Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Second Easiest Week

Actually, it could be the first easiest. Last week was SUPER easy because it was exam week. It was only a 4-day week to begin with and included 3 half days, one of which I didn't even have any classes! The rest of which I was doing nothing but giving tests. So as easy as that sounds, this week has almost been as easy or easier. Can you believe it?? It started with Monday being a professional day (work, but no students). Monday wasn't that easy of a day. I ended up with computer problems which put me in the Social Studies office all day. I didn't get much done and ended up being there until 5:00 - boo. Then Monday night a snow storm came through and dropped about 2" of snow throughout the day on Tuesday. It was my first snow day this year! Hooray! Then as luck would have it, Tuesday night there was more snow, sleet, and freezing rain which left a nasty mess on Wednesday. Second snow day in a row... sweet! This morning I got up and started getting dressed when Josh said- "Let me go check just to be sure." As it turns out, we had a 2-hour delay! So my work week was ridiculously short. Tomorrow there are two assemblies, one in 2nd period and one in 3rd period. It's going to be a pretty easy day :)

So this week hasn't been all peaches and cream. I had a major Homer Simpson "DOH!" moment. Back before the holidays, I went to register for my spring classes. Two of my good friends and I were all signing up for the same two classes for the spring. However, when I went to sign up for our Advanced Techniques in Counseling class it turned out that the section my friends had signed up for was already full and you could only put yourself on a wait list. I was sad because that section was taking place at the Columbia campus and while it was 3 hours each week instead of 2, it did not include 2 weekend labs from 9-4 on Sundays. I ended up having to register for the section offered at the Baltimore campus which is only 2 hours each week but has the weekend labs - SO sad - but I also put myself on the wait list for the Columbia class. Well after a while I got an email saying a spot had opened up in the section that's held in Columbia- hooray! I was excited and asked them to switch me immediately.
So classes started this week. Upon arriving in said Advanced Techniques class, the instructor announces that we will be breaking into two groups and essentially having two separate classes. She called all the names of the people splitting off into the other group and both of my friends including one other girl we know were all called to the other group while I was left by myself. If that wasn't bad enough, I find out that this class will no longer be meeting at the Columbia campus, but at the maximum security prison in Jessop to counsel female inmates for the rest of the semester!! Oh snap.
The instructor asked if everyone there was doing the clinical counseling program and I said no, I am doing the school counseling program. As it turns out, the Baltimore section of this class had been designated for school counselors and will be more focused on children and adolescents. Doh! So when I hopped online to check it turns out that the Baltimore section is now wait list only. I emailed my advisor and the instructor of the Baltimore section begging them for any possible exception to switch my class. I also explained that I was a little uneasy about working with inmates. Thankfully they took mercy and the advisor said he would switch me right away.
So now I'm in the right class and hopefully my semester will run smoothly.

One thing that has gone surprisingly right is working on next steps for my dad. He is currently still in a stroke rehab center, but has been doing very well with all of his therapy. So we had a meeting today to discuss his progress and next steps. His therapists basically said he had met all of his goals and was independent in all the things they were working on with him. They even had him cook stew. And apparently not only was he able to cook the stew, but he was able to tell the therapists everything that was wrong with it (wrong spices, wrong ground beef- 80/20 instead of 93/7, and that it tasted like crap). The therapist said she tried to distract him by having a completely unrelated conversation while he was cooking and he still did great. If it's one thing my dad is particular about, it's food. He eats very simple things, but he knows how to cook them right (thanks to my grandmom, a fabulous cook). So my sister looked into an apartment for him to move into right near her house in Westmister and it looks like he'll be on his own within the next two weeks. This is very exciting considering we weren't sure when or if he would be able to be independent again. We did decide that he wasn't ready to drive yet, but everything else he can manage. Hooray for miracles :)

So, I'm pretty excited for our low-key weekend coming up. We have almost no plans... just a little sunday afternoon outing. We're not even watching the SnoozerBowl on Sunday. Is anyone else boycotting-- I mean, not interested in the game? And I hear there's more snow coming Monday.... :) I really don't want to be in school until July and Howard county doesn't build in any snow days so every one we use gets added to the end of the school year. But I have to say, February and March are grossly devoid of scheduled days off. I'm just not sure I can last that long! Literally there is no scheduled day off for the entire month of March. God help me.

