Tuesday, September 30, 2003

You know, I really don’t want that alternative classroom job. The idea of baby-sitting kids who don’t want to be in school just doesn’t appeal to me. Tomorrow is that meeting (I don’t want to call it a job interview) at the local high school. I think it will be my last interview for a while. I’m tired of rejection. I also feel that I’m forcing my future to happen. I’m just grasping at straws now, where before I only went for secondary science teaching positions, now I’m trying for anything. Subbing isn’t all that bad, and the new semester begins in January. A friend of mine is thinking of quitting then, but I’m not sure I want her job, either. The commute would not be good. I want to teach. Sounds silly, actually wishing for a thankless job with good benefits and no money, where I am the only adult in a room full of sarcastic overreacting teens who don’t want to learn anything. OK, that last bit was a little harsh, but you know what I mean.

I was thinking of maybe using my newfound joy of exercise and weight loss to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor or something. But, I would miss the kids. Maybe I am meant to be a P.E. teacher. Yeah, funny. Can you picture me in polyester shorts and a whistle? P.E. has got to be worse than science. Imagine the frustration of having kids fail P.E. I mean, at least you can rationalize failing an academic class, but if a kid can’t be motivated to bring tennis shoes or attempt to throw a ball, then you’ve got REAL problems.

Anyway, this teaching hiatus has got me thinking about my future. That is where the whole fitness instructor thing came up. It would be fun to motivate people to lead a healthier lifestyle. I could do a class or have a client in the morning, then do that academic class in the afternoon (if I even get/want it). Or is the best thing for me todo is wait until next year? As frustrating as my "now" is, subbing may be what I’m meant to do. I feel that I’ve learned so much about classroom management and how to read students just from my few days of being a substitute. I don’t know…..not having a real job has taken a lot of my fire. But, Tim has commented on how excited and happy I am when I’ve been subbing.

Maybe I need to think some more.

Maybe I need to think less. Hmmm…. That is something I’m not good at. I tend to over-think things.

Whatever, it is time for me "to let go and let God," as my mom would say.

OK then. That is what I’ll do.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Got my dates mixed up, so no interview. Had the WEST (Women Educators of Science and Technology) meeting at my house. 5 other members showed up, as was expected. I like having guests, as it motivates me to clean my house.

I have another job interview on Wed. morning. It is as an academic support classroom person. A friend of mine mentioned my name to a local high school when they noticed they needed a teacher for 3 classes. I hope it goes through.

Pros: very little prep, chance to make friends, own classroom, in town, make a difference

Cons: 3/5 time, no benefits, unmotivated kids

Anyway, love the Green Bay Packers. They beat the Chicago Bears tonight! Go Packers! Brett Favre was reported as saying that when he retires, he would prefer coaching high school to pro football, so that naturally endered him to me.

Lesson learned: Monday night sit-coms are funny after two tequila sunrises.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I'm sick, so I'll make this short. Was our 16 monthiversary yesterday. Got home late from dancing. Woke up sick. Went to WW, lost 1.6 lbs. Feed a cold, so ate soups and juices and dinner. Now to bed. Interview tomorrow and WEST meeting. Hopefully will feel better tomorrow.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Well, well, well, the long wait is over. Just like they said, the principal of the elementary school called today and left a message saying that, as great as my background experience is, they have offered the job to someone else. She went on to say that she will keep an ear open for me, and that she believes that I will receive a full-time position very soon, blah blah blah. All I have to say is PPPHHHHHTTTTTZZZZZ!!!! That doesn’t pay the bills. Afterwards, resorted to old habits—eating. I ate a lot today, and then cried a bit. I feel somewhat bloated, I guess I did it to….I don’t know. Maybe physically feeling full or sick is better than feeling unemployed or unwanted. I have all this experience and all this enthusiasm to give, and no one to give it to. I just want to teach. But, I know that there are a billion unemployed teachers out there, and I am just one of them with very little experience.

I guess I’ll remain a sub. Time to list the pros and cons of not getting that job:

Pros: no grading, no lesson-planning, more free time, no politics
Cons: no class, no fulfillment, no lectures/teaching

Anyway, finished the week at the junior high. The teacher left a packet of detention slips and warnings about her Reading For Success class. I especially liked how she insisted on keeping them busy, as they tend to use free time to destroy the room and school property. The other classes were GATE (ie: smart kids). They were cute. It was nice seeing the future dorks of America. Of course, being a dork myself, I say this was love in my heart.

