Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hit in the Head with a Two-By-Four

They changed my email today.

And that is how it hit home.  An email from some dude, meant for his colleagues, about how he wants me to pray for his daughter.  Seemed a bit random and too personal, so I looked in the address box to see how it was sent to me.  And it wasn't addressed to me, but was grouped "all______workers".  So I have been moved on the email system.  I had to go to the address book to check.

And yeah, I knew . . . and the union wasn't helping . . . and this is all happening for a REASON, some plan that they won't share.  But it wasn't really, real until that email.  Because someone had to go somewhere and talk to someone to get that changed.  Tech department people. 

And so I did today what I was resisting.  I emptied out my desk.  And cried.  And then I stopped.  Pulled it together and started cleaning out the cabinet with all of my containers.  Just dumped the stuff out of them and piled up the containers.  Which I was avoiding, because when this got "fixed" I didn't want to have to put everything BACK into a container. 

Removed all that I had purchased for my classroom over the years.  And the cabinet is surprisingly empty.  Tomorrow I will move magazines . . . glasswear that I saved from the dumpster . . . Mirrors that I purchased from the dollar store . . . cardboard that I carefully collected in case I ever wanted to do printmaking . . . My desk fit into two small bins.  I left a broken camera and some dry eraser markers that I didn't want to pack because they weren't in a box . . . which much more than anyone left me.  I plan to be out by the end of next week.

So this new chapter is happening.  There will be no coming to their senses.  No realizing how much I have done for them over the years.  No changing their minds.

And I had accepted leaving.  I was EXCITED about finding another job and leaving.  But I really thought they would come to their senses, so I could be comfortable until I left.  And that is my selfishness.  My flaw.

I am a great art teacher.  I am a great teacher.  And everything is going to be alright. 

I will miss my students.  I know I made a difference.  And the people that walked down to the tech department will realize that . . . eventually.  And I just have to do the best job with what I have . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More Guacamole!!

Guacamole again!

Spider Monkey's parents came for dinner.  SM made fajitas.  And I made tomato salad, guacamole and dessert. 

That stuff that I am not talking about made me SUPER crabby, due a phone call in the middle of the day.  Which had to lead to other phone calls.  Which made me late to grocery shopping.  More than two hours.  And I hate being late.  I although I feel that I HAVE to do stuff, I still feel guilty for dropping everything every time this stuff (that I am not talking about) comes up.

Once I arrived at Casa Spider Monkey, I couldn't find him.  I can only knock so long.  And the neighbors were out.  And there was too much smiling.  So I went into the backyard. 

Because I was in a "I want to punch someone in the face . . . or shave my head . . . or pierce something on my face . . . " kind of mood, I decided to cope by pulling up the dead stalks on SM's lilies, which seemed productive and more positive than impulsively getting a full back tattoo or drinking much bourbon (or both). 

NOT SO!  Spider Monkey appeared and he WANTED those stalks there.  They look much better than wilted lily leaves.  I am presumptive.  Very presumptive.  And I suppressed the new, very specific, urge to punch him in the face.  AND he made me stop pulling them up, which was the only thing soothing me.

We went to Target.  ONE pad of sticky notes, a bottle of Fantastik and a tablecloth later, we went to Westborn.  (This was NOT my trip to Target, because it was a tab under $50) 

After all the vegetables, fruit, wine and dessert were purchased, we went to Holiday Market.  Holiday Market was a bit tricky because I had purchased cheese but I thought we just had to run in to get meat.  I forgot about the bottles.  So Spider Monkey returned bottles while I picked up the items we did not get at Westborn . . . notice I that did not say "didn't have" at Westborn.  There was a slight disagreement about the purchase of raspberries due to my failure to take inventory of a refrigerator that I do not own.

As I was driving back to Spider Monkey's, I made the mistake of driving down Main Street, which I found out that I should never, ever do . . . so as I was looking for a place to turn off the evil that is Main Street, my brain began thinking "Do I really want to spend the rest of my days with a person that has to go to separate stores every time he wants vegetables AND meat?"  But again, I was cranky today.  And the Main Street thing was throwing me over the edge.  And I didn't turn . . . I drove all the way to his house using Main Street.  Think that meat is perfectly fine at Westborn.  I've bought meat there.  AND I have bought vegetables at Holiday Market. 

