Thursday, September 30, 2004

i took yesterday off work to go to a melee of doctor's appointments that i have been putting off for far too long. therefore, i left my students with a sub. this is not good for anyone in the general vicinity of the class, but i sure do enjoy the time off. alas, i returned back to school today and had a general feeling of understanding for all those teachers (and there are PLENTY) that have been working for 30 years and never take a day off. it is a COMPLETE nightmare to return to your class after a day with a substitute. the floor was completely covered in trash (janitor cuts, you know- we only get the floor vaccumed every OTHER day), books everywhere, all my eraseboard pens missing, desks strewn about... a complete and utter DISASTER. most upsetting, however, is my brand new $25 timer was taken out of MY desk and shattered into pieces. all of the students say it was this one student, but he firmly denies it. i don't believe him, but i'm turning it over to the administration tomorrow. i had to give them all a firm talking to today and revoke ALL of their privileges for getting out of their seats (for water, pencil sharpening, throwing away trash, etc.) until further notification. i have all these ideals that i will have classes that are so invested in their education that they tell the sub what they need to do, but let's be real here. i work with 8th graders.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

you know you are a dog owner when you turn over your plate of crumbs onto the floor for the dog to lick up.
last night i wore my flannel cowgirl pj's and that makes me very, very HAPPY!
last night was back-to-school night. fun for the whole family.
i gave out my email address for parents to contact me. when i returned home that night, there was an email from one of my students:

i wrote him back and asked if he meant to swear at me. i haven't heard back yet, so maybe that is a "yes"...

Monday, September 27, 2004

i'm sure every teacher has let the occassional 'damn' or 'shit' slide from their mouth (and if you haven't, well go YOU! you are clearly a better teacher and role model and are going straight to heaven). posthipchick has also let a bit of foul language fall from her lips- well, once, when the school went into lockdown and she bellowed 'FUCK' at the top of her lungs.
today, posthipchick trumped her previous 'fuck', which was at least said at an appropriate time as she was understandably upset. but today, when posthipchick went into the cafeteria to get "nachos" (put in quotations because they are not really nachos but rather corn chips with that fake-cheese sauce on them) because she had accidently grabbed her husband's bacon wrapped turkey breasts when she thought she was grabbing her puffed pastries with carmelized onions, asparagas and gruyere in the early morn- she felt the the need to say to her students in the cafeteria line that she had taken the wrong lunch and therefore had to eat these "nasty-ass nacos". now the words themselves are not that bad, but REALLY? i had to say NASTY ASS? as an english teacher who tells them all day about the importance of WORD CHOICE?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

7 a.m. sunday morning. bed.
"did you set your alarm!?!"
"did you set your alarm?"
"oh right, it's sunday."

oh right, now i'm up.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

actual email exchange between my husband, who was attempting to sell a cabinet for his mother, and what seemed to be a potential buyer of said cabinet.
all names have been changed to protect the innocent:

Woman, responding to craigslist ad that gives description and price of cabinet, and a note about the cost of delivery:
It's great to know you work in Palo Alto, actually I worked there also. And my sister also lives in palo alto. It would be nice if you just bring it to your office and I can pick it up there.
From the picture, the cabinet looks a little small and old. I need to repaint it if I would buy. I think the price need to be lower much. How do you think about it? Because it's a little odd, can you even think about donating it for free:-). You would be a generous man always remembered by me.
Thank you!!

Husband, responding to odd request:
It sounds like delivery/pick up arrangements would be easy. But I'm afraid that there is no way I can donate this, or even reduce the price dramatically. I'm selling this on behalf of my mother, and she expects to get a decent amount for it.

Woman, not quite getting it:
Hi, Seller,
I understand your mother's expectations because I think she might use this cabinet more than 30 years. So, for me, I cannot afford too expensive furniture, that's why I come to the craigslist. I expect $10.00 would be a great deal between us. How do you think about the offer?

Husband, starting to get annoyed but also being honest, as we live across the street from a Salvation Army drop-off:

I think that offer is too low--on top of which there's no way I'd sell it for so little AND deliver it. I would consider selling it to you for $30 *including* delivery. Otherwise, I'd sooner donate it to charity and spare myself the hassle. But thanks for your interest. And good luck.

