Friday, September 30, 2005

another thing:

i keep forgetting to mention it here, but with all these changes occurring in our lives, we have made yet another big decision (one that probably would have come anyway, baby or no baby). approximately two weeks before my due date (cause we are crazy like this), we will be moving our home back to The Only Place To Live, san francisco. who wants to raise a child in these here suburbs, when there are homeless people to meet and trash to step over and also fabulous museums and diverse communities and a lot of fog and bus routes to learn and grandmothers close by? also, a year+ in the suburbs has taught me that we are not suburbs people.

i cannot wait to go home.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

i've finally figured out why i'm having a baby:

it's because i feel too old to shop at hot topic, but now i can buy the baby all sorts of cool clothes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

and did i mention?

that the lovely beausband has got himself a blog!

now you'll find out who the real writer in the family is.
the state of our youth:

i am, once again, aghast at the level my 8th graders are coming in at. i'm also at a loss- how does one begin to help a student whose writing looks like this:

i wen the stor i sau a gost

i am given extremely limited resources- essentially resources to help a student who is performing on an 8th grade level. this student is 14, already held back one year, and will be socially promoted at the end of the year no matter what i do. i know i could go out and purchase the resources myself- i'm sure they're not THAT expensive- but with a baby on the way, and the fact that teachers don't get any disability pay for maternity leave (trust me, i'm saving THAT rant for another post), i'm trying to pinch pennies here. this boy is nice enough- doesn't cause many disruptions- but every day, at the end of the period, i excuse students who are finished with their work. and every day, he stays in at brunch to have me do the assignment with him. there is no other place for him at my school, no other levels being taught besides things he's already done. and let's be honest, teaching somebody the same exact thing, the same exact way, TWICE, probably isn't going to help anyone.

i am giving you only one example here. of course, the majority of my students are not quite as far behind as this one, but most are not far ahead. those that are on grade level are usually put into GATE classes, and based purely on entrance tests, about 95% of my students are at least two years below grade level. i know i'm not the only teacher out there facing this- i imagine we all are- but it's still distressing every year. it's defeating to realize how much better things could be for these kids with a few changes that essentially boil down to more money. first, smaller class sizes. this particular student is in my 39-person class, which you can imagine isn't serving anyone particularly well. also, money for resources and the choice by teachers to use said resources (we are on a "guided" curriculum and are not permitted to supplement it with other materials).

this is always a problem for me at the beginning of the year- the overwhelming feeling that i will never do enough. as the year progresses, i find ways to help, but it feels so daunting when you look at the big picture.

Monday, September 26, 2005

um, hi? it's posthipchick. and i'm wondering, um? why does tony danza have a talk show?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

had i been forthcoming with you about the pregnancy earlier, you would have had the opportunity to enjoy daily entries like this:

today started out like any other- wake up, vomit, lie on the bathroom floor for about 10 minutes moaning, take a shower not knowing if i can stay vertical for a full 5 minutes, vomit, try to eat a little cereal, make absolutely no attempt at putting on make-up or even a little product in the hair, and then head to the doctor for an un-pregnancy related appointment.
shuffle in to the office, bent over, eye where closest bathroom is, sit in a ball on a chair trying not to moan in public and get in to see the doctor. once the doctor arrives, i attack him for help. i haven't been able to eat more than a few saltines for days, i throw up constantly, nothing helps, i need help, please help, or i am going to die. he asks when was the last time i urinated, and i don't remember. it had to have been at least 18 hours ago, but i haven't noticed, what with all the vomiting. i get a rush iv of fluids and even after an entire liter (which makes me vomit), i'm still dehyrdated. they give me another liter and things get better, dehyrdationwise. i'm still vomiting every 30 minutes or so, so i don't really feel any better, if i even know what better feels like anymore. i have been in the pit of hell for awhile now. finally, three hours after arrival, they give me a suppository and tell me it should work within an hour. i lie in a darkened room for an hour, feeling like i'm going to vomit, but not actually vomiting. it's hard to rate this as an improvement. my husband gets there about an hour later to take me and my wreck of a self home. i haven't thrown up in at least 4 hours now, but i've been asleep most of that time. just another day in the first trimester world.

