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Monday, November 10th, 2008
9:17 am - Yes We Can!
This election was such a relief compared to the mourning that came with Kerry's defeat in 2004.

Russell and I watched the debates, couldn't help but peruse SNL clips online featuring Tina Fey's Palin impression, and were generally sucked in to the election madness like everyone else out here. We watched the "Yes We Can" video roughly 200 times and I used it for my song/poetry lesson for the kiddos.

We got our mail in ballots but managed to mess them up (signing each other's envelopes) so we went to the Alameda Courthouse the Sunday before the election, stood there for 2 hours, and got new envelopes to cast our vote. :)

School has been very political, as we are an overwhelmingly liberal staff. I was surprised a bit by one of the directors wearing an Obama pin and by some of the things teachers said in front of the kids regarding the election. My kids are by and large Obama supporters (one student took a Sharpie and wrote Obama on his brand new white sneakers!) yet I tried to refrain from discussing my own political beliefs, as I realize the weight that such things take on when from the elementary teacher's mouth.

We did discuss politics often though. I was so impressed in circle when a seventh grader asked about proposition NN in Oakland and an eighth grader knew what it was about and explained it. Or when my students started discussing prop 8 and had a rational discussion on whether it's fair to tell people they can't get married. I don't remember kids that I've worked with ever being so political and I'm so glad that Obama's candidacy really stirred their families and themselves to caring. (You should have seen the number of Obama shirts on Free Dress Fridays!)

I feel so lucky to have been teaching on Tuesday. I had planned on reading a book about voting and then watching CNN during snack. Turns out the vote book lended itself to some curious discussions. Does everyone in the country vote for prop 8? Are there more than two parties? What's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? Did Al Gore really win and not become president? Does someone count all the votes or do they use computers?

It was so exciting that we ended up doing some makeshift lessons on the basics of the electoral college and how each state gets a certain number of votes and those are the ones that really count. We made little electoral college maps and I gave them a math activity using those numbers. :) California's votes divided by Missouri's votes, etc. :) It was a very exciting morning!

We watched CNN during snack and every since they keep asking for it. ("Ms. Lindsay, can we watch CSN? CMN? CNN?") they're enthusiasm was so contagious.

Russell and I rushed home to watch election projections. i colored a map with red and blue marker for my kids while watching. I got the excited text messages from family as 8 o'clock neared. We watched the footage of celebrations all over the country, including the helicopter footage from Berkeley, about four blocks down the road. We heard the fireworks and the people shouting in the streets. It was so beautiful and exciting and positive.

I feel extremely proud of the country to have pulled itself together and show such overwhelming support for Obama. I'm so excited for what the next eight years will look like for education, for race relations, for foreign relations, and for the economy.

I love Obama's line about how there's never anything false about hope. Here I am, certainly hopeful...

On the flip side, I am extremely saddened by prop 8 passing in CA (eliminating the rights of same sex couples to marry) as well as the other laws banning marriage and adoption across the country. It seems so wrong that in a time of hope for most, that hope for others would be taken away. :( I am at least happy to here my kids talk about how they were against prop 8. Gives me hope that the newest generation won't necessarily believed the outdated notions of the american family...

< 3LK

current mood: hopeful

(4 charming princes | kiss a frog)

9:01 am - Time flies!
I suppose I have been super negligent in writing here. I'm not even sure if anyone's even rocking the LJ thing anymore, as maybe it's gone out of style...? Not sure.

Today is my first day off this school year as we didn't have Columbus Day/Indigenous People's Day off.
I don't think I can even really capture the past two months in words. So much has happened.

Living in Berkeley is great. We take the BART around when we can and we can easily get into SF. We've been doing a bit of shopping, and random day trips around and about. We went to the SF Zoo, the Oakland Museum of Children's Art, the Berkeley Public Library, the local Blockbuster and are really becoming accustomed to life here. It's nice to be able to think "oh, I'd like a Jamba Juice" and just walk to go get one. :)

The apartment is coming together slowly but surely. This weekend we tackled cleaning the pantry area out, as well as the spare room and the bathroom. We had unpacked and gotten settled but we had neglected to chop up all our cardboard boxes and neglected to put things into closets. Now that we did, it looks much better and feels great.

Work is good. Fourth grade is a nice grade for me, I think. It is a challenge because I have no supplies for fourth grade coming in to the year, but I've been making things and keeping copies of everything for next year. I anticipate having a lot less work.
I'm not quite used to the pacing of curriculum. Getting through everything has been the biggest challenge I am facing. We've done fractions, multiplication, and we're working on long division right now. We wrote personal narratives and finished a letter writing unit. Next comes book reports. :) I'm having my students learn the fifty states so that they can label a map, as many of them really have no clue which is which.

I have 14 students, 7 of which are new to the school this year. That itself has been a challenge. The school has a great sense of moral education and my students who have been here are not aggressive, respond to situations appropriately, and are very balanced and mature. Several of my new students respond to situations aggressively or disrespectfully and you can tell the huge difference. The great part is that the directors really support teachers with students who are struggling behaviorally and when one of the directors saw a student be disrespectful to me, she suspended him right then and there. It's a huge comfort to know that that kind of behavior won't be tolerated.

