Wednesday, May 25, 2016

End of the Year

Today is the last day of school. We have a few end of the semester exams, report our grades, clean our rooms (which I have been doing for the last week) and check out.Yesterday we had a teacher appreciation lunch. Once again I felt like the Lone Ranger there with no one speaking to me. The Principal sat down beside me. I told him that I had filled out my classroom inventory by writing "Lots of crap" on the sheet. He laughed out loud.

No one asked if I would be back or not. The coaches that I teach with have asked, and I have replied with, "I don't know." And I still don't know for sure.  Yesterday I went by Fame, the alternative school. The principal there and the teachers are always so enjoyable and helpful. The principal gave me some ideas of grant money that I might get for art supplies. Whether I am teaching or not, there is no money for supplies from the school, and there are no supplies. I wonder if the Internet would be helpful.

I wish my plans were settled. I feel like the storms we are having - blowing hot and cold.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Tonight is graduation, and then three more days of school - two of those are semester tests. 

On Thursday they had a school awards assembly in the gym.  They gave out all sorts of awards to all students and scholarships to the grads. It was amazing how much money was out there for such things (millions). At least three speakers  (Masons, DAR, etc) said that they had more money to give to students, but no one met the requirements of writing an essay.  Good grief! So much money, so many scholarships - for students who have done a mediocre job. Valedictorians get a full ride, which is nice. But CHS valedictorian only did better than fifty other seniors.  Is that fair for kids at larger schools who had more competition among their class? Heck, even I graduated in the top quarter of my class, but when your class is over 500 people, you get nothing. At the awards ceremony yesterday, the valedictorian said a few words. He started off with, "Me and my family want to ...." Good grief!

Anyway, I asked one of my fellow teachers about graduation tonight - what time we had to be there, are we to march in, where do we sit, etc. He looked at me as if I had three heads. We don't HAVE to be there. We don't march in with the students. We don't sit together as teachers. Really? I guess teachers are not very important at CHS.  I will probably go anyway, because I have some seniors that I want to see walk across that stage - ending one segment of their lives and starting anew.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Art Business

All year long I have struggled to keep my art kids busy. I come up with some great project that if done properly should take them all week, and they finish it in one day. Of course, it is crap. I implored them to take their time and do a good job, but no, they breezed through their projects with no respect. Now, we are down to the last couple of weeks of school. I have given them simple projects that really should not take too long - because we don't have a long time left. Now the kids seem brain dead. They are dragging their feet, rolling their eyes (looking for their brains) and wasting their time. Oh well. I'm a little brain dead myself.

Actually, I do have students who do some good work or at least give it their best shot. The others are not bad kids. It is funny that they seem content to hang in my art room. I'm not sure I taught any great art this year or caused anyone to fall in love with art, but I have had some triumphs. Some of those snitty girls I spoke of at the first of the year are now friendly and even funny. We had to work to get there, but we made it through and came out better for it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lots of Hats

Some people would say that I went back to work this year, but in a way, I took the year off. As my profile states, I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an artist, a teacher, a ranch-hand, etc. When I quit working outside the home - or when I quit making money, I became all the things anyone needed me to be.  Through the years that has grown and changed, but I have always remained busy. I've often wondered how ever I taught full time and got everything done around the house and took care of two kids and a husband. But I was younger then - more energy - more focused. My point is that when you don't get up every morning and go to a job and get paid, people think you do nothing and have lots of time. So, they come up with things for you to do.

There was a time when Toby would leave the house and say something like, "Lou, get the trailer and load that old cow and take her to the vet..." or "Lou, clean up that old wood pile (the one with the spiders and mice)..." or "Lou, I need you to put anti-freeze in the bulldozer..."  or "Lou, we need to get that field plowed..." And for some reason I did those things while homeschooling and doing general wife duties. 

Then my kids graduated and I started teaching art classes out of my house as well as doing more art work for myself.  You can't really call that work. Can you?

For several years, we were building on our house. I like to think of myself as a carpenter's helper - the person who is thinking ahead to have ready whatever the carpenter needs when he needs it. I'm good at that. I was also the contractor who went and bought building supplies. There are lots of blog stories of those years. I really liked swinging a hammer and being a construction worker. I rate that job right up there with teaching.

We finished the house pretty much, and we don't have any cows to tend or fields to plow, but then we had grandbabies. The more grandbabies, the more I was needed to help out. Then there was the tutoree for three years along with my usual art classes.

One of the biggest and most important jobs has been the care of elderly parents. When my dad had cancer, Mom needed lots of help. Because I did not have a job, I was able to spend lots of time caring for Dad. That lasted four years until Dad passed. Then the moms began needing help. That fell to me much of the time, because I had the time.

Back to my point: getting up every morning  to teach art in public school was a big decision for me last fall. I talked a lot about sense of purpose, but teaching art in public school had always been something I wanted to do - something I wondered if I could do and do well. Those were some of my reasons to go back to teaching. Another reason to take on a real job was to get away from all the other "jobs" I had. Although I still taught some private art classes and still babysat the grandbabies and continued to care for the moms and still did the usual ranch-hand/wife duties, I could occasionally say, "Oh sorry, I can't do that for you. I teach now." That was nice.

Now the year is ending and people are asking me if I am going to teach again next year. I really hate making decisions. So far, my answer has been that I don't know what I am going to do. Any thoughts?

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Home Again

My cousin is home from the Mediterranean and Middle East where he headed up the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.  His wife posted this pic.

Here is the 2nd Battalion Marines running together for the first time since they arrived home - with my cousin front and middle.  They have a FB page and the photos are pretty awesome.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

I Want My Friday

It has been two weeks today that I came home from the hospital. As I have said before, things just keep getting better - health-wise.

Starting in mid-April my school has been out on Fridays. I have not really been able to enjoy those Fridays yet, but tomorrow I'm looking forward to having energy and time to get some things done. The first Friday I had off, was right after my surgery. I did diddly that day. Last Friday I had off, but I had to go to WF to do some Mom things.

Mom wants to move to a different independent living place. Nothing new there! Many of her friends are now moving to Presbyterian Manor. It is a very nice place. In fact, last summer when we were looking at places, we looked there. I told Mom then that PM was the best place. BUT, they don't allow dogs in the apartments. They do allow dogs in the cottages. It happens that they have a couple of cottages open right now, but they are several blocks from the main building and dining area and social activities. My mom can't walk that far - mentally or physically. Even she recognized that it would be hard on her. If Mom would move inside the building - one of their very nice apartments - all would be cool. It is her dog that holds my mom back. Now she is talking about moving to another elderly living place - the one where her new boyfriend lives. Good grief!

There are so many thoughts that go into deciding which elderly living place is right for the needs of your elderly person. Someone needs to write a book on all the different type places - independent, assisted, special care, etc. How much care? Meals are a big issue. It is overwhelming. It is also tough. My mom is not happy, but what she wants and what is best for her may be two different things.

So tomorrow, I want my Friday. I want to - in the words of  Wallace and Gromit - get organized!