Monday, September 28, 2009

Rockin' Our Bad Selves

First thing's first, people - I got a....

wait for it....

wait for it....

NINETY SIX on my exam!!!!! Oh, yeah! The woman at the testing center actually *hugged* me! I did the end-zone dance all the way outta there. OK, only in my head, but STILL. Whee!

And now, this:

Patrick has been wearing these 3-D glasses ever since we went to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs on Saturday afternoon. He wore them to school today, even. He was wearing them when he came home. I have been singing Rocket Man ever since I took this photo. And now, I give the gift of unending mental music to you. You're welcome!


After my exam, I went shopping for new bras. Next to bathing suits, bras are the worst thing to buy, EVER. I made the mistake of starting at Walmart, simply because I bought my last bunch 'o boulder holders there for $5 apiece a year ago (yes, they were crappy and are now dead, but for $25, I'm fine with that). Did you know that they now refuse to let you into the changing room without scanning you for shoplifting, even if you're obviously only holding a few hangers of bras? What did she think I was hiding in there, a toaster?! (well, on second thought, maybe I could have been, by ta-ta's *are* quite grand.) AND she reminded me TWICE to make sure I gave the stupid plastic number hanger back to her, so she could be sure I'd left. The changing room's a closet less than two feet from the desk she was slouched at. I had to walk by her to leave, and I really don't need a plastic number hanger at home, k'thx. That put me in a crappy mood right there, AND the bras were bad, so it was a total waste of a trip.

I finally broke down and went to Kohls, where I spent a small fortune on four push-up bras (so I don't trip on said ta-ta's). BUT, thanks to Josie, I saved a bunch of money on shoes, because we realized the other day that kid's size 5 is the same as adults' 6.5 - 7, so I bought a cute pair of sketchers mary janes for myself in the girls' dept and saved $20. HA!

I also bought a Hoover floor washer thing at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I hate mops, and Swiffers just don't deal with real cleaning (although they're good for general spills and doggie messes). I used it today, and I think I like it. At least it leaves the floors dry, which is nice considering I can never keep people/pets off the floors.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day and Night

Last week went really well. I substituted twice, both times for a half day, but they were day-and-night experiences.

Thursday was in the kids' school, in third grade, and it was pretty fun. I actually taught math and writing for the day, and the kids behaved themselves fairly well. No one had to flip their card (they have rainbow-colored cards to chart behavior), and I managed to deal with some crying over hurt feelings / catty behavior at recess without having any of them hate me or each other. I knew three kids in the class because they were siblings of my kids' friends, and I think the fact that one of them, a boy who is an obvious ringleader, has actually played at my house once, was really helpful. I already knew a lot of the staff, and felt comfortable hanging out in the teacher's lounge during lunch. At the end of the day, several people came over to me to ask how everything had gone, and to congratulate me on having a good day.

Friday, I arrived at another nearby school at 11:45 to take over for another sub in a fifth grade classroom. I could hear the children from down the hall as I exited the stairwell, and as I walked over, two of the children came flailing out of the room shouting, 'Are you our substitute?!' The morning substitue flew out the door like she was on fire with nary a word to me after telling one of the girls to 'fill me in'. The 'helpful' girl showed me a schedule written on a piece of paper, which I tried to read as the classroom swirled around me, literally - things were flying through the air, groups of kids were clustered around computer games yelling and cheering. All their shoes were off, and the whole place smelled like a locker-room. Getting the place under control was a struggle, and later that afternoon (after lunch, recess, and the science teacher had come and gone), I wanted to avoid a similar zoo during end-of-day free time, so I said that they had to stay in their seats while I read to them and called them in groups to use the computers. This led to the crowning moment of the day; being called stupid by The Big Class Handfill for sticking to my guns. During the day, none of the other teachers stopped by, no one asked if I needed help, even though the chaos of the morning had been plain for all to hear, and when I had gone into the lounge during lunch to get a snack and a water bottle, I got the feeling that everyone was just staring at me. None of the teachers made any effort to make me feel welcome at recess, and in fact turned their backs to me and talked amongst themselves like I wasn't even there. It was a little like being the dork in high school. Maybe they all thought that I had been there in the morning as well, and was failing abysmally, but that should have been an even greater motivation to say something to me. I'm not feeling so inclined to go to *that* school again, although at least now that I know what to expect from the staff there, if I do it won't be a surprise.

