Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Anyone Want Videos?

We took a ginormous step this weekend.  In moving "into" our new TV console, from a piecemeal shelving unit, we didn't have space for our VCR, so we eliminated it!  It didn't really bother me when my spouse ran the concept by me - it wasn't until he asked me to discard about 40 VHS tapes that I got worried.

Going through the stack of videos I found my kids' first "long" movie, Dinosaur, that we watched over and over again in those early years of  G-Rated TV watching.  Then I found the classic duo, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews were my kids' heroes back then, and we all love a good musical now because of these two amazing actors.  There were a few more modern movies, like October Sky, (labelled with my mom's name...sorry mom, I'll return it now) as well as Amadeus (my personal favorite) and Shawshank Redemption. I got really nostalgic, however, when I found a short VHS tape called There Goes an Airplane, an educational video that we used to show the littles, a very long time ago.

Looking through these videos gave me a chance to re-live the Friday Movie Nights at our house. Traditionally the evening began with pizza and ended with a movie in the basement, all members of the family snuggled together on the couch.  For close to fifteen years, I'm pretty sure, most Friday nights we all curled on the couch with pizza and a movie.

I sure do miss those movie nights.  This past Sunday evening my daughter, who had been helping her dad reorganize the DVD collection, found Pitch Perfect and put it on the TV.  A few minutes later she asked if we wanted to join her, then if we could eat dinner downstairs.  For a few precious hours more I relished the special closeness of Family Movie Night.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Don't Want to Go!

I was out of the office today for a conference thanks to  Learning Forward Virginia!  Loved Joellen Killion's presentation on Feedback, and I got a new book - which I am excited to read.  But, the point of this slice is...I don't want to go back to the office tomorrow. I'm kind of filled with dread about what I have to face there.  

Already a boatload of referrals have been emailed to me.
Two emails with phone messages that I don't recognize the numbers for.
And I have loads of observations to do.

I just want to put my head under the pillow and escape.

Two weeks until spring break.  C'mon, Ellen, you can do this.

Right?


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dog Lovers - Help!

Our little beagle has been remarkably healthy - for which I am so grateful, however she has been smelling funny this week.  When I walk into the house in the afternoons and she runs over to greet me, I run over to the back door to let her out quick and air out the kitchen.

The smell has seemed to come and go in the last week.  But finally I tasked my daughter with bathing her - just to see if that helped.  Maybe she had rolled in something outside...a bath would help regardless.

She is not a dog that loves to bathe - in fact, she really doesn't like water much.  So when my daughter hollered from the bathroom, "Mom, c'mere," I assumed she needed help getting her into the tub.  When I opened the bathroom door, though, she was scrubbing Canela, the Beagle's, backside. "Mom, she has poop all over her rear end."  I didn't know "Poopy Butt" was a thing, but Google gave me lots of information about it.

I took her back to the groomer today, as the smell continues, hoping that perhaps something was blocked back there and they could fix it.  They scrubbed her again and recommended a trip to the vet. So, next on the list is to get an appointment with the vet, which I will visit with my fingers crossed. We'd like to keep this perky girl around for a while longer - 12 is still young for a beagle, isn't it?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Aging Gracefully

I don't ever feel a day older, well, except for the pain in my hip; however, this day I experienced the passage of time as I attended a colleague's daughter's baby shower.

We used to tease Tom about being "older than dirt."  In fact when my husband and I were new teachers we used to take every opportunity to remind him that he was older than we were.  In pictures from camping trips we took, when we were "Dinks" and he had two small children,  we look relatively calm - and he looked slightly harassed.  These pictures happened yesterday - except for the twenty years that quickly passed us by.

Today we celebrated his daughter's baby shower - the little girl who, when we were camping, was certain to make sure that the dog was taken care of and really everyone was taken care of, she is having her own child.

I came across a picture of my husband and I on one of these camping trips.  I am wrapped in a dark blue sweatshirt, proclaiming my allegiance to Western Washington University - despite being on the East Coast; and I am pregnant.  My face shines with the same joy that I saw in Jess today - healthy, happy, and hopeful for the future.

I'm sure I'm not older, well, that much older.  She has aged wonderfully.  I look the same.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Are they losing their minds? I'm talking about the children...