We went on our first trip to the pumpkin patch. We're going on another trip to the Oakland Zoo, and right after Thanksgiving break is week-long science nature camp. :)
Halloween is a huge to-do at school with non-violent and non-scary costumes. I'll make sure I put some pictures up on snapfish or facebook. The washing machine costume was so classic!

Russell is doing well. It's his birthday this Wednesday. :) I won't lie; I don't have too much up my sleeve as far as that goes.

What we're looking forward to:

Parent Conferences and Russell's birthday this week
Thanksgiving in CT with Russell's family
Beginning volunteering (both of us have been working on volunteering opportunities!)
Christmas break with my family and then Russell's and then seeing friends in MA
Taryne getting married!
Kate and Greg getting married!
Applying to grad school for fall 2010! Yay!

I have a bit to say about the election, but I think that's worthy for a different entry with less of my babbling.

< 3LK

current mood: chipper

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
9:00 pm - happy.
I am happy.

Here is why.

Russell and I are finally done moving into the apartment. It took ALL day Saturday and Sunday to move furniture in via uhaul and involved me trying to hold half a couch. Our bedroom has a bed now to accompany the mattress and clothes are in the closets, rather than in suitcases. The living room has the computer (and the internet that we're mooching off of for the time being) and the couch and even a full bookshelf. We have a kitchen table, which gives our picnic blanket a break. It is very nice. :)

We have a few little things... like the closet door that is really hard to open and a leaky sink, but all in good time. Oh, and we live in a building with three other youngish couples... and there's another Wellesley woman. Fancy that!

I love my coworkers. They are very sweet and it is a good place to work with good people to work for thus far. It's not just the young new teachers either. The ones who have been there still come and chat and catch up and answer my questions. The lower grade department chair gave me a pink plant for my desk. It's just little sweet things like that.

My students' parents are relaxed thus far and all seem very pleasant. Hasn't been a problem yet and tonight was Open House.

Russell is away. That does not make me happy, but I found a parking space all by myself, so that does.

As for my students, they are good. The first two days were really easy (and half days) but this week has been a bit more challenging as we are a very chatty bunch. However, they are sweet and they seem to be understanding fractions thus far as well as what punctuation should go at the end of which sentences. We're working a lot on basic grammar, as that's where we need some improvement, as well as getting thoughts down on paper. Their first quiz is on Friday and I'm a little nervous because I really want them to do well because then I'll feel like I taught them well... so we'll see. :)

Morning Circle is school-wide and, while it is sometimes long, it is very fun and exciting. We do a skipping song that is a lot of fun, and students share very heartfelt things. The signs of caring and compassion I see from students towards each other is just so heartwarming. I can't really explain it. You'd have to see it. :)

I do morning care so I'm there at 6:45 each morning. I do get paid extra for the 7-8:40 part, which is nice, and it's helpful to know some of the kids in other grades. Tuesday preschool teachers have a meeting so I was with preschool and that was fun as well. Kinda like going back to my preschool roots. :)

I woke up on Saturday at 5:30 ready to get up and go to school. I take it that's a good sign. :)

< 3LK

current mood: happy

(kiss a frog)

Sunday, August 24th, 2008
9:38 am - flood water.
Three days of work down. Seven more days of worktime before the kids show up... and SO much to do.

The good part is that everyone has been super nice. There's quite a few new teachers (teaching 1st, 2nd, math and science to the upper grades, preschool assistants) who are youngish and nice, so I'm glad that I will have some friends after all. :) The veteran teachers have also been really nice, and the 5th grade teacher went to Brandeis so it's nice to have that little bit of home again after having Wendy at Triumph to talk about MA and the Sox with. :)

The bad part is that a water hose thing broke Monday night and the whole school was flooded in four inches of hot water. Given that it's an old church building, the whole thing is wood wood wood, and so they've had the restoration men in, drilling holes in all the walls to drain, removing and replacing the baseboards, and checking all the furniture bottoms. Things in my room are fine, but the problem is that until they are done with the baseboards, the furniture and pile o' crap has to stay right in the middle of the classroom in a rather large heap...

I did get some work done. I cleaned out the teacher's desk and found a lot of stuff, stickers and the sort, and a lot of junk. It looks like the last teacher just up and left all her empty sticker sheets, broken pencils, a scattered pack of googly eyes, a college paper from two teachers ago, etc. The back cabinets were my next project, given that one third of the construction paper pile already was torn or had kids' drawings all over it, and the paint cups and palettes still have paint in them. Ick. I did find an extremely large knife amidst jump ropes and teacher's editions, so that was a bit freaky. It still had chocolate frosting on it. Perhaps the most awesome relic was the part of an old science kit that had the words "Alien Skin Specimen" typed on a bag and inside was a piece of neon green foam. Hahaha.

I'm very excited to get back in the classroom this week and finish organizing the games and manipulatives, start setting up the library and getting all the furniture into its tentative place.

