Saturday, September 30, 2006

Christmas Craziness Already

My sister-in-law has decided that she is going to break a 15 year old tradition and not come to our house for Christmas. Now I don't really give a rat's behind. However, she has aggravated the living daylight's out of my sister, PrincipalGirl. PrincipalGirl is single, no children and has been the best aunt in the world to PrepGirl and BrownBear. She and PrepGirl share the same birthday and they have always been close. She and BrownBear are funny together. They have the same wicked sense of humor. Ever since our mother died, she has picked up the slack and been doing the kinds of things our mother used to do for the girls.

PrincipalGirl and my brother live in the same town and she has been the same kind of fabulous aunt to NephewBoy that she has been to my girls. She feels that our sista-n-law has made some kind of ultimatum and PrincipalGirl is going to have to choose which family she is going to spend Christmas with. Exactly what she's done, by the way. Not to mention that sista-n-law drinks too much and really has no idea how to parent a child, let alone our nephew.

Sidebar: NephewBoy is in their bed - they don't want him there but they aren't bold enough to get him out. Little Man is ruling the roost and he knows it. The funny part is that my brother and sista-n-law are talking about wanting another child. Have they lost their minds? They don't handle the one they have. Two years ago Christmas, there were four adults trying to keep up with this one during the Christmas Eve service. People want to know why I sing in the choir - NephewBoy is one of the reasons.

So, everyone is up in arms, and I am happily planning a small, QUIET, Christmas here in the house. Fire in the fireplace, music on the ipod, pies in the oven, and shhhhhhhhhh, NephewBoy 600 miles away, being a tiny tyrant in his own tiny kingdom. All my Christmas knickknacks out, and the baby Jesus happy in the manger, not six feet up so NephewBoy can't get to Him. PrincipalGirl is going to have to get a grip and a flight to Christmas heaven, just an hour and a half by air.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Back in the Saddle....Again?

I think I am better. I haven't really choked and croaked and pick the nasty verb, but you get my drift. After steroids, antibiotics, and decongestants the size of my thumb, you would think all was well. I think I have partially diagnosed the problem, however. I had to go to a writing workshop on Friday and one of the teachergirls I was there with is a youngster of sorts, long, luscious curly hair, and a party every other night. Apparently party-teachergirl has two dogs and three cats and she must let them sleep in her hair, because the chick smelled like a wet dog. I have had my dog allergies in the past and cats could quite literally knock me down, but I have never had a reaction to anything quite like I had as I spent the entire day sitting next to her, trying to get into the lap of another colleague. My other colleague laughed and laughed and laughed; I thought the presenter was finally going to ask what the joke was, but fortunately for us, he just ignored us. I couldn't help but think about that Seinfeld episode where he couldn't get the smell out of his car. That's how bad it was. BAD. I had to shower and wash all the clothes I had on as soon as I got home. But the worst part of all was Friday morning, I was feeling pretty good. By the time party-teachergirl got through with me, I felt like I had completely relapsed. I felt like I had been hit by a truck - head stopped back up, couldn't hear because my ears were so stopped up- I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital.

So, do you think I have been suffering with allergies these weeks?

My word. Maybe that's what started it, but, baby, it cut me down with a vengeance.

I sang in the choir today - we were good. ChoirGuy was happy. But after four years with us knuckleheads, you'd think he'd realize we were going to get it eventually. Well, maybe it was because he has been with us for four years that he didn't think we were going to get it. You see, we're ChoirGuy's amateurs. We're not his university choir and we're not his audition choir. We're his church choir. Now, he treats us like we're the others and sometimes we butt heads - see more during the Christmas season - but after four years of rehearsals and performances with ChoirGuy, I think we're in the groove. He smiles a lot more than he used to. And trust me, being up there on that platform with him, it's important to see a little smile once in a while.

Got a full week coming up. Math Night Thursday and LawyerBoy is coming with BrownBear. He gets to see me be her teachergirl. Can't wait for that.

ABC is going to show Grey's Anatomy for me on Friday night this week. Thanks, guys. Since I have to be at school Thursday night, it helps a lot. Really. Thanks. Keep up the good work

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sick of Being Vilified

Just flying through blogs this morning, hitting sites randomly, when I came upon one by some homeschooling mom. She has the audacity to post 'Why I HomeSchool' and then link every story about stupid school teachers and principals who have sex or expose themselves to students. I had to comment on her page. I couldn't help it. I am tired of being the bad guy. I am working my butt off every single solitary day trying to help children and she is out there looking for the stupid people who are not only not doing their jobs, but doing other criminally insane acts.

