Monday, March 22, 2010

Family Dinner

Dinner tonight was a family affair. Dori peeled potatoes, Pete grilled steak (in the rain), Pepper ran to the store, Dill helped set the table.... but Macy was in her room. She said she was feeling out of sorts and said her skin hurt. She has sensory issues and gets that way every once in awhile. She used to feel this way all the time, but as she has gotten older these rough patches are getting less common. Since everyone else was working in the kitchen Macy was down for dinner last... which means she got the last steak. We did our usual "highs and lows" at dinner (where everyone tells the best and worst thing about their day) but Macy was still pretty quiet.

After dinner Macy and I were working on the dishes and she said, "Did you see that I ate my steak without complaining?" I asked what she meant and she said, "my steak was WAY under-cooked but I did not want to hurt Pete's feelings so I ate it anyway."

I told her that was very nice but I wanted to know what she thought was wrong with her steak. She said, "Did you see it? It was so rare I could see the tape worms!"

Sometime I need to tell her the story about how GG always tasted her raw hamburger in the grocery store before she'd buy it. She ate raw hamburger for decades and she is still alive... maybe its been the tapeworms all this time. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If it smells like slander, it probably is...

There is a new book I heard about that was published by a guy that has substitute taught in my school district for 12 years. Here is the info on the book:

At first I heard the book was hints to help substitute teachers do a better job, but the subtitle "Don't work for PESG or Teach in Ypsilanti Michigan" is not helpful, it is just slanderous and offensive.

While trying to find out more about the book, I ran across an article the author wrote in response to someone that did not like his book: One of the things he said about the person that commented was: "giving [my book] one star out of five. I am assuming the author of the critic post either didn't read the same book I wrote or has an IQ smaller than his (I am assuming by the writing the person is male) belt size". I guess the author can have a damning opinion, but no one else can...

Since I am not one to NOT give her opinion (anyone that knows me is smirking at this statement, I know) this was my response...

I have not "wasted 5 minutes" reading your book. I don't care that it is self-published or published by the largest publishing company in the world. I did read this review comment though. I find it funny that you would call another person someone who "seeks to pull other people down". I find the title of your book appalling. How dare you advise people to not work in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I have worked in the Ypsilanti Public School District for over 15 years. I have worked in several buildings and I also have seen many things. I have seen teachers spend their own money for their students clothes and supplies. I have seen teachers take students to doctor and dental appointments and show up for little league games and birthday parties on many Saturdays. I have seen teachers collect money and necessities after children lost their homes in a fire or family crisis. I have seen teachers send baskets full of Christmas gifts and deliver Thanksgiving turkeys well after the school doors closed. The 'benefits' you mention that subs have... like flexible work schedules also means you are always a guest in someone else's world. You imply that this was a book that needed to be written. To help substitutes do their job better. If you HAD written a book to help substitute teachers do that role better, you would have a great teaching aid. By naming the book what you did, it is no longer a tool to help others benefit, it is just slander. Just a gimmick to sell a few more copies. So you 'peeked' into the world of teachers and did not like what you saw, that does not make you a teacher. Teachers work hard to earn the respect of their students... they do not just show up one day and expect it to be there. You are not a teacher... you probably never will be. You are a well paid babysitter, with the power to choose when you want to work. After 12 years, maybe you learned a few things about classroom management, but you suffer from the 'crab bucket syndrome' that you mention in your review... and will never have the heart of a true teacher. I love working for the Ypsilanti Public School District and although we have challenges, I want to stay and help, not just complain from a distance. Do all of us a favor, stop subbing.. and get out of Ypsilanti. Oh, and as my Dad would have said, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass as you go".

Unfortunately, I know slander sells books, the next time I hear about this guy it will probably be on the "Maury Povich Show". But seriously, if grown-ups do not play nice and act like good examples, how do we expect kids too?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pete's butt

Macy, Pete and I ran to the drug store for St Patrick’s Day decorations and something happened that I have not yet had to deal with. As we were walking in… a girl, maybe 13 or 14 was walking out of the store. As she passed by, she turned to look at Pete’s butt! She smirked and gave this approving glance that I would not have associated with my boy’s tush! I was not sure what to do about the fact that my little boy was being ogled! Pete was totally oblivious to the whole thing…. But I could not get it out of my head. This older woman (Pete is only 11!!) was checking him out!

As we walked through the store, Pete decided to hold my hand. (We are a hand holding family, although Pete does not often do this in public places) This was no big deal, I hold hands all the time. I teach kindergarten, the kids there love to hold hands with grown ups as they walk in the halls. It is a perk to being the line leader in a lot of classes. Pepper and I often hold hands in the car… it is just something we’ve always done. Plus since we have lots of kids, when they were younger, it was always a good policy to hold hands as a form of accounting for their safety… as we crossed the street, walked in a crowded place, that sort of thing.

