Thursday, May 14, 2015

Take Your Blog to Work

Today, I will take you to work with me.

I am hanging out in the school library.  When the students glance up and realize that I am lurking here, they nudge each other. They look at each other with a she's-watching-you-no-she's-watching-YOU look. What?!  I'm not watching...exactly...  I'm observing! It's different!

Unlike the other teachers, who have eight groups apiece, I only have three.  That's because I'm the director and (to quote one of my colleagues) need to have time for "director-ing".

My most basic group is studying occupations, learning to make sentences like "I am a teacher.  He is an artist."

My high basic group is working on maps and directions:  "Turn left, go straight ahead."

And my intermediate group is reading a short passage about RFID chip technology, and what we are "are able to" do with it. They are studying "can" and "be able to".

Everyone also spends quite a bit of time chatting and discussing things that come up spontaneously.
I'll listen in.

"'Get up' means the same thing as 'stand  up'"  [Or does it?  Because you can get up from a sitting or a lying position; but you really only stand up from a sitting position....]

"Do you want to write it on the board? Here's a marker. "
I have a sister who have a little pet named "Coonie" and now she use RFID. 
I like that hospitals use the RFID to newborns because I think they can prevent kidnapping.

"What does battle mean?  See where it mentions the battle against France?"

"What do you do for Day of the Dead?  Only go to the cemetery and put flowers."

"What do you think of the weather here in Utah?  Do you like it?  Why?"
"Like snow."  "What about summer?"  "I like summer."  "Why?  I like summer for vacation!" "How about autumn?"  "Autumn?"
I'll wander downstairs and see what is happening in the English for Certified Nursing Assistant class.  Body systems.  "Contracture.  What is that? Stiffening.  What is stiffening?  When you can't move the muscles.  Normal changes of aging include.,..  muscles weaken...bones lose density and become more brittle."  Pause for practice pronouncing "brittle".  

Just little snippets from my day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Operation Rescue "Grand Illusion"

Today I started pulling together the stuff I need for an expedited passport, so I can leave the country under my married name, ASAP.

Life with Chuck being what it is, you never know when you may need to make a quick getaway.

To Mexico.
A little jaunt...all the way down Baja, to La Paz.
In the van, pulling a trailer that is almost strong enough to haul a 28-foot sailboat called "Grand Illusion" back home.  Why?  Why not?

A couple from California bought this boat and sailed it to La Paz in 2012, then left it there.  It's hard to sail back up the Pacific coast; and expensive to have it trailered all the way up to San Diego.  So it sat there, and they paid $200 a month in slip-fees to the marina. 

They listed it for sale, but got no buyers.  Storms came and broke the rudder - so now it needs work.  Finally, they just wanted it gone, so they wouldn't have to pay its room and board.  Chuck heard about it and asked for it.  It's his if he wants it.  Free.  The title is already signed away from them and the documents are waiting at the marina.  We just have to go and get it. 

"Grand Illusion"? Not a name that inspires confidence.  Better name than "Money Pit", I guess.  But what about a nice name like "Stalwart"?  Or "Excellent Choice"?  "Lucky Break?"

We have a bare hull for a 22-foot sailboat already.  We were about to start fitting it out; so I questioned this decision.  Chuck pointed out that a larger sailboat that is ready to sail could be a better option.

What if it is in bad condtion?

Then we will cannibalize it for its parts.  He was telling me the value of its motor, its mast, anchors, electronics, sails, fittings, etc...

And if it is just a picked-over joke?  I made him promise that we would reserve the right to climb back into the van and drive home without taking possession. 

 So we will go in a few weeks.  We'll make it into a little vacation.  Vacation?  Or adventure?  Or boondoggle?  As long as we don't break down and end up stranded on the Baja.  As long as we don't get pulled over and tossed into jail because we don't have the correct permits.  

When I brought up a few potential pitfalls, he basically shrugged and said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".  That's my boy.  Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May Begins in Pictures

 You can see that our neighbor's home construction project to the west of us is proceeding nicely.  You can also see that the ridge line is going to neatly cut off our view when the roof goes in.  However, Chuck eyeballed it and said he thought it was higher than code.  He mentioned it to the contractor, who double checked his plans and found an error.  It IS three feet too tall.  The contractor came over the other day to thank Chuck for catching the mistake now, when it is relatively easy to fix; rather than later, when the county inspector would have made him tear the whole thing apart.  I was just so happy that he was nice to Chuck!  The neighbors who are building on the east side of us spent last summer dragging us into court for such infractions as watching construction too long. Of course, she and Chuck have a little baggage, to say the least.

