Tuesday, August 31, 2004

note to the student i have 4th & 6th period:
dude, i notice that you are not in attendance 6th period after seeing you 4th period. please stop cutting classes when you have the same teacher. it's just so obvious.

Monday, August 30, 2004

out of the fire, into the flame:

promised pics of my classroom. remember, no matter which way you cut it, it's institutionalized fluorescent lighting.

i have a "quote wall". this seemed like an important idea to share with 13-year olds.

my expectations. for all you non-teachers, this is what used to be called rules when we were in school.

on my desk: overhead reading "plot", attendance, two memos with updated class lists that are different from attendance, cd's of reading, cd player, index cards for bookmarks, cup full of popsicle sticks to call on students, and bottle of water. that's PLAIN water. it once ran in a river. that's the only liquid allowed in my room. should i remind you again?

from the shoes perspective. there are 70 shoes in the room at any given time. you do the math.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

this year, i have started something called 'shout-outs' in my classroom. all teachers reading this will know exactly what i'm talking about, but for those of you who have chosen a better-paying or less emotionally-draining profession, shout-outs are when people in the class can 'shout-out' thank-you's to each other, or appreciations.
so here's a big 'shout-out' to everyone who links to me- those i know about and those i don't. one day i'll get my links back up on this new template and get you all back. until then, true thanks. being the attention-needy lady that i am, it helps me write when i know people are reading. and it helps me to write, in so many different ways.
a lot of different little things, aka go buy presents:

1. more engagement congrats to ananda & michael. that will probably be the last you hear of engagement congrats here at posthipchick, because now everyone i know is engaged, married, and/ or pregnant.

2. happiest birthday to kdunk. this reminds me that i won a prize from her last year on her birthday blog for guessing her correct age. i have checked the mailbox every day for one year now, but have only received coal.
3. party pics from last night's teacher hoopla:




or dance-along

Saturday, August 28, 2004

some days it's all just a balancing act.

Friday, August 27, 2004

i didn't realize how bad i had it last year until this year. changes afoot:
1. i am at one school
2. i do not have a pyschopath as a principal
3. i am not in the janitor's closet
4. i am not teaching special ed

my students actually work. they get an assignment and they do it. sometimes they talk a little, but they do not call me a fucking bitch. they do not scream for no reason. they do not take the tacks out of the wall and throw them at me and each other. they do not shake their desks for no reason. they do not ask me if my boyfriend asks me to spread my legs. they seem to think i am there to help them. they seem to want to do well in school. they seem to care if i call their parents. they do not want referrals. they want good grades. nobody yells, and neither do i. sometimes i even get to sit down. it's totally fucking bizarre, but i'll take it. really, i'm kind of gloaty and floaty over the whole experience.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

what it's like to spend the day with 8th graders:

ms. j: "you have the PRIVILEGE of having water bottles in class, because ms. j believes hydration is important. you may ONLY bring water in your water bottles. you may not drink soda or coffee or juice. do not make me smell your water bottle. you may not refill your water bottle during class and you may not squirt other people with your water bottle. you may not leave your water bottle on the classroom floor when you leave. this is a PRIVILEGE and it will be taken away very quickly if it is abused."
8th grader: "can we bring clear gatorade?"
ms. j: "did i say you could bring gatorade? no! you may bring WATER."
another 8th grader: "can we bring sparkling water?"
ms. j: "no, you may only bring PLAIN water."
yet another wise-ass 8th grader: "can we bring flavored water?"
ms. j: "you are currently working on having this privilege revoked. you know very well what plain water is. it comes out of a tap and it is the ONLY type of water that is allowed in this classroom."

even with the good kids, this is constant. all they do is push, push, push.
my voice is a little sore today and i have some sort of recurring headache from the amount of energy exerted at me and from me today. however, so far being ms. j ROCKS over being ms. b.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

what is up with all the marriage?
school officially starts in 11 hours from this minute (i'm really into countdowns, if you haven't noticed- vouch for me here, allison?).
i think i'm as ready as i'm going to be, save making a bunch of photocopies in the morning. my stomach is having a major upset, either because of onions or nerves. either way, i'm not having it. if tomorrow must be an immodium ad sort of day, so be it.

