Friday, November 26, 2010

An old friend returns (in a big, big way)

So....through the magic of FB, I have reconnected with an old friend, an old "boyfriend" if you will. We were like 11, and I would see him during the summer when I went up north with Renee to her family's cabin. We would write back and forth during the school year--until one day, I stopped hearing from him. I checked the mail religiously every day (while pining away for him every night) for like 2 weeks. Finally, I gave up...and never saw or heard from him again (I heard OF him, of course, through Renee's mom and stuff--I remember once seeing an oh-so-handsome pic of him in his baseball uniform or something like that at their house, but we never saw each other again). I went to the cabin with Renee a couple of times after that, but his family was never up at the same time we alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

...Or was it? Although we became friends on FB like 2 years ago and exchanged a couple of messages (you know, the "hi, don't know if you remember me, how you been?" kind), we started to REALLY talk again a few weeks ago. He, I realized after reading some of his posts, was going through a rough patch in his marriage (which later became a separation and soon a divorce). I posted a few encouraging msgs to him and one day, he sent me a FB chat message. And we haven't stopped talking since then. No, literally. We stop to sleep and work, obviously, but that's about it. We've gone through (at last count) roughly 1300 text messages in the last 17 days, and the hours we've racked up on the phone? Fuhgeddaboutit. Our longest conversation was just on Thanksgiving Eve, which rang in at a whopping 5 hours, but I don't think we've ever had a conversation that lasted less than an hour, with an average phone call of 2 hours. (And we've talked every single night since about 3 days after we started texting.)

So what does all of this MEAN, you may be asking? Hell if I know. =-) I will say that we're definitely into each other. We'll be seeing each other when I go home next month, so we can MAKE SURE that this thing we think we may be rekindling is actually really there (although by now, we're both pretty sure). His divorce has to be finalized (although trust me when I say there is NO chance of a reconciliation). And, of course, there's the little matter of him living in Michigan (Beaverton, which is in the Midland-ish area) and me living in Paradise--I mean, Florida. As I told Kish yesterday, "I may have found the one thing that could drag my ass back to Michigan." (He couldn't move to FL, because of his 2 kids--who, btw, are both just beautiful.) Although quite honestly, I would be really, really bummed, as you all know how much I love it here. And I wouldn't do that unless I had a job lined up already and we were, like, engaged or something. I sure ain't givin' up Florida for just another boyfriend.

Sooooooo......who knows. I will also say that he's just as into me as I am into him, which is nice. We're actually quite stupid for each other right now. And sure, there may be nothing there romantically when we hang out in a few weeks, although that's becoming increasingly less likely. And there is, of course, a great deal of irony to the possibility of me ending back up with the very first guy I really really liked, after 23+ years of dating assholes, losers, cheaters and even an ex-con or two. (Although, as I told him, that just makes me appreciate him even more now.)

Oh, and by the way? He told me recently that he was crushed when he stopped hearing from me. I, of course, was stunned, and reminded him that no, it was HIM who stopped writing to ME. No, he said, one day my letters stopped coming, and he never heard back from me again, even after writing to me a couple more times. In fact, he told me that he kept my letters all the way through middle school, and high school--and that, in fact, they may still be at his dad's house somewhere. So we aren't sure what happened...but we're back in touch now, and maybe that's all that really matters.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have been doing SO bad with Broken Road lately--mostly because all of us talk so regularly on FB. I really need to get back in the habit again.

I've just been so busy. I can't put my finger on exactly WHY this school year feels so much more hectic than others have. Maybe because we have 2 new teachers on the team (including, of course, my hot bff), so there's more work involved getting them trained and up to speed (and offering my mentoring services, natch). Maybe because I'm working harder this year (since I DIDN'T get a bonus for last year, which REALLY pisses me off. Yes, their FCAT scores weren't as high as the year before, but that doesn't mean I still didn't bust my ass with those kids...but I digress. Regardless, THAT shit ain't gonna happen again, so I'm really pulling out all the stops this year). But yeah, the year is flying by, and it'll be Thanksgiving break before I know it.

My bday is this Friday. This are the last few days of my EARLY 30s (34 is definitely "mid"). Damn. It's hard to believe. I don't FEEL 34. And although many things about my life kickass, I'm still kind of bummed that I'm single (the kid thing doesn't bother me so much...the older I get, the less upset I think I'd be if I DON'T have more kids one day. But marriage is a definite). I was actually kind of "talking" to a new teacher at my school, but I'm not sure how much I'm into him yet. Plus, of course, there are potential complications. (There are no specific rules about dating coworkers, as long as someone is not a superior to the other, etc--in fact, several married couples work for our company; they're just posted at different schools. So if anything DID happen with this guy, one of us would eventually transfer...but our school is gossipy as hell, and it would just be a general pain in the ass, no matter how hard we tried to keep it quiet. Plus, like I said, I don't know how much I like him yet. We mostly hang out in group settings so far. We'll see.)

I guess that's about all for now. Check back again soon, though--I PROMISE I'll be updating more regularly now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What a year! (So far)

WOW WOW WOW. This is, hands down, the best (behaved) group of kids I've had so far. Yes, it's still early, and there's the danger that we're still in the honeymoon period. But this time, I really don't think so. I really just think this group of kids is awesome.