"What about that other job interview you have on Monday?" you may be asking. Yeah, it is for more money and is full time which means benefits, but it is as an inhouse suspension center teacher. Yippee! I get to spend my hours with kids the teachers and administrators have kicked out of class. That’ll get me out of bed each morning. (Ah, smell that sarcasm.)

Ok, I'm over it. Thanks for letting me vent. I'm just frustrated, understandably.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Last day as a special ed teacher. The aides said I did a real good job, and I felt that I had earned the kids’ respect, too. Tomorrow I am going to be an English teacher. Not like the one you had in junior high. To give you an idea of what I mean, this teacher has two Reading for Success classes. Re: reading for kids who can’t read. That will be challenging. But, I’ve spent all week with kids who have challenged me, so I guess I know what I’m in for. And, really, these are nice kids who just need extra attention. Suddenly I have an image out of a book I read when in high school, from The Dragons of Pern, when the eggs hatch and the golden dragon claws and maims the maidens, except one who seems to understand it. So these kids are the baby dragons and I am the understanding maiden..... I guess. Some people do seem to believe that I work very well with these types of students.

Met with Darleen afterwards for happy hour at a local bar. We spent a social hour there, enjoying apps and Cuban mojitos. That was one tasty drink! Someone somewhere described it as the devil disguised as a cocktail, it is that light, almost refreshing. One of those drinks that makes you think, "Oh, that was pretty good, think I’ll have another." Which I did. So you could say I'm writing this blog under the influence, good thing I didn't drive home. Thank goodness for spell checking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Today was much better than yesterday. I guess sending kids to the principal is the right thing to do. They weren’t perfect, but they were a whole lot better. What those more experienced teachers always say is true: just come down hard right at the beginning and the rest is cake. Also, the administrator in charge of subs said that the instructional aides all think I'm doing a great job. It is one thing if the kids like you, but having the respect of your co-workers is better! What’s more, today was a minimum day, so I got paid a whole day for working only 3 hours.

Had a pretty good dance class. Today I had intermediate swing. Obviously, it is much easier than the advanced class I take on Tuesday. The only thing is that the leaders aren’t as good; I had some real bad leads today. I realize that all of us are students, and I am far from being the perfect follower, but some of those guys…. One had no tension in his arms; it was like dancing with a wet noodle. Luckily my psychic abilities kicked in so I was able to do a fair job following his lead.

After class I hauled my lazy butt to the gym. I was going to go this afternoon, but flaked. I am glad I went tonight. I feel much better. It took a bit longer for my "runner’s high" to kick in than usual. I try to work out about 5-6 days a week, not including my dance classes, earning about 4-8 Activity Points each day. WeightWatchers is very big on making exercise a part of one’s lifestyle. Exercise was something I used to see as a thing I did to lose weight; I would workout for a few weeks, then lose motivation and not do anything for months. Now, I feel bleh if I don’t workout regularly. Also, and I should say more importantly, with WW, the more you workout the more you can eat!! ‘nuff said.

Anyway, while I’m on the treadmill, I usually watch one of the TV’s in the room. One TV is always on the Animal Planet; this is probably the only time I pay attention to it. Tonight I got to witness the " Jeff Corwin Experience. " Is it me, or has he been working out? The last time I saw him, he was scampering after marmots and was tall and lean, in a muscular fashion much like Tim ;-) . Tonight he was in a Costa Rican rainforest, and his damp shirt was highlighting some major pecs and very broad shoulders. He is a real dork, and I say this with love in my heart, as I am a dork, too. It amuses me how he talks to the animals and the audience, trying to describe the situation and such. Tonight he said he was "a cocktail of excitement, exuberance, and fear." What the heck is that?? He was also having a conversation with some monkeys. Still, you have to admit, he is one lucky bastard. He has my dream job. I’ve always wanted to travel around the world, exploring the animals and plants on TV. sigh Well, I’ll just settle for sharing my adventures in the blackboard jungle with you all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

What a day. Just like a roller coaster. I was a special ed teacher today, and will be subbing in the same class tomorrow and Thurs. It started off well, as the teacher has a first period prep. Second period was English. The kids were supposed to be working on an autobiography, and today’s topic was their school and favorite/worst teacher. Most of them had no problems. A couple had difficulty focusing, which is typical of this type of student. One girl worried me, as she seemed to be writing as Harry Potter or some other Hogwarts student. She wrote that her least favorite teacher was the one who taught her potions class. I didn’t know if she had delusions and was on meds, or if she was being difficult or just really didn’t understand the point of an AUTObiography. When I shared these thoughts with Tim, he immediately exclaimed cra-zy, and I laughed because that was the first thing that popped in my head before I began to think more logically. But I was really flummoxed by this. Lesson one: pay close attention to every student, even the quiet ones.

