Thursday, September 30, 2010

Slowing down

I've decided to slow things down with ITSam. I need to do it.

I have a whole, big looooooooong list of reasons, but first and foremost I'm not sure this is what I want. It's all been too much, way too fast. He's a nice guy, yes, and nice guys should not finish last at all, and the problem isn't about being too nice, or anything of the sort. He is nice, but we don't have lots in common. I find it difficult to sometimes to have a conversation with him because of that.

I feel like anything I say about him is going to make me small or petty and I don't mean to be. It might make me sound callous or harsh and I'm not usually either of those things, either. But there is too much, too fast. We don't have much in common. He likes to spend huge amounts of time together and while I sometimes enjoy that, I often... don't. Sometimes I feel smothered. Mac even asked me one day last week if I felt like that--- scary when your own self absorbed teenager figures it out. (Damn kid's a lot more perceptive than I ever want to admit, especially when it comes to his old mother!) My brain works differently than Sam's does and that sometimes causes me a problem.

ITSam is a good person but I'm not ready to get married or move in together. I'm not even ready to have it as a discussion. So no more talk of rings or apartments, thankfully. I like the idea of sparkly jewelry but not all that comes with it. I like the idea of not having to be a burden to Daddy-O any longer, but not at this personal sacrifice. I'm just not ready to give up the idea of traveling the world. I'm not ready to adapt to the role of "step-mother"-- what a wretched title! I'm not quite sure I'm ready to be HIS girlfriend; there isn't anyone else and I'm not willing to rule out a relationship with someone, but this one in particular isn't just all clicking for me. I am, however his girlfriend, but I'm not sure I want to be, but I can live with for awhile as I figure it all out. (I sort of mentioned not being and I thought the guy was gonna cry so I back peddled that because he looked to crest fallen. And it was going to make the "slow down" part a huge, big THING.)

Sam wasn't happy about my choice but he said at least we weren't breaking up so he can live with it. So, slowing down...


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mac's Uncomfortable Moment

First, if you know Mac in person you have to pinkie swear that you will never mention this to him in any shape or form. Go on, pinkie swear. I'm waiting. And if you ever have a chance to meet Mac you have to promise to never mention this to him at all-- ever. Pinkie swear.

I really debated even blogging about this, but it was way to funny to NOT blog about...

Last Thursday night, Mac came home from cheerleading and wouldn't speak. This isn't any huge surprise since this happens on occasion since he's a moody 17 year old boy. But it was different and finally after some gentle prodding he told me what was wrong.

Mac: "Mom, I accidentally stuck my thumb in Susie's vagina."
me: momentarily incapable of speaking. "oh."
Mac: "I was lifting her and she was sitting in the palm of my hand." Here, he holds his hand in a cradle-like fashion to demonstrate. "I didn't know what to do with my thumb and I moved it. Apparently the wrong way. I just wanted to give her better support but... uh, that didn't work."
me: Still speechless. Still not daring to even perceptibly nod for fear of hysterical, albeit uncomfortable, laughter. Finally, I say, "Oh. Ummm, did Susie say anything?"
Mac: "Fuck, she screamed to get my thumb out of her vagina. And I tried to not drop her as she jumped away from me. Everyone heard. I'm embarrassed. I feel like an ass."
me: "Uh, is Susie still mad?" I have no idea what the proper questions are here. At all.
Mac: "No, not now. She told me later to never do that again and isn't mad. Coach isn't mad but she told me if I do it again she's cutting off my thumb."
me: "Did you apologize?"
Him: "Oh yeah. About a million times. I wish I could do something to fix it."
me: finally smiling and trying to hold back giggles, "You could get her a card and---"
Mac: "Hallmark does not make an 'I'm sorry I stuck my thumb in your vagina' card, mother!"
me: laughing out loud: "If you let me finish, I was going to say you could give her a card that thanks her for being such a patient lifting buddy, and helping you learn and that she's awesome to work with. You could just write her a note. Wait a few days and do something like that."
Mac: "I wish grandpa were here."
Me: "Why?"
Mac: "He could make a card for me."

We look at each other and the laughter starts howling and bursting forth. Tears rolled we laughed so hard. Finally Mac said:
"But I don't think in any of grandpa's Cricut cartridges, he has a 'sorry for my thumb in your vagina' image or anything even close that would work."

I swear, I think I almost I laughed myself to death. Seriously.

Mac's mom,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New school, new job... again

I started my new job today, at my new school. I thought I was going to be a special education aide in another junior high, but when I got there, the schedule had been changed so I could help as many students in English as possible. So, I'm in a 9th, 7th, 10th and 11 grade English classes, in 2 algebra classes (Oh Lord help us ALL!), and I oversee a structured study hall class. It's a long full day, but I do like it.

I do feel like I was sort of tossed in. I got there this morning and the principal handed me keys, assigned me a password for the computer and took me to my room and that was it. One of the special ed. teachers handed my my schedule and showed me my desk. That, my friends, was my welcome. Better than at the special ed. job I had last year, but still, a "tossed to the wolves" sort of feeling. Oh, one teacher did introduce me to my classroom teachers at the start of each period.

I like the students and the faculty seemed nice. Students showed me where the bathroom, the library, and the copy room were located. I still am not sure where the teacher's lounge or the cafeteria are. My I can find those tomorrow?

One thing that super impressed me is the structure of the special ed. study hall I have to oversee. There is a reasonable rule list and the kids follow it. There was no question about it. Something else I was impressed with is that not one kid asked me or any other adult for a pen or pencil all day long. And I watched to see if someone was just blowing off work because they didn't have something to write with and no one was. Kids were fairly polite to their teachers and each other. Homework was collect and most students turn it in. All around, I can tell there's a different sort of school climate and culture and it's impressive. After last year's experience with the crazy 8th graders that I did grow to love, this is quite the change. Maybe these kids are just better medicated?

Something else that I loved was the materials I was presented. I was given a three ring binder for each of my classes. Inside each were copies of lecture notes, daily agendas for that class, handouts, and anything else the teacher passed out this year like class rules or policies. There are all hole punched and in date order. I have a kids of kids in each class, highlighted on a seating chart, with a list of their accommodations. Wow. Just.... wow. Either these people are REALLY on top of things, which for all intrinsic purposes they appear to be, or they are really trying to make a good impression- and they did.

To top it all off, I had keys, a faculty parking pass, a photo ID, a voice mail box that was set up, and a working email with login before I left the building today. I don't think I've ever worked for any place, a school or business, that has been this organized. The only thing that didn't happen was my named wasn't on my mailbox. Since a sub had been there for the first 7 weeks, her name was on it, but I was told that would be fixed by tomorrow.

So, not a bad start.

Now if the kids are as accommodating, then it should be perfect! Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Princess Weekend Birthday Summary

Friday was nice. I got a surprise pedicure from ITSam and we had dinner. We also saw Mac do his lifting. He was awesome and the cheer team looked great though the football team fell short and lost. I also went with XRay Girl to hang out and I had to go back to Alcatraz to show the infamous Beowulf movie. It was fun to see the kids and bring them food and be silly.

Saturday started with sleeping in. ITSam brought breakfast over to the house when he figured out I was awake. He also brought pink socks and a pink winter knit cap so I had some pink for the day, though it was a little warm for hat or socks!

XRay Girl and her hubby couldn't go on the road trip so it was just Mac, Sam and me. We headed to the capital of the state. The plan was shopping and a late dinner. I had also been promising Mac new shoes for about 6 weeks. Since we were near an "exclusive" store that sold what he wanted, I decided to do that first. And so he would stop freaking bugging the crap out of me about the shoes. By the time we battled the traffic to the mall and then he had to try on shoes at a million different stores and then he got a pair, I was hungry.

We ate at the Cheesecake factory which was AWESOME!!! The food was astounding and I got 2 pieces of cheesecake because Sam said I was the Princess and could do that. I got this red velvet cake with vanilla cheesecake in 4 layers with cream cheese frosting and garnished with white chocolate curls. Oh to die for! And life wouldn't be complete without a piece of chocolate cheese cake: milk chocolate and white chocolate and some gooey swirls of chocolate. So decadent. But after about 3 bites of each, on top of dinner, I was full so I got to bring it all home!

