Saturday, October 31, 2009

304/365 Halloween 2.0

The wifi from the house reaches out to the end of the driveway (my picture with the Photobooth). We're listening to the AOL Halloween channel. I can Facebook and blog between kiddos.
Cousins are in for the festivities, along with the BFF.

Matching black cats for Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

303/365 Good thing it's fun

I taught today, dressed as Gretel. In school the kids had creative and wacky costumes, yet they were still mostly focused and working in class. We were able to have a giggle, but then they were right back on task.

Good thing, because I'm not sure when I'll officially be on the payroll, and even then the noble profession will pay some 75% less per annum than the consulting. But we can get by, and I sleep and wake beside my family members, and accompany them to rehearsals and performances. So far, so good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

302/365 Home in this Town

This is the only hometown our child will remember, and while hometown will always mean the place you grew up, this is feeling more and more like a hometown. Tonight, while we enjoyed jazz, conversation, Merlot and good food with some friends (and my dad), I was thinking about hometowns. In a year where almost everything was lost I've also discovered everything we've found: the schools to work in, a truly caring voice teacher for our girl, a high school opportunity she would never have had on Long Island, and chances for all of us to sing, dance and act in live theater and chorale performances. But most importantly we've found dear, dear friends there for us in times of need and in times of laughter, willing to offer prayers bedside in the ICU, to speak up and seek out career options for us, to advise and console, to laugh with us and share their time with us. We're more and more comfortable here, thirteen years into our Florida adventure. Friends, laughter, music, work. Our new hometown.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

301/365 I love my daughter

Thanks for this photo, MJ!

I really do love her, but parenting sucks. It's not only about the loving. It's about being the gatekeeper, the banker, and the counselor. My daughter the infant was a lot of work (she never slept through the night), but it was sure easier back when all she needed was Mommy's warm arms and a kiss on the forehead. Whether she likes it or not, I plan to keep trying the hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

300/365 Overload Tuesday


299/365 Over Employment

From idle hours to wild days. Land at JAX at 11:45, up at 5 for school. Yes, I am lucky that I can start my new adventure without burning the old bridges, but it isn't easy! The traveling, the rushing about, and the long hours of the old job really challenge me to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for 150+ kids the next day. Until I see some more of this old friend (above) I'm counting on caffiene!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

298/365 What goes around

It's one of those round tower old-style hotels. This was where I did my first ever seminar, a day-long workshop for SDE on Four Square Writing, just a couple of weeks after 9/11/01. I thought it was familiar when I saw Hilton Oak Lawn on the itinerary for today. This was where it started. Now it is beautifully renovated, and I return to do a Four Square Writing seminar for another company, one of a dwindling schedule of seminar work. First time I was here I was easing my way out of the classroom, now I am easing my way back in. This building isn't the only thing circling back!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

297/365 Recipe for a Teen Birthday Sleepover

3 Chick Flicks

2 trays baked ziti
1 case diet coke
2 dozen cupcakes
2 lbs M& Ms
1 bag each: Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos

Prepare ingredients mid afternoon. Add half a dozen friends. Warm thoroughly in hot tub. Finish with liberal dose of gossip and giggles.

Friday, October 23, 2009

296/365 Audish

3 family members and one community theater production of Oliver. Wouldn't that be fun? We'll see!

295/365 DisHarmony

As if it weren't bad enough that I was presenting for the Lurch and Company Educational Trainings, but then they booked my travel on Air Tran (read: Air Ghett0). The seats are made of thin plastic with a material like the reusable grocery bag covering for comfort. Back of the bus, and it's an interesting adventure. So many flying virgins! In row 27 (of 29) I sat, wedged against the window. This was the last departure to home, so they held the flight for late connectors. Beside me was this pretty little thing, a black girl, about 20 years old, who was bubbly and enthusiastic. And a flying virgin. My head was against the wall and I wanted no part, but she tried to chat with me. Her breath was strawberry Twizzler. Then she discovered the armrest radio. Apparently there was an all-Beyonce station. I don't relate that detail because I was listening to the station. I was subjected to Pretty Little Thing's rendition of Beyonce. It was somewhere between the sound Hansel makes when I accidentally step on his tail, and the sound of the coffee grinder. I could only make out the song through the familiar lyrics. She was singing full volume and I was trapped.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

294/365 Some things I'll miss

Yep. Glorious fall foliage and the local fare (Chicago-style hot dog).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

293/365 Madonna and Me

Heading out for a K-2 Workshop, I brought some other important reading with me. A little Rick Wormeli will get me in the middle school mood. I have my spankin' new ID from school (can they use photoshop on the picture, please) and my flash drive with the start of my lesson plans. Also in my carry-on is my Chorale music and a Broadway audition piece. From traveling consultant to stationary edu-tainer. It's the Re-Invention of me (again).