Woman, inexplicably coming back for more:
Thank you for your reply. Although you don't want to sell it any more, I still want it very much for my kitchen. Is it OK for you to sell it $15?
thank you so much

Husband, trying to make himself clear AGAIN:
Thank you for your reply, too. I charge a minimum of $10 for delivery (and that's usually just within San Francisco), so I was already offering to drop the price to $20. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Woman, becoming suddenly and extremely bitter at husband AND, without reason, his employer:
No way for anybody. it's such an old garbage has zero value. maybe stupid people from Stanford could give u 30 cents for that or make it as a coffin.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

through conversations with co-workers today, i discovered that many people talk to their significant others numerous times throughout the day. what do they talk about? just "checking in". personally, i can't stand talking to the lovely husband when either of us is at work. we are distracted and irritable and can't have any sort of conversation. i don't know, internet, but tell me what you think. do you talk to your s.o. throughout the day? or do you think this is bizarre behavior?
born today to my best male friend and his lovely wife.
little levi iskin.
i am totally blown away.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

my new favorite sandwich:

for vegetarians, you can use roasted red peppers instead of the roast beef.
yum, yum. make the spread, meat, and roasted peppers on sunday night and you're set for the week.
there was a dead fish on my classroom floor this afternoon.
would you believe me if i told you i had another abcess?
would you believe that i missed my weekly staff meeting AND two classes to attend to the issue? would you believe i'm back on some crazy-jacked-up-antbiotics?
would you believe that- wait for it- i still haven't resolved my enrollment/ payment with SJSU?
would you believe that i have been calling and calling and just passed around from department to department even though today is the deadline?
would you believe i was insanely busy all day- on the phone with SJSU and trying to make emergency doctor appointments all in the middle of teaching- and so when i was waiting in my gown in the doctor's office, i snuck a phone call from the phone there to inform husband of my status, being that he was about to leave work to come get the dog?


Sunday, September 19, 2004


i've been really annoyed at our phone for not dialing the right numbers. it must be a circuitry problem of some sort- if, for instance, i dial 546-2797, it will actually dial 544-2777. i am also really annoyed that i have no desire to purchase a replacement phone, and instead continue with this mad misdialing.

i wish i had a job that actually ended ever. being a teacher is like being a student- there is ALWAYS something more to do.

have i mentioned i can't see? and that the last time i purchased glasses was 1999? it's sad, really.

and that i have more grading to do than is humanly possible? so that instead of starting, i just avoid. if avoidance was a class, i would get an A+++++++++.

oh, and i need to renew my credential and make sure i enroll in my classes by tomorrow. and i KNOW that something will go wrong on this front. so of course i wait until the last minute as to send myself into some sort of frantic and hysterical state. because i like to have fun like that.

when i woke up this morning, i heard water falling and hitting something. but i had to get up and check- was it the neighbor taking a shower or real live rain? it was *real* *live* rain. there are clouds in the sky today, but it's still sort of muggy and warm.

i'm trying to wean myself off one of my drugs, and i don't think it's going terribly well.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

FINALLY! a day of something other than relentless sunshine. man, a girl needs some clouds sometimes to allow her to brood and think and stay in bed all day without feeling guilty about it. a girl needs to wear something other than freakin' tank tops. a girl needs sweaters. and so i will enjoy spend today enjoying the cozier aspects of life, like flannel pajamas and ugg boots and soup and tea and bed and books.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

tonight was one of those nights that one dessert just didn't cut it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

the job of an 8th grade english teacher:
teach the history of the english language in half an hour. oh, and don't forget to grab their attention, get student participation, give examples and check for understanding. you can do that in a half hour, right?

come home and notice that husband's advisor has TWELVE FULL LENGTH TAPES on the history of the english language.
feel like maybe it makes sense that i leave most days wanting to pound my head against the wall.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

every month, regardless of using medically-proven working birth control, i become convinced i am pregnant.
every month, when i start my period, i become convinced i am infertile.
anyone else?
sad: when you have a dream about a blogger you've never met
pathetic: when you dream about their dog

Saturday, September 11, 2004

spent the day at the power of the peaceful concert.
spent the day with a lovely friend, being girly and being political. what a great mix!

nice shirt.

man, i miss the people in san francisco.

almost everyone was either barefoot or wearing teva flip-flops.

there was a lot of liberal loving, patcholi oil and lack of deodorant.