As for the moving to Berkeley, it was supposed to happen this weekend, so Russell and I went down on Friday, but the electricity and gas are off and won't be put back on until PG&E comes and turns it on with an adult present, so that's real tricky. We did meet a nice neighbor and a cute dog, we got hardcore stuck in the parking space, so that's going to be a real challenge to get out of every day, and we moved in a carload of boxes yesterday so that we'll gradually have a lot of stuff there by next weekend, and then just get the uhaul load of furniture down. Sigh, I absolutely detest moving. Russell and I have a hard time staying level headed during it all and I just can't wait for it to be over.... Next weekend! :)

So that's life. And I finally figured out how to get it to keep my logged in on Russell's computer so I won't be missing everyone's entries now. :)

< 3LK

(kiss a frog)

Sunday, August 17th, 2008
8:55 pm - Endings and New Beginnings
Well, August marked the last two weeks of my time at Triumph. My kids moved up to preK, group by group, and to Ms. Saechao's room. We learned about the Olympics, had our own Triumph version (mop-pony equestrian event, haha) and a Green Shirt Ceremony for the new preK kids to get their uniform shirts.

It was hard to say goodbye, particularly to some families, and all my coworkers. Miles says he will call me, and saying goodbye to Sydney was sad as she leaped up for another hug and told me she'd miss me. It was hard to say goodbye to the great people who will work there after I am gone. Flo and Haley, and Allison and Jennine, Cristin and Wendy, Shaylah, Terri, Krista, and Ching. I admire them for working so hard and being able to stick with it for another year. I don't know how Krista does it, with a family at home and an adorable little girl. And Ching, who has been one of my best friends at the school and my mentor as she helped me navigate the world of three year olds... I left on Friday feeling a bit sad that it was all over, but hopeful that the next year will be challenging but slightly less emotionally and physically taxing. I can only hope!

I am halfway done my four-day-mini-vacation between jobs. Russell and I started packing today. We're scheduled to move to Berkeley next weekend. Our apartment is much smaller than the current one and more expensive... but that's the life if you want an apartment near the city, I suppose. :) I'm very excited to have things to do on the weekend, taking the BART to and fro, working less than 45 miles from work, etc. Hopefully Russell and I will be able to get settled and feel settled, which would be a nice change from the current lifestyle of the past year.

I start my new job this Wednesday with the Northern Light School. There is staff training for a while and then there are two half days to start the year on September 4th and 5th. I'm hoping that my classroom is somewhat less messy than when I stopped in over the summer. It is beautiful though, with a wall of windows and lots of shelves. I can't wait to get in there and go through all the things that were just left in there, sorting and cleaning and setting it up so I can feel like it really is my very own classroom. :) Fourth grade is a welcome challenge for me. The hard part is that I simply have nothing already made up for fourth grade; no lessons or anything like that. So I've been working to plan and think things through over the past few weeks. :)

Here's to new beginnings,

current mood: okay

(5 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Monday, July 28th, 2008
6:39 pm - twenty three.
Well, I am now 23. I don't like odd numbers but I have hope for this year! I actually had the best birthday in a long time- the whole weekend-don't-have-to-work thing really was great!

Molly, Russell, and I slept in, had Panera for lunch, went bowling, lounged in the hot tub, and then brought Molly to the airport. Russell and I stopped off at Steve & Sandy's little party that they threw me, with many surprise guests: Gma, Aunt Hope, my little cousin. It was a delicious barbeque and cake evening. :)

Tons of lovely friends sent me well wishes, Mom sent me flowers, and I got lovely presents from several members of my family and Russell's family, including some adorably thoughtful books from Russell. More on that later... :)
It was also our monthaversary, which is double the excitement!

Rewind to last week: Molly was here! It was very nice to have a guest, and we managed to do plenty of things even with her sprained ankle. We watched Jeopardy and played games and had lots of ice cream sandwiches and hot tub time. On Wednesday she lounged around the apartment, on Thursday she came with me to work, and on Friday we went to Tilden Park and rode a steam engine, had a picnic by the lake, and went to the little farm.

When we got home from our adventure, we finally had a couch! Yay! Only took 3+ months! So we sat on that, and went to see The Dark Knight (lot of death, scary, and Heath Ledger creeped me out hardcore). Saturday we toured San Francisco via trolley, and drove to the Golden Gate bridge and saw a dolphin. Nice and touristy.

Rewind to last weekend: went to the Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science museum. You get to make structures with various building materials (legos, lincoln logs, etc) and then earthquake-simulate them. Totally fun! Finally met Russell's friend Deb (Wellesley alum too!) and later that evening went to the Feist concert.

The biggest story is that it looks like I will have a job for the fall. Yay! I'm going up to the school on Wednesday, so nothing's official yet, but it looks as if I'll be Ms. Karloff, fourth grade teacher! Super excited... but anxious about all the things I have to do. I've been around fourth graders but it's been a while, so I'm doing tons of reading to get up to speed on what they can do so that I have a clue what I'm doing. :)

Russell got me "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and "Teaching Literacy in Fourth Grade" for my birthday. How cute is that?!