Monday, October 19, 2009

292/365 New Routines to Come

So I was at school today. All day. As a teacher. Even though I'm unofficial, I figure the sooner I'm in there the better. Then I scooped up my girl at High School, and took her for an adjustment to the braces. Back at home dinner prepared by her Dad was quick and yummy. We shared laughs, stories of our days, and plans for upcoming auditions. Now my girl is onto practicing and homework. I'm catching up on business emails and blogging, then we're off to Chorale. Sure, I head out for some workshops tomorrow, but this is a preview of the day-to-day with the new job. I kinda' like it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

291/365 Cool Sunday

Chilly weather, but I was out from the warm covers early. A bit of laundry and housecleaning. Then it was blueberry pancakes for the fam and the BFF who had a sleepover here. Well, not much sleep. They giggled and talked into the wee hours. As a result the teen spent most of the day snoozing. Hubby and I went for a brisk walk. We moved briskly and the weather was brisk too. The cool air didn't prevent some of our indigenous neighbors to surface. We spotted 3 alligators! Mating time or eating time? We waited to see the action, but the chore list called. We had to clean out the garage. In a back corner I've stored "classroom stuff" for almost 8 years. 12 boxes! Mostly junk, though, and as I won't even have a desk in my co-teach situation, it was sorted and re-stacked in the garage. I did like my watch/snooze on the sofa. Having read Running with Scissors at least twice, I never knew there was a movie made of it. The first of many birthday celebrations for the daughter. Tonight it's my parents for round one of the 15th year celebration.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

290/365 The air is off.

Windows open, cats on alert. Sweater at the ready. Ahhh, autumn. Better late than never.

Friday, October 16, 2009

289/365 My waning days of unemployment...

Preparing next week's workshop and doing a few household chores. Pandora's "Spa" channel in the background, sleeping cats on the sofa. I'm trading tranquility for a new adventure.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

288/365 Hired...

When I woke this morning I had the following on my "to do" list: laundry, 5 mile run, weed whacking, bill paying, practice, preparation for next week's K-2 workshops. The phone call came when I was running. Less than 2 hours from my sweaty, panting state I was signing an "Intent to Hire." 6th Grade Language Arts. Just yesterday I was bemoaning the destruction of education, now I wonder if I will be an accessory to the crime. Or maybe I'll be a one-woman crusade. Either way, this wasn't what I had planned for the day. What a wild ride is life!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

287/365 Don't Drink the Koolaid

What in the heck is happening to education? Mrs. J is everything I would want for my own child's teacher. Organized, methodical, engaging, caring, professional - the best teacher I know. This is a teacher who is dedicated, thoughtful and learned, reduced to tears over feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. The FCAT scores, the data, the reviews by literacy coaches, the assessments - too much information, too little connection with the kids. This National Board Certified Mentor, Teacher of the Year, doubting her practices. The system is in meltdown.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

286/365 If it only made things cold...

Our family calendar. The school calendar. The grocery list. Take out menus. Important phone numbers. Pictures of nieces, nephews and the cuties of friends. The fridge keeps them all. As for the contents? Trash. Today, 4 3/4 years after we bought it new, it decided that cold was no longer an option. Incredibly, when we called the help line at 9 P.M. the Maytag Man answered! Warranty expires after 5 years!

Monday, October 12, 2009

285/365 Several Layers of SUCK

UGH. Monday. I gave up a chorale practice to work, and though the money is good the day was BAD! No time for breakfast even though I woke at 5. Treadmill time, then a stop at the Wal-Mart in Mechanicsville, PA. Can't trust teachers to bring paper to a writing workshop, so I stopped and bought some. Then the workshop. District Literacy Coordinator wanted a pumped-up, high level Writing Workshop 2.0, so I worked, obsessed, researched and delivered.I should have known it would be a problem when she kvetched about making the handouts. Then they give me 200+ teachers in a cavernous auditorium. Nothing to write with or on, or even lean on. They couldn't collaborate, couldn't do all the things she said she wanted them to do. The Coordinator gave them 1 1/2 hours for lunch, so the itinerary I prepared was unfinished. Nice of her to offer to pick me up a salad. Not so nice of her to bring it in 5 minutes after we restarted the afternoon session. Run to the airport without even time to gas up car rental, and security search meant I didn't even have time to pee before boarding. The regional flight to Charlotte was nearly wheels down when the landing was aborted. Up and around, and 20 minutes later we landed. Sure, that was better than hitting the American plane in our way, but there went dinner (breakfast/lunch). When we did land we were held at the end of the runway for another 20 minutes to allow the firetrucks and ambulances access. The plane after us had called in an emergency. Ran to the connecting gate where they were already boarding (early!). L-O-V-E-D my center seat in row 23, 2 from the back. Loved the super-turbulent flight. Some days I'd like to erase from my memory...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

284/365 23731

Macbook is OK... This is my photo booth pic of the evening...