But I did not punch anyone in the face.

And most of the time, these little idiosyncrasies are charming . . . or at least usually I find them charming.  And Spider Monkey's parents were charming.  And the cooking took my mind off of things.  And the food was good. 

And I still have Serrano chili oil on my hands which is limiting the things I touch . . . especially the eyes.  Need to make sure I get gloves next time. 

Now I'm watching Longmire . . . interesting show. 

School tomorrow.  And then more applying.  What is it?  100 applications before an interview?  And then at least ten interviews before a job . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Get Over It . . . and Make Some Guacamole

So I'm not going to talk about work . . . another than I really, really wonder if I shouldn't go in another direction . . . but I have to think about retirement and stuff.  And isn't that a downer?  When you are so old that you have to wonder if a career change is the right thing to do because of your retirement?  Because fourteen years is not as good as fifteen years somehow?

Anyhoo . . . yeah, I've been gone awhile but this is a good outlet and I would really like a book deal (in a year, thus not messing up that retirement thing) and I'm currently agoraphobic, so I might as well write things down.  Otherwise, I might be bored enough to leave the house and end up curled in a ball at Target due to a panic attack.  And although many of my co-workers openly talk about the amount of psychotropic drugs they are on to get through the day, I would like to continue the drug-free nature of my existence.  Darn those "back to school" sales starting in early July.

It is too hot to go outside and so I'm living on what food I can gather from my kitchen . . . and guacamole.  Much like my mother, I have a whole lot of food that cannot be combined to actually make anything.  And guacamole.  I have developed a love of making guacamole from scratch.  Mashing up avocado.  Chopping up vegetables.  Adding a serrano chile when I can find one.  This current batch has too much lime and not enough onion.  I have a very loose recipe, which I derived from some show that I caught ten minutes of on a Saturday morning.  Some very perky woman, who insists that Mexican food is easy to make.  I don't believe her, but the guacamole seemed doable with four ingredients.  Plus it is something to do with cilantro, which I grow on the porch and usually let flower because I don't use enough cilantro. 

And I tell myself that if I really, really wanted I could start a guacamole business because my guacamole is better than that hipster restaurant with the good chicken tacos (The Imperial, but I have to leave something to write about) and the Spider Monkey even says so . . . although he has not had this overly limey batch.  And that makes me breathe a bit more easily.  Even if I have to get fifteen years in for that retirement thing.

So tomorrow I have to shower and do something other than watch CNN and be depressed.  Because no one wants to hire a depressed person, even if they are up on current events.  I need to be the person I want to be, rather than the person I feel like right now.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Governor Rick Snyder wants me to pay 20% of my health care costs.

He also says that I make too much money "compared to the private sector".

What he doesn't say is that he is comparing my salary with my student that works 7 hours a week at Wendy's, without a high school education.

My parents TOLD me not to go into education . . . and as it turns out, as always, they were right. I don't feel that I make an insane amount of money. In three years, I will have twenty years in as a teacher. What do engineers with master's degrees make after twenty years of experience?

And I have worked for no money, in a private school . . . which would have provided free tuition for my children (if I had any), gave me very lovely free food for lunch and after twenty years, I would have had a subsidized place to live. And I hate to break it to Rick, but the private school had the same problem with finding quality teachers, if not more so . . . and an opinion column in the Free Press made a great point. If I'm paid like a private school teacher, will I get students like the ones I taught in private school? Parents who felt education was important enough to pay extra for it? Students who actually behaved and paid attention?

So let me get this straight . . . I have given my life to education. My fault really. But now I'm supposed to be paid like "the private sector"? What if I treated my job like people in the private sector? I'm sorry, Mrs. So and So. I'm off the clock.

I'm already concerned about some of my colleagues and their quality. What happens when teachers can't make even a living wage? Will there be any new teachers? Not any smart ones.

