Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Last "Woe is Sick Me" Post, I Promise

My throat is much much better!

Unfortunately, my voice is still very rough and I'm still fighting the cough. I do mean that, fighting. This morning I had a big coughing fit while still in bed, in which I flailed around like a fish out of water, trying to breathe but coughing more instead. Later in the morning, I had an even worse fit, while kids were coming into my room, no less, and I had to run to the bathroom to cough and gag and spit. The rest of the day I've been clenching to avoid the fits. While this is noticeably improving my abs (no joke)(helped by the fact that I've hardly eaten for four days), it has given me a bad old headache. My EYEBALLS hurt. A lot.

I've been pretty tired, too. Yesterday on one of my preps, I had to take a nap after knitting for like ten minutes. A NAP. From KNITTING.

On a positive note, the Herd entered very quietly and industriously got to work. They did so well that they finished early and we had a few minutes to play trivia. Good job, kids! [And yes, I told them that. :)]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

from glass shards to sandpaper

I suppose that's technically an improvement, but it doesn't feel like much of one.

I did go to school today. Partly because my throat was infinitessimally (I had to look that word up!) less bad, partly out of guilt (I've only been out for two days in a row and that was two years ago for my master's graduation and long weekend), and partly out of boredom. Laying around in bed for two days straight is terribly dull, my friends. It sounds like it should be relaxing, but man, it is not. Mostly because I had no energy to do anything other than lie there or slowly walk to the computer. Blah.

So anyway, I survived the day today, even incorporating my illness into class: the warm up task was to say "my throat hurts" with f!gurative language. Clever, right? The kids were nice (which really, they are anyway) and concerned when they noticed I was sick. Isn't that cute? I couldn't talk very loudly but they were quiet and (mostly) attentive just like any other day. My throat still hurts and I'm still trying not to cough (because it hurts), but it would appear that I am 'improving', at least in baby steps.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Ugh. Sick.

Really gross coughing and hacking going on with even shallow breathing. I'm gonna have rock-hard abs from all the contracting while trying not to cough up phlegm. Nose dripping and also congested. Throat feels like glass shards. Not hungry and hot beverages haven't done much to soothe.


Home today to rest. Good thing because even laying down for hours yesterday and this morning, I'm still weak and feeling awful.

I know this is just a regular cold, but I don't get sick too often (which surprises people who hear what I eat and don't eat), so I'm allowing myself to wallow anyway. God.

Think good thoughts for me because right now I can't imagine how miserable I'll be tomorrow back at school. Oh, the joys of teaching!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Not Right

Last Thursday I forgot to put on any eye makeup before school.

Yesterday I think I forgot deodorant.

This morning, I forgot to plug in my ipod when I got in the car.

(For those of you who need a translation, this is like me forgetting to, I don't know, breathe. Or put clothes on. Which actually, ah, never mind. The point is--shocking!)

What the hell is wrong with me?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Summer Blues

Last summer I traveled to Australia with two other adults, chaperoning 27 middle school students. It was an amazing adventure, I did new things that I am still proud of (giant swing! milking a cow! wearing authentic rodeo cowboy gear! snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, for crying out loud!), I completely fell in love with the country.

However. (Isn't there always a however?)

It was not all sunshine and roses. Besides the learning and the fun and the beauty, there were the people. Now, the Australians were just as friendly and witty as you've heard; I loved talking to all of them, and not just because of their lovely accent. But the part where our group was walking around together, or standing and waiting, or riding in the bus for hours at a time (I believe we covered 1800 miles in the Queensland Outback loop alone, in eight or nine days' time). That was the part that sucked.

The other two leaders were nice enough women. I just didn't fit in, at all. There was no room for me. The main leader is very opinionated, loud, overly animated, gregarious and a bit self-centered. She's always talking, mostly about things she's done or seen or whatever. The other leader is much quieter and calmer, often napping during down time. The two of them were rather chummy, chatting a lot and having plenty in common.

I've never been a good small-talker, and there's just no way to fill all those hours with meaningful discussion. And I learned very early on there was just no need for me to talk. The one woman would just go on without any response from her audience, and the other, like I said, dozed often. So I sat and read, or stared out the window. The loud woman insisted that no one use their ipods, which I found ridiculous. The kids had plenty of time and interest in hanging out with and talking to each other. So I finally began sneaking music, because I just couldn't stand it. Sometimes there was loud music played on the bus that I desperately wanted to drown out, sometimes there were voices and snoring I desperately needed to not hear, and many times I just needed something for myself.

It was really sad and pathetic that I've never felt more isolated or not myself when surrounded by thirty other people at all times.