And after all that food, I was NOT going shopping for pants. I was going to shop before I ate but Mac's shoe thing too so long, and the Lane Bryant was at another mall down the road and I didn't want to do more traffic battles, then have to come back to Mac's shoe mall for the Cheesecake Factory. Then I was too full to shop.

We came back home and Mac went to a friend's house and Sam and I just watched tv. He gave me a foot massage. I think we were both so full we were miserable. He left and I read for a few hours, which to me, is just awesome! The house all to myself to do nothing but read a book? Bliss!

Sunday rolled around and I just vegged for awhile. Sam took me to see The Town, which is a fabulous action movie. I did laundry out of necessity (I gotta have clean undies for my new job tomorrow!) and watched some re-runs of Criminal Minds on A&E. Sam brought me a cake with pink icing; he said I had to have something pink every day of the birthday weekend!

All in all, it was a nice day. I also got all sorts of phone calls, emails, text messages, voice mails, and blog comments from friends and family with birthday wishes- thank you so much!!!

Not a bad way to turn 39...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Today is my birthday

Happy birthday to me,

Happy birthday to me,

Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeee,

Happy birthday to me!

I have no idea what I'm going to do with my day. I'm 39 years old today. OMG, 39. Yeah, I know there are some of you who WISH you could be 39 again. Whatever.

I could be all depressed and whiny about life because I'm 39 and... well, you guys read here, so you know. And Yes, I realize, it could be worse.

Yes, age is a state of mind and all that freakin' blah blah blah...

So, I'm 39 and I have no idea what I want to do today. I feel like as an adult it shouldn't be any big deal. It's just a birthday and everyone has them. But, still.

I do know that right now, I'm going to take a shower and get dressed and then read a book and drink more coffee. That's my big birthday plan. For now.

I hope you all have a great day! (Yesterday was the first day of fall, right? I certainly hope that means the temperature will no longer be climbing into the 90s like it did on Thursday!) S0 enjoy your day- I will!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pink Saturday presents birthday pinks

Since I'm celebrating a birthday, officially tomorrow, and since my boyfriend dubbed this weekend Princess Weekend in honor of my birthday, I thought I should share some "early birthday" pinks I've received so far!

He sent me this perfect pink bud with the fancy pink balloons on Thursday!

And one of my BBFs, Lilith, got me this absolutely gorgeous, darling, fabulous Donna Sharp hipster bag I've been coveting for about a year!!!! Thank you!!! I love it!!!

Then yesterday ITSam took me, as a surprise, to Northern Civilization and treated me to a pedicure. I got a french pedi and instead of white, I had them use a dark shade of pink, though I realize in this picture it looks more reddish.

Thanks as always to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting Pink Saturdays. Please visit her blog to see a complete list of this week's participants. Another feature of PS is to introduce a fellow PS blogger. This week I want you to meet Fifi at Fifi Flowers. She's a brilliant artist that has so much talent and so much whimsy in her work.

Happy Pink Saturday everyone!

In Shoes We Trust,
Maggie Mae

Friday, September 24, 2010

Love for fall festivals

I love festivals but this year I haven't gone to many, because the weather has been so bloody hot this summer. I can't stand to be out in it.

Many moons ago, when I lived in Northern Civilization, there was a park that hosted HUGE festivals each weekend all summer long, some of them drawing hundreds of thousands of people. I loved going to the German Festival and the BBQ festival the most. Not only was there always great music but fabulous food and drinking. I always went with friends and we had a grand time. I didn't go to either of these festivals this summer because of the heat wave. Or so I tell myself. I sometimes thing I didn't go because it would never have been as much as as when I went in the years past. A sort of "can't go home" type of feeling.

All that aside, however, I am super excited about 2 upcoming events!!!! There is a weekend when there is a war reenactment and the other is a chili cook off festival. I went to both of these last year and it was so much fun and I've been looking forward to doing it again this year!!!!

Last year Curley, Daddy-O, XRay Girl and I all went to breakfast and then to a gigantic craft show, featuring local artists and not so local artists work. It was awesome. Then Daddy-O went home and us girls went to the chili cook off festival contest. It was a glorious day. the sort of perfect autumn day we all dream about. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was high, but it was still cool and crisp. there was a lovely breeze. We all wore long sleeves and jackets but it was perfect. We tasted a million types of chili until we were about sick. We ate kettle korn cooked over a fire and had some beers. It was a great time.

I'm hoping that the same crew is ready to do it again this year. daddy-O thought me might be home from Texas in time. If not, I still hope the girls will go out with me. I feel the need to have some 'traditions' and this feels like a great place to start. It was such a good time, with great friends and family- with friends who are part of my family, I feel, that I'm so excited to do it again! Curley, mark your calendar!!!

And nope, I don't mind omitting ITSam from this plan. First, he has jack that weekend and I am NOT spending the day at a chili cook off with a kid who hates chili. And Sam knows I love my girlfriend time so we have a good understanding.

The other festival I'm looking forward to is the war reenactment. This is the second largest reenactment in the Midwest and the crowd is about a quarter of a million strong over the weekend. In addition to all the war stuff, it's just living history. These reenactors are some serious people and things are super authentic, all the way down to no zippers or buttons on clothing. I love to walk around and see what the artisans are making and eating all the food, which is prepped over campfires and sold my non-for-profits who are also in costume and stay with the time period, very early 1800s. I cold eat my way from one end to the other, with the giant turkey legs, the fry bread, turkey noodle soup, ears of corn on the cob roasted in the husks over a fire, pork loin sandwiches cooked in the grillsmoke, and sweet and salty kettle corn that comes out of a huge black cauldron. I love the crafts and talking with the reenactors about what and why they do what they do.

Back in the day I even worked for a not for profit and worked at this same festival and have my own authentic outfit. I always say I'm going to go as reenactor and do quilting but i didn't get myself registered to go this year.

But I'm excited to go this year. The weather is usually good. And I have a pair of muck boots I wear so I don't mind trampling about out there in what could be muddy walking. Last year Curley and I went. I don't know if she'll go with me this year because Mac wants to go with me. And ITSam and wants to take Jack so it might turn into a family bonding type of experience. Who knows? Maybe I'll go twice!

However it works out, I'm excited about this and can't wait for those two weekends to arrive!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Time off

I don't have to work today. Anywhere! Yahoo!!!

When I first started at Alcatraz, the Principal told me my last day was Fri. Sept 22. So when I was arranging the start date for my other job at the other school, we discovered that the 22nd was a Wednesday. The lady I was speaking with and I both thought be just meant Friday, the 24th. I had worked at Alcatraz for a week when I learned it was really Wed. the 22nd was my last day. I never called the other school to change it and thought I would just take the 2 days off.

Then I thought I would be super mom and take Mac on 2 college visit days today and tomorrow. We even one scheduled for today and then he said he wasn't sure taking 2 off in a row was a good idea, AND he had lifting for a game on Friday so that might not be good either. So I figured I would chill tomorrow and enjoy a nice three day weekend.

His college visitation for today had to be cancelled at the last minute because he's in a club where high school kids agree to educate the junior high kids on topics that relate to peer pressure situations. This club has a day long training today so Mac had to go to that and we cancelled the visit.

So guess who has a loooooooooooooong 4 day weekend?!? Oh yeah, that's right. That's what I'm talking about! Me!! Whoot- whoot!

I sort of felt guilty, like I should be at school. And I was worried about going 2 days without pay. But then I counted it up and I'm still going to have a 9 day pay period instead of 10 so it didn't seem like such a big deal.

I also started thinking about "working". I taught in the Wild West from Aug. 2008-Dec. 2008. Then I was off for about three weeks due to moving and Christmas and paperwork but I started subbing around the second week of January 2009. And I subbed almost daily from then until May 2009. Then I worked ice cream and insurance for that summer, daily. Then I subbed for a few months when school started and then I finished that contract last year from Halloween until June 2010, then I did summer school at Alcatraz with only 1 week off.. Then I taught the maternity leave. I think it's okay for me to have 4 days off. I think I can use the relaxation time.