The next class was math. Basic math. These students have a difficult time subtracting 25 from 64. The teacher had assigned approximately 120 subtraction problems for them to work on in class. The aide said that was way too many, so we asked them to do the odd ones. Fine. This worked out so well, that in the next math class I said to do the odd numbers on pages such-and-such. It took me a while before I saw that almost none of the students knew what an odd number was, so they were just doing all of them. Or, if I did explain it to one, s/he would go along until number 7, then do 8,9,10,etc. So, the lesson learned here is to assume nothing and explain everything to the whole class.

Then comes in the first II class of the day. (II = individual instruction). Basically, they work on a worksheet designed to help them identify their learning strategy, then they have the rest of the class period to work on homework in their other classes. Sounds easy, but four boys decided to be obnoxious so I separated them. Next came warnings, then I put their names on the board, and put a check after two of the names. That stopped two of them. The other two continued to torment each other, write on each other’s folders, talk back, and to top it off, they didn’t do any work or bring in any writing implements! By now (15 minutes into class) I had had it, so I asked the aide to escort them to the principal’s office. The rest of the class was wonderful, and the other two boys stayed after for 5 minutes during lunch. I figured I had to act quickly, or be eaten alive for the rest of the week. If nothing else, I gained the respect of the aides!

After all this excitement, I had a job interview. It went well, I think. I asked one of my UC instructors to call the principal and talk me up. This is a brand-new position, so I'll be laying the groundwork for this program. I’m very excited! I wouldn’t have a classroom, just a cart o’ science. Imagine me pushing the cart o’ science to over 500 children, enriching their lives with hands-on activities and NO GRADING. I hope I get it!

Monday, September 22, 2003

I had the best sub day today. I checked in with the school, and discovered that the teacher's schedule had changed, so I wasn't needed today afterall. When that happens, they have to pay me for the entire day, eventhough I didn't work! Haha! I got a paid day off!

What did I do with all this freedom, you may be asking? Nothing much. I had a longish walk in the AM (too hot to jog outside) and prepared for my interview. The school wants proof of my science background, and I believe that my science credential should be good enough. Turns out that I never registered my credential with anyone, so I have to remember what the fuck I did with, if I even received it. Or, request another credential, which won't go over too well with anyone.

I also did a lot of dishes and went for a good jog in my neighborhood, which happened to be mostly downhill, but still a good workout, especially as I had to go uphill at the end. Then Tim and I watched Monday Night Football. I like the social aspect of it, as we (Tim and several of his friends) take turns hosting it. That means 3 out of 4 Mondays someone else does dinner and dishes!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Another weigh-in today. Lost 0.4lbs, thank you very much! Hanging out by the scale really makes you think about human nature. While in line to check in, the usual chit-chat takes place, with someone asking , "So, how are you? How was your week?" and the other person would usually answer along the lines of, "I don’t know. I’ll see in a minute." It seems wrong. Yet I catch myself saying the same thing. I make a conscious effort (and it really does take quite a bit of energy) to give some sort of answer that has nothing to do with the scale. I have also seen people come in, quiet and worried, and once they jump on that scale they light up, because they lost when they thought they gained. I’ve also seen/experienced the other scenario, when you are expecting a loss but show a gain. I don’t know if you can imagine how crushed we feel when that happens. I mean, we followed the program, drank all our water, had points left over, and BAM! You gained! I have heard of folks who just give up after something like that.

Anyway, after my meeting I worked out at the Y. Later, Tim and I went to the beach because there was a sandcastle building contest. We were looking forward to taking pictures of some amazing sand castles,but we were uninspired. Don’t get me wrong; there were some terrific sculptures. But none that made me want to take a pic.

Since we were in the area, we checked out the zoo. We even became zoo members! I like the idea of being able to go to the zoo whenever we want. It was a warm afternoon, and many of the animals were napping. I don’t know what my favorite animal at this zoo is. I do find the meerkats funny, and the white handed gibbons. The flamingos were dirty and stinky, and the elephants were gone! Their enclosure is in the process of being remodeled, which explains why it was closed, but where do you put two Asian elephants in the meantime?

Well, I am very busy this week! I sub for the junior high all week, and I have a job interview on Tuesday with the elementary school. I am supposed to bring a copy of my resume, three letters of recommendation, and examples of my vast science knowledge. Hmmmm….how am I supposed to do that?