So my great hope is that Rick will buy me out of my pension. And I'll go get an engineering of law degree to be part of the private sector . . . the part with bonuses and six figure salaries. Or better yet, I can run for the state legislature, all who make more money than I do and have better health insurance than I currently do - nevermind that 20%. Oh, and staffs, car allowances, expense accounts and offices.

Oh, and I supposed to have a package from Amazon. Says it was "out for delivery" as of 9 am this morning. And it is still not here. And how much longer do people deliver? So much for those lesson plans for tomorrow. I would come up with Plan B but I'm pretty sure I don't get paid for that anymore.

Monday, November 22, 2010

YAY! A Parade . . . oh . . . unyay . . .

So this weekend's great idea, care of a Spider Monkey friend, was to attend the Royal Oak Holiday Parade. Sounded great! Good friends. Coffee. Marching Bands.

Except that I got up late. And the thinking was to walk so we wouldn't have to find a parking spot, but I was late so I took that chance. And there were people EVERYWHERE. Everywhere, with strollers and SUVs and . . . husbands. And the parade route was not on Main street, where I assumed parades would be, so there was a long detour through the rioting SUVs desperately looking for a parking spot amid the "permit only" land west of town. But I made it to the "secret" parking structure, which was evidently not as secret as I thought it was . . . which instead of SUVs, contained old people. Very slow walking in the middle of the roadway old people. And I didn't have to park on the top of the structure. But I could see it.

I found my friends on Main. Which again, was NOT where the parade was. And we ended up at the end of the parade route, standing next to a tree and a nice short woman with two children. Her tall, not see through husband arrived as the parade started. And the metal grid around the tree was amazingly conductive when it came to cold.

Now I expected a small town parade. Some cute girl scouts dressed up as presents. A cheer team. One or two marching bands. Maybe some boy scouts with the American Flag and a fire truck. And all of those things were between big gaps and banners listing every business in Royal Oak. Plus two "rock" bands. And some floats that someone must have bought from the Float company's garage sale. Royal Oak is not a big enough city for floats. Three marching bands from other cities. The Homecoming King and Queen? It was two hours before Santa . . . and that turned out to be not even the real end Santa. And it got cold and colder and the metal conducted cold through my sneakers. And I couldn't leave because we were with another couple, who decided that they needed to be smoopy . . . all huggy and kissing. And the non-see through husband kept moving for the block and talking loudly. It was the longest parade I have ever attended. And I marched in the Orange Bowl parade for . . . like . . . seven miles or something.

And once it was done, we had to do the "what do you guys want to do? I dunno. What do you guys want to do?" Until finally, I said, I WANNA EAT! And the Spider Monkey said something about Lockharts, which is not my favorite place to eat but it is a restaurant which has a magical thing called beer, so I went for it. And the couple with us, said "Sure!" and then didn't eat or drink magical things. And that was awkward. And I felt like I should have said "I WANT COFFEE" instead.

But the strollers and SUVs and husbands . . . and old people were all gone by the time we were done with lunch. And the couple invited us to . . . another parade.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Netflix Free Trial with My Name on It

I went to the movies today. It was hot and baby booties more finishing work than actual knitting. Really, I needed to get out of the house. And Spider Monkey has NO interest in the Twilight series.

I made some observations:

First, people under the age of five do not need to see vampire movies. I don't even think they WANT to see vampire movies. A woman in a tank top and random tattoos had three girls under the age of five with her. I saw them in the popcorn line, thinking that the amount of zany bracelets on their arms were a bit of a hazard, with fifty on each arm, and was wondering about their circulation. I figured they were going to watch Toy Story 3 or Shrek or one of the other three G movies at the theater. But no, they were going to see Eclipse . . . I had to move because they were noisy . . . because they were BORED . . . because they weren't where they belonged in the G movie theater. AND the mom, or guardian, or whatever she was, kept leaving. Leaving. Left them completely alone. For whatever pedophile to take (see my third observation below). Just got up and left. To go get more popcorn after one of them spilled a complete large bag on the floor. To take one of them to the bathroom (I suppose she could have sent them alone to the bathroom? I guess that would have been worse?) . . . two children, under the age of five, alone in a darkened room with fifty strangers. And very cold fingers from all the rubber bands on their arms.