However, I'm still working on that dang Beowulf movie the kids made. Yeah, long story but we will finish it this evening; we have about 5-7 hours left to work. And I'm showing it tomorrow to the kids; I got permission from the new teacher. And I told them I would bring treats so I also have to either shop or bake. I also have to go to Mac's game tomorrow night. I'm supposed to go out for dinner for my birthday to a restaurant almost a 2 hour drive away on Saturday which seemed like fun when I agreed to it but now it seems like a long damn car ride just to eat at the Cheesecake factory. Sunday's big plan, which is the actual birthday, is to see Curley, and maybe hang with Sam.

For a weekend off, it seems busy. I have no idea how I get myself into these things.

But as for now, I'm going to lay on the sofa, drink coffee, and read a good book for a few hours.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Color Blind

I had a white kid rapping in my class where white kids are in the minority. He was rapping and the black kids were laughing and joking with him. He was taking it with a smile and it was all good. It was really bad rapping but he was trying and he was funny.

It was all good....until...

One of the black kids said, "Man dat wuz so bad, go ta da back o' da bus."

The white kid, laughing and joking, said, "Man you're at the back of the bus."

Dead silence and 3 black guys stood up and were ready to kill the white kid. What the white boy meant, as he's trying to explain and backing away from the three large black boys who were gearing up to rip him apart, was that all the black kids picked seats in the back of the room and they sit there together, as a "presence."

I see the trouble and run to stand in front of the white boy and throw my arms wide in front of him and say, at the top of my lungs with a smile on my face, "Stop! You can't hit a fat, old white woman with glasses!"

The black guys stopped dead in their tracks and just started laughing. Then they listened to ME explain what the white kid meant and then they all said things like, "we cool. It's all good."

Holy crap. I thought I was going to have a new Rodney King in reverse happening.

For whatever reason I seem to have a good relationship with the black boys. One day I asked one of them to "shake his dreads" at me and he did and laughed because he constantly hears music in his head and his head is always bopping to some imaginary music. Once I asked one of them if I could touch his 'fro to see if it felt like cotton candy and he let me, and howled with laughter.

Once, a kid was complaining and griping and I finally told him to be quiet. I was rather loud and emphatic. He then asked me if I had a problem with him because he's black. I clutched my chest and feigned a look of surprise and staggered around, saying, "Oh. My. Goodness! Really? You are? You're black? No way! I don't believe you. You're lying! You are so not black!" By the time I get done with all that, he's rolling with giggles.

I'll miss those guys. And what's sad is that when those kids go back home, most of them will go back to what they were doing: drugs, booze, pills, gangs, guns, stealing cars, robbing folks, and worse... and will probably be killed in a gang related crime. That breaks my heart.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I feel like pot roast tonight

One thing we all like is pot roast. And I can take about 15 minutes to put this together in a crock pot and it seems that I slaved all day long, when in reality I wasn't even home, but dinner is still served.

4 pounds of roast
1 medium onion- I don't like to eat onion but I like the flavor in this dish so I cut it in big chunks and stick it in a cheese cloth bag and throw it in
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 packet of French onion soup mix, dry
1 bottle of Merlot- I usually use a cheap bottle but one with a cork
2 1/2 cups water
5 beef bullion cubes
2 stalks of celery, chopped
6 new potatoes, chunked
4 Tablespoons of sea salt
1 pinch of fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
sometimes carrots- Mac isn't a fan so it depends...

I throw all of this in the crock pot and set it on low and let it all just cook together all day long. I make some changes occasionally. Sometimes I don't mince the garlic but use a knife and shove the pieces of garlic into the roast. Sometimes I don't even have garlic because of where I live so I use garlic salt and coat the roast with it, thus omitting the 4 tablespoons of sea salt at the end... Sometimes I leave out the potatoes, celery, and carrots and just do the meat this way- when I do that, I don't change anything to the recipe, I just omit those three items. Sometimes I omit the onion but used dried minced onion, about 3 tablespoons.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Princess Weekend and other randomness

  • This weekend, this coming Sunday, I'll be 39 years old. I feel every year as I type this post. That aside, I must admit that ITSam is taking is the whole birthday thing pretty seriously. He, all on his own, without any encouragement from me, he's declared it "Princess Weekend." And he's buying me a new tiara. And he said we can do anything I want all weekend long. AND, he said he'll be my "Man Slave." I think I love him. I think he loves me. Damn...
  • What is the etiquette for handicapped bathroom stalls? I know that if there's a baby changing table in it, then it's fair game to anyone, right? Or at least I thought so. But what about other times? I was at the mall the other day and the handicapped stall was empty and there was a line of women waiting but no one went in. And this has happened other times when I've been places. Is this right? Are we not supposed to use the handicapped stall like not using the handicapped parking space? What if the bathroom is just a 2 seater? Do we all just stand there and not go and use only 1? I'm so confused.
  • Mac is getting tons and tons of stuff from colleges all over the country. I've been told that's pretty standard for college bound seniors. But today he got something from Alaska pacific University. He asked me if he went there could AlaskaSam give him residency and that he could adopt him because he would be a better dad than the one he has.... uh, yeah. O-kay.
  • I have a bunch of ring tones on my phone. Mac does tease me a little bit because someone at my age has ring tones but to me it's like have some cell phone organization. Some of my people have ring tones because the song and the person are tied together like ITSam is "True Companion", Patti who lives in Florida has "Margaritaville", my boss that I take pictures for has "Photograph" by Nickleback, XRay Girl and Gulo are "Hey Soul Sister", AlaskaSam is "The Weary Kind", and Daddy-O is "We are family." Some songs I have on my phone because I love the song, love the way it makes me feel and makes me happy. I assigned these to people who I love, the way they make me feel and who make me happy! Lilith has "Glitter in the Air" by Pink, one of my all time favorite songs. Curley has "I Got a Feeling". Now all that being said I went to see the movie Easy A yesterday and the main character Olive gets an audio card from her grandma and the song is "Pocketful of Sunshine." There's an ongoing gag through a part of the film about that song which made me howl with laughter because that's my default ringer song!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A stolen Sunday meme actually on Sunday

1. At what time of your life were you happiest and why?
I think when I lived in Northern Civilization because I loved my job, my house and my friends and everything just seemed to mesh.

2. Where and when did you meet the love of your life?
In college

3. Favourite item of clothing ever or most treasured possession?
I have this ripped and torn and stained sweatshirt that's about 4 sizes to big and I love it

4. Must-have makeup or beauty item?

5. What do you think is your worst vice or fault .. honestly?
food and the large amounts of it I consume

6. Would you tell your friend, if you knew her husband/wife was cheating on her/him?
I'm not sure...

7. What ambitions, wishes or desires, for your life, do you still hold close to your heart?
I don't think I have many. I would love to be a writer but what blogger doesn't say that? I'm a walking, talking cliche. I think I would also love to live in Europe for awhile

8. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I don't think that far in advance

9. If you had the choice of any talent with the penalty that you would lose a talent in exchange, what would you want to gain, and what would you be willing to loose?
The thing is I don't think I have many talents so I'm not sure what I have that I could lose that's a talent. I'd love to be able to sing with perfect pitch.