It hasn't been all sunshine and roses, however. Many of you know that I have someone in my class who is currently in a shelter. They're moving into an apartment, and we've been focused on finding a way to keep him at our school. (He's moving farther way.) Just today, we were able to get him on a bus (as a charter school, we have more limited busing than the public schools), but he'll have a mile and a half walk each way. Still, he'll be able to stay. And here's the thing: to some, it may not seem like that big of a deal, whether he stays with us or switches schools. But he's been with us for like 5 years now, since he was just a little kindergartner. And considering his situation--this has been the ONLY steady thing in his life that whole time. In many ways, it IS his home, at least from 8 - 3. So he's almost--DESPERATE to stay here. And this--this MAN CHILD (cuz he's taller than me and has facial hair)--was looking at ME to fix it, to solve it, to find a way to keep him here. It was just KILLING me this last week or so, while we dealt with the red tape and found a way to make it work. (He's on a wait list for a bus that runs a little closer to his new place.) They don't even have furniture or anything yet for the new place...but it's a place to live. And it's theirs.

So anyway, other than THAT, the year has really gotten off to a great start. (Well, that, and the fact that my other little girl, with the sick dad, gets a visit at school from a Hospice worker every other week.) My kids are good--not PERFECT, of course. I have to get on them, still. But they're good kids. One little boy told me to close my eyes, and when I did, he gave me a big hug and said, so enthusiastically, "I love you, Miss K!!!!" (I told him to just wait a few months, LOL.)

Oh--and some of my kids from last year told me that in their new language arts class, they had to write an essay about someone who changed their life. And a few came back to tell me they'd written about me.

Seriously? It doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The new school year

So there I went and disappeared for a while again. Oops. I promise to start posting more regularly...especially since it's a new school year, which of course means another year o' stories.

This year, I have 26 kids, 6 are ESOL and 7 are ESE (some are both). I have a huge rage of challenges and learning disabilities. But, you know, I love them already. Then again, it's only day 2.

I have one ADD kid who is already famous for asking random questions. For example, during a spelling pre-test:

Me: "Underground. Number 12 is 'underground.' "
K: (raises his hand)
Me (slower and with more enunciation, because most questions involve word repeats): " 'Un-der-ground.' "
K: "Yeah, I heard. Aren't you the teacher who went skydiving?"

Hey. At least he raised his hand first. Small victories, my friends.

As many of you know, this will be a tough year emotionally, since one of my kids has a terminally ill father. But I think it's going to be a really, really fun year, as well.

PLUS, my kids are already getting compliments in the hallway and stuff for their good behavior.

But did I mention that it's only day 2?


Saturday, July 31, 2010

One month later....

Holy crap, I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. Does anyone besides the usual people even read this thing anymore? Damn. Anyway, this'll be short and sweet since I've talked to --well, all of you recently.

I had my bi-annual sojourn back to Michigan. As always, it was great times. I got to hang out with Amanda WITHOUT Andrea, which was pretty cool. We were able to spend the day with Katey and her kids. We went to the zoo, and afterwards, we hung out at Katey's house for a while. Amanda told me later that she felt totally comfortable around all of us, like she had always been there. It's been a rocky almost-18 years, and things haven't always turned out the way I'd hoped they would (especially in terms of her home life)...but, as she approaches 18, if she's able to have the kind of relationship with her birth family that I'd always hoped for, everything will have been (almost) worth it. Next time, I hope for her to meet Missy and her boys and Nikki. (Because it goes without saying that I consider them part of her "birth" family.) And Renee, she really wants to meet you, too. For her to meet my best friend??? That would be AWESOME.

So...there was that. We also had Girls' Weekend, which was on a whole new level this year, thanks to the presence of Lynda, Missy and Nikki. Ladies, I hope it was everything you had envisioned and more. GOOD TIMES. Everyone, start saving for GW 2011: The Florida Edition. ;) If you save just $1 a week, you'll have.....$52. Hmmm. Okay, save more than that then. ;)

School is starting up shockingly soon. I spent this past week working on a project for corporate, creating math tests that will be used by all the schools in our company. Go me! (No, I'm not getting paid.) I still have a few days' worth of work ahead of me. Teachers report back the week of the 16th (with students reporting on the 23rd), but, as always, I'm sure I'll be back the week before that to get my room set up. Needless to say, summer is definitely slipping away. This is BULLSHIT. We teachers had like 7 weeks off this time around. Yes, I know, your hearts are bleeding for me. ;) And on top of that, I had to take a class this summer. So much for that relaxing 3 months off that everyone is sure educators enjoy every year. ;)

We'll have 2 new teachers on the 5th grade team this year, too. We lost one (as we just found out yesterday), and we're adding a class so we need one additional teacher--which, as you may recall, will be Hot Married Friend In a Tiara (hereafter referred to as HMFIAT). The 3 of us who are returning will have to train/initiate new teachers for the first time in a couple years--and we've never had 2 in one year. We've been a pretty static team, till now. I know HMFIAT will fit in well, but the 2nd new teacher is a total crapshoot; we have no idea who we'll get. Hopefully they won't suck and break up the 5th grade groove. me a favor and comment, so I know you all are still out there. ;)

Friday, July 02, 2010

The scores are in...

My kids, sadly, didn't do as well as I had hoped for.

Then again, neither did the entire 5th grade. To show a year's worth of growth, a student has to go up a certain number of points from last year to this year (say, 150. It varies depending on the subject and grade). The average growth in, as an example, 5th grade reading, was +9. Yes, nine. (Again, this is for our grade as a whole.) Well, judging by THAT, my students did well. Twenty of my 25 kids did better than the grade-wide average. * However, of those kids, only 6 or so showed the amount of growth they SHOULD have for an academic year. In other kids went up--but maybe not enough. Ugh.

