Monday, January 29, 2007

Blessings from last week 1/22-1/28

  1. 2 days at home due to snow (OK, yeah, we have to make them up - but they were great while they lasted)
  2. Talking to TC
  3. Getting the SPED secretary to change an IEP date from today to 2/7. Much more time to prepare!
  4. Losing over 6 pounds
  5. As an addition to #4, staying on my food plan so that I feel better overall
  6. Finding a $69 vest and a $79 jacket at Coldwater Creek online for $7.99 and $8.99. Such a deal.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weight Watchers

I went back to Weight Watchers last week. I put off doing so, mainly because the nearest meeting is in C'ville, and I really didn't want to drive that far once a week to go to a meeting. After the holiday weight gain of 5 pounds though, I really needed to do something.

So, I started watching what I ate again this week - counting my points, and eating healthy foods. It's amazing how much better I feel when I eat right. I sleep better, have more energy, blah, blah, blah. I know this, but I loves me some pizza and fried chicken!

I was talking with some of the other teachers on Wednesday (after our long snow-weekend), and one of the teachers I collaborate with overheard our conversation. He came up, and asked if he could go with me to the meetings. Now, Tom is a big, mafia-looking guy. Probably weighs in at around 300 pounds. He teaches Earth Science with me, after (as he says) 'years in the nuclear industry.' He's a man who knows something about everything, and doesn't mind telling you what he knows. I take everything he says with just a pinch of salt. Anyway, he's disgusted with himself, and how much weight he's gained in the last few years. We make plans to meet on Saturday morning to go weigh in.

Now, the good thing about all this is - I don't have to drive all the way in to Cville every week. We're going to take turns driving to the meetings. Also, I guess it's good to have an 'accountability buddy' when you're trying to lose weight - although I've never gone on a diet with a guy as my 'buddy.'

Anyway, when we weigh in today, I've lost 6.4 pounds! In one week! Amazing. I know it's my body's reaction to my eating the right things after months of cramming junk in my mouth, but it's nice to lose those 5 gained pounds right from the jump. Now, I just have to set my sights lower, because I know I won't see that kind of loss next week (or any other week, for that matter.)

Tom weighs in for the first time, and finds that he, indeed, weighs almost 300 pounds. He's not happy, but is determined to try the program and get the weight off. We've entered a kind of competition: percent of body weight lost. I know (because he's a guy - no fair) he'll lose weight much more quickly than I will. He's also talking to other people at school, trying to get them to join us for our Saturday WW outings. I figure it this way: A group of us will meet every Saturday to weigh in, go to the 1/2 hour meeting, then go to IHOP for pancakes. It's a plan.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Had a bad day...

I didn't write about this a few weeks ago, mainly because it seemed like just a blip on the screen - no huge deal. A former student at the high school (he was, in fact in my ES class for a few weeks) evidently had an obsession with his ex-girlfriend, and had threatened to bring a gun to school because she broke up with him. He was being 'home schooled' because mom was blaming the school system for all his issues. I never had any problems with him, in fact thought he was a nice kid. He was only in my class for (maybe) three weeks before mom pulled him out. Anyway, we were all informed about the threat, and told to keep an eye out for the student. His ex-girlfriend is a student in one of my other classes, and she was out of school for several days during this incident. We were informed that he was in custody by the end of the day. He was not in custody for very long.

This morning, we found out that this same student evidently abducted his ex-girlfriend yesterday in a stolen car. The girl was reported missing around noon, and police were on the look out for both her and the car. Around 6:00 last night, a deputy and another officer stopped the car, and attempted to get the girl away from her ex-boyfriend. As the officer went toward the car, the boy started accelerating toward him - running him down. The officer shot at the car, killing the boy. The ex-girlfriend was still in the car, and suffered minor injuries from the ensuing wreck. Both she and the officer were treated for their injuries at the hospital and released.

Obviously, the entire school was buzzing with rumors and wild scenarios all day. The police aren't releasing much information at this time, so no one is entirely sure what happened. All we know is that there was a young life wasted, and another profoundly affected by the events of last night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"For I am Costanza....

Lord of the idiots!"

I think I own the only Jeep that is not four-wheel drive. Not only is it not four-wheel drive, it is not front-wheel drive. Not a big deal, usually.

We got about 3 inches of snow here on Sunday, and then about another 10th of an inch of ice Sunday night and Monday morning. Our driveway was covered, and very slippery. Yesterday afternoon, I thought I'd try to get my car out, just to see how the driveway was. Bad idea! I got stuck in the driveway, just outside the garage. It took a bunch on rocking to get it back in the garage.

Today, school was cancelled again due to the condition on the secondary roads. Good thing - our driveway was still covered in ice. Rosalee came to clean around 10:00, and said her husband's truck had no problem getting up the drive. She said all the other roads were clear. Mom had an appointment to get her car serviced in C'ville at 1:00, so I thought I'd better try the driveway again. Bad idea! (are you getting the theme, here?) I got my car backed out of the garage, but my wheels started spinning almost as soon as I got the car backed out and turned toward the road. I was stuck - couldn't go forward, couldn't go back. So, I put the car in park, thinking I would give the sun and rising temps about an hour to do their work before I tried to move the car again.

