Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beginning Students

Today I am working with groups of students on stage as they prepare their final scenes. The group that is set to work with me right now has no idea where their scene takes place. They have had the scripts for several weeks, don't know where it takes place and one of them doesn't know what the script is about. What in the world have they been doing for the past 3 weeks? And will they pass their final? Probably not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have you ever...

felt like you were spiraling out of control? Or were at the bottom of a deep, dark pit and couldn't claw your way out?

I feel this amazing sadness engulfing me each day. In the last several months I have had 5 days of what I would call truly relaxing happiness. A time where I felt like I could be me and who that "me" was was accepted by the people I was with.

I am tired of spending most of my days feeling like I don't belong, feeling like I can't do anything right, feeling like a failure.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I just had an AP in my classroom to tell me that there is a student in one of my theatre classes who is mentally ill, they are suspecting bi-polar but don't know for sure. The mom has been informed that she needs to take the kid to see a doctor, if she doesn't he won't be allowed back on campus.

Now, here is the yikes part...he says he has two sides in him, "good X" and "angry X". The "angry X" is telling him to hurt me. This is why he has ran out of my room on various occasions. Normally it is during a rehearsal day and him walking away from me isn't case for referral. A week ago he did it during a class activity, so I wrote him up.

I got an email from his counselor telling me he was having "emotional" issues and if he wasn't in my class he was either with her or the school psyc. The AP talked to the two women about the issue and asked if I had been told what was going on. They told him no. He doesn't know why they were choosing not to tell me, but he thought I should know and told me he is going to do everything to make sure I was safe and felt it best that I know what was going on. Apparently so far "good X" has been able to control "angry X", but it is getting harder, which is why he bolts from my room. The AP says as far as they can tell he doesn't know why I am the target.

I know this is rambling, I'm a bit shaken. And obviously needed to get it off my chest.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ex-Wives Should be Shot

Okay, not all, but a goodly portion of them.

M's ex-wife has ruined yet another holiday/vacation for us. She took so long in getting back to M about the dates he would have B for the Christmas break that we can no longer afford the plane tickets. They went up by almost $500. Her comment, she has no control over the airlines. How about you give us a timely answer since we have no control over the airlines.

This woman is such a piece of work. You can't say anything nice, she'll twist it; you can't do anything nice, she'll twist that too; you can't ask a question, you're changing the subject if you do that. I really don't know how she gets along in life. She thinks everything revolves around her. (one of the many reasons I refer to her as "Planet D").

She has ruined many vacations, she has ruined the relationship between B and M, she has ruined any hope of a relationship between me and B. She thrives on the negativity.

What's worse is that it is really getting to me. I don't want it to. I want to be happy. Most people say nice things about me, either they are telling lies or I'm a genuinely nice person. But dealing with the woman and her chaos is turning me into someone I don't want to be. I try to make the choice to not let it, but it is SO hard.

So, new commitment, focus on me! Focus on what makes me happy! If I am happy I will be able to make those around me happy. If I am frustrated and angry all the time I only make those around me frustrated and unhappy.

I make the commitment to (try) not to let D and her negativity get to me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lesson Plans

I am tired of spending my entire prep period looking for ideas on what to teach. I have never taught this level before, have never read most of the literature and now spend most of my time stressing of how to make British Lit interesting for American teenagers.

My department chair is a wonderful woman and does a great job with seniors. But her style of teaching is very confusing to me. We meet on a fairly regular basis and I am still completely lost. It seems our meetings are always a week behind where I feel I am. Her lessons are very free flow, for example, the kids drew pictures of the characters in Canterbury Tales and then did resumes for them. I can see where this is a great lead in to doing their career research project and doing a resume, but it doesn't tell me what I should be teaching about the Canterbury Tales or Chaucer. I need more of an anchor.

So, I am pretty much giving up on Canterbury Tales and moving on to Beowulf. Although I have no ideas there either. I am again spending hours and hours of time researching what I should be teaching. I should have kept sophomores. At least there I had a clue, here I have no idea.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you kidding me...

