Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tales From the Classroom #5: I'm So Stupid!

Last week in class we read one of my favorite stories from our reading text. It is called Officer Buckle and Gloria. Officer Buckle and his dog Gloria go around to different school teaching kids safety tips. One of the tips in that book is to never stand on a swivel chair. I should have paid attention!

Today, after the kidlets went home, I decided that one of my bulletin boards needed some work. In front of my bulletin board was an easel. I was too LAZY to move the stupid easel so I figured that I could just put a chair up next to the easel and staple stuff up on the board. Well, I was able to staple. I wasn't able to get down that easily. I fell off of my chair and crashed on the floor. I am not really sure how I fell, I just know that I landed on my ankle. I was able to get up after about a minute. I was also able to walk so I left the room, went to pick up Sabi and drove home. My foot was kind of sore but I thought it would be ok. I dropped Sabina off at home and went on to my Eye Dr. appt. When I came home from the eye Dr. appt, I looked at my foot. It was swollen and hurt like the devil. I called the Kaiser hotline and was advised to come in for an appt. After some x-rays and a long wait, I have nothing more than a swollen, and bruised foot that hurts pretty badly. I was advised to either soak my foot in ice and water or wrap an ACE bandage with frozen peas underneath around my foot. I just finished trying out the ice and water - I didn't think it would be too bad. Let me tell you - that crap hurt like heck! I don't think that I will ever be able to feel my toes again! I hobbled to the tub to toss out the ice water got the peas out of the freezer.

What a stupid klutz I am! I should have listened when we read that book! It wasn't a swivel chair but I should have been safer!

Tales From the Classroom #4: Second Grade Wisdom

When discussing Chinese New Year's...

Student: Ms. V, I basically know just about everything there is to know about China and Chinese New Year.

Me: Really, and why is that?

Student: 'Cause me and my cousin, we go to the Chinese restaurant like every Saturday and we learn it all from the placemats!

Monday, January 30, 2006

100th Day of School

Our 100th day of school will be on Friday. For all of you non-teachers out there, the 100th day of school is BIG STUFF! We have been counting down (or up!) to the 100th day since the first day of school. I usually have a little celebration and activity for the 100th day of school.

Calling all Teacher readers of this blog:
This year I want to do something new. I am tired of all of my old 100th day activities. Please e-mail me or leave a comment for me with your 100 th day activities that you do with your students.


Sunday, January 29, 2006


Saturday Morning:

The Workshop:
There were 28 teachers in attendance. They all had 5 or less years of teaching under their belt. However, half of the teachers were older than me as this is their second profession.

I presented with a friend of mine from school. We are a pretty good team. We basically just went back and forth and worked together to present all of the required material. The last part of the day was the toughest because of the subject matter: Transgender and sexual preference issues and how they relate to the classroom. This portion of the workshop was to remind teachers that despite our personal opinions, we need to remember to be pro-student and not allow harassment or discrimination of any kind, racism, sexism, sexual preference etc in the classroom -either by teachers or students. This stirred a few people up. I got through it though with no scars!

Spin Dating:
I went to the Public Library to give Spin Dating a whirl in the evening. It was a very interesting concept. The library was transformed into a cute little cafe. There were several square tables staggered throughout the library. On the tables were candles and several books on dating held together in cute little bookends. Soft music was playing in the background. The women were seated at individual tables. The men rotated from table to table each 6 minutes. Each person had a spinner. As the men rotated through you could mark yes or no if you were interested in them. At the end of the night, if both parties said yes, an e-mail will be sent notifying both parties. It was a very safe and comfortable set up.

The down side:
1) Way more women than men. (I should have expected that)
2) The men were all at least 10 -15 years older than me.
(So not interested in that!)
3) Not one of these men looked like someone I would be interested in.
(I know - that sounds SO shallow)
4) After talking to all 8 men that rotated through, I know that they definitely are not people I would hope to ever run into again!
(Some were down right scary)

I am so not doing that again!

Late Saturday Night:
The best part of the day happened after the Spin Dating. I came home. Sat at the computer for a while and then jumped into bed and watched some tv. I haven't done that in a while. I enjoyed watching some reruns of Monk and Project Runway - 2 of my favorites. That was definitely the best way to wrap up that LONG, tiring day

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Shades of Gray

My hair is turning gray.

I have actually spotted a few strands here and there for the past few years. Nothing serious - I plucked them out right away!

I knew there was a problem though when Sabina leaned over to look at my head during dinner one night and yelled out in a loud voice "Oh no - Mommy - You have gray hair!" (I forgot to mention that we were dining out, in public!)

Since then, I have spotted more of these silvery friends on my head. I have given up on trying to pluck them. I have been trying to ignore them and pretend like they don't exist. Now I am wondering what I should do. Should I:

A) Dye my hair
B) Get a perm - If it is extra curly, maybe you won't see it
C) Suck it up and accept it.

I have been seriously considering option A but I think I am going to probably end up doing option C.

Aging is going to take some getting used to. I am going to try and put up a fight though - let's see who wins...

Friday, January 27, 2006


Tomorrow I am leading a workshop for new teachers. I started getting a bad case of nerves last night. I know that it is just dumb to get nervous but I am anyway. I can't wait for Saturday at 4:00 to be here. Whether I do well or not - it will all be over by then! Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tales From the Classroom #3: The Field Trip

Well ... the field trip was great. All of that complaining was just for nothing. The field trip went very smoothly and the kids (and I) had a great time.

The Bus Ride Over:
The kids were SO excited to be on the bus. Where I see a rickety old yellow piece of machinery, the kids see a fancy, exciting ride. As the kids were getting on there were lots of "wows" and "this is cool!" The ride to the college is about a 10 minute ride from our school. We took the freeway to get there. The kids loved going on and off the freeway entrances as well as seeing all of the places that they frequent around town. There was a lot of excitement when we drove past Wal-Mart. (You would have thought we drove by Disneyland!) :-) It occurred to me as we were on our way over that we could have just chartered the bus for 30 minutes to drive around town and the kids would have been very content to do just that!