When Sara gets her driver's license, I won't have to do these long drives to school in the early morning.  

This one has a "late start" on Fridays.

They are SUCH PIGS.  I get so tired of trying to keep my space livable.

 Has anyone ever had part of your washer agitator break off?  This happened:  I found the broken piece in the laundry basket; then located the sharp edge in the washing machine, lurking... waiting to destroy everything it touches.  We'll try filing it down and see if that works.

Colleagues!  I LOVE my colleagues!  BUT..

...I have so much work to do...

 Enrollment data... more enrollment data...  I was making good progress until I made the mistake of checking my e-mail and found a rabid message from one of the Fifth Grade teachers, accusing the Adult Education program of trashing her classroom last night.  Plant knocked over; markers dumped onto the floor; a bucket of other items dumped out; and (here's the kicker) VOMIT on a computer, pillow, desk and the floor.  Really?!?  She thinks one of our adult students PUKED in her room?  What kind of debauchery does she think we get up to!? She said, "I think it is shameful that  the children take better care of our spaces than your adults do."  Of course, this didn't happen.  I was in that room off and on all evening.  There were only two groups that used the space.  I checked with the staff and the volunteers and noting unusual happened in that room at all.  Plus, after we are finished, the custodians come in to do night-cleaning.  The custodian said he found no vomit either.  So, I have no idea what is going on, but it made me mad to be called in to my boss' office and questioned about it. And mad to have my department treated so poorly by some silly goose.
The circled area represents all the stuff I didn't get done while I was dealing with "vomit-gate".  

Nathan told me that he HAS to have a set of earphones for standardized testing on Monday morning.  He wants to take ear buds to school; but he left his lying around and Tobi chewed them.  I won't lend him mine, because I want to go running on Monday.  No worries, I tell him.  I have a really nice, school-issued head set that he can use.
Nate:  No way!  They can't be head phones, Mom!  They have to be ear buds!
Me:  Why?
Sara:  Nate, they have head sets there for you to use!
Nate:  No!  We have to bring our own!
Sara:  You just don't want to use mom's 'cuz they don't look cool.

Chuck found a pair for him to borrow and ended the discussion.  I was amused.
Get me out of this place and the crazy vomit accusations of a teacher who has issues with sharing.  

Sara and Ilan have prom tomorrow.  

Picnic!  I need to let go of my work day.

Let's take Ilan to the concert with us!

Acoustic music at the Unitarian Church.  Dinner, followed by...
...blurry Bluegrass, courtesy of the Lab Dogs.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Ups! The Downs!

Today, I had more than my share of teen drama.  Good lord.  Where do I even start?

Nate has two really good friends:  L & L, who are twin brothers.  Last week their mother died of a sudden heart attack, just out of the blue.  This was difficult for Nate to navigate:  thirteen-year-old boys don't have the most delicate social sensibilities.  He really wanted to be a good friend; so we went to the funeral together, and I encouraged him to text them every few days to say, "Hi".  They returned to school this week; and this weekend is their thirteenth birthday.  Their father has planned an epic blowout.  They are going to go to the amusement park in a big RV, spend the whole day there, then spend the night in the RV in the amusement park parking lot.  Even Sara said, "Dude, that sounds SICK!" (which is a good thing, by the way.)  Only problem is that he has a soccer match scheduled that day.  After initially saying that he had to miss the party for the soccer match, because he has already committed to the match, I relented in the name of his friends, who could use a few laughs.  But how to finesse it with his coach?  And his dad?  I do not like lying.  But I have to admit that, "Coach, I need to skip the match so I can go to my friends' birthday party." makes me want to come up with something different.