The kids walked home from school by themselves for the first time on Friday, because I wasn't sure I'd be there in time to pick them up, and it went so well that they're going to be walkers from now on. I was so proud of them; they had walked together, exactly as I had asked, and Josie was all ready with her key in her hand, just in case I wasn't here yet. I was so proud of them!

Tomorrow I won't be working, because I have to take my first big trig exam. After that, it's back into the trenches. Ohm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


OMG, I just got my first substitute teaching assignment!!!!! I'm so nervous and excited, it's like I've had about fifteen cups of coffee. I'll be at Josie and Patrick's school, which is nice, because I'm at least familiar with it and know a lot of the people there, in a third grade classroom. In fact, I know the woman I'm subbing for, because she lives in my neighborhood. When the phone rang, I jumped out of bed like I was on fire, but was so nervous that I almost didn't take the job. Plus, I have an oral group project due tonight in bio, and my partner only got me the slides we're working from *last night* (I found material, she did about 10 slides with it, and I'm doing the 5-10min presentation), but I should have time to get together what I need to say this morning before I go, if I can calm down enough to think straight. It's my first offical day working in over seven years! Wish me luck, guys!!!!!!! *breathing in and out of paper bag*

Also, cross your fingers for my friend L, who is finding out today if the little girl she's been wanting to adopt will finally be released from foster care into the 'adoptable' arena. They've spent weekends, vacations and lots of other time together, and she loves this little girl so much. They really, really deserve each other.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So Far, So Good

Things are going really well lately, but really, really fast. I feel like I barely have time to breathe anymore!

School update: both subjects are going pretty well. I got 100% on my last trig quiz, and only needed two tries to get it, which, for me, is amazing. Also, that means that I didn't have to freak out about it all weekend, and thus didn't have Math Dreams all weekend (ie, where I can't see the problems, or try to compute the compounded interest I would gain on dinner glasses, which doesn't even make sense). Bio is making me feel REALLY good - after four grades, I have over a 100% average. Hooray! We have a group project due this week in bio, which I did the research for, my partner is doing the slides for, and I'm presenting to the class on Thurs, plus I have a quiz AND an exam due on Monday in trig. The exam will be really telling, since we get one shot and I have to go to the testing center to do it.

My weird boy, doing the multiplication he wanted me to teach him the other day 'for fun'.

Subbing update: Funny story - when I went to get fingerprinted last week, I had to bring two forms of ID, so I brought my license and my birth certificate, which I had in the house because we did a refi on the house a few months ago (usually it's in the sd box). The woman, who was in her fifties, looked at it, and then at me, and informed me that she wasn't sure she could take that as ID, didn't I have my SS card on me? ??!!!??? No, because my ss card is on its last legs and wouldn't survive being in my wallet, plus I'm not sure where it is. Plus, hello, you have to have a birth certificate to get a ss card AND a driver's license! It's not like either one has a photo on it! I just looked at her, and she said she'd have to go and ask someone. A few minutes later she came back, slid it next to me while I filled out my paperwork, and said she was ready to do my fingerprinting, like she hadn't just practically pitched a ridiculous fit. Sheesh.

'Yeah, I'm in microwaveable rice blanket bag, so what, you wanna fight about it?'

Yesterday, I went to the substitue orientation, which was pretty full since they require returning subs to go to it as well. It was supposed to be 2hrs long, because we had to watch several gross videos on sexual harrassment and blood borne pathogens (both of which were uncomfortably graphic), and go through paperwork. We ended up going a half hour over, though, because these two old women insisted on sharing a personal experience for every. single. point. the board of ed person made. It was really annoying, and I can only imagine how annoying it is to have them be your teacher. Blecch. Anyway, I'll get my employee id this week, and should be able to start selecting jobs next week. Hooray!