round-up of the summer:
1. got married
2. got settled in suburbanville
3. caught up on sleep- although i think i've concluded that i am making up for a past life of always being kept awake or something, because i can't say that i really feel "caught-up"
4. quit smoking (go, me!)
5. ate and cooked and baked and ate and tried really hard to put on some weight, and managed to put on a grand total of 4 lbs. i ate more than 4 lbs. worth of cream cheese frosting ALONE. i just don't get it.

coming up tomorrow:
pics of my classroom
things you shouldn't say to the lady who has informed you she slept on the couch last night because her husband was snoring:
1. you should pinch his nose
2. did you roll him over?
3. kick him!
4. you should have made HIM go sleep on the couch.
(on a segueless side note: why do people like to bond over husband-hating? i'm sorry things are not well in your marriage, but i do not hate my husband. i love him. i wouldn't have married him if i felt otherwise.)

people, PLEASE. do you think i heard one small little 'z' and made a mad dash for the totally uncomfortable fold out couch at 10 p.m.? no, folks, i tried all of the above plus a few for HOURS ON END before i realized nothing was going to work and that if i wanted even a few hours of sleep last night i would have to search for alternative situations. the couch seemed the best at 1 a.m., although i did seriously consider the living room floor and a local hotel room.

Monday, August 23, 2004

day one: exhaustion begins
i do wish that there was a way to "bank" sleep in life, because one day in, after spending my summer dedicated to resting up, i'm exhausted again. i think this year i am going to incorporate a nap into my daily schedule as a way to tolerate 13-year-olds all day. don't you just hate those people who are like "you can rest when you're dead"? boo on them... i'll rest now. if god didn't want me to sleep, he wouldn't have made it so damn enjoyable.
yesterday at trader joe's, there was a discussion with the checker... would you rather be cold and hungry or tired and hungry or cold and tired?
i said the worst is tired and hungry... which is how i spent most of today.
but it's one month today of not smoking, or rather 18,533 days until i can start smoking again.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

how i didn't know this was in my hometown escapes me.
but i am so THERE!
send virtual flowers to kdunk and slower, who are tying the knot.
is engagement in the air or something?


Saturday, August 21, 2004

i don't know if the olympics have affected your household at all, but here at chez johnson, we have become dedicated americans. SO much so that apparently it is no longer acceptable to poke fun at the athletes, OR at anyone else in the home's reaction to winning and/ or losing by any american or other country's "athletic representative". because if you do, you know, poke a bit of fun at anything olympian in THIS house, you may also be told that "what they are doing is REALLY HARD, and neither you NOR anyone you KNOW would ever be able to do that." no big surprise that this non-athletic, lazy, 30-year-old, ex-smoker, anxiety disorder chick will not be in the olympics anytime this lifetime. but "anyone i know?". jeez!
FINALLY! a reason to be glad to live near san jose.
(link via suburban bliss, who everyone needs to go read. well, if they want to laugh really hard.)
my mom found a little starving kitten today.
she would like me to take it.
my husband does not want a kitten.
i am terribly sad.
the kitten will probably DIE! (do you hear that, husband? that is the sound of a witty, bitty kitten DYING!)
maybe you would like a kitten?


Friday, August 20, 2004

go figure that on my last free day to prepare for students, anda dmv appointment, and a necessary trip to grad school to drop things off, and a bizillion other things to do, that i would wake up stuffy, sore throaty, achy, and feeling like a piece of poo.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

i've been feeling slightly disillusioned with the bay area of late. not because of anything it's done, no, no- it is perfect and loving and full of life- if you are rich. being a homeowner in this area has become, basically, a pipe dream. there is dead nothing under $350,000- not even a small condo 100 miles away from san francisco, or an empty piece of land somewhere in the greater bay area region. prices are beyond ridiculous- they are downright depressing.
especially when you look at things like this and wonder "why are we still here?"
so who's down for PORTLAND?
the love of my life is like a modern-day robin hood.
he steals from the rich (office supplies, from an unnamed but wealthy university),
and gives to the poor (school supplies, for my students).

