Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

So, I've gotten this post-once-or-twice-a-month thing down, haven't I? Poor little blog. It's so neglected.

Next time there's a referendum, and someone says,"Those teachers don't need a raise. They get paid for the whole year, and they only work 9 months," I'd like you to think of this. I teach for 80 minutes per week; I monitor study hall (translation, babysit the darlings so they get their homework done and you don't have to deal with it) for another 80. I spend huge chunks of my "down" time organizing lessons, writing worksheets, writing tests, locating videos and other supporting materials, pre-screening those, grading papers, and putting out 2-3 fires per day. You know, someone has an academic disappointment and sobs through half of study hall. Someone else breaks up and sobs through half the school day, those kind of things. In short, that little bit of time I get in front of the classroom (and it flies by in the blink of an eye) is supported by easily 5 times that amount of time in prep time. Homeschooling was a walk in the park, compared to this. But there, I had only myself looking over my shoulder.

Add in all the usual house-wifery that needs doing on a daily basis, yours truly being somehow responsible for all of that, too, and I am left with precious little time to blog. But I think of you, and the blog, often, and it'll work itself out in time.

Until then, here's a happy little number for your Halloween celebration. After all, this is All Saints' Eve. Martin, get your hammer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


How many of you are NOT active on Facebook? I've been using the social network for...I don't know how long. A while. I have a love/hate relationship with the thing. It took me a bit to get used to e-mail. I still don't know how to write a good e-mail, since that involves second-guessing my reader. I prefer face-to-face communication, or, at least, a phone call. Of course, phones have gotten so small that, when I use one, I often end up with a knot in my back for days from propping the thing on my shoulder while I do the normal things a mom has to do.

But I know that progress is important, and e-mail is so cheap and easy that I've come to do most of my communication with friends through that medium. Until recently, with the advent of Facebook. I resisted for a while, until I realized that many of my friends were becoming more active there than in e-mail. So I opened an account.

Things happened along the way. Friends misread friends, fighting began, friends "unfriended" each other, citing "rudeness."

Now, however, a popular Facebook pass-along is a schmaltzy post about the sharing of political viewpoints. A friend of mine posted that she was going to be "blocking" her friends who chose to post political posts. She wanted her Facebook experience to be nicer, and more fun.

I didn't realize that a social network would be nicer, and more fun, when folks left their political opinions out of the mix. After all, don't we talk about politics daily? Are we having a miserable time?

But I figured I would do my best to help my friend to feel better. So I have decided that, for the month leading up to the election, I will post ONLY posts about unicorns and rainbows. Really. My Facebook is All Unicorns and Rainbows, All the Time.

Except on debate nights. Sorry.

So. Check it out. A nicer, more fun, Facebook. Right there on my page!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

-sigh- Long week.

The sickness is almost gone. What a wonky thing it was. It started out like allergies, and, for a week, that's what I thought it was. Mary kept telling me, "No, Mom, it's what I've had." I didn't believe her. Then, after a week of snifflies, it hit like, well, like a really bad cold. I slept much of last weekend, and coughed and snuffled through the last week. But you don't really want to hear about that.

This was a long week in other arenas, too. Mary's little truck was brake-less this week, and John had no time to fix them. So I drove the girls in every day, spending twice as much time at work as I needed to. Had I not been coughing and snuffling, I might have gotten a lot of teacher work done. Alas, I was.

Today was working and running and cooking. I fixed some pizza tonight. It was delicious, but the crust lacked something. I think it was because I tried to make a batch and a half of dough, to accommodate the amount of eaters here, but the proportions must have been off.

Outside farm work will have to wait. It was a cold, rainy day.

Not much of a farm report, but it's been, as I said, a long week.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

Sick. Sick. Sick. The yearly cold has hit.

Houseful of company. Relatives from hither and yon. More cooking and dishes than I really want to see.

Birthday cake for John.

"Damn Ramsey."

Dogs. Everywhere.

All the boys were home today. -sigh-

And I am exhausted. Good night.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Snow White, I'm Not. But I Have Seven Dwarves to Work in the Kitchen!

As one of my faithful stalkers, you know that one of the things I am doing this fall is teaching a Home Economics class. The kids have learned some handsewing, and have done a little learning about nutrients and food. It is getting closer and closer to the time when I actually have to teach them something about cooking.

Thing is, our school is in an old church school building, and, while we have a kitchen, it's the traditional church basement kitchen. The appliances are elderly, the facilities, while Health Department approved, have been let go for a bit, and the supplies are of the "I got new stuff so I'm donating some things (read: antiques) to the church kitchen" variety. Fun times.

This week I decided to have the kids tackle cleaning the kitchen. It hasn't been used for Home Ec since last fall, and then it was used by a bachelor teacher as his personal kitchen. When I started cleaning one of the sinks, I found remains of a salad he probably made in May. Eew. We also found evidence of rodent residents, but, undeterred, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Today, after three class periods, (one of those was actually a double period) we can say that we've made some headway. I'd like to start cooking next week, but, sadly, we'll need another day of cleaning time, I think. But that's OK. Cleaning is a Home Ec lesson, too.

And some of the kids need that lesson. Today one of the girls sprayed degreaser on the old stove, and dug in to scrub. "Wait," I said. "What do you mean?" she said. "I mean, WAIT," I said. "Let the stuff work, and you won't have to scrub so hard." Sure enough, 10 minutes later, we wiped the stove pretty clean. That impressed her just a bit too much. When I asked her and Mary to put the grates from the burners in some tubs, pour in some water and degreaser, and let them soak a while, she got creative. I imagine her thought process was something like, "If degreaser works that well alone, I bet it'll work even better with bleach." Soon we had some hydrogen chloride cooking away very obnoxiously in our kitchen. One of the girls noticed first, saying, "It stinks,that stuff." Then I heard Mary say, "I told you not to do that." "Do what?" I asked. Minutes later, EPA be damned, those tubs were being emptied down the drain, the fans came on, and water was flushing everything that could be flushed. "Now, what have we learned today?" I asked. She said, "I didn't know you couldn't mix things like that." But now she does.

I love being a teacher...I love being a teacher...I love being a teacher...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Speaking Geezer

Have you ever done that? Is that a second language to you, or are you wondering,"What in tarnation is she talking about?" (If the latter, you're fluent!)

Speaking geezer, if neither of the above applies to you, means employing phrases like, "When I was a kid," or "I had a car once," or, even, "Aren't you going to finish that?"

Or, like I've said recently, "Back in high school,..."

"I can't believe I saw..."

"I don't understand why..."

It's a tightrope. On the one hand, I am 53, after all. I entered a new demographic 8 years ago. People hold doors for me again, without apology. When I get out of bed in the morning, something protests. If it's not my back, it's my knees. Hair stylists arrange my coiffure so as to de-emphasize the jowls they tell me I don't have. I was told last weekend that my pretty manicure made the speaker remember her grandmother's hands. I haven't been able to shop in the junior section for about 20 years, but now even the misses' section can get a little racy, depending on the store.

Stop. I'm getting depressed.

On the other hand, there are people alive who remember me in diapers, and, no, I don't mean Depends. My youthful idiocy is trotted out regularly for all to see and laugh over.

I get no respect. And I'm old enough to remember that comedian.

Or I get too much respect. It's a balancing act.

Not that I regret anything. With these years comes a measure of wisdom and patience that my 25-year-old-self could never have imagined. And I wouldn't be 25 again on a dare.

35, maybe.

No, 40, because that was a year when I had all my kids and I didn't have any grandchildren yet.

Yeah, 40.

Which, now that I think of it, seems so young.

And that, my friends, is Geezer.