Monthly Archives: February 2013

Once Again

Once again, time for blogging only occurs in a moving vehicle, with one finger. Yes, I’ve been “cooking”. The baby of the family made twice baked potatoes this week, and the second to last child made tacos. Yesterday it was sandwiches. Today Dominos is in charge. In case you were wondering.


Shifting Paradigms

Here’s what I’ve decided:

First of all, we, the American public, do not pay teachers enough to justify expecting 80 hours every week planning for, teaching, and then assessing the learning of our students. We don’t. And yet, that is sort of the expectation–that teachers will show up every morning fully prepared to actively engage students from bell to bell, followed by an indeterminate amount of time helping struggling students after school, followed by hours of correcting and providing meaningful, substantive feedback on their homework–because when else would they do that? It’s not like you can intelligently analyze student essays during the school day, unless you aren’t, you know, teaching during the school day.

I know, I know–summers off are supposed to somehow balance things out. But we can’t really expect to cease living for the other ten months of the year–and so this is what else I’ve decided:

While I recognize that the 7 hours a day in my contract will never cover everything I need to do to be an effective teacher, I have got to leave more of my school work at work… somehow. I have got to build more legitimate, independent student work time into each class–and I’m not talking about here’s-a-worksheet-shut-up-and-do-it independent work time. I’m talking about authentic learning that does not result in mountains of paper for me to wade through.

Because I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect time at one end of the day or the other to actually live life without being in a state of perpetual panic.

Also, I have five children left at home who really need to learn how to cook–among other things.  I know I said I’d cook five out of seven meals a week this year, and I’ve been squeaking by, but just barely. Today my youngest is making twice-baked potatoes, while I do this. Actually, he’s been making them for almost five hours now; he’s flabbergasted at the amount of work this simple meal takes. Ya think?

Until Then

You ever wonder what it would be like to just walk away from certain responsibilities?

Just said, “No, thank you,” and walk off into the sunset?

In my next life, that’s the sort of person I’m going to be.

Also, I’ll no longer need to eat. I will somehow synthesize nutrients from the air.

Until then, I have some burgers to flip.

Ain’t over yet

Made 9 year old make dinner tonight.

Typing this with one finger while brushing teeth.


It’s been that kind of week.

Take a Wild Guess

$110 at the salon, or $7.88 from a box at Walmart?


Dyeing Young and Dinner with Politicians

My hair has reached that not-technically-grey stage, if you know what I mean. Like I can’t actually see any grey hair yet, but over all it just sort of looks… dull. The stylist I consulted on Saturday claims she can see grey.


Still. It’s tempting. Minus the $100+ price tag. I even went to the drug store and stared at home hair dye kits for a while, but chickened out.

Mostly because I needed to be at the Pillar Rock Grill in three hours and I figured a brand-new dye job might not be in my best interest.

Also, I still didn’t have anything to wear that I haven’t worn every other Sunday for the past six months.

At 4 pm, I bought a dress.

At 4:15, I added two inches to the hem.

At 4:25 I got in the shower.

At 5:10, we drove away.

At 5:15 we turned around and went back home for the tickets.

At 5:45 my cheeks were suffering from that forced just-take-the-blasted-picture twitch that develops after smiling for too long.

At 6:15 I was discussing political careers–mine (ha) and theirs–with Doc Hastings, Matt Manweller, and Rob McKenna over dinner.

Which was handy, because at 6:45, I was handed the microphone to introduce them to the crowd, etc.

And wouldn’t you know it–after getting up in front of teenagers every day, I’m no longer rattled by an audience.  I didn’t do my job  perfectly–but I didn’t mortify myself or anyone else, either. Which makes me want to do it again, because I can see so many ways I can do it better next time. It also made me want to get to know the people who elected me. I looked out at that crowd and I truly wanted to know them–I want to know what keeps them up at night, what keeps their hope in democracy alive, and what kind of a world they want for their children.

I have to admit–I didn’t cook dinner for my own children last night. In fact, I’ve only sort of been cooking dinner the last three days–this afternoon, we ate the roast beef right out of the oven.

As in: we carved that beast into roughly 7 equal chunks and everyone ate it however they preferred. I preferred not to make mashed potatoes and gravy; it’s just been one of those weeks. I keep saying it’s going to calm down, but so far it hasn’t and I know that realistically it probably won’t.

In Danger of Failure

I teach some college classes for BYU online. As part of some kind of technical glitch package, I’m also enrolled as a student in one of my classes this semester. IT assures me it’s just so I can view the course as a test student or some such thing.