I have another cold. It seems like I just got over the last one. Damn little petre dishes.

Friday, October 16, 2009


My days are comprised of many, many rehearsals right now. I love rehearsal. I love the process of creating theatre. Creating a new world and bringing characters to live. Now, I just wish my students loved it as much as I do.

The problem I am encountering right now is that the actors (beginners, advanced and those in the play) don't want to do their "actor" homework. The work where they sit down with their scripts and dig for the gold that creates an interesting, well rounded character. They think that acting is about words, not about life.

It has gotten worse year after year. It is so bad this year that when I was talking to a group of beginning students and was explaining the concept of "being in the moment" of a scene; the moment where the scene is real to the actors and the audience alike, two girls at in the back of the room and were making fun of what I was saying, rolling their eyes and you could tell they weren't buying it and thinking I was stupid. I actually used it as an example, saying that just because they didn't to believe it and sit and roll their eyes and think it's stupid, that the ones who take it seriously and do the work are going to be the ones who get the good grades and have the most fun in the class because acting isn't fun, unless you take it all the way. The got the hint and stopped their disrespectful and distracting behavior. We'll see how it goes today when they actually have to start staging their scenes.

I remember a time (boy, now do I feel old) when the students in a theatre class would actually try to make the scenes believable, would want to play improv games and have a good time. Ah, the good ol' days.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Listening (s)Kills

How hard is it to listen to directions and then follow them? Apparently very!

I have explained the same assignment for two days in my theatre 1 class and still the students do not understand what they are supposed to be doing, what subtext is or what blocking is. I have explained all 3 multiple times and even tried to deal with written terms test if they can demonstrate they understand the terms by using them in discussion and applying them in class.

Right now you would think I said "This class is devoted to talking to your friends and me giving assignments that don't mean anything."

Oh, and get this, I have been asked by one little darling when we will start doing "Real Acting". I can't wait until this kids gets a 5 minute scene and can't figure out how to prepare because he blew off everything up to that point.

Note: I just gave the 10th private lesson on what subtext is.

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.....

Monday, October 12, 2009


Let me start by saying I love my job. I love my school. I love my kids. I love my coworkers. I love my administration.

Now, let me tell you what I don't love. The dysfunction that is prevailing on my campus. The administrators don't communicate with each other. Three of them don't like one of them, that one doesn't like the others. There is tons of resentment and anger all over our campus for various things, many of which occured before I started 6 years ago. Yes, resentment that is 6 years old.

As the staff club president I feel like it is my job to do something to improve the moral. I know that I can't take then entire burden on myself, but something has to be done. I don't understand why those who aren't happy don't just leave. Why stay someplace you don't like, working with people you don't like. It just doesn't make sense.

Because this does bother me so much, I vow to continue to be a positive force on campus. To continue my attempts at improving moral and making this a great place to work. I also vow to not take it personally when people won't jump on my band wagon, but continue to invite them aboard.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Egg Shells

That is what I feel like I am walking on at all time. I no longer feel comfortable in my own home. I have two step-daughters, neither of which are real fond of me. One I at least get along with. They both seem to look down on me because I am not of the same religion, which really pisses me off.

I am at my wits end and am considering something drastic (and expensive). It's not a road I want to take, but I also want to be happy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Our campus is loaded with bunnies. Cute, furry, little bunnies. They are wonderful to watch as they frolic and play.

They also dig holes in our football field. I have heard stories of the the coaches telling the kids they will get rewarded for each bunny the catch. But what do they do with them? I'm sure it isn't something I really want to know.

One kid told me today that the football coach said he was going to let them bring their bb guns to school to shoot the bunnies. I told the kid I would report them to the SPCA for animal cruelty.

I understand that this is a problem. But just because someone is too lazy to figure out an alternative solution does not mean death is the only option.