45 minutes later, I go outside to try to move the car, and it's moved itself! Slid right down the driveway, turned sideways, and is now resting at the end of the driveway (just off the road) with the rear wheels in the bushes! Rosalee came to the window, and was in shock. I came in and told mom, who also came to the window to look. Mom expressed disbelief that the car slid, but Rosalee saw where I left it originally. Now, I not only have to get my car off the driveway, but out of the bushes.

We have nothing to help with traction - no sand, no icemelt, nothing. Rosalee found a bag of potting soil, so I started throwing it under my back wheels. After much spinning of wheels and throwing of dirt, I got the car out of the bushes. (We now have a HUGE rut in the yard to repair) I still had ice to deal with, and my car was not cooperating. For every inch I nudged forward, I would slide back 5. I was in danger of sliding right into the road. I get out the potting soil again, and throw it under the rear wheels. 15 minutes later - I'm back on dry pavement, and my car is parked.

By this time, it's 11:45, and mom needs to leave for her car appointment. She has front-wheel drive, which doesn't mean a whole lot on ice. But now we have potting soil on the driveway, and more traction! We get in her car, and make it down to the road without much difficulty. As Rosalee said, all the other roads are just fine.

By the time we got back from the appt in C'ville, the driveway was completely melted and dry.

"But suddenly, a new contender has emerged..."

Monday, January 22, 2007

No School!

Where's my sled?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snow Day!

Our first snow this winter.

Mom and I went to church as usual this morning. The weather forecast was calling for snow, beginning after noon. We figured we wouldn't have any problems going to church, and then to lunch at Blue Ridge after. When we stepped out of the the church doors at noon, it was snowing like crazy, with about an inch already on the ground. It was a soft, powdery, beautiful snow. No ice, no sleet, no freezing rain. Easy to drive on. So, we decided we could go ahead to Blue Ridge, since we wouldn't have a chance to get out of the house later in the afternoon.

Driving Madison Road to Rte. 29 was not a problem. I can drive on snow - just don't make me drive on ice. 29 looked about the same as 230, so we took a right to go towards Ruckersville, instead of a left to go home. No problems - mom's car has great tires, and the road was not slippery at all.

As we start down the hill toward the county line between Madison and Greene counties, we look to the left at traffic heading north on 29. It's at a dead stop. Why? Because EVERYONE is having trouble getting up that hill! Trucks are sideways, men are out pushing cars, it's a mess. Uh, oh. That's the way we need to go home. What to do? What to do? Obviously, we're not going on to eat lunch. We need to get home. Without getting on 29 North.

Mom directs me to take the next right - her rationale being that it won't be as bad on back roads, because no one has driven on them and packed down the snow. Ok, I'm buying it. We end up making a big circle - going back toward Stanardsville, and then back onto Rte. 230 (Madison Road). The road isn't any worse than it was the first time we drove it, almost an hour earlier. Of course, now the snow is coming down really hard, and I'm not driving over 35 MPH. We make it home without incident, although now we're hungry.

Safe and warm, I make lasagna and salads for our lunch. Now, all I have to do is watch it snow out on the deck, and wait for word that school is cancelled for Monday.

One of the little girls at church this morning told Tommy she wanted to make a snow angel today. I think she's going to get her wish.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blessings 1/14-1/20

  1. Extra rest due to a shortened work week
  2. Mom is feeling much better
  3. Avoided a nasty stomach bug that is making the rounds at school
  4. Call from Dave.
  5. Better 9-week test scores
  6. Cold weather is finally here (that may not make the list next week - be careful what I wish for!)

Friday, January 19, 2007


Even though I only had to teach for 3 days (MLK holiday on Monday, and teacher workday today), this has seemed like an incredibly long week. We gave Science Department 9-week tests on Wednesday, and I had to read the same test aloud 4 times during the day.
50 questions.
Multiple choice.
4 times.

Not fun. By the end of the day, I was not reading, but citing from memory. After reading a test aloud that many times, it becomes hard not to put inflection on the correct answer. Add to the fact that we reviewed for this test last Friday and on Tuesday of this week - I knew the material backwards and forwards. (I guess that's a good thing, since I teach the course.) Did my students know the material? Well, better this 9 weeks than the first. Only 2 students in my classes passed the first 9-week test. Not good. This time, all but 5 students passed. Much better.

We had a collaboration workshop (the 3rd in a series this year) last night at school. These sessions last from 3:45 to 6:15, and have been less than popular. So much so that administration cooks for us and serves dinner. Last night, we got spaghetti with meatballs, salad from a bag, rolls, and brownies. It was free, so I ate it. (Maybe not a good philosophy, overall)

Anyway - these sessions are to 'help' those of us who co-teach (regular education teacher with a special education teacher in a content-area class) be more effective as collaborators. Mostly, they turn into gripe sessions about what's not working, and how nothing anyone can say or do will fix it. Teachers make the worst students.