This morning, I celebrated by going to breakfast with my good friend, Jessica, and her adorable baby boy. I could just squish him, he's that cute. Then, I went to Petsmart, and got the most beautiful bag, as well as another Indestructable Toy (seriously, we have a few of these now, and Gorilla has lated being Baci's favorite toy for several months now). I think Squid is my new favorite thing, though.

The squid may not be so smily after he realized he has been adopted by the dog equivalent of the tasmanian devil.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I got my email to work after restarting my computer late last night. It must have been something with the firefox update, or the HP update, which was kind of a big one. Maybe my cookies were crumbled, or the scones were stale, or whatever.

Since I have two bio quizzes this week (one on lab stuff today and another on material on Thurs), plus a math class to watch today, today's post is going to be a pictacular.

Josie in the tunic I finished the day before trig started.

A horse asleep with his blankie.

Josie and one of her best friends making brownies on Saturday.

Patrick not doing homework.

(One other note on the homework thing - he was required to do homework last year, in K. ??? DH and I were talking about it, and it seems to me that the kids who actually need to do it are probably the ones who will now *not* be doing it. Patrick doesn't really need to, but will still be doing it every night Just Because. We have a new principal this year, so I'm wondering if the entire school's policy on homework has changd for the younger kids.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Email Schmemail

Do any of you have Yahoo mail? I haven't been able to get into my account for most of the day. Maybe it's something with my computer; I'll have to check it from my phone later.

Today has been a royal pain. We got locked out this morning on the way to school, and I had to break the glass in the back door to get in. Unfortunately, it wasn't nine small panes as I had thought, but rather one big one, and it shattered into a million little pieces, cutting up my hand. Sigh. And, just for fun, guess what? My keys were actually in the grass in the back yard the whole time. Good times!

I got an 87 on my math quiz! Hooray! I'm taking a day off from doing trig altogether to clear my brain a little.

The woman and her partner that I unfriended haven't noticed yet. We weren't friended for all that long, anyway, and she had upwards of 150 friends, so I'm not surprised. Her nasty snipes at and about people (some of whom I know) were too much for me, so I'm glad I did it. Since that went so well, I took off seven or eight other people whose pages were either stressing me out or who I haven't talked to in awhile. We'll see if anyone notices at all. :) I've been so stressed-out lately with school that just about everything other than everyday stuff is almost too much for me to think about.

Patrick's first grade teacher has decided to take a new tactic on homework; it's not required, and doesn't count in their grades, even if they don't do it at all. She wants it to be a fun thing they do with their parents, if they do it at all, and she provided some worksheets. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it's nice, because he's little, and I think pressure can be too high sometimes. On the other, it seems a little weird, because if he has it, but gets used to not having to do it, I'm not sure that's a great idea for future habits.


The phone is ringing off the hook today! I'm never going to get this post finished at this rate. Now it's almost time to start thinking about dinner. We have to eat so early these days because the kids or I have something to do most nights, and I don't like it. I feel like we're rushing all the time.

Still can't get into my email. Now I'm wondering, since DH at work has been able to get into his mail. I installed a firefox update today, so maybe it's me and not them - you know how updates always 'improve' things. When DH gets home, I'll check on his computer. Argh. I'm waiting for an email from my bio partner about a project we're working on, too. :(

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Organically Disappointed

I'm going to do a grocery roundup tomorrow, I think, if I can find my receipt from my shopping trip yesterday. It went pretty well, and I am love-loving the new self-scan-as-you-go thingamajig. At the moment, though, as I take a break from studying (because I took the first quiz today and got an 87.5, thank you very much! I might end up even higher, because two of my answers were technically right but the computer wanted them in a different form, so we'll see what the prof says) to talk about some things that I've bought that I really *wanted* to like, but didn't.