Saturday, September 20, 2003

There were a couple of small glitches in writing this blog offline last night; hopefully I’ve eliminated them.

Attempted to attend the Avocado Festival today, but turned out we were way too early, about two weeks early! Oh, well. Did end up spending quality girl time with my friend Sabrina and her sister-in-law Debrah and her son. It is amazing how fast three hours can fly! Ended up eating lunch at a decent beachside grill and antiquing. Even though my job situation isn’t the best, I did end up buying a great pair of earrings. Every female teacher knows that good earrings are important, especially if you tend to dress conservatively, which I do.

At home, Tim and I spent a very nice lazy afternoon/evening together. Then leftovers for dinner with Casablanca in the DVD player. Overall a very pleasant day!
So, like the reasonable person that I am, I'm taking Tim's advice and writing this blog in Word. Or, did write in Word, whatever.

Today I was a Kindergarten teacher. Seems that the regular teacher got moved to another school in the area, and that teacher is taking over this class on Monday, so I was needed to cover for today. When I arrived, I was impressed with the organized administrative staff. Also, they were very supportive; at least two people gave me their phone extensions. The classroom was beautifully arranged, bright and lively, more so than the last K room I was in. The teacher had left some decent lesson plans, and the neighboring K teachers made a point of coming to my room and introducing themselves to me and offered to help me at any time. This was great! (A bonus, as this is the same school that has the elementary science teacher position I interview for on Tuesday!)

Anyway, the first thing on the list is to have one boy do the "calendar," one girl do the "weather," and sing the "Days of the Week" song. Sounds simple, but I have no idea what the calendar and weather people do. Also, I spent some time looking for the tape/CD of the song, and not finding it. When the aide came in, she said to look in the boom box (which was the first place I looked, "duh") and checked it out herself after I told her it was empty. "Oh," she said, "Miss E must have taken it with her." Apparently, she had taken several other things including the weather station, so had to improvise on that one.

For the most part, the kids knew their routine. Unlike the other day, where I felt that we were always rushing from one activity to another, I had some free-time. Actually, the kids were getting out of hand before recess, so I had them cleanup early and read them a story. It was amazing! I brought out the book, the kids were a bit squirrelly, but once I started to read, they settled down and paid attention to the story! Recess was cake, as I wasn't needed on the playground, which was good, as there were more crying for various reasons.

Next on the teacher's agenda was the alphabet. This school follows the Open Court program to teach kids their letters. That is all I know. When I asked a friendly neighbor about it, she was a bit huffy at my ignorance of this program. Luckily, she got over it right quick. To me, it seemed that we were to sing the "Alphabet Song" for 50 minutes, clapping after the letters G, N, Q, and W. After 30 minutes, I was done, and a few kids had begun to cry because they were hungry. I tried to comfort them, saying that lunch was in 15 minutes, but that only made it worse for a couple of them! I read another story which surprised them, since it wasn't part of their routine. So, I ignored the crybabies, and asked if any of them knew any songs. One little girl began to sing about little ducks, and luckily I was familiar enough to join in and soon everyone else did, too. It was amazing! Just by reading aloud or singing a song, they all shut up and joined in! After the duck song, we still had 5 minutes, so I began to sing the song about the monkeys teasing the alligator. They liked that a lot, especially when I slinked through them, quiet as can be, and then SNAP! someone was grabbed!

Lunch was at 10:45 (can you believe it?) until 11:15. Then I got them ready to go home. I pretty much snuck out as fast as I could when they all left. The admin asst asked me how it went, and I had to stop and think. It was an experience, I told her. She grinned and said she could never do a Kindergarten class! Had to treat myself to a cheeseburger and fries after that.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

bleh. I wrote a bunch of stuff for today, but due to a slight error, I lost it. It is now somewhere in blogger's database, and I am too tired to retrieve it. Tim suggests that I type all this out in Word first, then cut and paste, which is making sense at this time. Tim usually makes sense, and seems to have that elusive "common" sense, which is why I keep him around. Also, he is a good kisser and makes me laugh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

First of all, we all must give full props to elementary school teachers!

Boy, what a day. I got a phone call from the district this morning at 7.15 asking me to sub today. bleh! I had just woken up to pee, so wasn't mentally prepared to teach. But, I needed the money, so I agreed, and they gave me the name of the school and said to be there before 8.00. Just enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth, clothe myself and eat breakfast. No shower and no time for coffee.