they had to put me on a medication after this, or else i wouldn't have been able to work and would have had to visit the er every few days for an iv, since i really couldn't keep anything down. i feel about 2 million times better than i did this day, but i still feel like complete ass. today has been really hard- the nausea has me writhing and moaning yet again. i haven't done anything to prepare for school this week, and can't even imagine doing so. it's a pity party over here. commence further moaning.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

following the fig:

according to my week-by-week email from babycenter, the fetus is now the size of a fig! i like figs, so this seems alright for now (although i fear the day it is compared to a watermelon, even though i like those too). well, fig, if you will, is a very hungry little guy. also, thirsty. also, likes to sit on mom's bladder.
so basically, my day is spent following the fig around. i eat breakfast, and an hour later i feel like my body is canniblizing itself. i drink gallons of water and it's never enough. i drink even more. i pee. and pee. and get up to pee. tending to my body is a very serious endeavor these days, one that requires my constant attention. i feel like i just follow my body around- "ok, what do we need now? oh, it's 1 a.m. and we need a bagel. fine. and a big glass of juice. fine. and to pee. and to pee." needless to say, it's endless and a little boring to be so tied to the physical. normally, i could be hungry and i could ignore it for a bit. not anymore, no siree! the fig has needs, and if i deny them, i don't even want to begin telling you what happens, but it usually ends with me lying on the couch and moaning for hours. trust me, you'd do anything to avoid that, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

a return to our regularly scheduled blog program:

kozol has a new book out, about the continuing segregation in american schools, and salon has a fascinating interview with him.
go, read!
what i ate:

something terrible has happened with this pregnancy, something i never anticipated. i assumed the nausea (although i had no idea it would be that bad), and the vomiting (really, not so bad after the nausea), but as a total food snob, i didn't know that i wouldn't even WANT to eat. or, that when i do eat, it's a lot of crackers and buttermilk biscuits and potatoes, and that's what i WANT. who WANTS biscuits, day after endless day? that'd be the pregnant lady. i can't even bear the smell of most of my favorite foods, and anything with a spice makes me want to run to the bathroom. i went to the grocery store today, and while i was eating like a 1-year old for awhile, it's clear the pregnancy has progressed and now i'm eating like a 6-year old (who has the chance to buy WHATEVER he wants at the store).

purchased today at the grocery store (i don't even usually go to the grocery store):
stoffer's french bread pizza
ceral bars
pudding cups
vegetable pot pie
macaroni and cheese, frozen

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

all i can tell you:

all i can tell you is this: i have spent the past 20 years or so being angry and cynical and bitter and dark-humored, and nothing- NOTHING- has prepared me for the sheer and total joy i experienced today. we did not get to hear the heartbeat- we got to SEE it, along with the rest of the walnut-sized (they are always described in relation to food) baby that is VERY active and busy inside my belly right now. we could see all of its fingers poking around, and legs a'moving and arms a'flapping and it was as if everything else disappeared. before now, this has been so abstract- it has felt more like a parasite than a pregnancy- but seeing that baby so very alive inside me was, quite simply, the most amazing thing i have ever experienced. it just washed me away.

Monday, September 19, 2005

what i wanted to say, or post-post-posthip:

almost two months ago, i returned home from a camping trip and took not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR at-home pregnancy tests AND a doctor's pregnancy test, before i actually believed there was the slightest chance of something being alive inside of me. and then i cried a lot, because there has been no moment in my life sweeter than this very moment, and then, not long after, i began throwing up. i will save my whole "morning" sickness tirade for another post, because i could go on and on and on. since that day, there has been a roller coaster of ups and downs (mostly downs, as the first trimester is nobody's idea of a party), but all the while there has been this other thing happening too, this little tiny life budding, and the lovely beausband and i arranging our lives around this little budding, and there has been a whole lot of love, more than i ever could have imagined.
i realize millions of people go through this every day, but when it happens to you, you really do believe you are the ONLY person who has experienced this miracle. it is at once terrifying and exhilirating and totally unbelievable, when you stop throwing up long enough to consider it.
in a few minutes, we will head to the doctor and hear the heartbeat for the first time, which i hear is the shining light in this whole first trimester, and one i've been looking forward to for weeks. be happy that i waited this long to tell the internet, or you would have had to suffer the last two months like my husband, hearing about EVERY LAST horrible thing the body does during pregnancy. thank me later.

