Sunday, December 14, 2008

Richard Miles

I’ve grown up in a society where things are constantly changing. As I became accustomed to the ever changing world I’m growing up in, I realized that there was one person who was always the same, something I could always count on: my grandfather. I’m not talking about the kind of rigidness and inflexibility that you sometimes associate with growing older. I’m talking about the steadfastness of character and loyalty to all things good and true that we rarely see these days. I will always remember my grandfather in a brightly colored sports coat sitting in one of the front pews of this church. I’ll remember his cookie jar filled with cookies, the dozens of rubber bands he wore around his wrists, and his commitment to the Ohio State buckeyes. I’ll remember getting birthday cards exactly two days before my birthday with cash stuffed in the envelope every year. I’ll remember the unique greetings he had for each of us his grandchildren, Sal sal, Philly, and Nasty. I’ll also remember his loyalty in love and service to his wife, my Gram. I’ll remember his love for his children and his grandchildren, his commitment to supporting anyone who wanted to make the world a better place, and his ability to forgive quickly. I know I am very lucky to have had almost thirty years with a grandfather like him and my love and admiration for him will never change.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Pomp


My grandfather passed away. I'll always remember him for being a generous grandfather, a loving father, a passionate husband, and a terrific salesman. He could drink whiskey sours with the best of them and he loved The Ohio State Buckeyes. I asked him what he could attribute his successful life to and he said his friends. He said he had amazing friends and they made him that man that he was.


Here is a cute picture of Richard Miles and his grandson, the next best thing....


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Questions

I get asked all kinds of questions by student, but most of these questions are inappropriate or are posed at inappropriate time. These questions include: Are you pregnant? When are you going to get pregnant? Do you drink? Have you ever done drugs? Can I go to the bathroom? When does winter break begin?

You get the idea.

Today I was teaching a lesson about parables to set up our future discussion of Homer's Odyssey and one of my students raised her hand and asked," Do you know if the angels are Jesus' sisters and brothers?"

I honestly don't know but was a little taken aback by the nature (and somewhat appropriateness) of this question. I'll let you know if I find out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dear Pomp,


My grandfather is in hospice care and is in very critical condition. This is a note I sent to him this week.


Thank you for my generous birthday present. I'm saving up for a trip with Mr. Pete next summer so your present will be very helpful. We're thinking Europe or South America.


It was very good to see you this week. As always, you made me laugh.


I really admire your courage and your character as you have been laid up these last few weeks. You are a better patient than I would be.


As a young married woman, it's inspirting to see how much you and Gram love each other after all these years. I hope Mr. Pete and I can make marriage look as easy as you and Gram do.


I'm so thankful that you have always takens so much interest in me as your grand daughter. You went to countless Nutcrackers and even memorized Shakespeare.


I love you so much!


Love,

Stinky


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh yeah, what did you do today?

$100 the price it probably costs to hire a substitute when I stay home from school after a sleepless headache-filled night

$75 the cost of towing a broken down Stella Scooter approximately one mile after the clutch went out

$11 the cost of having a new-er tire put on to my Honda Civic after I ran into a curb in a sketchy part of town while searching for Mr. Pete

$19.99 the cost of a car charger for Mr. Pete's chocolate phone---he should use said charger so that he is not say, stranded on the side of the road with a broken down scooter while his wife is risking her life (read running into curbs) trying to find him

$2.00 the price of yesterday's paper that the woman at the Shell station sold me while I was waiting for my friend Brad to come help me rescue Mr. Pete

$20 the cost of eye drops for pinkeye

$9.99 Aloo Choley from Baba India for two to remedy the wounded souls of this day

Being at home on the couch =priceless

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wow


It's a pretty cool day in history. Don't worry, high school students can totally muck up one of the coolest days of all time in my life. I overheard one students commenting about how now we'll have reverse racism. She said, "They are even going to paint the White House black."
One a very positive note, many of my students celebrated sheer enthusiasm. I couldn't be more proud of them or of our country. Today at least.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God's Politics

(is a great book by the way)

I've had some rousing conversations with my colleagues during lunch as the election fever continues. Some colleagues have reported emails from members of their church and small group telling them their judgment is muddled because of the candidate they are choosing to vote for. One person even accused her of being deceived by the "evil one."

In times like these I'm reminded of a quote I read in the book titled God's Politics. It's a quote by Abraham Lincoln and I believe it's a quote from a crucial point of the Civil War. He said:

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right”

In light of this race between another senator from Illinois and "the maverick" I'm wondering just how things will turn out tomorrow morning (or by next week). I just hope people stop to think about the freedom we have in getting to vote. No matter who wins this election, we'll be in for a change. That's fo sho!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If teaching were like football....