So I am super busy and happy... and sad to leave my kiddos in fourteen days.

< 3LK

current mood: hungry

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Monday, July 14th, 2008
7:13 pm - Line.
We had a very interesting weekend in which we stood in line for 7 hours to get Russell an iPhone after he lost his at the Marin Fair on the 5th. We went to the Apple store in Walnut Creek around 10:30 am on Saturday and were back in the car, iPhones in hand, at 5:30.
And, yes, I said iPhones. I wasn't going to get one but after the seven hours I caved. I got the smaller capacity one and a little pink case. I figure it'll be nice to be on the family plan with Russell, to have the iPhone's version of GPS, and to have a computer while I am out after I have to return my laptop to work...

And suddenly I am trendier and nerdier than I ever thought possible.

But I like it. The phone is super cute and easy to use and already I'm enjoying checking the weather and using the calendar, and I haven't even put my music or anything on it.

Other than that, we're relaxing a bit. I've been reading and reading, the latest of which is a book edited by my favorite blogger (dooce.com) and is short stories about fathers. Surprisingly, it's not too sore of a subject for me, and is very entertaining.

I've also found Tivo + Jeopardy! = happiness. I'm slowly regaining my sanity, which has been on a steady decline since April... and Alex Trebek is doing his part.

I'm still working on the job hunt front. I have a second round interview this week and Russell and I got me a cute shirt to wear to it and Mom got me adorable birthday shoes. I don't know how the interview will go, but at least I'm certain that I will look cute. :) Does that count?

I hear tivo calling my name...

< 3LK

current mood: cheerful

(kiss a frog)

Saturday, July 5th, 2008
10:27 am
Wow, lots of things have been happening up in here.

Russell and I went to Connecticut to visit his family, which was a fun adventure. We went up to Western MA for a family party, so I got to meet some extended family who I had not met at Thanksgiving. Oh, and I got to make a sandcastle with a three year old. :P

We also went to Foxwoods and the new MGM casino... not to gamble but to explore and eat Panera bagels. :) Minigolf, family dinners, watching Harry Potter, walking around Mystic, and hearing about Greg and Kate's September 19, 2009 wedding that is already all planned out.

Our return home has been fine. I took the CTEL test and am so relieved to be done (at least temporarily) with expensive teaching tests. I've been working on applications for jobs and trying very hard not to let it stress me out.

We had a lovely anniversary weekend, with a nice dinner in Walnut Creek, pink roses, Wall*E, and adorable card-swapping.

Work has been pretty good. We did "camping" as our theme, which involved having a tent in the classroom, cooking s'mores, making trail mix and pita pizza, telling ghost stories, etc. It was a good time. :) This week begins the two week "cook off" theme, so it should be more fun, as my kids are very well-behaved when it comes to food. :)

I am completely engrossed in reading for pleasure. I haven't had so much reading time since before college, so this is really quite great. I read the novel "Admissions" which is probably one of the funniest, borderline trashy, entertaining novels I've read in a very long time. Perfect to get that great "I don't want to put it down" feeling. And I've been reading lots of teacher books, in the attempt to get myself psyched up for my eventual return to the elementary classroom.

Fourth of July weekend... Russell and I had a child-like day yesterday, renting Swiss Family Robinson (which I had never seen) and playing board games. Today we're off to a fair in the afternoon/evening to see PIGS and fireworks, and GOATS and I am so excited because I've wanted a pig for the past, oh, 18 years of my life and seeing them race and petting them at the fair is as close as I'll probably get. I seriously tear up when showing Russell the page of Charlotte's Web where Fern pushes Wilbur in the baby carriage...

Okay, off to be patriotic or something!

current mood: cheerful

(2 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Friday, June 27th, 2008
5:13 pm - anniversary!
I love Russell.

Our relationship is so positive, and so happy, and I'm smiling just thinking about it.

It's been a year: one of interesting change (from being in his apartment in Harvard Square, to our apartment in California) and just overall wonderfulness. :)

I'm just so happy!

I'm figuring we have about 63 more anniversaries to go, but this will forever be the first year. :)

< 3LK

current mood: happy

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Friday, June 20th, 2008
8:20 am - survival.
Yesterday was preK graduation (it was so lovely!) and the official "last day of school" for the first Triumph year.
Yes, we teach all summer, but it's summer themes, a bit less heavy on the lesson planning, and my kids will start to transition up to preK.

The biggest thing is that I SURVIVED. I made it through everything. Through the 9 months of absolute chaos and very little actual teaching time, through the implementation of BIPs, through the diagnosis, evaluation, and IEP meeting for one student, through some very difficult discussions with other parents, and through being bit, hit, kicked, spit, and cursed at. I made it out alive! Some days it definitely felt like it was going to be a big miracle if I made it... but here I am, slightly bruised but standing nonetheless!

I really like having my new teaching fellows in the room. We had several days this week which went relatively smoothly, which is great.