step back, ladies! the robber is taken.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

twice today bella has made it clear that she had enough of sitting inside with boring, crampy me and would rather be outside on the front lawn, chilling and watching the world go by. so? you innocent folk may ask. separation anxiety are the only two words i have for you. this dog makes decisions based only on where the people are and where they are going. for her to have an independent desire like that MAKES MY DAY!
my husband and i have a pact.
if we live to be 80, we can start smoking again. so instead of continuing to count the days of not smoking (24), i'm going to start counting the days until i can START smoking again (only 18, 538).
kristy veeder is getting hitched!
lord knows we never thought we'd see the day. we thought her independent spirit would just keep on truckin', leaving 'em all in the dust.
we over here at posthipchick couldn't be happier. we are beaming from ear to ear, because we all know that the girls who never thought they'd get married end up being the happiest wives. we also know that when you've spent SEVENTEEN years on again and off again with the most wonderful guy, you're making a pretty informed decision. and also because we've seen the way this boy looks at her and we've witnessed his patience with her "spirit", which he doesn't try to control, but rather seems to enjoy. we've also seen the way he makes her laugh, and the way he's been strong and sweet, and how they've handled truly difficult life situations. so over here at posthipchick, the true stalwart of marital status, having been at it a grand total of one month and three weeks already, we just couldn't be more pleased.

after 29 years, you'd think i'd know enough to know that when i have a day like yesterday, i can just go ahead and admit that the period is coming the next day. no, i tend to either forget or deny and just assume that my depression and moodiness is much deeper and more grounded than that. i must always remember that i am merely a slave to my biological clock.

my parents had to put their dog, rosebud, to sleep today. she was 12 and very suddenly developed cancer. my poor mama is a mess. we got rosie when i was 17 and she looked like a miniature bear. she would sit in my hand she was so tiny and we went everywhere together. her best friend in life was my step-dad's horrible english bulldog, hubby. they were an odd pair- she, big and labrador, he, gross and bulldoggish. he died years ago, so we like to think they are together again. rip, rosie.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

POST #500 (am i half-way there?)
today is definitely not the best day i've ever had.
i am tired, with good reason. the last two nights in a row i have been wide awake until 4 a.m. then i rise, when there is nowhere to be, at 8 a.m. it's exhausting not to sleep. i am too delirious to make more sense than that.
when i got in the shower this morning, it did some weird explosion thing and got the newly-cleaned bathroom soaking wet from ceiling to floor and everywhere in between.
my bank account balance is also overdrawn, for a stupid reason that i can't say is entirely my fault. regardless of whose fault it is, however, i must live with it.
also, i get not one single penny to get my classroom together, which means that i actually NEED money, like, pronto. i need to buy pencils and paper and pens and materials to fix some bookshelves, and staples, and a stapler, and folders and binders and dry-erase markers and tacks and the list goes on and on. i think it is hands-down one of the most ridiculous things in education that teachers are not supplied with the basic materials needed to run a classroom. it's obscene, and just one of the ways our society treats teachers like they are not valuable. but i'm sort of an emotional mess today, so maybe i'm overreacting.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

ode to an old friend
i'm having a hard non-smoking day for some reason.
i think i've mentioned it before but i am pretty good at quitting. i just suck at staying quit. so here we are, three weeks in, and all i want to do is puff away. the thing is, i don't want one cigarette. i know it would taste like complete ass. no, i want to be a smoker again. i want to puff away whenever i want, FOREVER. except without any of the side effects, like dying and stuff. i want to be able to stuff it all down with every drag. i want a cigarette to taste good. i want to feel like i need it, and then feel satisfied after i have it. i want to sit in the warm summer night air and hold it in my fingers. i want to sit in the cold winter air with a hot cup of coffee and a cigarette between my mittened fingers. i want to get in the car after a stressful or emotional situation and know that i will feel better in seconds. i want to walk down the street in san francisco, the wind blowing, and have a cigarette in my hand. i want to sit in a cafe in london, looking hip and removed with my cigarette in my hand, tapping it neurotically against an ashtray.
i'm trying to count myself lucky that i can still drink- that lots of alcoholics would kill to be in my position. but it's just not my vice. my vice is cigarettes, and boy, do i miss 'em.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

How well do you know me?

