Saturday, March 31, 2007

TGIS (thank god its saturday!)

So work went fine this week, but sitting in an office is certainly putting a cramp in my "style." (Is that the correct saying? Or is it a CRIMP in my style? I'm not sure. Cramp sounds good to me.)

Right now, the office isn't at all busy, so I don't have a lot to do. It makes the time go a lot slower, and I keep thinking of all the things I SHOULD be doing at home. Not that I WOULD be doing them.
It would be great if I could sit at my desk in the office and play on the internet, but my work computer is not attached. The only thing I can play is solitaire.

Flo came in to the office the other day -- I told you it's a family business, right? And it operates out of the family household. It's a separate room on the side, kind of behind the garage. It's attached to the house. So Flo, the Mom, a sweet older lady, came in to the office and offered that I could bring my laundry with me if I wanted something to do during the day until it got busy.

I really thought that was SO NICE of her to offer! I can't imagine ever taking her up on her offer, but I know she was serious. She is a very generous and considerate person. My first day, she told me to go into the refridgerator in her kitchen if I ever wanted a soda. She also stocks up on chocolate and other candy in the bowl on her table, for anyone who wants it. She even bought Peppermint Patties for me, because she remembered from the last time I worked there that I liked them.

So that's one job.

The second job, aftercare, is going especially nice now that we can get outside. Kids need to run around after school. Now that the weather is warmer, they can play on the playground after they do their homework.

Speaking of which, homework help is an issue this week.
The kids ask for a lot of help, and I'm always glad to help anyone who asks. Especially when they need help, but don't expect me to just do the work for them. And especially when they are willing to sit still for a while and get the work done. It drives me crazy when one of the kids asks me to help with homework, and then keeps popping out of the seat and running around the room and losing focus, and then blames me for not helping.

Anyway, I was talking to some of the kids, and apparently last week one class got in trouble because they got so much help in aftercare. Mind you, I try really hard not to ever just give the kids answers. I try to make them understand the question in the first place. The question was along these lines:

Joe had 215 frogs. All but 187 frogs died. How many frogs did Joe have left? Show your work and explain your answer.

That was the only question on the paper.

So every kid subtracted 187 from 215 and gave that answer, and then came up to ask me if they did it right.

And of course, the answer was "No." And then I had to explain why the answer was no. So I re-read them the question. For some kids, I had to re-read the question several times before they understood. And even then, I'm not sure some of them understood. They may have just accepted that I said the answer was 187, and even though they didn't understand why, they knew I was usually pretty good about this stuff.

So all of those kids got the question right, and all of the kids in that class who didn't go to aftercare got a "D." But the aftercare kids were yelled at for getting too much help in aftercare. By me.

I can't tell you how many times a kid will come up to me with seemingly no earthly idea how to do a problem, as though they had never ever seen it in class before. And then I usually try to explain it from the beginning, and teach them how to do the problem themselves. Like Greatest Common Factors. Fun stuff like that. But I always try not to give them the answers, just to explain the question, or how to do the problem. Sometimes, though, like with the frog question, I'm trying so hard to explain the question that the answer just pops out of my mouth, because in order to really understand the question, you need to know what the answer is.

But now, I'm really wondering if my role should really be to tell them to just try their best, and if they get it wrong, they get it wrong.

Maybe my real role should be to try harder keeping those kids who would rather run around to keep focusing, and not answer any questions at all.

I don't know, it bothers me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nicky working at the ice stand last summer...

A whole new direction for me...

So. Since the last time I've posted, I started a new job. It was barely even on the horizon when last I wrote. And yet, here I am, two days in.

Last summer was still recuperation for Frankie. The summer before that, I worked for the Maglione's. The Maglione's are friends of mine who own a family Italian Ice business. Nicky and now Frankie sometimes work for them at special events, scooping ice and making pretzels.

They need a secretary in the office for the busy season, which starts now because of Little League baseball games. So, I was talking to my friend, and we started talking about the business, and ... anyway, now I've got a job!

Actually, two jobs. Because I'm still doing after care from 3:30 to 6:00. Oh yeah, and the few days I'd already gotten scheduled to substitute, I'm still going to do that.

It's a simple job, really. It certainly puts a strain on my timetable, though. The house is a wreck (well, it was a wreck anyway, the job didn't really cause that!) And it's making me rather cranky because I feel like I need to remember everything that needs to get done in a much shorter window of time.