  • Teachers would be well-paid and have an extensive wardrobe of school spirit attire
  • We could call a time out to get our acts together
  • Our accountability would be to our fans...who would pay money to see us flex our best and would cheer for us when we were successful and boo for us when we were losing
  • They would play cool warm up music for us before the school day started
  • We could tackle people who got in our way!
  • Parent/Teacher conferences would be like a bowl game and I would always win

Mr. Pete and I attended our first NFL game today. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the football players were talented, and the Chipotle was...pretty good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is it baby time?

Yeah, if you got all jazzed up reading the title of this post...you're in trouble along with the three other people (who by the way don't know me well) who asked me today when I was going to have a baby (and one of them was a medical professional). This is an awkward question, one that is sensitive in nature, and frankly, is annoying. THREE PEOPLE asked me today. Yesterday, someone was concerned about a possible baby bump (that doesn't exist).

Miss Manners Public Service Annoucement Break: People, people this is inappropriate. DON'T ASK ANYONE IF THEY ARE PREGNANT EVERRRRRRRRRR. I remember once in the cafeteria at Xavier University, my good friend was accosted by the cafeteria worker about being pregnant. Now at 19, that's really annoying.

I have some suspicions about why people are so curious.
A) I think they really want me to experience the joys of childbearing
B) They really just want a common topic to discuss
C) They are thinking about getting pregnant and want to talk about it with me

Whatever the case may be, it makes me paranoid. I keep thinking...'maybe I am pregnant.' I'M NOT. And if it appears that I have a baby bump, it's the Adriaticos' pizza that Mr. Pete ordered that was meant to feed a frat house. Oh, and if it appears that I'm glowing, it's the morning workouts. Your cheeks would be red too if you worked out outside when it was 32 degrees. Oh, and if I seem unusually cranky, it's because so many darn people keep asking me about having a dang baby!!!!!

PS: I actually really love children but don't feel the need to disclose my baby making timeline to the public.

PPSS: If you were really excited and thought you'd see some glowing ultrasound pictures in this post...sorry if I disappointed you. Kind of.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Grocery List

My Grocery List

  • brown sugar
  • dish soap
  • maple syrup
  • flour
  • cereal



Mr. Pete's Grocery List
  • strawberry Qwick
  • Ice cream
  • Ice cream toppings
  • pepperoni

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emails I Will Never Send

TO: americanvoters@lazyvoters.com
FROM: Stinky Pete
CC:
RE: Uhm vote

Dear Voters,
Once upon a time I did not vote in a presidential election when I was able to. This election was very close and resulted in some minor problems for our country (No Child Left Behind, the wars everywhere, other crazy things). I didn't vote because I didn't educate myself on the issues.

I don't want to use this opportunity to endorse the candidate I like. I'd just like to persuade you to vote. Period. Educate yourself about the issues. Our president really does make HUGE decisions that will change the fate of our nation. Check out this post at No Pasa Nada. Your vote really does matter.

Sincerely,

Stinky Pete


TO: pita@pita.org*
FROM: Mrs. Stinky Pete (your English teacher)
CC: the powers that be
RE: getting kicked out of class

Dear Disruptive Student,

Today, when you were talking about what shoes you were going to buy this weekend and I told you to be quiet, I meant it. I meant it the other five times I told you to be quiet and to sit down and to work on your classwork and to not touch her hair and to please put your chips away and to not yell in that tone of voice and to please respect school property. I mean all those things. And then, when I kicked you out of class, I didn't think it was funny. In fact, I kind of wanted to cry. See I think you teenagers are the future of our nation and it scares me that you don't take your education seriously (especially since it's free to you). I really appreciate your sense of humor but don't think I'll laugh when I get our school report card and feel really guilty that more of my students didn't pass.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Pete

PS: Bring your literature book to class tomorrow for once!

*It's either pita like the bread or the abbreviation for Pain In The Ass

TO: Fitworksgym.com
FROM: Stinky Pete
CC: My husband
RE: Gym membership

Dear Fitworks,
I know you probably don't remember me, I haven't been to the gym in over a month. I have lots of good excuses about how my dog ate my gym card and how my right pinky muscle has really been bothering me but I realize those are unacceptable. I'm really thinking I should consider cancelling my membership but can't do it out of principal. I'm one of those workout freaks who knows she will work out since she pays for the membership.

