Friday, October 08, 2010


The digital camera has shipped, but is not yet here. I am enjoying a 3-2-1 margarita on a night when it is still warm enough to have the house opened up. Cricket is hanging out on the couch with me. Red potatoes are baking in the oven and we'll have some leftover rotisserie chicken and green beans for dinner. All is peaceful.

It is a furlough day; ie, one that the school district is not paying us for. I wish I could say I have used it constructively, but I have done little but knit on a sock, investigate a Korean restaurant on the Buford Highway - from hence known as the BuHi (sounds kinda Korean, doesn't it?) and pick up around the house a bit. And make drinks for my willing spouse, who is all caught up in baseball playoffs, following the pipe dream of the Braves going to the series, since the Red Sox are only going home. One thing about the 3-2-1 margarita...I always add more than the required 2 parts citrus juice, because I think it's healthy. I generally treat tequila with the utmost respect, and this drink #2 will be my last one. Hence, it will remain my friend. Hopefully.

I still detest my job. This has been intensified by the fact that I've spent the past week (after hours, that is) keying in grades for my million students for the upcoming report cards. Process to be repeated in approximately 5 weeks. I have got to work smarter on this grading thing, instead of leaving it all til the last minute. Job hatin' aside, I am finding a certain detachment at work, these days, which I suppose is a bit of a blessing. I don't like detachment, feel like the more connected I am to people, situations, things, the happier I feel, but in this case, it all feels just a little saner and healthier to not give a damn what happens. Now I can see deadlines and not panic, sit in meetings where outrageously stupid things are said in a detailed analysis of our team's lesson planning process and not feel like I'm lost in a bizarre netherworld of administrative mental masturbation. No. I can silently send energy to my coworkers and think that I only have 7.5 more months to go before this becomes part of my past. I have never worked for administrators who didn't support my thinking, my work, my way of dealing with children. But it seems this principal cares for nothing but how we are planning to make that test score in April, and any little trip-up, flaw or blip on the horizon is seen as a fault. She's in the classrooms daily, unnanounced, and taking notes, browsing our lesson plans, and mandating this and that. Detached is good. Like a loose balloon, floating around, uncatchable, soon to be gone.

I am mentoring a student, a funny, sassy 3rd grader who was retained because she cannot read, and failed the standardized test that ensured her passage on to 4th grade. She just qualified for Special Ed. I've been her math teacher, and am enjoying spending time with her - she's a good kid. She's going to be fine, I think, she has a lot of spirit, and a strong family. It's these little things that make me think that maybe I don't want out of education, after all, that there's still good work to be done. Our school has an all time low of teachers volunteering to mentor students, in part, I think, because of all the paperwork demands on them right now. My coworker Fish was saying that the mentoring program used to be much bigger.

I have been listening to the Avett Brothers ongoing. Here's my current favorite song.
Which could sum up my feelings about my career, these days.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

dispatch from the virtual mall rat

Fall is finally here, and the weather is crisper and cooler. It's supposed to get down into the 40's tonight. I marvel at how quickly it changes here, from infernal miasma to crisp-almost-too-cool-golden October.

I just ordered myself a new digital camera. Not a fancy one, no SLR, but a pretty decent little point-and-shoot that was highly rated by various consumer reports. The price was right for this new toy, and so I jumped. I am so tired of my old (10 years!!!) digicam's sad image quality and extreme sluggishness. Time to let that faithful servant move on to a new home. I don't know if this will ever turn into a real photoblog, but I've been inspired by some friends' 365 projects, and wanted a camera that was way less trouble.

I also ordered a pair of Frye engineer boots, which I found on sale at Amazon. Now I had some Dingo boots very similar to these in 7th grade, where I got made fun of for wearing boots that only boys who lived on farms wore. I loved those boots, even though I took no small amount of petty redneck fashionista bullying in school for wearing them. I was decidedly not a fashionista. Then, throughout high school and college, I wore hiking boots and cowboy boots and faux tall Frye boots with flowered skirts. Through my 30's, I wore the witchy-looking lace-up gothygoth black boots. In my 40's, leather and rubber LL Bean duck-hunting boots. Now, at last, the boots of a life's longing. So much cashflow therapy, yes, I know, but I'm finding work so painful that I'm compelled to at least enjoy the fruits of my labor. Also, there will be the secret pleasure of wearing some kick-stomping boots to work. If the freaking fashion police allow it...

All this footwear splurginess will ensure that my future fashion finds originate at my local Salvation Army for the rest of this year, I imagine. Or spring from the depths of my sewing machine. At least there will be a camera to document it all.

Knitting...I haz it. The fleece artist sock is coming along pleasurably, even though CPH is stalled, still. I have decided I really do like knitting on dpns. And I really LOVE the Kollage square needles I'm knitting them on, too; metallic and very fast, no drag, but also no slipperiness. My sister convinced me to check them out at Stitches South. But I did drop one at the Variety playhouse last week, during an Aimee Mann concert, and nearly had a heart attack. But LO! and behold, the square needle did not roll!! Flat surfaces to the rescue. More love, more surprises. The yarn is pleasurably squishy, too, though the dye job is faded; I'm certain I will have one bright sock and one considerably duller sock. But cozily nestled inside my new boots, that just won't be a problem.

I have a day's worth of report card grading to do, and a long walk to take with Mister Cricket. He needs more exercise, it's clear, as he destroyed his bed down in the basement this week. Just tore it up. He frequently fights with his bed, and moves it from place to place, but this is the first time he's ever wreaked such havoc. Then Ella came along and ate some of the fiberfill from it, which triggered an enormous bout of puking, that used up every bit of Nature's Miracle we had in the house. Fortunately, she kept all the puking downstairs on the tile floor and throw rugs. Now both dogs are healthy, and we are down one dog bed. But Ella's incontinence is being medicated successfully, so she is back to sleeping in the bed with us. All's well that ends well.