Friday, September 10, 2004

highlights of la, as told by a person who loathes la:

1. driving the suburu wrx or whatever that rally car is around the freeways, thinking i was doing a nice 65, but finding out i was doing 100. braaaaakes.
2. the 50-foot pool at our friends house. swimming in the morning, swimming in the evening, swimming at supper time (and all other times during the day and night as well).

3. spending the day with t., who i've known since i was born, cruising around and talking about careers and married life and how to juggle it all and feeling so not alone.
4. el cholo

5. seeing the fam for my step-grandma's 88th birthday. seeing all my little beautiful cousins. laughing with my aunt about mother-in-laws. watching bella meet her dog cousin and have a high time running around the yard.

pictures of all of this to follow one of these days (**now up**). dare i even utter it- but maybe la is not so bad.
i will not bore you with my saga of breaking up a fight yesterday, since ms. appel already wrote about it. i will not regale you with tales of how much my body aches, even though the clogs are helping. i will not tell you that it has been nine days since i had even five minutes alone to do nothing. i will share with you anymore about shitty dogs, or sick parents, or misbehaving students.
i will tell you that i couldn't be happier that today is friday, and that at 3:00 i will go home and take a nap. it's been my one little nugget of encouragement all week- "friday, a nap. friday, a nap."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

by the way, i have 6 gmail invites, if anyone is interested.
very bad mood here
partly due to schedule:
monday: arrived home from LA, 10 p.m. nothing prepared for next day of school.
tuesday: muddle through day of teaching, go to class until 10:00 that night. come home, go to sleep.
wednesday: meeting after school. lasts until 6. get home, already feeling guilty for leaving bella in her crate for 9 hours, to find her and her crate covered in diarrhea.

obviously, that spurred an incredible household crisis that involved washing of everything, tears to husband over the phone to get home immediately, airing out of whole house, after i am already wasted exhausted and hotter than hell. i hate summer. i hate september. when will i be able to wear a scarf again? how about a freakin' long-sleeved shirt? please?
my step-dad had his first round of chemo yesterday. i wanted to talk to my mom last night but i got home too late. she left a message today- stepdad reacted very, very badly to the chemo and had to be rushed to the emergency room late last night. he'll be spending a few days in the hospital and they will change the chemo in the future, when he is strong enough to get it again. my poor mama is home by herself, having to have put rosie down a few weeks back. i really want to be there for her now, which is totally stressing me out, because i can't. i also know i should go home this weekend, and probably will, but all i want to do is lie in bed for two days. alas, i think her needs beat mine in this situation and i just have to suck it up.

i haven't had a single minute of downtime since last wednesday- hey, a week ago! no wonder i am such a grouchy bitch right now. i'm going to put myself to bed.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

two recent events that have proven how lame and well-adjusted i am:

1. i was forced to invest in a pair of shoes that would leave me, at the end of the day, able to stand. it's a small requirement, but one i am particularly serious about, being that i have to stand well after that bell rings at 3:00, regardless of the fact that student's STILL seem to believe their teachers just pull out a cot and sleep at school. granted, that's tempting, but i digress. shoes. i figured flats would be fine for teaching. i don't wair heels anyway, so i thought- slip on a pair of flats, an occassional hipster sneaker, call it a day. yes, a day from HELL. so i had to rethink the issue. turns out, after interviewing shoe salesmen at three different shoe boutiques in LA, they all said to go with the clog. so i am now the owner of a pair of plain black clogs. could it get more depressing? yes, it could. i'm fucking giddy about them. send in the troops.
2. after feeling the need to share with my entire credentialing class- who have literally just begun their first year of teaching this week- the whole story of my abscesses last year and my stress level and how they shouldn't get to that place, ETC., a woman came up to me after class and said "i was really surprised at your story about getting sick. you seem so well-adjusted". dear lord, i seem well-adjusted? i'm getting soft, people. i don't like it, not a bit. save me from my comfortable-shoed, well adjusted self.

Monday, September 06, 2004

back from la. tired. will write more about trip tomorrow, or, more likely, wednesday. i wrote this in reflection while away.