Like a good girl, I get there at 7.55. I go to the office and announce myself and my purpose. Of course, the admin assts have no idea who needed a sub, or that I was coming. They tried to call the district to no avail, as they weren't picking up. I ended up sitting in the office for 25 minutes. Eventually they apologize and let me go. Alright, I think, I'll just workout and do some errands today. I get in my car and back out of my spot, only to see one of the admin assts run out saying, "Wait! we have a spot for you!" So, still willing to make a buck, I re-park and re-enter the office. They tell me to go to such-and-such's kindergarten class until 11.55, then do 1st grade in the afternoon. And leave me hanging! I have never been there, on top of which the school has some construction going on so there are fences and equipment and dirt everywhere, and I have no idea where to go. Worse, the bell rang already and class has been in session for 10min by the time I get there. What the heck!?

I'm trying to be patient and understanding, but feel very offended by their apparent lack of organization and communication. I mean, I could have read the lesson plan, talked to the teacher, and prepared myself for a day with the kiddies instead of sitting on my ass in the office.

I finally get to the room, teacher is still there. I piece together that she isn't absent, she (and most of the other teachers) has to give her students the CELDT test, and I'm just there to make sure that the kids stay out of her way. (Don't get me started on standardized testing). In a nutshell, she is testing their English fluency. I know how much teachers really love administering standardized tests (smell the sarcasm), so I forgive the school for not knowing what to do with me.

I spend 3 hours with these kids. I just realized that that was it. Only 3 hours, but it felt longer! What a discombulated mish-mash of disjointed stuff! We sang the Good Morning song, sang other songs, were introduced to the number 7 and to triangles. Then we made a triangle book which was just coloring and gluing triangular items. The teacher had to join me here. I heard her admonishing a student for only using one color of crayon, and insisted he use another color. Then we worked on a shape review sheet (ie: more cutting and gluing) and had snack/recess. What a gyp! They don't provide snacks like when I was in K. If they wanted snack, they had to bring their own. It was our turn on the bikes, whatever that meant, because everyone was using the bikes. They were the most industrial-looking tricycles I had ever seen! What IronMan would give his son! I mean, I certainly know why they were built this way, especially after watching the kids run into each other, bless their little uncoordinated hearts.

Recess was supposed to be only 15min, but I left the house without my watch, so we were there for about 30min. In the meantime, other adults were asking me about using the bikes and "When is recess over?" As if I know what the hell I'm doing. I guess I should be impressed that the other subs thought I was in charge, because I clearly did not feel that way! Anyway, we finally got back to class for more songs about the alphabet and "Down By the Bay" .Then we learned about the letter Dd and did a worksheet, so, you guessed it, more coloring. Luckily, it was freetime afterwards, and then home. The teacher said she could take if from there and let me go early to eat lunch.

The lunchroom wasn't much better. I ended up eating with a couple of other subs telling me their woes (one had just survived breast cancer) and how terrible such-and-such district was, so don't bother with them. And, the soda machine ate some of my money! At 12.15 it was back in the office for my afternoon assignment, and, wouldn't you know it, the woman who knew of my existence at that school was out to lunch and no one else knew where I was to go. For a moment, things were looking brighter because someone thought to give her a call on her cell, only to discover that she didn't know which room I was assigned to. Finally, they all decided just to send me to the first grade wing and ask each teacher myself until I found the class. By the time I found the right teacher, class was in session, and the teacher thought I would be someone else, so hadn't written down the afternoon's agenda.

Eventually got that taken care of and a room full of first graders to myself for what ended up being the longest 2 hours of my life. My 90minute classes last year flew by compared to today. At least there was no singing. I read them 3 books which lasted 40 minutes, then we were supposed to go outside for P.E., but there was an accident on the playground. The fire department, administrators, and an ambulance were all there. As you could imagine, the kids were all stirred up about this and wondered why that meant we had to stay inside. This lead to a discussion about firefighters and what they do, the difference between a fire truck, a police car, and an ambulance, and some stories of grandparents going to the hospital. Then I let them all go to the window for a nice, long look.

After gawking, I led them back to the front of the room to do their "story math" (word problem). This took another 40 minutes to do. We had to read the problem, figure out if it was addition or subtraction, answer the question, and copy it into their Math Journals. Only 3 kids finished. I was finished before they were, so I took them outside for the last 30min of class. We played Red Light/Green Light (too much arguing) and then I just let them race each other. I chose a real long course which tired them out. In retrospect, I should have done that first.

In the end, the kids were dismissed 10minutes later than usual. The teacher took over the very end routine (thankfully), and we chatted a bit.

