Showing posts from 2015

You can't win 'em all

Yesterday was another of our staff development days.  Typically I'm not a huge fan.  Staff development is typically one of those things that sound like a fantastic idea but at the end of the day teachers leave feeling like their soul has been sucked out through their nose.

For the past few staff development days, I've actually been teaching sessions to get out of the rut.  It's slightly better, but I can see glazed looks on participants' faces and I know how they feel.  I try to make things relevant.  And I try to make my attendees understand that I am giving them information that I truly believe that they can take back to their classroom to use, but at the end of the day, I know they feel the same soul suck that I often felt.

However, yesterday was a little different.  My principal bucked trend a little bit and instead of giving us another training on the Nevada performance framework (again), he brought in a motivational speaker who specialized in urban and high-risk …

Teachers & Loss

This afternoon, I went into my principal's office for a moment to ask a routine question about a student.  We chit-chatted for a couple minutes and then he gave this dramatic sigh like I'd never heard come from him before and handed me a couple of pages stapled together.  I had no idea what was happening, but I took the pages and started reading.

The first was a student ID photo with some basic information -- printed out from our student information system.  While this was not my student, I was aware of him.  We are a very small school with a dozen teachers and one administrator; everyone knows everyone - literally.  At times we have as few as 25 students on campus.  This particular student had recently completed our program and returned to a comprehensive high school, but recently enough that the name and face was still familiar.

The second page was a news article giving some sketchy details of a murder.  I'm sure pretty much everyone can see where this is going.  Our stu…

World Teacher Day... everywhere except here

Yesterday (October 5) was world teacher day, in pretty much every country except America.  Technically it existed here, but there was no special pomp and circumstance for those of us teaching America's youth.  I didn't get anything special, though things didn't go particularly badly.  Today a student told me I was going to "burn in hell for my sins," though he didn't specify what.  My husband broke up two fights in his classroom... all in all, not a great day of celebration.

Let me tell you a story... I experienced one World Teacher Day in all its glory while I was teaching in China back... well... a long time ago, however Chinese friends tell me this is still the way it works.

At the time, I taught 12 or 14 classes.  I don't remember.  It was a lot.  It sounds insane, but I only saw each class once a week for 45 minutes, so I didn't actually teach that many classes.  One day, everyone I see starts wishing me "happy teacher day!"  I'm t…


I haven't written in a while, mostly because the summer and these first few weeks of school have been incredibly busy!  But, I'm sort of back at it  now and I'd like to get back to blogging, at least as best as I can.

I am writing tonight's post in the spirit of my favorite journalist, John Oliver, complete with hashtag.

So, my post tonight probably will not win me any friends, and that's ok.  I accept that from the start.  But, my goal is not to win friends, it is to openly state my beliefs without holding back, because most of the time, I do hold back.

For the past few days and weeks, I have been unable to turn on the news or scroll through social media feeds without seeing endless accounts of people and political groups spouting hatred and discontent towards other individuals and political groups for the people that they are and the choices they have mades.  Some of these individuals have made poor personal choices in their lives, some have simply become the tar…

My personal Independence Day! (having nothing to do with 1776)

About a year ago, I was a hot mess.  That is a clinical term.  I'm pretty sure they use it in the American Medical Association Journals.  I was incredibly overweight and amazingly out of shape - embarrassingly so.  And to make things worse, I was in kind of a downhill spiral of bad habits.  Since I was out of shape, I didn't exercise, which just made things worse.  My clothes didn't fit, I had zero motivation to look attractive.

One night, I believe it was Bastille Day (French Independence Day), my husband and I got into an argument.  I won't get into the details, but let's just say, some not-so-kind words were said by both parties.  And while it was incredibly hurtful (and I was no angel), there was also more truth to it than I cared to face at the time.  And on that day, I said "enough".  I need to take control of my life back.

It was a few more weeks before we got back to the States (for those that don't know, I was actually IN France for Bastill…

Liberty and Justice for All

I have just finished my second week student-lawyering at the county PD office.  A lot of people have been asking me what it's like, or if I still want to be a lawyer (like this would be the best time to decide I didn't).  Since the past few days have been particularly emotional for me, I'll give a general overview of the experience.

