Thursday, June 10th
Woman Loses Job, is Offered New "Opportunity" With Strings Attached
That is the headline of my life.
So, I was laid off, right? You all remember this I think. Pink slipped. Not for any cause but California's stupid, stupid budget, which God forbid we fix. It was all "precautionary" - as in, "If California continues to fuck with the budget (and it probably will), then we'll need you to leave, stage right. Otherwise, you have a job. Thanks!".
That was in early March. It's been a rollicking good time waiting to find out if I really did have an appointment with the unemployment office.
It seemed very likely. So likely, in fact, that I was sort of assuming it would come to pass. Grace in the oncoming storm and all that. This isn't the first time I've been out of here, by gum. I've been "laid" off a few times. I'm tenacious.
Two weeks ago when my principal came to my room at lunch and closed the door I was a little worried. What now? I wondered. Do I have to start packing? Is there some sort of problem?
I worry like this when a cop is following me, too. Authority gets me.
People, he offered me a job. A job at this school. With people I know and love working with. Not only a job but a new career path. One where it will be nigh unto impossible to be laid off.
I am going into special ed.
We have a serious shortage of special ed teachers in this country. Serious. And there are all sorts of grants and programs and stuff to move people into special ed teaching. There are, of course, strings attached to those grants. Strings like, "for every year we give you money, you have to teach for 2 years".
And that? Is fine with me! I want to teach, people. I don't want to be unemployed. I like this gig. I like my students (usually). I like my resource students, and I enjoy working with them sometimes more than working with my mainstream or gifted students. The work is hard, but the payoff is enormous.
All of this boils down to the fact that I'm going back to school. It's not clear to me exactly how many classes I need - I'll be talking to an admissions counselor about that very soon. Probably a year or so - possibly as little as 7 months, maybe upwards of 15. But what's clear is that I'm going back for another credential because I got my "assignment" email from the district office and I'm officially going to be a resource specialist next year, and that requires that I be in a program towards getting this credential. I'll probably be the specialist for 6th grade, which I'm pretty jazzed about. I've been at the 8th grade level for 6 years and though I dearly love my colleagues and the curriculum, I could use a break from the attitude at this age. Incoming 6th graders are still a little freaked at the whole "junior high" thing, and they still tend to like their teachers. Puberty hasn't gone full throttle so there's less of the sex stuff to deal with. They're like Junior Junior High.
For someone who swore she was done with school after she got her (useless) B.A. in political science? I sure have taken a lot of classes...
Posted by GoddessKristin on 06/10/2010 at 11:16 AM [2262 Comments - Read 'em!]
Wednesday, April 21st
Easter Egg Hunt 2010
Here's the video I promised (I know! I'm amazed I got it up here too!). Apologies for the couple of blurry moments. I took the video on my still camera and it sometimes freaks about when trying to focus.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 04/21/2010 at 07:42 PM [941 Comments - Read 'em!]
Tuesday, April 20th
Spring Has Sprung
In all its mad glory, spring appears to have arrived. This means, in no particular order:
1) As a California teacher with less than a thousand years tenure, I got pink slipped.
2) As a pink slipped teacher, it's in my best interest to have as many teaching credentials as possible.
3) As a teacher who needs more credentials, I had to take a class.
An annoying class. A class in which I don't think I learned much of anything, but damn did I have to write a lot of stupid papers. A class in which I had to do... (cue the ominous music) group work. (Cue horrified scream, gunshot aaaaaand... splat!)
Do I have to tell you that I hate group work? That I find it cumbersome at best, horrifyingly tedious at worst? That every damn time group work is called for I wind up in the ringmaster role, snapping the proverbial whip at people who just don't get it? That this particular version is made even worse because it's an online class and I will never meet these people so the mechanics of the group are even more ridiculous? And that one of my esteemed group members had no idea how to use a messaging forum so we had to TEACH her how to post messages????
And have I told you that I have wanted to soak my head in a vat of acid for the last 6 weeks, which was the entire duration of this class?
No. I don't need to tell you all of that.
But it's where I've been. If, you know, you were wondering.
On the other hand, we have this:
Here is Dessa in her Easter finery, complete with hat, cape and purse. She killed me with that purse. Before we went to Mom's for the day, she sat on the couch in full regalia, looking for all the world like my Nonie before we'd take the old bat shopping. My Nonie would sit bolt upright on the couch, purse in her lap, staring off into the middle distance (she was legally blind, so the staring thing was understandable. The purse thing was a bit odd). I think Dessa is channeling my Nonie a bit here.
Anyway, Dess loved the Easter Egg hunt this year - she was really
into it. In fact, she discovered the hidden eggs before we actually intended to begin the hunt, so there I was, wrist deep in olive oil-ing the leg of lamb when in bursts my child clad in innocent white (so don't make me touch you, child! I'm covered in oil!), and she's screeching, "There's eggs Mom! In da livin' room! Let's go see!" (she talks a bit like a Brooklyn gangster these days. I love it).