Ok, well 30 Rock is on and I have to go watch it. If you've never seen it, you must make time to watch it. Heck, invest in the seasons on DVD. This show will not disappoint.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is it still WINTER??

There are a few things causing me to ask that question today. The first of which is the fact that after a slight fiasco at the holidays, I am in search of a nice warm pair of gloves to wear while I'm driving, so that I don't have to grip the ice cold steering wheel with my bare hands. Now I have some big fuzzy mittens, but they may not be the safest while driving in terms of grip. Therefore, I'm searching for something perhaps in leather. In my quest for said gloves, I stopped a Kohl's yesterday (had already tried Target and they had not a winter accessory to be found). My thinking was that it's mid-January and going to be [what I consider] cold for at least 3 more months. AT LEAST. So I went into Kohl's and what to my wondering eyes should appear in their accessories section?? Nothing but sunglasses and flip-flops!! I was astonished and irritated. I circled for a good 20 minutes before giving up. The only gloves to be found were these creepy gray and brown Vera Wang gloves that went half-way to the elbow. Certainly intended more for a fashion statement than practicality. Why would a store stop selling winter things in the middle of winter? Do they think no one will need gloves past Christmas? I know stores do stupid stuff like that all the time (ex: putting Christmas trees out after 4th of July), but really, come on. Gloves? No gloves. Fortunately I found a pair online from Lands End for a good price. They would have been free from Kohl's because I had store credit, but I guess I'll have to use that on bathing suits and flip flops.

Second thing making me question winter is today's balmy 45-degree temperature. Bring on the flowers! Just kidding. It's amazing how warm 45-degrees feels when it's been 14 for about 3 weeks. I had to laugh at myself walking to my car today because I was thinking how temperate it felt outside. It's proof that everything is relative. In the fall we'd say 45-degrees was freezing, but after suffering temps in the teens for a few weeks 45 is practically summer. Maybe I do need to go back and get those flip flops after all :)

In non-weather-related news, this has been the happiest working week of this school year so far! It's exam week as I mentioned a few posts ago, and our schedule is SWEET. First, Monday was MLK day so there was no school at all. Tuesday was a full day with one exam in the morning, so the rest of our classes were shortened (and extra so because we got a one-hour delay out of that silly little snow I was telling you about). The rest of the week we have two exams a day, split by a 20-minute break, and then we go home! Not only have I had no lessons to plan, but the day ends at 11:10! It's beautiful. Today was probably the best day of all because both exams were my planning periods so I literally had a day with no students. It was like what I wish for every morning walking into school: everyone's there, but when the bell rings no one comes to my class! I just get to sit in silence and get my work done. Then the bell rings again, hallways fill up with loud, obnoxious teenagers, and again, no one comes to my class. I get another block to just sit silently getting work done. When I feel hungry, I have a snack. When I have to pee, I just walk on out of the room and go to the bathroom. I felt like a normal working person! It was magical. These may sound like ridiculous things to be excited about, but normal working people might not understand how nice they have it in their quiet offices on their flex-time schedules, even if they are hard at work all day. Tomorrow will be the end of the sweet-week though. I have two exams to give tomorrow and that's it. We fortunately have a relatively low-key weekend planned so that's nice, especially since I've been sick. And Monday is a professional day since tomorrow ends the 2nd Quarter/1st Semester. I'm SO happy to be half-way through this school year :)

Ok, back to grading.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "Common Cold"

Have you ever feared drowning while eating a bowl of cereal because you couldn't breathe through your nose? Have you ever lied to a child about having tissues because you needed them desperately for yourself? Have you ever been afraid to leave your house because you might not have access to the quantity of tissues you need? Have you ever felt both light-headed and nauseus at the same time from sniffling too many sniffles? If you can say yes to these things, then you know how I'm feeling, and it's miserable. I don't know who or what to blame, but I promise, I will get you back. In the mean time I'm going to make a pot of broccoli & cheese soup and panini sandwiches. That should make me feel better, right? Here's to hoping :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Call Shenanigans