Second, in addition to needing a license to have children, I think you need a written plan for your tattoos. So I can veto it. Back in the day . . . when I had friends that "needed" tattoos . . . they did not put them in ridiculous places. They were still ridiculous, don't get me wrong. But they put them on their backs . . . on their upper arms . . . maybe a tramp stamp or two. Things that would and could be covered up by clothing, if need be. Now if you want to make artwork out of your body and connect them all in a sleeve, okay, I respect that. That takes planning . . . by someone . . . even if it's just your tattoo artist. But the amount of bad tattoos, in random bad places . . . neck, ankle, calf . . . why does anyone need someone's name on their calf? Not connected to anything. You just woke up one day, somehow ended up at a tattoo parlour, and someone made you get a tattoo at gunpoint and this was the result.

And understand that it is 100 degrees outside. It's part of the reason I'm at the movies. But do you have to show me ALL of your random, "maybe this might be a good idea", tattoos? I don't show you my back fat. I don't try to wear tube tops . . . at least not without a sweater over it. I don't wear short shorts. And it wasn't one or two people. It wasn't just the lax caretaker of the children whose limbs were going to fall off from the zany bracelets. It was everyone in the theater except me and the grandmothers. And not even all of the grandmothers.

One girl, who was somehow ageless, but could have been anywhere from sixteen to her mid-twenties, was . . . let's just say, not skinny . . . in the way I am not skinny . . . but more. She was wearing plaid shorts and a gray tank top. Her haircut was asexual and NOT in a "I'm a stylish dyke" way, more in a my grandmother cuts my hair with a bowl way. No makeup on her and completely random tattoos. And the tattoos were kind of my grandmother did these with a razor blade and a Bic pen. So I guess at least the look was consistent. And the tattoos were arranged in a way that they could only be completely covered if she wore knee socks, long pants and a turtleneck. Did I mention that she was with what I think was a date, or husband? And yes, it was a man. Sigh.

It was as though everyone in the theater found a picture of Emiem and brought it to someone's basement tattoo party and said, "I want to look like this . . . but not as good. Can you do that for me?" And I wanted to ask where these people had jobs, but oh . . . right . . . they can go to the movies at noon on a Thursday. Maybe they work the evening shift? Or maybe four twelve hour shifts?

Third, there were an amazing amount of single men watching Eclipse . . . in that I would be amazed by ONE single man at a showing of Eclipse. And I have a feeling they weren't there to meet chicks. And they had the same tattoo plans, being that they were seemingly not planned and visible.

I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised considering the time of day and the neighborhood, but come on people. Get it together. I wanted to call a makeover show . . . and I'm the one that, according to my friends, should be on a makeover show. In the restroom, as I was leaving, I looked in the mirror and realized that I was easily, EASILY the most attractive person in the place. And I don't have THAT much self-esteem.

So middle America . . . or at least the part of America that can go to a movie at noon on a Thursday . . . you really need to get your shit together. Geez.

So the lesson is . . . and I determined this after I had moved seats two times and was about to stuff a well-lit cellphone into what would be an uncomfortable orifice . . . and darn it, my parents told me to do it what seems like years ago . . . that I should really just get Netflix.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Guilt about Cutting the Friendship cord

So here is the dilemma . . .
There are people who drift apart. Sometimes, that is a mutual thing . . . you just don't connect anymore. You don't work in the same place, you have different interests now, in a different spot. But sometimes it is NOT a mutual decision. And when you are the one cutting the cord, well, sometimes it sucks.

I have a friend playing a show this evening. He texted me about it about a week ago. When I didn't text back (it was a mass text, so I was not being impolite) he texted again to make sure I was coming. It's 8 pm on the day of the show. I'm not coming. I'm sitting in my living room.

