Monday, October 31, 2005

Dear Mrs. K,

Thanks for being a good teacher, a friend, and the best person ever.

You taught me alot and even when you weren't talking I learn.

I will know you will make more people happy as me when your teaching.

Sometimes I think your a angle [angel] from above to keep people safe.

(Angles dont have to sing well either.)

Just wondering, how can you deel with K. [a classmate she doesn't get along with] all the time? You must be very calm and skilled!

Love, KS

I'll miss you

Yes, this is an actual note I received today from one of my students, in all of its misspelled and grammatically incorrect glory. And it's one of the best gifts I've ever received.

(I think the letter is especially meaningful when you consider this: just two days ago, my psychic told me that "you like kids, they like you and they feel safe around you." And then, out of nowhere, I get this letter today. Interesting, huh?)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Party of one (at least until 2010 or so).

First, I must thank Anna (my self-described "birthday coordinator") for showing me such a great time yesterday. The day included our trip to the psychic, dinner, a haunted house and a (very) brief appearance at the bar. Most of this blog entry will focus on our psychic encounter (at least MY portion of it, anyway--I'll let Anna post her experience, if she so desires); however, I do want to mention the haunted house, where my normally level-headed and practical amiga LOST HER DAMN MIND. (FYI, Anna, I have several finger-sized bruises all over my upper arm--any idea how those got there?) ;)

The psychic, by far, was the highlight of my day. I learned a LOT of valuable information; I've just taken 5 pages of notes from the tape I have of my 20-minute session. I know some of you out there may be more skeptical, but truly, I found it to be insightful and more than helpful. The most important thing I learned, I think, is that I AM on the right path; that what is going on around me is happening exactly when and how its supposed to, and I'm learning all the lessons I'm supposed to be learning. Having said that, here are some of the more important points.

1) The million-dollar question: Will I ever get married--and when? And to whom? (Okay, that was three questions.)

Yes--although not as soon as perhaps I would have liked. Marriage is in the cards (literally) for me in 5-10 years--not within 5, she said, but definitely within 10, putting me at about 34-39. However, she said that marriage is "definitely going to happen."

Interestingly, I have a LOT of "kid lines"--2 girls and 4 boys. However, she said that these are not necessarily the kids that I'll HAVE, just those that I'll become closest to. She said the two girls are "really strong." I'm thinking that those are Amanda and Paige. I'm not exactly sure about the boys, as I currently have 6 nephews to choose from--but I'm hoping that at least one or two of the boys she's seeing are MY future sons.

2) BOLO (be on the lookout) for:
A man with lightish brown hair and light eyes (blue/green/hazel), who is very loving and kind, loves nature and animals and is shy and quiet. Yes, you guessed it--that's HIM. The One. And no, she said, I haven't met him yet.

3) At least I have one thing right.
Teaching is DEFINITELY the right career path for me. It came up again and again--in my cards and in the palm reading (my "amibition mound," which focuses on career/work, is completely covered by a grid of "teacher squares").

4) General things about me.
--I have "major trust issues."
--I'm incredibly stressed out and I worry too much about everything ("you're much too young to be this stressed out") .
--At one point, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Quit being so hard on yourself."
--I'm very intuitive when it comes to people and events; I have a lot of "psychic X's" on my palm (my problem is that I usually don't LISTEN to my instincts, because they're generally telling me something that I don't want to hear, especially when it comes to relationships).
--When I love, I "love from the soul;" there's no halfway with me and I love with my whole heart.
--I have four guardian angels/spirit guides (it makes me laugh that FOUR are needed to handle me and the trouble I seem to get myself into; however, it is very reassuring that they're around me and are looking out for me).

They also do home parties (private reading are $30 instead of the usual $25 but STILL quite reasonably priced, especially when you consider that you can easily blow that on a dinner out, a few drinks at the bar, etc). You only need 6-10 people. Anna and I were talking about doing one as a girls' night--I know Renee would be up for it, too, so that's three. Plus, I'm sure the girls who originally recommended this place to us would love to come, as well. Anyone else?

Sunday, October 23, 2005


So far today, I have made apple crisp (I found a recipe online, Anna) and caramel apples.

Here's what I've learned:

1) Make caramel apples with real caramel. I bought a "kit" and it's not as good.
2) Caramel that has been in the microwave is very, very, excrutiatingly hot.
3) When peeling apples, be sure to remove the protective film from your brand-new apple peeler first. It works much better that way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just checking in.