So it FINALLY snows (thank you, Laura) and it's already a holiday! Shenanigans! It's ok though. If today had been a regular school day we would have gone in on time before the snow started, sat there all day on edge just waiting for the announcement that we're leaving early, and then finally at 2:10 we would go home at regular time in the mess that had resulted from it snowing all day long. I'm actually glad that today is a day I just get to stay in and do nothing. Especially since I'm now coming down with some kind of cold (Laura, I hope you didn't send that with the snow. I read about that one and I'm just not up for it).

Since I'm home today though I had the time to install my new camera software on my computer and finally download some of the pictures I've taken! I'm so excited. They won't look as fancy as Jenn's pictures ;) because I think she has far cooler editing software than I do, and these are just straight off the camera. But they are pictures I took at Josh's cousin's 1st birthday party on Saturday. It's actually his cousin's baby. At first I felt like kind of a nerd for hauling my camera bag in there (it's the size of a small suitcase) but I ended up taking 200 pictures (!) and other than myself one of the other kids there was taking pictures on a cell phone, and I think Josh's aunt (birthday girl's grandma) was having some lighting issues with her camera. So it worked otu for the best. Here are just a few shots to give you an idea. She's SUCH a cutie-pie...

-Allison's First Birthday-

A true "Gerber Baby" face if I've ever seen one!

Also [working backwards here] Friday night I went to a bridal show with Ben and Jenna, our moms, and my sister at Turf Valley. It was way more fun than it was intended to be, mostly because Amberly, Ben and I spent the night entertaining ourselves with our usual silly antics. My mom even had a hard time not laughing at us. You may have seen the photos on my sister's blog, but if not...

Everyone: Jenna, Deby, Ben, Me, Amberly, Mom

The cute little newlyweds-to-be :)

Aaaaaand this is how siblings entertain each other [at least in our family]

And last but not least [as weekend fun goes] last night was of course our big game. We went to Josh's uncle's house as we always do for away games. It was fun to be there rooting the team on even though the outcome wasn't what we had hoped for. In typical Stealers fashion there were totally bogus calls made, we had a score of injuries including one near-devastating hit taken by our running back Willis McGahee that had him taken off the field on a back board. By that point it was adding "injury to insult." People can argue that the Stealers [and I do spell it that way on purpose] are a better team because they have better numbers, but every time we played them this season they beat us by the slimmest of margins, and had any number of bogus calls gone the other way the outcome would have been different. So are they really that much better than us? I honestly don't think they are. They barely eek out wins over us because the NFL loves to hate Baltimore and loves to love the Stealers. So what can you do? You can't win against the refs. All I can say is it was a hard fought season that no one expected to last as long as it did for us. With a rookie coach, rookie quarterback, all the injuries, bogus calls [roughing the kicker in particular last night - that was pure shenanigans], and being on the road, I think we gave them a hell of a time out there last night. Baltimore has nothing to be disappointed about this season. We could have gone all the way if a few tiny things had been different. A good example being our 3rd stringer, Stone, who kindly cost us the lead by incuring an unneccesary roughness penalty when we were on the 40-yard line and down by only 2. But what's done is done and it is what it is. We have a lot to be excited about next season with Joe Flacco and our fearless leader, Coach John Harbaugh. Rock on, boys. Can't wait til August :)

Good game, Coach

Good game, Joe
Ok, and just one more thing before I go. Does anyone else fight with Blogger when it comes to pictures?!?! I really avoid uploading pictures because it's such a nerve-racking process. What's up with having to upload them in backwards order? Why do the always go to the top no matter where you want them in the blog?? Why does all of your formatting disappear when you cut and paste a paragraph?? Why, WHY does it automatically insert 100 line-spaces between your paragraphs every time you add a picture?!?! Is it easier to add all of your pictures FIRST and then compose your post around them? Or is it better to do pictures at the end? Or as you compose? I feel like the only one who has major problems with this. Maybe I'm just easy to annoy and no one else thinks any of this is a big deal....? Haha, if you have advice please pass it on. I feel like a blog-tard (or a pic-tard??) :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sorry So Cryptic

You might end up hating me for this frustrating post. But there are a few things on my mind lately that I can't really discuss outright for one reason or another. But sometimes you just HAVE to say something. So this is me saying something. Read into it what you will - you might be right, or you might be wrong. It won't matter either way.