I have made this my cause this year. I am determined to find a rescue group who will help to a catch and release program. That way we can manage our rabbit population without doing harm to the animals.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The College Fund

My SD-19 is now living with us. It's been a huge struggle for me to have a full time teen living in the house. She is planning on becoming an ultrasound tech, which is very cool and a good career move.

Here is the problem, she waited until the last minute to apply for any of her loans/grants. The financial guy at the school seems to think between Pell grants and Stafford loans we will only need to come up with $3000. Which is great! Except, we don't have that money and I'm concerned that the almost $300 a month payment is going to be put undue strain on us. I say undue because there is a college fund. A college fund that M doesn't want to use, he would rather hold on to it and give it to SD to use as a nest-egg for a house.

Now, here is my confusion, WHY if you have a college fund would you take on that kind of stress. If it is a house fund, why call it a college fund. M then told me that it is in reality the "L-fund". I about flipped a gasket. I have NEVER heard of doing something like this. Just giving a kid that kind of money, just because (okay, maybe in wealthier families, but not at our standard of living).

M seems upset at me because I don't want to take on the extra debt. I'm upset because I feel my entire life is being put on hold because of money because of what we (meaning he) wants to do with and for the girls. We had started to talk about having a baby (ssshhh, you are the first ones to know that), can't afford a baby because we have a 19-year-0ld living in the house that we have to pay for, and a 14-year-0ld who hates me. Can't afford to take the trips I want because we are so far in debt right now and the only trips M can figure into his mind are big trips with the girls. And apparently we can't go without doing some sort of big trip with them each year.

I am beginning to resent the girls because I am not able to do the things I want to do because he is always putting them first (don't event let me started on pictures, that is a whole other story).
I really don't want to be "this" person, but what I am to do, muffle how I feel, let all the expendable money we happen to get go to things for the girls and let my feelings of resentment get worse?

From what I have heard this is a common feeling among step-parents. Especially when the birth parent puts all their focus on the kids and not on the relationship. I am feeling so stressed that it is starting to affect the relationship I was trying to develop with L.

And to make my feelings worse, M brought up what are we doing to do in 4 years when SD-14 hits college and it could cost $10,000 a year. I said use her college fund and cross that bridge when we get closer to it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

sad news...

I just got an email from one of my parents (school parents), whom I also consider a good friend, she just found out that her husband has 3-6 months to live. He has been battling esophageal cancer for several years. It had gone into remission, but in the last year had come back and wasn't responding to treatment.

Please keep N and D in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chuggin' Along...

Summer is moving at break neck speed for me and I don't feel like I'm getting enough done. I feel like I spend all my time cleaning, this is due to the fact the new 19y/o living in the house does even less than her father when it comes to helping out. To add to the chaos, 8 of her friends from Utah are coming to town tomorrow afternoon, for a week. And last night I was told I was wrong because I was upset that the ballroom dancing night AT THE HOUSE wasn't run by me first. I was told it is her house too. Fine, then maybe she should do some stuff around here. Now, would I have said no, probably not, but it would have been nice to have been part of the conversation that said it was okay.

The rest of what is going on and how I am feeling about it is a long, long, long story and makes me very, very, very upset, so I shall not talk about it and update the to do list...

1. Scan family photos - haven't started this

2. Scan heritage photos - haven't started

3. Paint iron patio furniture - thought about starting

4. Landscape the tranquility garden - did work on this for a couple of hours a couple of days ago

5. Read - I continue to read as much and as quick as I can.

6 Funding - Got an email from an organization that has two grants that I might qualify for, of course they have already given them out for the coming year. I can apply in March. I need to call Rotary Club again, they never called me back.

7. AVON WALK - I need to raise $1000 still in order to do the walk. Right now I am making spare change jars for people to collect their change in for donation. Now, I just have to get people to agree to fill the jars.