Friday, August 13, 2004

dear husband,
three years ago today we went on our first date. i was nervous. after much debate, i wore my brown suede pants, a black tank-top and a black sweater. you wore a salmon-colored shirt with khakis. i was afraid to tell you that i smoked, having not received the best response from many of the men i dated. kristy told me that if we were waiting to get into the restaurant, i should ask you "do you mind if i smoke?". kristy had been through my smoking and lying about it with one boyfriend already, and felt any man should love me exactly the way i was. waiting to get into the tapas restaurant, you turned to me and said "do you mind if i smoke?". i hate to say i fell for you over cigarettes, but it was just the first of our completely in-sync moments. i remember feeling completely comfortable with you, and the conversation going on and on and on. you ran a red light driving me home. i had no idea then that your car insurance cost would one day be MY concern.
we didn't see each other for a week after that first date. you had traffic school and i had plans almost every night. our second date was lovely- a picnic that lasted well into the night. i believe it was our fifth date that you turned to me at some point and said "so what are you doing for the rest of your life?". i was smitten. i loved how funny you were- how dry- i loved that you read as much as i did, i loved how together you were, how smart you were, how creative you were. i figured i would change the fact that you tucked in your shirts, but it turns out instead that i just loved you exactly the way you are.
THREE YEARS! a lot has happened, as it tends to. we've weathered it all AND decided to keep on keeping on, getting married one month and 17 days ago. regardless of the fact that you lost your wedding ring merely one month in, married life has been great so far. i have no doubt that we'll be dancing at our 50th wedding anniversary in 49 years, 10 months, and 13 days. i look forward to every day until then.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

in this sleepy little suburban town, where everything closes at 8, there is a bookstore from god. it is a bookstore the way a bookstore should be. first of all, it's all used books (some may disagree on this point, but i LIKE my books used). second, it's HUGE, and completely disorganized, with shelves overstocked and piled to the ceiling. now, finding things you specifically want may be a bit of a challange, but finding all sorts of interesting books that will enlighten your being and introduce you to new topics is no problem at all. and really, isn't that the point of a bookstore? you always come out with something- a cookbook on potluck dishes or a LIFE magazine from 1956 or the latest in some japanese comic book. they also have videos galore-- completely random stuff, although i haven't found 'the wonder years' yet, and cd's for like $4.99. old magazines, new magazines, kids books, art books, comics, fiction, animals... you name it. they have something approximating what you're looking for. AND there's a 10% discount for teachers. AND when it's closing time, they come around and say "10 minutes till we close". no loudspeakers here, no siree! THIS is what i call a 'bookstore'.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

i wish i could be one of those girls who wore really sassy and fun and high-heeled shoes. but... i'm not.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

today is day 15 without a cigarette. 16 years on, 15 days off. it feels like longer. already, i've kind of forgotten what it feels like to need a cigarette. i can't quite believe i'm adjusting so well, because i've been so die hard for so long. i expected a lot more pain and struggling, but perhaps i am resigned to adulthood now and recognize good decisions and realize that i will survive. sigh. quite frankly, i think the fact that i was already taking a (why do i want to use an here instead of a? the next word does not start with a vowel.) SSRI is helping a lot. that's next on my list of 'quits', though, and i will get to see just how much my brain is being affected.
i've been on SSRI's (lexapro) for two years now. plus a little nightly dose of adivan. i'm curious to see how i do without them, but also have some real (and valid) fears about getting off. i am less prone to depression than i am to anxiety and mania. the medicine has helped so much in these past few years, but i fully admit to feeling slightly 'deadened' by them. some people might think this is a good thing, as i tend to be prone to extreme emotion and stress. i might agree with such people, some days. other days, i want to feel everything again. it's a mixed bag and i imagine i'll spend a lot of my life vacillating between wanting to feel calm and feeling too calm.
next thing you know i'll start talking about how i only eat raw foods, and make my dog her own vegetarian dog biscuits, and we've filtered all the water, and don't touch soap anymore for fear of poison. and then i won't leave the house and i'll think they are all after me and we'll just go ahead and call it a day.

