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A small panic-induced haitus

4 Aug

I am panicking just slightly at the realization that school starts in 21 days.  I’m feeling ridiculously unprepared.  I haven’t gotten anywhere near enough done this summer — my house isn’t ready, my kitchen isn’t finished, my dining room isn’t finished, my entry way is still a messy storage jumble, my school preparations are a joke.  We are going camping at the end of this week and I’m not ready for that yet.

Yup.  I’m in a panicky way.

I know that it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be.  My kitchen is very nearly finished — I really just need to finish the one strip of tile and finish putting everything away.  My dining room isn’t finished but we’ve ordered the new door and will get it around the end of this week.  Nothing I can do to speed that up.  While my house is still a disaster, it is way better than at the beginning of the summer.  I’ve completely cleaned my son’s room and will do my daughter’s this week while she’s gone.  I cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom and decluttered a LOT of junk from there.  Our entry way is still nightmarish but it’s better than it was — picking away at it slowly (too slowly! 🙂 ).  Progress is being made.

School preparations are similar.  Have I spent as much time as I wanted to at school preparing?  Nope.  Not even close.  But, I have done some organization.  I’ll spend a couple of days there this week and some time with one of my 4th grade team this week and I’ll be feeling a lot better about all that, I know.

So, thinking outloud here, I’d really like to get my living room completely clean — hey, I can get that done today.  It will probably only take me an hour or so.  I would like to get all the rest of my school stuff to school so my house is less cluttered.  Again, I can get that done today another hour, tops.  The biggest project I’d like to accomplish this week on the house is to finish the kitchen and get the entry back to a semblance of order.  I also have to clean my daughter’s room.  (See the panic building again . . . )   Okay, I’m off to make a list and get organized . . . no way around it now.  Summer is nearly over and I have to get my butt in gear.

So, don’t expect much posting.  I will try to post some pictures now and again.  I’ll still be reading blogs. And, I’m sure I’ll feel better in a short time for the focus on getting things DONE.

Happy August!


A little peace

7 Jun

Pretty flowers

This week — let’s be honest — this month and a half has been insane.  The end of school might seem like a gigantic joy for a teacher but it is so much work.  I teach 5th grade and our students are moving on to the local Middle School next year.  There is so much extra work around that.  Today, I will go in and fill out report cards and then prepare the academic awards for the end of the year.  We are on a countdown to our Advancement ceremony on Thursday — the last day of school.  There is so much to do with that — rehearsals, learning songs, all the students carrying all their chairs to the MP room at the same time so that we have enough chairs in there.  Oh my.  So much to do and think about.  Wheeee!

In the middle of all this, my family wants my attention.  I need a break.  Last night, we took Ruthie to her flute lesson, got the oil changed in my car, and we met friends for dinner at a fun, noisy pizza place.  It was perfect.  A couple of glasses of wine, some good food . . . just perfect.  I got a glimpse into the reward of summer.

This will be my first summer that I am not teaching summer school.  I am so happy.  I know, however, that no matter how much time I have, there is not enough time to do everything that I want to do.  Irritating, that is but true.

I’m reminding myself to take moments.   So, when I saw these tiny pink blossoms outside the oil change place last night . . . I took a moment.  Macro photography is wonderful — you immerse yourself into a tiny world.   There is a “Where’s Waldo?” aspect to this picture — find it and get the perspective you need to know how tiny and how pink I had to make my world last night in order to find a sense of peace.

My Mountains are Burning

24 May

Santa Cruz Mountains Fire Originally uploaded by michael cinque

Thankfully, I and mine are safe. No worries about us.

Thursday morning, on the radio, there was a comment in the traffic report about a fire at the Summit near Hwy 17 that was about 700 acres. No where near me and nothing to worry about. Later in the day, however, one of my fellow teachers had the news on and it was clearly worse — 2000 acres burned and 0% containment. It was windy and that was scary. The only good news for me was that the wind was blowing away from our town. Later Thursday night, I drove down to Santa Cruz. I heard on the news that a nearby school district (where I taught summer school for two years) was closing all their schools on Friday due to the smoke. I could see nearby Loma Prieta (a mountain and the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake) — it was pretty much where the fire started and it looked like a volcano with smoke roiling out of the top of it. Thankfully, I stayed out of the smoke. On the news Thursday night, they said it was 3200 acres and 10% contained.

Friday, we woke up wondering what the day would bring. At school, before 9:00, I had to escort a student to the office (don’t ask!) and it was insanely smokey. Looked like the picture above but instead of looking across a few miles, I was looking at our surrounding mountains. After the 3 minute walk, I had to use my asthma inhalers. We were worried. Thankfully, for us, the wind shifted again and our air cleared up. We could see the smoke and smell it for the rest of the day but it wasn’t thick in the air, thank goodness.