One of the biology teachers collaborates with the head of the Sped department. She can't stand working with her, and has no qualms about making her feelings known. Last night, Kim (head of Sped) was not able to be at the workshop. The biology teacher made several comments in the workshop about the lack of content knowledge Kim has, and how the students don't trust her teaching. Very unprofessional. One of the English teachers at my table wrote a very funny haiku about the comments. How does this affect me? I don't want it to, but somehow I think it will. During the workshop, I took a personal moment to use the bathroom. While in the stall, the biology teacher came in, took the stall next to mine, and proceeded to air all her grievances about Kim to me. (Excuse me - peeing, here!) She ended with, 'So, if you want to move to biology next year, and collaborate with me, that would be great.' Yeah, right. I want to work with a person who will trash me when I'm not around to anyone who will listen.

I live for these moments...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Blessings from the past week

  1. The experiences my children are having in school. Specifically, NPR internships, Frat woes, CPR adventures
  2. Discovering the wonder that is melatonin.
  3. Doctors who will see mom without an appointment, and will prescribe a preventive antibiotic
  4. Co-workers who make me laugh
  5. Living in a house free of Christmas decorations - and it's not even February yet!
  6. Finding the time to read all the books checked out of the library.

Life Experiences

I've bolded those things I've done...

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

I need to get busy...

Friday, January 12, 2007

MLK-stivus for the restovus

A three-day weekend! I'm so excited. I plan on doing as little as possible after being so busy during the holidays, and I especially plan on getting to know the inside of my eyelids a bit better.

Friday, January 05, 2007

al al al al ,al al al al aF

The first weekend of 2007. I guess tomorrow will be 'de-decoration' day. I dread it. I always enjoy putting up decorations, but hate taking them down. I remember the year that the Christmas tree stayed up through March! I don't think Mom would appreciate that this year. The fact that the temperature is predicted to be in the 70's tomorrow doesn't make me want to be inside, packing up lights and ornaments. But, I really do need to do it - wouldn't want to invite Goblins!

"[Goblins] were hideously ugly to begin with, and full of malice and ill will to human beings. They were supposed to live mostly underground, in mines or mountain caves, where they hoarded stolen treasure, sallying forth from time to time to frighten belated wanderers, or to work great harm to mortals who had, by some fault of omission or commission, given them the power to do so. Such power could be given, it was thought, if Christmas decorations were left up after Candlemas Day, February the second. If even so much as one leaf should be left lying in some corner of a house, a malicious goblin would have the power to enter through the keyhole and do all kinds of wicked things--set the chimney on fire, spill the milk, crack the wine bottles, smash the china, and even let loose rats and mice in the larder to eat up all the food."

-- Christine Chaundler, The Book of Superstitions

So, the tree comes down.

Not a bad week at work, overall. I'm beginning to enjoy the people on my hall. We all hang out in the hall between classes (supposedly monitoring students, but we don't let them distract us) and talk about intensely silly things. Suzanne, who teaches next door to me, has a wonderful tendency to break into song at the slightest provocation. She improvises opera with inane lyrics in her beautiful soprano, and she makes me laugh regularly.

The end of the first semester is coming up, along with the 2nd nine-weeks tests. I'm not a fan of this system, where we spend a bunch of energy getting kids ready for an inclusive test every 9 weeks, and then only give the test 10% weight toward the term grade. I resent giving up teaching time to review for a test that has little meaning to the students. It's all about the numbers, and crunching same to project student success on the SOL at the end of the year. The first nine weeks, I reviewed like crazy, and my students bombed the test. They just don't do well on standardized tests. They are SPED students, for cripes sake! It is so frustrating for them. Most of them are passing my class, and do well in group work, discussions, and class work. They just don't test well - never have. NONE of them passed their 8th grade Science SOL, and I'm expected to get them to pass the 9th grade Earth Science SOL. Now, I ask you....

And....cut. No more whining about things I can't control.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Dave has a great camera, and a minor in photography. Can't figure out why his pictures are so much better than mine! I stole these off his facebook - he owes me...I gave birth to him.

Ken and I at the entrance to the caverns. Don't I look fetching in my bright orange sweatshirt? It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Indiana Jones, watch out! All Ken needs now is his whip.

He has about 30 more pictures posted on his facebook. They turned out really well.

Luray Caverns

I have a really crappy camera, but I took a couple pictures while in Luray Caverns last Saturday.

I'm hoping I can buy myself a decent camera in the next few months. Happy something to me!

Monday, January 01, 2007


Happy New Year.

Today is a day of rest. All the fam is gone, TC left on Saturday, Ken and Dave left about an hour ago. I plan on mucking out my bedroom, and doing all the laundry I've neglected over the past two weeks.

We went to Luray Caverns on Saturday. What a marvel! Dave took about 60 pictures, and I can't wait to get copies emailed to me. Took the long way home down Skyline Drive. Very pretty. Again, Dave took tons of pictures.

I go back to work on Wednesday - not sure if I'm ready for that. Tomorrow is errand day, so today is really my last day of hanging out at home.

Resolutions? I have none - just planning on continuing what I started in 2006.