I never do the work.


But this means that every time I open my gradebook, and see a list of failing students, my name tops the list.

Does it say something about me that I’m tempted to go back through and do all the assignments just to get my name off the failing list? That it drives me crazy to see that zero next to my name, even though I’m not really in the class and I’m probably the only one who will ever see it?

Ash Wednesday

While I was eating lunch with some Catholic teachers today, the subject of Ash Wednesday naturally arose–which led me to pondering what I could give up for forty days… Which led me to a disturbing conclusion: I really lead a boring life. I don’t have nearly enough options to sacrifice:

  1. Something I drink: alcohol, coffee, tea, soda. I drink water. Can’t really give that up, can I?
  2. Something I eat: I eat pretty healthy already. I’m not sure how much of a sacrifice that would be.
  3. Something I do in my leisure time: Seriously? Like I have leisure time. I don’t watch television. I see about two movies per year. I check Facebook about once every two weeks. I haven’t had time to open a music playlist since… like… August.
  4. Something I wear: I’m already too lazy to accessorize 29 out of 30 days a month, so that’s not a sacrifice. I could give up my blue jeans, I guess, but then I’d have to buy more dress pants, because College Apparel Wednesdays are the only reason my wardrobe makes it through the week. Going shopping doesn’t really seem like a sacrifice, does it?
  5. A hobby. See number 3.
  6. A bad habit: I don’t smoke, chew, or shoot up.  My bad habits are more like not really listening to what my children say to me, forgetting to put the salt in the bread dough, or taking off my socks in the middle of the night and leaving them under the covers. After 20 years, I don’t really think that’s going to change.
  7. Conveniences: My vehicle? Appliances? I’d have to give up my job, too, because  I’d be washing clothes or dishes, or walking all day instead.  Blow-dryer? I would probably have the same hairdo as Hermione in the first Harry Potter movie, and that might be bad for my employment situation as well.
  8. Hot showers? My children take care of that for me most days already, thank you.
  9. Contact lenses: Hmmm. Not a huge sacrifice. I actually kind of like my new glasses.
  10. Sleep? Breathing? The use of my left hand?

You see what I mean? It’s like I’ve already stripped my life of all but the essentials already.


Can I give up cooking, instead?

(FYI: My mother brought us dinner last night, as an early birthday present, and tonight I’m pleading I-don’t-have-to-cook-because-it’s-my-birthday, and we’re having nachos and rice. I think my 2014 goal will be to not make dinner even one time, and see how that turns out. Except for Lent–I’ll make dinner every night next Lent; I must have got things backwards this year.)


Here’s the thing about parenting teenagers:

If you have ever done it, there’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know.

If you haven’t, there’s nothing I can tell you that will make any sense at all.

Yes, even if you were a teen once.

Yes, even if you had older teen siblings or younger teen siblings and watched your parents do the parenting at one time.

I like to tell my students that it is impossible to really understand love until they’ve had children of their own. Sorry. It’s just true.

So I’m just going to stop there.

Except to mention that I made some kind of hamburger/pasta/cheese goulash for dinner. For said teenagers.

Knock on Wood

Twenty seven teachers were missing from school Thursday and Friday.

So far, I haven’t contracted anything that’s going around–at least not intensely enough to stay home from work. Instead, I’ve been covering other teachers’ classes during my planning period.


You should see my desk. Mountains of ungraded assignments.

You should see my brain–trying to plan the upcoming month in the back of one’s head while simultaneously teaching another class for which you had no planning whatsoever has got to qualify for some kind of sick mental torture experiment.

I may be going in to work tomorrow morning at 5.

Assuming, you know… that my immune system continues to function in high gear, and I can actually get out of bed.

(I initially spelled the preceding sentence like this:

“Assuming, you know… that my amune system continues to function in high gear, and I can actually get out of bet.”


If good spelling comes as a result of reading lots of words spelled correctly lots of times, then it’s possible English teachers are doomed; we’ll all start spelling like our students. )

Meanwhile, I’m making roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. It’s sort of an attempt at redemption after frozen pizza yesterday, and frozen chicken strips and vegetables the day before.

Somebody better eat it. All of it; the organization in my fridge is paralleling that of my desk this week. Leftovers ain’t gonna fit.  )Which is how my international students have begun spelling this week. I tried to explain  the ironic tone one would be intending if one wrote this way. I’m not certain they understood. English is ridiculous, no?)