I had not really remembered holding Pete’s hand in awhile and while doing so here in the store I suddenly realized how big he has gotten. As we walked down the greeting card aisle I realized it was like holding a man’s hand, not a child’s. I glanced down at our hands to make sure it really was Pete I was holding onto. He had just come from swimming and had used his “Man soap” in the shower… so the whole scene felt strange. Where has the time gone? With last weekend’s time change we lost an hour… yet it feels like years just sailed by!

I am so proud of how all our kids are turning out. When I look at old photographs of the kids I can see little glimmers of their older, more mature faces… even back in their infant photo’s. I see what wonderful people they are turning out to be. I am not fooling myself, I know we still have some rough patches to get over. Pete isn’t even a teenager yet… so I am sure there will be tough days ahead. But looking at Pete and all of our kids now I see the children they were and the adults they will be and I realize I am lucky this St. Patrick’s Day… very lucky indeed. ☺

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Mom

I know I drive Pepper crazy every year in March around this time. For some reason, although I am really good with dates... birth dates, anniversaries... that sort of thing, I can never remember the exact date my Mom died. It has been several years now...12, but still it hasn't been so long that I should completely forget. It used to be much easier to find out the exact date... I could just go into the newspapers obituaries, then, after a few years, into the papers archives to find the date. Last year it seemed more challenging, but with Pepper's help, we did finally find it. This year, I couldn't find it. Pepper couldn't find it either. I've been searching all weekend. Every time I even got close.... it would tell me to put in my credit card number and even then I don't know that the results were right. Having a common last name and a common maiden name makes it pretty tough to find any information about just her. Some lady with the same name died in North Dakota the same year. I do not think my mother was ever even in North Dakota! Then the searches kept coming up with people with the same first name and the maiden name, or the middle name and the last name, but not together.... absolutely no help at all.

I finally resorted to calling my sister, which I really did not want to do. I figured she would remember but I hated to have to ask her... and to let her know that I forgot. She was out to lunch with her daughter... who was having a rough weekend herself. My niece's best friend's mom died yesterday. Unexpectedly. They attend the same middle school. The best friend is the one that found her mom. They do not know what happened yet. I guess I should be happy that I at least got to have my Mom attend my high school and college graduation ceremonies... and that she got to meet all but one of my kids. I wish I still wasn't so mad that she died so young. I wish I didn't struggle so hard to remember that she died on March 11, 1999 when she was 54 years old. I wish I didn't have to remember that she died at all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Those Kindergarteners #2


Students coming in off the bus... the principal is leading them through the hallway.

Little girl to the principal: "Ms. B- I like your shirt."

Ms. B: "Why thank you, what a nice thing to say!"

Little boy (in line behind the little girl): "Ms. B.... I like your whole body!!"


btw.... body part names are scrambled in the picture for extra blog reading fun!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wake up call

Dill has always been an early riser. He gets his “morning person” status from Pepper… definitely. When Dill was younger he came into our bed every morning… kind of a toddler wake up call. He has not really done that in quite some time. Nowadays he just hangs out in the living room or switches on Spongebob until the rest of us wake up. Since our TV is acting up (apparently it heard from the washer that breaking down is the thing to do if you are an appliance living here) he decided to come in early this morning to cuddle. Just picture it… the bed all warm and toasty, everything quiet and peaceful. Dill crawling up the center of the bed to snuggle. He gets right between Pepper and I… (now we are both awake but quiet, hoping he will just settle in and sleep awhile more) he looks at us and says, “How come you two look so old when you are laying down? Mom you look about 80!!”

I burst out laughing because I could just imagine the look on Pepper’s face without even opening my eyes. Earnestly, Dill adds, “When you guys are standing up you only look about 20…. But laying down you look a lot older.” Too late son….

He redeemed himself a little about half an hour later by bringing Pepper and I breakfast in bed. Two HUGE bowls of cereal with enough milk in each bowl to take a swim. Pepper thought it was very sweet but has decided we need to teach the boy to make coffee. ☺

Friday, March 5, 2010

Those Kindergarteners...

Working with kindergarteners makes for lots of laughs. They are so amusing sometimes. I was evaluating one little guy today and he was so funny giving me definitions that I actually kept going after he topped out because his answers were so cute. For one question I asked him what is a sheep? He had to give me two facts to get credit for the answer.

He said: An animal.

I said: yes, tell me more.

He said: it has feet.

I said: yes, tell me more.

He said: It lives in a forest

I said: Hmmm, tell me more.

He said: It has sharp teeth and can be big.

