Saturday, January 14, 2012

Best update ever

Okay, I'm going to definitely get back into this blog again. Facebook is good, but you can really only give 3-line updates. I kind of miss writing, and my blog will be a good outlet for that. Between my first year of teaching 3rd grade (at a new school), my NEW HUSBAND (more on that in a bit), my new stepkids, the online Masters in Reading program I just began through USF...I'll have plenty to talk about.

Let's start with the big one: On November 20, Dan and I got married. We were married on Sanibel Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel (island), Florida. It was very small (just family and a few close friends), but it was the best day of my life. The weather was absolutely perfect. For our reception, we all went to dinner at the Lazy Flamingo, the place where Dan works. It's a very Florida-vibey, laid back restaurant--just a fun time with friends, which is exactly what we wanted.

Dan's family stayed in Ft Myers for that whole week, and it was great being able to spend some time with them. The only "downside" is that we weren't really able to take a honeymoon--we couldn't really take off with family in town (although, as they were staying on Ft Myers Beach, I'm sure they would have survived). ;) So we stayed a couple of nights at this beautiful resort there on Sanibel--it definitely wasn't enough, but we'll do something special, maybe for our anniversary.

Our first married Thanksgiving was here at the apartment. It was the first time I'd ever cooked a turkey, or Thanksgiving dinner at all for that matter, but I have to say, it turned out as well as I could have hoped for. It was Bryce (my stepson), Dan and I, his parents, his sister, brother in law and niece. They left the next day to return to Michigan, but it was really the perfect end to the perfect week.

Let's see, what else..ah yes, my new job. I'm teaching at a school that's 99% minority (and about that many have free or reduced lunch). It's been a difficult adjustment to third grade; I think due to their maturity levels. The tattling and tantrums and crying....OMG. And they are quite a bit below grade level, although that in itself I don't mind. However, when a large percentage of the class is getting D's and F's in 3rd grade reading or math because they're functioning at a 2nd grade level, and then the principal kind of looks at YOU with questioning eyes (it was different at my old school, since admin knew me and my teaching abilities, and I had already proven myself)....well, that's tough, too. I'm struggling a bit with classroom mgmt, which is odd, since it's my sixth year of teaching....but again, with a new grade and a different socio-economic group--well, it kind of IS like I'm starting from scratch. And really, the majority of the class (I only have 14, but most days it feels like 28) is just fine, but there are 2 who try me on a daily basis. (One of them, though, ended the day yesterday by giving me a hug and kind of resting his head on my shoulder, reminding me that although he may drive me to drink, he's also just an 8 year old kid.)

I think that's about all for now....lots more I COULD say, but this is a good start. I do look forward, as I said, to posting more often. Hopefully, the people who have read me before will find me again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dan and Jen--What Ever Happened With That??

Wow. Time kinda got away from me here, huh? Well, as most of you know, here's what has happened in the months since my last post:

  • Dan and I spent a few days together when I was home for Christmas break....and it was incredible.
  • We realized, very quickly, once I returned to FL that being apart was no longer an option. 20-something years was long enough.
  • He bought a one way ticket down here at the end of January.
  • We were engaged within a few days of his arrival.
  • We'll be married before the end of 2011, although our summer wedding may become a fall one.
And, more recent developments....

  • His kids will be living with us full time during May and part of June, while his ex also moves down to FL, settles in, find s a job, etc (and they'll be going to my school!)
  • Needless to say, we need to upgrade to a bigger apartment, although we'll stay in the same complex (and Ft Myers)--at least for the next year
  • His older son may end up staying with us full time, although we certainly don't know that for sure yet
Hopefully, I can be forgiven for my lapse in blogging. ;)

I have never, ever, ever been this happy. He has truly made all the pain and heartache I've gone through worthwhile.

I've finally found my happy ending--no. My BEGINNING.

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.