At the College:
The kids got off of the bus and were the absolute, very best class that I have ever seen! They were so appreciative of the opportunity and the experience. They walked in well, waited in line well and sat well in the Black Box Theater. When I told them that I used to go to CSU Stanislaus, they were very impressed. When I told them that I took classes in the drama department, right down the hall from where we were, they were even more impressed. (I failed to tell them that I didn't do too well in my drama classes!)

The kids had some college questions such as "how much homework do you have to do in college" or "If you don't do your homework do they call your mom" and "is there recess in college." I asked some nearby college students to answer their questions for them. The kids thought it was very grown up to talk to the college students!

Meeting the Cast

The play was great. It was a very good twist on the story "The Emperor's New Clothes." In fact, I think that I liked this version better. After the play the kids got to meet the cast on their way out. The cast remained in character and joked and talked with the kids. It was great!

I look forward to going to see another play next year!

Tales From the Classroom #2 - Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Art at CSU Stanislaus
Conversation on the way to the play today at CSU Stanislaus.

Student 1: Ms V - What is that thing?

Me: What thing?

Student 1: That thing! (pointing)

Me: - Oh that sculpture? It is art. It is here to beautify the campus.

Student 1: THAT IS ART??? Are you sure Ms. V?

Me: Yes, that is a type of art.

Student 1: What is it? It isn't even painted!

Student 2: Ms V - That piece of art is made of of solid figures isn't it? That is what we are learning in math right now. That bottom piece is a rectangular prism and the rest is just a bunch of cubes all stuck together.

Me: You are so right! Good eyes!

I love it when they can connect their learning to the real world!!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Success on the Job

I attended a workshop yesterday. One of the many things I heard yesterday was the following recipe for success at work that the presenter heard when she attended a workshop.

Tips For Success at Work:
1) Work hard
2) Make your boss look good
3) Be humble.

What are your thoughts on these tips?

Field Trip

Tomorrow we are taking the students on a field trip. We are going to go see the play The Emperors New Clothes.

I HATE going on field trips! I hate organizing the kids and parents. I hate collecting money and permission slips. I hate trying to round up parents to go on the trip. I hate riding the awful, bumpy, noisy, yellow school bus.

Now I know all of the benefits of a field trip. I know that field trips are especially beneficial for my students because they are given an opportunity that they may not get anywhere else.

I guess that the real problem is that I don't like being responsible for 20 little bodies. SO much can go wrong. I don't like that burden on my shoulders.

Field trips...UGH!

Wish me luck. :-)

Tales From the Classroom #1: Social Studies Lesson

Our current social studies lesson is centered on Famous Americans. One of the kids mentioned that our president is a famous American. Here is the dialogue that happened for the next few minutes:

Student 1: Ms. V- Is a president a famous American?

Me: Absolutely. A very famous American. Who can tell me the name of the President of the United States?

Most Students: George Bush!

Student 2: George W. Bush!

Me: Very good - I am glad that you are all aware of who our President is.

Student 3: Ms. V - I know another President.

Me: Another President?

Student 3: Yeah - Arnold Shwuzzuhwegger.

Me: (Trying not to laugh) Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Student 3: Yeah, Arnold Shmutzenmayger.

Me: Well, actually sweetheart his name is Arnold Schwarzennegger. He is the governor of our state, California. He is a leader though, just like the President of the United States is a leader.
He can also be considered a famous American. ( trying to stay on topic here)

Student 4: Ms. V - Arnold Shotsemeyer is also in the movies.

Me: Yes, Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER is an actor. He acts in movies.

Student 5: Ms. V?

Me: Yes,

Student 5: Arnold Shwuzzenegger also is a kindergarten teacher.


Me: Well actually he just played one in a movie! Ok then - let's get back to our social studies books, shall we?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dental Hygiene Kudos!

The school I work at is in a very low socio economic area. Because of this we get targeted for many free or reduced cost programs to help the kids and their families out. One of these programs is a dental hygiene program. It is so great. Teachers who choose to participate are given a HUGE supply of toothbrushes, toothbrush covers, dental floss and fluoride for the children to use at school. As soon as we get parental permission for students to participate in the program, we get the program rolling.

Everyday, right after lunch, the kids brush their teeth, floss and are given fluouride. The program runs like clockwork. We can get all 20 kids done in about 5-6 minutes. I never forget to do it either because I have a "Toothbrush Captain!" He/She guides the toothbrushing activity in front of the room and then always finds the fluoride bottle since I always place it in a different spot each day!

This year, something new was added to the Dental Hygiene program. Students in 2nd and 5th grade are being targeted for Dental Sealant. Earlier in the year, all of the students in both grades were screened in their classrooms to see if their teeth were healthy enough for the sealant. A dental hygenist came in and saw all the kids in about 20 minutes. Kids who had healthy teeth were sent home with a note asking for permission to put the sealant on the teeth at a later date. Kids who had unhealthy teeth were given a note home explaining just what was wrong with their teeth along with a recommendation for free dental care to repair their teeth. All kid got a little packet with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a timer to use at home when brushing their teeth.

Last week was my classroom's week for getting the sealant placed on their teeth. 17 out of my 20 kids were eligible.

I am so grateful to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency for providing this amazing and FREE service to my students and other children in the county who really need the extra help.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

3 Cheers For Art!!!

This weekend, my synagogue held an art auction. I went to work on Saturday night and have a night out on the town. I invited my brother, Nebur, to come and join me if he had time. We had a blast. We ate some good food, drank some good wine and saw lots of amazing pieces of art and my brother ended up purchasing a few pieces. He bought 2 legal art pieces by Barry Leighton- Jones.