2 loads of watch, and the 2 of us walking our traditional 'Bucks and back route.
3 of us on the way to the beach.
7 when we join precious LMJ and her crew for a fish nip at the coolest tidal pool in the East.
3 for brunch with a Caribbean flair, dining outdoors at Atlantic Beach.
1 here in a hotel room. I don't mind my own company, but I'm glad that my day was filled with so many other numbers!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

283/365 50 Virtual Birthday Cards

50 Birthday wishes on my "notifications" flag. The best part is that I set up my phone to send me a text when I have a facebook comment, so every time someone sent me a wish, I recieved a text with the message. It was like getting birthday hugs all day long. Even though I was working and away from home, my presents kept coming. I even received a personalized birthday song from a delicious little girl via digital technology. I was smiling all day long. Thanks for all the birthday cheer!

Friday, October 9, 2009

282/365 The end of my 43rd Year

(No booth seems to be missing from the Macbook. I thought these things weren't supposed to break???)

Alone in a hotel room, arriving from the airport just before the strike of midnight...

What an eventful 43rd year. Rediscovering my voice, almost losing my best friend and soul mate, helping my child navigate the start of high school. A tumultuous year, but I still feel like the luckiest S.O.B. in the world. Alive, healthy, and a life full of loving friends and family. Waking up to start year 44 is all the gift I need.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

281/365 Diner Delish

This is a slice of cake, not just a rainbow cookie. I didn't eat it, but I just admired the nephew's slice from across the table. I love diners. Thank god we don't have any near home!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

280/365 Ready for flight

The hint of a belly bugaboo that has been bubbling for a week went bye-bye - or so I thought. Between doctor appointments I took in a Cheesecake Factory lunch with the hubby. Perfect timing between his brain and eye scans, and before my flight to New York. He didn't want to do our usual split-a-salad-and-something meal, so I ventured out. Today's lesson: Questionable Tummy+ Huevos Rancheros + Regional Jet = Loooooong flight to New York.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

279/365 Worth the investment

This is a ritual. I need to leave the bag out for a few hours before I try to pack it so that it can be inspected by the in-house TSA (Trying to Sleep All over?) inspectors. The investment of a little time and money pays back tenfold when it comes to the kitties. As for human children...

Monday, October 5, 2009

278/365 Resonating!

Practicing. Hour-plus butt-kicking voice lesson. Play practice with the kids at school. Chorale rehearsal. Loving it! How did I go for so many years without music in my life? I've got a bunch of work to do to get the pipes back in shape, but I'm loving the challenge. Maybe I needed a 20 year hiatus to appreciate music and to get over the coulda' woulda' shoulda' syndrome. I love and appreciate every note I have a chance to sing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

277/365 Feeling like that too.

Hansel is helping EG clean out his closet. EG had a mammoth Kohl's excursion this morning, treating himself to a new assortment of khakis and black button-downs that look just like his old assortment of khakis and black button-downs. He has refreshed his teacher uniform rations. I'm feeling just about as helpful as Hansel. It has been ages since I've felt this unproductive, sitting still in denial of a bit of a stomach bug that I've been trying to ignore for going on 5 days. Heating pad on tummy, I watched one football game and listened to another this afternoon, quite a different multi-tasking feat than I'm accustomed to doing. My plan is, bug or not, that I feel better tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

276/365 Passing the time

Passing the time in an airport on a Saturday afternoon, heading home from a rare Saturday workshop for teachers in South Florida. I am thankful for work, but horrified at the situations I see. What the heck are they doing to public education?? Who is going to want this job in the next generation? Underfunded and over-blamed... and the situation in Palm Beach County sounds downright scary. A teacher wanting to do the right thing (help a child with re-teaching or additional practice when needed) is subject to being written up. Troubled kids need the best teachers, but they best teachers are nearing the breaking point, with all the paper work, mandates, and attempts to shame them. Enough is enough.

Friday, October 2, 2009

275/365 Really, really smart

Notice the morning sun, streaming from the bedroom window.
It's 8AM. Fed, watered, and cat-treated, it's time for a nap. Gretel knows how to live.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

274/365 Gleeful, but not very happy

This is a can't-miss show in my house. Actually we usually miss it on purpose since we added the DVR to our cable service. An unintended consequence of the DVR is that the resident teen can obsess about each episode all week long, winding and fast-forwarding her way through the hour-long musical drama. I think I know each episode by heart. This show has a bit of everything, larger-than-life characters, interwoven plots, a good sprinkling of wit and sarcasm, song and dance numbers, and A list guests. The writers did well with this week's guest spot by Kristin Chenowith cleverly playing up her "perfection" as her fatal flaw. But for the most part, in our house, we find ourselves annoyed by the story lines. Week after week the characters attain a new level of mean, and the who's-dropping-out-who's-dropping-in-the-glee-club story line is just about used up. But the musical numbers keep me hooked. The singing, the movement, the twists on popular songs in a show choir setting, sometimes funny, sometimes ironic, but always brilliant. I fear, though, that we may DVR and forward past the plot and right to those moments, if the writing doesn't cheer up a little.