Friday, March 27, 2009

Lack of Blogging

I haven't been blogging very regularly, sorry. I'm behind in everything, including my blog. Spring Break is coming and I have to be caught up by then so I can relax because the REAL stress comes after we come back from S.B.

What's left before then, you ask?

  • 28 class periods to teach

  • 3 periods of packets to grade (90+ packets of work)

  • 162 short answer tests to grade

  • 2 weeks worth of Caught 'yas (that's 300+ pieces of paper)

  • 2 socratic seminars to hold and grade (with the GATE kids)

  • 2 more late nights at school (Band concert and Awards night, last night was Open House)

  • 45 yearbook pages to final proof and return

Here's how I feel when I grade

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wedding Photography

Today I photographed a wedding for a friend's brother. It was a small, intimate ceremony and reception with a very laid back couple. They had very little expectations from me (thankfully) and probably wouldn't have even had a photographer if my friend and her step-mom hadn't insisted. I LOVED the experience and I feel like I got some great shots--the bride capativated my lens. As laid back as they were, I'm hoping that I don't disappoint too much.
I'm so glad to shoot in digital and have the benefit of Adobe Photoshop CS3 when I get home! Tawni, I'm sorry I wasn't better back when you got married... I'm sure I could enhance some of the images you have on CD now :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A day at home

Trying to kick my sickness away, I spent the day at home. It was interesting... my bunnies crack me up. Darcy is calm and likes to sit... Charlotte never stops moving, and even when she lays down it is only for a short second. She jumps right on top of Darcy. They want to be near each other, but I can't see how he doesn't want to kill her everytime he wakes her up. When they are in their cage, they sleep, when they are outside of the cage, Darcy sleeps and Charlotte jumps!

Charlotte is getting big, but still likes to cuddle. They both think that it is fun to eat plaster off the walls and bite my socks/slippers.
Dave was home working away on the new bathroom. He's doing something with the plumbing and goes from whisling one of three sounds to getting angry every thirty seconds or so... it is interesting to listen to.
My neighbors hang out and talk to each other outside during the day. The mailman (who is very nice) stopped for a cookie and milk with Jake, the two year old who lives on the other side of the street. I've seen four older couples ride their beach cruisers down the street and very, very few cars.

Happy St. Patrick's Day (late)

Last night, Rachel made her traditional Irish dinner for us girls. She makes it every year and I'm going to let her keep making it for me as long as she offers! St. Patrick's Day is a big deal to Rachel and I love every minute of the food; she made corn beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, asparagus, jello pears, and thin mint-green chocolate brownies. Yummy! The most entertaining part of the night for me what that Brendan, Sammy, and Mercy were all there in their green. For most of dinner Brendan yelled at us (he broken his second tooth last night), Sammy talked, and Mercy wanted in and out of her chair about ten times. All of the girls talked on and over the babies, Rachel, Tawni, and Casey feeding the children and eating at the same time.

Anyway--we took a ton of pictures of the three kiddos together, but here is one of Sam and I.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pink Slip

You'd have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the budget crisis in the state of California. You'd also probably have to put great distance between yourself and any part of education to know that the budget crisis is having a major impact on school as we know it. For the past several months (and last year too) every newer teacher in the state has been worried about a dreaded pink slip or RIF notice deadline of March 15th (this year March 13th because of the weekend). Schools, both public and private, have seen such cuts in funding over the past two years that there is no way to cut more money without cutting people. Junior colleges, Cal States and UCs are also being effected.

RUSD scrapped by last year without losing many teachers (and even hired more mid-October!). This year will be a different situation. Last night, at the Board meeting, they approved 316 RIF notices that will need to be sent out before Friday. The general consenses seems to be that every first or second year teacher will receive one, along with teachers on special assignments (all those literacy coaches, district specialists, etc).

I know that Central will be losing at least one Language Arts teacher, possibly more due to class size "un-reduction" and loss of double block periods for under performing students. I happen to be the newest teacher in the department so I figured that I would be getting a pink slip. I was somewhat assured when I saw the district seniority list and my ranking of 487 (meaning 486 teachers were below me), but the stress is still there and my hair is still falling out.

This afternoon my principal came into my tutoring session to let me know that I am not on the RIF list; in fact, no one in my entire department at CMS is either. Good news is that I'll have a job. As he turned and walked out the door, he added, "Now we wait until after May 15th to see where your job is at..."

On a related note, I was intrigued as I read President Obama's first public speech about education reform. Most of you know, I don't particularly like him or his politics, but I was impressed that he was willing to stand up and say some wildly unpopular things for the Democratic party.