So, please be patient with me until I return. Oh, and save me the nice elliptical machine for when my pinky muscle heals up. I really like the one you can work out on without getting frozen by the fan and really close to the drinking fountain since I just had a kidney stone. That's another reason I haven't been to the gym.

Smell ya later,
Stinky Pete

TO: sweetlittleneighbors@it'sabeautifuldayintheneighborhood.com
FROM: Stinky Pete
CC:
RE: the noise

Dear Neighbor,
I really appreciate you and love you and all but please don't put your dog outside to bark starting at 5:30 AM. I still have fifteen more minutes I can sleep and I'd really love to enjoy those precious moments. So keep Fido inside until at least 6:00 AM or else....

Sincerely,
Sleepy Pete

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bladder Spasm, Kisses, and The Global Financial Crisis

Wow, what a title. I just thought I couldn't ignore the kidney stone drama I've been experiencing. It's been a whole load of fun. It's been about three weeks since I had my first stone and since then I've had a double J stent and I've had a double J stent removed. The whole thing was a great way to learn about the amazing technology associated with medical advancements and to learn more about the necessity of certain pain killers. The double J stent I had was installed (a funny way of saying that) to prevent swelling after removing a kidney stone. I was glad to see her go (the stent that is) since it hurt to bend over to tie my shoes and it really hurt to deal with disrespectful teenagers. So it was gone as of 9:30 AM but she left my bladder or something in spasms. It was as if I was passing another kidney stone. So, it was more percoset for me and a nap with a heating pad. The offending doule J stent is pictured below.

Do not be deceived by the friendly looks of these suckers. They are one big pain in the....kidney.

In other news, my students are buckling under the Mrs. Pete Pressure. I've had several heart to heart conversations with students where I raise my voice to a very loud volume and use very sharp words and angry statements to convey "my heart." The results are almost instant...obedience. It's kind of rough having to get really passionate and angry to get results from students. I wouldn't do it if it didn't work. I was feeling pretty bad about being so hard on kids and demanding better results from them. Yesterday, I stayed late to get some work done. One of my more difficult female students stopped by to get some extra help and blew me some kisses for all my hard work on her way out the door. It might sound wierd but it was really funny. I think she was trying to make me laugh and show her appreciation at the same time.

And finally, I can't help but talk about the Global Financial Crisis. You really should go over to amalah and check out her hilarious commentary on said crisis. I know I'm not any kind of economic genius but I'm a little confused about all of this. If the whole WORLD is in some kind of economic crisis, can't we just decide to change the rules? I mean didn't we, as a world, make up the rules to this silly financial game? Didn't we assign values to the lumps of gold and silver we found beneath the earth's surface? Isn't it just like monopoly at this point, can't we just give everybody some more of that flimsy paper cash? I'm not naive enough to think that this isn't really complex. I'm just thinking that we as a human race created this mess and I'm just a little confused why we can't untangle it. Is it just me (or the percoset) or does this seem like an easy fix?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm Not Going to Lie to You

My little sister used to preface most shocking things she said with this phrase. It was the default phrase she used to convince you of her honesty. It was like saying:"I know you're not going to believe this, but it's true." So I'm not going to lie to you, this is a conversation I had with a student we'll call Mr. Miracle Boy Genius

MMBG: Uhm, Ms. Pete, I've been meaning to talk to you bout somethin
ME: I know, my colleague mentioned you'd stopped by my room
MMBG: Yeah, it's about the honors class
ME: Yeah
MMBG: Why am I in that class?
ME: Why do you think you're in that class?
MMBG: I dunno
ME: It might be because you're smart
MMBG: Oh that.
ME: Do you remember talking to me about getting into the honors class last spring?
MMBG: Yeah, see here's the thing
ME: The thing is about how you didn't fill out your last test...not one word of it
MMBG: Yeah, I've been going through some stuff.
ME: OK, so you want out of the class. It's too hard for you.
MMBG: No, it's not that. I just don't belong in there. I mean everybody follows the directions. It's like if I do something wrong, you're going to know. It's not my kinda class.
ME: So you want out? I can change your schedule. If it's too hard, I mean....
MMBG: No, I just wanted to let you know that I don't fit in
ME: No, you don't
MMBG: Alright, just wanted to let you know.
ME: I know.
MMBG: So we're cool
ME: (I have no idea what just happened) Sure
MMBG: See ya
ME: Our next conversation is going to be about the fact that you need to wear glasses.
MMBG: I've got an appointment next week.
ME: OH, OK. We'll keep me posted.
MMBG: I'm out.
ME: See ya.