*Math was worse for my kids. Only 10 did better than the 5th grade average.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Old friends

I talked to an old friend on the phone the other night for like an hour. (Renee, two words: Wide Load.) He's a (married) teacher down here in FL now, too. We haven't talked in, hell, probably almost ten years (not on the phone, anyway), and yet the conversation was effortless. It's hard to find people that can happen with, so when it does, you know you have a good friend. Hopefully, we can keep in touch more frequently this time...but even if I don't talk to him for another decade, it's good to know that the friendship will be there, waiting.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another classic Jen moment

So I was out my friend P's house today (this is where I contracted my grassitis--which, btw, is much better now that I've taken a shower). He's just returned from a week in NC with his wife and family, and he brought me back this 1000 piece puzzle they had finished (he broke it back up again, obviously, but he thought I might like to put it together and then glue it or whatever--it's under the sea/dolphin themed, which he knows I love). A thousand pieces is pretty big, so I was trying to figure out if it would fit on my kitchen table (which, really, is more of a dinette, since my dining room--aka Anna's bedroom--is really not too large to begin with).

He flipped the box around to get the exact measurements. "Okay, it's 24 x 30," he read off.

And I shit you not, but without even stopping to think about it, I immediately replied:

"Inches, or feet?"

Now, as soon as it was out of my mouth, I was leaning up against the kitchen counter, just laughing my ass off, since I instantly realized what a dumbass question that was. And then when I looked up at his face, I doubled over again. I was CRYING by the time I got control of myself.

Yup. I'm awesome.

And in case you were wondering, I finished the outer part tonight, and it DOES fit on my round table--barely.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Breaking news

The Sunday paper reported that FCAT scores are being released tomorrow (Monday). This are the individual student scores. Our school grade, it sounds like, will be made public on Tuesday. There are two bonuses on the line here; if our school keeps an A, that's one bonus; if my kids in particular do well, that's another one (although I won't know for sure if I'm a recipient of that second MAP bonus until the fall, since it's also based on things like evaluations, etc).

It goes without saying, of course, that the BIG payout of the scores is the satisfaction of seeing that my kids' hard work all year paid off. ;) Which, after all, is why one goes into teaching.

But I REALLY want those bonuses....start praying extra hard. I'm going to go to the school as soon as we're allowed tomorrow to view my students' scores. I'll report back as soon as I know anything.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Since gaining 15 lbs this year, my "project" this summer is, naturally, losing it. I bought two different workout DVDs last weekend, and I've done them every single day since then--sometimes a couple of times a day. (The Biggest Loser, which focuses on cardio, and Valerie Bertinelli, which is more toning. And they both use handweights.) I've cut out fast food and I've only been out drinking once.

Imagine my dismay, then, when I weighed myself today and discovered I'd GAINED two f*&##^#% pounds.

Now, I know what you're all going to say. You're probably gaining muscle, Jen, especially if you're using weights--and muscle weighs more than fat. Pretty soon, you'll start dropping the weight, since muscle ALSO allows you to burn off more fat.

Yeah, I know. I read the same magazine articles you do.

But I'm a GIRL, goddammit. I want to LOSE WEIGHT. I want the numbers on the scale to go DOWN. Now yes, I've seen a difference--at least I THOUGHT I did--in my body. My sides are thinner, my waist seemed to be attempting to come back (what little I had to start with, LOL), my thighs were thinner, and there was even a little less jiggle in my arms. And blah blah blah, you should judge by how you look and not the numbers on the scale.

Yeah, I know that too.

But I ALSO know that I weighed LESS when I drank every other day, lived on Wendy's, and worked out a hell of a lot less.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I think this finishes off the year pretty well

The kids' last day was yesterday and it actually turned out to be pretty emotional. At the very end of the day, I made them come up one by one to get their report cards (and give me a hug). I then "annointed" them middle schoolers with my meter stick. They cheered uproariously for about 15 seconds--and then burst into tears. This, of course, set ME off.
My last class with my "adult kids" is tomorrow night. I have exciting news about that job (their final essay scores are in) but I took my meds and I am literally falling asleep. Will write more soon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Oh, I have a blog?

Okay, so I've been a little busy the last few weeks. ;)

There is, of course, the normal end-of-the-school-year craziness. FCAT scores (duh-duh-DUH) should be released very soon, tentatively even this next week. We had our annual 5th grade trip to Busch Gardens; a great time, as always, even though one of my boys had a complete meltdown on the Phoenix (the "pirate-ship" type ride that goes rocks back and forth, going higher and higher each time until it's going full circle). Final grades are due Tuesday morning; the kids' last day is the following Tuesday. We have one teacher day after that, and then we're done, as well.

Oh yeah, and there's the whole matter of my teaching college now. College, bitches! I love it, too. It's really, really hard and tiring to be teaching twice a week and not getting home till pretty late, but it's only 5 weeks at a time and it's some nice extra money. Definitely better than your typical second part-time job. It's a great experience, and they've already asked me to teach another round of classes in the fall.

I've made a new friend, too. Not in the dating-type sense (he's married; all the good ones are), but we've actually become pretty close in the last couple of months. He's a sub at my school, although things are looking very promising that he'll be hired on full-time for the upcoming school year (and I'm campaigning very heavily to have him made the new 5th grade teacher, since we'll be adding a class next year). His wife and he (that sounds grammatically weird) are moving into a house 2 miles from me (I measured it on my way back from helping them paint last night). In an alternate universe, he would have been THE perfect guy for me, mostly because he has that same sarcastic sense of humor that I do, and you know how much I dig that in my men. The fact that he's hot doesn't hurt, either (he's right up there with Hot Teacher, my skydiving buddy). But I met him after he was already married (of COURSE), so I guess I'll just have to settle for adding a truly wonderful guy to my circle of Florida friends. He's kind of like a big brother (even though he's a few years younger than I am), and he's slowly but surely becoming part of The Crew. We talk and text all the damn time (and lest you start getting any ideas, his wife knows all about it). He's a great addition to the group, and to my life. And he knows about my crazy, too.

