The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spring, er summer, cleaning

So, I have been wanting to get our garage cleaned out for a long time. I have this beautiful vision that someday I will actually park my car in there. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Anyhow, so last night, when our garage flooded (yeah, that was fun) it became motivation to get started, as books and clothes needed to be saved from wet boxes before they got ruined. Today, I did a lot more of it and think I may be just going through the nesting process in some way, because I am seriously on a mission here. I am holding a free garage sale to get rid of stuff. It is a fantastic feeling.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My kid needs his friends (and so do I)

It is a wonderful feeling to say to your child, "We are going to the park to see your friends," and to hear him sing a song of "Yea! Yea! Yea! Yea! Yea!" (literally). When we got to the park, he ran towards the playground yelling, "I'm here! I'm here! Hi everybody! I'm here!"

He was so excited because he knew that a bunch of his friends from our playgroup would be there. He has been talking about seeing these friends, particularly "Sean with the red hair," for weeks. It was a very sweet reunion, both for Vinny and for me. We had a wonderful time at the park, as well as afterward at an impromptu McDonalds lunch with one of Vinny's most favorite friends that he missed so much. :-) They played for literally hours.

See, this group is very dear to my heart. They have become sort of, well, a family to me in a way, and even though I hadn't seen some of them in months, I was reminded of what a special group of people they are and how unique it is for my child to have long-term friends when he is not even quite 4 years old. When Vinny was about 7 months old, in 2007, we joined this sort of mommy support group. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. They have been there for me, and I have tried to be there for them. Even today, one mom, whom I remember bringing dinner to when her daughter was born 2 years ago, brought me three huge boxes of hand-me-down clothes for my upcoming arrival! I love getting hand-me-downs. Practically all of Vinny's clothes are hand-me-downs from other moms in the group. Even when I was trying to finish my student teaching and my student loan money ran out just before the last week of school, 4 different moms in the group each chipped in and took Vinny for a day so that I wouldn't have to pay for that last week of day care.

It is crazy, I was thinking about it today... they were all such babies when it began, and they are all so big now.  Here are some pictures from that first year: 


Monday, June 28, 2010

A random rant of frustration

So, in writing up these units for reproduction, I am finding one really frustrating thing about trying to package and reproduce my teaching...

See, these are units/lessons that I already have that I taught last year and/or the year before, but all I am doing is taking all the resources and writing up the instructions and procedures. Here is the frustrating part....

If you are a teacher, you probably know the beauty of the internet and the millions of teaching resources that are out there. I feel no need to reinvent the wheel. I know for certain that no skill that I am teaching is new, because I teach it as a result of there being state/national standards saying that students should learn it. This means that lots of teachers before me have taught this stuff, and a lot of them have found/created great ways of doing it, so why should I bother recreating it? All I bascially do is teach it creatively the way I want and feel will work best, but for me, this usually involves the compilation of many resources that are already out there. In the teaching world today, for the most part, this isn't really seen as stealing- teachers wouldn't put their resources out there if they didn't want other people to use them- but rather sharing best practices. We are all in it for the same thing- so that the students will learn, thus, when it comes to copying and using for educational purposes, pretty much everything is fair game. If something has a copyright on it, I always leave it when I copy it, but that's pretty much all the crediting that needs to get done.

I also love to use news articles, opinion pieces, advertisements, etc., in my teaching too, and when using these things, I basically just print the page and be sure to leave on the author's name, date, website/news source, etc.

Now, however... I am finding I have to be really careful how I use these resources. I can still use them, but because the unit has a title page with my name on it, I cannot put word for word instructions from someone else's lesson in my lesson plan. That would be plagiarism. I am not really using anything word for word anyway, but there are some great handouts and stuff from NCTE's ReadWriteThink resources that I am using,so I have to be sure to give proper credit. Suddenly, I am having to really cite all of my sources, and getting it right feels so much more significant that getting it right on a college paper did. I mean, this is going to be marketed to all of the international studies schools network, so I cannot get caught plagiarizing. I really have to give credit where credit is due, and when suggesting news articles or opinion pieces for teachers to use, I actually have to be sure I have properly cited where they are from... no printing random pages.

Because this is all stuff I have done before... this means going and finding all the sources for all the stuff I already use. Time consuming and no fun.

Hi Tiana..

So, Tiana got to say hi to me and Vinny today. Went in for another ultrasound, probably the last one, to double check the placenta (tech wasn't supposed to say anything but told me it is much higher, so should no longer be a previa risk). Vinny was a super good boy and enjoyed seeing his little sister on the screen.

She has been making me so uncomfortable lately, and now I know why. She is, I suppose, in the process of turning, because she is semi-folded... her butt in my rib cage, feet kicking my bladder (which makes sense), and head somewhere in my left side. She is punching me there pretty regularly.
Great arm shot of my little kickboxing princess...

And here's why I feel like I have to pee every 5 seconds (although I don't really)... cute little foot, right next to my bladder (or more like in my bladder)

And last but not least... her cute little legs from below (you can kind of sort of see her little girl area in the background- at least you could on the screen, but she moved too much to get a good shot of it).

So... there you go. There's my little girl. Tech said she is as beautiful and perfect as she has seen.  :-)

I would write more, but I am one unit down and one unit to go to fulfill my curriculum development contract that stated I would be due with both units today. Yeah... time to get to work.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sandwich Lesson

So, this is the most recent lesson I wrote for the unit I am creating (the one due Monday, yikes), and although I don't normally post my lessons, I really like this particular lesson, and I thought it might be fun to share what I am working on. (Note- I must admit that there is nothing new under the sun, and I don't claim to reinvent the wheel. This lesson is inspired by an Erin Gruwell lesson- citation at the bottom of the page).


This is a creative lesson to get students metaphorically thinking about the importance of structure.

The idea of this lesson is for students to understand that a good story must be well-developed. It highlights the importance of structure and including all of the necessary elements into the story.


To start the lesson, have 5 desks set up at the front of the class, or a long table with 5 places at it, facing out to the class. It can be fun to add table cloths and fancy place settings at these tables if you want to create a special atmosphere.

Choose 5 students who you know are outgoing and vocal and will enjoy being the center of attention for a little bit. Try to pick students who do not seem like they are picky eaters. Have these students sit up front. (Check for food allergies first).