This past week was CRAZY busy. We had parent-teacher conferences, which means that I lost my evenings and fell horribly behind on paper-grading. Luckily, a) my teacher took pity on me and graded 90 6-page geography tests, and b) my good friend Anna helped me grade some more assignments today. As of now, I am once again caught up on my grading and I am quite happy.

Conferences went well. It gave me my first exposure to defending my grading practices and principles to some not-very-happy parents. (However, I must say, that even THAT wasn't too bad; we had expected some pretty irate confrontations--from what I hear, these things can get ugly--but for the most part, everyone was more-or-less civil.)

Today, Anna and I rewarded our hard work with a trip to the apple orchard. Note: if you're short like me (5'4"), bringing a tall friend with you is a must (Anna is--and I'm estimating here--roughly the height of Shaq). We got the GOOD apples, way up high on the tree (once she stepped up on the crates, I'm pretty sure that she was actually TALLER than the trees). In addition to about 500 lbs of apples, we also got apple bread, apple butter and donuts (I saw "we," but mostly it was "me"). So please: if you know any good, yet fairly easy, apple recipes, send them my way.

NEXT weekend will be even more exciting, because we're making a trip to a psychic for my big 2-9. (Mom asked, "How will you know if she's for real?" I told her, "If she tells me what I want to hear, she's the real thing. If she tells me nothing but bad news, then clearly she's a fraud.") I already have my questions ready: 1) Will I ever get married? 2) Roughly WHEN will I get married? (I'm not looking for a date or even a month, but some kind of time frame would be nice.) and 3) Do I remotely know the person I'm going to marry, or has he yet to enter my life? I figure that everything I need to know about my future can be answered by those three questions. After all, I finally have this career thing figured out.

What's new with all of you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Well, We're Movin' On Up...

To northeastern Illinois. John got another promotion, so here we go again! This is not yet the District Team Leader position that he has his sights set on, but a promotion nonetheless.

His title is Operational Specialist over 4 districts of stores, all in Illinois and Wisconson. In a nutshell, his job will be to help the Store Team Leaders fix their fucked up stockrooms, receiving and flow processes (replenishment). There are more operational aspects that he'll be dealing with, like the front end (which is like the service desk, check-outs, etc) but I'll not bore ya'll with the details. Mostly stockroom stuff.

So he'll have about 40 stores that he oversees this stuff on. Lots of daytime travelling, but hopefully not a ton of overnight stuff.

At first I was less than pleased with the move (even though we discussed it and agreed that he should interview for it), because this is the first place I've actually made NEW friends. One of which has moved with Target, too, but the other is still here and I just love her! Our sons are both 4 (and both only children), and they adore each other. When it's time for Daniel to go home, Brent says "I just want Daniel to stay here for a thousand days!" Brent is the reason I was dreading the move... last year he HATED preschool and cried every time I dropped him off. This year he LOVES it and wants to go every day. I'm afriad that putting him in a new school is gonna turn into last year all over again. Especially cuz it'll be in the middle of the year (like last year). But I'm getting a little excited now.

We'll be just north of Chicago, where there are so many fun things to do... can't wait to take Brent to the zoo, the aquarium, Six Flags... two weekends ago we took Brent with us up there to scope out some neighborhoods and stuff and we passed Six Flags and Brent wanted to go there immediately :-) We also happened upon Gurnee Mills Mall which is HUGE. They have an ice hockey rink in there, which is attached to an insanely huge and noisy arcade. We took Brent there for dinner and to play. He couldn't take his eyes off the youth hockey game that was being played, and announced that he wants to learn how to play hockey (YES!! But first he needs to learn how to skate. This place gives lessons).

So, Brent is getting a little more accepting of it when he sees all this cool stuff by where we're gonna move. We've told him that we aren't gonna live by Daniel anymore, but he's not grasping that. We'll still get together with them, but right now they see each other almost every day with school, swimming lessons and the childcare at the exercise place Linda and I go to. I'm sure there will be an adjustment period, as there always is, but I think we'll get through it and he'll be fine.

My parents are watching Brent this weekend while John and I go house-hunting with our realtor. Those who know me well know that this is my favorite part. is bookmarked in My Favorites thingie on the computer. Even when we aren't moving, I love looking at houses. This part is lots of fun for me. We're hoping to find one we love this weekend and write an offer either while we're there or early next week. We'll probably end up taking Target's offer to buy our house, cuz we want to get it done ASAP, since John already started his new job yesterday. I'll keep you all posted!