Let's see....I guess that's about all for now. I've just been incredibly busy the last few weeks, but with summer quickly approaching, I'll soon have all kinds of free time on my hands once again. After paint-a-palooza at the P's new house last night, I'm totally jonesing to paint my apartment, something I've never done before. (Yes, I'll have to paint it back when I move out, but I plan on staying here for a while, so I might as well make myself comfortable.) I'll post pics if and win that comes to fruition.

I'm getting crazy excited for the annual girls' weekend...which will be Girls' Weekend on Steroids, with the addition of Missy, Nikki and their friend Lynda. Wait a way to celebrate GW's 5th anniversary.

And on a sadder note, I want to send lots of hugs to Renee, who recently lost her grandma. Since her family has been my second family since I was 6, it was a little like losing my grandma, too. It's one of those bittersweet things, since she's not suffering anymore, but it's still always sad to have to say goodbye.

I guess that's about all for now....let me know how you all are doing. (Yeah, I know, I email and text you bitches all the damn time, but I want to get Broken Road hoppin' again.) ;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why I became a teacher

And it's funny, because I've been extra super-bitch on them lately. (Part of it is getting them ready for middle school, part of it is because they're starting to act like they ARE in middle school so I have to take them down a few pegs and get them back under control.) I guess they're kind of like men....treat them like crap and they just want you even more. ;)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ooops, my bad

I TOTALLY forgot to post about that whole life-changing-moment thing last week. ;)

Okay, so the horoscope in Glamour for May said that on the 4th, I would meet someone who could change my life. So I circled the date on my calendar (yes, I'm an uber-dork) and anxiously awaited for the fatefull day to arrive. Now, before you get too excited, it was NOT my soulmate (son of a BITCH, that bastard better show up soon)...but it was still pretty cool.

That day, Tuesday, I was doing a site visit at one of our other schools. (You know--go in, observe, offer feedback, etc.) I was at the high school again, but this time, instead of business and social studies classes and shit like that, I got to watch a morning of English lit classes (all grade levels, 9-12).

And I fell in love....with high school English.

I thought teaching HS school would be totally scary and intimidating and not something that I would EVER consider....but it's not like teaching, say, middle school. In other words, the kids aren't tools. ;) They're mature and they've calmed down and--

--I'm getting excited just thinking about it--

I could discuss novels. All day long. And get PAID for it.

At an intellectual level that I could only DREAM of at the 5th grade, or even middle school, level.

It'd be relatively easy to add on high school English certification (I'm certified now in English for grades 5-9, so I could actually walk in now and do freshman classes, but if I wanted to go any higher I'd have to get the extra licensing)--it's just a matter of taking the subject area exam (4 hours, $200, but all things considered, entirely doable). I got a study guide online and there are definitely some things I'd need to review, but I got an 85% on my the practice exam (that was only 30 questions, compared to 75 on the real one, PLUS I'd have to write an essay analyzing a literature piece, so I'd have to brush up on my English lit and writing terms, shit I haven't even DREAMED of being able to talk about or teach in the last few years)--but overall, I'm in pretty good shape. apparently, at least as far as subject knowledge, etc goes.

SO. That's where I am right now. I don't know if I'd be able to make it happen by the fall, but I could spend the next year getting all of that into place (and networking with the principal at the high school--and since it's in our "family" of schools, it'd be more of a transfer than anything else)--and then possibly make the jump the year after that. That would give me an even five years at this school, and at this general grade level. Then, if I still feel as strongly about it as I do now (cuz let's face it, sometimes I get all fired up about something and then the excitement just kind of dies out)--well, THEN I'll know it's a step I should definitely pursue.

But it was, and inspirting, and exciting, watching the kids and the teachers involved in those kind of conversations and debates...about BOOKS (The Great Gatsby, FYI, which I checked out of the library that same day, since I'd never read it). Yes, my friends, THAT would just about be a perfect job for me (besides working with dolphins or working as a book editor in NYC, which I would actually kind of hate because I'd be miserable in NYC, but the book editor part would be sweet).

So...we'll see if it actually pans out, but it looks as though I met a whole BUNCH of people on the 4th who may very well have changed my (career) life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get your motor runnin'

I’m used to friends and family—you know, people who have actually RIDDEN with me—giving me shit about my driving*. I’m not so accustomed, however, to getting it from strangers.

*And again, I don’t know WHY. Let the record show that I haven’t been in a car accident (caused by me) since 1995, and I haven’t even had a ticket since 2006 (and that was a really gay one—getting into the turn lane too soon).

Anyway, I was at the tire place today, getting two new front tires. (Since I’ve never rotated my tires, my front tires were worn down to the cords, while my back ones were practically brand new.) While the guys were working, I wandered over to the grocery store and the nail place, for a much needed eyebrow wax. When I returned, Benji (my tire guy) and 2 other guys started in on me almost immediately.

“Hey, Speed Demon is back!” called Benji from under my car.

I tried to look both innocent and offended. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh please,” one of the other guys said. “No one’s tires can look like this unless they’re hauling some ass.”

“I’ve never seen a woman who rides their tires so hard,” added the other guy.

“Oh, and also?” added Benji. “Some people actually slow DOWN for speed bumps.”

“I do!” I exclaimed.

Benji just raised an eyebrow at me.

“Well…the big ones,” I muttered.

“ 'Cuz your alignment is shot,” he went on. “You’re a teacher, right?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Are you actually running over small children in the parking lot?”

The other guys, of course, found this to be hi-LAR-ious.

“Your car is totally out of whack,” he added.

I rolled my eyes, trying to hide my grin. "Okay, I get it," I answered.