Welcome your students to “Ms._________’s Sandwich Shoppe” and tell them today you have selected 5 sandwich “connoisseurs” to try your new sandwich creations. Through the connoisseurs descriptions of what they are eating, the class will decide on the best sandwich.

Have 5 sandwiches pre-prepared. You have some freedom on this obviously, but they should be approximately like this:

1. A fancy (and hopefully very tasty!) sandwich, possibly from a local deli, with several different meats, cheese, maybe a flavored spread, vegetables, spices, etc. (Note- Italian deli’s are a great choice for this).

2. A plain sandwich on plain bread. The cheaper the better. Basically just meat and bread. Go easy on the meat. NO condiments!

3. A piece of meat and cheese with mayonnaise and mustard all over it. No bread. Ideally, the student will have a hard time eating this without making a mess.

4. 2 pieces of bread. Nothing fancy and nothing in between the bread. In fact, a thicker wheat bread that doesn’t taste very good by itself is a good choice.

5. A sandwich with a little bit of everything, only sandwich ingredients, but stuff that doesn’t exactly sound good together. Think peanut butter, jelly, meat, cheese, etc. I recommend thin bread for this so that there is less to drown out the ingredients. (Note: Try to give this to that kid who is probably known for being willing to try anything and will likely at least take a bit or two).

Pass out the sandwiches to the students but tell them not to touch them yet. Have the rest of the class fold a sheet of paper into 5 columns for taking notes. Have them label each column (you can give the students up front numbers or just have them write down the students’ names) for easy note taking. Inform the class that each connoisseur will take a turn eating and describing the sandwich and the class is to take notes on the connoisseur’s reaction.

Give each student with a sandwich a turn to eat and describe. You can try a variety of orders, but I recommend leaving sandwich number one (the good one) for last. Encourage the rest of the class to write down all the reactions, even the just “Eww, I have mayonnaise all over my hands” reactions. It should take a while and be a somewhat fun process.

In the end, ask the students to, judging from the connoisseur’s descriptions, vote on the best sandwich- the one that they would most want to eat. Undoubtedly, the choice will be number one- the fancy sandwich. Then, you can ask the students to have a seat. (If there is leftover sandwich on each plate, have them leave it there for illustration purposes).

Now, explain to the students that essays or stories can be thought of like these sandwiches. Go through each sandwich and ask the students to discuss what they think this sandwich represents as far as writing goes. Some of the answers you are looking for may be like this… (but let the students be creative in their answers)

1. A well-developed literary essay or story.

2. A very basic essay or story, but sort of boring and dry.

3. A story/essay that feels really weird to read because it doesn’t really have an introduction or conclusion.

4. A story/essay that isn’t really anything more than an intro or conclusion- there is no real action or “meat” to the story.

5. A story/essay where the writer has put in TOO much detail where it is hard to tell what is necessary and it ends up just leaving a “bad taste in your mouth,” rather than a satisfying feeling.

Next, have the students pull out their “story proposal worksheet” from the prior lesson and have them look specifically at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th bullet points on the worksheet- the questions that deal with structure. Ask students to re-read their answers, thinking of this story proposal as the recipe for the “sandwich” they are building. Which sandwich does it look like it is shaping up to be? What ingredients do they need to add to the list make it more likely to come out like sandwich number one? Give students about 3-5 minutes to consider this and revise their proposal sheet.

This will likely bring you to the end of a one-hour class period, but if you have more time or would like to extend this lesson, one possible next step could be to have students return to the story they annotated the day before, this time looking specifically for elements of structure. They could even creatively label the story with terms like “Bread,” “Meat,” “Mayo,” etc.


- This lesson was inspired by a lesson in The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide by Erin Gruwell.

Gruwell, Erin. "Making a Sandwich." The Freedom Writers Diary: Teacher's Guide. New York: Broadway, 2007. 73-76. Print.

* If you are teaching this unit along with the Freedom Writers Diary, there are some great suggestions in this lesson on how to use specific entries from the diary to do this. Page 76 also has a fun graphic organizer that could be used in a variety of ways.

I hate that I work well under pressure...

You know how some people just seem to work really well under pressure? Like when a deadline is looming, things get done with much more efficiency than ever before? Unfortunately, that is totally me. The deadline of Monday for these two units being done has been sitting heavily upon my shoulders and has meant that I have spent most of my weekend focusing on it. I was reassured that I am not the only one by the frequent updates and tip emails I was getting from the English coach (who they are due to) over the past few days. If I was the only one who hadn't turned them in yet, there certainly wouldn't be series of emails to the whole group! ;-)

So, I worked my butt off on them yesterday. I took a few breaks- trip to the farmer's market and a break to help make dinner- but other than that, I pretty much spent my day frantically typing up lessons for these units. I am like 3/4 of the way done with the first unit... but the frightening thing is that I haven't started the second unit yet, or the other part of this project, which is scoring work from the unit I piloted last year. The scoring should go fast and be a welcome break from lesson writing, and realistically, the second unit should go faster than the first, but realistically... I have today to get it all done, and I will also be going to church. This pretty much means that I will be doing only this after church today.

The amusing part is that I know the stuff I am producing is good quality. It is funny... I really do work better under pressure for some reason. I think it is just a certain type of person. There are students in my Honors classes who always turn papers in at the very last minute and I can tell they were up all night writing them, but then when I read them I am always really impressed. Same problem- they work better under pressure. Then there is the other vast percentage of my students whose work feels painfully rushed and half-assed when they do it last minute. I want to believe I am in the minority on this one, because I am actually really proud of the work I have done over the past few days.  I kind of hate that I have subconsciously figured this out about myself, because maybe if I didn't know that I can get things done at the last minute, it wouldn't be so easy for me to let them wait until the last minute.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Wonderful California Morning

Despite the fact that I have worked through much of this beautiful morning, and that I will need to work through much of the rest of this beautiful weekend to get these units done by Monday, I am in a good place mentally.

Our plumber friend came this morning to replace our water heater. This has been a much anticipated expense that the home warranty company paid for part of (the actual water heater itself), so despite the cost, I feel good knowing that we spent it wth someone I completely trust and that we would have spent ridiculously more if anyone else had done, and besides that... he is amazing and every bit of work he has done in our house has been great. What really excites me... is the thought of being able to fill an ENTIRE bathtub with hot water for a bath tonight. I haven't been able to fill the entire bathtub full since we moved into the house in April 2009. This will be fantastic.