only two hours, 45 minutes until i can go to bed.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

i am a pathetic laze-about, even for me:

i am still fighting off this disgusting cold, which has zapped me of all of my energy. yesterday's 2-hour trip to the mall sent me home for a 3-hour nap. after rising, i was up for about 5 hours before falling into a nice 8-hour sleep pattern. at 8 a.m. this morning, however, leaving the bed seemed like the LAST thing a person should do. so, in bed i stayed, rolling about a bit with my book and laptop, until i fell back to sleep at 11 and rose, finally, to join the world at 2:30 p.m. go me! the 60 lbs. of textbooks i brought home for lesson planning are still in the front seat of my car. the house still needs to be cleaned, and errands still need to be run. i am sitting in the darkened living room, drinking some juice. i might just call this day a by.

Friday, September 16, 2005

flowers for algernon:

the time has come again, as it does every year, for my lovely darlings to read flowers for algernon, one of my favorite stories. it's one of the few stories taught in the curriculum that takes more than one day to read and my students always say that it (or anne frank, the other more-than-one-day story) was their favorite thing we did. anyway, have you read flowers for algernon? it's the story of a man who is mentally retarded but gets an operation to make him smarter and finds out all of the negative things that come with intelligence. he loses it again at the end of the story- goes back to dumb and happy- and i always cry during the part where he knows he's losing his intelligence but can't do anything about it. 8th graders love a weepy teacher! so in my english major opinion, this is essentially a retelling of adam and eve eating from the tree of knowledge and being punished. and i'm not even a rocket scientist! so today, sort of off the cuff, i mentioned that and the kids seemed interested in discussing, so as they were working, i looked up genesis on the internet, printed out copies for everyone of the story of adam and eve, and then read it together in class. then i asked them a bunch of questions about how it paralleled flowers for algernon and they were ON IT! it was a great discussion and was actually about literature, not just indefinite pronouns or one of those other dry grammar subjects we must continue to teach. i love when lessons just sort of happen like that, and work out, and everyone enjoys it so much. makes me happy to be a teacher.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

once again, i'm left speechless:

i was trying to get students to give suggestions to our chronic "book-forgetters" about how they could remember their books from home.

i suggested putting a post-it note on the door that says "REMEMBER BOOK!"

the response "no, i don't like to read in the mornings. it gives me a headache."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

i know there are plenty of you out there right now, just breathing in and out and not realizing what a privilege it is TO BE ABLE TO BREATHE. posthipchick, on the other hand, is laboriously attempting to get shallow breaths through her MOUTH, for the love of god. it doesn't always work, because then the coughing begins.
also, you are out there, with a nose area that is not bright red, with a painful pimple around it, from all of the blowing and sneezing and kleenex use over the past three days.
posthipchick is here to tell you: please don't take your easy breathing, non-raw face for granted. it's a gift.

Monday, September 12, 2005

teaching today:

*cough, cough*
"ok class, let's get started on the *sneeze* *nose-blow* warm-up".
*blow nose* *sniffle*
"ok, what's the *choke* *cough* answer to *blow nose* number one?"
*blow nose* *blow nose*

i'm not going to work tomorrow.
why does everyone get sick when school starts?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

men are gonna love this fascinating post:

in some sort of karmic unluck, the posthipchick household has spent the last two weekends driving up and down the california coast to weddings that were located an hour apart, on two separate weekends, but work did not permit us to just spend the three days of last week we weren't down south vacationing in the lovely area (it would be very bad to miss the second week of school, don't you think?).
but now we are home, and there are no more weddings this year (or even next year, that we know of), and are going NOWHERE for awhile.
this weekend i managed to bring back a little souvenier- a horrific sore throat and stuffy nose. just what you want to start an insanely busy week! i love working with kids and their germs!