As I was leaving, I heard Benji yell, “Remember….speed bumps are your friend! And slow down!”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family, work and God

On a lark, I typed "Krzys" into Facebook the other night...there are a LOT of people, it turns out, with Krzys as a first name (Krzystof), but not too many with the same last name. I found a couple, though, and I've been emailing with a guy named Jerry, who is a few years younger than me and a lawyer in Ohio. We are trying to find a common link--we know that, with this last name, we HAVE to be related somewhere down the line....we just don't know how far back we have to go to find the link. It's still pretty interesting, though, since it isn't every day that either of us "meet" someone with the same last name as ours.

In school-related news, there may be a change coming for me for next year. Remember when I was given the opportunity to switch to middle school language arts last year? Well, that choice has (tentatively) presented itself again. Although I felt very good about my eventual decision to stay in 5th--and I would be more than happy to do it again for yet another year--I have to say that the fact that this chance has come up for the second year in a row makes me wonder if it's some kind of sign/signal. I will also say that if I DO make the switch, it's because the principal wants me to be one of the middle school lead teachers for next year. (Our MS is growing, and she thinks it may be time for 2 leads rather than 1.) If I'm definitely offered a lead position, I'll absolutely make the switch. (She hasn't decided for sure if she's doing that yet for next year, but she's definitely leaning towards it.) Otherwise, I'm not QUITE as sold on it but am definitely tempted.

Anyway, all be decided in the next month or two, so I'll let you know.

Last, I went to a new church last weekend, a Presbyterian one, and I LOVED it. I think it's definitely my new church. I can't say I'll go every single week (I didn't go today, for example--but it was really rainy and yucky outside and I force myself to leave my nice warm bed), but I do want to attend much regularly than I have been recently (which would be never). Everyone was really nice, the sermon was very interesting and relevant and I felt this odd feeling of at-home-ness there that I've never experienced in a church before. (Plus, no one died, which has become a factor in my church-hunting.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter and stuff

Hello, everyone. I hope you all had a blessed and/or fun and relaxing Easter, depending on your religious beliefs. =-) Mine was actually great; spent the day with friends. Easter wine (which was just regular wine consumed on Easter), a fancy dinner (well, for us) and cornhole were all a part of the day's festivities. Oh, and my non-cooking ass was promoted from bringing cheese and crackers to deviled eggs. And they turned out really good!! (Is it bad to eat deviled eggs on Easter? Ha.)

As many of you know, I had a rather eventful Easter morning. I went to church (which is noteworthy in and of itself), but while I was there, an older (I think) gentleman crashed or coded or whatever. They had him in the room where you usually take crying babies and wiggly kids, so of course there was a huge glass window looking into the worship area. They closed the blinds while they were working on him but not all the way, and I had a clear shot into the room. I of course tried to focus on the service, but it was virtually impossible with everything going on. And can I just say, it was very unnerving that they even continued with the service. I mean, I know Easter is an important one, but you had a gathering of 300+ religious souls and a man literally dying in the next room. Shouldn't we have stopped and, oh, prayed for him? Anyway, I could see volunteers giving him CPR and then the medics when they got there. They were still working on him as they hurridly wheeled him out, but it didn't look good. Many of you have asked what ever came of that situation, and I don't know. I watched the news that night but they didn't say anything, and I'm checking the news websites now; I'll let you know.

So that's about all right now. Spring Break so far is fab; pool time with friends, reading, watching movies....*bliss.* Will probably hit the beach one day this week, too. Weather is perfect....85 and sunny. How are all of you?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Happy April Fool's Day!

Yesterday was the last day of school for the students before Spring Break. Teachers still had to report, even though our grades were due yesterday and most of us are pretty much caught up on our paperwork. So our day has been spent socializing and counting down the hours till our official SB "meeting" at Pott's at 2. A bunch of teachers who are slap-happy and bored? Oh, and April Fool's Day to boot? You know no good could come from this.

Well, yours truly happened to come across a website listing office April Fool's Day jokes. Here's the one I decided to pull on Hot Teacher (my skydiving buddy), who has been gone on "lunch" for like an hour and counting.

Tidal Wave: Take about 20 (or more) paper or plastic cups, place them on the victim’s desk and fill them with water. Then take a stapler and staple them all together. You can also put the cups on the floor blocking their door, or just about anywhere.

We (I recruited 3 assistants) only did it with 10 cups, since he could have walked back in at any minute. and we taped them all together (a combination of duct and packing) instead of stapling them, which wasn't working so well.

Here's the finished product. Oh, and the part of the door that just happens to be showing above our handiwork? Well, that's just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hi, all. It's Junior Blogger again :-) Our little girl is growing up, *sniff*, and has bought a dining table and chairs for her apartment! I have a couple of pictures to share, along with the email telling about this feat. It must be known, however, that I was excluded from this email when it originally went out. Does anyone else wonder how this could happen? How, when going through one's address book, clicking on those important enough to receive the email, one could leave out a person one has been best friends with since first grade? For 27 years? And then one sends an email saying "could you post these pics and the email about my kitchen table?" There's an element of discomfort, like when someone says, "Oh, I'll see you Saturday at Susie's party!", only to see the look of horror cross your face as they realize you've not been invited to Susie's little shindig.

But I digress. Let's not get caught up in the details. Plus? LOL. Jen won't even SEE this part, unless I email it to her. I think I shall :-)

Now, my friends, on to the aforementioned email and pictures from Jen. Hers is typed in black. Because that's the color of her heart. I mean, what? Err. Never mind.

I wanted to take a moment and share with you a not so small victory.

I put together the table and chairs seen below--BY MYSELF. I had to do EVERYTHING, down to attaching the seat cushions to the legs. It took just under 2 and a half hours (because part of the time was spent disassembling something that I had just erroneously assembled--backwards, in the wrong place, etc). Most of it was done with one of those annoying allen wrenches (the L looking things), but I did borrow an electric drill from the maintenance guy here at school to help speed up the process. (Note: I'm totally buying myself a drill. SO MUCH FUN.)