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I went to the mall today for my monthly weigh-in.

I HAVE NOW OFFICIALLY HIT THE 20-POUND MARK!!! In fact, I've lost 23 pounds, which means that I'm only 2 lbs away from my original goal. (I'm going to keep going, though, since I'm only like 7 lbs away from my mom now.) That means I've lost 7 lbs since my weigh-in last month (student teaching has a lot to do with it, I'm sure, especially walking back and forth across that big-ass school and generally being on the move all day).

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cam update.

I called Cam's mom today. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot new to report. He's still at the rehab place; they have to make their home "barrier free" before he can live there again. He's not in a wheelchair (he's walking by himself now, though sometimes he falls down), but he needs special handles to grab onto in his bedroom and bathroom--so they're working on getting an addition built on their house now. They hope to have him home for good by the holidays.

His speech is still very slurred. His mom and dad can understand him, of course, but others have more of a problem. The more you're around him, the easier it is to understand him.

His short-term memory is still shot. He doesn't remember a whole lot from day to day. They have to keep reminding him of events, conversations, etc. He HAS gotten to the point, though, where he'll blame his memory lapses on his brain injury (as in, "I don't remember. I have a brain injury," which is kind of funny. That sounds like him). ;) There are times that he doesn't remember life at all before the accident--he's actually asked his parents if he's always been like this. He asks them if he's ever been married or if he has any kids. He doesn't remember me, though. He does, however, remember Tweak (the cat he got me for our anniversary, who now lives with Mom and Steve). It's nice that he remembers the cat he had for about 4 months, yet the woman he was with for a year and a half has failed to make an impression.

I told his mom that I'm leaving this part of the state soon and I'd love to see him before I go. "If he doesn't remember me, then he can just make a new friend," I told her. She said she'd bring it up and let me know if he's open to a visit. Frankly, though, I don't expect to hear from her. I told her that I still think about him all the time and I'd make sure to always let them know where I am, just in case they ever need to find me. You never know when he'll change his mind.

I'm never going to really be able to "get over" him.

Friday, October 14, 2005

In other news....

"...when it comes time for the actress to give birth in several months, it has been suggested that [Katie] Holmes will attempt a silent labor in keeping with Scientology tradition. The practice encourages mothers to be to forgo painkillers and to refrain from screaming or even talking as they bring their children into the world. Scientologists believe that the silence reduces trauma during birth and prevents irrational fears later in life."

Let me say that again.

The practice encourages mothers to be to forgo painkillers and to refrain from screaming or even talking as they bring their children into the world.

Uh huh. Okay, L. Ron Hubbard. Until you're able to push something the size of a watermelon from YOUR nether regions without screaming (or drugs), shut the hell up.

Mark the date.

I saw my first Christmas commercial tonight.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Anything to put off paper-grading.

LoB had this on his site, so I decided to play, too. Using Google, you type in your name and then "needs." Here are my favorite five search results for "Jennifer needs":

1. Jennifer needs this Diva Publicity like she needs a hole in the head!

2. Maybe Jennifer needs to be in a mental health facility right now.

3. Perhaps Jennifer needs to take some advice from Paris Hilton...or perhaps not.

4. Jennifer needs to sex it up a little.

5. Jennifer needs a cold shower.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jenny don't play that.

I had to lay the smack down yesterday.

Our schedule has been switched around due to the MEAP; as a result, my 2nd-period geography class now meets during 7th (last) hour. (Don't ask.) For some reason, a class that is normally quite cooperative and well-behaved during 2nd period becomes a room full of Demon Children at 2:00. Yesterday, I had to give them a "Come to Jesus" talk (in teacher language, this means any speech designed to help them "see the light").

Mrs. R. had to leave early yesterday for basketball, and of course, the students decided to see how much they could get away with once they realized that Mrs R had left the building. Since I don't want to be one of those teachers who yell, I have instead perfected "The Voice"--a low and eerily calm voice, infused with so much anger that they probably WISH I were yelling.

Yesterday, using The Voice, I delivered a near-perfect Come to Jesus speech making it perfectly clear that their behavior was BEYOND unacceptable; if I wanted to teach preschoolers, I'd go back to my old job; and if they thought for one second that Miss K was going to put up with this, they were sorely mistaken. I concluded (through gritted teeth, yet perfectly levely), "You haven't seen me mad yet and you don't want to. Don't. Push. Me."

