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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Highs and Lows

Parenting, and well, life, has such highs and lows and this week has been no exception. I have the rest of this week and next week left, and then I go back to work for the second semester. This is the real thing. When I went back in December, it was only a few weeks (since winter break was coming)... kind of like a trial run. Now I have to go back for real and send Tiana to day care for very long days. I am sad about this. In addition, I really wanted to accomplish A LOT more work on this break, and I didn't get as much done as I need to yet, and I don't feel like working right now.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, in more ways than one. It was wonderfully warm and sunny, and I took the kids to the beach with a good friend. It was nice to have time with a friend. It was nice for Vinny to play with one of his favorite friends. Tiana loves the beach and the sun and the warmth. She just basks like a lizard.

It got me really excited thinking about summer and warmer weather and how nice it is to live in Southern California. This year, I really want to try to waste less days sitting at home or mindlessly running errands around town and spend as much of my free time out in the beauty that is this wonderful state.

The evening was just as nice. My mom came over, and she is like my best friend, so that is always fantastic. I decide to invite her to stay for dinner, so I called my dad too and he came over too. I love my parents so much. I enjoy being with them a lot, and I had a delicious dinner in mind. Good food is always better when you have more people to share it with. So, Marc and Vinny and Tiana and I had dinner with my parents, and it was as good as I hoped it would be. I made homemade bruschetta, new york strip steak, fresh grilled green beans, and blue bayou potatoes (like at Disneyland). I tried to copy this bruschetta recipe we had at a restaurant in Scottsdale on our anniversary. I was relatively successful, and it was absolutely delicious. We had it on bread, like the traditional appetizer, and also as a topping on the steak. DELICIOUS!

I thought it was just a perfect day, but then it ended really sourly. Vinny got annoyed at something- I don't know what- and he dropped a toy truck on Tiana's face... quite intentionally. When I asked him why, he told me, "Because I wanted to." I was shocked. In the 4 months she has been alive, he has never done anything intentionally mean to her. I was horrified. This morning, he felt like talking about it, and he told me it was because "You were being too loud." I think what he really meant is that he was upset I was talking on the phone instead of talking to him. Considering I give him plenty of attention, particularly over the past 3 days, I don't know why he would react like that. It is like Vinny lashes out if I am not paying attention to him and Tiana cries constantly if I try to put her down or do something else. Both my kids want 100% of my attention 100% of the time. It is exhausting. I need some time for me too.

Tiana had a dr.'s appointment this morning, and she got three vaccinations, which she later had a bad reaction to. Her leg swelled and she got a fever and cried uncontrollably for like 2 hours. It was awful. She finally calmed down when the Tylenol really kicked in, but it was an awful afternoon. I had a meeting today that I thought was going to be encouraging, but was actually sort of discouraging, and I although I am trying not to let it get to me, it is.

I had planned a fundraiser for my students today too- 4 students were supposed to go to a show taping (we get paid for being a studio audience) and one of the student's parents was going to drive. I drove down to school to meet them and send them off, take care of the permission slips and paper work and whatnot, and when I got there, 2 of the kids were there, but most importantly, we were missing the one whose father was supposed to drive.  I finally called her, and she sounded like she forgot and then told me her dad was out of town, something unexpected came up. Ugh. I had no back-up plan, so I had to call the audience coordinator and cancel. They make a really big deal about cancellations. I had a really big one planned for March, and she told me that their normal policy is that you get completely banned after one no-show. Since we have a history of reliability, she said her boss will probably let us continue to do tapings, but she wants to cut my big one for March in half, and I will need to do a free one (meaning we go, but they don't pay us) with at least 5 people before then. There are only so many shows that meet the age group of my students (most of the tapings are for 18+), so this is really going to be a challenge. It is really discouraging. You work so hard to build something up and then have it cut down so easily. We really need this fundraising money to keep our program going, especially if I want to take a group to Broadway next winter.

I was trying to still stay in a good mood in spite of it all, especially since we have Bible study on Tuesday nights and I really love that time of the week. I made a nice dinner- bruschetta chicken pasta (inspired by the Friday's dish, but frankly, I think mine is better), to use the rest of the bruschetta, and mini pesto french bread pizzas. It was again a delicious meal. After dinner, we cleaned the house in preparation for our Bible study, but for the second week in a row, only one person showed up. They do all have genuine stuff going on (heck, one has been in the hospital for the majority of the past week), so I understand, but it was discouraging nonetheless. This always seems to happen to us in small group Bible studies.

For dessert, at least I got to have a delicious cookies and cream cupcake that Marc picked up for me yesterday. I don't know if I enjoyed it so much because it really was tasty, or if it just tasted better because of the sweet fact that my husband picked out something I love and brought it home for me, or because food is just so soothing to the aching soul, but either way, I enjoyed it very much.

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and months, exciting potential opportunities, family gettogethers, etc. My sister is due with a baby that should arrive any day now, so for the first time, I'm going to get to be an aunt. I am excited about the stuff I have planned for my students in the Spring. A majority of the 2nd semester is going to be focused on the Holocaust, which sounds depressing, but it isn't because it is exciting to see the major impact it makes on the students' lives as they study it. Then, we will end the semester with studying the Slumdog Millionaire scripts that the screenwriter actually purchased for us. How exciting is that!

See... this is why I continue to write in this blog, even if only a few people read it on a regular basis. Because it is cathartic. It's nice to feel like someone cares. Dear readers, I PROMISE, I will not write again until I have only upbeat things to say.


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