We headed to the Farmers Market in Calabasas later this morning too, after Marc got home from swim practice. It is my second favorite part of summer. (My favorite part is the beach). There is just something about wandering around Old Towne stopping at all the little booths and trying their strawberries and peaches and plums and tomatoes and picking the tastiest ones. We got pluots, black plums, white peaches, apricots, strawberries (sweetest you have ever tasted!), potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, an artichoke, and some fresh squeezed apple peach juice that Vinny says was totally worth $6.00. I already made some strawberry lemonade and cut Vinny up some fresh fruit for lunch, and I am going to make a very yummy dinner tonight. I think we are going to barbecue. I love grilling green beans with butter and garlic.

On a side note, Vinny broke his hot food strike last night (5 days later) to eat some of my in-laws barbecued chicken and fish.

Sadly... it is back to work for me. I am only 2 out of 9 lessons into my first of two units that are due Monday. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I'd like to say I made progress today. My house is much less of a disaster than it was this morning. I have been slowly wading my way through the process of cleaning out the garage this week, and it is really starting to look better. The massive pile of random sheets, blankets, towels, and clothes that had accumulated near the washing machine is (6 loads later) completely gone and mostly put away. My grandmother is in town from AZ this weekend, and she hasn't been for a visit since we bought the house, so I would like her to see it, but I really, really want to get it cleaned up first. It isn't really that bad, but a week of being at home with Vinny, on top of the crazy organizing I am trying to do, has taken its toll on the house.

Vinny was a great boy today. I needed a good day,so that was lucky.

Is it sad that I am looking forward to nothing more than going to the Farmers Market in Calabasas on Saturday?  It is my favorite part of the summer, and I have had such busy Saturdays this year until this point that I haven't been able to go even once so far. I am really, really, really looking forward to it. I hope the salsa guy is there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Motivation Mountains and Valleys

Lately, I have true mountains and valleys in feeling motivated.

Motivated to do what?

Well.... anything to be honest. (Except watch a Showtime series OnDemand that Marc and I have just started working our way through in the evenings. I always want to do that).

I have a lot to do. I have work stuff to do. I have around-the-house stuff that I have been putting off. I have phone calls to make and just errands and junk to do. I feel very good about the fact that I actually made some calls for a new preschool for Vinny today, but the lamest part is that none of my calls were even fruitful- Amber is the one who finally reached the school I wanted to tour this week (we are trying to find a place locally to put our boys together; they are best friends and used to go to school together and really miss it). I also scheduled some doctor's appointments and took care of some insurance stuff today, but there is more of that type of nonsense to be done tomorrow, and I really don't feel like it.

Monday night, we got started on cleaning out the garage when I was on a mountain of wanting to get things done. We made progress, but a lot of it was left in limbo with more to do. Random rags and towels and clothes that had been left on the floor were washed, but now they need to be taken out of the dryer and put away, and more loads need to be done, and I have time right now, but I have reached a valley and have ZERO motivation to do it right now. I am just so... exhausted. This morning, on a motivation mountain, I began unpacking from our trip this past weekend. Now clothes need to be put away and the rest of the unpacking still needs to be done, but again, in a valley... probably not gonna do it.

This may have something to do with the phone call I got today informing me that I am, as expected, anemic again this pregnancy, and need to start taking iron. I should probably get up and do that now. Like... now. Okay, force self to get up. Vinny wants a bath. Iron pill may help. Blehhhhhhh.......

Forcing myself back to reality....

I love summer break. I have loved spending every second with my son. I have loved not grading papers or thinking about papers or school. But... reality is... I'm not the typical teacher (because apparently I am never the typical anything), and I have more responsibilities, which extend beyond the school year. They are responsibilities I took gladly and enjoy very much, but they are work nonetheless. I am part of a curriculum development team for our network of schools, and I signed a contract to write up two units for possibly being piloted in this next year. They are due on June 28th. In addition, I am part of a scoring team for the same thing, and I have to score a bunch of work that I and another teacher piloted this year. I believe it is also due then, so I really, really, really need to get it done.

I opened the first file today and started trying to get it done. I am just not in the right state of mind for this and cannot seem to get myself going with it. I am going to have to try to dedicate a certain amount of time tomorrow and Friday to get it done.  Ever want something to be done so badly, but want just as badly not to have to do it? Yeah, that is how I feel right now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The World's Greatest Kid... and a GREAT day.

I adore my almost-4-year-old son more than anything. Seriously. He is the greatest kid. I am so lucky. Here is hoping I get so lucky with #2.

We had a wonderfully awesome day today. He crawled into bed with me around 8am, we watched some t.v., and got ready for the beach. After a painfully long glucose test (an hour long drink some sugary junk and then get your blood drawn procedure to find out if I have gestational diabetest), we were on our way.  Grandma took the day off to spend with me and V and we headed to Point Mugu, since we haven't been there in a while.

As I have mentioned before, I love the beach pretty much more than anything else in the whole world. Really. My son quite obviously has my genes. He just had the time of his life. From the second we got there, he was in the water. He came out to eat for a little bit, then went back in. Eventually, he came out a couple more times to make grandma take him on a walk and then to build a sand castle, but overall, he spent pretty much the entire time in the water. He is so social too... the total opposite of me as a child. I was always nervous to talk to kids I didn't know, but Vinny made friends with practically every kid on the beach (of course, he seems to always want to pick like the 8-10 year olds rather than the 2-5 year olds, but whatever). As things were winding up, he thought it might be fun to jump off the sandly ledge and roll down the sandy hill, over and over again (it was a beach with some mini dunes). Great.... he was covered in dirty black sand (the dunes are near bbq pits), but at least he was having fun.

I did my best to rinse him off in a spigot up at the top and we headed home. I made a valiant effort at trying something new- grilled pizza. I didn't want to heat the house up by putting it in the oven. I put my pizza stone on the grill and fired it up.In theory, it totally should have worked. It was getting nice and bubbly, but I walked away to use the bathroom and when I came out like no more than 90 seconds later, the bottom was black and the top was brown. How did that happen so fast? I guess it would have worked (and will when I try it again- I am not ready to give up), had I realized how quickly it was going to cook.

I was willing to eat it anyway, but Marc took one look at it and declared it a fast food night. We decided to make it a fun summer night out- what the heck, it is summer, ya know- and eat at the food court and then see Toy Story 3. It was a great night and a great movie. Plus, eating immediately before hand (actually, I was getting full fast, so I snuck most of mine into the movie) had the added benefit of saving us money at the concession stand.

