to admit, that some essays are beyond help. Sometimes a steaming pile will only ever be a steaming pile. (Oh God, now you think I'm a bad teacher. Listen, I'd still help that kid. I would still try to give him or her some help, but you know as well as I do that most of those kids don't want the help anyway. And for some of them, it would just be better to rip it up and start over again.)

4) Hip hop. I can FAKE hip hop pretty well if people show me things. I taught myself a lot of things watching Youtube and I know how to make it look like I'm doing something by acting confident and pretending I know how. But listen, my hip hop training started and ended in about the mid-90's. From time to time I'll have someone ask me to teach a hip hop class and I have such a hard time explaining that training in teaching ballet/tap/jazz/contemporary does not translate into being able to teach ANY STYLE OF DANCE. Same goes for ballroom. I could ape it if someone taught me, but that's not the same as being trained to teach it or even having legitimate license to claim I know how to do it. But still people ask. I know, I know. You're all shaking your heads because I'm a white girl anyway. It comes up from time to time, okay?

5) Being organized. I'm good at faking this too. At work? I've got a pretty good system going. I have a bitchin' to-do list template, but this is only because I have about the second worst record on campus for taking roll. And I lose things. I forget to respond to email. If I have all that on a chart, I am more likely to work things out correctly.  I like my work space clean, but that's because high schoolers are like preschoolers--the fewer things you leave out, the fewer things that are going to get broken or choked on. And I like certain things organized--meetings, music, desks, papers, bookshelves--but unfortunately that has nothing to do with my being able to keep my bathroom clean at home. Would I like to have a clean, organized house? Sure. But would I also like a nap? Yes please.  I know how to organize, but that doesn't mean that I do it.

6) Being right when I'm teaching. I'm wrong all the time. I'm very open about it. I don't know how I could teach high school and NOT be. But it's annoying how much kids assume that if you're a teacher you have to be perfect, and how much glee they get when they think they catch you making a mistake. I'd never expect that from them--because they're still learning--so I try not to expect it from myself. Sometimes I just don't know the answer. Sometimes I say the wrong thing and then I have to correct myself. I learned the most from teachers who were still actively learning and who wanted to look at things with us. That's just the way I roll. What gets me is when kids try to prove their intelligence by "catching" me in something I don't know or am not sure about. Go ahead and knock yourself out, kid. I already said I don't have to be right--so stop wasting your energy on me.

7) Being intimidating. I know you think I am. I don't mean it. I just have a serious face. But I'm scared of everything.

So there you go. Secret's out. Come beat me at Words With Friends now.