Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another thing they don't tell you about pregnancy:

That one Friday night, you will be sitting there and playing a quiet (yet ruthless) board game with your husband and you will suddenly taste blood in your mouth, and you will wipe your mouth and see a copious amount of blood, and go into the bathroom and see that for no reason your gums have started spontaneously bleeding all over the place.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wrap It Up:

Best thing that happened in 2005

Second best thing to happen in 2005

Worst days of 2005 (and possibly ever)

Worst single moment of 2005

Age turned in 2005

Best trip of 2005

Best book of 2005

Best meal of 2005

Best teaching moment of 2005

Best TV show of 2005

Best new addiction of 2005

Lamest new addiction of 2005

Coming up: 2006, the year our lives change forever.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dear Q,

Thank you for staying with us at Chez Mama. While we at Chez Mama do everything we can to ensure a comfortable stay, we do ask for our guests to follow our basic ground rules. Now that you have developed working ears, we would like you to take a minute to review the ground rules set forth in our Guest Services Welcome Booklet.

1. We have provided you with a warm place in which to sleep. We consider sleeping to be a prime activity for guests of your stature, and appreciate when you participate in the activity we are most used for. Sleep often and well.

2. While we understand you have certain dietary needs, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with your constant requests. Guests are generally served six to eight times per day. Try to keep your requests in that range.

3. While we understand the need to occasionally stretch your limbs, please be aware that there are others who are affected by this activity. We have had complaints from other guests about the banging on the walls, particularly late at night. Keeping this activity to daytime would be much appreciated.

4. There is simply no need to pound on the walls. We are aware of your presence and need no additional reminders. Please refrain from this activity.

We do hope you enjoy your extended stay and we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.

Thank You,
The Management

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Vegas:

Happy holidays from the posthip family to yours.
The posthip household is in Las Vegas for this white (trash) holiday, currently suffering from various ailments that are attempting to get in the way of our main purpose in life: EATING. The lovely beausband is coming down with a cold, and my own seems to have blossomed into full-fledged cold hell- sniffling, sneezing, searing throat, and general grumpiness. I am happy to report that none of this seems to have phased Q, who is content to kick away in the wee hours of the morning AND when we are enjoying musicals. Seems he/she enjoys musicals, which is important in this family.

We have seen so much already in our mere 24 hours here that we are heading out to view the Hoover Dam, a much recommended destination, to see the dessert and do something besides walk and eat and walk and eat and walk and eat (not that I'm complaining!).

Happy holidays to you and yours. Enjoy.

(*UPDATE*): In my cold-induced stupor, I spelled desert DESSERT. It's actually fitting, though, with my food obsession, so I'm going to go ahead and leave it. We went to see dessert.
Feeling much bettter today, yeah for me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Vacation, how I love thee:

Let me count the ways,

1. Sleeping in
2. Not having to prepare for the next day
3. Naps
4. No papers due
5. Bad daytime TV
6. Going places when they aren't crowded
7. Keeping up on news
8. Using the bathroom whenever I want
9. Nobody asking for their grade
10. Keeping up on household chores
11. Talking to friends
12. Seeing the lovely beausband
13. Reading
14. Staying up past 9:00
15. Vegas, baby
16. Eating
17. Nobody caring if I wear the same clothes every day
18. Frittering away days doing nothing
19. Time to think
20. No drama

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Welcome to it:

Folks, it is time for the BOB awards again. Go nominate your favorite blogs in different categories, including education.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm sorry, isn't tomorrow the first day of winter?

It is 71 degrees out.
Clean and Sober:

I have been saying for quite sometime now that I really don't need my SSRI anymore. I had some anxiety a few years ago, went on them, and have been keeping up the dosage ever since. It's been more out of laziness than anything else; I didn't want to deal with the side effects of going off the drug. But emotionally, I feel great, and with being pregnant and all, it became clear that the time was nigh to wean myself.

I took my last 1/4 pill Thursday night, and since Saturday have been feeling increasingly dizzy. Yesterday, I woke up and could barely turn over AND the power was out due to some problem that was occurring RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR FRONT WINDOW, that was causing Bella to bark incessantly at the repairmen traipsing across our lawn.

Four days without the SSRI. Pregnancy hormones. Construction outside the window, starting at 7 a.m. Very dizzy. Barking dog. No power.

It turns out I might have some teeny rage issues.

I went out and tried my best to be calm with the repairmen, but their cavalier attitude didn't help things. They "could not give me" an estimated time of repair.