Today, I taught geography to a group of angels. In fact, they were SO quiet and coopeative that, at one point, I actually stopped talking, looked around mock-suspicously and asked, "Okay, what are you up to?" This broke the ice; they laughed and a chorus of "Nothing, Miss K!" rang out. At the end of the hour, I congratulated them on their behavior and asked, "Now see, isn't this a lot more fun than Cranky Miss K?"

It was quite a victorious moment, actually.

Towards the end of class, I decided to have a little fun with them. I dropped hints insinuating that, after their horrid behavior the day before, there was now a hidden camera installed somewhere in the classroom. They spent the rest of the hour casting furtive glances around the classroom. (What--paranoia is not an acceptable classroom management plan?) I had to turn away a few times to hide my smirk. At one point, Tyler came up to me and said, "Is that it, Miss K?", pointing to a completely innocent, random hole high up on the front wall. In a stage whisper, I replied, "Don't let them know you found it!", which of COURSE (as per my evil master plan) prompted him to announce, "Hey, everyone, the camera's up there!" I plan to milk this for as long as I can; if they start to even THINK about acting up, I will let them "catch" me looking up at the camera.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Live for the moment.

"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Live for today... tomorrow may never come."

--Author unknown, from Some Soldier's Mom's blog

Sunday, October 09, 2005


One of the final projects for a unit I've been working on is a biopoem (students have to write them about characters in a book). Here's the format for biopoems, followed by one I wrote about T.

Feel free to add your own (about yourself or someone close to you).

Line 1 First name of person assigned
Line 2 Three or more characteristics of this person
Line 3 _________ (daughter, brother, etc) of __________ (relative’s name)
Line 4 Lover of _____________ (people or things)
Line 5 Who felt____________( 3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 6 Who needed___________ (3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 7 Who feared___________(3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 8 Who gave ____________(3 words, can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 9 Who worked to change__________
Line 10 Who hoped______________
Line 11 Who lived______________
Line 12 Last name of person assigned

Here's mine:

Brave, sensitive, loyal
Son of Slena
Lover of freedom
Who felt tired, scared, proud
Who needed to kick ass
Who feared letting others down
Who gave everything he had
Who worked to change the world
Who hoped he had done enough
Who lived as if there were no tomorrow

Saturday, October 08, 2005

We survived the walk.

Our Making Strides walk was today, and it was very succesful. Thousands of walkers participated. After a stretch of 80-degree, sunny days, we got a cloudy, 50-degree day. I wore a lot of clothes and by the end of the walk, I was shedding layers like a damn boa constrictor.

Anna and I were able to keep up a pretty good clip during the whole walk and once we reached the end, I realized that 5 miles wasn't TOO bad, after all.

There were people set up at various points to cheer us on (I actually chided one man for not being "peppy enough," which did inspire an odd jumping-jack-type movement out of him), and Girl Scouts were handing out bottled water and, at the end, animal crackers and granola bars.

We went out for lunch afterwards; FOUR SOLDIERS sat down at the table across from us, so you all KNOW that I had to say something to them. (They actually spoke to us first; they saw our shirts and asked if we had participated. When we told them yes, one hero actually thanked US for doing it. That's when I, of course, thanked THEM.)

All in all, it was a lovely day, topped off by an equally lovely nap once I got home. We got done a little after 11, and we weren't even CLOSE to being the last ones done (not that it was a race, of course, but as a matter of pride, I wanted to keep up a fairly decent pace during the whole course).

Thank you, Renee, Fred and Rich, for contributing--and to everyone for supporting us.

Friday, October 07, 2005

From the mouths of (incredibly wordly) babes.

As some of you are aware, T. (my soldier) and I are talking again. I received an apology message from him a little over a week ago, and although things aren't back to how they were, they're definitely getting better. (Right now, we're both treading somewhat carefully.) However, he DID say that I could now officially wear the "half my heart is in Iraq" necklace that I ordered shortly before our, um, whatever the hell that was.

Anyway, my students are incredibly observant and notice the slightest change in my appearance from day to day, and several of them have commented on my necklace. I just say that "a very good friend" of mine is over there right now.

Today, Jacob asked, as I was passing out papers, "Where in Iraq is your boyfriend stationed?"

I said, "Well, he's not really my boyfriend...but he's in Tikrit...and he'll be home next month."

Then, this *sixth grader*, this 11 year old, WINKS AT ME KNOWINGLY and says, "And THEN you'll make him your boyfriend, huh, Miss K?" (He says this in a voice full of worldly wisdom.)

I just laughed and said, "I'll see what I can do, Jacob," and kept going.