Okay, off and running. I need to clean a doggie pool so I can return it, the dogs want nothing to do with it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

dropped off

School let out and summer vacation started and I dropped off the face of the earth. I have been enjoying my time off. Reading, working around the house and visiting with friends. It hit me yesterday that I only have 5-6 weeks left. It is going by super fast, mainly because summer is almost 2 weeks shorter this year. Our district in an effort to save money has eliminated our year round track for elementary schools. To keep those parents happy they adjusted the traditional track schools to have a longer winter break and a longer spring break. I'm not so sure about the change, but I'm willing to give it a shot with an open mind.

So, with my remaining weeks I have a lot of stuff I want/need to get done, with that here are a "To Do" list.

1. Scan family photos - several years ago I became the self professed family historian. That basically means I stared scanning 30-some-odd years of family photos and moving them to acid free albums. I never finished, so that needs to get done.

2. Scan heritage photos - on the same lines of the family photos, I have 3 albums that belong to my grandmother that I need to scan.

3. Paint iron patio furniture - when R passed away 3 years ago I took some really cool patio furniture from his house. I have never gotten around to painting it, although I did buy the paint. I want to paint the furniture and make it functional.

4. Landscape the tranquility garden - okay it's really not a tranquility garden, it's just the garden on one side of our backyard, but I want to make it a place where we can relax and enjoy the evenings with some tea or a glass of wine.

5. Read - the reading list for the summer is HUGE. I am changing English levels next year and haven't read most of the stuff on the reading list, so I have some catch up to do. Not to mention I need to find my fall play.

6 Funding - I need to find funding for my online class. The school informed me at the end of last year that they will not fund me next year. I don't get it, we are one of 18 schools in the world that do this project and they don't want to fund it.

These are some of the major things, there are lots of other little projects that keep popping up. The paper to do list is much longer, because I add to it as I discover things that need to be done. I also want to make a trip to Phoenix to visit my grandmother and and possibly to Colorado to see my sister (this is the trip M wants me to make).

In the middle of all of this I want to find some beach time, I'm looking a little pasty right now.

So, what are your summer plans? Anything exciting going on?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009



The weather here continues to be June Gloom. I'm tired of overcast, chilly weather. If it's going to look like this I want rain (rumor has it an El Nino is headed our way).

School continues to move along and is proving to be a big disappointment for next year. I recently found out that one of the projects I do with my students will not be funded. The cost is relatively minimal, but the school says they can no longer pay for it. If I find my own funding I think I can still do it, so I am on the search for a group or several groups who will help me continue to participate in this project. I will tell you more about it once I know if I can find the funding (lest someone try to steal the project out from under me, I mean, come on, I'm one of 18 schools that get the opportunity to do this).

The students get more and more out of control each day. Today I am administering a district final with my English students and I would say at least half of them did not bring pencils. Who doesn't bring a pencil to a final? I really could throttle them, but it's against the law.

Things at home do not seem to be improving. L has moved in, which is going okay, we are all working on making the adjustments. I don't think she likes the fact that I don't just let her do what she wants. I'm sorry, I think going to the spa with a boy she knows likes her (and I know wants to get into her pants) at 10:00 pm is a good idea, even if she explained that she will only be his friend. If there was going to be a group that would have been different.

B continues to be a thorn in my side. I think D is beginning to realize that maybe I'm not the complete and total problem. M is doing a better job at standing up for me to her. The issue this time is that I hurt her feelings because I teased her about braces not hurting as bad as she makes it out to be whenever she gets them tightened. She won't even talk to me on those days. Oh she can talk to everyone else, but not to me, it hurts to bad. So this last time I called her on it. I wore braces, I know what it feels like. When D expressed concern about what I might say when I see B again M told her that my take on it is to treat her the same way I treat my students (I only tease the ones I like) and they all seem to be okay with it. And he explained that when we are together at the house I usually go into the craft room or play on my computer, that B and I say very little to each other and he only sees that as getting worse now. D couldn't say anything to that.

