Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Aunt Mary Day

Spending the day with my nieces used to mean a little bit of pottery painting, a trip to the movies and perhaps some time in the park.  Well, that's how is used to be when they were closer to the age of 4 or 5. 

They're 16 and 17 now so the time we actually get to spend together is limited due to the demands of their own academic and social lives.  Even with college visits, lacrosse and boyfriends on the schedule we still managed to squeeze in a wee bit of fun time over the last 24 hours. 

Pottery painting, a Disney movie, and time in the park...yeah, that's so last year.  Today it was all about Starbucks, pedicures and chicken sandwiches.

The age or activity doesn't really matter much to me.  I love those girls.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hanging In There

As I looked around the classroom this morning all I saw were tired faces.  Heads were down, resting on outstretched arms and many an eye was bleary. From the vantage point of this teacher it was pretty easy to see that everyone in the room was done.  I would never admit it to the weary 12 year-olds in front of me, but boy am I ever with them.

I awoke with a very ugly, very infected eye yesterday morning.  One-eyed teaching is tough.  All the uncomfortableness that comes with the condition made me want to sit down and lay my head in the comfort of the crook of my arm. 

So really kids- I know how you feel.  Don't worry, Spring Break starts Friday.  I think we can make it if we stick together.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

And Away She Goes

My niece is somewhere, not too far away, getting ready for her Senior Prom.  It is yet another reminder that high school is coming to an end and the next stage of life is just around the bend.

For now things are a little foggy around that bend.  Her first choice school didn't come through and there are money concerns to consider as well.  Next weekend she'll travel to accepted students days at two colleges to figure out the best place for herself.

This ridiculously proud aunt knows that no matter where she ends up she'll leave her mark and do wonderful, fabulous things.

Nonetheless, the suspense is killing me.

Friday, April 4, 2014


After a wonderful evening with my writing group I walked through the gently falling rain to my car.  It had been a good night of food, drink, laughter and writing- the kind of night that makes a lot of the tired of the work-week wash away.

Yes, I had proclaimed my own exhaustion before I got there.  Five hours later I'm home and feeling rejuvenated and ready for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Death by Meeting

A former colleague of mine always enjoyed showing a small cartoon she had cut out and saved.  It showed an epitaph engraved on a tombstone that read "death by meeting." 

It didn't mean all that much to me back then.  Even though we met as a team three or four days a week at times if we had nothing on the agenda we didn't meet at all.  Sure there were times, especially in the beginning of the year, that we met each and every day.  But as teachers and students settled into the year meeting three or four days a week was enough to discuss student progress, review concerns, plan intervention strategies and even enjoy some downtown conversation and camaraderie among colleagues.

Well that was then and now is completely different.  Meeting times are very scheduled.  As a team we have only two meeting times per week.  Other days are encumbered with grade-level PLCs.  Sometimes that's plenty, but most of the time we feel a need to rush through the agenda items that pile up just so we can finish before dismissal time and other professional obligations.  All the camaraderie has disappeared and the meetings seem more like a chore than a group working things out together.

We have our moments though.  Just yesterday we plugged along discussing new IEP goals, our thoughts on a GPA honor roll and student concerns.  Towards the end of the meeting our administrator recalled an incident involving a student's report of something she had witnessed on the way home from school.  I listened to her recall the incident and for some reason it just didn't seem right.  The facts as recalled by the student didn't quite add up to me.  I was suspicious of the story and before I even knew what I was doing I blurted out, "I don't know, she (student) makes crap up."

The special ed teacher burst into laughter across the table.  

"That's it she said.  From now on I'm going to write down the crazy things we say in these meetings and in June we'll reread them over drinks as we celebrate the end of the year."

Finally, the fun had returned to our meetings.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Some Kind of Wondeful

I threw some chicken on the grill last night.  It was delicious and went very nicely with the red potatoes I had sliced up and cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper.  The food wasn't the only spectacular thing about the evening.  The bright blue sky towered above me while two daffodils stood tall and in bloom by my feet.  My very large cat was pleased as punch to be lounging outside and watching as the yellow finches flew in and out of sight for a quick snack.

It was some kind of wonderful- the kind of evening that makes my longing for summer break even stronger.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feeling Exposed

Chicken Pox.  Yes, it's one of those diseases of childhood that most people my age have a memory of.  My Chicken Pox memories are rather distinct since they coincide with the arrival of my youngest sister in February of 1966.  Jeen may have been the news of the week but certainly the fact that my brothers and I were sporting some nice red splotches came pretty close to trumping that storyline.

Apparently, one of the kids that came to writing club last week also has the Chicken Pox.  The nurse checked in with my co-sponsor to find out who may have been exposed to the virus. 

I quickly relayed my Pox experience, content to know that I wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of exposure.  And then my smart friend reminded me about Shingles.

Oh...maybe it's time to get that vaccination taken care of.