Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tidbits and Ticks

For some reason my brain remembers an episode on Popeye where Olive Oyl puts her bare foot in a box with holes cut out for her toes. Then she takes a huge brush and gives her toes one big swish with the brush and paint. And ta-da! Her toes are quickly and easily painted. If only that would really work. Last week, my fingernails were looking pretty good - all about the same length and painted bright orange. Then I used India ink at school with the kids. Then I had to clean some acrylic paint from the little plastic pallets that the students use. My polish came off, my nails chipped and broke, and they have ink under and around the nails. My nails look like a mechanic's nails. Not that there is anything wrong with being a mechanic with dark stained nails; it is just not the look I was going for.

So lets talk about the weather. It has been pretty darn nice around here for January.  Toby and I have been doing some walking. Sometimes we meet for lunch and walk at Halliburton Park. On Sunday, we walked the trail around our property. It is a pretty good hike with uneven ground and tall grass and sticks to drag me down. When we got home, I was on my Kindle when I saw a very small tick crawling on my hand. I found two more ticks on my shirt. And then I was naked looking for any other small critters. Toby had absolutely none on him. What's up with that!?  I hate ticks. Now I won't be on the trail for a while - maybe if we have another good freeze.

School is going okay. The kids are settling down to the second semester. I sent four boys to detention last week for leaving class a few minutes early without my permission. It was a small thing, but they were pushing me to see if I would do anything. And they were wrong. When they asked me why I had given them detention, I couldn't help but LOL at them. It was just funny to me. And eye-opening for them. If I could just kick one kid out of class, I would probably not have any problems the rest of the year. A little discipline makes believers out of the others.

Okay, I'm off to school.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Poppies

Thursdays I have several ladies come over and paint with me. We have been doing watercolor for whatever reason, but today we did an acrylic. I had done this pic of a poppy a few years ago. The ladies were all willing to give it a go. Here is how they turned out:
Not bad for a first time with acrylic paint. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

As the Semester Turns

On Monday, we had a teacher work day or inservice as they are called. Without students, it was almost like a free day. Almost. The morning was spent in the elementary cafeteria listening to a motivational teacher. He was good. I guess all motivational speakers are good or they would not motivate :)

The afternoon was spent on part II of what to do if there is a shooter on campus. We had part one back in November. When I told Toby that we were going to learn what to do if there is a shooter, he said, "Run like hell." And he is pretty much right, except the speaker managed to take all afternoon to say that. Of course, if we cannot run, we should lock down in our classrooms and wait on police to arrive. If the shooter gains access to our classroom, we are to fight. Geeze Louise! I think the fight would be more even if I had a gun too.

It turns out that the elementary teachers have been practicing their shooter scenarios.The PTO even bought cheap intercoms for the rooms so they can communicate if there is a shooter. Not us at high school. I'm thinking we are on our own. My art room is located in another building known as the Annex. I share this building with three coaches and some counselors. The coaches are gone after about 3rd period doing their coaching thang. I'm pretty much in the building by myself at that point. I try to keep the doors to my room locked. I let the kids in for class and then anyone who is late has to knock. In fact, when someone knocks on the door, students usually holler, "Don't open it!  See if he has a gun!" We all have a good laugh. Speaking of laughing, it seems funny that in the old days there was an intercom system in schools where the principal could talk to the whole school or individual classrooms. Those have been long gone with the arrival of computers and email. Well, it seems they are needed back.

So on Monday afternoon after all the inservice was over, I had to go back to my room to pick up some stuff. The building was dark and empty. I let myself in the main doors and made my way down the dark hall to my room. As I unlocked and opened the door, I saw someone at my desk. I nearly jumped out of my skin. It was one of the janitor ladies who works in the other building. She said, "Oh! I can't seem to get on any of the other computers, except yours." Then her teen-age daughter stepped out of my supply closet. I jumped again. Her second daughter had been at the other computer in my room, but vacated it when I walked in. The daughters proceeded to go through my closet looking for art supplies to do some school project. They didn't see to think anything of it. I was freaked out! I was so upset by them being in my room going through my supplies, I was speechless. I left them there. I was shaking. Why would they think they could use my room and my supplies - a lot of which I bought myself - was beyond me.

Throughout the year, I've had teachers or students come in and ask to use supplies. Sometimes I let them use things; sometimes not. It depends on what they want. Sometimes I tell them that my supplies are expensive and for art students. Sometimes I explain that I purchased supplies with my personal money and they have to do the same thing. Sometimes, if all they need is markers or something we have an abundance of, I let them use things. Last week, I let a kid make a poster that said, "Yo, Tracy! Will U-Haul your butt to prom with me?" He rented a U-haul truck for the occasion. But for some reason, finding people in your room and going through things really made me crazy.

Tuesday morning I went and had a talk with the principal. He calmly said, "That's not cool. I will talk to her." He was not nearly as upset as I was with the situation. He added, "If she had asked, you probably would have let her have supplies she needed." Yeah, well, maybe. Maybe so. Maybe I needed to calm down.

Since then, I have calmed down. And I bought a lock for my supply closet.