I said: A sheep? Is that all you know about them?

He said: No, I know it wears wolf clothes.

Trying to figure out what he was thinking I said: Are you thinking of “A wolf in sheep’s clothing”?

He said: That’s what my Grandma calls my Dad.

I said: Ok, next question….

Thursday, March 4, 2010


At Macy and Pete’s middle school this semester, a new program was initiated. It is called the “Zap!” program… which stands for “Zero’s aren’t permitted!” The ZAP! Program meant that the kids were no longer allowed to miss turning in assignments. If they forgot… lost… tell the teacher that the dog ate their term paper… they get a stamp in their planner. They then have until the next morning before school to turn in the assignment or they have to stay after school for one hour and get the work done. Both of my middle school children began to worry about getting the ZAP stamp, but for different reasons. Macy, the 8th grader, found out that if a student received more than 2 Zap stamps this term, they could not go on their 8th grade trip…. Cedar Point. Pete, the 6th grader thought the stamp looked super cool and wanted to have it stamped on his forehead… his teacher told him if he could go 4 days without any missing assignments she would ZAP! Stamp his forehead… both kids have been working incredibly hard this week to get things turned in… hope the incentive keeps working!! ☺

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Weekend #3

While we were in Traverse City we happened upon a store that had a tarot card reader. We thought it sounded interesting so we decided to give it a try. A mystic looking woman with long hair led us into a small back room, sectioned off with hanging carpets. The room was cozy, with candles and plants along the walls. Pepper and I sat next to each other across from the mystic woman. It started out a bit rocky.… she offered us 2 sets of cards but then she said we had the wrong cards… and she became flustered and said she had started the layout wrong. we had to begin again. She flipped over the first cards and said we had a solid relationship with a rocky start, then she said Pepper knew what she wanted but I didn’t… hmmm. She turned over more cards and told Pepper not to be wishy washy, then she said we needed to make time for just us in our relationship. I thought, Gee that’s why we were in TC at this very moment! She talked about her “guides” and how they helped her know what to say and do. Pepper and I talked about this idea of “guides” later and Pepper said she didn’t have one. I told her I thought everyone did.

Towards the end of the reading the woman told us that we needed to communicate more with each other. At first I thought, “Dang, we work together, live together and are speech therapists… of course we communicate!!’ But when I thought further I realized that we did listen to a CD the whole drive up to TC and maybe we take it for granted that we have lots of OPPORTUNITIES and SKILLS to talk to each other… but it is something we could improve on. We selected 3 cards each at the end… mine were emotion, love and child… so she said my mainstay was playfulness and Val’s were music, forward and On the right path, so the woman thought we were going to do just fine. Overall it was interesting new experience and gave me some things to think about. ☺

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winter Weekend #2

We went to lots of great places to eat while we were here. We also checked out some of our favorite wineries too. When we got here Friday night we met Skip and Pal for dinner at a new restaurant called Phil’s. It was very good. I even got fish (which is not my usual thing… but it was very good) It’s funny that we work in the same place and live within 20 miles of each other, yet we drive all the way to the top of the state to meet for dinner. This is actually becoming a kind of annual event…since we met last year in Traverse City but then we ate at the Grand Traverse Resort. Both times was very enjoyable…. But FYI, there are good restaurants closer to home too!!

We also tried Cook’s House (very good), Minerva’s (not as good… Pepper’s Walleye was HUGE… but bony) Hanna’s (nice brunch… and an excellent wine garage sale!!). We tried to go to a couple other places but the sidewalks roll up on Sunday and most places were closed. Sunday night we went back to Phil’s (mainly because the lights were on there!!) I had a very good steak … and Pepper liked her fish. I think Pepper was just glad that we found something else open besides Hooter’s!! :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Winter Weekend #1

Our winter weekend finally arrived!! Pepper and I decided to head up to Traverse City again. It was such a nice trip last year we couldn’t think of anything we wanted to try more than a repeat of the same trip. We came up on Friday afternoon. We took our time driving up after we got the kids all on their school buses. We stopped for lunch and shopped a bit along the way and listened to a book on CD that we had selected at the library. We got into Traverse City and checked into our room. It was not the same hotel as last year. We had heard good things about 3 hotels and looked online to see which had the best rates. The one we picked had an in-room Jacuzzi and a fireplace… although Pepper and I both thought that THREE TV’s was a bit much (one was in the bathroom!!)

When we walked into the room there was a tiny little kitchenette with a 2 burner stove… Pepper said, “Oh, we have a stove!! I want to go get some food and try it out!!” My comment back to her was, “Really? We have one of these at home in our kitchen… you never wanna use that one!!” Well, I thought it was funny!! ☺

More on our trip soon…