10. Name three things that you do want completed in your life before retiring?
a- save money to retire
b- live in Europe
c- pay my bills all off

11. Of all of the people out there who would have been your fantasy date? Date, not romance...
Johnny Depp

12. Google put another spell on you, you have just changed genders for 48 hours... what are you going to do with your 2 days?
Bar hop

13. If you owned your own island, and got to make it your own country, what would you call it? And why?
Sparkle-land because I like things that sparkle

14. If you rubbed the lamp and got 3 wishes, what would they be?
a- unlimited money
b- world peace
c- happiness for my family

15. What is your earliest memory of puberty?
going to see movies with my friends

16. If you got banished to your Island alone and could only bring 5 things, what would they be?
a. unlimited supplies of books
b. an ipod with a never ending energy source
c- indoor plumbing and a life time supply of TP
d- air conditioning
e= Internet

Thanks to Sunday Stealing for this meme. And I can't believe I actually did this on a Sunday, too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A comedy of errors, the best laid plans of mice and men do often go asunder, or "why I didn't blog yesterday"

Yesterday I was supposed to ride to work with ITSam, work, get a ride home from Mac, hang with him until I had to give him a ride back to school for a ball game, then I was going to work with my students on the Beowulf project, pick up Mac and go home. That was the plan. The plan went to hell....

ITSam's uncle died so he was leaving Friday morning to go with the family to Kentucky for the viewing and funeral. He'll be gone until tomorrow. So Mac was going to have to get up early and take me to school and then he could go himself. Sam called and said he would take me to work since I don't like to go so late and so Mac wouldn't be early. Okay.

Teaching went fine. We were supposed to finish the rap CD but since Sam was gone, I had no one in the IT department to help me run the equipment so that class watched a movie. We will finish the rap on Monday.

Then HR called me. They reminded me I had to have the physical by today. So I thought I would go on Saturday morning and I told her. She also said I had to have a TB test. So I called the place where I have to have the physical and if they give the TB test, they have to read it on Monday. They won't let anyone here in town read it. Which means a third trip to Southern Civilization. No freaking way. I called the county health nurse who could do it, but I had no car to get there. Damn it. Now, so far I made all these calls on my 30 minute prep and it was time for me to go to lunch. So I called HR and asked her if she could call our school corporation nurse and see if she could come to Alcatraz that afternoon before 330 to give me the TB test. Well.... HR said she didn't know my schedule so she couldn't call. I told her it didn't matter as long as it was before 330pm because I had coverage for the 4 minutes it would take to get the poke. She said it would just work better for me to call.

Now this bitch dropped the ball and is freaking out to get it all done but she's not doing a damn thing to help me. I am pissed.

So I get on the phone and call to track down the nurse and about 8 calls later, I have it arranged for her to come to give me one and I'm supposed to let First Aid (our First Aid doesn't have people who can give a TB test... then what is the damn point?) know. When I let First Aid know, the dude in charge says no one is going to be here to unlock the medical supplies or the office. I explain the need so he gets all the drugs out, and then calls the secretary and she agrees to unlock everything when Nurse gets here. I now have 15 minutes left to eat lunch.

When I'm in line for food, my other boss, the one who hired me to work the reception desk on some weekends asked me if I could fill in last night. I was between a rock and a hard place. If I said no, one person was going to have to work a 15 hour day, and they did cover me the weekend I worked the wedding so I said yes. I was now working that job from 4-10 pm.

Just as I am done scarfing down food, Mac calls my cell. In the middle of HIS school day. My heart pounds, wondering what in the hell is wrong. Well, he said if he doesn't have the money turned in for his letterman jacket today, it won't get ordered until after Christmas. He said that all the other kids got theirs paid for but that there wasn't a deadline, ordering in bulk, blah freaking blah. Can I bring him a check to school? I tell him no, because I don't have a car- DUH! So I tell him he can come get the check from me after school and then run it back over to the school since our schools are a 3 minute drive apart. (I also want to say I didn't just have $100 laying around either so all my wedding photography money went to that and he isn't getting shoes because I told him either new shoes or a new jackets... Senior year is expensive)

As I'm talking about this, I'm back in my classroom and getting out my purse and starting to write the check only I have no more checks in my checkbook and DUH me for not remembering to put any back in. Well fuck. So he was going to pick me up, drive home, get the checkbook, drive me back to work at the reception desk, and THEN he would take the check to school.

I also then called and emailed all the house parents to let them know I wouldn't be there on Friday night and we would reschedule.

The nurse was late for the TB test and someone didn't have paperwork. I got it, but a 4 minute process took about 15 minutes.

Mac was late in picking me up because he's a 17 year old boy with no brain.

We go home, got my checkbook and headed back and got stuck in traffic because of a train crossing.

We got to my receptionist job and he went to the school to pay for the jacket.

I worked. I went home. I then went back to get Mac when the bus returned from the game at 11:37 pm.

And that's why I didn't blog yesterday.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

They can surprise me

Teaching at Alcatraz and that first period class has challenged me in ways that have made me question teaching. While they haven't made me cry in class or out, they make me yell, bitch, whine, bemoan and have a lot of hate. I TALK about that class in lots of negative ways. And they've made me question whether or not I should be a high school teacher.

I've bitched about that period of students so much Mac told me this:

"Hey mom? You know those moments where you meet those gangster thug kids, chain the doors to the school shut and a bunch of kids re-write the school song into a cool soul filled song and you use bad-ass karate moves on them and they get all impressed and fill your cabinet with their journals full of personal stories and raise money to meet the Jew saver lady and then there's a big Prom and they sing 'To Ms O, With Love'?* Well, mom, THAT'S NEVER GONNA HAPPEN BECAUSE ALL THE KIDS AT ALCATRAZ ARE CRIMINALS!!!!!!!!! Never forget they can't be inspired and they don't care and you can't save 'em."

Can we say "ouch?" What sucks the most is that he's right, to a certain extent. He's brutally right but, in a weird sort of way.

But then there are moments like today. Those perfect moments in teaching...

I have a class that has 14 students. Of this group, 2 are white, 2 are Hispanic, and 10 are African- American. Thirteen of these students are 'hard core.' there are 11 boys and 3 girls and I wouldn't want to mess with the females, either. Bad asses. They come from ghettos, are gang bangers, and are seriously... like no other kids I've met. Boys and girls alike are just gansta. I'm not being racist but I don't know how to explain it other than every Black person in a gangsta movie you've seen are these kids. The kids and I speak a different language sometimes. They educate me, for sure.

So, how do I reach these kids? Well... leave it to me to be unconventional. One thing I've done to get some buy in is to let them write some raps over some text material. We've been doing this for two weeks, with the incentive they could make their own education rap album. It had to stay on topic about the subject, and it had to be classroom appropriate.

Today was the first big day of recording. They rapped and dropped a beat and spit that out. (this means they beat a rhythm on tables and drums while saying the rap). I was so impressed I almost cried. We set up a sound studio and a stage and microphone with headphones and they did their thing, all taking turns and cheering for each other. It was the coolest thing I think I've ever seen.

In my other class... the kids really got into Beowulf and instead of writing a paper, they got to write their own Beowulf movie script and we're filming it. Today is day 1 of filming and these kids were awesome. They did their narrations and the battle between Grendel and Beowulf. And since they know they can't be "violent" and "fight" even in a pretend way because of Alcatraz rules, they were creative. The battle between Beowulf and Grendel non- violent, you say? How can that be, you may ask? Well.... a thumb war of course. Yes, they painted 2 thumbs, one as an epic hero and the other as a monster and did battle...

So no, while Mac might be right, I may not be a Joe Clark, Luanne Johnson, Erin Gruwell, or even a Mr. Thackery*... but I AM Ms [O'Sullivan], and today I had my teach on. And more importantly, I had students who had their learn on. I had students who cared! That's what I'm talkin' about!


*Movies referenced are Lean on Me, Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, To Sir With Love

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Vignettes on Wednesday

Mac stayed home from school yesterday to play a Halo video game. I guess it's a HUGE deal because it's going to be the last Halo game ever. So I called him in sick and let him take a mental health day. But the dumbass told his band teacher why he was really going to miss and I secretly hope the guy nails Mac for in In School Suspension because he's was so dumb to tell on himself! Geez! Do something nice and the kid makes me look like an idiot! (He got to stay home because he had all As and 1 B+... doesn't seem real bright for a smart kid, eh? )

Mac got the male lead in the school play called something stupid like "Hollywood Rednecks". Can't they ever do anything anyone has ever heard of?