Anyway, one of the legs on the table looks slightly crooked (you can't tell here in the picture) but overall I think I did a really good job. I've never undertaken a project like this all by myself before so I'm incredibly proud. And it looks really good in my apartment!! (And a neighbor has sat in one of the chairs and it didnt' collapse

Don't you wonder how Jen got this home in her little Kia? I do. Oh, I think I have a picture of that, too. And her caption, which cracked me up.

This is how a Michigan redneck-turned-Florida cracker gets a dining room table home in a Kia.
Bahahahahahahaha! She used jumper cables! I love it. Congratulations, my friend, on your first major household project. Victory!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My life in pictures

Okay, not my whole life, but here's a couple that I thought you might find entertaining. (Note: the pics themselves won't be up until Renee gets a chance to post them for me....could be an hour, could be a week. So we'll see.) ;)

The first is a nomination I received for Staff Member of the Month. (I don't know who wrote it, either, which makes it kind of cool.) It says (in case you can't tell; I don't know how clear it will be when it's posted): "For always enthusiastic about teaching and showing her students that it can be FUN to learn." Awwww! If you're chosen as Staff Member of the Month, the only thing that really happens is that you get the good parking spot right in the front of the school instead of having to park way out in Siberia. Oh yeah, and the honor and the glory, of course. ;) Still, "it's an honor just to be nominated." (Heh.)

The second pic is the newest addition to our classroom decor. Unfortunately, one of my angels or another have been called down to the discipline office on almost a daily basis (gossiping, drama, etc). So finally, I decided to create an incentive plan; each day we go where we DON'T receive a call from the dean of discipline summoning one of my lovelies, we color in another notch on the meter. When we make it to 30, they get a reward (to be determined later).

And yes, in case you can't read it, it IS called the "Save the Drama For Your Mama Meter."

(I've had many visitors to my room, because the other teachers think it's hysterical and wanted to see it for themselves.)

So that's what's new in my world. Only a week or so left until Spring Break....and trust me, we teachers need it just as badly as the kids do.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lots o' updates

I'm finally broke down and hit the library so I could update you all (not that Renee didn't do a fabulous job herself; I shall definitely use her services again in the future).

(That's what he said.)

Random bits of information:

1) I am working on quitting smoking again, and I dare say that this time, it may finally take. It will be 2 weeks on Monday. I'm making the supreme sacrifice of skipping my after-work meetings for a while, as it would be impossible for me to drink and sit with other smokers without doing it myself. So I'm a loser with no life, but I'm a SMOKE FREE loser with no life.

2) Speaking of which, I currently have a cough which may be tuberculosis (or, according to my kids, Valley Fever, which is the disease afflicting a character in a book we're currently reading--a 1930s Mexican migrant worker in California). I don't know if it's from the quitting or allergies or what, but I may break down and go to a doctor soon. Or not, since I'm relatively sure it's a combo of quitting AND allergies, which are particular horrendous here in Florida this year. I haven't gone this long without a cigarette in years, so Lord knows my lungs have to expel some nasty stuff.

(I'm sexy.)

3) Random story that I'm sure you guys will find entertaining: yesterday at parent pickup, one of my students was picked up in a different car. "Who's that?" I teased her, eyeing the driver's shaved head and muscular build. "Is that your mom's boyfriend?"

"NO!!" she giggled. "It's her friend."

"Uh huh," I said knowingly. "Her FRIEND." The word "friend" was accompanied by air quotes.

"It is!" my student said. "My mom has lots of friends."

"I bet she does," I said, grinning.

It wasn't until I opened the door for C, my student, that I realized the driver was a female.

Awesome. Not only did I just accuse her mom of being a lesbian, but a rather trampy one, at that.

4) Speaking of our novel (Esperanza Rising), we had to have an impromptu geography lesson when I realized that a large part of the class didn't know where Mexico IS.

It gets worse.

I also had students who:
1) thought Mexico and New Mexico were the same thing
2) thought Mexico was part of the United States
3) don't understand the difference between states and countries
4) don't understand the difference between countries and continents
5) didn't know that North America is actually made up of 3 countries, not just the United States
6) didn't know that Canada was right above us
7) didn't know that Canada and the US weren't the same country
8) thought that Mexico was part of South America (since it's south OF America...but hey, at least that's a somewhat acceptable mistake, although not at the 5th grade level)

Finally, I told them we had to stop for the day, since they were "making my heart sad."

I think that's about all for now. I promise to update again much sooner than last time, either myself or via my superfabulous proxy.

Have a great weekend, all!

Monday, March 08, 2010

'Sup, blogland? It's Renee again. Jen had the pleasure of Anna's company over the weekend and asked me to post these pictures of them boozing it up in the glorious sunshine!

Jen, enjoying a second of whatever that is... fuzzy navel? Hurricane? You couldn't have gotten rid of the empty glass, you lush?
That's what you get for asking me to post stuff :-)

The new mom, enjoying a well-deserved pina colada!

Ah, sunshine, sunglasses and short sleeves! I'm so jealous, but if any of us needed that weekend away, it's you, my friend! I hope it recharged you and will get you through til Spring finally makes an appearance in the midwest!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Jen still doesn't have internet at home, so she emailed this post to me and asked me to post it. Yay! Thought she'd never post again :-)

It's been awhile (again) since I posted, so I figured I'd better check in. This has been an incredibly busy few months for me, which is why my regular posting has slowed wayyyy down.