After hearing about my day, Tim asked, "So, were they cute?" I really had to think about it. I'm still not sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Today I tried something new. I entered the Y and just happened to be on time for their "On the Ball" class. I was telling Tim about the class and he said, "Oh, so you practice balancing on a ball?", trying to be a smart-alek, little guessing that was exactly what the class is all about. I'm sure most of you have heard about it and seen those large, soft, fun-looking balls. (After re-reading this sentence, I can't help but giggle...what a dirty mind I have!) Basically, you are exercising your core muscles as well as some arm and leg muscles. Just sitting on the ball takes a lot of muscle coordination, but on top of that, you are rotating, stretching, and doing stuff like tricep pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. It was actually pretty good. I definately felt it in my major muscle groups!

Another new thing I did was the Advanced Level 3 Swing class. It was my first time in the level 3 class, so I was a bit nervous. I guess intimidated is a better word. I know I have a lot to learn still, but part of me felt that getting out of my comfort zone would help me improve my technique (ie: firmer frame, Lindy to dance, spotting, etc.) Also, many of the advanced folks have been in that class for months, so I would be dancing with many good dancers/leaders, which was the whole point of my joining. The main reason for my uneasiness is that Jonathan and Sylvia have to give you the OK to get in level 3. Sylvia suggested I take the class months ago, and Jonathan said I could last week, but that I should still take Intermediate level 2 because my Lindy needs improvement. Which doesn't surprise me.

So far, no sub jobs this week. No phone call from the elementary school. But that means I get to call them!! Wish me luck!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Hope still floats....a job possibility is on the horizon. One of the are elementary schools might have a science teacher position open. I say, "might" because they are waiting for the final student counts in order to see if they need to let go of anyone. So, needless to say, I am feeling much better today than I was all last week. "What about that detention/suspension center job?" you might be asking. Well, seems that the school feels that they don't need that classroom afterall. So, my future has bounced back to teaching science. The elementary job is only 3/5 time, but better than nothing. At least I'll be teaching science!

Not much to talk about today. Just spent the morning at the gym (hoyeah, baby, pumping iron, running on the machines) and running to the store and back. Seems that the cashier charged me $29 for a squash. And it wasn't even organic!

Sunday, September 14, 2003


Sunday is not a day of rest for me. Sunday can be the scariest day of the week. It is the day I do what is most difficult for many in my situation to do. You see, Sunday is the day I weigh-in at WeightWatchers. It is when I see how "good" or "bad" I've been all week. To be honest, I don't let the number on the scale dictate how I feel about myself. Usually. Today I showed a gain of 1 lb. Not bad, considering my eating habits for the last half of the week. Also, I did not have my AM BM (I know, that was a little TMI). So, I probably stayed the same.

You wouldn't believe the lengths we WW members go through on weigh-in day. Some women wear the exact same clothes each week. I once saw a woman undress, stripping out of her jeans and sweatshirt on a wet January morning and into a light cotton summer dress. I am about as bad. First, I remove my shoes which everyone does, then I take off my shirt, watch, and any jewelry. Sometimes I remove my sweatpants so that I am standing there in my workout clothes. The women who do the weighing always joke, "Time to get naked," when they see me at it. I leave my socks on, though. Oh, yeah, I also go to the bathroom before I step onto the scale. Boy, this ritual seems very silly, now that I see it in print.

I volunteer to greet everyone as they come in. My job is to be friendly and assist those who are joining that day. I remember how lost and scared and embarrassed I was when I joined. But the friendly staff put me at ease, so I hope to do the same. This particular meeting is full of nice, fun people. We laugh and cheer each other on. We also share low-points food finds and ask for help on any upcoming challenges. Now is the busy season. It is especially challenging for those of us who want to lose weight due to all the holiday goodies that are EVERYWHERE! You can't escape the chocolate or free samples of the frozen appetizers. People are joining because they want to look good for the holiday parties and family gatherings. Near the end of Thanksgiving, it will peter-out and only us hard-core members will still be coming, because people would feel that since they ate that extra helping of pie (and stuffing and potatoes and egg nog and candy and candy and candy and etc.) they might as well go hog-wild (pardon the expression) and join in January as their New Year's resolution. January-February are the busiest times at the WW center.

On a somewhat related note, one of the women there (I'll call her "Kay") wondered where I've been this weekend. She and I take some of the same dance classes as well as attend the same WW meetings. I told her what I've been up to and she shared her adventures with me. Then she said I need to be a bit more "wild." I had never had anyone say this to me before. Some of you who have known me for a while (you know who you are) realize how odd a comment this is. I am pretty happy just being who I am now. Part of it is the weight loss, part of it is being a responsible adult (would look bad if a teacher got drunk in public), and part of it is my relationship with Tim. Overall, I feel very calm and centered. All I can say is that Florida took care of a lot of my need to be "wild."