First of all, let me say I have really been trying to get behind all the eco-friendly products out there. I WANT to love all these products, I really, really do. BUT. They're just not doing it for me. Specifically, Seventh Gen dish detergent is a huge disappointment. I used it for a month, and it was just terrible. I don't know whether it wasn't coarse enough, or maybe it dissolved too quickly in its excitement to be all 'zero impact', but it was certainly having zero impact on my dirty dishes. It gummed up in the detergent holder bin, so half the time half of it was still stuck in there in a wad, a lot of dishes and silverware still had junk on them, baked on by the heat of the water and steam, AND things were coming out filmy, particularly the glasses. In order to get it to work at all, I had to run the machine on 'pots and pans' all the time, which is about twice as long a cycle as the others, PLUS make sure I put the dishes into the washer pre-wiped. It was a huge waste of water and essentially made me wash them before washing them. I hate to waste, but I had bought two boxes on a sale, and just threw out the last box only halfway used. It was that bad.

Also, while I'm at it, organic bathroom cleaners, especially tub stuff. I'm happy to use my Method spray on the countertops, but I can only get the tub grout clean with Tilex. I love the earth, but I don't want it growing between my tiles. Baking powder is fine for the sink, but I'm not scrubbing the tiles with it on a toothbrush.

Organic applesauce. Have you tried this stuff? WHY do companies think that organic applesauces have to equal bland?! Cinnamon can be organic, and so is brown sugar. Whenever I buy the organic applesauce, I have to dump it all out, add spices and brown sugar, and then pour it all back in. Why?

Scott Naturals products. The paper towel feels like tree bark. Also, I like that the toilet paper is partly recycled, and will break down quickly, but maybe it would be better if it didn't break down while I was still using it. There's a happy medium, people, and it's not while I'm still holding the stuff in my sad, and now unhappy, hand.

Dried pea pods as a snack food. I saw some at the store a few weeks ago, and thought, what a healthy, crunchy, and potentially tasty snack! Nope. Not even on a salad. They are to pea pods what Bacos are to bacon. It was like eating a pumice puff. Blecch. Even the dogs didn't want to eat them, and that's saying something.

Anything you've bought that the rest of us should avoid?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Seriously Scary Shedoobe

I found out today that at 4:30am on Tues, there was a massive attempted home invasion on a duplex house catty-corner to mine, across the street and down about three doors. A guy was getting ready for work, and as he pulled out of the garage, which was behind the house (we all have alleys behind our houses where the garages lead to, and we drive down the alleys to the main roads), and out to the street, he saw several things: two guys in front of his house, two just down the street, and FIVE on his front porch. They had his window screen off and were getting ready to enter his home, where his wife and two young kids were still asleep. He swung around in the car and dashed back into the back of his house for his gun, and the men ran away.

My friend, who lives another three doors past them, lives in the other house the guys were standing in front of. She said she woke up because she heard noises, and looked outside to see the guys standing there and up the street, but she couldn't see the ones on the porch of the other house, since they're on the same side of the road. She said it was pretty obvious to her that they were lookouts for something.

Police came and went, but there has been no news coverage, nothing in the paper, nada.

This is not That Kind of Neighborhood. Like any neighborhood, you can tell based on how people look and how they act whether they actually live here; we're all pretty much middle-class people with nice houses and cars, and we're not usually outside past 9 or 10pm because we all have kids. People don't randomly wander the neighborhood; they are either going to or from somewhere, or watching kids. We have nice yards, and leave our windows and front doors open when it's nice outside.

There are a lot of questions here, like why did they pick a half-house to swarm rather than one of the larger, nicer homes surrounding it? For that matter, why this neighborhood over the swankier one a few streets over? Was it gang-related? We're a pretty small town - we don't have 'gang' activity to speak of. Was it a retaliation for some perceived wrong? Nine guys is a lot for a continued road rage problem. If it was personal, why did they run away when confronted with the owner? Did they know he was leaving, and that a woman would be inside asleep, or did they plan just to rob the place? That particular house is even right under a streetlight. Was it mistaken identity? If so, who were they *really* after? The owner said the guys looked to be in their late 20's-early 30's. WTF?

One of their kids is in 1st grade with Patrick. She must be scared shitless, if she even knows it happened. I can't imagine being them, the wife in particular. How can she EVER sleep again, knowing the last time she slept, a mob was coming in to her and her babies?

