Hot, hot, hot

While I was on bus duty today, some of the kids started passing out jalapeno peppers to some unsuspecting peers.

That's a new one.

I'm not sure who should be punished...is it the kids who passed them out, or the foolish kids who ate them? And if it's the eaters, then haven't they been punished enough?

It raises some interesting questions about the boundaries between Prank and Crime.

In other news, our curtains are mostly up. They do make the place look a bit more, err, well-groomed? It's funny that in five years of living together, this is our first attempt at cohesive decorating. Our humble abodes usually contain an assortment of collectables and cast-offs...color coordination only occurs accidently.

Our goal this time was to create a comfortable space to relax in. But I have to say, it might have been a bit more relaxing to just stay at home in the first place, instead of gallavanting all over town for curtains and hardware.


Thanksgiving: A Feast to Remember

So what did the vegans have for Thanksgiving? This year we traveled to Charlottesville, VA to visit my Aunt Mary. Vegans and non-vegans dined on roasted vegetables, millet and cauliflower mash with carmalized onion gravy, salad, mushroom loaf and pumpkin pie. I should have some pictures to put up, but I am blogging from school, where I am waiting for a parent conference to start. I hit a major wall of fatigue about 10 minutes ago. Without students, the day just drags on and on and on. Plus, I've been snacking on these iced oatmeal cookies I found in the teacher's lounge. Somehow these cookies happen to be vegan, which lends credibility to my theory that commercial bakeries add eggs and milk to most baked goods just for the heck of it.

Tonight I plan to go to M & S's house to take advantage of their many bike tools. I will do the final assembly work on my bike, and hopefully get to ride it to work soon. That is, if it doesn't rain like it did last night. Heinz field was completely flooded! I have to admit that I fell asleep before the end of the game, and therefore missed the exciting field goal.


Hittin' the Road for T-Giving

We are heading to Charlottesville for Thanksgiving this year, and will be cooking a vegetable feast. I am excited to see what kind of delicious produce my Aunt Mary has gathered for us.

This weekend, M and I will be toting our laptops, symbols of our newly acquired busy lives. There are a lot of things I swore I would never do again, and yet, here I am. For example, I swore I would never carry a travel mug again, since I never wanted to be too busy to eat a complete breakfast at home. But school starts awfully early for that principle to stand long. I also said I would never drive to work, which I am doing now. (Not for long, though, as I plan to make the 12 mile (each way) journey by bicycle starting next week.)

And then today I found myself sitting in traffic, after a very long day which involved many "time outs" and "sticks in the pockets" and even some tears (not my own), going to Ikea to get some curtains and the hardware to hang them up. I object to Ikea. I know that many of their products are made from recycled or renewable resources, such as bamboo. However, they turned furniture, once considered a craft, into a mass produced catalog of whatever-you-want-this-season.

Calm down...I am not judging you, lest I be judged. My visa card is not unknown in the land of Ikea. I have spent many a Saturday browsing, and I believe it might be impossible to leave that place empty handed.

But I freaked out this time. All of a sudden, I wanted to be out of that store, out of the vast confusion of Robinson Town Center, away from highways and detours and traffic. I was thoroughly disgusted for wanting curtains (we have mini-blinds, so it's purely for aesthetics). I was thoroughly disgusted for taking a job I was unsure about for the purpose of having enough money to afford interior decorating. I missed the woods and my hiker friends, and the pleasureable feeling of waking up ready to face the day. I missed life without email and cell phones and Google calendar. And I was sick and tired of listening to people, including myself, fret all day and into the evening about various things that are not fret-worthy.

Poor M. He thought I was mad about the curtain hanging hardware that he had picked out after painstakingly measuring every crooked and irregular window in the apartment.

It will be good to get out of town for a few days.

By the way, once I got home, I discovered that the curtain hanging hardware does NOT include the mounting screws, so we will have to go to Home Depot anyway.