Well, no subbing for me tomorrow. Of course, there is always the chance I'll get a call at 6:30AM, but I hope not!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Saturday! It's amazing how I look forward to the weekend, eventhough my weekdays are pretty much the same.

I had signed up for an entire weekend of Lindy Hop dance sessions with Frankie Manning, who, I am told, is one of the pioneers of this type of dancing. All I know is that I spent 4 hours with a friendly 89 year-old man teaching a roomfull of adults how to Lindy. It began nicely enough; learned a new step or two, but by the end I thought I was in Hell. Many of the steps required the follower (me) to spin. And, of course, these spins would be repeated. Then the last step the followers learned was a fishtail, where you sashay your hips as you walk (very coolly, mind you) backward. At the same time, the leaders are walking forwards in a step known as the pimp. It was funny seeing some of the older white guys trying this step! But after spinning and fishtailing, and always switching partners, I was pretty dizzy, which caused much spinning uncontrollably and getting out of step. Also, I was sweating like a pig!

After that, Tim and I went home and relaxed. For dinner we reheated a calzone I had made last night (yes, from scratch....Betty Crocker eat your heart out!). Then we took a walk out on the wharf. The lights on the water were pretty, and there was some bioluminescence. It was Tim's first experience, and we both watched schools of fish-shaped blue-green light swim around under the pier. Now we're back and Tim has resumed his game of nethack. He is so cute right now as he follows his character through a maze, fighting monsters and collecting gold and food. It's more fun for me when he dies, simply because a lot of cursing takes place at his computer.

I am slowly learning to completely trust him. I trust him already. Not that he has ever cheated on me or anything like that. I realized recently that I don't fully believe that he loves me absolutely. I think it's because other men have told me they loved me and would never leave me, blah, blah, blah, and, clearly, they are no longer a part of my life. Tim says he loves me, but a small part of me feels like it's waiting for the other shoe to fall. Now that I recognize that, I can work on relaxing and going with the flow of our relationship. He loves me and I know that if the day comes when he doesn't love me anymore, he will tell me. He is not the type of guy who says things just to make me happy. He means what he says, which is a trait most folks don't come across very often. Or, people say things just to hear their own voices. Tim isn't like that, either. So when he says he loves me and wants us to be together for a long time, I know he means it. I just need to let go of some baggage. <> Whew! that's much better.

Friday, September 12, 2003

**Due to a technological error, (ie: I hit the wrong buttons) yesterday's post didn't get published until today.**

Today I was a Special Education teacher. The students were not severely handicapped. They probably had the usual learning disabilities; ADD and ADHD most likely, judging by some of their behavior. But enough. They really were great kids. One class was so focused, they worked continously the entire time. The last class of my day was especially challenging. One student in particular was REALLY chaffing my hide. S/he was super chatty, tried to toy with me, and interferred with the progress with any other student within a 6 ft. radius. Of course, s/he was pretty smart and could amount to anything if only they applied themselves. But s/he found school to be boring. There was even one kid who insisted that s/he did not learn anything at all last year and they were pretty sure they wouldn't learn anything this year. This was not a stupid kid, judging by the Harry Potter book (#5) they were reading. I thought this was very amusing!

After lunch, as I was walking back to class to let the little darlings in, a girl recognized me from the other day and said, "Hi!" She wanted to know who I was subbing for. This made me feel so good, my cold, black heart melted a bit (don't worry; it's all froze again).

So, being a substitute teacher isn't all that bad. At least I'm not blacklisted like a friend of mine. According to a mutual friend, her/his evaluation wasn't too good and the principal didn't really like them, so when it came to the re-hiring s/he didn't get picked up again. They'll probably have a more difficult time getting hired than me. Part of this bad eval, my friend said, had to do with the fact that s/he had a lot of obstacles year last year. They were a roving teacher, moving from room to room, and was given some of the most challenging students in a subject they all hated. Too bad. It is so hard trying to do a good job nowadays as a new teacher, that anything short of an ideal situation is difficult. I had wonderful, motivated students last year and still had a lot to learn about classroom management, grading, politics, etc.

Now I am full of chocolate and food. We'll just have to wait and see what the scale says on Sun. Tomorrow I have dance all day long!