School is great. The big state tests that you hear all about each year are next week already (how is that possible??). I made my poor students do 5 hours of math yesterday. Our math FCATs are this Tues and Wed, and unfortunately, there's a LOT I haven't gotten to yet. (Partly because I have the low group and everything takes longer, but mainly because the FCATs are in March and they cover a full year's worth of material--so some of it we don't even get to until April and May. Yeah, makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?) We have mathapalooza again today....for 5th graders, my kids are holding up pretty well. I'm letting some of their misbehavior slide this week because hell, I"M getting cranky and bored and restless. =-) We also have reading next week, and then 2 days of science the week after that. I'm very, very nervous this time around. I think part of it is because my class last year did so incredibly well, and I feel the pressure to "deliver" again this year. We'll see what happens, I guess.

Shawn and I aren't talking (again). LOL. This time it's because his girlfriend found out that we'd been hanging out, and of COURSE she's incredibly jealous of my fabulousness. Anyway, she gave him the ol' ultimatum (get rid of her or else), so he did. He DID say that we could be Secret Friends, but that we couldn't talk on the phone anymore or even hang out that much, and while the old Jen may have gone for that, the New Jen, who is strong and actually has some pride, told him to go f*** himself. I'm hurt that he ditched a friend for a girlfriend who I know is not going to be a forever thing, but what are you going to do?

In happy news, our beloved Anna will be here in Ft Myers with me in about 7 hours. I'm so excited!!! I only have her for the weekend, and she'll be gone for most of Saturday at a wedding in Orlando (the reason for her Florida trip in the first place), but I know we're manage to squeeze in a lot of fun in between. Tonight, I'm having a dinner party for her with about 10 of my nearest and dearest (I, however, am not HOSTING the dinner party, mostly because 1) I don't cook and 2) I don't have a dining room table, but I did ORGANIZE the whole thing. One of my fellow teachers, Linda, is the gracious hostess, and what an extravaganza it shall be....) We will, of course, be visiting the great Ft Myers Beach and the Gorgeous Gulf at some point, probably on Sunday (she doesn't fly out until 6 pm or so). The weather won't be that great by Florida standards (high 60s, low 70s)--but at least it will be sunny and clear all weekend and it's a hell of a lot better than the current weather in Minnesota. Stay tuned for an exciting update (and possible pictures).

Okay my kids are coming up.....I hope you all are well!!!

And in a surprising turn of events, my Baby Daddy just donated $40 to my March of Dimes walk!!! Didn't see THAT coming. LOL. Yup, he's definitely still trying to get in my pants. ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Down but not out

So....rough week at work. I was able to vent to Renee and John at dinner last night (holla!!), but long story short:

Our company has these "benchmarks" 4 times a year, designed (in theory) to replicate and predict how our students will perform on the FCAT, that all-important state test, in March. The problem is that the students who have been with our school for a while know that these tests basically dont mean shit (for them, anyway) and therefore don't really try on them. Like, at all.

The problem for ME, however, is that when the results come in, it looks as though I am failing miserably at my job. It is "projected" that my students (and all of 5th grade, as it turns out) will bomb the upcoming FCAT in spectacular fashion. Now mind you, last year my kids sucked on this benchmark and still kicked some FCAT ass. The difference is that LAST YEAR, we had a principal who knew us, knew our school, knew our students and knew ME. She believed in us, had our back, and trusted us when we said that our kids were on track.

Our new principal, however, does none of the above.

So when these "preliminary" results came out, let's just say that we had a meeting where she basically made us feel about THIS big. (You can't see me, but my fingers are, like, a millimeter apart.) Oh, and she p0inted out that our 5th grade scores were THE LOWEST 5th grade scores in the entire company.

OH. And she told EVERY OTHER TEAM THAT IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. (Yes, literally pointed out, very explicity, to every other grade, just how "low" 5th grade was....and that we were the lowest in the company.)

I cannot tell you how demoralize that is. Not only does our principal not believe in us, but she points out to EVERY OTHER GRADE just how sucky she thinks we are.

The only thing keeping me going is that I believe in my kids, and I believe in myself. My kids are working their asses off, and IF, **IF** they don't do well on the FCAT, it's not for lack of trying. It's because...well, they're low students. And a third, A THIRD. of them are ESE ("special ed" in other states). Not to be all cocky, but I was a "Star" teacher last year, which means I was a TOP performer in my company--not my school, but my COMPANY...yes, the same company in which I am now firmly at the bottom--last year. Am I a fantastic teacher? Hell no--and any teacher who tells you they are is full of shit, since any teacher, regardless of how long they've been teaching, ALWAYS has room to grow and improve. But do I do well with the kids I have, in the situation I'm in, with the resources I have, especially considering the fact that I am pretty new to the field? I'd like to think so.

Regardless of what happens in March, I'm giving everything I have, and so are my kids. I cannot possibly give any more, and neither can they.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

My bad, Officer

I just had a TOTAL Jen moment, and I had to share it with you immediately (yes, at 2 am).

So I hung out with a friend tonight, and I was on my way home (stone cold sober...thank God, as you'll see in a moment). As I approached the major intersection leading to my place, I saw cop cars with flashing lights at almost every corner of the intersection. In the right turn lane--where I needed to be--there were 2 bright flashing hot-pink lights in the road, at the top (front? head?) of the lane. I had never seen those before, and I wasn't sure exactly what they were or what they meant. I just figured I wasn't supposed to drive IN the lane--I honestly didn't realize that they meant "don't turn right." So I kind of pulled into the next lane over (which would have been the go-straight lane) and THEN turned right....

...and immediately realized why those lights had been there. There was a major accident and all lanes in that direction were completely closed and blocked off by every type of emergency vehicle known to man--including several more cop cars.

And there was no where for me to back up and/or turn around.


So I'm sitting there, with roughly 10 (no exaggeration) police, fire and rescue vehicles sitting in front of me, and roughly 6 other squad cars behind of which promptly made the "beep-beep" noise with his siren and headed towards me.


