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.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Goodbye February

I feel like I should have all sorts of interesting things to say, but I don't really.  As usual, I just have some amusing reflections.

Tiana is so... Tiana. Most strong-willed kid ever. It's funny, we sort of let Vinny name her after the Disney Princess Tiana, because we were toying with the name "Giana" (I wanted something nice and Italian to match Vinny), but he kept saying, "No, Princess Tiana."   Besides that, I kept getting irritated at the fact that it is rising in popularity and that everyone I would say the name to would say, "Oh, I have a (cousin, niece, goddaughter, etc.) named Giana, and we call her 'Gigi.' "  I dislike the nickname Gigi profusely.  I dislike it for numerous reasons. For starters, I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but it sounds a little bit like a phony name that an exotic dancer might use.  Second of all, when Vinny and his cousin were born and became the first great-grandchildren on my dad's side of the family, his mom thought it would be soooo cute to have them call her "G.G" for "great-grandma."  I was not a fan of this concept.  I didn't like it because, before they died when I was a teenager, I called both my great-grandmothers just "grandma" like my mom and dad did, and I always called my dad's mom "Grandma," and I wasn't about to start calling her "G.G" at that point. It just felt weird. Neither of the kids latched on to it (they both just call her grandma), and she was not happy. I think she still signs Christmas cards "G.G" Whatever... but I certainly wasn't gonna let my daughter be called Gigi. Giana had to go.

      I was washing my hands in the bathroom at prom the spring before she was born and one of the students asked me, "Does she have a name yet?" I said, "We think it's going to be 'Giana," and she misheard because of the water running and said, "Tiana?  That's a beautiful name!" I mentally gave in at that moment. "Yeah... it is," I replied. From that moment on, she was Tiana. And so very much like the movie character she truly is.  My mom and I were talking about little strong-willed Tiana last night and I said, "She is going to be one determined woman. She will be able to get whatever she wants in life."  For now, however, she is just an incredibly determined two year old, which means that, if she doesn't want to get dressed, and you are the one attempting to dress her... heaven help you.

The yellow is last year, the green is this year. 
      Last week I was feeling rather disappointed in myself in the fact that we have spent above our budget in almost every category.  I set very strict budgets this year that would allow us to really truly only spend what we earn, and we didn't quite make it this month. We didn't go further into debt either, but I was not pleased at our spending... until I clicked the button on that allows you to see a comparison to the same month the prior year.  We have actually spent less this month than we did in every area last year.  That is what comes from at least having a strict budget, I suppose. The most significant difference was in shopping. We basically haven't shopped. We essentially barter for everything we need - although not directly. If we need something material, we sell something used of ours, then we take that money, and buy whatever we need used. Its a wonderful advantage over traditional consumerism. While we may not have stayed under budget this month, we did improve, and for that, I am pleased.

      There are all sorts of exciting things happening on my career-educational front these days, but I'm not even really ready to process them all yet. My happiness action research project is, so far, appearing to actually have really worked... as far as the data I have analyzed at this point suggests. I still need to look at the actual correlation in chart form to see if there really is a trend, but I am optimistic.  I am also applying to speak at an educator's conference, which is both an item on my buried list and an assignment for school. I am excited about the potential of getting accepted, even if it is a crazy last minute shot, since the applications are due Monday.  Yikes.  (And I'm blogging instead of writing a proposal... right?)

Vinny and I went exploring last Sunday.  It was a lot of fun spending quality time with him out in nature.  He is growing up to be an interesting young man. I'm glad I got these pictures of him when I did.  His long hair can get kind of messy, but when it is brushed to the side just above his eyes, I think it's adorable. Unfortunately, he decided definitively this week that he was done with long hair. Yesterday, my mom took him to get it cut.

 This weekend I feel kind of bad because Vinny wants to have some sort of adventure, but it just isn't in that cards.  I have grades due on Tuesday and that proposal due on Monday, and the whole thing is just too overwhelming to try to plan some big excursion this weekend.  Oh well... maybe next weekend.


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