A Critical Blow:
A Critical Blow - Barry Leighton-Jones

Divorce Court:

Divorce Court - Barry Leighton-Jones

He bought two very cool pieces by Alexander Calder. Here they are:
Sun and Moon:

Sun and Moon -Calder

The Dark Pyramid:

Dark Pyramid - Calder

He also bought a piece by Juan Miró called Escultor, Italy:

Escultor, Italy - Juan Miró

For my mother he bought Holiday Circle, by Ebgi:

Holiday Circle - Amram Ebgi

The best piece that he bought though, in my humble opinion, is the one he bought FOR ME!!! It is Icarus from the Jazz Series. Here is my beautiful new acquisition:


I LOVE it! Thanks little bro!

Friday, January 20, 2006

And then there were 10!

I have been tagged again. This time it came from Melissa, The Cooking Diva, who by the way is celebrating her birthday today! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños mujer!

Here goes...

10 things you may not know about me...

kelly baby

1) I have lived in four different countries:
U.S., Panamá, Argentina and Chile.

2) All about my name:
My name is Kelly Jeannette . Where did my names come from?
Kelly: This part of my name came from my parent's landlord, Mrs. Kelly. My parents thought I was going to be a boy and this was their name for a boy. Lo and behold to them a girl was born - still named Kelly. I guess I must have looked like a Kelly.

Jeannette: Jeannette was apparently some person that my parents went to college with. She was not such a pleasant person, from what I hear. She was however pretty and my mom liked her name and that is how I got my name.

In third grade, I wanted to change my name:
I decided that Kelly was absolutely the most disgusting name I ever heard of. I wanted to be called something different. I settled for being called by my middle name, Jeannette. I told my teacher, Mrs. Biedenwig, that I was no longer to be called Kelly, but rather Jeannette. She looked at me sternly and told me that would be fine as long as I stuck to it for the whole year. I told her no problem! Two weeks into that year I realized that Jeannette was even worse than Kelly. I was stuck for the rest of the year. That year was VERY long!

3) I attended many schools:
Elementary: (5)
Noble School (k-1) Bakersfield
Toulumne School (1) - Modesto
Beard School (2)- Modesto
Sonoma School (3-5)- Modesto
Associacion Escuelas Lincoln (5-6) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jr. High (3)
Nido De Aguilas (7) - Santiago, Chile
La Loma Jr. High (7) - Modesto
MarkTwain Jr. High (7-8) Modesto
High School (1)
Modesto High School
CSU Stanislaus - BA
Credential Program:
Chapman University - Modesto Satellite


4) I've had a few terrible teachers in my academic career and a handful of fine teachers too. Here are the ones that come to mind right away in both categories:

The Bad:

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Hershberger, was pretty darn bad. I don't remember too much about that class except for the fact that she tried to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all in the first grade. I was confused that year! I think Mrs. Hershberger retired after that year. I am sure it was not because of us though - she was ancient as I recall - it must have been her time. (probably long past time to retire, actually!)

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Biedenwig, (see #2 above) told my mom at parent conference time to not expect too much from me because I was only going to go so far. (I showed her!)

Mr. _______: he was so bad, I forgot his name! Mr. ? was my first math teacher in college. I was not so good in math. I went to every single class and every single office hour slot for extra help because I could not understand anything that Mr. ? taught me. I failed many of my exams. About 2/3 of the way through the class he told me to just drop the class and not show up for finals because it would make no difference toward my grade, I would flunk anyway. The one thing Mr. ? did teach me, which was very important, was how not to teach!!!!!

The Good:
I had to wait until my college years to get my two most excellent teachers. They were well worth the wait!

Dr. Bogus: (Yes, that was really her name) Dr. Bogus was my teacher for several literature courses. The first course I took from her was American Literature. She started out the class by saying something to the effect of "I am a short, black, female, lesbian, genius." She was all of those things. It was in Dr. Bogus' class that I really learned how to read for meaning and study to attain and retain knowledge. I had to STUDY and then STUDY some more to do well in that class. I was scared shitless to walk into class every day for the first month. I was afraid for her to call on me because I knew that if she did, I would have to be in the hot seat for a good 10-15 minutes of grilling and explaining. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. I grew to love coming to her class and being called upon. I took two more classes from her - I couldn't get enough of it! I was very sad when she was booted out of my college for her openness about her sexuality! What a loss for us all.

Mrs. Short: Mrs. Short was my math teacher for my teaching courses in college. After Mr?'s class, I was very nervous about math courses. I just figured that math wasn't my thing and I would have to figure out a way to scrape by. My first day in Mrs. Short's class, she introduced a concept and stopped to check for understanding. I, of course, did not understand what she was talking about but I was not about to raise my hand. Much to my surprise, Mrs. Short said, "you there, third row with the hat on." (that was me!) "What is your name?" I told her. She then said "Kelly, I can tell you don't understand a damn thing I that I just said right now." I was SO mortified! She then went on to tell me, and the rest of the class, that we needed to speak up and let her know when we didn't understand anything. She explained that her job was to make sure that we understood the material, not just that she presented it. Needless to say, I got it! I left that class feeling math smart - something that I had never felt before in my life. I made sure that the rest of the math courses I took were all from her. Mrs. Short changed the way that I looked at math. Like Mrs. Short, I try to do what I can to make sure that I too check to see if all of my students are grasping and internalizing what I have taught. I have gone back to visit Dr. Short several times to thank her for all that she did for me and my students.