It was quite fun. I have a video to share as soon as I get a few minutes to upload it (they take ages). I will be writing final papers on Wednesday afternoon and plan to run the upload in the background, so check back for more Easter goodness.
In other news, we are potty training. It's been an... adventure (yeah, yeah, that's the ticket). Dessa is... shall we say... opinionated
about things (right, yes. Opinionated. Let's go with that). If you ask her if she needs to use the potty, she yells, "No!" and tends to run and hide. This, shall we say, reluctance
is a minor irritation (read: drives me batshit) but not one that we can't overcome. With bribes.
She resisted training for so long that we had to begin the old Bribe Her With A Cookie routine to get her to give the potty a try. And so we began in earnest about 10 days ago. Off came the diapers, on went panties and... she promptly wet them.
OK! I grinned. No problemo! Now you know what that's like! Let's clean you up and clean up the floor and get on new panties and do it all over again!
To her credit, she was alarmed at the first wetting. "Oh! I'm sorry I made a mess Mommy!" she said, confused about the whole endeavor. Aaaaaand then she sat on the floor to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and wet herself again. Didn't tell me that time.
So I cleaned her up again, gave her new panties and it's been pretty good ever since. Oh there have been a few accidents, but she's had quite a few completely dry days (naps and night time don't count. We still sling diapers on her then because... well, duh) and her pride is growing. One incentive is those extremely nifty panties, which have princesses and other Disney characters on them. She gets to pick a pair in the morning and is becoming loathe to wet them.
She, uh... likes them a lot.
The heels come from her Snow White dress up costume. The attitude, I think, comes from me. And the legs? I don't know where she got those legs.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 04/20/2010 at 07:31 PM [34 Comments - Read 'em!]
Sunday, March 21st
Can We Do it Again?
We were off to Disneyland again this week, Dave, Dess and I. It was a long drive but so worth it. So, so, so worth it. You know I love Disneyland, but I love it so amazingly more now that I have a child to share it with. I really get now why my Dad loved it the way he did, and how going there with us was so... wonderful for him. Such a fulfilling thing for him to do. Because it fills me up to share it with Dessa.
It's just so much more wonderful for me now. And that's saying a hell of a lot, loving the place as you know I do.
So, of course, I have a lot of pictures to process and video to share but this one I am particularly proud of, not only for technical reasons (YOU try videotaping people behind you on a coaster!!) but because of my girl. Go Dessa!
Posted by GoddessKristin on 03/21/2010 at 10:13 PM [81 Comments - Read 'em!]
Tuesday, February 23rd
Paying it forward
A few years ago - for Valentine's Day the year I was pregnant, I think - Dave got me Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I am ashamed to say that before he bought it, I was unfamiliar with it. That was really, truly wrong of me, but thankfully, he set me straight. It's an honest to goodness treasure that runs the gamut from "couldn't be simpler" to "challengingly complicated". I love a book that solves weeknight dinner dilemmas and then a few pages later makes me wonder, "Hmmm - could I pull that off?"
This is my own personal "pay it forward" moment. Just as Dave introduced me to this valuable tome, I'm going to pass on to you the easiest of recipes from the book. It's such a keeper, though, that everyone should have it in their repertoire, and I include non-cooks in that sweeping generalization. This is a recipe that is hardly a recipe, it's so easy. Everyone should know how to make this.
Marcella's Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (Hunt's works great here. You want good quality tomatoes. You could also use a can of whole tomatoes and chop them roughly)
5 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half around the equator
Pinch of salt
Dump everything into a pot on med-high heat. Let mixture come to a fast simmer (don't boil), then drop heat to a slow simmer. Let sauce simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until everything thickens up a bit. Stir occasionally but don't break up the onion. When done (just eyeball it - you don't want runny juices but it's not like a fork should stand up in it or anything), remove from heat. The tomatoes will still be chunky and the onion will be quite softened. Take out the onion (you can save it for stock or just toss it out). Stir sauce into hot pasta - this is enough sauce for a pound of pasta.
I know. I know. When I first came across it I thought, "What a crock. How could this be interesting?" But I made it anyway and I was soooo glad I did. The sauce makes the pasta addictive. Something happens with the butter and the tomatoes that makes both of them better than they could be alone. And the onion adds a sweet, light sense of itself... I don't know. It's just good. And because this sauce uses what most of us have available in our kitchens right now, it's a fast, cheap, easy-peasy way to be a gourmet.
Endlessly adaptable, you could throw some leftover chicken or turkey in the pasta. The sauce is nifty over eggs. You can leave half the onion in the sauce and then puree the whole thing with an immersion blender for something completely different but still delicious.
But whatever you do, just do it. You can thank me later.
P.S. - It freezes well too, so when you decide you want this all the time, you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe and freeze a bunch. That is, if it makes it to the freezer and doesn't, you know, fall onto some pasta on the way.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 02/23/2010 at 08:35 AM [21 Comments - Read 'em!]