See, here's what's crazy about this conversation. MMBG was in my college prep class last year and we GOT INTO IT. He didn't talk to me for ten weeks. And when he did start talking to me again, it was in one word sentences. So, this conversation is revolutionary. This is one of those kids who I think is on the bubble between making it and not making it. So I pushed him into an honors class to see what might happen and voila! I have a kid who is challenging himself, advocating for himself, communicating with adults appropriately...I mean the next step is clearly winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

I'm not going to lie to you that this is the kinda stuff that gets me all excited. Just knowing that this kids is going to be able to read the board from his seat is enough to make me bounce in my Dansko clogs. After that, the possibilities are endless. Since I'm confronted with some of societies "issues" every day, I'm constantly wondering what it takes for people to change. How do some people flourish with just an ounce of extra attention while other crumble under the umbrella of social services they receive? If this kid makes it through this quarter, who says he'll make it through the year? Who will undo all the work I do to "save" this one kid?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

News

Well it's been an exciting (and not always in a good way) start to school. I'm a little overwhelmed with everything that's going on but hope to reach the light at the end of the tunnel (or quarter) some time soon.

One of my favorite bloggers wrote a touching piece about leaving his job as a teacher...it is both inspiring and disheartening. I wish there was something I could do to keep good teachers from being swallowed by the system that is public education. Check out this post.

On a totally unrelated note, I'm taking a new fitness class. It's hilarious. They could make a Saturday Night Live skit about it. I won't go into details until I'm done taking the class because then I would be making fun of myself.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Things that Make You Go Hmmmm

There are some wierd things about being a teacher. It's strange to me that a kid who isn't permitted to be anywhere else can be at school. Students are often placed on house arrest. During this time, they refer to themselves as being "on the box." It's because they literally have a little black box strapped to their ankle. It's interesting because some kids are so embarassed that they'll wear pants in 97 degree weather while others flaunt it and wear bring socks to draw attention to their box.

Last week, while we had a few minutes left at the end of class, I was chatting with a student who was "on the box." I heard a few students ask about his box (which he flaunted). He said he was on the box for aggravated robbery. Stupid me, I had to know what aggravated robbery was.

me: So, what makes aggravated robbery aggravated?
box kid: You have to have a weapon.
me: I see
box kid: (smiling) yeah I had a gun
me: realllly. Should I be afraid of you? (don't ask, it just flew out of my mouth)
box kid: no m'am, I wouldn't hurt you

Really, I mean really. How often is it that we are knowingly in the presence of someone who has committed a violent crime? To me, it seems strange that these kids are probably too dangerous to be wondering the streets of Smallville (my little school district) but the law requires that schools educated them. When you are on house arrest, you can go to school and that's it. Crazy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things to Be Happy About

1. A former student (note that he wasn't a stellar former student) came by to say hello today. Not only did he return a book (from two years ago) that he "borrowed" from me, he also made great eye contact, spoke with confidence, and....is academically eligible to play football this year. That's very exciting in the world of a seventeen year old. That's very exciting for me too.

2. School starts tomorrow. I ran into so many pleasant students today. Some helped me get my room ready, some made friendly conversation, and all were very mature and...nice.

3. One of my favorite babies is turning one. Happy Birthday Mr. Mister.

4. I got a chalkboard at Ikea today.

5. I'm healthy enough to give blood. I know, I know why would you give blood after having a sinus infection for 69 years? Because I have good blood that Hoxworth really likes. I could file charges against them for harassment they call me so much. I give blood because it's something tangible I can do to "give my life away" (is that literal?).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some really cool pics

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Banff....




Peyto Lake






The gorgeous flowers from all the hours of sunlight. These are poppies outside the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise.




Johnston's Canyon and a bear sighting on our drive to the glaciers

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Somewhere in Canada


Some time soon I'm taking a family vacation to Banff in Alberta, Canada. How's the picture for getting excited. I hope I have some like this to share.


Check out this cool photo

You can find it here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to Start a Blog

From the queen of bloginess!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Geeper Creepers

I'm sitting on hold with the vision insurance division of our insurance company while they try to wriggle me out of a $68 bill for something that I shouldn't be paying for. I'm listening to fake classical music hoping that my insurance representative is ripping the eye care "professional" a new bum hole.