5) I have never been a consistently good or bad student:
In elementary school I was an average to below average student. In Jr. High, when I returned from South America, I was tested for class placement and much to the surprise of my mom, (mine too!) I was placed in GATE. I stayed in GATE through high school and never worked hard and always did ok in school. In college, I barely made it through - I discovered the party scene! When I wanted to take my teaching courses after graduation, I had to take a special entrance exam because my college GPA was a 2.83! (I had to prove that I wasn't too stupid to teach!) As soon as I passed, and was accepted at Chapman University, I made top grades and had my work submitted to the main campus as exemplary student work.

6) I am a Jew by choice, not by birth:
I converted to Judaism when I was in college. I was a member of our synagogue though since I was in junior high school.

7) I am somewhat of a picky eater:
I don't like it if it is pickled or has any type of sauce on it. I like my salads with no dressing and I prefer my vegetables (at least most of them) to be raw, not cooked. As a Jew, I of course, eat no pork. (I have to admit though that every now and then - I do eat shrimp.)

8) I can fly by the seat of my pants!
Especially with teaching. I may not always get around to typing or writing out my lesson plans but I always know where I am going and what I need to do. I can walk into my room and be ready to roll at any given time (and do a pretty darn good job at it by the way!)

9) I have lots of jobs!
Right now, I teach elementary school and Religious School. I am also contracted by the local county office of education as a trainer for new teachers and also by the neighboring county office of education as an educational consultant. (I need all the $ I can get!!!!) :-)

10) I love Sesame Street!
Sesame Street came out either the year I was born or the year before. I have been hooked ever since. My good friend, Lisie, is also a Sesame Street nut! Her favorite character is Bert and mine is Ernie.

Bert and Ernie

That is it! I am tagging no one. If you would like to do this meme though, do so and let me know so I can check it out!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

No Progress on the Reports

Progress Reports are due tomorrow. I have had alot of time to complete them. Thus far, I have completed 2. I have been procrastinating - I hate filling out school paperwork. I have done all the prep work - assessed for current reading and math levels, calculated grades, etc. I just haven't done the actual reports. BLAH!!!!

I know that I will have them ready when the actual deadline to have them turned in tomorrow rolls around. The big question is when will I actually do them? Tonight, after The Daily Show or before? In the morning before school or during lunch? Who knows...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Sepas Leer

I was blog hopping this weekend. On Rarely Pure and Never Simple I found this great link to an ad campaign. Check it out!

Coffee ...I Love it!

For many years now I have had a long standing love affair with Starbucks coffee. It started out as a small fling - every now and then I would get a tall White Chocolate Mocha or a Caramel Macchiato. In the summer I would always get Frappucino's. Life was good.

As the years progressed, my tastes matured and I frequented Starbucks more frequently buying either a grande or a venti Latte. Last year, after reading the nutritional information online I switched over to strictly non-fat, sugar free vanilla latte's. What a delicious treat it was to enjoy.

Two months ago however, I had to break off my long lasting relationship with Starbucks. I realized that I was giving more than I was getting. It was quite common for me to pop in to Starbucks 3-4 times a week. I would leave about $8 poorer each time. (A coffee for me and a hot cocoa and scone for Sabina) I decided that I just couldn't (and shouldn't) be spending so much money on coffee. (Even though it does rock my world!)
I went for about 2 weeks without any coffee. Life without coffee was just miserable.

I LOVE this machine!

Then I remembered that my dad has an amazing Starbucks espresso machine that he left with us at home. I decided to try it out and see what happened. A few coffees later, I concocted the best ever latte's using Peet's coffee, non fat milk and fat free hazelnut creamer. Life was good once again. I make one both when I wake up in the morning and in the evening when I am winding down. Sometimes I even make one in the middle of the day just because. I can't feel too guilty about it because I use non fat milk, fat free creamer and CNN's Dr. Gupta says that drinking coffee makes you smarter! I have also probably saved about $100 - $200.

Hooray for coffee!!! I think I am going to go and brew another cup right now!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Social Commentary

Yesterday we took my mom out to dinner. While we were eating, my brother overheard a little boy nearby say "But I thought only Black people could come here to eat." The mom apparently tried to shush her son right away. My brother was the only one of us who heard this comment. He didn't want to embarass the family so he told us about it later.

I relayed to my brother that it could have been an innocent comment made by this little 3 year old. After all, we were eating in the Black Angus. I can see how that might sway the little tyke's thinking.

The more I thought about it though, the real issue was not what he said but how he thought. At 3 years old and even now, my 7 year old does not distinguish between people on the basis of their skin color or race. She uses descriptors such as "the girl whose mom doesn't make her wear her uniform" or "the boy who always gets good grades" etc. How is it that at 3 years old this little child has already learned that people are divided into different groups?

It makes me sad, especially today on this Martin Luther King holiday, that while we have progressed in the area of tolerance and respect for others who are different from us, we still have a long way to go.

Bushism of the Week

This was a hard decision - there are just so many good ones this week. Enjoy!

"I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed by the atmosphere. And they say, "Man, you're looking pretty.' "
-Washington , D.C.; November 4, 2004

I Have A Dream Speech
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
March on Washington
August 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 15, 2006

1-2-3-4-5-6-7...Tag - You're it!

I was tagged by CindyLu! Here are my responses:

Seven things I hope to do before I am here no longer:
1) Take a real vacation: Somewhere far away, for at least a week – no budget, no worries.
2) Take salsa lessons.
3) Go to an Andrea Bocelli Concert and a BB King concert. (separate concerts though - not together!)
4) Live outside of the U.S. for a while (Panama maybe? ) – preferably a Spanish speaking country.
5) Get a Master’s Degree in Education – Either in reading or curriculum.
6) Watch Sabi graduate from college.
7) Find a soulmate

Seven things I can do:
1) Be a good mom
2) Teach
3) Cook.
4) Listen
5) Work well under pressure
6) Multitask - You should see all of the things I am doing while I am typing up this blog!
7) Be open minded

Seven things I can’t do:
1) Vote Republican (Never have - Never will!)
2) Balance my checkbook – This I know I am capable of just can’t seem to do it!
3) Fold clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer.
4) Accept compliments
5) Buy Barbie Dolls, or video games for my daughter (not about to let her fry her brain or accept unhealthy images of womanhood!)
6) Appreciate Country Music
7) Write well.