i tend to be pretty thorough in my packing (read: i bring everything i own, and then some things other people own, because you never know), but these past two weekends, i have not been completely checked in. last weekend, i forgot my hair products and had to get by with the lovely beausband's, and this weekend, the unspeakable happened. i forgot my blowdrier and flat iron at home. most of you, thank god, have never had to experience what my hair looks like when much time and attention has not been paid to it, but it looks something like the bastard child of richard simmons and jo from facts of life. it's not good, any way you cut it. i tried to get by on friday night for the rehearsal dinner, but let me tell you, it simply wasn't working. so on saturday, before the wedding, i had to go and pay $30 to have my hair blown out and flattened and looking exactly how it looks every day that i do it for free! imagine if you could get the clients lined up at $30 for 30 minutes with a flat iron. if you worked an 8-hour day, you could make almost $500/ day. it's not bad, being that the best flat irons only cost about $150. see, didn't i tell you guys? isn't this one something to come back to again and again?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

posthipchick secret:

this morning i had a rootbeer float for breakfast.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

jumbling through:

another school year starting and things are quickly a'jumble in posthipchick's school district. most notably, our union is attempting to negotiate both salary and benefits with the school district right now. salary is a small issue compared to benefits. currently, for kaiser (the worst and cheapest health care) for just one little person (me), i pay about $120/ month. if the district gets their way, next month i will begin paying over $200/ month for kaiser (the worst and cheapest health care). on my own, i can get kaiser for little more than that. no other district in our area has their employees paying ANYWHERE near that (the closest another district pays is $50/ month, and they all go down from there). i have already planned on dropping out of our healthcare "benefits" when the lovely beausband's open enrollment comes up in november, because i can get the best ppo plan through his work for $100 less per month. it's insanity. there is serious talk about striking, something i dread for a myriad of reasons. however, when push came to shove, i'd be out on the picket lines in a heartbeat. i don't really feel like i have a choice.

in other a'jumble (do you like how i just made up a word?) news, the schedules this year are worthless. we are supposed to have 'core' classes- two hours of language arts and reading with the same students. because of scheduling issues, i have classes where all but one student stays the same during the two classes. it is a total logistical nightmare. i am also splitting one of my language arts/ reading classes with another teacher and i have the language arts section. do you know how boring it is to teach GRAMMAR for an hour? i'm going to mix in writing as well, but still. i have a firm belief that students need more exposure to literature to help improve their grammar/ writing skills, not rote grammar exercises. i'm trying to figure out a way to use literature circles to teach grammar, but i haven't quite got it down. suggestions very welcome.

Monday, September 05, 2005

labor day:

we drove through the central valley of california today and you know who DIDN'T get labor day off (and i'm sure aren't getting paid time and a half, as our grocery store checkout person was)? that's right, the actual laborers. farm workers, of the mexican variety all, were toiling away today under the hot sun, as i'm sure they do every day they can get work.
the state of our country seems to have gone from bad to worse of late. i'm disillusioned enough working in the public schools (side note: my brother was a die-hard republican until he worked in inner city schools for a few years. i think all republicans should give that a whirl and let us know afterwards if they can manage to stick to their politics as they watch person after person fall through the cracks.), particularly a public school entrenched in poverty and segregation, but what has occurred this week in new orleans is enough to make a person's head swim. i've been glued to the tv and i turned to my husband at some point and said "it looks like somalia". people in this country give lip service to poverty, at best, and at worst we have a situation like new orleans, where poor people of color are suffering worse than we believed americans were capable of. also, if the media doesn't shut up about the looting soon, i'm really going to lose my shit. you hear "looting, looting, looting", and i don't know about you, but i've seen the same six looters about 100 times now. i understand that lawlessness has become de rigor for some, but the new orleans police don't have a particularly good history of treating their citizens- especially their poor, black citizens- with a lot of compassion or helpfulness. i do not excuse the behavior, but i also think that demonizing a small few in national media as commonplace is counterproductive.
this country has taken a hit, and struggling people of color have taken it the hardest. poverty and inequalities of race are slowly destroying this country and its' people, and new orleans is a wake-up call to that. i hope for more dialogue about these issues from our government officials in the wake of this tragedy, AFTER they finish dealing with the horrific logistical mess they have in front of them.
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