I have not told all my coworkers I am leaving. I'm very sad about it, to be honest, because I'm in such a great work environment. Not in the sense that I get punched a lot by kids, but in the sense that my coworkers have been awesome from the start. Extremely supportive, lending me the extra hand, and always sharing that understanding that it's hard and it is such a struggle. I don't think any of them will be particularly surprised that I am not staying, but I think a few will be sad... as am I because these people are the friends that I have here and I couldn't have asked for better support. While I hope that this is clearly the craziest year I ever have in a classroom, I couldn't have asked for a better grade-level partner and friends to help make it a bit more bearable.

So that's weighing on my mind a lot...

As is taking a teaching test to be authorized to teach ELL students next weekend, as well as finding a new job with older students at a school that has some kind of policy about students not punching teachers, or so I am hoping.

I'm also excited about this weekend's trip to see Russell's family in CT. I'm going to meet his extended family and get to see his immediate family again (last time I saw them was Thanksgiving). I'm going to get to see greg and kate and her engagement ring (how exciting!) and just relax for the weekend! :) (as much as you can relax when you're traveling across the country)

And it's almost our anniversary. Friday the 27th. Super excited about that! We're going to see Wall*E and then go out for a nice dinner or something the next week. Not doing big gifts or anything, because we're going to try to go to Disneyland at the end of the summer for the most magical mini-vacation ever. :)

And, so, I shall survive this after all. :)

< 3LK

current mood: okay

(2 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Sunday, June 15th, 2008
1:55 pm - anti-celebration.
Today is Father's Day. I am not celebrating because my own father has been very ridiculous and hasn't had any contact with me since November. Sucks, yes, but makes me realize how lucky I am to have Mom, Sam, Kristen, and Russell around.

I'm kind of excited for when I have kids and they get to make Russell those shirt-and-tie elementary school cards, or the preschool handprints for dad.

My class did handprints which, I must admit, was not as cool as their styrofoam awesomely painted picture frames for Mother's Day. All of my kids have "Mom" but more than half don't have a "dad" figure that plays a very prominent role in their life.

For both holidays we put up a big banner in the lobby with quotes from the kids about their parents. Mine said particularly interesting things, like "Dad watches King Kong with me. The lion scratched his head." or "Daddy eats apples and food." or "He takes me to the park to feed ducks with bread. He likes Obama." :)

Besides the holiday, things have been very interesting out here as of late. Work involved three really good days last week with the kiddos (M, T, F) which was a relief. The three-person system works really well... when there are three people available to be in the room to appropriately implement it. So that's a positive. I completed my last round of assessments/Individual Learning Plans/parent conferences, which went well. I love conferencing with the parents; they have been very supportive since the beginning. I remember in August when I was a bit worried that they might not take me seriously, given my first year teacher status and the fact that I look like I'm twelve, and I'm very thankful that has not been a problem.

One parent, who has not been involved with the school very long, actually yelled at me this week, via voicemail. I'm glad I have 12 other families to counteract that.

The school year ends on Thursday (which is a bit misleading, given that we're year round, so it starts up for the summer on Monday). I'll be glad to make it through Thursday and be done my "first year teaching." :)

Russell and I are doing well. :) Last weekend I planned a surprise excursion to Angel Island, so we took the ferry, did some hiking around, had a picnic, and enjoyed watching little kids join the regiments as part of civil war day. :)
This weekend he accompanied me to a Wellesley Club event, volunteering at the San Francisco food bank, and we sorted WICKED big cucumbers and oddly shaped oranges. :) We continued on our wellesley-way by meeting up with Jenn as well.
Oh, and we watched "Chalk," which is kinda like the office but it's a movie about teaching. The humor is not as outrageous as the office, but it's something that everyone can relate to because we've all had teachers or known teachers like that.

Counting down until:
The school year ends on Thursday
We visit Russell's family over the weekend
Our anniversary and seeing Wall*E
Molly's visit in July
My birthday
and the beginning of a fresh, new, exciting school year.

< 3LK

current mood: busy

(2 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Friday, May 30th, 2008
3:12 pm - battle.
Life seems like a total battle right now.

Work in particular is battle-mode all day long, and it leaves me exhausted emotionally and physically.
I'm also sick with the cold that Russell had, so I'm battling that as well.

I had a VERY rough day yesterday, which resulted in a lot of crying and a battle over dinner with relatives, which continued into a battle until the middle of the night with Russell.

While we disagree over a bunch of things, this was our first real fight. It was a verbal battle, very tearful, and led to a nice night of not sleeping.

The combination of stress, illness, lack of sleep, and crying left me a mess. At four am I looked at myself in the mirror and my right eye was so swollen it would hardly open.

I called into work, and got a good five hours of sleep. My eyes still hurt, but emotionally I am feeling a bit better. I'm very excited for Russell to come home from work and even more excited to see Mom and Sam this weekend.

I suppose that will help team morale.

Only about 49 more days of this battle.

< 3LK

current mood: exhausted

(3 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
8:54 pm - eleven.
Eleventh real monthaversary today (not from when we started going on dates, but from when we decided we were exclusively together). :)

I really could write a novel about what this relationship means to me... but I won't.