Interesting statements he made that will surely offend the Dems and the Teacher Unions who paid, in part, to elect him (in no particular order);
  • There is a mass of teachers who are undertrained and thus performing poorly
  • Bad teachers, reguardless of seniority, need to be out of the classroom
  • Teachers should be paid on based on merit
  • Our school year and day is not long enough
  • Our textbooks aren't challanging enough to compete with other nations
  • Our state standards are not focusing on what it important for our future generations
  • We will "fund" the mandate of NCLB properly (yeah, right, like to see that one happen)

Monday, March 9, 2009


I love simply veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and many others. Growing up, my parents always had veggies with our meals and even as a small child, I ate them with a bit of butter and salt. Melissa didn't like them, but then again, she didn't like much of anything. We always had steamed veggies--my parents used one of these beauties--->

After awhile it started to rust and my grandparents decided that my parents needed a "real" steamer and they bought them a fancy, electronic steamer for Christmas. It was wonderful. We continued to eat steamed veggies at almost every meal. When I went to college, I got my own metal beauty and used it for several years. When we got married, I registered and recieved my own fancy, electronic version that Dave and I use pretty much every time we eat at home. It cooks veggies, fish, chicken, rice, and pretty much anything else you could decide to steam (although, we've only used it to make veggies). It fits enough veggies for six people using one layer--a pure beauty.

That being said--tonight I'm eating alone because Dave's at class and because I ate A LOT of points at lunch, I decided that I'd eat a bit of chicken and lots of veggies for dinner. Awhile back, Vons was having a special on the bags of prewashed, precut veggies so I purchased them. Tonight, I decided to follow the "steam in the bag" directions instead of using my pretty beauty.
Overall I wasn't impressed. It took half the time, but the veggies were mushy and I put them in for LESS time than suggested (I did it for 3 minutes, it suggested 4.5-5 mintues). I think that if I ever neglected my beauty again, I'd put it in for even less time... but I think I'll just stick to my beauty, the steamer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today's story

Sixth period today Mrs. Pfeffer was walking across the classroom carrying the poster paper and several markers. Yearbook students were working in groups finishing their trimester assessment project. As she tries to wiggle between the white board and a group of unsuspecting students, she steps on the edge of Micheal's backpack. The immediate thought of failing crosses her mind, but she quickly tries to right her body without dropping her load. Instead of her attempts helping, it is immediately clear to Mrs. Pfeffer that she will ultimately fall to the ground and drop everything causing a scene and gathering the attention of all twenty-seven consciencely working students. Rather than falling all the way to the ground, Micheal (who's backpack caused the whole silly fall in the first time) broke her fall. Tackling Micheal in his chair, Mrs. Pfeffer didn't make it to the carpet. She walked away with a bruised shin and a great story about tackling a student to the group. Micheal, on the other hand, is traumatized that his teacher was practically tacking him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Food Journals

To correctly follow my March resolutions and work this WW plan the way it is suppose to be worked, I've created a blog simply for the food journals. If you care, they are available here.

Up the mountain

Tonight Des and I walked up and down Mt. Rubidoux for the first time. Our plan is to try to get up as many times as we can each week. We gave ourself a mini-goal of ten times. When we get there we are going to buy new college sweatshirts.
The last time I walked up the silly mountain, I weighed close to 275 pounds. I hated every minute of it and questioned if I would die before the cross appeared at the top. This time I weigh 184 and I didn't particularly like it, but I wasn't worried about dying!
We did decide that there should be bathrooms at the top and we need kleenex in our pockets! We've already planned to go up again on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Resolutions

I truly can't believe that it is March already!

Continuing my monthly resolutions trend for 2009, here are my thought about this month's goals.

  1. Every weekend do some type of recreational activity (walking to the plaza, riding my bike around, etc.)

  2. Record and POST my daily Weight Watchers journals every day

  3. Drink two mugs of water per day while at school and more at home

  4. Expect high performance from my yearbook students and stop doing the work for them (no more late, late nights).

  5. Tell Dave how wonderful he is everyday.

Review of February Resolutions:

  1. Create willpower over food. Limit myself without other people limiting themselves. So-so results—limiting eating out helped, but I still have a long way to go

  2. Attend CardioTennis for the 4-week session (February Fridays) and walk one day a week around my neighborhood Only got to go to CardioTennis once because of the rain and freezing weather—three more to go during March. Rode by bike once and went on one long walk.

  3. Keep my desk more organized at work and eliminate half of the piles that grow as they grow. So-so success—I’d say I had a clean desk half the time for the month of February

  4. Communicate my expectations clearly and ahead of time with Dave. Ongoing practice

Review of January On-going Resolutions:

  1. Wear earring to work most days. Complete success! I missed one day (since Jan. 1st) this past week, but my students said that my little stud earrings counted J
Read the rest of my resolutions here and here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


My baby bunny is getting bigger :) Here is a picture of her in the same mug from 15 days ago, she needs my hand in keep her in the mug now because she is SO big!
Darcy and Charlotte are great friends. When he is out before her, he goes over to her cage and sniffs through the front wire gate. It is adorable!