But it's only the second day. I think it will be OK. It will certainly be a lot easier once school lets out and aftercare is over!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

10 minutes to kill...

...before I have to go work today. I've been subbing all week at the elementary school across the street. It's only half days, in the morning, during the testing; I'm covering for teachers that they need to be proctors.

It's been a nice week so far. I had a class of 2nd graders, the same class all week. They are very good; they know exactly what is expected of them, and they are very glad to do it. They also seem to be very considerate of each other.

One student has trouble keeping up. I gather that he's just moved in from a faraway land, and I'm not sure English is his first language, although he speaks it so well that it's hard to be sure. He isn't doing as well as the other children with the reading and the writing, though, and I feel bad for him. I asked the teacher and she said she's doing things to help him catch up.

The other second graders haven't teased him that I've noticed. In fact, a few have offered to help him. It seems, though, that he doesn't want their help; I think he would rather they just leave him alone. I don't think he wants them to notice that he needs the help. He welcomed my help, anyway. I just felt bad I couldn't work with him a bit more. I'm sure the teacher is much better at all that than I am.

Anyway, my 10 minutes are about up, and it's back to school for me...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wasting time

I'm sitting here at the computer just wasting time. I don't have much to say; when do I ever? It's a beautiful sunny day, with blue skies and white snow glazing my yard. I took a walk. I called some friends. My kids are out playing with their friends, and my husband is out playing with his friend. It's a lazy Sunday. I suppose I should be doing something, but I don't know what. Mostly, I guess, I should be doing anything productive, but I really don't think I have a productive bone in my body.

I'm quite content to sit here at the computer, with the sun pouring in the computer, and do nothing.

Maybe I was a cat in a past life...
...or maybe a lizard...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Children are a LOT OF WORK DON'T HAVE THEM if you don't plan on taking care of them!!!!

They don't have on/off switches, especially when they are little. That is a lot harder than you can imagine when you are exhausted and it's the middle of the night.

You never know what kind of child you are going to get, because you can't pick and choose. But whatever kind you get, they NEED you and LOVE you!

Not only that, but they change as they get older. The become crankier and more rebellious and they dislike you, and you may get very little emotional reward for dealing with them, and even so, they need you and love you.

And you can't just back out of their lives. EVER.
Even if they have someone else taking good care of them.
Even if they have a hundred other people who love them.
Because they will always wonder why YOU didn't... why they aren't good enough.
And nobody can fix that.
And that is WRONG.

The illnesses go 'round and 'round

Today, Nick's home sick. Last week, it was Frankie. The week before that, it was Frank. The week before that, it was me. Then, it was Nick. Then, me. Then... etc.

Soon, the weather will change for good and it will be warmer. The trees will bloom. The pollen will begin, and we will all get sick some more.

(Sounds pretty pessimistic of me, doesn't it?)

Definitely time for Spring Cleaning.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Last year's picture...

...there's nothing like this blooming in the yard, yet!


Gram used to recite a poem.
Spring is sprung,
the flowers riz,
I wonder where the birdies is?

I'm thinking about the flowers because the weather is warming and I'm looking forward to getting some gardening done.

I have all these little sections in the yard that need improvement. I don't know where to start. For one thing, the rabbits are constantly in the front rock garden. The rabbits just appeared over the past few years. I'm not sure that they are the problem, but it seems like a lot of the flowers I plant there don't make it anymore. So do I work on kicking out the rabbits, or give up on the planting? The rabbits are actually kinda cute. But they could be cute somewhere else in the yard. I could probably surround the little rock garden with some kind of fence. But it wouldn't look quite as rock-gardenish, would it?

I have a huge old lilac in the back that needs to be... fixed. It has a sumac and an oak tree growing right in the middle of it. Everytime I cut them out, they come right back.

I have a trellis that needs more vines. I also would like to put clematis in more places.

Meanwhile, Frank started an herb garden yesterday. I don't know what herbs he wants, but it's pretty big.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm telling you all this. I just feel like SPRING!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Our Country's Obsession with YOUTH

What is wrong with looking and acting like a 40 year old? When you ARE 40?

I always thought that I would have trouble with the age 50. But I really thought that the trouble would be a vague melancholy on my birthday, followed by no real change in my daily outlook.