And part of me thinks I'm lame. And part of me really, really wants to be nice and support his efforts. How hard would it be to get up and go? I really don't have anything else to do, except maybe watch the 14 episodes of Rebel Monkeys on my DVR. Except that if I go . . . I may be the only person there. If I'm not the only person there, the other people there are people I don't want to see. I don't like the guy's music. At all. And if I go . . . I'll have to stay. And lie. I don't lie well.

So I sit here and type, waiting for my nails to dry, trying to think up something else to do. Other than sit here and feel guilty. Because this is the pivotal cutting the cord event. Not replying to his "Happy New Years" (yes, I know . . . it's not years) was not enough. I should probably have a nice talk with him, explain why I'm cutting the cord. I'm in a different place now. And he really, really wants to talk about being unhappy. And I don't really want to do that anymore. He is a nice person. He is making his way in the world and doing the best he can. But one night he tried to convince me that I wasn't really happy . . . listing reasons that I should be unhappy . . . and I decided that was rather toxic. So I didn't call anymore. And didn't return his texts. And I don't think telling him would do any good. Really.

So perhaps I will shower and go out shopping. Or watch all those "Rebel Monkeys". And pretend that I am in Miami. But I have to cut that cord.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Power of Yelp

I am giddy with imaginary power . . . caused by the Internet.

I'm sure everyone knows about yelp and if you don't you probably should check it out. There are reviews for everything, plumbers, restaurants, HAIR SALONS! And mostly, I use yelp to read reviews of things I haven't tried. And I'm an informed reviewer of reviews. I know to take things with a grain of salt. Heck, read the reviews of my brother's restaurant "group" sometime. They don't always get "5 stars". The rants are sometimes pretty funny to read. And I know my brother doesn't read them . . . much like I don't read my reviews on "Rate my Teacher". Thus the imaginary part of the power.

I lost my stylist a year ago. Well, that makes it sound like I took her out in the woods without breadcrumbs. My stylist made a career change a year ago. And she was an amazing stylist . . . did my hair and my MOTHER'S hair and we were both happy. If you have met the both of us, you know what a feat that is . . .

So the bar was set very high. And when she retired to become a phlebotomist, I tried to see it as a opportunity to find someone closer to home. 45 minutes is a long trek, even if it is an opportunity to have lunch with my parents. So I tried the "hip" place in Berkley, which is really for men. And after two haircuts that I wasn't happy with, I decided that it was REALLY for men. They do men's hair very well.

So I then searched . . . yelp specifically . . . and found this place in Detroit. It was in my old neighborhood, next to cool shops and next to Motor City Brewing Works, one of my current favs. But I only read the first review and then checked out their website. Owner said she was a former Derby Girl. Cool. My kind of place. So I called them. But I got a machine. (Machine can sometimes be a very bad sign) And I left a message. Melissa or Michelle or a person with an M name, called me back a few hours later. I told her my plight. She asked if my hair was already dyed. Ummmm. Yeah. Has been for years. I'm not walking around with crappy roots. Now, to her credit, Melissa or Michelle or person with an M name did not know that I'm almost forty with gray hair. M name told me that she would have to talk to a stylist and that the stylist would get back to me. "Probably not today . . . but tomorrow." Okay.

I waited a week. I thought about just driving down there and walking in. But then I decided to yelp. I read ALL the reviews. And most of them were not good. Not good at all. Some of them even had more than a few stars but still had "constructive" comments. And they didn't call me back. So I looked at some salons closer to home. Found one in Ferndale that was willing to get me in that day. Today. In a couple of hours. And they don't care that my hair is already dyed. And they didn't have one negative review.

Now granted, no one is happy all the time . . . but no one cared enough to type a negative review.

But I cared enough about the salon not calling me back. So I wrote a review saying that. True, if I was the business owner, I would get it taken down. I can't review their store because I haven't been in it. But it made me feel better. And maybe someone will read it and correct things.

I'm kinda bummed that I'm not going to eat yummy pizza today and I really wanted some brioche from Avalon bakery, but my hair will not look like a brown mushroom after 3 pm today. Hopefully.

And I am giddy with imaginary power.