Category Archives: Uncategorized

Upset about All Those Snow Days? Let’s Chat…

OK. I’m pissed (I guess that explains why I’m posting again after almost a year). I’ve seen just a few too many people whining and complaining about schools in my area having another snow day today and I am, frankly sick of it.

Set aside, for the moment, that most of the whiners have absolutely nothing to do with public education (not teachers or administrators or parents or students) and yet feel it appropriate to complain because, apparently, teachers and education are fair game (I presume they don’t get this upset by everyone who happens to work a different schedule than they do — those who work part-time or nights instead of days or get three weeks of vacation or work banker’s hours or…).

I am going to try to say this as clearly and simply as possible. Teachers in my school district are most often on 194-day contracts. Our salaries are based on that contract and pay us for that number of days. We do not work in the summer because we are not paid to work in the summer. We do not work on certain holidays because we are not paid to work on those holidays (of course, very many of us are actually working on many of those days, but the whiners don’t like acknowledging that).

Anyway, the district has a school calendar that meets the state-approved hours of education for all students. Built into that schedule as of this year are 12 snow days. These were added after we had a couple years of needing to add days to the end of the school in order to meet the requirements for students. Teachers were not paid extra for the days that were added, but we were required to work. The 12 built-in snow days this year are not part of our 194-day contracts. For every day that is not used, we will again be working time that is not part of our contracts and without additional pay. The county has been clear that they will not be asking to shorten the school year if those days are unused. So far, we have used 7 days. That means that, as of now, teachers will be working 5 days longer than our contract days.

Many people seem to consider snow days “free days” for teachers. In actuality, every one of those built-in snow days that we don’t take is a “free day” for the very people whining (and everyone else who paid their taxes) because they get our labor without paying us a penny. If we have to work on these days are you going to be complaining just as much about how unfair it is to us?!? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Yet people complain and argue and spout and bemoan.

Here’s an idea for all the complainers: Maybe consider putting some small amount of the time you waste worrying about what other people’s work schedules are into improving someone’s life rather than trying to tear someone down. You may actually find that it helps you in the end. If not, then someone else will at least have gained the benefit of your time (and the rest of us will have had to listen to a little bit less of your drivel — good things all around).

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There’s No Gift Like Totoro

I am a planner. I plan like crazy. I plan for fun. Back in the olden days before Google Maps and GPS, I used to sit down with a road atlas, a legal pad, and a calculator and plan out road trips that we might take someday (though had no particular plans to actually do).

I am also a crafter. I am very good at making jewelry and pretty good at a lot of other crafty things. And I aspire to (and believe myself to have the potential to) be better at almost everything. It should be no surprise, then, that I will often see something in a store and say, “I could make that!” instead of “I should buy that!” That first statement is the bain of Pkin’s existence. Almost every time she sees something she likes, I explain to her how I could make it and how much less it would cost if I did.

Sometimes she makes it clear that she does not care and wants it anyway. Sometimes we let her get it (usually using her saved allowance) and sometimes we tell her it isn’t an option (usually when it is absurdly overpriced).

And sometimes she decides to let me try to make it myself. I then embark on my planning, figure out what I need, and (usually) go buy all the things I need to make it. Those then sit in bags that eventually make it to shelves that eventually make it to boxes that eventually take up residence in our craft room (aka storage room) — and it doesn’t every get made.

You see, the ability to make something does not automatically connect with the time and attention needed to actually make it.

So I was very proud of myself when I finished one of those items as a Christmas gift for Pkin. Granted, I didn’t get started until the night of December 23 and spent almost all of December 24 working away at the sewing machine, but it was successfully completed and in place by the time we headed to bed on Christmas Eve — and she was quite happily and pleasantly surprised.

I need to do more of this finishing what I start stuff! It’s kind of fun!

 

Totoro Bed

Totoro bed — inspired by Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

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Pkin in Picasso

Pkin loves drawing. If she had her way, she would likely draw for 16 hours a day (with the remaining 8 being filled with eating sushi/noodles and sleeping). She sometimes perseverates on particular drawings (often hairstyles, sometimes eyes, occasionally clothes). And we, of course, encourage and support her in all of this. We take her to a manga drawing class every week (her favorite style), buy her sketchbooks and pencils and whatever else strikes her fancy. We’ve recently also been seeking to push her outside her comfort zone a bit.

We found a private art teacher who lives nearby (he teaches at an elementary school in our school district and his wife is a special ed teacher) who is working with her on using other media and drawing/painting/etc. in other styles. So far, she isn’t complaining about going and is actually producing some interesting pieces. A sampling of these is below:

 

The first creation under Mr. L's guidance. He wanted to see what she could do first and then worked with her on using watercolors for a background.

The first creation under Mr. L’s guidance. He wanted to see what she could do first and then worked with her on using watercolors for a background.