In my state, you only need to have a high school diploma or a to teach your kids at home. Check it out for yourselves. I had to jump through so many hoops to get where I am today, you wouldn't believe it. And yet, these homeschoolers are so holier than thou, you would think that they had created the world in six days.

This homeschooler from today stated that she pulled her children out of school because they were behind in math and then went on to state that they were having trouble getting through the math curriculum she had picked out and her husband wasn't going to let her buy anything else. She then went on to state that she doesn't know her multiplication tables herself and if she ever had a question multiplication question, she would just ask her husband. Good gracious. Does she realize that her tax dollars are hard at work paying for a math curriculum that differentiates instruction for children? That we require our students to master their multiplication tables? That we time them when they do it? All I can ask is what the hell? What do the homeschooling masses think is going on?

Do they have homedoctors and homedentists and homelawyers and homeplumbers and homehospitals and homegrocers and homecollege and home.... you get my drift. Life isn't pretty and everything you need to learn, you learn in kindergarten. I firmly believe that.

I believe schools would be amazing places if parents really believed in the triangle: students, teachers and parents working together. My students are Catholics, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, Protestants, Hindus, Middle Easterners, and Caucasians; they are what makes America America. All this in the salad bowl as BrownBear now says we are. Each of us learning about the other- getting stronger and learning how to get along with each other.

Now, let the good teachers alone and let them teach. We really do a good job. But who would know? Oh, I know. The kids know. Just ask them. They'll tell you. They really will.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Remembering Anthony Peluso

Today's post is about a man I never met. Today's post is about a man who woke up five years ago today, got up and went to his job on a beautiful September morning way up high in one of the most magnificent buildings in New York City. You could see forever from the top of his job. Today's post is about Anthony Peluso, a construction supervisor for Structure Tone. His job put him inside the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

I agreed to take part in the 2,996:A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11 and I was assigned Anthony's name. I wasn't sure how to honor someone I had never met. But, I remembered the horror of that day and the days to follow.

The not knowing and then the knowing.

I realized that the important thing was to remember. To remember that there was a man who was engaged to a beautiful woman; to remember that there was a man who was the son of a wonderful father and mother; to remember that there was a man who was a loving uncle. To remember that life is fragile and beautiful and precious - and Anthony was all those things to many people.

And so, on this day, we take time to remember Anthony and his life.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Keep Your Sick Self Home

Ill. Deathly ill. Kids, Moms and Dads, listen up. Your kids are little germ incubators. Keep them home if they're sick. All that hacking and snotting and blowing has turned its ugly head on me and kept me home. Going to the doctor and everything. No voice; I think it's bronchitis. My classroom must be a germ factory this year. Must. Buy. More. Lysol.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sorry, Katie

Running home from cheer practice with PrepGirl this evening when I realized that Katie Couric was starting her new job tonight. Missed her opening; sorry, Katie; I was too busy being the Mom.

Just wondering who was being the Mom at your house.

Sounds harsh, but at my house, there's too much going on in the morning for there to be meaningful conversation. Dinnertime is when we gather 'round the pot roast and find out the scoop on everyone's day. The CBS Evening News comes on right smack dab in the middle of dinner, so there's really not a lot of hope for Katie at our house. (Or Brian or Elizabeth, for that matter.)

My own girls gave me grief for fighting the Mommy Wars with Katie. I just wondered outloud who was eating dinner with the Monahan girls; they chided me about making career choices and said all those things you want to hear your independent-minded daughters say.

So, good luck, Katie. If I was making anywhere near your salary, maybe I'd contemplate doing my life differently. But I wonder if my contribution would still be the same.

Friday, September 01, 2006

September, Finally

I am so glad it is finally September. Now, I expect it to feel like fall. School is running pretty well, but now we're going to have to start testing next week. We have about three weeks to teach Civil War (in 30 minute segments) and I am just about crazed with the new Math standards. I have a college degree, but I swear, I just don't get the big picture. Just what do we want to teach the children?

Whatever...tonight is the big football game between PrepGirl's high school and their biggest (BIGGEST) rival. We have to go to the other school and I've heard that there will be 5000 people there. Five thousand people!!!! Where am I supposed to park?

At least Ernesto is history.

adopt your own virtual pet!