I could go on and on about the situation there. But let me leave it at this, I don't hate B, I hate her behavior. I know for a fact she hates me because she has told people that. (M called her on that one, finally). It's going to be a fun filled summer, I can feel it.

Now, off to grade some more papers...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Today's programing is brought to you by the number...

Because that is how many days I have left of school.

The days are moving by at break neck speed, so much to do and so little time. I have lists and lists of things to accomplish and I don't think there are enough days to get it done. Not to mention I can feel myself getting overwhelmed and when that happens I mentally shut down and don't get anything done.

Here is a list of things that make the end of this year especially nice:

1. I won't have to deal with the group of senior boys that have been terrorizing my theatre 1 class all year.
2. I will have a second theatre 1 class next year.
3. The theatre will be completely, spotlessly clean before I leave for the summer.
4. I may not have to teach sophomore English next year (I might have seniors).
5. I'm ready for a fresh start.

Here is a list of things that make the end of this year a little sad:

1. I am losing two of my favorite students EVER! (there are a at least 4 other students in my 13 years that I feel this way about, so that says a lot about these kids).
2. One of my favorite kids doesn't like our department or school anymore and wants to go live with her dad. It's killing her mom's spirit, I feel for her. I consider the mom a good friend.
3. I don't know what my fall play is going to be.

What's keeping me going right now is the fun of completely cleaning my theatre. The head custodian got me a big dumpster and we are throwing stuff out right and left. The hard part is never knowing what you might need. But I can only store so much. I will take pictures tomorrow for your viewing pleasure. I really wish I had thought of that before I started cleaning out our storage bin. But better late than never. I am so excited to rummage through the bins and bins of costumes that were found, decide what is worthwhile and what is trash. I am looking forward to photo cataloguing all the major furniture pieces and unique prop items that way when we have a show we can shop effectively "in-house". And I am looking forward to being able to move around the theatre without having to constantly move things out of my way. Wait until you see all my "junk". I know several of you might break out in hives with the mess and clutter that you will witness.

And with that, I am tired of being at school. I am going to pack up my papers to grade and do that at home with a nice glass of ice water.

Friday, May 29, 2009


13 days to go!

The kids are getting antsy, I'm getting tired and everyone is getting lazy. I can't wait until we're done.

Aside from that my life is running a break neck speed as always.

Here are a few lists and then I'm off to grade papers while my students silent read for a bit.

Things I am trying to do
1. Plan a family summer vacation. If only the "ex" would give us the dates that B will be with us. I am pretty sure she withhold's this information so she can maintain control over M's life. I mean he divorced her, she doesn't have the ultimate power any more, she has to do something to control his life.
2. Plan a trip to New Mexico in August for a wedding
3. Find a job so we won't go bankrupt over the summer.
4. Schedule dog training for the pups.
5. Get caught up on grading papers before school lets out.

Places I want to try visit this summer
1. Phoenix - to see my grandmother again
2. New Mexico - for a wedding
3. Carpenteria State Beach - for some relaxation

Projects I want to complete this summer
1. Finish scanning the 30-some-odd years of family photos and get them back to my mom's house.
2. Scan the historical photo albums I borrowed years ago from my grandmother so she can have them back.
3. Get my "secret" garden back in shape. It's not really a secret, but that's the feeling I want to create.
4. Finish the quilt my grandmother gave me to the topper to.
5. Make a baby afghan for my cousin who is going to have a baby.

Things I want to add to my bucket list
1. An African Safari
2. Go down in a shark cage
3. Act in a professional production of something

And now I am to run, got to teach, got to try and mold the youth of today into the production adults of tomorrow we hope they will be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Count Down...

more days of students!

Parents don't fool yourselves, teachers look forward to summer vacation just as much as your kids do. It's not that we don't love our jobs or love the kids, it is the shear fact that they wear us down by June.

I for one have several I would love to give a swift kick in the pants as they leave me for parts unknown. But, then there are the ones who I love and care for as if they were my own. They are ones that make it all worth it.

