In which it sucks how much this sucks

Screen shot 2010-10-13 at 11.16.32 AMFirst things first:  sent the summer teacher grant application off today, meaning that I’ve applied for nearly fifty thousand dollars’ worth of grants in 2013, which seems kind of ridiculous.  Now we get to move into my favorite thing: waiting to find out if people will be giving me money.  Cross your fingers for me, ‘k?

I’m in my office right now, hiding from Trick-or-Treaters because they’re too much of a pain in my ass to deal with.

I hate Halloween.  There, I said it.

This hasn’t always been true– in fact, for most of my life Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays if not my actual favorite holiday.  It was great when I was a kid, and there have been scattered moments of greatness in my adult Halloweens as well– dressing as Darth Maul right around when Episode One came out was certainly a highlight.  But I am officially too old and too crotchety to enjoy this shit anymore– working in a middle school, for one thing, has ruined Halloween for me, because it turns my kids into such huge pains in the ass– and on top of that the cultural shift where “slutty _____” has become the default costume for every girl over ten years old everywhere has turned me into a goddamn puritan.

Not everything has to be about fucking.  Halloween isn’t supposed to be about fucking.  There should not be any such thing as a “sexy cat costume.”  Cats aren’t sexy!  No one thinks cats are sexy, and if we find someone who breaks the rules and does we lock them the fuck up and feel good about ourselves for it!

(Which… huh.  I don’t appear to know how to link to Google Images sites anymore; Safari just puts the damn search term in the address bar.  Ah, there we go, it works in Chrome:  None of these women look like goddamn cats.  This is what Mardi Gras is supposed to be for, goddammit, not Halloween.  You wanna have a holiday called Dress Like A Stripper Day?  I’m in, and I’m willing to insist that guys dress like Chippendales for it too.  That’s not a cat.  It’s a stripper with stupid ears.)

Also, and this is more of a personal thing, we have two huge dogs and neither of them are terribly great about strangers, meaning that we have to do whatever we can to keep the doorbell from being rung all night.  We currently have our candy in a bowl on a picnic table in the driveway to keep the kids away from the dogs.  Many of the children, unsurprisingly, are not bright enough to notice it– some of them will literally walk around it on their way to the front door, which I’ve done my damnedest to make look uninviting  And it’s raining, which means that even if they were wearing cool costumes, and most of them aren’t, they’re covered up in raincoats and umbrellas and hoodies and shit.  Sacrifice for your art, goddammit.  Get some bloody waterproof makeup and show off the damn costume.  Assuming you’re actually dressed as something, that is.

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloud(Huge ruckus outside; I prepare to actually literally go tell some teenage kids to get off my damn lawn.)

(Ruckus ends abruptly as it started; I think the neighbor’s Rottweiler tried to eat someone. Good.)

Note the following:  I will drop at least some of my objections to Halloween as soon as local jurisdictions acquire some goddamn sense, drop this October 31 nonsense (not one person in a hundred can explain why Halloween is October 31) and bloody move the holiday to the last Friday in October.  Halloween during the week is idiotic for a wide variety of reasons, not least among which is going to be the spike in suspensions at schools across the country tomorrow.

Bah.  Humbug.

In which it’s been a long two days

I didn’t get around to writing a post yesterday, but it wasn’t because of parent/teacher conferences. I didn’t make it to parent/teacher conferences, in fact; my mother in law had either one stroke or a series of minor strokes over the last couple of days and ended up in the hospital yesterday. She’s fine, for values of “fine” that include “had at least one stroke in the last two days;” there is little to no apparent physical damage (no drooping facial muscles, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, anything like that; she can get up and move around) but she’s having difficulty recalling words and talking– although that has improved since I saw her yesterday. I found out toward the end of the day, tossed an “I’ll call you later” sign-up sheet in the hallway and headed to the hospital.