I got an email from Alcatraz's HR who said I need to have a medical physical and a TB test to work at the reception desk, which is my new part time job, on some weekends and an occasional weekend. WTF?!? They pay for it but the HR assistant said she dropped the ball and should've told me sooner but I have to have it done by Saturday. I was not happy. There's a walk in clinic in Southern Civilization and I HAVE to do it there. I told her I had my annual physical scheduled for 9/23 and she said that was too late and when they get audited they would get a citation because physical dates are something that get checked and need to be done within 30 days of the hire date. I fussed but said fine. And to think, I have to do all that to answer a damn phone, but NOT to work with the kids. What is wrong with this picture?!?

I have a job interview Thursday with a school in a nearby county, a mere 20 minute drive, that is similar to Alcatraz. I'm interviewing for a special education aide job. It would be permanent, full time, optional summers off, AND it pays almost $12 an hour, which would be about $4 more than the job I'm supposed to start after this maternity leave. If I take the summer off they will still pay me year around! OMG- and there's Blue Cross/ Blue Shield/ Anthem Insurance AND dental!!! Additionally, the first opening they have in teaching English or history would be to me! I'll know more later.

Mac is in band and choir and is a senior and they music department does a fundraiser. He has to sell 20 cookie orders and the cheapest is $14 a tub. What sort of shit is that? A huge thank you to ITSam (he doesn't read here but I thought a shout out here is still okay so you all know I appreciate him!) who is taking it all over work to see what he can do. 20 tubs?!? Wow, that's a lot.

Sam confuses Tuesday and Thursday when talking. He says he does this all the time and has since he was a kid. My brain said "DUH!" but I never verbalized that to him. But... "DUH"!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A day for me, and me alone

I didn't go to work yesterday. I was beat to hell after the insane weekend. From Saturday morning at 7 am until Sunday night at 11pm I got about 4 hours of sleep. So I stayed home yesterday. I asked for a sub last week just in case I wanted to be off, and I was never so glad about anything in my life.

I got up at 7am to get Mac up and to say good-bye to Daddy-O. He was headed to Texas today, for at least 30 days, maybe longer. He was driving for the first time and should be there sometime today.

After the two of them were off, I read a book and feel back asleep until around 10:45 am. I fussed on the computer until around noon. It was awesome. I stayed in my jammies on the couch with no one home. I had the windows open and caught a great breeze.

ITSam brought me some lunch. Then I took a nap. For three hours. I thought I was tired but I didn't know I was THAT tired. But it felt so good to do nothing. Just nothing.

I finally took a shower and gabbed with mac after he got home from school. Sam and I went to run errands and have dinner. We rented some movies. I just chilled and was super mellow.

I love mellow. I want to do mellow for about 5 or 6 more days. Or weeks. Or years. I want to be hired to be mellow.

But today is back to the grind at Alcatraz.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe

Last week I wrote about my successful cooking of my mom's famous Christmas food breakfast of bacon breakfast casserole and sour cream coffee cake. And I owed you all the recipe for the cake, so here it is! Enjoy! If I weren't so lazy I'd make another one today.

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional- we never had these since my mom, bro and I are all allergic)
6 teaspoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Cream sugar and butter- use a mixer to make it very fluffy. Add eggs. sour cream, baking powder, salt and vanilla- continue mixing. Slowly add in the flour and continue mixing.

When all mixed smooth and lump-free, pour half of the batter in a GREASED tube pan. (I use either bundt or an angel food cake pan myself. And grease the pan even if it says it's a non stick one, especially if it's a bundt!)

Mix nuts brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and then sprinkle half of that mixture over the 1/2 batter in the pan. Pour remaining batter on top and then sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture on top of that.

Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour at 350. (Don't underbake like brownies. This shouldn't be gooey anywhere)

Love from the kitchen of Mags and her mom

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A bride, a baptism and a birthday

I photographed a wedding yesterday and it was one of the coolest weddings ever. Each table at the reception was named after a martini and the table center pieces were giant martini classes filled with red roses and floating candles. There was a martini luge, too. (This is a huge ice sculpture in the shape of a martini glass and the martini is mixed and then poured through the sculpture to chill it and into a glass at the bottom!) Of course the bride was beautiful; her shoes were 4 inch heels, in red, with a satin ribbon running over the top- I want want want! The ceremony was held in a beautiful cathedral in the Chicago area. The food was awesome. We ate all day long. I usually never eat the day of a wedding so I had my typical cup off morning java. We shot the wedding and then I rode in the Hummer limo with the wedding party to a park to take pictures; we all had a picnic at the park (cookies, bottled H20, turkey sandwiches, pretzels). Then we all went back to the hotel and there was a hospitality suite with a free (open) bar and tons of food (lobster sandwiches, fruit plates, cookies, shrimp, hummus, chips, sub sandwiches). I took pictures and was encouraged to eat. Then we had a cocktail hour. Where we took pictures and ate (brushetta, fried wantons, shrimps with bacon, something with artichoke). Then there was dinner at the reception, where I took pictures and ate! (tomato bisque soup, salad, rolls, mango sorbet to cleanse the palate, fillet steak tartar, steamed veggies, twice baked potato, and wedding cake). The wedding was beautiful and classy and the food was delish!

The wedding was a good 3 hours and a little more away. The reception was to end anytime after 1am. I was off the clock around 10pm so I headed to my room. I was beat and exhausted. I was full and tired. I had no desire to drink or dance. So I went to my room. At a 4 star Hilton. In Chicago. With a king sized bed. In a 4 star Hilton. I have decided that every few months I'm reserving a room in a 4 star hotel and I'm checking in as early as possible and staying overnight, alone. I love fancy hotels and I love staying in them. So I took a shower and relaxed and read.

Then I checked out at 525am and drove the hours back home to see Fab Finn be baptized. He was such a champ. He was a trooper. He was adorable and dressed in a little white baby tuxedo like outfit. He was awake and alert and checked out the whole thing. He gurgled and smiled. He was the cutest thing at 3 months old! He didn't even cry when they sprinkled the water on him.

After the baptism we went back to Bro and SisinLaw's house. It was the Divine MsK's 2nd birthday party. We had pizza and cake and she opened her presents and was cute and sweet and just adorable. She has a little widow's peak! She's so cute!

Today was a long day but it was good. Now, I'm getting a delightful foot rub from ITSam, watching Criminal Minds reruns and am going to clean my room.

Ah bliss.

Oh and did I mention I'm totally taking tomorrow off to have the house all to myself? Am so ready to chill.... I make no promises to do anything except to blog.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Good things about this week

  • The school week is over
  • I'm going to make some extra money shooting a wedding in Chicago tomorrow
  • The Divine Ms K is having her second birthday party on Sunday
  • Fab Finn is being baptized on Sunday
  • I don't have to drive to Chicago for said wedding tomorrow; I'm riding with the videographer and his crew so I can sleep all the way there
  • The casserole and sour cream coffee cake were delicious (and yes, I owe you a recipe for the cake!)
  • ITSam got paid
  • I got to see Mac lift the cheerleaders for the first time tonight and he was awesome! And didn't drop any of them! (And I am so glad I'm his mom rather than the mother of the girls he throws in the air and catches! Yikes!)
  • My new birthday pants came in the mail. They are so comfy and soft and dressy. It's like wearing pajamas to work.
  • I took Monday off of work to recover from the about 4 hours of sleep I'll get from Saturday at 7am until I go to bed Sunday night (or cave in a take a nap on Sunday afternoon)
  • Mac ordered his letter jacket and it's gonna be so dang cool! I can't wait to see it! (And I plan on doing some serious begging of Curley to sew all the patches and stuff on!) And it's less than a $100.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breakfast anyone?