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1) Positivity
2) Silliness/Goofiness/Humor (I love to laugh and smile)
3) Intelligence
4) Compassion
5) A love for reading
6) The ability to motivate and inspire me
7) Dark eyes and a beautiful smile

Seven Favorite Books:
1) Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
2) Bendícme Última by Rudolfo Anaya
3) Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
4) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5) The Color Purple by ALice Walker
6) The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
7) The Street by Ann Petry

Seven things I say most often:
1) What?
2) Really?
3) Sit up straight in your chairs - no slouching! (obviously this is a school one!)
4) Hey!
5) A ver...
6) ¡Ay ...mujer, por favor!
7) Girl ... PULEASE!!! (The English version of #6)

Seven people to play this little game:
None! My online blogger friends have either already done this or are above doing this fun and silly little type of post.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Well - I have another birthday post. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. She will be 57 . (Sorry mom- hope that wasn't a secret!) :-) Here are some fun family pictures I found.

Mom and me:

Kelly and Mom

Mom, Me and Dad

Biker Chick!

The Villalobos Family

La Familia Villalobos

And then there was Sabi!

Bubbe, Papa and Bina

My mom recently started a blog. Pop on over there, check it out and wish her a Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Mom - Enjoy the day.

Mom and Me

Thursday, January 12, 2006

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Tía Yaya!

Tia Yaya

Today is my Tía Yaya's birthday. She is 85 years old. My brother once said that we are very lucky to have 3 grandmothers. He is so right. Our Tia Yaya is like our third grandmother. We rarely see her since she lives in Panama. When we do see her though it is as if time has never passed since the last time we were together. Her arms are open wide for us and she gushes over us as if we were the most important people in the whole world. Whenever we talk on the phone, she always asks when we are coming to see her, how the family is, and then of course asks about Sabi - "¿y cómo está la reina de la casa?" :-)

Tia Yaya

So many family events take place at Tía Yaya's house. She has a very small home in Panama Viejo which is in Panama City. We have a VERY LARGE family. Some live in Panama Viejo, others in Tocumen, Torrijos-Carter, and other places in the city. Others live farther away in Chitre an Monagrillo. Whenever there is a party though - everyone flocks to Yaya's house. As the families arrive, the cousins find each other and play.


The women gather in the extremely small kitchen and work on the food prep and the men - well - I don't really know what they do - I am always in the kitchen! At least I try to be. They rarely let me lift a finger when I come. When the food is ready, the men and kids get to eat first. I usually get to join in at this time since I am the visitor. A great time is always had by all.

I can remember many great parties at my Tia's house. The most recent party that I attended there was for Sabina. We went in March of 2004. The family threw a birthday party for Sabina. Sabi's birthday is in August. My Tía Yaya wanted the party for Sabina then though because she said that they had never had the opportunity to celebrate with her.

It was probably one of the best parties ever. She got to see ALL of the family, have a SUPER time with her cousins and best of all, she got to sit down with her Tía Yaya and read her 2 new books in Spanish to her.

Favorite Memories of Tía Yaya:
- Cleaning Rice - Tía Yaya can't help out around the house anymore since she is getting older. She still insists on cleaning the rice though before her daughter, my Prima Edi cooks it.

Tia Edy

She takes out the bandeja, pours all the rice on it and then sorts out the bad grains from the good ones. What makes this interesting? She does all of this while she leans her chair up against a wall on only 2 legs. I am always afraid that my poor Tia's chair will slip and she will get hurt - not a chance!

- Shopping For Tia Yaya - One time Tia Yaya sent me shopping for her. Now, shopping in Panama is a WHOLE different experience than shopping here. Well, it is for my family at least. They shop for the meal - not in bulk. I was sent on a simple mission. I was told that I needed so much butter and so much of a carrot. (I was give finger measurements!) Well, I was too embarrassed to ask the store clerks at the corner store for just a bit of butter and carrot. I thought that it would be perfectly fine to buy a whole carrot and a whole stick of butter. I came home and gave the items to my Tia Yaya. She sent me right on back to the store to return the part of the carrot that she didn't need as well as the part of the butter that she didn't need. I sure learned my lesson!

- Chats - Probably the best thing of all is just sitting down with Tia Yaya. Sometimes we talk and other times we just sit and stare at the people walking by or going into the Pananderia/laundromat across the street.

Yaya and the Giants!

This weekend my dad is throwing a party in honor of my Tia. I am unfortunately unable to go. Hopefully I will be able to get to see my Tía Yaya sometime this year. We will see...

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Tía Yaya! Te quiero mucho.



CD: I recently bought the soundtrack to March of the Penguins. It is so amazing. I haven't stopped listening to it. I keep it at school and it is my background music during our busy work time. It is so soothing and relaxing. Go out and get it now!

DVD: A friend told me that I should see the movie Crash. I rented it and watched it last night. In a nutshell, the movie takes place in LA and is about racism and tolerance. It was very disturbing but very good. A word of caution: be prepared to watch this movie. I was not. I didn't realize how heavy this movie was going to get. After the movie was over I was a little high strung and my blood pressure must have been through the roof. It is a worthwhile movie to see though - do it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oil Change Woes

Today I had to get my oil changed. (Well, I really needed to get it done a LONG time ago - like 1,800 miles ago!) I hate taking my car to the shop to have this done. Not because of the inconvenience but because I feel like I get totally taken advantage of because I am a woman.