I had already taken this morning off because of the first meeting of the probation assistance team; that meeting was supposed to be from 7:45 to, most of us thought, 9 or so, and I’d have a couple of hours where I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere in particular and then would go back to work and teach the afternoon half of my classes. Between the stress of my mother-in-law’s hospitalization and a recurrence of the “no-real-symptoms-but-exhaustion” illness I was struggling with a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and take the afternoon off too.

Half days for middle school teachers in my corporation go until 11:00; the meeting that was supposed to be just over an hour long took until 12:30. I’d have had to scramble to get sub coverage in the afternoon anyway even if I’d been planning on returning to work. I won’t get into the reasons why but we hit some unexpected snags in putting the improvement plan together and it took forever to get everything done. It’s not like any particular member of the team dragged the meeting out; we just ended up having much more to do than anyone, including the more veteran members of the PAT process, had expected for us. My first observation is next week; we’ll see how it goes.


Another good reason– not that I needed one once the meeting ran so long, but whatever– for me to take the afternoon off was my frustration level has been through the roof lately. You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned my “don’t yell at kids” policy lately; it’s because the last several weeks have represented nothing but crashing failure in keeping that goal alive. My kids are manifestly not behaving or acting worse than previous classes (particularly last year) have, but for some reason it’s getting to me a lot more this year. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but I’ve got to find a way to get over it.

Something for me to work on, if I ever manage to drag myself out of bed again.

In which you’re given fair warning

oct14coverChris Hadfield picture because Chris Hadfield is awesome.  You are wrong and I will fight you if you try to act otherwise.

I have, if you count days where I post “I have nothing to say, go enjoy life” types of posts (and this is my blog, so three guesses whether I do and the first two don’t count) blogged basically every day, sometimes more than once, since about halfway through June.  That streak may have to come to an end tomorrow, as tomorrow is parent/teacher conferences and I won’t even be walking out of my building, much less in the proper frame of mind to write about it, until somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00 PM.  Now, granted, events at parent/teacher conferences generally produce decent blogfodder, so I ought to be able to come up with something more compelling than blaaargh want to die when I get home finally, but just in case I don’t, be aware that I’m genuinely not dead.  I promise.

Unless I am, but if I die I’ll make sure to blog about it.

In which mmmmmm

photoLet it be noted:  I am listening to “Heroin” right now.  Easily my favorite Velvet Underground song.  I can’t pretend I was/am a huge Lou Reed fan, but the man will be missed.

I spent all day cooking, in case it wasn’t perfectly clear from paying attention to my blog or my Facebook feed or my Instagram feed.  I, uh, may have gone slightly overboard in making certain that the public was informed of my actions.  That said, there’s something fun about deciding you’re going to feed a bunch of people– my excuse was that my aunt was in town and I’ve never had the opportunity to cook for her– and so we got everybody together at my brother’s house and I cooked for everybody.  The menu:

  • Baked ziti (Foodspin)
  • Apple crisp (also Foodspin)
  • Oatmeal cookies (MLW cooked these; not sure where the recipe came from)
  • And white chocolate and Candy Corn cookies (from Averie Cooks; they looked exactly like that.)

The family contributed bread and salad, which was basically everything else we needed.  Holy god did I eat good today.  Everything Foodspin does is gold; I will buy the hell out of Albert Burneko’s cookbook as soon as someone gets the bright idea to shove money at him until he writes one, and the apple crisp (which he incorrectly calls an apple crumble, but I’ll forgive him) is a goddamn revelation with vanilla ice cream on it.  Holy crap.

Also:  Take Averie seriously when she says to try to keep candy corn from touching the baking sheet, if you decide to make those cookies (and you should; they’re awesome.)  I may have finally kicked my baking bad luck; other than the occasional chewy patch on the cookies (which is what happens if the candy corn melts on you) everything I made today was awesome.

‘Twas a good day.  Now if I could just get someone to write tomorrow’s lesson plans for me.