Like JC, who has been in my program for 4 years, worked long, tireless hours for me and has made every attempt to make my life in this job easier.

And JD who in her sweet (yet sometimes neurotic) ways always makes me smile. I have taken this one in under my wing and have vowed to make sure she is okay no matter what. She has a rough home life (no abuse, just a case of local poverty going on here). At one point M and I were days away from seeing what paperwork would be involved for me to have living with us.

And little AR, she isn't as active as I would like, but she is a joy to have around and always has a smile for everyone.

And sweet, sweet CV, who came in to my theatrical life just last year and took the department and my heart by storm. She is a tiny dynamo of talent and is going to blow everyone away as she goes off to college to pursue an career in musical theatre.

And AM, my highly motivated, highly talented techie girl. I don't know how 90% of the set work is going to get accomplished next year without her. She would do anything to create an awesome set (including painting 3 ginormous canvas backdrops).

As happy as I am for this group to be graduating, I am going to miss this bunch immensely. They are my hope for the future, my sanity, my students...

My kids.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why do rules change?

I often wonder about this. I have worked at my school for 5 years and in the district for 10, and the rules are constantly changing. I understand the concept that sometimes rules need to change, but don't tell me that something has always been a rule when I have never been asked to do it.

I have run into this situation numerous times this year. All regarding paperwork. This year I have been told I am supposed to submit my show posters, program and tickets for approval because they are seen by the public. I have to submit my insurance to drive students (which I actually knew but haven't done in years, and have continued to drive students with the administration's knowledge).

I am compulsive rule follower, I like to follow rules, I like structure. But don't tell me things have always been a certain way when they haven't. Don't treat me like the scum of the earth and scold and reprimand when you haven't enforced the rules that have been broken. Don't be reactive, be proactive. It is actually to the point of being ridiculous.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I lost it...

Today after rehearsal I was looking for my microphone and cable for tomorrow's performance. Couldn't find it, anywhere, I have been looking on and off for a few weeks. Today I also discovered that two ginormous projection screens that were donated to me are missing. Top that off with a 3 page "to do" list and I flipped.

I threw keys (not at anyone), yelled and stormed around. It was bad, and I calmed down in a matter of 20 minutes. I feel bad about it. I don't like when it happens. I have sent apologies to several of the students who had to experience it, and will catch the rest tomorrow. I don't like to blow up, especially in front of the kids. I hope the aftermath is not too bad. Once again, this is not the person I want to be. I want to be calm and supportive and together. Not the nutjob who freaks out at the drop of a hat.

Now, to help relieve some of that stress I shall now kill some zombie's.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

striving for mediocrity

Today it was announced on the news that California is 48th in education. How pathetic is that?

The government has slashed educational spending by billions of dollars. Our district has to cut 40 million from the budget before 2011. I know that 10 is being cut from the year that has already started (yep, money that has already been spent must now be unspent) and another 10 from next year. And that doesn't even add up to the total cuts that need to be made.

Now, keep in mind that with all these cuts as a teacher I am expect to still do the following:

- provide varied educational experiences (this is educational speak for fieldtrips, which we can't go on because there is no money)
- use technology (there isn't any money to update technology, so we better hope nothing changes)
- give each student a book (let's hope they don't destroy the books, because there isn't any money to replace them)
- give students one-on-one differentiated instruction (this means, design lessons that meet each individual students needs, meanwhile the classes can have 40 or more students in them)
- provide for students who do not speak English, do not have money for supplies yet have a nicer cell phone than I do.
- manage classes full of kids who don't want to be there and don't care if they pass.
- fill out paperwork for students in special needs programs
- attend IEP meetings for those special needs students

All this while maintaining a positive attitude and smile. It's not wonder California is having a hard time recruiting high quality teachers. We are some of the lowest paid in the country (in relation to our cost of living). And the respect teachers get...oy! Athletes get more respect and most of them are criminals (just look at Michael Vick and his cohorts), these are the people teens look up to. If a kids is smart or wants to learn they are made fun of and ridiculed. It isn't cool to want to be involved with anything or be successful.