So the first thing is that I suspect someone I know has a problem with me. Have you ever known someone that you just never felt like you had "won over?" I'll go ahead and say this person and I didn't exactly start off on the right foot, but over time I've felt like we had moved past that. However, now that person's recent actions make me feel like that might not really be true. We've also never really been what I would call "close" - go figure. So it's not like we talk about anything deep. I know if this person did have a problem with me they wouldn't talk to me about it. And one of the most frustrating things about the situation is that I know I haven't done anything to this person - not even in the beginning when we started off on the wrong foot. It sounds ridiculous, but I think this person may just want to hate me. I have no idea why. So I'm sure you're wondering why I don't just write this person off and move on with life. I could, technically, but it bothers me so badly that the person seems to dislike me for no reason. I have a hard time with people not liking me (strangers and random people not included). Anyway, if you have a solution - or even advice - on that one, please let me in on it.

The second thing is more exciting. I'm getting ready to quit something that I've done for years. I've decided it's time to stop. (Don't worry, nothing illegal or otherwise juicy). I'm a little apprehensive about how it's going to go, but I know the decision is a no-brainer. It's going to make me happy in the long run. One of my friends recently quit and it went very well so that gives me hope. This is actually something that I can be more specific about later and update you on.

In other (less cryptic) news... we've been busy as usual. I've caught a little bit of a break at work since next week is exam week which doesn't really require lessons. This week I slid by on review activities which did require some planning but not like a regular lesson. So Josh and I have actually spent some time vegging on the couch together. We even curled up on the couch and fell asleep twice this week! That's pretty significant for us. Being that next week is exams, I am now half way through this God-forsaken school year!! I really can't explain the toll that all of this planning has taken on us. But I will say that I'd rather have the stress of the lesson planning than the stress I had at my old school with those nasty, nasty, out-of-control children. I'm so much happier with my students this year. Going along with work news, Josh's clearance came through this week! He's been waiting on that for a little while now. It will basically get him more money and more opportunities :) We like that. Also work related... we're still waiting on a snow day :( Laura makes me jealous every day when she writes about the INCHES of snow they get on a nightly basis. It's ungodly cold here and I've gone out two mornings this week to find snow dust on the road and sidewalk. What the crap? Can we not produce real snow?! Ten degrees is cold enough, that's for sure. Bring on a good Nor-easter and I'll be a happy girl :)

Ok well I think this is sufficient for tonight. I hope I get to write again this weekend. Tomorrow we may be going to PA for Josh's cousin's baby's 1st birthday... and I don't even have to tell you what SUNDAY is :D Lucky for us, Monday is MLK day so we get a 3-day weekend! Holler at that. Bed time for Mimi. I'll catch you kids later.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why I Hate Winter

Today. Today and all other days like it are why I hate winter. What's wrong with today, you ask? One small thing: it's as cold as it can possibly get without the only benefit of cold weather... a snow day. It was even the crappiest kind of winter day - rain all day long, but the temperature stuck right at 34-degrees most of the day meaning nothing but the coldest possible rain you can imagine. Two tiny degrees colder and we would have had ourselves a snow day. It hasn't stopped raining yet. Blah. And of course on days like today I need gas, but I couldn't bear to get out of the car and stand there in the miserable weather while it pumped. Fortunately, my husband is chivalrous and will be elated that I couldn't possibly manage that task without him :)

There's a lot of other stuff I want to blog about and pictures I want to upload, but sadly since I'm back to work there isn't much time for that. We even have a busy week this week... the only night we don't have plans is Thursday, and even that is TV night. Anyway, as always I'll be back as soon as I can to hopefully post some holiday pictures!

PS- How do you like my new blog look? Thought I'd try something different....