Frankly, I never even HEARD of Ramadan until I moved to metro Detroit. For years, though, I still didn't really know what it was--I was aware that it was a Muslim holiday, but that was about it.

Now that I'm teaching in Dearborn--which has the highest Arab-American population in the United States; in fact, it may have the highest population, outside of the Middle East, of anywhere in the world--I'm becoming extremely familiar with it. Most notably, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. They don't eat or drink at ALL. I feel really bad for our students, but I guess they're used to it. From what I hear, they get up early, before sunrise, to eat a really big breakfast and that tides them over until sunset.

Can you imagine, though, how hard this must be when Ramadan falls during the SUMMER? First of all, the days are especially long. Secondly, imagine not being able to drink ANYTHING during daylight hours during those hot summer days.

Mrs. R says that she usually picks one day out of the month to fast with her students. Now, I can do the no-eating part (stop laughing, Nikki and Mom, I COULD), but I can't imagine not drinking all day. I ALWAYS have pop or water or SOMETHING with me. My mouth gets pretty dry, especially talking all day (teaching, I mean). I guess, though, that if Ramadan had the same kind of meaning to me that it does to them (it's a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives), it would be a lot easier.

According to my web research, "...As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. "

(In hindsight, then, offering a cinnamon roll to my Arab-American, Ramadan-observing principal was probably NOT the most tactful thing I've ever done. But I forgot.)

Happy Ramadan!
PMS by the numbers.

(Men, you may want to just skip this post altogether.)

In the past two days, my waist went up 1 inch and my boobs went up 2. (I hope I don't tip foward at the walk tomorrow.) In addition to the unpleasantness of bloat and cramps that, I'm here to say, are probably worse than LABOR, I also get really, really clumsy right before my period. Does that happen to anyone else? Granted, I'm not exactly the epitome of grace even in the best of circumstances, but when I'm PMSing, I can't hold onto ANYTHING. Now that I'm teaching, it's even worse. Pens, pencils, paper, paperclips, binder clips, books--I drop it all. You might as well just save me the time and effort and sweep everything off of my desk onto the floor. Hell, poor Mrs. R is starting to look a bit fearful for her own safety.

It's a good thing I don't work at an infant daycare.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Does this mean I can sue every man who lied to get ME into bed?

DUDE. If this woman was stupid enough to FALL FOR IT, she shouldn't be ALLOWED to sue.

SEATTLE (Reuters) - An Oregon woman whose doctor convinced her that he could cure her lower back pain by having sex with her is suing him and his medical clinic for $4 million, according to legal documents obtained on Monday.

The doctor, Randall Smith, who was 50 at the time, was stripped of his license and sent to jail for 60 days last year for charging the state's Oregon Health Plan $5,000 for his 45-minute "treatments" involving the woman.

"Dr. Smith's medical treatment included intercourse in which he told plaintiff was needed to help alleviate plaintiff's lower back and lower extremity pain," the former patient said in the lawsuit.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Anna has successfully roped me into joining (I mean, invited me to join) her in this weekend's 5-mile (or maybe it was 5 kilometers) walk for breast cancer this weekend at Detroit's Belle Isle.

I only have a few days to raise pledges. If anyone out there would like to donate, please email me at jlkrzys at yahoo.

Thanks!! (Renee, I know you already sponsored Anna, so don't worry about it.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hot off the presses...the latest Soldiers' Angels newsletter.

It was a bitch to get up this month because of student teaching, but I finally got it out this weekend. Feel free to check it out (especially if you're an Angel). I highly suggest starting at the top and working your way down, since there are like 12 sections now and only about 9 of them are listed under the "Previous Posts" section.)
Jeff* said a sweet thing.

Jeff's mom stopped by tonight for his birthday, and we were chatting about my student teaching. Jeff said to her, "I never realized how hard teachers work until I lived with her."

So for that, I will give him a happy birthday shout-out. Happy 31st!!!!

And speaking of which...Quasimodo is starting to look normal again. He had a seriously infected AND compacted wisdom tooth pulled on Friday, after about 5 days of his face swelling up to 4 times its normal size. The swelling hasn't completely gone away yet, but at least he can go out in public again with scaring small children. (And yes, I know that the real Quasimodo had a hunchback and not a swollen face, but seriously y'all, Jeff was looking HIDEOUSLY deformed--even more so than usual. So that's my new "pet name" for him.)

*my roommate/ex-boyfriend, for those of you not in the know