In other news, since the second semester started, I have about ten new students and I lost about the same number. It seems that it took me the whole semester to win kids over and learn to get along, and then they go and change things up on me. And the new kids are so lost - as if in art we don't build on the subject matter and learn things. Anyway, one of the new students is big dumb boy who has no intention of doing art, but just in the class for social time. I've been wondering how I was going to get his attention and how I was going to get the focus back on art and off his big mouth. Well, today the problem was solved. He brought weed (in the words of the students) to school and got suspended for the rest of the year. I think that is called expelled, but I didn't say anything. I just did the happy dance.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dull Stuff

This past week was not nearly as exciting as the week before. I didn't run over or hit anything this past week. Today we have a teacher work day and the kids are gone. I'm looking forward to getting some things done. I have no clue what the administration has planned for us today. As long as we get lunch, I will be a happy camper. 

Last week my mom took a driving test of sorts. It was not your usual test. It was given by an occupational therapist. The test was scored on your probability of failing a regular driving test with the DMV.  It tested your memory and reaction time and other necessities for driving. So, the higher your grade, the worse your chances of passing a regular test. Mom scored a 93%. She was very sad, but it let her know she did not need to be driving. She let my sister take her car. We kids were all glad. We knew she did not need to be driving, but she would not hear it from us. 

So, my sister was in WF for the weekend. Toby and I drove over on Saturday morning for breakfast with the family (brother included) at El Norteno's.  I love Mexican breakfast! We ate so much that we skipped lunch and then ate around 4PM - we ate at Casa Manana. My sister loves Casa Manana, but not me. She calls it Mexican food, but it is not. The good part was getting together with my family again. They are a fun group.

Gotta go to school, now.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Deadly Animals

It was not my best week, but not for the reasons you might think. Monday started off a bit rough. At the end of the day, I wondered why I was teaching art and that I would not want to do this again next year. Tuesday was better, and I thought, "Okay. I'm gonna make it."

Wednesday, a raccoon on a suicide mission ran out on the highway in front of my car. I barely saw him before impact. Raccoon are so cute, I felt bad about killing one. When I got to school and saw the damage done to the passenger side front fender and under pinning, I wanted to go back and hit that raccoon again. The underpinning stuff was all broken and hanging loose. The driving light was knocked back into the wheel-well. The fender was popped loose. A mess!

Since I was suppose to go to WF after school to take Mom to a new doctor, I had to call Toby and switch cars with him at lunch.  He said to meet him at the park on the highway in Comanche. Little did we know that the park is the lunch hangout for all the high school hoodlums. The parking lot was full of pick-up trucks and fast cars and kids racing their engines. I asked Toby if he was ever so stupid, and he said, "I still am!" Toby and I sat there eating our lunch with me trying not to see what was going on around me. I didn't want to know. See that kid in the leather jacket and tie? I'm pretty sure he does not go to our high school and is probably a drug dealer.

Fortunately, lunch is only about 40 minutes, so the kids all roared their engines and raced off. I asked Toby if he wanted to make-out now that all the kids were gone. Big grin. Anyway, we switched cars. As I was buckling myself into Toby's car, I hear this engine roaring. Looking over at Toby, he was grinning and racing the engine of my car. Silly boy.

My trip to WF actually went well. I think Mom will really like this new doctor. The new doc set Mom up for a driving test with an occupational therapist. She also set Mom up to have a test on her memory - all in hopes of her driving again. I hope she fails her driving test and passes her memory test.

Thursday Toby told me that my car was fine to drive to work - that the underpinning was okay.
Well, it was not. About half way to school, the underpinning started dragging. Of course I called Toby, who was deeply into his work compartment. He said for me to go home and get the truck.  But I really did not have time to go home and get the truck. I was halfway to school. If I went back, I would be late and not be able to get art stuff set up. I was freakin' out. He was not helpful. So I did what any farm girl would do. I got out and worked on the underpinning. I managed to get it propped up well enough to get me to school. Then when I was a ways down the very narrow road, I met a pick-up truck coming towards me. As we passed, I heard a huge bang against my car. What the heck!? Both the truck and I stopped. I thought maybe the truck had hit me someway. But no, the truck driver said, "Wow, that was a huge coyote! He ran in front of me and hit you!" Sure enough! A huge dead coyote lay on the road. I never saw him coming. And my front driver's side fender was dented and broken. My door pops when I open it. Another fine mess! I went back and kicked the dead coyote for good measure.

Now both sides of my car were crunched thanks to suicidal animals.I drove the truck on Friday in case any deer were feeling depressed and wanting to end it all. A bird did fly into the grill - good grief! At least it did not cause any damage.  If I had been in my car, the whole front end would probably have fallen off.  Next week, I am driving a tank.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Back at It

On FB there were lots of funny posters and videos about going back to work or back to teaching. I can't decide how I feel. On the one hand, it will be good to get back into the routine. On the other hand, well, I have to get back into the routine.

I spent some time yesterday looking at lesson plans and making decisions on which way I wanted to go with my students. It can be overwhelming. The good news is that even in my ignorance, I have been teaching them what they need to learn for art. The bad news is that they have not really learned much. They don't pick up what I'm layin' down. But we will keep at it.

January has a teacher inservice. February has a couple of days off. March has spring break. April has Easter. Then it is all down hill. Actually after spring break, the kids are pretty much done - stick a fork in them.

And me? Will I be done? We will see.