On a side note, yesterday, Vinny declared that it is summer and he is not eating anything "hot." No, he does not mean spicy; he literally means anything cooked. When I took him shopping yesterday and asked what we should have for dinner, he said, "Not hot food, cold food. Cheese. Peanut butter sandwiches. Fruit."  Um.... okay. Strangely enough, he has gotten away with it. Last night, he filled up on pasta salad, fruit, and cheese and didn't actually have a cheeseburger. Tonight, I let him pick at the food court. He says, "Nothing hot," and asks for a turkey sandwich from Subway. Technically, he is eating well-rounded meals, but I am finding this phase very strange. I wonder how long it will last. I had no intention of putting up with it, but because he has actually been eating well, and hasn't been requesting special meals, he has gotten away with it so far. Hmmmmmm.......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sometimes, even I just don't get it...

People, particularly my students, assume that because I am an English teacher, I must love all literature and appreciate all the "greats" of literature.

This is far from true. It is hard for me to find books I really like, and even I sometimes have trouble getting through books. I have started All Quiet on the Western Front several times and never gotten through the first few pages. It is the same with The Scarlet Letter. I don't like them and have determined that I cannot read them. I struggled through Frankenstein the first time, but eventually, after years and years, grew to have a deep and profound appreciation for the novel.

There is one more author whom I have never understood. In Latin American literature, the "greats" include an author by the name of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is a Nobel Laureate and apparently an amazing writer. I will admit, his style is somewhat transfixing, but other than that..... ???????  I first was exposed to him in college through a story called "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."  I totally didn't get it. I mean, literally, I understood the story. I comprehended the plot and whatnot, but the story is apparently supposed to have some intense deeper meaning that I just never really got. Part of this may be the fact that it is a genre called "magical realism" which has never really resonated with me. I like magical stories, like fairy tales, and I like realistic stories, but I just don't like when the two join together. It is an uncomfortable union for me. Like, the movie Field of Dreams sort of bothered me the first time I watched it. It grew on me, but initially my reaction was annoyance. For this reason, when some of my kids just never "get" Poe, I try to be very understanding, because I know what it means to not understand an allegory or get the literary significance of a piece, or just not to click with the genre.

Years later, I tried to read a book he wrote, which is supposed to be amazing called 100 Years of Solitude.  Again, it is magical realism, but I thought I could try to enjoy it if it is a good story, but I found that the story feels as the name suggests... long and uninteresting. I couldn't connect and decided to stop reading it about 20% into the book. I don't have a lot of leisurely time to read, so I really don't waste my time with a book that isn't good that far into it, unless the author has really gained my trust (for example, John Irving's Widow for One Year was still very boring probably 35% into the book, but I got that far and realized that the remaining 65% was totally worth it, yet I only did it because he had gained my trust with The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany).

I had nearly given up when the title of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book caught my eye on the bargain book shelf at Borders last week. Memories of My Melancholy Whores. Hmmm... interesting. Plus, for $5, who could go wrong? And it was large print and only a little over 100 pages, so at least it wouldn't be painfully long, right? I stood at the bookshelf and read the first few pages. Here is how it starts.... 

In my ninetieth year, I decided to give myself the gift of a night of love with a young virgin.I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay ... by the time I was fifty there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once ... My public life, on the other hand, was lacking in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor without a future, a mediocre journalist ... and a favorite of caricaturists because of my exemplary ugliness.
  Okay, it sounds trashy, but he is a nobel laureate, so it couldn't really be, right? I was hooked. Admit it... you would be too. Truly captivating, apparently not at all magical realism, and actually a seemingly good story. I bought it.

It is finally summer and I was able to read it today. It was, as I thought, a quick read. Finished it today. It was not a good story. It went nowhere. I will save you the trouble (so warning, if you still, despite my warning, want to read it, "spoilers" if they can be even called that with this book, are coming) and tell you that basically, he arranges to have a night with a young prostitute, a virgin, but he goes and finds that she is asleep when he gets to the brothel and basically won't wake up. Instead of force her awake, give up, ask for a new one, whatever... he comes back night after night for like a year to watch her sleep. It becomes totally not about having sex with her, but about watching her sleep. That's it. He watches her sleep for like a year, and then it basically just ends. She moves on, he moves on. It is over.

I am sure there is some element of literary genius in there that I am not getting. If this were for a class, I could easily choose quotes and BS my way through one hell of an essay on the significance of his inability to love a woman who is awake, and why her sleeping innocence awakens in him some element of living that he never experienced  before, but realistically.... seriously.... it is a story about a 90 year old guy watching a naked teenage girl sleep every night. Creepy... and not really entertaining.

I have two more books to read, a Tobias Wolff one that seems very good and very literary in a way I will enjoy, and a cheap contemporary novel Made in the USA that probably has no literary merit whatsoever but promises to be a good story. Any other suggestions? I am picky. I like true stories when they are a good story and not just someone's pathetic attempt at being able to publish a book about his life. I like stories that surprise me. I do not like Jodi Picoult or any stories about teenagers that have depressing topics or endings (My own experiences with teenagers are depressing enough- I don't need to read fiction for that). I like fiction that is very amusing, intriguing, and will make me laugh and random points while reading, but totally doesn't need to have happy endings. I like commentaries on life if they are well written.  I don't like romance. I don't like reading books that feel like essays, as I read too many of those during the year. I don't like thrillers.  I do like "page turners." I do like stuff that is way below my reading level and frequently enjoy reading YA lit just to know what good books to recommend to the kids, especially when they are quick reads and captivating stories. The Giver is seriously one of my favorite books ever, except the ending, which sort of stinks.

Anyhow... suggestions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

TGI Summer!

It is finally summer break. Thank God! We went to Las Vegas for a swim meet this weekend, which was a great kickoff. Vinny and I are normally rather bored at Marc's swim meets, but as luck would have it, we pulled up at the park to find that this swim meet was at an aquatic facility with a mini water park. I didn't get a chance to take pictures, butit looked like this:

It worked out very well for us, until it got crazy crowded around 3:00pm, but Marc was almost done then, so we made it through the day alive. :-)  It wasn't a typical trip to Vegas... not much gambling or anything. We had a deliciously wonderful buffet at the Hilton and then took Vinny to see the Volcano thing at the Mirage. It kind of freaked him out, but he has been talking about it all day, so I guess he mostly liked it.