The preparations for this summer's trip are beginning, and I'm dreading it in so many ways. The leaders are the same (which means the same people dynamics, as well as that every other place we stay, I won't sleep well due to snoring), the food situation will be extremely difficult for me, and I will again have to shut down my personality for three weeks. I feel like this whole thing is just not a good idea for me this year. But I don't know how to back out. I don't know which is a bigger sacrifice--not seeing a beautiful new country or not enjoying myself while I'm there.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Because I'm not a "writer"

Things I did not like about this week:

--The stupid test

--The administration doing many, many stupid and annoying things

--My knee twinging more than I'd like

--I think I've had a headache every day this week

--I still haven't read my photography books

--Or signed up for the photography course I want to take

Things I did like about this week:

--I made a cake! From a box, and I had to buy eggs for the very first time ever, but still, it's the only time I've ever baked or cooked anything for real. And oh, it is tasty.

--My kids got through the test okay

--My Gray Bunnies liking the breathing/stretching exercises I led them in before the test each day

--The test is over!!

--I've gotten lots done with the book room (not in the book room; rather, getting things in and out)

--The kids have been very eager and helpful with the book room (yay, nice kids!)

--I think one of my department colleagues is a kindred spirit, which is a relief considering I don't much respect the rest of them

--My Stupid Toe is now officially a Normal Toe! No Pain! Whee!

--Which has helped me be able to work out FOUR times this week! (which sadly is leading to the knee twinging, but this list is about happy! four! woo!)

--Feeling proud that I'm getting into a workout routine (ie, I was looking forward to exercise all afternoon on Tuesday!) (this is someting I've been working on for the entire four years of NY living, so wish me luck and endurance and a happy knee)

--The kids are still so excited about the National Geographics, and they are even excited about the research brochure project we're doing based on the magazines

--I have my whole next week and a half planned out

--My scarf is coming along really well--exactly 32 inches right now!

--The week is now over!!

--We get an extra day of rest! Hallelujah!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Well, the first of them, anyway.

Think good thoughts for my babies; I'll do the same for yours!

Countdown to academic freedom: Three days.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Knitting Club!

Come join us for an afternoon of knitting, crocheting, and fun!

Saturday, January 26
Common Ground
3pm til whenever

You'll know who we are because we'll be the ones with big shiny needles in our hands. :)

Big Boats in the City

That is a Big Boat.

The Queen Victoria

Hold Fast
Queen Elizabeth 2, and Queen Victoria. There's a third--Queen Mary? somewhere too.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Praise Be!

O thank ye, Internet gods--flickr is finally back up!

I used the time to try learning some new things (cast-on and purl stitch, attempted crochet), and of course write that post below, which I've been meaning to write for oh, a month now. Also, I got more done on my scarf. Which technically is actually a scarf now, it's long enough to fit around my neck! It officially measures 18 1/2 inches right now. I started it last Saturday, so I feel proud and confident that I will actually follow through and finish it! Wish me luck and speedy fingers!


There's this girl. I can't even say "there's a girl in one of my classes," because, well, you'll see.

M came to school on the first day of school like everyone else, and she came the day after that. Then she disappeared.

Until one day in late October. She started to walk into the room, cheerily saying, "Hi, Miss!" I said, "And who are you?" She responded, "I'm M, I'm in your class!" All happy like.

I responded in a rather irritated/shocked manner. I said, "Excuse me? What do you mean being gone for over a month and then just waltzing into my room? Where have you been?"

Her reply: "Um, I got sick."

"Then where's your doctor's note? You must have been really ill--what happened?"

"I don't have a note, I was just in bed."

I just shook my head and sent her in the room.

She was there for two, maybe three days, she was on task, did the work very well.

Then she disappeared again.

The first week of December, she comes back. With a note.

This is what it says:

To whom it may concern

My daughter was absent for 3 months because she caught a cold from her window being open, you see she gets sick easily because she forgets to close her window. But now shes going to start going to school everyday. Please give her the work shes missed. Thank you

Errors and all--but worse, it's M's handwriting, not an adult's. Also complete and utter bullshit. Lies and excuses and other bad things. The whole thing is literally unbelievable to me. Is the girl extremely manipulative? Is she tricking her mom or dad into letting her stay home? Are the parents abusing her in some way? Are they keeping her home for some reason? I really don't know. The guidance counselor and I talked about her a couple times, both of us shocked and dismayed by the girl's absence and ridiculous "note." She mentioned something about a court case, so they've started the process of calling the parents on educational neglect. But jesus! How is this possible? How are they getting away with this, whether it's the girl or the parents? I don't understand. She's smart, she catches on right away, she seems nice enough--she should be an excellent student.

After class that day in December, I asked her how often we were going to see her. "Every day!" she promised. "I hope so," I replied," because you need to be here every day in order to learn and do well." "I know, Miss."

She was there for one more day, and we haven't seen her again.

It's nearly halfway through the school year, and this girl has been in school SIX DAYS. SIX DAYS!

Who's leaving who behind here?

Friday, January 11, 2008

A little nachtgraf

That's supposed to be "night graph." I was being clever, hush.