I drove to the shop today without an appointment - hoping that they would tell me that I needed one so I could postpone this task. Unfortunately for me, they could take me right away. I had to stay in the car while the oil change was being done. The shop guys were pulling things, popping things, opening up things and shaking things while I was sitting there in the car praying that the only communication I would have to have with these two gentlemen would be a discussion about the bill. I didn't pray hard enough! The two shop guys started to talk in rather concerned voices with each other. I heard things like "Hey - come look at this" or "I don't think that looks good" and "we will need to recommend this." Meanwhile I am sitting in my car mentally adding up all of the $ these guys are thinking they can get me for.

The first recommendation was for me to replace an air filter. That I know I can get from my brother's friend. I turned it down and actually felt like I might be in control. The next recommendation was to replace my windshield wipers. I keep forgetting to do that! Those I politely declined too. I can get those when I get the air filter. I know that my brother can hook me up with replacing them. So, I was ready for the bill. That is of course when I heard the voice change in Shop Guy #1. "Mam, you are going to need to replace the transmission before your next visit." I am thinking "Oh S#@*! -How in the heck will I be able to afford a transmission? What in the heck is the transmission for anyway?" I tried to keep my poker face and in a cheery voice I asked how much it cost. Shop Guy# 2 happily told me that they could take care of it in just 15 minutes for $79.95. I was then totally confused. I was thinking "$79.95? That will kill my budget for the month." I was also trying to figure out how $79.95 could pay for something that I assumed was a much more expensive procedure. I made up some excuse about how I didn't have time and that I would just pay for the oil change. (Why I felt like I had to lie to these guys, I don't know...) I paid the $39 for the oil change and drove off. Yes, I know that is WAY too much for an oil change. If it helps, I can go back and have a full service car wash whenever I like.

So I drove away and once I was a block away from the shop I pulled over to read my service bill. The recommendation was not for a new transmission but to replace the transmission fluid. Does it really cost $79.95 to replace this stuff? Do I really need it replaced or were they trying to pull a fast one on me. I hate having to deal with car stuff. I never know what is right or wrong. Life was so much better when I could have my dad take care of this stuff.

Anyway, I guess I am ok for now. At least for another 3,000 miles...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pencils: More Precious Than Gold

I have reached my boiling point. We are having a serious
pencil crisis at my school. In all of the years that I have taught at my school, teachers could always request pencils as needed for their classrooms. We could request the fat blue pencils for the emerging writers, the regular yellow #2 pencils and we even had the luxury of requesting fancy red, erasable pencils for student editing of written work. Those glory days are gone.

For the past several months, whenever we teachers have requested pencils, our orders do not get filled. Many of us have resorted to going out and buying them on our own. We know that we can't depend on the school or the parents to keep us supplied with this MOST IMPORTANT SCHOOL TOOL. I am not sure what the problem is here. Is our office staff is too busy for us or do we not have the $ to buy the pencils? Either one is just not acceptable to me.

On the rare occasion that a supply order does get filled, we are often shortchanged pencils. In addition, the pencils we are given are of the cheapest quality. They serve no purpose other than to make pencil shavings. The lead is broken all throughout the pencil. Today I went to sharpen a new pack of pencils and of the few that I could actually sharpen, I had to sharpen them half way down to find a point!

Today, my students were up and down, in and out of their seats ALL FLIPPING DAY LONG because they had to continually exchange their broken pencils for sharp ones. To make matters worse - it was a testing day. We were doing district wide testing. How well do you think those kids did today with all of those disruptions? UGH!

I am SICK AND TIRED of spending my money on basic classroom supplies. I am going to be forced to go out and buy pencils for my class though. I can't teach under these conditions. What other profession has to go out and pay out of pocket for basic supplies needed to perform a task? It is just one thing after another.

I am off to go and check out OfficeDepot.com. I wonder what kind of deals they have for # 2 pencils in bulk?

Journal Excerpts

I like reading my student’s journals. It is fun to get inside of their thoughts. Today’s journals were fun. I have included a few below. I left all of the spelling mistakes in.

Today’s Topic: If you were the teacher, what would your class be like?

If I were teacher, my class would be noisy because I do not know how to be a teacher. And I think that on lunch time the kids would be very noisy too. And on (during) P.E., I think they would like to play a lot more than learn. I think that at recess time they would play Evil Monkey and Hot Lava Monster games.

Note: I have NO IDEA what these Evil Monkey and Hot Lava Monster games are. I guess I should pay a bit more attention during recess!


If I was a teacher it would be like fun or maybe it would be like hard. It would probly (probably) be boring. Maybe it won’t be boring. Maybe I would get some penpows (penpals) for my students. They could write litters to them.
This student just chose to list her ideas:
If I were a teacher the kids would
- not listen to me
- not be doing there work
- be pulling cards
- not be being good kids
- saying bad words ,wich is not good
- bring toys when they are not spose (
) to.

This one is in Spanish. You may wonder why I allow the Spanish. For journaling – I want them to just be able to express their thoughts – anything goes.

* Si yo fuera una maestra a mi me gustaria que nadie en la clase se pelearon con ninguno de los estudiantes o conmigo. Me gustaria ser maestra. Me gustaria tener la clase decorada bonita y tambien me gustaria dar tarea y enseñarlos a aprender y aser (hacer) cosas que no saben aser. (hacer) Eso es lo que me gustaria para la clase mia.
If I were a teacher I would like for the class not to fight with each other or with me. I would like to be a teacher. I would like to decorate my class very pretty and give homework and teach the kids to do things they don’t know how to do. That is what I would like for my class.
If I was the teacher I would giv my clas Pepsi. (Obviously I haven't taught the kids enough - Coke is where it is at!)
If I were the teacher, I would tell the kids stuff like "Sit down in neat rows please!" When it would be time to go somewhere in line, I would say "Please don't talk" and "Are you in your correct number line order?" When it would be Homework Thursdays I would say "Did you remember to return your homework?" If they didn't remember it I would tell them "I told you the consiquinces so you have to sit on the wall!"
OUCH! This one hurt to read. Am I that bossy!!!!! Can you tell that we are learning how to use quotation marks???