Today's drive home was, well, painful to say the least, but that's Vegas  to L.A. on a Sunday. At one point,  I think Vinny was honestly delirious.  After whining about the bright sun for like 20 minutes, he got really happy, slap happy, and started talking about an imaginary fish in his hand. Then, about 15 minutes later, he started sobbing and saying, "My fish is gone!"  Oh boy... it was time to stop for a break.

I am so excited to have wonderful free time this weak.  I have a lot to do still- 1 hour glucose test (just how I want to spend the first week of break- giving blood), finish curriculum development for summer institute, and sub plans for next semester, but I am feeling relieved and relaxed nonetheless.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer break, here we come!

I don't know who is more excited for it to be break- me or Vinny. He keeps asking if it is summer yet. He has a list of things that is going to happen when it is summer, funnily enough, at the top of them is sleeping in. Some people think that all little kids are morning people, but it is just not true. Vinny loves sleeping in, and when he does get up, all he wants to do it lay around the house for a long time before getting dressed. I am really looking forward to those mornings.

Today was the last day of finals and my grades were due. Getting them all done and in on time was a nightmare. I had SO many projects to finish grading in the last few days; it was beyond exhausting. I was up until almost 2am yesterday, and I couldn't even finish. I was literally falling asleep holding papers. My mind was saying, "Must open eyes to see papers," but my body was literally just shutting down. I tried to set my alarm early to get up and finish, but I couldn't drag myself out of bed at 5am. I made it to school on time by the grace of God, and finished the rest of the papers while the students took their final.

It was a crazy day. I had all kinds of issues with the grade system (just thinking about it is giving me an anxiety attack), plus I had my toughest two classes today, and we had a demo lesson scheduled for a history teacher candidate we are considering (well, probably decided now). In addition, I am moving classrooms over the summer, so I had to finish packing. I have been working on it all week (for like the past two weeks really), but it really came down to the wire today and I did a lot. My lower back hurts so much from all the reaching up to get stuff out of cabinets and leaning down to put it in boxes. I am wiped... and there is still more to do tomorrow, but then we will be done, done, done.

I am looking forward to the beach, to the 3 new books I bought for summer reading, to swimming with my son, to shopping at the farmers market and cooking delicious meals. You know what I am looking forward to right now? Eating a big bowl of strawberries and possibly the entire container of cool whip. Yum. Okay... gonna put Vinny to bed now. Big, excitingly LAST day tomorrow. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Pet Peeve....

.... as a teacher, is when students just totally do not listen.

So, I am giving my final exams today. I gave very explicit instructions at the beginning of the test, and wrote them on the board. The instructions were as follows...
- When you finish with the exam, come turn it in on this table up front (point to desk).
- Take one of these "end of the year survey" papers (hold up survey).
- Complete the survey. Then, bring the survey up front.
- Turn in the survey, then take on of these packets with your summer reading project (hold up packet).
- Then take any textbooks you have left and return them to the textbook room and check out the book for the summer reading project.
- You may then return to class and sit quietly at your desk and preview the book and the project. I will happily answer any questions about the project once everyone has finished the final exam.

After explaining these instructions, I said, "Now, what do you do when you finish your final?" The whole class, as they know to do, answers back, "Bring it up there and take the survey." So they got it. Then I said, "When you finish the survey, what do you do?" They answer back, "Bring it up there and get the summer reading."

Fantastic! They understand!

So, about half an hour goes by and a student raises her hand, "Mrs. Mohr, what are we supposed to do when we finish?"
I said it, too. I know I am a bit too sarcastic, but COME ON.... The class kind of giggled as I looked at her to see if she seriously didn't know, before finally answering her by repeating the instructions I had just gone over 30 minutes prior.

Then, as the students came up here, another student grabs the survey and says, "Can I go return my books now?" I again had to clarify, survey first, then books. I am now making signs for the tables to tell them what to do... yet again.

Is it too much to expect that students can listen to and follow simple multi-step instructions?

Sunday, June 13, 2010


We used to have Disneyland annual passes. They expired in November. This was the first time we have been since, and we don't think we'll be again for a while, so we really wanted to make the best of it, so we went early and stayed late.

My whole body hurt by the end of the night, particularly my lower back, but it sure was fun. One oddity was the fact that to celebrate the start of Disney's summer nights thing with "glow fest," all the local ravers apparently planned an unofficial Disney rave, and there were TONS of ravers all over the park, in full rave gear. It was amusing.

My least favorite yet favorite moment of the day. We get stuck on Pirates of the Caribbean in front of The Blue Bayou for like half an hour. Vinny was being relatively patient, but after about half an hour, he looks up at me and says, "I'm peeing." I reply, "You're what?!" To which he pauses for a second and then replies, "Yup, I peed." He never has accidents, but I guess he realized there was no point in telling us he had to go, because he realized that we were stuck, and then he just couldn't hold it any more. Just to clarify, I double check, "You have to? Or you already did? In your pants?" "Um... yeah, in my pants." Great..... It was so matter of fact and so calm though, it was actually very funny. What was the poor kid supposed to do? We'd been sitting there for 30 minutes and he didn't see an end in sight.

My next favorite moment of the day was when we were sitting on a wall in main street waiting for the fireworks and I tried to convince Vinny to come out of his stroller and come up on the wall with us, but instead, he defiantly yells, "No!" then flings his body to move his stroller forward until he realizes he is like way out in the middle of the walkway by himself, so he turns around and yells, "Help me!" I was hysterically laughing as Marc hopped down off the wall to go wheel him back (and this time set the brake), and Vinny gives me this nasty look and says, "Don't LAUGH at me!" Hahahahaha. Funny kid.

Friday, June 11, 2010

To grade or not to grade...

Perhaps the better title is "To grade... or to sleep?"

I am SO, SO, SO tired. I had these fantastic intentions of having so much done and ready for next year by the time school ended this year, but it will be a triumph just to get my grades done. My students had two major assignments due between June 2 and June 7th, and while I have been trudging ever faithfully towards getting through them all... it has felt just like that- trudging.