We live in a time of entitlement. A time where people expect to just "get". People don't think they have to work for anything. I blame this on the parents (not all parents, I know some who are teaching fabulous values and responsibility and I respect these people more than words can express). Parents who expect teachers to just give students an "A" for being in class not for doing quality work (quality doesn't matter). I actually had a parent tell me once that her child deserved an "A" in my class because he tried. Last time I checked trying isn't always doing. Needless to say that parent had her son removed from my English class. Then there is the parent who was just happy I have her son a ton of extra help and he was pulling a "C". (both these students were special ed, mainstreamed).

Wow, that is quite the rant...and all I really wanted to say is that at this point the state of California is just striving for mediocrity and I'm not sure we are reaching it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a dog's life...

Check out this new Puppy Store on Melrose...

pretty swanky huh?

Here is the catch, this store has dogs that have been rescued from Death Row in Los Angeles animal shelters.

When I was first sent the link I was furious. I don't like the idea of dogs being sold in stores, especially when so many of them come from puppy mills and other horrible breading conditions. And then I read their press release, I almost jumped out of my chair with a big "YES!!!" for those poor shelter dogs.

The Los Angeles Animal Care Centers have over 300 dogs in their 6 facilities. They will keep the dogs as long as they can, weeks or months, as long as room holds out, for these dogs to find their forever homes. And now with this pet store taking dogs off of death row and giving them a second chance...WOW, those are some lucky pups.

If you are looking for a dog (or cat) please consider adopting rather than buying from a pet store (unless it's OrangeBone Puppy Store) or breeder. There are so many adoptable animals just waiting for their forever homes, could it be with you?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crap Storm

That's what I feel like I'm in, a huge crap storm. It seems like no matter what I do bad things happen to me. I keep being told that things will turn around, but right now it feels like if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all.

Here is the list of all that is bad:

1. The wind storm in January blew down the courtyard fence at the townhouse and did extensive damage to the back fence. The quote from the insurance company to get it fixed was less than 1/2 of the quote we got and would have gotten us $1.50 back on the claim. Told them to forget it.

2. B is being a little B. She this is still from the last big fall out. She says M isn't there for her, she told one of my students she doesn't like me (so, when/if M has visitation I don't go and if they come here I lock myself in my craftroom). Yet, she is still willing to ask him to do her favors like provide lights for her school dance, but doesn't know when she wants to talk to him next.

3. District budget cuts are putting my program in jeopardy. And they are talking about doing salary cuts.

4. I have to get a second job for us to pay our bills this summer, because of all the bad stuff that has happened in the past several months there is no savings.

5. I have been told I have to stay on our School Site Council although I have asked to leave it. I just don't have the time. Other things are suffering because of the commitment to this. I just stopped showing up to meetings.

6. My principal thinks I am the "Go To" gal because I am president of the staff club. I only continue to do that because I can't find someone else to take it over. I really don't want it.

Okay, I think that's enough, I'm getting stressed and upset just looking at that stuff. Which is surprising because normally I put it on "paper" and things don't seem so bad. They still seem bad, in fact, now they seem worse.

I hope everyone has a good day and that the crap storm lifts soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grades, grades, grades...

That is what I'm dealing with. Grading tons and tons of papers (yes, I put many off to the last minute, but believe me when I say I grade papers every day).

Final grades are due on Wednesday, so all papers must be graded, all performances must be complete and we begin a new slate.

My advanced theatre students have managed to put off reading the plays they are required to read until the last minute so I am giving them until Monday to do their play reports. If they had done them over the entire semester it would have been a play every two weeks. That's not bad. But NO! I have students coming up to me wanting more time, wanting me to give them extra credit for things that don't warrant extra credit. They tell me 10 plays in a semester are too many. They have lost their minds. Drama students should want to read plays.