p.s. did you notice i'm planning on quitting everything? and like getting my body all non-toxic and shit? do you know what that means?

Monday, August 09, 2004

one time, i was in a parking garage in LA with a friend, waiting for my car, when i noticed another dude waiting for his car. i turned to my friend and whispered "i think i hooked up with that guy. he looks really familiar." my friend said "yeah, cause he's SUPERMAN."

Saturday, August 07, 2004

back from yosemite. if i take three showers a day, maybe i'll be clean by the time school starts.
it was a GREAT week in shantytown, with wonderful old friends, a lot of sunshine, fabulous foods, a river steps away, and mountains big enough to put it all in perspective.
day one of the trip began with an early morning departure, and me falling desparately in love with a kitten at a fruit stand in oakville (anywhere, usa). the little gray & white ball of fur lied down in my arms, put it's head on it's paw, and looked up at me with such depth. this cat was my soulmate! i got the lovely hub to agree that "if the owners are going to shoot it right there if i don't take it home", that i could bring it home. we stopped today and apparently they owners ALSO love the cat. they were a couple of teenagers who don't even know the word "love". apparently, the cat follows them to work every day at this fruit stand, and follows them home every night. my cat has attached to the wrong person, but i've had to let it go. i feel big about it.
yosemite had its' fair share of animal adventures, cats withstanding. for years, yosemite has had a problem with bears (or, rather, a problem with people and bears- the bears would probably manage just fine if the people didn't spend decades bothering them!), but this year things have taken a turn for the worse. it used to be that you were told to bang pots and pans if you spotted a bear, which was actually not that common. maybe once a week someone would have a run-in, bang their pots, and the incident would be over. sometimes the bears would break into cars for a lipstick or something, but you are taught to be careful, and you get on with it. this year, however, we were told that banging pots and pans is "like ringing the dinner bell for bears", and instead we must be assertive with the bear (yelling at it "GET OUT, BEAR! YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE, BEAR!"). something in this instruction doesn't translate to the average camper, because EVERY NIGHT someone spotted a bear, started yelling, and then chased after it. now, i am no genuis, but even i know enough to know that bears are ABOVE us on the food chain. WE are not to chase THEM. regardless, the campsite would get into this Klu Klux Klan-like mob and chase the bear, screaming and pointing flashlights and cameras at it. the bear would finally disappear, and some old lady would take a flashed picture of its' poop. it was beyond ridiculous.
also, one day i woke up from a nap with a squirrel in my bed, staring at me wide-eyed. humans are not doing good things to the wildlife in yosemite.

i missed this animal the whole time i was gone

there were six HUGE bucks- these guys are all muscle. this one is seen eating off a bbq.



hiking in happy isles

if it weren't for the dirty-ass clothes, this could practically be a wedding photo

didn't i tell you the parents always make us do illegal things? this was the parent's idea- "ride in the back of the truck". uh-huh, that worked out.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

tomorrow we are off to yosemite for a week. it was an annual trip growing up, with two other families. now, it's a catch-as-catch-can sort of arrangement-- whoever can make it, goes. we're always up to illegal antics, which are always led by the parental units. all of us kids have grown up to be overly socially conscious, bizarrely responsible, totally law-abiding adults. the parents stay up drinking and smoking pot until dawn. i'm sure they wonder where they went wrong with us.
it will be a week of relaxation (vacation from the vacation), swimming, hiking, sleeping, eating, reading, talking, and grilled foods. who can complain?

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