Friday, February 25, 2011


I left work yesterday thinking about a problem yet to be dealt with. Certainly, I could have dealt with it before I left, but I decided I was too tired to have any courageous conversations and I headed home to sleep on the issues at hand. I can't say that I enjoy the job of team leader. Just the same, I walked into work this morning with a solution in mind. There were colleagues to talk with and that I did. In the end everyone stepped up to the problem and solutions were put in place.
It was a long day. It started at 7:00 am when I arrived and ended about eleven hours later when I threw my backpack on my left shoulder and headed home. I was tired. I am tired.
But...I think the solution is at hand and that makes for a good kind of tired.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flour, Yeast and Salt...oh yeah

I have discovered that in the wake of a challenging workweek there is one thing that can bring a smile to my face. Bread! This weekend, for the first time ever, I made my own bread. I started with bread flour, dry yeast, salt and water. Eighteen hours later there was the most beautiful loaf of bread I've ever seen. The pride I felt as it was pulled from the oven was incredible. Bread making might be the perfect antidote for a tough week at work.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Tough Day

I got a note from a parent today. Well note probably isn't the best word to use since that would lead one to believe that it was shorter type of missive. Short it was not. It was about 5 pages long, written by hand and filled with anger and frustration. In this case the anger and frustration were directed at me and a few other teachers on my team.

Emotionally charged writing is difficult to respond to. Even though I'm sure I did my best to communicate the challenges this particular student has been dealing with as well as my response to the challenges I can't seem to get the parent to understand my concerns. To him, I am the enemy as is the school system I work for. What now? How do I proceed?

I left the letter in my desk. I'll look at it again tomorrow and do my best to look for some common ground that we can stand on so we may proceed toward a solution together. I wish I could say that a resolution is likely, but I'm having a hard time convincing myself of that right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Well, here we are midway through the school year and although many students have really grown academically during the year others haven't budged. Back in the fall I wrote about the problems many students were having with work completion. To be fair, I suppose things have improved. But still, it's tough to face a group of students and know that there will be kids that did not do the work they were assigned. My patience is waning and I'm getting cranky. I try my best to keep my emotions in check, but it's tough. It's even tougher when I hear excuses like, "I couldn't do my homework because we were at our cabin and there wasn't a pencil there."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

100,000 Miles Later

It took about seven and a half years for the odometer on my car to travel from a bank of zeroes to 100,000 miles. We've had a pretty nice relationship along the way. Sure, there have been times when I thought about what my next car might be. And yes, I've even built a few models online...but the truth is I really like my car and have yet to see another model that I like as much.

About two weeks ago the car started to sound a little sad. There was a rattling coming from somewhere and even though I could have easily turned up the music and ignored the noise I knew it was a cry that meant something. Kevin, my mechanic had a tough time diagnosing the issue. His first diagnosis was something called the serpentine belt "tensioner." That would be the coiled spring that gives the serpentine belt the proper tension. He replaced it sometime late yesterday afternoon, and yet the rattle remained. It was late, he was tired--too tired to re-diagnose--so the car stayed over night and I got to work by cab this morning. Fortunately, Kevin's second diagnosis was was the water pump. Unfortunately, it was more expensive to fix.
One water pump, two new tires, an oil change, fluid flush plus a whole bunch of labor came out to about $1,1oo. Ouch.

No matter for now, as soon as I settled into the driver's seat and turned the key I was over it, because still I can't think of another car I really want right now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Channel Surfing

I once heard Tom Hanks say that when channel surfing he will always take the time to stop and watch an Elvis Presley movie. I've actually only seen one Elvis movie, Viva Las Vegas, and I don't think I actually saw the entire thing. I probably wouldn't stop flipping to watch an Elvis movie but there are a few that I always stop for.

They are:
1. Doctor Zhivago
2. The Sound of Music
3. Out of Africa
4. Jaws
5. Castaway

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've spent the last two days dealing with the post-op effects of some vein surgery. Venous Reflux disease is more common in women than men and somewhat hereditary. Lucky me, I'm a woman with a genetic history of varicose veins.

Fortunately, the fix for this problem is pretty simple. It involves two days of out patient procedures followed by a few days in compression stockings. Sure, there will be a bit of bruising, but I'm thinking once all that clears up my legs will feel better than they have in years.