Here is a table of how much sleep I've gotten in the last two weeks:

12/30, Saturday night (returning to NYC from Seattle): Eleven hours
Sunday: Ten
Monday: Nineish
Tuesday: NONE. ZERO.
Wednesday: Five
Thursday: Eight
Friday: Ten!
Saturday: Ten!
Sunday: ZIP. NADA.
Monday: Eightish (chemically induced)
Tuesday: Six (chemically induced)
Wednesday: Nine
Thursday: THREE

Do you see anything wrong with this?!

I'm sure you can infer how glad I am that it's the weekend. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Look what I did!

This week is kind of sucking, but the weekend was fantastic. First, on Friday we watched Once. Jen had recommended it a couple times and it sounded like our kind of movie. It certainly was. The music was beautiful and I've been listening to it nonstop this week.

On Saturday, I had the excellent fortune to meet up with two awesome, friendly, talented flickrfriends. We had a full day Saturday and half day Sunday--highlights included exploring the Met, knitting away the afternoon in an Irish pub, and jumping like maniacs in Central Park.

I was initially a bit worried and insecure--that they'd pity-invited me, that they'd out photograph me with their gorgeous DSLRs, that they wouldn't like me, etc etc. But they appeared to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed theirs, which was a little surprising but relieving. :)

So yeah, Minty taught me to knit this weekend! Technically, in eighth grade yearbook the advisor taught some of us to either crochet or knit, and we played with that for a couple weeks, and then a couple years ago I received several learn-to-knit kits and tried to learn from the books. I gave up pretty soon though, so I was eager to learn again for real, from an actual person.

I've been feeling like I'm lacking lately, namely hobbies and creativity. That may sound silly, since I'm so obsessive with the camera, but really, I just dink around with my pretendly-fancy camera. I haven't had any great ideas lately, I haven't made much of an effort to find good ideas, I've felt dwarfed by the ridiculous talent on flickr. I have so much free time and I do nothing with it.

So, several things: one, I have promised myself to take a photography class. I think I'm going to register for one at my local CUNY college because it's the only one I've found under $300. It starts in mid-February, and I hope to learn some more about the basics of photography and get some professional feedback.

Two, the knitting thing! Saturday, we stopped at Purl, a knitting store in SoHo, where I bought three skeins of charcoal yarn, with the aim of making them into a scarf that will go with my red coat. Then at Fiddlesticks, Minty patiently taught me to cast on and begin knitting (just the knit stitch though, one thing at a time!) and Maggie encouraged me when I felt clumsy and silly.

It's been a couple days now, and I'm definitely getting better. It's going smoother and faster, and the scarf is now officially oblong! I'm finding it very soothing and hypnotic to just sit and knit. Last night I sat on my bed and half-watched some old tv while knitting, and today during one of my preps I knitted. My rows are uneven because I don't know yet how to regulate the pressure and tightness of the stitches, but I love fingering the texture of the knitted part. I made something! With my own hands!

I hope to have a finished scarf by oh, December, if I'm lucky. :)

Naturally, the blog should be another creative challenge/outlet, but like I said, I've been feeling so uninspired and rather untalented. This past year I realized how juvenile and unpolished this blog is. I'm sure I could work on that....but I've been doing this silly thing for, hm, seven years now? Not much hope, I think. Bleh.

Oh wait, I was thinking about something else....oh yeah, exercise! For at least the last six months I've been trying to get myself back on a regular routine with that. The first two weeks of 2008, I'm proud to say, I've worked out a lot! Three times last week plus all the walking and jumping over the weekend. Monday night I had a great bodyflow workout. I wanted to do some more strenuous work, but my Stupid Toe is re-rearing its Stupid head. (The Stupid Knee is doing pretty well, though!) After a doctor visit this afternoon I should be better. I really do like feeling active and in shape and muscular. In December, I'd thought about joining a gym for cheap after the new year, but I have tapes and DVDs and a fitness channel; I can't reconcile spending money on something I can do for free. So we'll see how it goes. Wish me and my squeaky bones luck and fitness!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ringing in the first week of the new year

Most importantly, that it's almost over. Phew!

The night before last I didn't sleep, and last night I slept maybe half the night, so getting through today was rather tough. I'm hoping my brain will finally shut its stupid yap enough to let me rest a full night tonight.

Along with every other teacher, I was sort of dreading the return to school life. Who really wants to start getting up and acting like an adult again? Not me, that's for sure.

Happily, though, it's gone well. I was pleasantly surprised that yesterday the kids were not insane and ready to learn. Or at least review. (EIGHT DAYS AND COUNTING, PEOPLE!) And guess what, I finished grading the written tests from December's post-test, and nearly all the kids improved! I was so relieved, and surprised, and a little thrilled. The kids were too.

I've been grilling them this week about being specific versus vague. (Which is interesting, because none of them knew what 'vague' meant and most of them can't pronounce 'specific.')(Obviously, now they do and they can!) Next week we'll be taking one more practice writing test and I hope they will use that to do even better.


This weekend I get to meet up with two awesome flickr friends! Very excited!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Happy new year and all that jazz!

I would post about resolutions and going back to work tomorrow and other exciting things, but I'm in denial, so there.