The best story today, though, comes from Sara.  Sara has a boyfriend named Ilan; and last month, they attended his ROTC ball together.  So, when they discussed his senior prom, they decided not to go.  Neither of them felt like it.  Then Ilan texted Sara last night to report that his dad is making him go.  MAKING?  How do MAKE a kid go to prom?  What ever happened to the good old days and, "I'm not going and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" Ilan isn't good at saying no to his dad, though.  His dad insists that it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and cannot be missed.  Sara really doesn't want to go.  She and Ilan go to different schools, so she won't know anyone.  I'm on her side; except that, since Ilan has to go, she should support him by going.  After some eye-rolling and quavering exclamations out why she shouldn't have to do this, she agreed.

Renewed upset his afternoon when she realized we were going to need to get him a button-hole.  No worries, I told her. We'll get him something cream-colored to go with your cream and gold dress.   But check on the color of his suit. 

He will be wearing a tux.

He will be wearing his father's tux.  His dad used to be a hot-shit banker in Singapore and had all of his suits tailored.  I assured Sara that Ilan would look great in a tux, and that her dress is adequate to be worn in the presence of the tux. 

Ilan texted again to say the tux was black and gold.  I was trying to picture it.  Black and gold? 

Ian sent her a picture of the tux.  It was definitely tailored in Singapore.  It is Singaporean in its style, complete with Nehru collar and wide gold trim.  Since Ilan's family hails from India and he is comfortable in his Asian skin, I think he is going to pull it off perfectly and look smashing.  There are no lapels, so I'm not totally sure how the button-hole fits into the picture, but we can figure it out. 

Sara was beside herself.  They will look ridiculous!  The other kids will spend the evening judging her and Ilan. 

Mom, prom is all about the judging! 

Makes me wish that now, as a middle aged woman, I could go to prom.  Chuck and I would have a ball!  We would wear coordinated outfits, laugh too loudly and make unreasonable music requests.  "Ma-vis!  Sta-ples!  Ma-vis! Sta-ples!"  Sara was not amused. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Today I woke to snow.

There had been talk of starting work on our sailboat project.  Step one:  pressure wash the inside of the bare hull to know out all the dead leaves and wasps nests.

But instead we made a fire in the cook stove and I baked lemon bars.  I made chicken mole in the crock  pot.  Chuck and I had an afternoon nap, which did include sleeping... after a while.  I repaired the broken wicker basket that sits on the table and holds napkins.  While I was at it, I attached things to the sides of it:  an old earring; a tiny "Hello Kitty" charm; a key; a spoon; a press-on metal letter from the mailbox.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey, Hey, My, My

Today I took advantage of the warm weather to start mucking out the cleaning out my car.  Since I had an awkward mom-taxi route this afternoon, I didn't bother going home between dropping off and  picking up.  I brought wet rags and paper towels and Windex and Simple Green to the park where Nathan has soccer practice and just worked on it there.  It was a blue-sky, petal-strewn day; so I had the windows down and cranked KRCL, my favorite music station.

KRCL is a community station with mostly volunteer hosts doing a crazy mish-mash of programs.  Very much like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates.  There's a Native American show with lots of drumming; The Bluegrass Express; The Fret and Fiddle Show; Red White and Blues; a Reggae show, the  name of which I can't remember ("All killer, no filler!"); world music;  a meditation show with lots of trickling water and chimes; a very sentimental Pacific Islander show hosted in Tongan; Acoustic Sunrise; a youth show on Monday evenings; really weird electronica late at night.  Late afternoon is Drive Time, which tends slightly toward classic rock, but might include Beatles tunes in French or something.  They also have a daily spot called "Guilty Pleasures".  You can call in a favorite song that embarrasses you.  By ABBA, maybe, or John Denver.  Today it was the Commodores.

Perfect car-cleaning music.  Mavis Staples; Simon and Garfunkel inviting me to hang out with Julio down by the school yard;  Neil Young.

Hey, hey, my, my/
Rock and Roll will never die

Chuck is home from his river trip none the worse for wear except his big toes.  He will lose both nails, I'm pretty sure.  I amused him yesterday with the Worst Striptease I could come up with.  I tossed my dirty sneakers in the air.  I pretended I couldn't unhook my bra without turning it around in front. I toppled over with my pants around my ankles.  I twirled my dainties around and threw them at him but missed and sent them flying across the room, with the exception of my dirty socks, which landed expertly on his head.

He told me it was super hot.  How old married couples get it on.