In some ways, working for the PD has some of the same elements as working in a behavior school.  I come in constant contact with the criminal element that's brilliant enough to get caught for some reason or another.  Most of the people I see are arrested or cited on rather minor charges -- possession of drugs, solicitation of prostitution, petty theft (shoplifting), and other relatively minor charges.  Part of me is amazed that this is what our local law enforcement focuses their time and energy on.  Are drugs and prostitution illegal?  Yes.  Is it worth thousands of dollars to arrest, prosecute, and jail each individual that gets arrested…

Update... on everything

I have not done any blogging lately, because as most teachers will tell you, May is terrible.

Most of May is a lot like that purple one.  As a teacher, especially as a teacher in an alternative school, you become frazzled and exhausted.  I have literally come home and napped for hours at a time out of sheer exhaustion.  Students are panicking because they haven't completed any of their work for the past 6 weeks and suddenly they need enough points to get course credit for the semester.  They are needy and desperate.  I do my best to be helpful and supportive, but it is wearing.  
I mostly finished what is essentially my last academic semester in law school in late April, so I've been able to focus on my students and their needs, but now law school is picking up again, so I will once again have divided interests.  Part of me will need to focus on my students, while the rest of me will focus on my studies.
Despite all of this crazy, Mike and I have consistently stuck to our heal…

10 Day Blood Sugar Detox, Day 1

After watching Fed Up, which I outlined in my last post, Mike and I decided to do a 30 day clean eating challenge.  Part of which is Dr. Mark Hymann's 10 Day Blood Sugar Detox.

Essentially, this is a slightly more severe version of the first week - there seems to be less fruit involved - which makes me sad because I like fruit.  I'll outline the basics for you in case you're interested at all.

Breakfast:  Protein shake.  He offers a few recipes, but a lot of them include bananas, which I'm allergic to.  Also, I use Shakeology, which I'm pretty sure is the healthiest substance on the planet.  The idea is to have a filling, nutrient dense, low-glycemic index breakfast that will get you through until lunch.

Lunch:  Salad (He gives a big list of mix and match stuff and says eat whatever you want, as long as its on these lists), or if you get tired of salad, there are some soup and grilled meat recipes to use to mix it up.

Dinner:  Meat, fish, or tofu or some sort with…

Our "Parisian Diet": One Week In

Last week, Mike had some dental work, which resulted in an extraction, which resulted in some nerve damage and some terrible pain.  He's anxiously awaiting a root canal, which I believe is happening sometime next week.  He had a rough time scheduling with his endontist.  In the meantime, while he was trying out different combinations of pain killers and antibiotics, he had a number of sleepless nights.

On one of those sleepless nights, he stayed up watching various Netflix documentaries, including "Fed Up".  This is a documentary outlining the physical and mental issues that stem from eating processed foods, and specifically foods with processed sugars.  The movie is fairly long (about 1 hour 40 minutes) and deals with a number of different issues, so I won't go into everything.  However, in the end, it does challenge individuals to try a 30 day "cleanse" or "detox".  I'm always very hesitant to use both of these words because it makes it sou…

Internet Famous! Woot!

This picture has made Mike and I internet famous - in a HUGE way.  I'm not exactly sure how or when it started, but someone linked this photo from my Facebook page to a "weird wedding photos" contest.  The website actually emailed me to ask if they could use it and got my explanation of the photo.  I mean, look at it -- it's a weird picture.

And the internet seems to agree with us.  Every few months it seems to pop up on a list of 21 Wedding Photos that went Hilariously Wrong or something equally weird.  We even made Buzzfeed, which is kind of awesome, because I love Buzzfeed.  We are also on The Daily Mail.

However, there's a problem.  I realized today, after the latest round of internet weirdness - this time on - that somewhere along the way, someone in Poland decided they would claim the rights to this photo - and went so far as to put a watermark on it claiming ownership.  THAT part upsets me.  Because, guess who owns the copyright to th…

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging from China

Like I ATTEMPT to do most Thursdays, I'm linking up with Jen from Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for Thursday Thoughts.

This Thursday is a little different because I'm in China.

That's us in the Forbidden City.  

Blogging from China is a lot more difficult than blogging from France was - for a number of reasons.  (A few people have asked me if I'm travel blogging while I'm here, because I haven't really posted anything)
First -- China has filtered internet access.  Which means I can't always visit the sites I want.  They even have a filtered version of Google -- and since Google hosts my blog, it's kind of a pain the neck to deal with working around the Chinese filters just to get to my blog.  
Secondly, we have been running ourselves ragged while we are here!  We had 22 or 23 days in France.  We didn't feel desperate to see everything in the first couple of days.  But we only have 6 total days in Beijing, so we are packing a lot into every day.  Most …

China here we come!!