 

A self-portrait drawn in the style of Picasso

A self-portrait drawn in the style of Picasso

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Episode VI: Return of the Wheat (and the Sugar and the Chocolate…)

It took longer than I expected to get over the wheat/fibro flare from last week, so I wasn’t able to retry the wheat experiment until a whole week had passed. Thus, Saturday was my second attempt. I tackled it with an Egg McMuffin (I know — desperate times, more on this in a moment…) and scones — because farmer’s market season has begun and they just looked good. The day was rather crazy (the start of farmer’s market season also means the start of arts market and festival season so we had our first New Path Designs booth of the season as well). That means a busy early morning start and, as much as we tried to plan ahead, a sudden trip to McDonalds to grab something so we actually ate.

The start of this new season also carries with it some more complicated scheduling that we haven’t yet exactly figured out. Pkin has a manga drawing class (which is exactly the perfect thing for her) on Saturday mornings, but we also have shows on Saturdays. And on this past Saturday also had Home Depot coming by to measure for some new carpet and bamboo for our stairs. This meant we got to the market and set up. Just about as soon as we finished that DH and Pkin headed off to her class. Just about as soon as they got back, I headed home for the measurement (with a brief trip to the farmer’s market since it would be closed by the time I got back). We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I wouldn’t be back until well after lunch time, so scones it was! Once I got back to the show (with a brief side trip to replenish our raw, local honey stash since I have determined I can eat it and, therefore, bake with it), it was time to break down and head home.

I didn’t seem to be having any negative effects from the wheat, so thought I might be one of those lucky(?) people who aren’t affected by it. I didn’t dive right back into eating it though — I’m not sure why.

And then there was Sunday evening…  As many of you likely know, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. When you’re PTA president, that means there are a lot of expectations (especially when you often sub at the same school so know most of the teachers pretty well). Luckily, we were able to find a great volunteer who tackled all of the planning and organizing for us. I did help some, though (because I’m not the sort of person who can not do something). I volunteered to make a dessert for the teacher appreciation luncheon and to create and distribute one of the items we put in their mailboxes each day.

I got the York Peppermint Patty day (where we thank them for their commit-MINT to our kids — get it?). I was plugging along, sticking two patties together with some double-sided tape and adding our cute little sticker, when I suddenly had a mega-urge to eat a patty. And I so I did. Before I even really thought about it. A bit later, I had another. And another. Apparently, I was following the “can’t eat just one” theory…

I did stop at that point — and prepared for the worst. Which didn’t really come. At first. So I baked the cake I needed for the teacher’s luncheon and carried on about my day. By last night, though, it was clear that my body wasn’t very happy with me (or, rather, wasn’t very happy with the foods I’d eaten). My stomach was a bit bloated, I was tired, my head was starting to hurt, and my joints and muscles were painful and stiff.

This morning, I was still not feeling my best and had a hard time getting out of bed. But I had a lot to do, so staying there wasn’t an option. Up I got and off I headed to school where DH and I stuffed loads of mints into loads of boxes. We grabbed a couple quick breakfast burritos from our favorite (aka only) New Mexican-style restaurant and home we went (no, I wasn’t yet paying attention to the fact that wheat may have started all of this and, therefore, ate even more wheat). And then more peppermint patties.

Once it was time for the luncheon, I headed to school with my dessert (which ended up being a trifle rather than a cake after lots of problem solving). The sugar in my system made me feel a bit nauseous and a whole lot of jittery. There I helped and thanked and applauded and appreciated like crazy. And ate half a piece of key lime pie.

Here I am, several hours later, again exhausted and in pain. I’m not beating myself up, though, nor am I gorging on everything in sight. There are still peppermint patties in a bag on the other side of the couch and the remnants of the cake that didn’t make it into the trifle upstairs on the counter. But I’ve finally made the connection between how I’m feeling and the wheat and sugar extravaganza of the past few days. I’m not interested in going back there anymore. I’ve done pain and disfunction for years. I think I’ll take energy and excitement over that any day!

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Filed under 21 DSD, food, health, Uncategorized

Take this job and shove it!

Well, at least it’s good to know I’m not alone in finding my job to be uninteresting and, generally, dissatisfying…

Call me Ms. Stifled Innovation!

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Superman!

What’s that in the sky over northern Virginia???

It’s a bird!

It’s a plane!

IT’S….

Well…it’s a plane.

But not just any plane. No! It’s a plane piloted by Mr. Wackadoo!

Well, I hope it was piloted by him. If it was actually just some plane that Mr. Wackadoo paid to spread his message then I’ve lost all respect for him. Respect…huh…maybe not.

It is good to know that political discourse and public debate is now right up there with $1 shots at your local strip club…

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Derelict in my duties…

Right. So, that whole “I’m gonna’ post every day or, at the worst, ever couple days” thing has turned into an “I post when the season’s change” thing.

But no more! Good friends tell me that blogging is therapeutic and informative and interesting and I definitely need all those things, so rededicated to blog am I.

Of course, I don’t have anything to post about except not posting…

How exciting.

Fine — for your viewing pleasure I present the PETA ad that will not be aired during the Super Bowl for fear of harming our fragile sensibilities. Thanks, NBC! I feel pure!

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