Sunday, January 08, 2006

On my mind...

I have two students in my class that have been taking up a lot of my "free time" thoughts. They both have some pretty serious problems and I really can't help them.

Student #1:
I have written about this little guy before. I will call him James. James is a non reader. He is usually absent at least one day a week and is often tardy on the days he does attend. He is extremely distractable - wouldn't surprise me if he was ADHD. James used to excel at math but now is struggling at the one thing he could do well due to his absences and the fact that a lot of what we are doing in math is based on being able to read - he can't do this. He (his parents) have gone through all of the steps that parents have to when their kids don't come to school. He is on the last step now which means that his parents will probably have to go to court to deal with his poor attendance. I still rarely see him at school.

How can I help a child who is rarely at school? How can I help a child that when at school is not able to attend to the class because he can't sit still? I struggle with this a lot. He takes a lot of class time away from the other kids because he either needs help with the work or he distracts the rest of us from our learning/teaching. Oh! I forgot to mention - he is the cutest little thing you ever did see. He is sweet and adorable and quite verbally bright.

I feel that I have done as much as I can with this child. I have talked with the parents but they just don't seem to see the issue as I do.

Student #2:
This student I will name Ana. Ana is a hardworking, young lady. She loves school, loves being with her friends and loves her teacher. She is also overweight. Several months ago I heard Ana breathing very heavily. I asked her if she was sick and she nodded and said yes. I just assumed she had some sort of bronchial infection and was just getting through it. That heavy breathing has not stopped. Ana has so much weight on her frame that she can't breathe well. It is a struggle for her to sit with us at circle time because she can't cross her legs like the rest of the kids. When Ana first came to me, her mom shared with me that the kids at her old school teased her a lot due to her weight. Ana has not had any socialization problems here with us. She has lots of friends and is so happy to be at school.

I worry about Ana and her weight a lot. With all of the academic pressures we have as teachers, we don't have too much time for P.E. I believe that we are mandated to do so many hours a week of P.E., but that doesn't happen on a regular basis. When I do have P.E. class, Ana doesn't want to participate. I do my best to coax her and tell her how much fun etc but it is to no avail. This is the one and only area with me that she will politely refuse to do what I ask.

I know that I am not her parent but her weight concerns me. I have tried to do more P.E. just for her sake. I make a big effort not to bring in donuts, cookies or other food treats but rather pencils, erasers and other non food items. I have even started bringing in carrot sticks as treats.

I feel uncomfortable talking to mom about this issue because I don't want mom to think I am being judgmental. Mom is quite heavy herself. I am torn between expressing a huge health concern to mom and respecting her parenting practices.

What to do??? Suggestions anyone?

Today's Installment

Here is today's Bushism:

"Sometimes, Washington is one of these towns where the person - people - who think they've got the sharp elbow is the effective person."
-New Orleans, Louisiana; December 3, 2002


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dumb, Stupid Valentine's Day

I hate Valentine's Day!

I went out grocery shopping today and was put in a foul mood. I was reminded that Valentine's Day is coming soon. I have seen glimpses of this disgustingly, horrific holiday trying to pop it's ugly little head up since the day after Christmas. Today however, the store displays were up in full force all over the darn store. Yuck!

Why do I hate this holiday? Because I am selfish! I don't have a Valentine so this holiday reeks!

I hate going to work and seeing all of the lovely flower or balloon arrangements coming in left and right to my ever so happily married colleagues. (Just rubbing my face in their happiness... )

I hate watching the tv shows and commercials that are Valentine's Day related. The cute little couples kissing and having a great time being together. PUHLEASE!

All this holiday does for me is remind me of how painfully single I really am. I hated this holiday when I was in a relationship too. I never got anything for Valentine's Day then either. Oh, actually I think I did. I believe that I was asked something like this "So what do I need to get you for Valentine's Day?" Stupid ex-boyfriend!

In all fairness, I must say that I can count on some people to remember me for Valentine's Day. I can always count on Mom to get me some beautiful tulips. I can always count on Mom to help Sabina get something for me and for Sabi to make me a nice card. I can count on my students to all give me a Valentine and for some to even give me a little box of chocolates or a teddy bear. I am grateful for that...

So why am I complaining? I guess because I am grumpy, it is my blog and I can! I need to vent. I hate feeling like I am so inadequate because I don't have a Valentine. I hate feeling like I even have to have one.

I would love to call in sick on February 14th and stay home in bed and not have to deal with this miserable day.

I won't of course. I will host a fabulous Valentine's Day party. I will make sure that all of the little kids who can't buy their own cards will have cards to pass out. I will make sure that my daughter feels especially loved and spoiled on Valentine's Day. Heck - I will probably even wear read and smile at all of my colleagues who wish me a Happy Valentine's Day. I will even gush over their lovely flower and balloon arrangements.

You can't make me like it though...

I hate Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lessons in Art

Happy Snowman

Today we did a little art project. As I have mentioned before, we rarely have time for art. I am not happy about that but that is just the way it is.

Our project today was to make a snow man or snow woman to decorate our student work wall. The snow person will also serve as a topic for a creative writing assignment next week. The instructions for making the snow people were easy.

1) Have Fun
2) No scissors when making the body of the snow person.
3) No pencils to outline
4) No second chances - you only get one piece of paper - make it work

Ripping Paper

Essentially, the kids were to rip 3 different sized circles (by hand - no outline), piece them together and then decorate the snowperson and give it some personality.