How it came to be that I had thirty-seven 13-year olds freaking out because I said the word ‘nigger’

In class on Friday, we were reading ‘flowers for algernon’, and one of my students referred to the main character as ‘a retard’. I told him that calling someone a ‘retard’ is a derogatory term and that the proper way to refer to someone is ‘mentally retarded’ or ‘mentally challenged’. He said ‘same thing- retard or mentally retarded’. ‘no’, I countered his argument. ‘think about the word negro (90% of my students speak Spanish). That is an acceptable word to use, but the word nigger, which derives from it, is obviously unacceptable’. THEY! FLIPPED! OUT! They told me I COULD not use that word and to refer to it as ‘the n-word’. Now, call me old and unhip and out-of-the-loop, but I’ve never heard people say ‘the n-word’. They were calling me a racist and I was futilely attempting to defend my proper liberal beliefs. ‘Of course, I wasn’t CALLING anyone a nigger. My godchildren are black (and specifically not referred to as African-americans, because their father is costa Rican). I would never call someone that. You never can either.’ It went on and on and, I think ultimately served their goal of getting me completely off the topic of ‘flowers for algernon’, which is, as far as I can tell, the goal of all 8th graders. Getting their teacher off topic, that is.
Anyway, I went to a few teachers that I really respect and asked their opinions and you know what? They said they would NEVER use that word in class, even if they were teaching something. They would call it the ‘n-word’. Now, this is an obviously incredibly heated discussion that I cannot spend the time hashing and re-hashing for the next year. But it is one of those times where you realize that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING and that you are ALL ALONE WITH 13-YEAR OLDS ALL DAY. And there are a lot of arguments to be made about using the word, and a lot of arguments to be made for not using it. But ultimately, I think I’ve concluded that with 13-year olds who are below grade-level and on a scripted curriculum are not ready and do not have time for this conversation DURING CLASS. I will invite them to discuss it with me after class if they need to, and I’m willing to bet not a child shows up. I wish they cared THAT much, but ultimately I don’t really think they do yet, and that their main goal was to make me sweat. I hope to be surprised.


Friday, September 03, 2004

i really fucked up today. bad.
i'll tell you the whole story later- when i have more than 5 minutes- but i used the word nigger in my class FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES and just got trampled by 8th graders. it was awful and i feel horrible and upset and totally thrown for a loop. i feel about as bad as i've felt as a teacher.
oh, and i still can't really stand or walk and my left hand keeps going sort of numb on me and i'm still in terrible pain AND i'm going to spend at least 5 hours today in a TRUCK and then sleep on a blow-up mattress for the next 3 days. so we can only imagine how much better this will be by monday.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

driving home today i was seriously tempted to keep driving past my exit because my exit meant i would have to get out of the driver's seat and stand up. i have been standing for about 10 hours today, and my feet hurt and my back hurts and my legs hurt and my neck hurts. i'm in some serious pain, but apparently not so much pain that it stopped me from standing in the parking garage after my class, with three other teachers who i had just met, laughing so hard at what is expected of us that i cried real tears. i actually thought i was going to pee my pants, but somehow i managed to hold it in. i'm still flushed.
it was the third time i cried today, once from reading dooce's entry today and once from recounting a story about redemption from an anne lamott book to some fellow teachers. i don't know if i've mentioned it here before, but i am a endless well of sappy drippiness when it comes to redemption stories. perhaps this is why i am a teacher for low-performing, low-income students. tell me about some middle-class white kid going to harvard and i couldn't be less impressed. but show me the poor african-american kid who got into a state school and i will begin with the tears. most likely they will come every single time i tell someone the story.

anyway, i am in no position to write more tonight because i'm in a state. i'm emotional, in all these good and bad ways, and i'm exhausted beyond belief and i must pack for our labor day trip that will actually involve labor. of the manual variety. by us. in los angeles. regardless, i CAN'T WAIT. three days of adult company sounds like a vacation to me.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

it frightens me no end that there is already halloween candy in the stores. by the time halloween comes, two of my best friends will have had babies. i thought i still had two months to prepare, emotionally, but apparently walgreen's is rushing me into dealing with it NOW.

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