He pulled up on my passenger side (since I was in the left lane) and got out of the car. I rolled down my window.

"Ma'am, are you aware that you just completely disregarded two emergency police flares?" he asked, rather irritatedly.

"Oh, is that what those pink flashy lights were?" I asked. (Yes, I actually said "pink flashy lights.") "I'm so sorry. I've never seen those before and didn't know what they were."

"Well, what did you THINK they were there for?" he asked--and he wasn't even rude or mad now, just genuinely curious and a bit dumb-founded.

"I just figured we weren't supposed to drive in that lane," I meekly answered.

"Yes," he replied. "Don't drive in that lane because we didn't want you to go IN THIS DIRECTION."

To which I answered:

"My bad, Officer."

To which I tacked on:

"I'm really, REALLY sorry."

Now mind you, it was a Friday night at 1:30 am, and he never once asked to see my license--or even whether or not I had been drinking. I think it quickly became obvious that I wasn't drunk--just really, really stupid.

"Well," he said. "I don't know what to tell you. We're going to get this cleared up as quickly as possible--it could be 2 minutes, it could be 45."

Just then, one of the fire trucks pulled away, opening up the entrace to a corner plaza.

"Oooh!" I said, helpfully pointing it out. "Could I maybe just pull in where that guy did and just get out of your way?"

(Yes, "that guy.")

He looked at me for a moment before blowing out a big breath of air. "Yeah, whatever," he answered. (LOL. "Whatever.") "Go. And ma'am? The next time you see a whole bunch of police cars and 'pink flashy lights,' you MAY want to pay some attention."

"Yes, sir," I told him. "I'm sorry. Thank you."

By this time, he was already walking away. I distinctly heard a "Jesus Christ."

I very conscientously put on my turn signal, pulled into the far right lane and got the hell out of there.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Only funny because it wasn't happening to me

We needed to do laundry, so Chad graciously agreed to take control of laundry duty. (We do not have a washer/dryer in the apartment, but there are facilities on site. They're not far away but you definitely have to drive, especially when you're lugging a basket full of clothes. Side note: there are washer/dryer HOOKUPS in each unit, so my goal is to use my tax refund to get a set in here...especially after last night.)

Here was the ordeal.

1. We sorted the laundry.

2. Chad left.

3. Chad quickly returned. He had been sure that the detergent was still in my car from the last time he did laundry. After searching all over the apartment, we came to the realization that the last time Chad did laundry, he left our detergent behind. We knew it probably still wouldn't be there, but Chad assured me that, in a pinch, you could use shampoo. (A true bachelor.) He left again with $1.25, the cost of washing a load.

3. Chad left.

4. Chad quickly returned. Apparently, they raised it to $1.50 on January 1, so he had to come all the way back for another quarter.

5. Chad left.

6. Chad quickly returned. The washer he used was broken--it turned on but no water actually filled the tub. He took another $1.50.

7. Chad left.

8. Chad quickly returned, this time with the clothes. The SECOND machine he tried to use was also broken (which, again, he didn't find out until he had already put the money in)--this one didn't even turn on.

8. We were now out of quarters, it was 10:30 pm, and the clothes were covered in shampoo.

This whole time, I was working on my laptop in the living room. The first few times he came back, I would kind of groan and commiserate with him. But on that final return (which was, what, the 3rd? 4th?)--when I glanced up and saw him walk in, still WITH the clothes, even after all those trips--I had to use every ounce of strength not to bust out laughing, since he was SO pissed at this point and it wouldn't go over well. And had it been ME, I would have been horribly irate, as well.

But it wasn't...and therefore, it was funny as all hell.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

Yes, my friends--I'm posting from the new place. All of a sudden, there's a nearby wireless signal that I've been able to pick up. I don't know how long it'll last, so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

I hope you all had a great NYE. Chad and I went to a local place right on the corner, about a mile away. We were only going to "pre party" there and shoot a few games of pool, but before we knew it, it was 11:30 so we figured we might as well stay for the Big Show. (The shots may have had something to do with the accelerated passing of time.) In what can only be described as an inspired moment of evil brilliance and quite possibly one of my best "pranks" ever, I pimped Chad out to a leathery, VERY butch, 50-year-old truck driving lesbian. (Her and I were sitting outside talking, and she was drunk and telling me about her problems with her girlfriend. I told her that when *I* was having issues with men, I always threatened to "go gay," so maybe she should try going straight for a night. "That's a great idea," she slurred. "I've had it with this f*#&#^ b*#&#^." Then I helpfully told her about a good friend of mine, Chad, who would be glad to help her out. I brought her inside, introduced them and then went back outside on the bench to revel in my brilliance. Not 30 seconds later, Chad pokes his head out and says, "Im going to f(*&^%%% kick your ASS," before she pulled him back inside again. OMG, she was all over him, trying to take him home. I'm laughing again just thinking about it.

Anyway, he escaped from his girlfriend around 1 and we headed back here, where we proceeded to shotgun a case of beer. (Yes, my friends, we are 33 year old adults and are living like frat guys. But in our defense, we saved the heavy drinking for when we were home for the night. We had a few shots but we were also there for quite a while. And really, it ended up being a really cheap night, since we were working with Natty Ice--which is also part of why I felt like hell for most of Friday.) Anyway, I was actually wearing more beer than I actually got down by the time we were done, since I am horrible at shotgunning, as it turns out. (Also, beer sprays really far. He spent a good part of yesterday cleaning up the kitchen, while I laid around and cursed HIM for making me drink so much beer, which was probably HIS revenge for my little matchmaking attempt.) We finally tapped out around 5.

I hope you all had great evenings as well, no matter how you spent the night.