It's easy to get wrapped up in the hectic pace of life...and this week has seemed especially hectic.  In fact, "Is it a full moon?" was a common question flying around the main office today.  I, myself, asked a number of times as I came up for air (a metaphor for the amount of time I spent in my office disciplining middle school students).  I am a firm believer that barometric pressure, and other atmospheric changes, can impact student behavior in an uncertain way.

So, let's do a quick poll -

Are your students responding extraordinarily impulsively to "normal" situations?

Have any of your students displayed unusually temperamental behavior?

For example, these are the behaviors I saw today:

  • shoving their teacher, 
  • tossing a chair, 
  • bursting into loud wails and sobs that cause you to worry about a student's ability to breathe 

Do they seem unusually focused on inappropriate behaviors?

  • perhaps you are finding drawings of penises on items around your room?
  • are you collecting their personal devices because they are distracted by other things on their IPads?  
  • making decisions that you have just told them are WRONG - and yet they do it anyway?  


Perhaps it's just me...Please let me know.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Still Looking for the Silver Lining

I was anticipating the rush of talking to other people who love to teach, the enthusiasm, the way eyes light up when they talk about what has worked for them in the classroom. This excitement is infectious - at the end of a recruiting trip I always feel buoyed with positivity about my wonderful students, the amazing school at which I work, and the school district that supports us.

So, on Sunday night when I checked my calendar, my heart leapt just a little in anticipation of my trips to Virginia State University on Tuesday and to George Mason University on Wednesday. Both recruiting trips would include interviewing potential candidates and persuading young education majors that working in Arlington County was a goal they should shoot for!

On Monday, after coordinating calendars with the whole admin team, we realized that there would be no administrators in the building on Wednesday.  My heart sank when I realized that I should probably stay at school - one missed opportunity for energy and revitalization.

Today, Tuesday, I collected the recruiting suitcase, checked the map, and my colleague and I hit the road for VSU.  Two and a half hours later we rolled into Petersburg, excited for the opportunity to explore VSU and meet some future educators.  After driving through the beautiful campus, we headed into the Expo Center to set up our booth.

"Career expo for educators, today?" asked the man at the front desk,  "I don't know anything about it."  Much shuffling of papers occurred and then phone calls to various offices.  Finally at Career Services we heard, "Didn't you get the email we sent?  It was postponed until next Tuesday!"

Seriously?  No recruiting today either?  And a five hour road trip?

I'm a little bummed.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Wilderness Adventure

My legs ache, my head is throbbing, and I'm feeling exhausted.  I trekked for miles this afternoon, dodging obstacles placed in my way, pursuing a hard-to-follow trail, and tracking my spouse who regularly disappeared without a trace.  I never want to see the dotted lines of the map again - marking shortcuts that twisted and turned and leading us into different temptations.  

I was at IKEA.  

It was supposed to be a short trip.  Sig O and I had a plan for shelves, we knew what would work, we knew what we wanted to spend, but all hell broke loose with our plan when we ventured out of the bookshelves section and into the kitchen cabinets. "Because," he said, "we should really look around to see if anything else might meet our requirements."  

In Kitchens we found a reasonable set of shelves that were more sturdy than the bookshelves and just slightly more expensive.  Hmm, now we had to think.  Over Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes we hashed things out, then returned to Kitchens.  After deciding to go with the more expensive cabinet, we paid and I looked for our escape.  "Your cabinets won't be ready for you for a while.  Take your time while you walk to the pick up," said the helpful cashier.  

So, we looked in dressers and bedroom furniture.  We surfed through living room furniture where I got slightly distracted by the comfortable looking couches.  We almost got stuck in the wardrobe section where we might have found the perfect product to meet our needs...but no, we reminded ourselves, we had already purchased and we were happy with the cabinets.  Right?    

Downstairs into the Marketplace we ventured.  The crowds there seemed more harried, or maybe that was just me.  We were, after all, three and a half hours into this shopping trip.  As well, the children around us seemed more cranky, and the "trail" we were following seemed narrower with more evil traps set for us, like new storage options for holding silverware or new light fixtures and light bulbs.  

Finally, we escaped.  We are home now, and the car is unloaded.  We survived this venture to IKEA - but let me assure you, I will not be heading there again soon!