Ah, the joys of being a teacher!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


did it become acceptable to question a teacher on their grading policy in front of the entire class?

I have a student in my theatre 1 class who questions every grade he gets. And not along the lines of logic. He feels he works hard, I see him doing nothing. He seems to think that running his lines with his scene partner over the phone should somehow count as class participation. He doesn't understand that just because you work on something doesn't necessarily make it "A" work. I really have to hold back when he starts to do this. I actually start to argue back. I used to laugh at my friend who had this sae kid two years ago about arguing with him, it hard not to. He sucks you in.

My department is dependent on numbers. I have to have the kids in the class to make the class happen. I actually would pay money to make this kid go away. Kind of sucks, I hate feeling this way about my kids.

And on the note of when did things become acceptable...when did it become acceptable to waste classtime and then ask the teacher for an extra day to turn in an assignment? I can't count the number of sophomores who have asked me that today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

drama in the drama department

It seems the curse of the scottish play has struck my theatre department. In the last hour I have had two kids quit the show, come back, gave a lecture on them needing to suck it up and deal because we open next week, one quit again and was talked back in by his friend, and then he told me he would do the show but wasn't going to talk to anybody in the cast. ARGH!

In all honesty I don't know how these kids are going to survive when they go out into the real world. I have one girl who hasn't smiled in two days and looks like she is in some kind of coma-state because the boy who is/was her best friend and her got into a fight. Neither one of them thinks they did anything wrong, neither one is willing to be the bigger person and talk to the other about what is bother them. The boy is just letting it roll off him and doing what needs to get done, the girl has completely shut down.

I love working with teens. This is the worst part of my job (right up there with casting a show). I want to make things better for them, but need to realize that I can't fix everything. I try not to let it get to me, but these kids are so important to me, some of them don't have any other strong, stable adult figure in their lives. I don't feel like I can just cut that connection.

Then I have the one who thinks she is more of an adult than her 17 years really allow her. She only sees things in black and white and refuses to even consider that there are gray areas. She in some ways makes things worse by perpetuating the "hatred" and anger that some of the kids feel toward one student in particular. This student is going through some serious growing pains, he says he hates everyone who used to be his best friends. He has been mean to some of them, treated them poorly, but it seems to me more like a cry for help than anything. He has recently gotten out of a very destructive relationship (for both parties, good kids, not good together). The kids who were his friends are siding with the girl because they say he was mean to her. Even as he tries to repair these relationships, they won't let him. They don't view it as him crying for help, they just see it has him being an ass.

All of this is going on in my cast of 13. The only ones not in turmoil are the ones who refuse to let it get to them. I am trying to be in that group. One of my motos this year is "Water off a Duck's Back". Although, right now, SUCK IT UP! seems to be more appropriate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

and he huffed and he puffed and...

he blew the fence down. Yep that's right, the fence at the townhouse is down!

I got a call from M at about 5:15 this morning, he was on his way to San Diego for work and got the call from our tenant that the courtyard fence was down. Now, I knew it needed to be replaced, but I was hoping to get a little more on top of the bills before we had to do it. (I'm holding my breath that the back yard fence holds for this windy season and we can buy a little time on that one). Both fences really should have been replaced when I was living on the property, but I didn't have the money then, kind of like now.

I have emailed the association to let them know we are aware of the situation and see how long we have to fix it. I have emailed all the neighbors (that I have contacts for) told them we know about the situation and that we are working on it. I'm not so worried about the assoication, it's the neighbors. They don't like my tenant. He was a little loud when he moved in. He refused to meet them because they didn't come over and welcome him to the neighborhood. But that is another story.

So, now I am on the search for a good contactor (good and cheap). If you know one in the OC (that's Orange County, CA) please let me know. I have a fence to replace.

Note: I will be posting pictures tonight of the damage. I figure we might want to take pictures just in case. Hopefully the tenant hasn't removed the debris before I get there.