I deperately wanted to take something, like an Ativan or a bottle of wine, because I was truly afraid for those repairmen's safety. I don't think they realized how much they were inconveniencing ME here, and at that moment, I couldn't see past that. I wonder how they would have reacted when I was out there in my pajamas, screaming about hormones and no SSRI's and how "I need the Internet, for godsake". I think they would have laughed, and then I totally would have beat them up. All ten of them, who kept walking across MY lawn.

See, I totally don't need the SSRI. I'm fine.
Relief, pure and sweet:

My 17-page project is done.

My semester is over and I can relax.

Only one more semester of SJSU (in which I have to take a methods of teaching science course- how helpful to this English teacher!), and then all of this ridiculous credentialing will be over.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

BellyB to the Uttons:

For twelve years now, I have had a belly button ring.

You get used to these sorts of things after twelve years. You rub your stomach and you play a little with the ring. You see it every time you shower. You know your belly button ring, in the most biblical sense of the word.

Now, I knew when I got pregnant I would have to take the belly button ring out. I didn't have a real problem with that; twelve years is probably long enough. Big pregnant bellies with popped out belly buttons still holding on to rings can't be cute, no matter how you cut it.

I've given up cigarettes, alcohol, anxiety meds, caffeine, and any smidgen of unhealthiness in my life. What's a belly button ring at this point?

But when I went to take it out, I couldn't get it off. I tried twisting and pulling and cutting it with wire cutters. Nothing worked. Maybe it's a sign, I thought.

So finally, I went down to the local tattoo parlor, where they do piercings, and told the lady behind the counter I had a challenge for her piercer.

"My belly button ring won't come off. I think it's just old school or something, made really well, but I've tried everything."

She looked at me a little confused, and said "Our piercer isn't in yet, but I can get it off you in about one second if you want me to." I'm going to be honest, I doubted the young thing behind the counter. Everyone I know has tried to get it out; clearly there was more here than people from her generation knew how to deal with.

"Sure", I said, "give it a whirl". As she was walking around the counter to me, she said "You just want to get your fingernail between the ring and the ball and it pops right out". As she was talking, I was following her instructions, and POP! Out it came, no problem at all.

So now I have a naked belly, decorated only by my the growing baby inside of it.

Posthip, indeed.
Is it ever really over?

I have one more major hurdle to overcome here, and that is to write a 30-day unit plan on The Diary of Anne Frank, and a rationale about why I'm choosing the lessons I'm choosing, and a reflection on the project.

Do you know how much I do NOT want to do this project? Do you know how much I would rather just sit on the couch and poke at the little baby inside me, and have it kick back at me? I am working with zero inspiration for lesson plans here, people. It is Christmas break! I want to do nothing! And then more nothing! And then take a nap!

I'm also officially completely off my SSRI, as of three days ago, and I am as dizzy as a person can be. I can barely get up (which is actually a good thing, because I certainly can sit on the couch and work on the computer. that fact really ruins my day). I'm holding onto things when I get up, and walking really slowly, but otherwise feel fine. There are no cures for dizziness.

If anyone were here, I would be doing a lot of whining. "I don't waaaaant to work!", I would say. But no one is, so you, dear Internet, get the brunt of my procrastination tactics. Lucky you.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Odds & Ends:

This morning I woke up with a bloody nose- an apparently normal situation in pregnancy. I've never had one in my whole life; they are strange.

The kids were very subdued today. Perhaps because I was a bad teacher and just showed a movie and called it a day.

Rice Krispie Treats are totally underrated and may quickly become my new obsession.

I got a buttload of used maternity clothes from a very cool woman yesterday for $50.

It is officially Christmas break, and I celebrated properly by coming home and going straight down for a nap, then waking up at 6:00 and not remembering if it was a.m. or p.m.

I am so sad.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The World Has Turned Upside Down On Its Head:

I have only recently heard about this phenomenon called birth gifts. Apparently, some women expect or want a nice gift (often jewelry) for, I suppose, some payback on living through nine months of a hijacked body, and a horrifically painful party at the end.

Sorry, I still think it's weird, and sort of tacky.

Now I most certainly know pregnancy is not easy. It sucks in many ways (it's also totally freaking cool in many ways), and it's been an incredibly tough experience to get through. But I do not want to deny that it has been hard (and also joyous) for my husband as well. As I laid on the couch, writhing in nausea and feeling that the world was going to end, my husband was getting up early SEVEN DAYS A WEEK to get to work and make extra money so we can spend some time at home once the baby comes. I cannot claim this has been easy for him either, and he's done it all without complaining (Not surprisingly, I cannot say the same.).