But increasingly over the last few years I've become more and more...cranky?... about my age. And I'm only 43. But I feel really old.

It doesn't help that my kids have hit their teen years. They see me as semi-embarassing. I remember seeing my mother in this same light, and now that I think back on it, she was way younger than I was! But I take comfort in the fact that even if I was younger and really "hot" I would still be embarassing. And I think that is probably the way it's supposed to be.

My hair is thinning, gray, and ... old. I'm getting wrinkles and all kinds of age spots. I can't wear some of the clothes that younger people wear; I feel foolish in them. Like I'm trying to be someone who I'm not.

I'm trying to embrace the new me -- the matron. The old woman. I want to be happy being who I am and I don't want to try and be something I'm not.

So the reason this topic comes up, especially, is because there was a local teacher that got into SERIOUS trouble for text messaging one of her students, in a sexual manner. I knew the teacher, although I was never friendly with her. She taught in a middle school, and the student was someone she had in middle school and is a high school student now. The teacher has to be about my age -- early 40's.

Now, she's in jail waiting to go to trial.

What could she have been thinking? She is an ADULT, for goodness sake! What kind of a relationship could she possibly have wanted with a TEENAGER??? And WHY?

And I have to have seen at least 3 cases of these female teachers being arrested in the last few weeks.

So I go back to our country's obsession with youth. Why can't we all just grow up? Accept the wrinkles and the bad hair and the hot flashes and the age spots! We can't stay teenagers forever. It's time to move on to adulthood.

And I figure that the more people that age gracefully, the easier it will be to do for ALL of us. So come on, people, no more botox or liposuction or face lifts. Enough is enough.

Walkathon T-shirt design -- get it?

It seems like about 25 of our friends, give or take, have expressed an interest in walking for the CCFA walkathon we're doing in April. It will be SO MUCH more fun with everyone walking with us!

So I thought, with that many people, we need our own t-shirt to show our team spirit.

So this is the design that I came up with. Frankie has basically approved it already. Colors are yet to be determined.

Our team is named "Frankie's got GUTS" team. And the design is a semi-colon. Get it? Frankie only has a semi-colon now, after his operation. Get it? Get it?

My family has a sick sense of humor. But lest you think that we are making fun of poor dear Frankie, please keep in mind that it was HIS joke in the first place. He started it, not us!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rain Drops on Snow Drops and Crocuses

The snow drops are the first flowers of the new year. They are the bravest. I love to see them in the winter, because it means spring is coming. They aren't flashy at all, and they are so tiny that you barely see them when you walk by -- unless you know to look for them!

The crocuses are not up yet. But nobody told this one, because it has bloomed. This is the only crocus around so far. It is also so tiny that probably no one has noticed it but me.

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Computer Addiction

It's raining here, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because it's a friday morning and I don't have anywhere to GO. Plus, it's March, which is good because Spring is coming. Rain means it isn't icy out. Oh, I like a snow day as much as anyone, but I'm just as happy to put all that behind me and get some warm weather.

So, about this computer addiction thing. You would never know it from how often I post -- which is never as frequently as I think it oughta be -- but I am so totally addicted to my computer. (Quiet down, now, Thor. At least I'm not addicted to drugs or alcohol or shopping. You're paying for the internet service already anyway.)

I read all of your blogs -- maybe not every day, but I make the rounds pretty frequently. I don't usually post but I lurk alot. I like to keep up to date on what is going on in everyone's life.

Then I feel like I don't have anything worthy to write about, so I don't post. OR, I feel like I have something to post that would be worthy but it is so personal that I shouldn't post it because someone out there won't approve. Or sometimes it isn't just personal to me, it's also personal to someone else, and I have to be careful not to post OTHER people's private stuff because they might not LIKE THE IDEA too much at all! For instance, I have tons of stuff to post about my kids, but that really isn't fair to them, because they might not want all the details of their lives out there on the world wide web being shared with an international community!

I blame Thor for all of this, because he is a very private person and does not really GET the reason why I would want to write about the details of my life for public consumption... so he makes me question writing about things that without his influence, I would just spew forth into the ether. (Which is probably a very good influence. Balance is a good thing in life. He balances me. I can't seem to balance him, though, which is also good, because his lack of balance makes him need to dust on occasion.)

Wait -- was that too personal?

I expect to hear from you soon, dear.