Back in the Saddle Again

Well, I could not resist it. I am teaching again. Still special ed, this time it is a full inclusion program, which means I am in the regular classrooms all the time, working with my kiddos and anybody else that needs help. Stepping in mid-year has its benefits and drawbacks....a pretty good schedule was already set up, many of the IEPs have been written, but it's hard to replace a beloved teacher in the middle of the year. "Ms. So-and-so does it THIS way!"

It's just as hard as I remember, but just as fun.


Thank you for your persistence...

(the closing to an email I recently received at work)

This really means "stop bugging me". Some of my other favorites include "All the best" and "Respectfully". What happened to a simple "thank you". I'm closing in on a month of temping, and I have a few observations on the state of administrative work.

When you are low on the totem pole, you must get clarification for absolutely everything. If you do not ask, then you will probably do it wrong, because there is no possible way to guess which routine task has an exception to it This One Time. The beauty of asking questions lies in the response. The person you are asking will patiently sigh, usually tell you what you already know, and then shake their head slightly as you walk out the door. They are wondering how you get by in the world with your inability to figure out a simple thing like TPS reports.

Temping is a real exercise in humility.

Another thing I've noticed is the office gossip. The last time I temped it was for a very small department, and while there was plenty of chit-chat, it was truly gossip-worthy stories containing elements of mystery, impropriety, and lust. There is nothing that interesting going on in my current office. And there is nothing so lame as pretending that you aren't listening to your coworkers talk about each other's job performance or lack there of.

A very strange thing happened earlier this week when I was trying to place an order for hundreds of dollars worth of printer cartridges...lightening flashed and thunder boomed and my screen did a weird flashy thing and it deleted my order. I see it as a sign from God that we should stop using so much paper by printing every email we receive.

A lot of my job responsibilities are sort of silly and redundant, but I don't think that the work of this office is. There is one woman here who is consistently positive about her work, and vocal about it, in a very natural way. I think she embodies what I have come to feel about work...whatever your job, do it with passion. Accept the limitations that come with your role. Be engaged in your daily activities. Talk about your work in a positive way.

Anyway, people in this office have been very nice and friendly and I don't hate coming to work. It is coming to an early end, though...because I got a teaching job! I will be teaching K-2 inclusion special education, and I am really excited. Stay tuned for more details!


Nesting...or not

So M and I are taking the plunge and have signed a lease on an apartment. Apparently, though, our nesting instinct isn't that strong, because we got the keys yesterday, and instead of moving in, we drove to Cleveland to see a Jens Lekman show.

It was well worth it, even though we didn't get back home until almost 2:30 in the morning. Then we woke up early to load the car with boxes before work, so we could drop them off later. However, M's parents just had their driveway paved and we can't drive on it, so our cars are all parked in a field several hundred yards from the garage. It was freezing cold and pitch dark when we started to carry stuff out, and we did it without rhyme or reason, which I noticed when the car was loaded with a blender, two large glass panes, and Christmas decorations. All the things that you need right away when you move. We kept dropping things. At one point, I turned to M and said, "I don't think we are making very good decisions right now." He cheerfully agreed. We were both feeling a bit flu-ish, but unsure if it was a result of catching the bug that has M's sister laid up, or if it was because we are approaching the age when we really shouldn't be out all night at a concert and then try to go to work the next day.

All that being said, the show was fantastic. Jens, as usual, was surrounded by fashionable Swedish girls playing an endless assortment of instruments. He was also accompanied by Victor the DJ who added some great beats in all the right places. After the show, Victor stayed to spin some records for the dancing enjoyment of the crowd, but we wisely decided to hit the road. Jens Lekman is quite the showman, and his fans are devoted, which made for some great sing-alongs. We also loved the Paul Simon cover that he did for his encore.

I would say more, but M got a pretty good bootleg of the show last night, so if you want to hear it, come on over to our new apartment! I'll make you a smoothie in our blender.