Now, I do not want to deny my husband the joy of giving me a little token when the baby comes- like a gift certificate for a massage, or a housecleaner for the first month of the baby's life, or some gift certificates that he will get up with the baby sometimes (Who am I kidding? Have you MET my husband? He is chomping at the bit to be involved in any aspect of the baby's life, even if it means in the middle of the night. God bless him.).

Quite frankly, the best birth gift my husband could give me is to be supportive and quiet during the birth, and then be my partner in parenthood for the next 20 years or so. Diamonds? I can live without them. But a great father and role model? My babies can't live without that.

Monday, December 12, 2005

More On Williams:

Not surprisingly, Stanley Tookie Williams was not granted clemency today. In class, we read an article from the newspaper from Saturday that discussed life in South Central and the ravaging of the community in the last 30 years. I brought this back to a discussion about the similarities and differences in the community in which my students live and South Central. We also discussed community involvement and what you can do to make your community a better place. It was a fulfilling lesson, for me, and made me remember why I want to teach.

My principal walked through about halfway through one of the lessons and stayed awhile. She is not the type that encourages moving away from the pre-set curriculum, and like many other administrators in my district, she has an elementary mindset.

Elementary mindset says that these are children, and that they cannot handle this sort of information, and that they should be protected. I do not have an elementary mindset. I believe teenagers respond best when given adult information (in little chunks, and with an adult to help them figure it out), and are treated as young adults. Unless the prove themselves otherwise, this is how I choose to treat them. Quite frankly, they gobble it up. Don't misunderstand me here- I did not show "Redemption", an R-rated movie about Stanley William's life, although I considered it. What many of my students live with on a daily basis is much worse than anything I would consider showing them. But there are also many who are still pretty innocent, and there innocence must be protected to a certain extent.

Finding the balance is hard, and I've made mistakes in the past. I don't think I made a mistake with this, though, and would have no problem defending my position. We shall see.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Step Up, Moms (and Dads):

So it's probably time for the posthipchick household to register for all this baby paraphernalia we are going to need. But, um, we don't really know what that is exactly. What do we really NEED for the first few months? The first year? After?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I love my life:

Conversation recently has turned often to Stanley Tookie Williams, and his unknown fate. I mentioned using articles in my classroom, and I've been talking to many others, who often have opposing views from my own, about the case. It is interesting to hear what people have to say about the case, the death penalty, and redemption. I've heard various opinions, various reasons, various voices.

My mom took issue with the fact that Stanley Tookie Williams claims to have started the Crips. She went to high school in Compton, and graduated well before 1970, when Williams claims to have begun the Crips. She remembers the Bloods and Crips feuding then, and was not clear why he gets the credit (?) for starting the gang.

Lucky for her, one of my student's uncle helped Williams form the gang and is in San Quentin with him. She was kind enough to contact him last night to help us put this question to rest.

"Ms. J", she came in today, "I called my uncle in San Quentin last night, and he says that the Crips and Bloods were fighting before 1970, but they weren't organized. Tookie helped them organize."

So he's sort of like a union organizer, but of gangs. Thank goodness for my connections, to help put questions like this to rest.
Posthipchick secret:

Today I slept for an hour in my car.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

50% is an F:

I did grades this week; almost exactly 50% of my students are getting F's in my classes. That doesn't include all the D's, which is still unacceptable in my book (but which causes many students to say "Yeees!", when I tell them they are receiving a D). It's funny- this year is going so much smoother than the last two. Sure, there's the 6th graders, who seem placed on Earth to drive me crazy, but even that doesn't merit much complaint. They are kids, they tattle, they need directions 100 times, they are hyper, blah, blah, blah. It's more a matter of incompatibility than it is a "problem". My 8th graders are typical 8th graders- a little sassy, a little attitude, desperate for respect (which I give them), and to have someone listen to them. Throw me a little attitude- just try. The rest of the students in my class will knock you down. I am definitely not friends with my students, but they barely even try to push me anymore. That battle has been won.

I don't know what to do anymore about the academics. Sure, I could spend all of my spare time calling parents- but don't they get the progress reports sent home with big F's? Out of 55 F's, I will probably get two calls from parents who are concerned.

I give these students directions, instructions, chances to draw it and write it and stand on their head if it makes them learn it, and still... Nothing. I'm knocking on doors and nobody is home. You may (or may not) be shocked by how many 8th grade students need to be prompted into the most basic things, like what a noun is. I would say at least 75% of my students couldn't tell you right off the bat. A noun. Where have they spent the last nine years of their lives?