Ten years ago, I stumbled out of my local Lenscrafters with a slight prescription for nearsightedness. Now as I near the age of thirty unable to read street signs or computer screens without my glasses or contacts and I'm constantly sticking my fingers into my stigmatized eyes with the latest and greatest in contact lens technology. Don't get me wrong, contacts are amazing. But just like ever thing else these days, solution is a bloody fortune (a $17 bottle of the premium stuff for allergy prone folks like me lasts a little over a month). And while glasses are all the rage (I mean Tori Spelling wears them), there's just a lot to them. It's tough to run a marathon while your sporting your artsy black plastic million dollar please-don't-let-these-fall-off-and into the oncoming traffic specs.

And with contacts...you should have to have a license to own those suckers. Cleaning and disinfecting, remembering to take them out before you sleep, realizing that you can't open your eyes underwater when you're wearing them.... Add in the fact that I'm prone to pinkeye, have eye dandruff (eww, but really it exists), and have dry eyes to boot; contacts are just a huge pain the butt and in the wallet.

My insurance company just called me in the middle of this post to tell me that they will not pay nor will they have me pay the price the eye care professional is asking me to pay. There was talk of supervisors and official reports and all kinds of crazy things.

Really this is just a post about how if I wasn't a teacher with the summers off, I'd totally have to pay the $300 in illegitimate bills because I wouldn't have time to sit on the phone during business hours to listen to fake classical music (while running up my cellphone bill).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Life Altering

Would a Starbucks drive-thru opened on your 45 minute commute change your life?


It's changing mine.


I know I know Fair Trade, local coffee shops. I know. It's just that I've never been through a Starbucks drive-thru. I'm a little excited.


PS: I only have three more days to commute but that's 6 lattes if you consume one each way!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

School's out for the Summer

Readers' note: This entry is soaked in sarcasm and could come across as angry...it's not.

Now that school is out for the summer, I'm getting the usual question "What do you do all summer?" This question is usually said with remarkable disdain that someone may take a three month long vacation whilst others work their tail ends off.

My summer routine is usually really mundane. I get up around nine or ten, stumble into the kitchen and fix myself a tropical drink, eat lunch, take a nap, go to the mall, and watch cable until 2 AM.

REALLY, that's NOT what I do. I think that people ask this question out of genuine curiosity but their assumptions are generally misguided. They think that teachers enjoy a 3 month long hiatus after working from "eight to three" each day during the school year and soaking up government holidays and snow days. My new answer to this question is, most teachers do what other office-type people do all year round. Here is my top ten list of what I do during the summer.

10. Check email Many public schools block websites or frown upon teachers checking their personal email accounts or doing personal business from school. I spend the summer responding to email in "real time" (like a 24 hour return rate) rather than having to wait until after 5 to write back to people.

9. Restore my bodily functions to healthy intervals My trips to the restroom are like trying to run the wrong way through the flow of traffic in the mall to make it to a "onner" (it's only one stall) only to find out someone beat me to the tinkle. Change the mall traffic to a swarm of disgruntled teenagers and you'll understand why I'm very strict about my liquids intake during the school year.

8. Detox I know I made a joke about drinking up there somewhere. I'm talking about caffeine here. While I'm careful I don't drink too much before my fifty minute break, I do drink "a few" cups of coffee each day. I usually try to kick the habit once the summer starts.

7. Personal maintenance It's difficult to schedule appointments in the middle of a school day unless the office is close to school. Your liable to find your substitute gagged and tortured in the corner of your room when you return. Various and sundry appointments (dental, vision, doctor, etc.) get scheduled during the summer.

6. Go on a vacation EVERYONE is trying to travel during Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks making travelling during these high demand seasons a little more expensive. The summer time is a great time to get away but it would be nice to take off some time during the great white depression of February.

5. Make money Most teachers supplement their income by working during the summer. I'll teach a summer class at a local university.

4. Go out to lunch This is kind of like trying to go the the restroom. Since our lunch is only twenty-five and half minutes long, I relish the summer time when I can go out to lunch and see friends during the week.

3. Read for fun

2. Forget the cares of the world Often public schools are blamed for the rising rates including crime, drop outs, teen pregnancy, etc. I like to take the summer to think about things like 'what should I wear with my hot pink flip flops?' and other shallow things like that.

1. Plan for next year Teachers are constantly thinking about how their curriculum could be written to better meet the needs of their students. I'll spend my summer test "driving" new books, rewriting syllabi, and reflecting on the previous year of teacher. I think most teachers do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Busy-ness

I've been super busy lately. School is wrapping up, I've been working in the garden, and we've had something going on for the last three weekends. It's all good but I'm all tired out. When I get tired and overwhelmed, I become absent minded. Today, for example, I rinsed my contacts in a solution that causes chemical burns to the eye despite the warning on the red sleave around the tip and the bright red tip warning me that this is a solution that must be neutralized first.