I am scared. The only reason I will sleep tonight, if I do, is because we have 150lbs of Dog to scare intruders away. I hate that, because emotionally, it's like sending two of my kids to scare away monsters. I'm here alone all day, from 5am on, and we are asleep after DH leaves, too. It could have been us. It could have been my friends a few doors down. It could have been anyone.

It could have been a lot worse. But I am still scared.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Still Catching Up

Today I surfaced for air and met with the advisor for the grad program I want to attend. The excellent news: my Statistics for Managers class I took when my job was paying for grad school counts towards my math requirement, so this trig class will be my LAST MATH EVAH! Woohoo! The not-so-great news: I have to prove that I've either taken a writing class, or that I've written papers, or I'll have to take one before they'll let me in. Or, I can cough up a paper I've written, after years and years and many moves. Yeah, no.

Let me get this straight: I took two seminars *and* had to submit a research thesis for undergrad, AND I took SIX grad classes, and I *STILL* have to prove that I can write?!?! Are they SERIOUS?!

I actually did find one paper I wrote in undergrad, sandwiched into my filing cabinet, but it's only 6pp, and it's not a research paper, so I don't know if they'll count it. I sent the advisor an email to ask.

Also, my sociology major doesn't give me a pass on psychology, so I'll have to take that next semester, along with another science (and she said meteorology is fine, so at least it'll be interesting). At least it's not MATH!!!!!!!

In other news, I unfriended some people today on Facebook. It was very liberating. This one person has been annoying me for a long time, and I had actually made all the updates to their FB page hidden so I didn't have to read them. Today I decided that that was silly, and after making sure they weren't going to get a big message "YOU HAVE BEEN UNFRIENDED", I did the deed. Buh-bye. I wanted it to be quiet, because we have friends in common (both online and off), and I didn't want it to be a Big Deal. I doubt they'll even notice, to be honest, since I never post in reply to anything of theirs. I think I may do a few more! (Don't worry, I would never do that to You. I love all of YOU!)

I'm slowly starting to catch up on your blogs. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Missing You

I am so sorry I haven't been reading any blogs lately. I miss hearing about you all so much, my friends, and I'm hoping to catch up tomorrow when the kids are at school. I have literally been consumed by trigonometry, to the point that I am dreaming about it (and not in a nice way). My mind is so entrenched in Words that random letters have always been very, very distracting, and I end up spending time wondering why, for instance, an equation says f(x)=3x+2, when really, f(x) just means the Y axis. THEN I get caught up in worrying that the substitutions actually have some mysterious meaning, expecially when OTHER random letters, like H or I come to call, with seemingly no calling card or introduction at all. Why are THEY there?! Who invited them? What do they mean? It makes me just want to make a nice soup out of them all and be done.

So, to do a brief catch-up on me:

1. I have an appointment with the graduate advisor for the program I'm hoping to get into on Wed afternoon. Cross your fingers that they will allow me to substitute my sociology major for the 1 psychology class they like to see for admission, and that they won't give me the same crap about supposedly not having algebra math credits that the undergrad school did.

2. I have an appointment on the 14th to get fingerprinted and interviewed by the county to get officially hired as a substitute. The following Monday there's a 2hr orientation session, and after that, I'm free to start, so I'll hopefully be working by the end of the month.

3. Josie got her yellow belt last week, but I didn't get it on video b/c the recorder screwed up. I'll put up a photo soon, though. She totally kicked butt.

4. I went to a family gathering yesterday, against my better judgement, and it went fine even though my stressful sister-in-law and her husband were there. Their babies, unfortunatly, look very much like their father, who is not feminine at all. While I do not feel any attachment to either the parents, or the babies (still), it was fine, and I held a baby most of the time as a distraction. There were no outbursts or arguments. Perhaps I'll feel more connected to the babies once they're bigger; I suppose it's difficult to feel connected to children of people you really don't like and rarely see.