I don't have much to say today, as I'm completely exhausted from a hellacious week at work... but I wanted to post one last time before I wandered off this side of the globe.

In 12 hours, Mike and I will be sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting for our flight to San Francisco, which will then lead us to a flight to China!  Woo!  China!

This is my excited face!  I'm going to do a combination of being an insane tourist and seeing all of the awesome stuff that China has to offer, and relaxing and getting a lot of massages.  Massages are cheap and unlike in the US aren't often confused as a method of prostitution... don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of "happy ending" massage parlors to be found, but the general idea is if you want a massage, it's because your back or feet are sore.  :)

After this week, if I wasn't going to China, I would just dig a hole and hide for the next 10 days.  My students have been absolutely insane this w…

To Infinity and Beyond! (Or China, whichever comes first)

This morning, Mike and I are starting to take care of some of the little details for our next adventure -- hunting for camera chargers, talking about packing lists, and other things we can take care of a few days before we go; we'll go out this afternoon and pick up a few things - as it's probably the last opportunity we have to go out together before our flight Friday morning.  I even took the plunge, and against my frugal nature paid for the "economy plus" upgrades for our flight to Beijing.  Our flight home isn't very full yet, so I moved us to a window/aisle seat with a empty center seat between us, in hopes that either a) it won't fill up or b) if it does fill up the person in the seat will move to another empty seat.  I don't love long haul air travel, but I can deal with it.  Mike, on the other hand, at 6'2", finds it uncomfortable in the best of situations.  He's still trying to wrap his mind around a 10+ hour flight.  At the very lea…

Bye Bye Baby

So, last night, the call we'd been waiting for came.  Baby C's dad had gotten all of his ducks in a row and was ready to take custody of her.  So... we spent a little time saying goodbye and stopped to visit the ducks in the park on the way to drop her off.

We knew this day was coming.  It was actually supposed to happen last weekend, but there was a little bit a a hiccup in the process.  Her had actually moved from California to comply with CPS.  We didn't completely understand the situation, but it came across as he'd never really been involved as a parent, but when given the opportunity, he really did what he needed to do to step up.  For the past few weeks, he'd been doing visitations with Baby C on Friday evenings.  At first he wasn't really sure of what he should be doing, but at the most recent visitation, when I went in at the end of the hour, they were playing together with the toys.  The simple fact that he was willing to move, get a new apartment, …

Thursday Thoughts: The agony and the ecstacy

Today, I am linking up with Jen from Ramblings of a Suburban Mom again for her Thursday Thoughts.

I actually started this blog post last week.  It was my birthday (FYI, I am old now) and I was doing a lot of very un-birthday like things... I feel like I spent the bulk of the day cleaning up baby poop and chasing after 8th graders.

But, for some reason, I didn't finish the post.  It just sat here.  I probably got distracted cleaning up more baby poop or chasing after some more 8th graders.

In the past week, things have actually settled down somewhat in the baby poop department.  We're giving Baby C less milk, so she's calmed down a lot.  8th graders, on the other hand, are a terrible population of people in general, and in the past week, they've only gotten worse.  (If, for some reason, you are an 8th grader reading my blog, I have a couple of things to say.  Firstly, you might want to consider some more age-appropriate reading material.  Secondly, if you purposely re…

Baby, baby, baby

Today begins day 3 with Baby C.  So far, things have been going fairly well with her.  We are actually surprised at what an "easy" baby she is.

Yesterday, Mike and I made a point of making sure we were with her all day - both of us as much as possible & at least one of us within eyesight at (virtually) all times while she was awake.  Friday night was a little rough for her.  She woke up a crying a couple of times during the night, and while we were able to put her back to sleep pretty easily, she wasn't quite able to do that for herself.  At 4am, she truly cried for the first time.  She'd fussed and whimpered a couple of times Friday evening and had woken up once at 2am, but at 4, she really cried.  I went in and picked her up and rocked her for a little while; I think that was the first time she was really scared or lonely.  We realized that as part of a large family group (she has 3 older siblings), it was probably the first time in her entire life that she…