The fire continues to grow despite huge efforts by fire fighters. Lots of property and homes lost. The news I read this morning say it was probably caused by someone burning debris and leaving it still smoldering. In other words, it was caused by stupidity.

More Information:

On the road again

25 Apr

FMC and Suzuki

We’re heading off on another camping trip. Just a quick one this time. Off to Morro Bay. Greg and his mom are taking the kids out of school tomorrow early and they’re heading down there with my nephews too. What a trip. I’m going to follow after school lets out for the day.

I can’t tell you all how much I’m looking forward to 3 hours in the car alone. Bliss. Sheer bliss. It’s been a hellish long week at work and we all need a break (the kids, me, my students, etc.).

Look at that gorgeous forecast — perfect temperatures!  Yay!  I can almost feel the relaxation starting!  Gonna load up my iPod and be ready for a great weekend!

Meet Tom!

22 Mar

Peeping Tom

Meet Tom — Peeping Tom. Tom is a raven who visits my classroom everyday. He walks on a roof and looks in the window to the classroom. He kronks up there loudly. Walking back and forth in front of my window, kroking. The window is up high in my classroom which is why it’s hard for us to see Tom well.

Peeping Tom

Tom is looking at me here with particular intent because he knows that I totally beat him this time. I have been trying for weeks to get a picture of Tom to share with you all. Even though I’m in the classroom on the other side of the room, he is gone the minute I pull out my camera. Rotten bird! 🙂 But I got him this time and he knows it.

Peeping Tom

Can’t you just hear him thinking, “Drat that woman and her camera!” Tom shows up during Math almost everyday. The kids totally lose focus and point and talk about him (They call him “Peanut Butter” which is just silly — his name is clearly Tom! Sigh!). Their easy slip into distraction is completely my fault — I shared my enthusiasm for Ravens with them and they found that more compelling than my enthusiasm for adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions. I had to tell them that if Tom is too big a distraction that the blinds will have to close during math. It is pretty cool to watch them see him up there, want to point and shout out about it, struggle to stay calm and at least partially focused on their work while still sneaking peeks up to Tom. They are such great kids!

These ravens at school are wonderful. I do worry a little bit though — they are so smart and Tom is watching through the window during Math — what if he’s picking up how to add and subtract like and unlike fractions? Are we really ready for a population of educated Ravens? The mind boggles.


And, while you are recovering from boggled mind, head on over to I and the Bird #71 – The Quotable I and the Bird. Clare of The House and other Arctic Musings did a fantastic job. Lots of good weekend reading — enjoy!

What a night!

10 Mar

My best friend and I live in the same county but we never get together. It’s absurd. We are both successful and good parents who important, time- and energy-consuming jobs and we don’t make much time for ourselves. Still and all, we got together last night. An awesome dinner, a bottle of really good local Syrah, and then we went to see Juno.

Run — don’t walk — to see this movie. Of course, I’m probably the last person on the planet (other than my husband) to see it but still, go see it again. I loved it. I looooooooooved it. It was a 3 coats of mascara movie. I wept like a baby er more like a mother!

But most important of all, we remade some connections — strengthened some ties — talked and shared our lives. It was good! Really good!


In other news, my life is feeling fractured lately. And, I’m seriously thinking about undoing something that I did last year. Last year, I separated my bloggin self into several different blogs which I felt was a better representation of my convoluted life. Well, be that as it may, I think the time has come to recognize that while I may be a fractured and confused person, I need to work on integrating and honor all those parts of myself. So, I’m going to re-integrate some of those parts of myself. Look for poetry and remodeling to come back to the fold here at Egret’s Nest. And, hey, fair warning, if I want to talk about my intense love for playing ToonTown . . . I’m gonna do that. There will still be photographs and ravens and chickadees and the rest but there will be other stuff, too.

Oh, and Ruby Tuesday, of course, is here to stay.


It seems I can’t post without including a picture. So, here is how my daughter and husband entertained themselves while I was out last night. They played with PhotoBooth on Greg’s iBook. This is Chocolate Dog. Chocolate Dog has been my daughter’s constant companion since she was 6 months old. Santa put Chocolate Dog in her stocking and they have been fast friends ever since. Chocolate Dog is an adventerous dog who likes to explore. So far, the longest Chocolate Dog has gone exploring was several months! Those were some rough months, I’ll tell ya. We regularly go on red alert, drop everything, and search for Chocolate Dog. I put these in my “she’ll stop doing it before she goes to college” category. I’m right, aren’t I? Aren’t I? Please tell me I’m right!