I have enlisted help where possible. I have a smart and very kind friend that has been well-calibrated on my rubrics and expectations and who is always willing to read papers, and Marc was also willing to help do the math part of calculating grades and then entering them in my gradebook last night, so I haven't been alone in this feat, but I have somewhere in the range of 100 projects left to grade and 130 classwork packets from this week that they turned in today. Bleh...

So, I was planning on coming home tonight and sitting down to grade as many as possible. However, it has been a very long week, and I am tired. Last night, at around 12:45, I was sitting with my eyes closed, fingers on the keyboard, paper in my hand, honestly trying to figure out for a minute why I couldn't figure out what to enter in the gradebook, when I realized that my eyes were closed. I am so not even kidding- I really had that thought process last night. I was still setting myself up to do it tonight, but then when we got home from dinner at 8:45, I put on my pajamas and made the ultimate error or flopping onto my bed for a minute. Oohhhhh, my pillow felt SOOOOO goooooooooood. (Emphasis to show how I felt as my head nuzzled into the coziness of my down pillows).

I got up somehow and made my way in here, determined to get some done, but I can only think of my pillow. Yes, I do have the rest of the weekend, but we are taking Vinny to Disneyland tomorrow, and the idea of putting it all off until the last minute of Sunday afternoon is making me very stressed. I hate being under the wire like that. I think my compromise may be taking papers with me to Disneyland tomorrow. That may sound like insanity, but seriously... consider my logic.
1) There is so much time waiting in line. Although I will have company to talk to, I can multitask.
2) Even some of the rides Vinny is tall enough to go on and likes going on, I cannot go on due to being "an expectant mother." Considering we no longer have annual passes and this will probably the last trip until at least a while after the baby is born, I want Vinny to be able to ride his favorite rides like Matterhorn. (I was contemplating Pirates of the Caribbean, but Disney's website says it is okay. It says that Autopia, however, is not, so there is another one I will not be riding.) Vinny is also tall enough for Gadget's Go Coaster, which he hasn't gone on, but would probably want to, so there are three times that I will probably find myself sitting around waiting and I can grade some then. I only want to bring a few though, because I really don't want to carry them around.

So... as I sit here writing this and debating the thought in my head, I think bed is going to win.

On a side note, the IT at school put up a new firewall system or something and it blocked my blog. Really? I am amused. The amusement of working at an international school with a mostly Mexican population was the huge crowd of students packed into the auditorium to watch the 7:00 am World Cup game, Mexico vs. South Africa, on the big screen. It was further amusing when like 10% of the school population wandered in around 9:30 when the game was over.

Bleh... I am again reminded of how hard it is to be pregnant. At like 22 weeks pregnant, I took my drama kids to Universal Studios, and I managed just fine there. Being on my feet all day was not at all difficult. Of course, two days later, being on my feet all day again for a conference made me want to just fall over. Traveling to Houston last weekend was not terribly hard, although the walk to the mall right behind our hotel kind of kicked my butt, but that is partially because Brent walks so fast (normally, it wouldn't seem fast to me, since my mom is like crazy speed walker, but with me pregnant, it felt way fast). Then, after the long weekend, traveling back really wore me out. By the time I got through security and everything I was tired just wandering to a restaurant and it wasn't even that hard. On the shuttle bus on the way to the parking lot, I must have looked as tired as I felt, because it was crowded and I had to stand, and the woman standing next to me was like, "I cannot believe no one is giving up a seat for you." I kind of laughed, but then was like, "Geez, that would be nice."

I now also realized I never did my self-assessment, so I better do it right now and then go to bed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The combination of so many things I love....

What I wouldn't give to fly to New York, for just even like a weekend, before this baby is born, to see the American Idiot musical.

It is the combination of so many things I love...
- Musical Theater
- Rock Opera Musical Theater
- Green Day
- The two best Green Day albums
- The story of youth

It is kind of like a dream come true. I really, really, really want to see this play. The problem? Well, for starters, I am so not made of money and it would cost a whole heck of a lot of it. For instance, if just Marc and I went for a weekend in August, it would be about $200 for tickets (I would not be willing to get cheap tickets if I was going through all the effort to fly across the country for a show), $800 for airfare, and about $200 for a hotel. We really don't have $1200 to spend on a dream I want to fulfill... but gosh, how much would I love it.

In other travel news, I feel like I owe Vinny (okay, and myself) a trip to Arizona. He has been begging me all week to take him to see his cousin Hannah. After having his "sleepover" with Aunt Tricia last night, he told me today, "Mommy, I want to have a sleepover with Hannah!" Then he started begging, "Mommy, will you please take me? Please? Take me to Arizona to see Hannah!" There is a great benefit to making the effort to raise your child with a very close friendship with his cousin, despite being so far away. The negative... he is getting old enough to ask to travel out there. I have time off coming up. I just don't know if I have the money for the trip. We would normally drive (I have made the drive by myself, just me and Vinny, a few times now, and it really is not that bad. It gets better as he gets older), but I am very pregnant and don't think I could handle 8 hours in a car this summer, especially since there are stretches of 75 miles or so with no bathrooms. I have to pee like every 20 minutes. No way I could survive that drive. We would have to fly. It is $100 a ticket. $200 really is not that bad. I need to just find a way to make it work. When I am there, Tracy and I always find great cheap things to do, so it really will not be too expensive when I'm there- no more expensive than just doing things around here in July- so it really is just getting there. I was already wishing I could go, especially to meet my other cousin's new daughter who will be born by then, but when Vinny started in with the begging this week, it really started to get to me.

I really need to make very good friends with someone in the airline industry.

Monday, June 7, 2010

9 days of Hell

I felt like 9 days of Hell was an appropriate title for this post, because that is really how I feel about the next 9 days until the last day of school.

For starters... I mean that literally, as in, the air conditioning in my classroom is broken. It has been broken since Thursday, but today was just unbearable. I have no windows, and my room is in the interior of the building and gets really, really hot. I truly believe that they are doing everything that they can to fix it. When I texted my boss about it this morning, the maintenance guy was up right away, and he confirmed what I already knew... not a messed up setting or something like that... it was broken.Then, the plant manager came in and said he was up in the ceiling and it is making funny noises and something is definitely wrong, and he had called an air conditioner repair person to come fix it. By the end of second period, the repair person was there (I didn't see him, but I was told he was up there trying to fix it). I held parts of my classes outside and did the best I could, hoping it was gonna be fixed and kick on any second. After lunch, it was still just as hot, so I had deduced that obviously, like when this happened last year, parts or something must be needed, and I should probably be making arrangements for the rest of the day (and unfortunately, I would venture to hypothesize that it will probably be several more days that I will be doing this), because the thermostat was reading close to 90 degrees, and I just couldn't handle it. I contacted other teachers who were willing to let me use the room during their prep periods and I survived the day. It was such a hassle and put me so out of my element and we just lost so much time it was very frustrating (in addition to technical difficulties, bad sub report, etc.).