I've also been losing my phone around the house. I put it down in the strangest places and I keep asking Mr. Pete to call it so I can find it.

Tonight, I'm looking for our checkbook. We're in the process of organizing the office so it's been misplaced. For a second I thought about asking Seth to call it so I could find it.

Wouldn't that be cool if we could call random stuff to find it? I would have the random Post-It note list that I keep and lose at least three times a day on speed dial.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things That Make You Go Mmmm...

In the midst of several world crises (which I should write about) I'm struck by this story. A young woman who was denied entrance to her prom because her dress was too skimpy. Not only is she removed in handcuffs but she maintains she still likes the dress. Not only does this remind me of something you'd see in the "what not to wear" section of a fashion magazine, this makes me think that maybe we should do more to help our young people explore their individuality.

Cnn Clip

Monday, April 14, 2008

Teacher Man

Will Okun is a genius. Just so you know. He writes these brilliant photo essays about teaching in Chicago. Sometimes I feel like he's writing his column from under my desk. It feels like he's seeing what I'm seeing, feeling what I'm feeling, sweating when I'm sweating. I think one of the most difficult decisions in the profession is the idea of "passing," and what can be even more difficult, "the grade." Even in an age where there is "content area mastery," there are lots of gray areas. Don't get me wrong, grading is not subjective. Not all the time. And sometimes when I don't think a tenth of a point matters, I hear that graduation march in my head, I see slide shows of students' lives flash before me, and I think about the implications of passing and failing very seriously. Will Okun's essay does that this week.

Insert Clever Title Here....Cause I spent all my energy on a local tax return today

So it's National Poetry Month and I need to give a shout out to The Bard who is the namesake of this blog. Good job Willy. You've been making high schoolers miserable (read enlightened) under my charge for six years now.

OK. Now with the real post.

I think it's absolutely hilarious that my students don't know each other's last names. They'll spend gobs of time together, talk about intimate details of their own lives, even ride in cars with people they only know by their first name or nicknames. There is no way you could get me into the car with some kid nicknamed with some of the names these kids brag about. Since they don't know each other's names, they resort to identifying their peers by the way they look. Take the following conversation for example:

Student A: So you know Neisha?
Student B: Nah, who's dat?
Student A: That light skinned girl that used to go with Darnel?
Student B: Oh yeah, the one with the busted A1's?*
Student A: Nah, the one with the crooked nose.
Student B: She wear tracks?**
Student A: She got micros.***
Student B: Yeah, she used to go with Darnel's cousin, she's got that Baby Phat jacket....the purple one with the fur, she always eatin' and her mama and my mama work at the same place once. I know her.

*Air Force Ones: popular shoes busted: not new
**Tracks: a method of attaching synthetic hair; the "real" hair is wrapped and the tracks are glued in
***Micros: another method of attaching synthetic hair; hair is braided into tiny braids with extensions adding length and sometimes color

It seems like an awful lot of effort to have to learn so much information about someone just to identify them. On the other hand, I think it's cool that they're so attentive to details.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Running

On Thursday afternoon, I got back from a nice long run in the 60 degree plus weather and felt refreshed. I plunked myself down on the floor for a little stretching when I heard a faint knock at my door. My neighbor and her mother were at my front door asking if I'd seen her daughter. My neighbor speaks in broken English and her mother speaks no English at all. Her eyes say a lot though.

Breathless neighbor: Eh, have you a-seen Stay-phan-ee
Me: No
Breathless neighbor: I was on the phone....ten minute...she gone

I got it. I grabbed my keys and headed out the front door with my neighbor. Her husband was already getting in the car to go search for his daughter.

I got a sick feeling in my stomach as my neighbor and I rounded the corner at the end of our street. I had heard a child screaming fifteen minutes before, screaming I thought, in a playing way; the way a kid would on the first warm day of the year. My mind started to play news stories of crazy inhumane things that happen to kids playing out in the yard.

My neighbor started to jog and then run and I felt tears in my eyes. Minutes before I had been running along listening to Paolo Nutini on my IPod and now I was running like a mad woman to find a small child. The stark differences in my motivation for running struck me.

For whatever reason at that moment I thought of God. This is probably what God feels like each time he feels like we're lost. Each time we encounter danger or temptation. Each time he feels like he might have lost us. And when he finally finds us, he finds us in a place where he may be the only person who can hear us, he hears our voice when no one else can.