OK, I think that's it. DH took the kids to the movies so I could have a few hours' peace and quiet to study. I think I'm actually going to take my stuff over to Panera, which should be quiet this time of the afternoon, and have a coffee. I'm sick of sitting at the dining room table, and to do the next section I have to get a calculator that will actually have a bunch of functions on it, so I might as well combine the two. I really need to not be studying late at night if I can help it, at least until I break the dreaming pattern. The last three nights I've not only dreamed about it, but also spent a good half hour in that half-awake state stressing over vague problems I can't quite picture because I'm not fully awake. It's not conducive to a good night's rest, people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Things I Don't Understand, School Edition

Dear Trig Professor:

Thank you for letting me in your class, but there are a few things that are a mystery to me. For instance, why is it called an online class when in fact I had to purchase DVDs from the bookstore with you on them, teaching the class to someone else? I would say it's nice to see you, but honestly, I *can't* see you, since the rhesus monkey you had running the camera put the auto-focus on YOU rather than the blackboard, and since you're always moving, that means that the focus goes in and out like a Christmas light. Just for fun, whatever you're writing on the board only comes into focus every other time you do, or so. It's like a magic trick! Perhaps you could pull the answer to why I care what f(g(x)) is, again? Because I can figure out what the problem means, but I have no idea why it means anything at all to you. For all I know, it's the formula for making a unicorn. Finally, if you could please explain to me why our text begins on Chapter Six, rather than the usual chapter one, that would be great, because it's not inspiring a lot of confidence in your (or the author's) ability to even COUNT.

Not a Mathlete


Dear Bio Professor,

I understand that this is your first class to teach, ever, and that you're a bio-chemist-phlegmologist researchologist person, but perhaps you could have actually read the lab contents before you came to class today? Making *us* remind *you* of the instructions is like the blind protozoa leading the other blind protozoa, and frankly, from the looks of confusion on the faces of the younger students, they're making Stevie Wonder look like an eagle-eye. Seriously, why didn't you tell the poor creatures that you can figure out the difference in how much you can see under the microscope between magnifications by doing a simple ratio (2mm @ 100x = .5mm @4oox) rather than making them do that horrid formula that they were all struggling with? just because they weren't smart enough to see it themselves doesn't mean you should punish them! (Or was it because none of them understood that because the microscope already magnifies at 10x, that the 40x lens actually shows you a 400x magnification? I have seen deer about to be under my car that looked less startled. ) Regardless, it's going to be a LOOOOONG class, so maybe be a sport and be prepared next time, and stop joking that you're just as unsure what to do as we are. But, if you can't, can you at least count? There might be a place for you in the math department.

Not So Blinded by Science


Dear Public School,

Who do you think is trying to get into the school, Osama Bin Laden?! What are all these new security procedures?! Now I have to give you my driver's license number, AND all the numbers of anyone who might pick my kids up early or drop them off late, AND scan my license in any time I want to enter the school, and have everyone videotaped as we enter and leave the school?! AND all volunteers have to be fingerprinted, at the county school office, at $20 a pop? AND I have to send in a note saying that my 10yo is going home with her friend's mom today, even though she's a walker and could technically get into ANY car, at ANY point, on ANY day, on her way home, with no notice at all, should she so choose? Once you're in elementary school, you pretty much know who's a stranger and who isn't, and whether you have a playdate or not, unless you have a severe special-education situation. How much did these cameras cost our strapped system again? Is there really a rash of people busting into the school and taking children who don't belong to them via brute force?! What kind of establishment are you running over there!? What's next, installing a subcutaneous GPS device? I hate to say it, but if someone really wanted to do some damage, they would bust through the glass in the door and come in. A person who has scanned in their license is no less likely to detonate a bomb than anyone else, since they don't care if you know who they are, and they'll be dead, anyway. AND, oh sacred educational establishment, I'm supposed to let you have my license number stored on file so someone can break into your crappily-secured data files and steal it, along with my SSN?! I think not. Does this mean that if, God forbid, DH and I are in a car accident, and no one else's license is on file, they will have to live at the school until we can get out of the hospital and bring our licenses over there to bust them out?

Come to think of it, there are days when I'll just leave my license at home and let you keep them. It's cheaper than hiring a sitter.

Have a Fun Sleepover With My Kid