A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quick Check-In

I really do appreciate those who pop in to see if I'm up to anything.

"May Madness" is crazier than ever this year. I was telling someone this week that I feel like that guy on the Ed Sullivan Show who would race around like crazy trying to keep plates spinning on the tops of poles. He would start with one plate and keep adding them, but there was clearly a maximum number that he could keep spinning. Eventually they would start to fall.

I exceeded my max this May. May is always nuts. In a normal year May Madness is manageable, but this year I've got too many plates spinning.

School is nuts. Kids and teachers are losing it. But this year, our principal is retiring and we are trying to get some things in place before the new principal comes in. Our current principal is a very nice man - probably the nicest I've ever met - but not a good principal. For example, apparently several weeks ago our PTA told him that they were donating $2000 to each grade level. He never told us and now, in a budget crisis year when we haven't been able to order anything except paper for our classrooms, we're going to lose the money.

Also, because of Grand Jury duty, I also have had to rearrange my lessons and create two days of substitute lesson plans every week. One of our better subs committed to taking the job for the rest of the year, and I know I can give her things like learning games or plays or whatever. But occasionally she has something she needs to take care of on a Friday or Monday and I get a different sub who does not handle flexibility so well. When that happens I have to re-plan and re-write what I've already done so that I give her something she can handle.

May as union president usually means elections and our teacher retirement dinner. This year we layer on emergency meetings with the district because of continued budget cuts. It's getting really ugly in California and, with the defeat of the emergency initiatives (a process that must stop, but don't get me started) I expect SoCA to start feeling like Blade Runner pretty quickly. I expect our school year to get shorter (which means teachers get even less pay, thank you very much) and - more importantly to parents - children's free babysitting will be cut off and the kids will be out on the street getting into what they get into. All up and down the state policemen are being laid off, and the justice system is getting ready to release non-violent offenders from the prisons to cut costs.

You get what you pay for.

If I had known I was going to get on the grand jury I might not have bought the puppy, but he's in our hearts now. He's 16 weeks old and - in doggie years - in his Terrible Twos (which will last another two years). As if living with a four-legged toddler wasn't challenge enough, he has developed some food intolerance issues so we can only feed him cooked rice and boiled chicken. I spend more money and time shopping and cooking for the dog than I do for myself! He's definitely worth it, though, and we're hopeful when his digestive system matures that he will straighten out. DS2 started an obedience class with him Thursday and he did very well. This trainer uses the clicker method so we're all functions with clickers and treats in our pockets. Whenever we catch him being good we click and treat. If he does something wrong (like this morning boosting himself up to the kitchen table to check and see if there were any snacks there), he gets a 15-second time-out in the laundry area of the garage. Interesting. When I'm doing laundry and he follows me out he's nosing into everything. When he's put out on time-out and fifteen seconds later I open the door, he's sitting there staring at the door waiting to be let back in.

Yesterday I spent the day with my mom and sister. We were supposed to be scrapbooking, but in the chaos of my life I couldn't face digging everything out and loading the car so instead I cut out all the pieces for the Bunny Hill basket BOM (I had traced them during breaks at jury duty) and made some decisions on fabrics. Mom's quilt group (that she's been part of for 30 years now) is doing a block exchange. Her block is Crab-Apple Hill's Linda teacup from their Tea Party series. I had finished what I'd brought to work on so helped her baste her traced blocks onto backing muslin. Then, as we were finishing up, it dawned on here that she might have put the designs on the wrong fabric (put the design on the backing?) so she's going to have to check with one of the others. She hates to trace and I enjoy it so if she's got them wrong (and can wait until school's out) I'll go over and re-trace them for her.

This is our Memorial Day weekend, a time to remember with gratitude those who have fought and died to preserve the values of our founding fathers. I won't say to preserve American values because I'm not real sure what they are right now. I sure hope nobody's beloved child is dying to preserve our apparent greed and selfishness. I posted here last year a clip of Morgan Freeman introducing a reading of the Declaration of Independence. I think he says so beautifully what we are supposed to be fighting for. We should strive always to reach the ideals of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, inalienable rights for all human beings. NOT incredible wealth for some while others suffer from want.

Holidays are always appreciated. I am doubly appreciating this one for not only do I NOT have jury duty on Monday, I also did not have to write a sub plan for that day. I am hoping to pot up some miniature roses I ordered online a couple of weeks ago (three? four?). I'm worried about these roses. I have had some of these varieties in the past and excitedly ordered replacements when I discovered they were exclusively carried by Nor'East. When they arrived and bloomed, however, they were not the pinks and salmons I had ordered but were all whites. I wrote to complain and the company assured me that if I would let them go through another bloom cycle, the would probably bloom color as promised but if not, they would replace them. Now I go to their site and they are closing their retail online ordering and if people have problems per their warranty they will replace with, apparently, whatever they have in stock. Why do I have this sneaking suspicion that I am going to be stuck with white roses, whatever happens?

Well, I hear people up and moving around. DH is supposed to be taking DS2 and a friend up into the mountains for an overnight camping trip to try out their new gear. I need some puppy training advice before they leave so I'd better go close this up and catch them.

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