I had many requests for the infamous breakfast casserole I wrote about yesterday so here is the recipe...
"Maggie's mom's make ahead breakfast casserole" aka
"Best breakfast casserole in the whole freaking world"

12 slices of bread, very lightly buttered on both sides (I use white, but I'm sure any sort would be fine. Rye will change the taste, of course. And a heavy grain will take it longer to bake)
1 pound of bacon (you may also use ham or sausage)
2 cups of milk
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
optional: dry mustard, 1 teaspoon

Cook bacon. Don't make it too crispy because you're going to cook it in the casserole. But don't leave it very raw. (I like crispy bacon to eat so I usually cook it like I would serve it but not as crispy) Blot off the grease.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch glass pan. Line pan with 6 pieces of the lightly buttered on both sides bread. Lay the bacon strips on the bread until it's covered. Then spread/ sprinkle the cheese over the meat and bread. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper; (If you add the dry mustard, it goes in here) whip with a whisk until it's all mixed together. Set aside.

Lay the last 6 pieces of bread over the bacon/ cheese. Then pour the egg/ mixture over the whole thing.

Cover the pan and put in the fridge overnight.

The next day at any meal time, bake covered for 30 minutes at 350. Then, take the cover off (I used foil) and bake until the top is golden brown. The sides might be bubbly before the top is golden brown, but that's okay. I left it in for about 20-30 minutes to be golden brown.

Remove from oven and left stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy! And tomorrow- the sour cream coffee cake!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It was so good, and we're all still living to tell the tale

Many moons ago, Christmas of 2006, I wrote about Christmas food. Here's an excerpt of that post:

Anyway, Christmas food. The best kind of food ever. I have so many memories associate with food and the holidays.

On Christmas morning we have a traditional brunch meal. Mom ALWAYS makes the staples- bacon/ cheese casserole. My son eats almost a whole one all by himself. She also makes a hash brown casserole, like the one they sell at Cracker Barrel- also some of the best food on the face of the earth. We have juice and coffee. We also have fruit salad, which can change continents yearly, but still a fruit salad of some sort. (Once we even had fruit slush which we all loved, but I don't think that made the holiday menu again- it got deregulated to a lesser holiday, something like a Memorial Day picnic food. Damn!)

Then there's the sweet bread. This is the sole reason to have breakfast/ brunch on Christmas morning, in my opinion. This must occur before gifts are unceremoniously ripped open. This is the true meaning of Christmas...Okay, not really, but this is seriously the world's most perfect food. Without a doubt. This is most perfect coffee cake in all of history. Jesus could come to Earth and eat this cake and know it was better and more miraculous than walking on water. He would've fed this with the fish instead of loaves- the story would be "fish and coffee cake." Sour cream coffee cake, not to be served any other time of year. Ever. No questions. It is reserved for Christmas morning alone. Do not tamper with this idea because it will NOT taste the same. It just isn't allowed. It is reserved specifically for Christmas morning. I eat a whole one by myself. And if you think I'm kidding, well...I wish but no. I LOVE this stuff. I look forward to it all year. This is the most moist cake ever. It is the perfect blend of cinnamon and goodness and just...Heaven on a plate. I swear to God if I had to pick between a lifetime of going without chocolate or the coffee cake, I would put Hershey's out of business. It is a true toss up between coffee cake and sex as to which is better and I think coffee cake wins. Seriously= this is some fabulous baked goods. Momma makes it in a special pan with a hole in it- not a mere bunt pan but some other special coffee cake baking dish. And it MUST be served on the cut glass crystal pedestal cake plate that is never used the rest of the year. This pan and this plate enhance the taste and enjoyability of the sour cream coffee cake as a whole. I dig this coffee cake. You know when you were a kid and said "if you love it so much why doncha marry it?" Well, show me where to sign... Bliss. True bliss. I love Mac more, but barely...

Ummmmm, well, uhhhhhhhh.... about last night.

Mac thinks the bacon/ cheese breakfast casserole is the best food on Earth and has been nagging and hounding me to make it for about 3 years. I never have. I have my mom's recipe but since she died, I've never fixed it, for one reason or another. I have idea how it came about but I think Mac drove me nuts until over the long weekend I agreed to make the damn thing for supper one night this week. (We are people who enjoy breakfast for dinner at our house.) It's a make ahead dish so on Monday night I put it together and served it for dinner last night.

And since I was making the Christmas casserole on a day that wasn't Christmas and not only was it not for a brunch, but for a dinner, I said 'what the hell' and made the infamous sour cream coffee cake as well. Yes, it's official. I broke the tradition. I made it on a regular old Tuesday in September. For dinner. I kept checking for stray lightening bolts from my mother. I'm not kidding. The woman wouldn't give us the recipe for the casserole nor the cake while she was alive because it was supposed to be SPECIAL ONLY FOR CHRISTMAS. But I couldn't make one without the other so I did.

ITSam came for dinner and be brought the fruit salad.

And the casserole was perfect. This Christmas when I make if for the entire family I'll need to make 2 or three because the four of us killed the entire thing in one sitting. I got it just like my mother's. I was shocked speechless. I couldn't speak but I sure ate. I was going to invite Bro's family but I was afraid if I screwed it up it would just ruin it all, ya know? So I used Daddy-O, Mac and ITSam for my trial run. If I can do it again on Christmas day, then we'll have a home run.

And as for the sour cream coffee cake... well, Daddy-O said it was better than my mother's. Oh. My. Goddess. I hope he didn't get struck my lightening today while no one was home for uttering such words. But it was good. My goodness sake's alive but was it ever good. Wow. I think there were 2 pieces left when I departed from the house this morning. I have a feeling there may be none when I get home. It was almost a surreal moment of eating. It should've been on Food Network, or I should've taken pictures. Sorry!!!

I also did not use the special dishes. I just used a regular old cake plate, and the fruit was in a plastic butter bowl. The casserole was in a plain old Pyrex dish. I didn't do the whole special serving process. No sirree, not even gonna tempt fate even more! Now I won't go abusing it or anything and making it all the time so it can hold some special memories for Christmas, but it didn't hurt anyone or anything to have it when it wasn't the holiday. Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As long as there are no stray lightening bolts around...


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This was NOT the assignment

Every day I have all my students journal. because of the nature of these student and the fact that they LOVE to provide "too much information" about their personal lives, I try to pick journal topics that are non-personal. As a matter of fact, I bought this amazing book from Amazon for this purpose: Unjournaling: Daily Writing Exercises that Are NOT Personal, NOT Introspective, NOT Boring! It's a great book.

I write the journal topic on the board, with the date and the journal number. The students are just requite to date it, number it and do it,. They don't have to copy the assignment down and then do it. I just want"the answer". Some times it's listing, sometimes it's a paragraph, sometimes dialogue--- there are LOTS of wonderful options. It's not hard. Each journal is worth 5 points so at the end of the week, journals are worth 25 points. They do it, they get the points, they don't then the entry is a -5. Not tough at all. And I don't read every single entry. I skim. Sometimes I think it "looks" long enough and give them credit for that day. I might decide I'm going to read journal numbers 7 and 11 for period three and then give them credit for the others if it looks like they did it. Teacher prerogative and discretion and all that rot.

All of my classes do the same journal topic. It's not brain surgery. Their journals stay in the room. This is the way I start class. They write while I take attendance, record it in the computer, and then notify the office over my missing kids. It's a great way to kill 10 minutes of class for I can to that nonsense paperwork crap.

More importantly it's a good way to kick their brains into gear. I think it's important for students to write every single day, even if it is for 10 minutes. It will make them better writers, for them to think creatively, use some critical thinking skills in some cases, and it will improve their vocabs and hand writing.

Of course, 80% of the students hate this assignment.

Remember the student I wrote about last week and I named him Asshole? He really hates the journal assignments. He only attempted 2 of last week's 5 topics. Here is what he wrote for one of them:

I assure you, this had nothing to do with the topic at hand. I also have no idea what the last word is or mean: naugh. WTF?

Here's his other journal for the week:

Again, I can assure you, this was not the correct answer, by any stretch of the imagination, for the assigned topic of the day.

I wanted to write "fuck you, Asshole. Enjoy your big fat F in my class. The judge is going to love to see copies of this journal, and I plan on sending it to him." What I did instead was simply write "0/25 F" and moved on.