I've only known my neighbor for a few short months and I ran like I was running after my own child. I can't imagine the feeling of dread and horror my neighbor was feeling as she ran after her only beloved child.

It reminds me of this verse:

"Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn't he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn't want to lose even one of these simple believers. " Matthew 18:13

It turns out my neighbor had rollerbladed over to another neighbor's house without her mother's permission. As we rounded the corner, I couldn't see the little girl. I didn't notice anything. But the mother heard the sound of her daughter's voice and ran to her to save her.

In that moment, I didn't hear anything. Not a sound.

Things That Make Me Wanna Puke

1. mandates for schools and education without funding
2. teenagers joyfully watching people getting beat up on YouTube (in a church lobby...it's a long story)
3. knowing our friends (a nice couple with a small baby) were robbed while they were sleeping
4. listening while Mr. Pete projectile puked all over our bathroom (he has a stomach virus)
5. cleaning up said vomit (you really shouldn't have to clean up your own puke when you're sick if you can help it, right?)
6. my inability to spell at the age of 28
7. when people ask me when I'm going to have a baby and gesture at my belly
8. having a teenager say "I ain't disrespecting you" in a disrespectful way
9. gas prices
10. watching Eliot Spitzer's wife's face and thinking about how his daughters must feel

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guns

Read Will Okun's latest post titled "Guns".

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Some things to write about

I don't really have a real reason for posting this. I'm baking some other posts in my mind right now. So...
My favorite food: Morning Star (fake) Bacon and Avocado on toasted whole wheat
My favorite song ever: Piece of My Heart, Janis Joplin
My favorite song this year: anything new by Mary J. Blige
My favorite person to fight: obnoxious teenagers who think they know everything
My favorite obsession: preventing chapped hands
My favorite restaurant: Baba India
My favorite place to visit: anywhere my girls are
My favorite TV show of all time: Dawson's Creek
TV show right now: I'll be honest...I listen to NPR and hardly watch TV anymore
My favorite color: baby blue
My favorite website: amazon.com
My favorite person to laugh with: Megan Foley because her laugh is infectious
My favorite sport to play: none...but I love to run
My favorite movie: Amelie (a french film)
My favorite holiday: Easter at my grandparents house
My favorite candy: Twizzlers OR Wild Oats dark chocolate truffles
My favorite dead Beatle: I don't have one
My favorite last name of all my friends: Blank
My favorite first name of all of my friends: Manon or Martha
My favorite grocery store: Sunshine
My favorite engineer: Mr. Pete
My favorite indulgence: wine and sushi or pedicures
My favorite snack: Peanut butter and apples

On repeat in my car: The Wicked Soundtrack
My "default" shoes: Dansko professional clogs (flip flops coming soon)
Strangest Pet Peeve(s): When people talk through the checkout on their cellphones, chewing or slurping noises
Weakness: fear, reading blogs for too long
Strange Fears: dark closets, MRSA
Great Quest: at the moment finding a coffee table...then I will continue my great quest for truth
Something I wish I knew when I was younger: parents are supposed to be imperfect
Something I hope to learn soon: How to be confident in my own skin
Dream job: part time barista, part time educational consultant

Want in on the action? Cut and paste this into your blog OR leave your info in the comments.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Really?


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hmmm

I read this among the closings for tonight. When I think of penance, I think of....well things second graders probably wouldn't understand. Interesting...

ST. HENRY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
2ND GRADE PENANCE SERVICE CANCELLED

A Proud New Owner

I am the proud "new" owner of....



That's right a 2003 Honda Civic. I bought this beauty FIVE years ago when I started my first teaching job. I used to drive this



I called her "The Pickle." She was christened early in her life as my car by a errant deli tray I placed in the back seat. Since she was green and she smelled like a pickle, the name seemed suitable. In my house, when you called someone a "pickle" it meant that they weren't terribly easy to get along with. They were, in fact, acting grumpy or difficult. As fate would have it, this car became her name. The driver and passenger side windows did not roll down and the AC broke. These ailments came at the beginning of my teaching career while I was teaching summer school. I would arrive to teach summer school (at a very nice school where my students drove nicer cars than I did) soaked in sweat from my stifling drive to work.