Chocolate Dog Squeeze

PS. Somehow, I needed to have two posts today. Don’t miss the other one! 🙂


16 Nov

I dreamed last night that I participated in NaNoWriMo this month.  I can only assume that my subconscious wanted to see if I could snap altogether since I am running on empty and stuffing way more into each day than I possibly can.  It’s insane. So, yes, it makes complete and utter sense that I would add some dream pressure to my life.  I suppose the only good thing about it was that in the dream I had about 1/2 my novel written and was raring to go.  But then, dreams should be filled with rich fantasy, right?  Crazy!

But, I am surviving — parent conferences, the pile of materials to be graded from hell, report cards.  The pile of materials is graded, the grades are all done (but not yet put onto all the report cards, I hasten to add).  I’ve done about 7 parent conferences which went pretty well.

I did have a little teacher envy yesterday.  I went to the conference for my daughter with her wonderful teacher.  Her wonderful teacher has parent conferences down to a science.  She includes the children — she was revoltingly well prepared.  She had all Ruthie’s work out ready to show us. She used part of the report card to guide the conference which really was a student-teacher conference.  Greg and I sat back and watched — me wishing I could pull out my video camera and record it all for future use!  It was amazing.

My own conferences tend to be a bit more fitting with my personality.  Somewhat disorganized. Very personal.  Lots of paper shuffling.

So, a little professional envy == not a bad thing, I suppose.  And, I’m so stealing part of her act!  🙂

Stupid Quiz, Stupid Teacher

8 Nov

You Don’t Know Your States

You got 4/10 correct.
So you really don’t know the way around the map of the US.

Let’s hope you’re not American… or if you are, that you’ve never left your state!

How Well Do You Know Your States?

Oh, I am laughing so hard I could cry — or something.  I teach 5th grade.  5th grade is about knowing your US geography.  No, really!  But, I’m – uh – tired.  And, – uh – it’s late.

Okay, my students can’t know about this one.  That’s for sure.  That said, it’s a pretty stupid quiz.

And, I oughta know from stupid, right?


Lest you worry

9 Oct

Thank you all for your kind concern! Today was a slightly less frenzied day. I started with an 8am meeting that wasn’t — the mom didn’t show up despite having confirmed an appointment with 4 professionals who adjusted their schedules to accommodate her. It’s okay though — I totally understand — sleeping in is important and that has to come first in one’s life.

(I’m not bitter.)

Then school. I had the joy of manning (womanning) our Working Lunch Center today. It’s where kids who don’t do their work in class or who cause major disruptions in class get to go do their work during lunch recess two days a week. It’s a joyful place. And, even better . . . my own daughter was in there. She’d DONE the work but had lost it before turning it in. Sigh.

After school, the fun continued. I was covering our Homework Club which is an afterschool study hall basically where kids can do their homework, get help with it, and get it checked for an hour after school. It actually went well — the kids worked hard and quietly and gave me no grief. Yay!

And, then home. Greg was home tonight — no band practice today so we had a family meal. Ruthie showed us the notes she can play on the flute and lamented the fact that she used to be able to play a D but can’t anymore. Gage took a bath and snuggled with for tv watching. It was good.

Oh, and best of all, my math kids did super-well on their math test today — I’m so proud of them!!!

Cold Recovery Tip #432

9 Oct

When suffering from a nasty cold, I heartily recommend that you pack your day as full as possible.  Rise from bed at a dead run with a schedule so full that you haven’t got time for breakfast, stop by the store on your way to work to grab your kids’ lunch out of the deli section, kiss them on their heads and shove them at their teachers.  Teach all day as much as you can, as fast as you can.  Overbook your afternoon calendar so that you have to literally be in two places at once — rush into one of them blowing air kisses (or the teacher equivalent — I’m off to a meeting, tra-la!) and then climb into your car and drive halfway across the county for a training seminar.  Learn lots of useful things before piling back into your car to deadhead back to your school for a meeting that started 1/2 hour before you could possibly be there.  Stay at that meeting until nearly 8pm.  Rush back to the grocery store to buy the things that your family truly can’t live without for one more day.  Fly home, tucking one child into bed while helping your other child create amazing posters for her campaign to be secretary of the student council — and dealing with the tantrum that ensues when one child goes to bed while the other one “gets to stay up.”  Chase second child to bed an hour and a half past her bedtime and finish coloring in the posters.  Collapse into your own bed at around midnight.  Sleep like a rock and get up and start all over again.

Okay now, class, let me see your hands . . . how many of you wish you were me?  Anyone?  Anyone?