I also copied it and shared it with our Assistant Principal. The student was not in my class on Friday. Nor do I think he's going to be in my class again. Ever. If there is a God....


Monday, September 6, 2010

Would it really be such a bad thing?

I think we should have teacher .vs. student hockey and I would gladly sit in the penalty box for checking or high sticking.

I think I would even get in a boxing ring and just punch 'em in the balls and take whatever happens to me since you're not supposed to hit there.

What about letting teachers have a taser? When I lived in the Wild West, I was working at a branding once. On thing they let me help do was hold a hot shot and goose the calves up the chute, away from their mommies. Most calves wouldn't go quietly or easily so I had a cattle prod called a Hot Shot. It just gave a little juice to the calve to get 'em moving. There was certainly NOT the same as what is in a police taser. While this was going on, a student came up behind me to ask me a question and I turned around and accidentally touched the Hot Shot to the student. Which to me was super cool, but he didn't think so. It sure did give him a jolt- bwahahahahaha! I swear it was an accident. really. But it was still awesome. And there would be nothing wrong with letting classroom teachers all have a Hot Shot. I bet if a school system said we could have 'em teachers would rush to the nearest Big R and buy their own! I know I would. It'd be the best $25 I ever spent!

It's not that I want to hurt my students but I just want to knock some sense into them. We are so touchy- feely and everyone is worried about hurting the kids. I also understand that some adults can go to far with punishments. And I'm a pacifist. But sometimes I just want a situation where I could lay out the kid who told me to "fuck off you fat bitch." Is that too much to ask?

Recently one of the kids at Alcatraz was recounting her experience in an isolation unit. The place where I work will not use physical contact with a child unless necessary and if that happens, everyone has been trained, by a nationally known and respected company in this field, to do therapeutic holds and restraints. This is a last resort option.

This girl student was telling about how she threw a fit in her house and went out the front door. The adult in charge of her house calls a team because she might be running away. So this group converges around this girl. She walks up and down campus, never setting foot off the property. Everyone has to walk with her, talking her "down". She runs in circles and everyone runs after her. She throws her self on the ground and everyone can only stand and talk and sooth. This went on for about 3 HOURS. She never left the Alcatraz campus so she was never able to be labeled as a runner, first of all. And she could scream and yell and call the team of adults trying to help her every name in the book and they can't do anything. She's not leaving or hurting herself or others so she couldn't be restrained. meanwhile, the entire campus is on lock down because you don't want the other kids to know what's going on; they could create another 'situation'.

Finally when she either wore herself out or just gave up could the team actually walk her into the isolation unit where she could shower, change clothes and have something to eat, get her meds and then go to sleep. Seriously. And she stayed there for 5 days as her punishment- for the 3 hour episode and whatever was the catalyst for the episode.

And if your thought of an Isolation unit comes from One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest of Oz on HBO, then get those images out of your mind. The Isolation Unit at Alcatraz means the kids are isolated from the others. They're in their own room with a bed. There are several adults watching them. They can watch tv, read, listen to the radio and sometimes even visit with the other kids in Isolation. It's not a dirty, dark cement hole. There are windows and carpet and soothing murals painted on the walls. It's well lit. There are adults in and out all the time- a nurse, therapist, teachers, counselors, house parents, staff, etc. Seriously.

I couldn't believe she did all that crap for three hours. After about 45 minutes of all the nicey-nicey stuff, I would've wanted to tackle her butt to the ground, use restraints and haul her ass off to the local country lockup for being such a little bitch.

The kids know what they can get away with and they do this sort of crap on purpose. Then laugh about it later; they brag and thinks it's hilarious at what they made all the staff do. The kicker is that no one can do anything about it. Oh, the case managers can make notes in their files and then send those files on to the kid's county judge when the case is up for review. But usually that doesn't have much influence on teaching them a lesson. Unless a kids gets violent or runs more than once, usually the kids get out of my facility when they're supposed to, on their originally assigned release date.

Hence my desire for some sort of sports competition or farm implement usage.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Come out with your hands up!

Many years ago when I started teaching college, I was working at a place that offered 2 year degrees, which was considered 'occupational education' opportunities. I had worked there for a couple years when there was a shake up in closing the building at night so in an effort to save money, one of the full time faculty members would be in charge each night, taking turns. This would involve making sure the building was empty, classroom door shut and locked, lights off and alarms set.

On very cold and snowy winter night it was my turn to close down the building. This was also about 6 weeks after a student had threatened to kill me. The school had hired a security guard who stood outside my classroom door each night and walked to me my car. This night the security guard was ill and apparently there are no replacements. And due to the supremely cold weather I had to park about a quarter mile away. It was about 10:30 at night. Now the scene is set.

A bunch of students knew I had been threatened and knew the girl who did it could and probably would make good on the threat since she had done some prison time before. Nice, eh? Our school, at the time, has a large population of inner city folks. I'm not being racist or stereotypical here but to be just flat out honest, I had a group of young men in my English class who were former gang members, all with very large physiques and very African American. About 6 or 7 of these guys. They didn't like the fact that my guard was gone and that I was parked so far away. So, they stayed after. They were going to make sure I got the building closed with no trouble and out to my car without incident.

I thought it was very nice of these guys to stay and offer me protection. And in all honesty, it never dawned on me to be scared of them, or be nervous. Furthermore, I wouldn't have wanted to be the girl who threatened me that night. I felt far safer with these 7 guys than I ever did with the security guard.

I'm walking through the building with these guys. There were two at each entrance and one with me. As I passed each door, the door sentries, would join me as I canvassed the building. We all had our stuff and when I came to the last door they guys all went out. I punched in the alarm code, grabbed my stuff and stepped out the door and started to lock it. But I spied my scarf still on the floor and I knew I had 30 seconds from the time I hit the alarm button until I had to have the lock thrown. So I dashed the 5 steps back across the floor, scooped up my scarf, ran back out and threw the lock.

My entourage and I were making our way across the parking lot, all laughing and talking. The guys were watching the dark shadows. They sort of had me surrounded, with me in the middle, very Secret Service POTUS stuff. In the distance I heard sirens but didn't think much about it. But they drew closer and closer and suddenly, the parking lot was filled with city cop cars.

The guys and me all stood frozen as the police yanked doors open, guns DRAWN, screaming to get on the ground. Now, my 7 seven body guards hit the pavement without a blink or a flinch. They are laying on the grown, spread eagle, bags thrown clear, hands completely visible.

Me... there I still stand, in my long read wood coat, brief case and purse dangling, in a pair of charming high heel boots. I'm yelling back that this is stupid, asking what is going on, telling them to let the boys up. While I'm yelling at the cops, the cops are yelling at me to get down on the ground- which was cold, ice and snow covered, and dirty and grimy. The guy on the ground nearest to me is about begging me to get down and do what the cops say.

I screaming I work there, these guys are my students, this is absurd. The cops are screaming to get down. I comply. I laying in the parking lot at freaking 10:45 pm at night with 7 students and about 30 cops. I. am. cold and I. am. PISSED.

The guys are all cuffed and brought to the their feet. A cop was talking to me at this time and I told him if he put cuffs on me, I'd have his badge. I told him who I was and I was in charge, that what they did was wrong, and profiling, and ludicrous and who knows what else.

Come to find out, when I went back in for my scarf I set off the silent alarm. The alarm company called the cops. The cops responded. The cops saw one single white woman and a group of black men and this was the result.

In the meantime, someone, somehow, called the Dean of Students who arrived on the scene. She took charged and said that yes I was closing the building, and yes these were my students. The cops sort of apologized to the students and they were apologetic to me.

I do understand the police were doing their jobs, and I know these were guys who were in gangs, and I know what it looked like: 7 black guys and 1 white woman, in a dark night parking lot.

It's a good story, something to look back at and have a laugh. Really, I mean, can you just picture me standing in the middle of a circle of police cars, being 20 kinds of indignant, with all these cops hidden behind their open car doors, guns drawn, and I'm bitching that my coat will get dirty, and I'm sending the dry cleaning bill to the city police? Can you just see it?