The ultimate pickle experience came some time in January of 2003. I stepped out of my classroom one day, leaving my cellphone on my desk. I returned to find it missing and endured the tsking and head wagging of both my principal and the resource officer. It was a cold January day and I headed out to Verizon to beg for a new phone. With very little money (read: NONE)saved up, I wasn't very excited about purchasing a new phone at full price. Verizon, of course, offered to let me buy the same phone with insurance for $1 million dollars. A very generous offer on their part. While I didn't want to pay for the same new phone, I was still at the point where a cool cellphone mattered to me and would not succumb to the blue plastic Nokia that would later become my trademark (I was the proud owner of one of the largest cellphones known to humankind).

So I left the store empty handed. I was ready to drown my sorrows in the crackly sound of my grand am's radio and had just entered the on ramp to 71 South when I heard a sound that sounded like a million paper clips being flushed through my engine. Then I heard a loud smashing sound and I pulled to the side of the road. Very long story not so short, the transmission on my Grand Am died. I was on the side of the road in the pickle with no cell phone. I had to hike back to Verizon where I had left in tears to use their courtesy phone to call my roommates. After a few days of bickering and debating with the local Honda dealership, I came home with my baby. Those were the days.

My Finanical Situation in January 2003

Total Income: a generous teacher's salary but still not much

Bills: brand new gym membership, brand new cellphone (not paid for) and two year plan, rent in a dirty apartment with coin laundry, ridculous groceries that no 20-something person should buy (ie expensive cheeses and organic juice)

Savings: None

All this to say, I am very excited that my Honda is paid off.

SNOW DAY

After all that anticipation. It finally came...a snow day. So far, I've slept in, completed my tax return, and made a list of things I'll never do today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Some things

There's been a lot of hobbling around, whining, and a general procrastination of all things productive here at the Pete household. You won't believe what you can't do with a broken toe (think logicially, grade papers, pay bills...the list goes on I tell you). I think the toe is healing rather nicely. The jury is still out on the nail. It's now a dark shade of black (think OPI's Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ or Midnight in Mosco...good thing dark colors are in).

Other than that, it's been pretty quiet. I'm going to post soon about all the "green" information I've been collecting lately. Mr. Pete and I are in the market for a composter and energy efficient washer and dryer. We also purchased a share of a co-op farm. More about that later.

Since we haven't had any snow days (that's what winter's for), I find myself daydreaming of spring time. I can't wait to get out in our garden and tear things up.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CAUTION: GRAPHIC IMAGE

...of a toe.

I dropped our crock pot on my foot last night in an effort to be a better homemaker. I was going to chop everything up the night before, throw it all in the crock pot, and enjoy some healthy turkey sausage-aya tonight for dinner. I didn't not expect what happened next.

I dropped the crock part on my big toe. Lots of pain. Lots of blood. Mr. Pete was a great nurse and made sure I stayed put for the duration of the evening. He even let me sleep on his side of the bed so I could prop my foot up while I slept.

I got a great night of sleep (considering the injury) and woke up in more pain. Long story short, I had a laceration, a black toenail, and some "crushing breaks" caused by the impact of the crock. After two hours at the doctor's office, a tetanus shot, some x-rays, and some other stuff you don't want to hear about that they do for black toenails I came home with some antibiotics and strict instructions to not run for the next few weeks.

I've decided that I am not cut out for endurance training or endurance domesticity.

Check it out

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why I'm not a vegetarian anymore

Bacon

Monday, January 7, 2008

The re-education of Mrs. Pete

Mr. Pete and I have entered into a season of our marriage during which we must fight for what we have. Now don't worry. It's just that, in an effort to survive for the long haul, we really can't ever stop fighting for each other. It's so easy to lose sight of the other person when schedules are chalked full of grad school classes, professional opportunities, home improvement projects, etc.

It's funny that I had the following conversation with a student during this season.

M: Is it fun having a husband?

Mrs. Pete: Yeah, why do you ask?

M: I was just wondering why people get married.

T: Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Why don't y'all just have kids? Why do you have to get married?

Mrs. Pete: Well (thinking, thinking) Mr. Pete and I got married because we loved each other and we knew that if we promised to love each other in front of God and our family and friends, we'd have a better chance of keeping our promise. We knew they could bail us out if we ever needed help keeping our promise.

In 2008 I will....

Will Okun's blog is genius. I can't say enough about it. You can find it here. It has this beautiful photojournalism style with some quick witted, reflective (yet not syrupy sweet) commentary. I love that he posted his students' New Year's Resolutions. He had them write one for themselves, their personal resolution and one for the world. Here are mine:

Personal Resolution: Stop whining and do something about it.

World Resolution: Practice irresponsible generosity (think about it, if everyone did it).