So, I have officially 9 days left of school to get through, and they are not just going to be physically like hell in there if the a/c doesn't get fixed, but they are going to have to be like hell here at home for me to get everything done in time. I have tons of grading to do, tons of "homework" from my side gig as part of the curriculum development team for our network of international schools (why I was in Houston this weekend), and I desperately need to get lesson plans for next year done if I don't want to be writing lesson plans all summer. BLEH....

Vinny went to sleepover with his Aunt Tricia tonight at my MILs house. He adores his Aunt Tricia and has been really, really looking forward to spending time with her, so I was happy to let him go, but I really miss him. I only got to see him for dinner tonight and now he is gone again. He might as well be with her since I have too much to do to be spending quality time with him and I know she is going to shower him with love and attention, but I miss him nonetheless.

9 more days...  9 more days...

Friday, June 4, 2010


So, I am feeling a little better about life in general today, so perhaps all I needed was a day to not be at work after a frustrating week (odd, considering I was only at school for three days).

I have such an amazing kid, and sometimes, just being reminded of what an amazing son I have is enough to change my perspective on life. (Now I just need something to remind me that my other 140 kids are pretty amazing too... they just aren't always up to showing it).

I have a great story to share about how Vinny cheered me up last night. So... he comes to me with a blue crayon and says, "Can I color on my face?"  I laughed under my breath but said yes and went on with what I was doing (busily putting away laundry). I mean, it is a crayon... what could he really do? (And I guess at least it shows something that he asked). He wandered around the house for a while then stood next to the mirror in my room still trying to color on his face and said, "This is hard." I replied, "That's because it is meant for paper, not faces." He walked out, and I assumed he had given up. I guess not, because he came back like this (look at his chin):

I ask, "Vinny, how did you do that?" He goes back into his room and comes out with a blue marker. Oh boy... hadn't remembered that he had access to those. They are just washable crayola markers, so it was no big deal, but just sort of humorous. Okay.... now why did he do that?  "Mommy, I'm a pirate! Arrrr!"  He was apparently making himself, "Blue Beard the Pirate."  Too, too funny.

Vinny started my day right today too, that's for sure. I got to sleep in a tiny bit (not too late- Vinny had to get to school), and I woke up to him sleeping by my side (he sleeps in his own bed but sometimes crawls in bed with us if he wakes up before we actually have to get up) looking so peaceful and wonderful. Then, on the way to school, he wanted to sing "You are My Sunshine" the whole way, but by himself- not mommy singing too. I used to sing him that song when he was a baby, so I was sort of touched that he knows and likes it. You know how little kids mix up the lyrics to songs?  Well, Vinny misunderstood the line, "You'll never know dear, how much I love you," and sang, "You are my mother, how much I love you."  My heart just melted... over and over again, the whole 40 minute drive to school.  :-)   He is my precious little angel and I love him so, so much! It is so very seldom (like once every few months) that I get to bring him to preschool that it was really a treat for me to do it. It is sometimes hard to kiss him goodbye (especially like today, knowing I was headed to the airport and would not see him for three days) and leave him in someone else's care for the day, but he was excited about the sea creature activity and excited about their field trip to McDonald's today, so it was not too bad. As much as I do not like that he spends so much time at preschool (long 10 or 11 hours days sometimes), it is nice knowing he is somewhere he will be safe and trustworthy... right?

Or so I thought. Until I was reminded of the hardest part of parenting... OTHER KIDS.  You can pick a great school for your kids; you can make sure your kid has the best teachers; you can filter what your kid sees and hearrs at home, and talk to teachers to be sure that their values are in line with yours or that they at least support yours in that matter; however, you cannot control your kid's friends. There will always be other kids, and they will have different parents with different values and different experiences, and those kids will go to school at your kid's great school and play on the playground with your kid. And you cannot control what those kids say or do. My very first day of working full time, back in 2008, I was reminded of that when my son's preschool director called me in the middle of his first full day back (he had attended the school half days while I student taught the semester before) to tell me that he had been bit on the face by another child on the playground. The director did the best she could, calming me down and telling me that it didn't actually break the skin but was pretty bad, and that the other student was going to be expelled from the preschool. I didn't make a big deal out of it, and I held my composure when I picked him up and saw the giant purple welt and teeth marks on Vinny's soft little cheek. It was a reminder that this element will always be out of my control.

Then again today...  after talking to Vinny on the phone and hearing that he had a great day at school, I was happy to hear about his great day at school and fun trip to McDonald's, although a little confused as to why he was calling the green crown he made at school a mask- he knows what a crown is- until a few hours later, Marc calls me and tells me that he was referring to it as that because another student at school called it that and said he was going to be a very bad character from a very rated R horror movie, that Vinny now seems to know a lot about and wants to copy cat, because it is an older kid whom Vinny looks up to. Ugh.

I am a very relaxed, liberal parent. I took my kid to see the movie Babies and was annoyed when other people in the theater were giving me strange looks because of the nudity. Whatever... they are just naked bodies. I let Vinny watch the Disney Pirates of the Carribbean movies, and I am totally okay with him wanting to be Jack Sparrow. I'm even going to let him have a Jack Sparrow birthday cake this year... but my kid equating this awful horror movie character to his beloved pirates... not okay. I really do not shelter my son much, and I will probably let him watch rated R movies when he is just a little older, but right now, I know he is far too young to understand the difference between fantasy "bad guys" like Captain Hook and Lord Farquad and the real bad guys, who murder and kill. It is okay to pretend to be Captain Hook, but it is not okay to pretend to be a serial killer...  but he really is too young to understand this, yet now this is a difference that, because my son has friends, we as parents have to try to get him to understand, far before it is time.

This is the part of parenting that stinks so bad... you get this false sense of security from all the precautious measure you take for your child, but realistically, there are so many variables (and so much evil) in this world. All you can do is be the best parent you can be, pray for God's protection and guidance, be ready to meet these challenges head on when they come, and trust that God, in his omniscience and goodness will be the ultimate Father for my child in His protection.