All I'll say is that this, and him, is the reason I'm holding onto my last bit of sanity.

I come home and wait for him to come home and can't help but to spring to the door like a puppy when I hear him fiddling with the lock and keys. :)

When he works late, I wait excitedly for him to get home to enjoy sitting down to dinner together. While I could eat without him, it's just so much more enjoyable to sit across our little Ikea table, passing each other the barbecue sauce. :)

When I'm tired, I want nothing more than for him to tuck me in and say goodnight. And when I wake up, I want nothing more than to go back to bed, snuggled with him.

Ah, love. Such a great, great thing. :)

If you don't know them, the song by Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly" and Jason Mraz and Colbie's "Lucky" song really express the love of every day. :)

What a beautiful thing.


(kiss a frog)

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
5:24 pm - disclaimer
The disclaimer to my last entry, which was extremely negative:

I'm not hatin' on the kids or their parents. As a teacher, you have to assume that parents are trying the best they can.

I think my frustration is more towards the school, which is hard.
We started a brand new school and didn't have a clue how challenging behavior would be... and how MANY kids would have these challenges. While the individual behavior is not that uncommon (there's one like that in all classes, and in all classes that I've been in), it's the high numbers of students in the tertiary level (7/11 of my kids) that just makes it a terribly hard situation.

As a school, we didn't have a plan for what to do with extreme behavior excesses. We also didn't have the staffing capacity to effectively handle these situations on the front end. (Like the first five weeks of school when it was me, a child throwing chairs, and 10 other kids. crikey!) We're working on it, but we're still not there yet.

In the fall, it was "here, let's try these things to get the class in a functional place." In January there was a few weeks of less students and a solid flow where I actually got to TEACH things. After that, things went back downhill and it was disheartening to hear "let's start this all over again like it's september" when it was march. Now that it's almost June, this "let's start things all over" is very frustrating. I still spend roughly one-third of my morning not teaching but instead being outside the classroom dealing with extreme behaviors, which often lead to me getting hurt. I have some nice claw marks on my arms to prove it.

We just don't have the staffing capacity and resources to handle such things and still allow me to do the other parts of my job (like lead circle time, teach small group, keep kids safe). We don't have an on-site special ed person and our behavior consultant is a teaching fellow which a lot of other responsibilities. So it's just really frustrating.

Professionally, the whole situation this year has taught me a lot and has kept me to be more resilient and flexible and much more of a risk-taker than I ever thought I'd be.

Unfortunately, the whole year has made me realize what I really would like to do: teach the kids. In a school where physical aggression was a shocking incident and not the norm. In a school where hitting the teacher every day had some kind of solid ramification and consequence that did NOT allow it to happen every day for nine months. As I feel myself recently getting particularly bitter about teaching, I worry that I'll lose my motivation to teach and that would just be terrible.

I love my kids. I love my coworkers. I love what the school stands for, and what it's trying to do. What I don't love... is going to work everyday, and that's very unfortunate.

On a plus note, I am home. It's almost a three day weekend. We're going to see the Sox game in Oakland. TGIalmostF.


current mood: sore

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
6:29 pm - imagine...
Dear Hypothetical Reader,

Imagine you work in an office (or maybe you actually do and don't have to imagine). You wake up in the morning, drag yourself away from your warm snuggly significant other, and into the car for a nice 45 minute drive to the office. You get there, rather exhausted, and have some nice early morning meetings with some coworkers where they continually try to get you off the topic, while you are pressed for time to get your other work done. Mid-morning you are working on a project and you ask your coworkers to sit down and meet with you about it. They respond with some curses; "no, fatty." "shut your mouth b****." You try not to let that bother you and try to meet with your other coworkers, but those ones are spilling coffee on your laptop and trying to knock over your cubicle walls. Then one of them comes over and spits in your face and, when you say you don't like it, punches your cheek.

Oh, and this happens every day. One day it's your left cheek; the next day it's your right cheek. One day it's "fatty;" the next day it's "f***er." One day they break your cubicle walls; the next day they tear apart your desk calendar, and on the third day they rip up the report that you were writing for them.

Would you want to go back?

That's seriously my life...every day. Except that instead of adults (who would get in serious trouble for punching me in the face at work), I work with three year olds.

I really can't remember when the last day was that NO student physically hurt me. Today, for example, I was spit on, cursed at (about 20 times), kicked in the shins, punched on the right cheek, several attempted bites, slapped on the left cheek. Oh, and they tore down two of my posters and broke my kitchen timer. I had to take students out for extremely aggressive tantrums 5 times.

The biggest problem is that this is EVERY day, not just once in a while on a full moon day...

So yes, to make a long story short, I am losing my mind.