Here is what happened:
My academically high kids were sent into HIGH STRESS mode. Kids who never even think twice about defying me were caught trying to either sneak pencils or scissors when they thought I wasn't looking. They were seriously arguing with me and trying to convince me that they needed the appropriate tools to complete this task. They bitched at me the whole time.

Shy Snowman

My academically low kids were amazingly skilled in this area. They didn't once quetion what I said. They also didn't need any extra directions as did the high kids. They saw the task at hand and set right out to work. They were in fact quite happy and when they were done went over to the high kids to help them out.

Cute Snowman

The Results:
The snow people made by the low kids were the best constructed and the cutest.
The ones constructed by the high kids were not as good.

I see this happen every single year. I am always amazed at how stressed the high kids get and how at ease and confident the low kids are.

What does it tell me?
I need to remember to play to the strengths of all of the kids in the class more often. It was very good for the low kids to be helpers to the high kids. It was good for the high kids to see that they can get good assistance from the low kids. They need to see that they all have talents that make them special and that they are able to contribute to the good of our class.

Kids Crack Me Up!!!

Today during recess time and even during class time I noticed that my students were especially preoccupied with their shoes. I did not smell any foul odor so I didn't think they could be worried about stepping in any dog "business." Finally, I asked my kids what was up. They looked at me like I was some big dummy and one said "Estamos preparando los zapatos para los Reyes Magos!" (We are getting our shoes ready for the 3 Kings) I tried so hard not to laugh when I heard this. Then another one said "Yeah Ms. V. we don't want them putting anything in our stinky, dirty shoes, we are getting them cleaned up!" I couldn't help myself - I laughed SO HARD!!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Request

One of the second grade standards I teach is how to write a friendly letter complete with the date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. Several years ago, my aunt who is also a second grade teacher, gave me the idea of asking my friends to write a friendly letter to my students. This will enable the kids to better understand the letter writing and sending process. It also gives them someone to write to. The most important thing though is that it is fun!

I have asked several people already to start writing to my class. I would like to open this request up to anyone else who reads this blog. The letter to my class does not have to be long or exceptionally detailed. What would be great to include in the letter would be a short description of who you are, where you live and how you know me. (even if it is just through the internet!) It would be extra special if you would include what your profession is and how school has helped you to succeed at what you do. (I have to push this you know.) :-) Anything else that you want to unclude would be great. (pictures, etc) I do teach second grade so please keep that in mind when writing.

If you are interested in this, please leave me a comment and I will e-mail you with my school's address. I promise you that we will write a nice letter back to you!

Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to Work...

My vacation is over. Tomorrow I head back to school. I am not looking forward to having to wake myself up at 5:30 to get ready. I am dreading having to wake my daughter up and struggle with her even more! Tomorrow we are back to the crazy weekday schedule of getting out of the house by 7:15, going to school, violin class at 4:00, gym class for both of right after at 5:00 and then rushing home to grab a bite to eat, homewrok time and then starting all over again the next day. I am getting tired already just thinking about it!

I just sat down right now to get some lesson plans together for tomorrow. I dug into my school bag to find my plan book and I encountered a TON of stuff that I had planned to do this vacation. I was going to create some math tests, dictation sheets, reading comprehension activities, plan out a month's worth of Social Studies and Science lessons and more. What did I actually get done? Not too much. I did make a few of the reading comprehension sheets but I barely made a dent in what I wanted to do.

I can't say that this vacation has been wasted though. I had the wonderful opportunity to host almost all members of my family at one point or another here in my home. My family is great.I love spending time with them. I also got to prepare a great many meals. I love to cook and so does my daughter. We had fun, and sometimes messy, adventures in cooking this vacation. I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter. We started working on a family tree project and that has sparked her interest in our family history. I have read a few good books - nothing profound but entertaining nonetheless. I worked out at the gym on average 5 days a week - sometimes 6. Go me! :-) Last but not least, I enjoyed wasting time in front of the computer reading blogs and online articles and learning how to use Google talk!

So while I am not eager necessarily about the thought of going back to work tomorrow, I know that I will enjoy seeing my students again. I also know that my daughter will love being back at school to see her teachers and friends and get back into the school routine. I am just going to miss all of the fun and rest that we have enjoyed these past two weeks.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kaiser in Killing Me!

My daughter needs to have a tonsillectomy. She has been plagued with tonsilitis for the past year. At least once a month she gets very sick with high fevers and misses school. We finally went in to see the Ear, Nose and Throat Dr. and surgery was recommended. I was told to call back and reschedule the appt. as soon as I could figure out a time that worked for me. The recovery period for this procedure is 2 weeks. This means that not only will my daughter need to be out for 2 weeks but I will too.

Our appt with the ENT was on the 9th of December. I called to schedule the surgery the following Monday, the 12th of Dec. The perfect time for me would have been this past 2 week vacation. However, the Dr. only schedules surgeries 6 weeks in advance. My next plan was to schedule the surgery for March. I am off track in March. I hated to plan for it that far away but I can't afford to miss two weeks of school. I called the Dr.'s office back and tried to schedule for March. As of today, I have called the Dr.'s office at least 10 times. I still do not have an appt. I get a great run around each time and am promised a call back either later that day or the next day. How hard can it be to schedule this? Apparently pretty darn hard!

I am hating Kaiser right now. It is hard enough to have to deal with the fact that my baby is going to have to undergo surgery without having to stress about the fine details of the scheduling. I pay SO much each month on my health insurance. A TON! Kaiser is a HUGE company. I can't believe that they don't have the personnel or the computer technology to help me out. I was feeling guilty about calling in so many times. I didn't want to bother them. However, the more I think about it I think I should call them each day until I do get the surgery scheduled.