I try giving positive reinforcement, and it works with the students who are already doing well. I tell them again to have a good summer in summer school while the rest of us are relaxing. That will get them furtively working for about 15 minutes.

Doesn't a person have to have a smidgen of self-motivation? I cannot carry 110 students. They are going to need to do something here, too. But 50% getting F's? It is clear that I have failed as a teacher, because 50% is an F. Is this fair? Am I doing something wrong? Is there more I should be doing? Or is it a problem that I cannot tackle? Are my student's grades NOT actually my fault? Where do you fall on this arguement?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

People We Hate:

1. Suburban drivers. Who taught these people how to drive? You do not have to come to a complete stop in the middle of the street before turning into a driveway, people. Just pull to the right and get on in there. You'll be fine.

2. Sixth graders. Yeah, I know I loved them at the beginning of the year. Sure, they are enthusiastic and eager to please. But you know what? Turns out I don't really care for eager to please. Bring on the bad attitudes and teenage angst. I'm totally there.

3. People who do 60 in the fast lane. There's three other lanes for that, folks. Leave this one for me and let me drive a reasonable speed.

4. Perfect-skinned people who tell you what kind of face products to use. You have PERFECT skin; it doens't matter for you. For me, it matters.

5. Teachers who don't want you to ask questions at staff meetings, because it keeps them going longer. It was bad enough last year when the administration wouldn't permit questions, but now you have to go at it to? Not cool.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Monday, in review:

Today I had my students read two articles about Stanley Tookie Williams; one that was for his execution, one that was against it.

It goes without saying that the kids were extremely engaged and interested in the topic. They had some great insight about gangs, which I admittedly know little about, that they shared with me. It was a fascinating discussion overall (prolific, I know, but I'm exhausted).

The winners of today's discussions go to one of my students in each class, when San Quentin was mentioned, calling out excitedly, "My dad is in San Quentin!" Hmmm, funny. Moving right along...

In other news, the alien now moves on his own accord and you can SEE IT! From outside the stomach! And it's WEIRD!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Romance with a capital R:

In doing my mandatory 'what to expect during labor and delivery' reading this morning, it came to my attention that there is a way to avoid ripping or tearing during childbirth. Apparently, doing regular interior perineum massages in the few months prior to childbirth decreases your chances of ripping during childbirth. Obviously, this job falls on your loving partner, who wants nothing more than to come home from a long day of work, wash up, and give you a perineum massage for awhile. Fun for the whole family! But my big question is this- what does one DO while getting the massage? Read a magazine? Watch a little TV? Make polite conversation?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Is anyone interested?

Inspired by Ms. Frizzle getting blogging teachers in NYC together for a happy hour, I thought I'd throw out the idea of getting blogging teachers in the Bay Area together for a little meeting. I'm sort of 'not in the happy hour' space, but what about a coffee shop meeting/ discussion? Is anyone interested? If so, what days work for you?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

This week has been hard.

I don't know why exactly, but I could guess at a few things, like:

- the vomiting
- the nausea
- the semester-long project that was due on Wednesday that I started on Tuesday
- the presentation I had to give for another class tonight
- the pouring rain
- my truly annoying support provider who simply WILL NOT LET UP and I simply don't care about anything he has to say anymore
- the post-Thanksgiving fall

On Monday, I showed a movie. On Tuesday I taught, but my heart wasn't in it. I called in sick on Wednesday. Today we went to the library. I am a terrible teacher this week. I just don't have the energy or stamina right now, and I think I'm having a bit of a hormonal swing to top it off (read: I just want to cry all the time). Thank god for this year's students, who, when I tell them "I really don't feel well today and need you to just work quietly", actually just work quietly (Ok, 90% of them. But still.). I think I must be beginning the whole career vs. motherhood dilemma- not being able to put 100% into your job anymore and feeling guilty about it, and not being able to give 100% to your family (in this case, being able to just slow down when I need to), and feeling guilty. I've known, theoretically, for awhile that this would come. I also know that millions of women go through this daily, and that millions more go through a lot worse. But it doesn't make it any easier. I need Christmas break in such a serious way. It feels all downhill from there, minus the whole labor and commitment for the rest of my life thing. I'm sure this will be 1,000 times more difficult once the baby is actually here, and not just traveling around with me like I'm a kangaroo without a pouch. This week just sucks and I cannot wait for Friday, with my Friday tradition: a nap and take-out. Sounds like heaven to me.
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