Thanks for listening,

current mood: sore

(4 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
7:12 pm - three words.
Life's happenings in three-word blurbs:

1) Forgetting Sarah Marshall. :(
2) party with relatives. :)
3) work last week. :(
4) new student started. :)
5) parents' phone calls. :(
6) punched in face. :(
7) running from classroom. :(
8) peeing on playground. :(
9) no work Thursday. :)
10) couch didn't fit. :(
11) saw Aunt Beth. :)
12) hugged twin Kristen. :)
13) Jelly Belly factory. :)
14) family dinner party. :)
15) Kristen at Triumph. :)
16) pool, jacuzzi, sauna. :)
17) GAP Outlet shopping. :)
18) swimming, bowling, sundaes. :)
19) Kristen to airport. :(
20) meetings through lunch. :(
21) five behavior plans. :)/ :(
22) bribed with candy. :)/ :(
23) russell works late. :(
24) un-used concert tickets. :(
25) lindsay home alone.

Russell and I are good; this relationship is the easiest, happiest one I've ever had, and it's so consistent. Sometimes we get a little frustrated, which is bound to happen. And, well, today it's happening because we had concert tickets for Eisley tonight (his band, his choice, my purchasing) and I was really looking forward to it. He was supposed to call around 4 to let me know where we were meeting for dinner. I called him around 4:45 and he had too much work to be able to come. I didn't bother going to the concert, as I don't want to go by myself. Sucks. I just wish he had called me at noon or something, so that I had time to plan for the disappointment instead of just being hit with it so suddenly.
Now I am cranky and, while I have plenty of work to do, would rather just not.

< 3LK

current mood: cranky

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
2:22 pm - where in the world?
So, life here is alright. Russell came back from Australia (a day later than planned, due to a cancelled flight) and we’ve been doing our usual hanging out, eating, and sleeping ever since. :)

For exciting times, we travelled last weekend to San Francisco, where we went to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked on it and took pictures. We walked on Baker Beach, where the water was frigid but yet people were wading in it. It was sunny and relaxing, and nice to escape work, even if only for a few hours.

We saw “Where In the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” last weekend, and it was awesome. Other than that, we’ve been going to the GAP Outlet, eating at Panera, and well… that might be it.

We have a tv now and Tivo, which is the world’s coolest thing. I’ve been watching American Idol, How I met your mother, and The Office, which is drastically more tv than I’ve ever watched before. But, we don’t get the Sox games and I fast forward through the commercials so it’s actually a lot less time in front of the tv.

Work has been hectic. I got my third student in three weeks and, unlike the two mild-mannered girls I got, he’s a bit more mischievous and more likely to tantrum. So yeah, that’s been interesting, as will this coming week with me starting up with two more students. .. We’ve had a few good days over the past three weeks… but three out of 15 is hardly a good ratio. Sigh. I really miss working with the older kids and having a less transient class.

What’s keeping me going? Kristen is in CA, so I’ll get to see her next week! I’m seeing Aunt Beth, Aunt Hope and the girls, Grandma, Steve & Sandy tomorrow at a party for Aunt Beth. Yay! Should be very exciting. At the end of the month, I get to see Mom, Sam, and the new puppy. And Russell helps me with all my work to make it bearable (we’re headed up to the classroom today to get some stuff done so I don’t have to go in at 6:30 on Monday).

< 3LK

current mood: tired

(1 charming prince | kiss a frog)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
9:33 pm - kangaroos.
So, Russell is in Australia on business. The house is rather empty and, well, I've done a lot of work without him here to keep me company. It's bizarre because I lived a long time without him; a good 22 years. And then I lived a while (8 or so months) with him but without him here. So why is it so odd to be alone in our home? Now that I know what living with him is like, I just don't ever want to be without him.

The reality check is that he'll be here on Friday. Only a week of being away, doing work and looking for kangaroos. :)

I was supposed to go and take my own little getaway this past weekend. Sadly, I came down with a pretty bad cold on thursday night, but I wanted to go so I wasn't going to let anything stop me. So I was going on to Chicago to see Jess anyway! Unfortunately, the airlines thought differently. My flight was delayed a long time... and that made me miss my connecting flight and then there were no other flights and no hotels in Vegas and well... the earliest I could get to Chicago would be Saturday night, so I didn't end up going. :( I had taken cold medicine at 8:45 so I'd feel better and sleep on the plane, but I ended up just hysterically calling Jess around 10:30 or so, and then groggily arriving back at grandma's house around 12:30 and then sleeping away most of the weekend, trying to recover from the cold. :(

I'm sad because I was really looking forward to seeing Jess. I guess when you move across the country it gets kind of lonely to not have your older friends as a daily part of your life. So it was all just so sad to not get to go and have that. Hopefully I'll be able to go another time and then not be so sad about missing it this week. :(

Okay, bedtime.

< 3LK

current mood: okay

(kiss a frog)

Monday, April 7th, 2008
9:27 pm - daddio.
Life here is good. :)

We've had a nice April thus far, and have got into a relatively comfortable living-together pattern where life is just nice. :)

April 1st we went to the Red Sox season opener in Oakland, and it was great to be surrounded by a decent amount of Sox fans. The Sox won, 2-1, and while it wasn't Fenway, it was still pretty great. It was nice to be with Russell at a Sox game (a bit more my style than hockey). :)

Recent additions to the apartment include another cabinet and a computer chair. Ah, things are coming together. :) We went shopping this weekend as well, and bought some clothes and a VACUUM. It's super neat and we got the light one so it's not too tricky for me to push around. :)

Work is... work. I worked all weekend, so I'm feeling a bit tired of it all right now.