Is it me, or is it crazy that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are getting married? I mean, they just started dating last year. I do have a friend whose husband proposed to her about 4 months after they started dating, but they had been friends a long while before they started dating. Also, they aren't movie stars whose lives are constantly under scrutiny.

On a related note, why do I care? I am not a big fan of either of them. I would love a butt like JLo, and I'm pretty sure I can dance better than Ben. Whenever they got married, they will probably end up divorced. Now wait, I am not a bitter old spinster. That's just the way many Hollywood marriages end up. I should know; E! had a show about celebrity marriages.

**I spent most of this morning wandering around town after a breakfast burrito and coffee. I love breakfast burritos. I don't know what is about them that I enjoy so much. Regardless, I felt that some exercise was needed to counteract the potatoes and cheese. The day was lovely; not too cold and not real hot. Some tourists were still around. They are the only ones who rent those surrey bikes. You know, the ones that seat 4-6 people. There they go, honking the horn and waving at us natives.

I had the last class of the session tonight. In case you didn't know, I take Lindy Swing and Balboa classes 2x/week. I really enjoy it. I like dancing and it's fun being the student for a change and interacting with other adults. Like any class, there are class clowns and such. Also, I like the instructors. Sometimes they say things I wish I could say in class. For example: " I have two words for you, one's a verb and one's a pronoun and it isn't 'thank you'. " GOSH you don't know how many times I wanted to say that!!!! I also love it when he says, "OK, that sucked," and "You're going to make mistakes so get over it already."

Tomorrow I sub for a special education teacher. Now, that seems interesting....

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My knees ache, due to a number of reasons. #1- I have jogged for at least 20min (a lot for me) everyday this week uphill; #2- I had my dance class last night and perhaps Lindy doesn't agree with me; #3- Today was my first day as a substitute teacher, thus the first day I was continuously on my feet in 4 months.

Which brings me to this day's entry--substitute teaching. It is a lot like being an aunt; you take care of the kids according to someone else's idea of what they should do, and if the kids start to bug you, you just give them back to their parents/teacher. Whenever the kids questioned the instructions, I just told them I was following Mr. T's lesson plan and that they should complain to him tomorrow when he comes back. I LOVED IT!! Finally, someone else being the bad guy. And, get this....NO GRADING. Boy, subbing is a piece of cake. Too bad it is unpredictable and you don't get any benefits. Even if I worked everyday, I wouldn't get paid as much as a regular teacher. And, I wouldn't get to know the kids or see them blossom during the year. But, NO GRADING OR LESSON PLANNING. Hmmmm....

So, I have one last teaching position I'm holding out for. It is as the teacher in an "alternative classroom" at an area high school. It isn't what it sounds like. I'm not going to teach the kids about organic foods or turn them into socialists. What it really is is an in-house suspension center. That means some teacher somewhere kicked the kid out for some reason (usually for being snotty. Actually, what am I trying to explain here; you all remember what buttheads your classmates were. {of course, I know you were an angel}). Not the best situation. I would begin after 1st period began and leave an hour after school ended, so I'm guessing that I will also be the detention center *bonus*. Anyway, it is a true sign of my desperation. It would be full time, including benefits, and, more importantly, NO GRADING. Maybe it won't be as bad as I think....

*Non sequitor*I enjoy cooking. I never did much until I began to get serious about losing weight about 2 years ago. I know, sounds funny--cooking to lose weight. But it's true. I could no longer eat out as much as before and still lose weight. I really like following the recipes; it's like a mystery--how will it turn out? is it easy to make? will it taste good? will it give me gas? Now, I also wonder if my boyfriend will like it. Most of the recipes are from those WeightWatchers cookbooks. (Yes, my new mantra is, "What would Fergie do?")

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Welcome to my blog. I have heard much about these things from various sources--boyfriend, internet groups, and e-newsletters, and thought I'd give it a whirl. I read where some teachers have their students create blogs that they read/share/etc. I would love to do this with my students, as soon as I get some!

A bit about me: I am an adult, in so much as I am (way) over 18, but I will say that I don't feel like a "grown-up." Can't say why, but there it is. Last year I completed grad school with a master's degree and a teaching certificate. I was lucky enough to get a teaching job at a local high school, but unlucky to be among the first to be let-go (re: budget cuts). So, now that the new school year has started, I have some time on my hands. I have applied for several teaching positions, unsuccessfully, so have joined the ranks of those unloved and disrespected: the substitute teacher. My first on-call job is tomorrow morning at one of the area junior high schools. hmmmmmm.....what amazing tales will I have for you all tomorrow?