Not one of my best moments.

But while I also think about this and laugh, I also think how sad it was that these guys were treated this way.

And the city never pay to have my coat cleaned.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pink Stuff

This is pink stuff I want. Thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting Pink Saturdays.

This Saturday my feature fellow pink blogger is Mary at One Perfect Bite. This has to be one of the yummiest blogs I've ever seen, as well as being classy in content, written and visual. The food is to die for, the photos superb and the personal anecdotes are the perfect touch, making it a blog experience that is One Perfect Bite.


Friday, September 3, 2010

ITSam Stuff


Every time I go to write anything here, I worry about jinxing the relationship. I worry about sounding stupid. I've waxed poetic in the past about Sams and look how those have turn out. This worries me, to just throw it all out there.

I had a GF once tell me that she knew when I was serious about a guy because I was pretty closed mouthed about him. Maybe that's true here?

Things are very good. He's very nice. I know I've said that before but it bears repeating since I've known more NOT nice guys in my life than those who are nice.

He wants to get married. He was ring shopping and finally just said he wasn't officially "asking" me yet but this was something he didn't want to screw up and surprise me with the wrong ring. And he wasn't sure what I wanted. He also said he got the vibe I wouldn't want a traditional diamond but wasn't sure where to go. So he told me he wanted to propose and would at some point in the future and took me to a couple of jewelry stores to show him what I wanted so he could get the exact right thing "when the time" came.

He said he also wasn't officially asking because he hadn't talked to Daddy-O yet.

I found a pink Sapphire, 1 karat, solitaire, cut like a traditional princess cut, with a white gold band. That's what I want. No side stones and no baguettes. Just one big pale pink stone smack in the middle. With a Tiffany band. He was impressed. And not surprised at the pink, either.

In the middle of all this, we're discussing moving in together. We're looking at a 3 bedroom house to rent this weekend. It's lovely. A little cottage, tucked off the street, under some pretty trees. It's yellow. Possibilities.

Is it quick? Probably. Is it a good idea? Who knows? I've made worse and bigger mistakes, if it comes to that.

I shot off my mouth. A few days after looking as rings we were talking about people we know who had lived together before they got married which led us to talking about our own experiences with that situation. I said I wouldn't live with anyone (again) without being engaged and a date set, with invites ordered. Sam thought that was smart and he "got" where I was coming from since I had a BAD experience with that once.

Then we heard about the yellow house and it just seems ideal for our needs. Now, I have to make a choice. Do I move in without the ring or let a great house go because of no ring? With the first month's rent, a deposit, and deposits for utilities and the cost of a moving van, there wouldn't be much left over for a ring after all those expenditures. Ah, conundrums.

There's lots more to say here. It's just... scary. I've been, for all intrinsic purposes, single for about 7 years. I've had some short term, monogamous relationships that never went anywhere. And if I'm completely honest with myself, of all the men I've dated, slept with or monogamously relationshiped with, there was only one I really wanted to go anywhere and he turned out to be the Gay Cowboy. I've been single for a very long time. Thinking in terms of a permanent relationship with someone is weird for me. Weird, seriously. Other than Mac, I've pictured doing things in my life alone. I've envisioned my future one certain way for so long that now that there's another person, I'm often at a loss of what to do. But maybe these are thoughts for another post... I could probably stretch ITSam and dating into 2 or 3 or 12 posts...

And this post caps stuff week! I think you're all caught up.

Lots of pink lipsticky kisses,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Classroom stuff

My first period class is the class from hell. They are evil. They are the spawns of Satan. They don't care. They won't have any sort of "buy in" to what I'm doing. They have no sense of humor. They're angry, mean and going through withdrawal. They hate me, themselves, everyone else, school and well... you know. EVERYTHING. This is a purely miserable way to start the day. I'm stressed and tired before I even see a student. They suck suck suck. I have 1 kid in that room I can tolerate and then otherwise, they could all just go to prison because this group is headed there, or the cemetery in the end anyway. Let's just expedite that process, why don't we?

Yeah, well. I just don't like this class.

I kicked a kid out of there last Friday. I typically like to maintain my own classroom management; meaning, my last resort is kicking a kid out of my room. Oh well, no, not with this CLASS!!!

So, last Friday I kick out a kid. Let's call him Asshole, shall we? All of the following happened until I just couldn't take it:
  • he swore
  • he repeatedly said "I don't care. This is stupid."
  • ripped the cover off his journal
  • refusing to journal
  • throwing a pencil
  • faking like he was going to swear some more
  • faking like he was going to hit another student
  • faking like he was going to hit me...
That last one is the one that did me in. Bastard. Did I mention this all happened before the bell and about 4 minutes into class?

So Monday, the boys are coming to class. I turn my back to chat with another kid for about 30 seconds and when I walk in the room with the girls (gender separated passing periods) the word FUCK is written on my board. In HUGE letters, right in the center.

My first reaction is to make this a grammar lesson and teach them the part of speech called the interjection. Then I figured that would give them carte blanche to say it and write it all the time.

I asked nicely who did it. No one said a word but the laughter was strong. I then asked again who did it and said I just wanted to know and if the person confessed there would be no punishment. Still more laughter and no confession. So I said, "I'm cutting all the points for every boy int he room and writing additional demerits on each of you unless someone confesses or narcs." One kid said, "Dude I'm not a narc but I don't want my points taken, man. Confess."

The laughter stops but no one said a word. So I call my assistant principal. He comes to the room and I re-cap for him. He chats quietly with the kids, a knot of them in the front of the room when one suddenly bursts out screaming, "FUCK you, man. Fuck you asshole. Fuck you [insert Principal's last name here]!" Principal looks at me and says, "Ms. O' Sullivan, I think we have a winner."

He tries to extract the kid from my room and he won't go. Principal calls for back up and the discipline team shows up. I take the rest of the class to an empty room and they do their work. The author of FUCK is removed from school for 2 days.

Now Tuesday, the class was fairly calm. We do our thing and then we go to the library. Tuesday is library day. Everything, I think, went without incident, for once. Until half way through second period when I get an email from the school librarian. One of my first period kids stole magazines from the library.

She had to search lockers and find 'em and the kid had to be punished for theft. All because of my class.

Wednesday... Asshole was... well, his moniker is appropriate. He threw a pencil and refused to journal. And then he settled and started working. He lulled me into a false sense of security because 15 minutes before class ends, he starts yelling at the kid next to him, throwing crap around the room, swearing and I tossed his Asshole-ness out again.

I hate hate hate first period.

I love love love my job. I believe in Alcatraz. I just hate hate hate first period.

Author Boy should've added an "ers" to his writing on Monday- would've been accurate.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mac Stuff

He writing essays to get into college. I'm listening to him and I have to say-- my kid is really smart. Brilliant. He's given the typical questions: three most important things in your life, most important influence in your life, why do you want to go to school, what do you want to be when you grow up... and he's in turmoil and in agony because he doesn't want to do the trite things as everyone else. He doesn't want to just slap this assignment together. He's brimming with anger and revenge toward his father which is his motivating factor. I feel for him and have no idea how this is going to all pan out. I wish I had a microphone going so I could give you the streaming feed of his brain's dialogue. Wow.

Mac's a lifter for the cheerleaders and he's having a good time with it. He wants to be good at that, like he wants to be good at everything in life. He also loves the fact that he can "legally" touch cheerleader ass. Yeah...

I needed my car yesterday and it seemed like an ordeal to pry it out of his teenage hands. I finally gave him money for a pizza and I got one of his friends to transport him.

Mac is never home with all his activities and his friends. I sort of like him being gone lots. Does that make me a bad mother?

Senior years cost an astronomical amount of money. Lifting uniform, letter jacket, college application fees....................... that's all this week's "ask." He needs new shoes, too.

He's moody. I want to avoid him because I don't have all the answers nor do I have all the money. He's bear like but when ITSam finally got him talking last night about all the stuff that was bothering him--- the college stuff is eating him up. I wish I could fix it.

This mom stuff is rough.

Mac's mom,