I'm excited to see Jess this weekend in Chicago, even if I am sad that Russell will be gone to Sydney for an entire week. I wonder what the apartment will be like without him...? weird!

To make a different long story short...
My dad's always been an odd one, but we used to talk online or occasionally on the phone and then I'd see him when I came home. I saw him for the last time in mid-July. I talked to him once at the end of August, and then called him or emailed him once a week for about six weeks, where I stopped pretty much altogether because he wasn't calling or emailing me back.

In November, he called me and we chatted and he apologized for not talking to me for the previous few months. He asked me when I was coming home and sounded like he wanted to make plans for Thanksgiving when I was in town. He said he'd call me and did not, and then I called him but he didn't answer or call back.

And, fast forward five months... he hasn't talked to me since that beginning of November phone call. I pretty much quit trying since Christmas because I don't particularly want to be in such a one-sided relationship. But I won't even pretend that it doesn't bother me that he just decided he didn't have the energy to spend on relationships with people who can't literally give him things. Which makes him a jerk and, as of now, not on my hypothetical wedding invite list.

Yeah, so that's the drama that's sucking my soul. If it's not boys, I guess it's men. :P

< 3LK

current mood: cold

(3 charming princes | kiss a frog)

Monday, March 31st, 2008
9:33 am - win, lose, or draw.
So, it's been three weeks of changes and craziness and busy-busy times. :)

Russell is here and officially lives here now! Yay!
We moved into our new apartment (pictures are up on my snapfish)on the 16th, so we've been here two weeks. :)

It's a gated complex with some swimming pools and a tennis court and about a dozen wild turkeys. (I like turkeys!) We have two bedrooms, a walk in closet, a bunch of other closets, a washer and dryer, a little patio out back, a kitchen MUCH better than my previous one, a fireplace, and a cool bathroom with a door between the vanity area and shower. It's really growing on me. :)

Fairfield is not quite a booming metropolis, but it's better than some of the other places between North Bay and Sacramento. There's a big Air Force base here, so most of the people are in the military or assume we are in the military. Haha. It's wonderfully diverse and our trips to Safeway are full of every walk of life. We're right down the road from the highway, and close to the Safeway/Blockbuster little shopping mall. One exit down on the highway is the HUGE mall, so we've got a bunch of stores and restaurants to keep us occupied.

We spent a lot of our first week moving in all of my stuff and shopping at Ikea for a dining room table, another bookshelf, and a tv stand. Russell's boxes arrived the weekend after we moved in, so we spent a lot of time unpacking his stuff as well. This weekend we went and bought a couch and a computer desk, so it's all coming together quite nicely... and I'm glad to be temporarily done with all the big shopping.

For Easter, we swapped Easter baskets and cooked ourselves a brunch...and then built furniture the rest of the day. Russell made me a fantastic non-candy Easter basket with Smartfood and Rice Krispy Treats and carrots, so it was quite lovely. :)

The commute has not killed me thus far. It's 45 minutes for both of us to get to work, but the traffic coming home usually makes it a bit longer. Russell got stuck in nasty traffic a few times thus far and, as he's not used to a big commute, he ends up a grumpy gus.
Our evenings are full of cooking dinner andd eating around 7ish, doing some work, then eating ice cream while watching a movie, which almost always puts me to sleep. :)

This weekend, we watched Supersize Me on Friday night. I love it, particularly since I haven't been eating fast food very often in CA. :)
Yesterday we went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco (like the museum of science in Boston) and had a great time watching goldfish, swinging pendulums, shaping iron filling sculptures, etc. :) We saw Grandma finally, so that was lovely as well. :) And now I have the day off for Cesar Chavez Day... so I'm working on getting things done... kinda. :P

Oh, I've learned so much from living with Russell. I'm the compulsive, uber-neat one and I'm used to living in my apartment where everything is just in its place. I don't go shopping until I've eaten most everything; I don't buy things I don't particularly need. I hang up everything and put all the dishes back in their original spot.

And, well, Russell is not messy, but not as compulsive as I. So I've learned to pick my battles, as to not constantly be nagging him about every little compulsive thing.
Here's how it's played out so far.

Hanging up wet towels to dry: Win.
Hanging them up so they are not bunched up and will actually dry: Lose (I adjust them when they need adjusting).
Putting the gel back where it goes: Lose.
Toilet seat down: Draw (he's really trying to remember. hahaha.)
Putting utensils the "right" way in the dishwasher: Draw (we each just do it our own way.)
Grocery shopping: draw.
Laundry: win.
Ironing: win (I do the laundry, he'll iron my clothes.)
My liberal use of tin foil: win
Rinsing out the recycling bottles: draw.

Haha. Of course I am just kidding; it's not really a win-lose situation, but we're totally working on living with each other without going nuts. :)

Okay, I guess I should go do actual work that needs to get done on my day off. :)

< 3LK

current mood: good

(kiss a frog)

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