Ahhh.... parenthood.

Believe it or not, despite the phone call and said issue above, a day of just traveling and whatnot has actually gotten me relaxed and recharged enough that I am actually looking forward to meeting with these other English teachers tomorrow. What teacher wouldn't be excited about spending two days examining the best of the best projects from the best of the best English teachers at some of the best of the best international schools in the United States? For now, since what I really want to do is go in the beautiful spa that is just below my window, but I probably shouldn't do that... what I am going to do is take a nice bath in the wonderfully big and comfy looking bathtub in my hotel room. As much as I miss my family, there are some perks to traveling... like having a King size bed and tons of pillows all to myself without Marc to complain that my pregnancy comfort pillows are taking up too much space.  ;-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the past 6 months, I don't know that I have felt more like crying than I do right now

Perhaps I am having a teaching mid-life crisis.... or not. Especially because suggesting that this is a mid-life crisis for a teaching career would mean that I am halfway through teaching, and I most certainly am not. I would like to think that I am barely at the dawn of my teaching career, but I don't know how else to describe how I am feeling right now.

At the end of the year last year, I felt so incredibly hopeful and like I had accomplished so incredibly much, like the students had grown so much and learned so much, but this year, I feel like the students have just gotten lazier and lazier. How did this happen?  How have I failed so incredibly at preparing them for college, at least as work habits go? I don't want to go into the details of the latest failure, but honestly... I just feel like crying. How could they be SO irresponsible and seem to care so very little when I care so very much?

I just want so badly to believe that if I care enough, they will care that much back, and it is not working that way, and I am finding it very, very difficult to deal with.

I also got observed for my performance review today, and it was totally not a good day for it. At my school, I get a bonus for doing well on my performance reviews, and I am really, really counting on having that money to save for maternity leave. I feel like I am normally a consistently good teacher- like any day that any one wanders in to my classroom they are bound to see something good- but this unit has just crashed and burned around me for so many reasons that were out of my control. Plus, then on top of everything, I had two very critical talks with two different administrators within 30 minutes after school. One was constructive criticism that I totally deserved and probably needed to hear, but the other one was just, sort of unfair nitpicking and the person's tone didn't really help either. I tried so hard to go in there with so much positivity and such a good attitude, despite everything that happened today, but I really felt like crying when I walked out.

And now, I need to pack to head to Houston for an educator's meeting that I am actually really looking forward to, but my head is not in the right place right now. I love meeting with other brilliant English teachers, and this one will really be the best of the best, and I am hoping that I can pull my head into the right frame of mind to want to do this and be positive. I have to... I really have to. At least I will be able to sleep in tomorrow because my flight isn't until noon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Confessions about My Life at the Present....
(Things you may not know about me.... and probably never wanted to)

  1. I love directing, but I really, really, really miss acting. I  am sometimes secretly bitter that my life as wife, mom, and teacher keeps me from acting.
  2. I have no fear of public speaking, but I get incredibly nervous about auditions. Sometimes I think saying my life is too busy to act, or that I am too pregnant to act, or whatever my reason may be at any given time,  are really just excuses so that I don't have to think about auditioning, because it hurts so bad when I don't get it. 
  3. I secretly love to watch trashy, poorly directed, poorly written, teenager-focused shows like Secret Life of the American Teenager. 
  4. I often (like weekly) wish I had grown up in the America of the 1960s. I feel like I was meant to be a flowy-skirt-wearing, flower flinging, guitar playing, hitchhiking-across-the-country, child of the free love era.
  5. When I saw the Passion Play, I was deeply touched by the song "Where Hope is Still Alive," and then sinfully envious of the fact that I could never, with any amount of training, sing like that. 
  6. I have a possibly unhealthy obsession with the beach and all things beach related, particularly beach-style clothing like sundresses and flip flops. I even convinced my committee at school today to do a beach theme for the summer retreat (3 days of professional development when we return for the Fall semester). Yup- that was my idea. My motivation was sort of just to have an excuse to wear flip flops and a sundress to work that week, and sort of to just keep thinking about the beach. What can I say? The sand, sun, and waves release endorphins in my soul like nothing else. It is somewhat spiritual, somewhat... well... erotic.
  7. I find great joy in thinking about how popular my husband was in high school... especially with the ladies. I mean honestly, I think like every girl that knew him in high school either dated him or wished she did. It doesn't even matter that I wasn't popular. I really find a great amount of pleasure in thinking that I won this prize of a husband.... Seriously, how did I pull that off?
  8. It took me a long time to get over that Vinny's desire to having nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for lunch because I hate peanut butter so much that I hate making the sandwiches because I fear he thought of getting peanut butter on my fingers. 
  9. I am a little bit of an insomniac, and I hate having dreams. I know everybody has them, but I hate when they are memorable at all. Even if they aren't bad, they are usually weird, and I hate them. 
  10. I've always known I was a slightly nutty kid, but I never knew what was wrong with me. Several years ago, I accidentally came across some information about sensory processing disorders and realized that I have tactile defensiveness. It was oddly eye opening to discover. Everything I find on the internet about it is about children, because much of it gets outgrown, and I will admit I outgrew a lot of it, but I still have trouble with a lot of clothing and other weird stuff like blankets and bedsheets. I can only wear t-shirts if they are at least a couple sizes too big. I often feel like there is no one at all who understands what it is like to be me because even just putting on certain clothes makes me feel like I am going to just jump out of my skin.

Summer cannot come fast enough...

If the purpose of making Memorial Day a 4 day weekend (my school had Friday off too) was to rejuvenate teachers and students and give us the strength to go on for the next three weeks until the end of school, I am sad to say that it really did not work, at least for me.

Instead, it gave me just a taste of what I love so much about summer.... sun, sand, and sleep. Like a correctly portioned appetizer awakens your palate and reminds you how hungry you are, this past weekend has made me want nothing more than for it to be June 18th already. I want to sleep in, spend time with my son, and trek down to Malibu to sit happily by the shore , and now I am just hungrier for it than ever.

The only way I am keeping myself going right now is by thinking of how few days are left, and trying to live not in the moment, but in next year... reminding myself that the harder I work at getting next year set right now, the less work I will have to do during the summer. Except, when I think about getting it all done, I just think, "Ugh... it is so much WORK!"