Friday, June 30, 2006

UK Bloggin' - Eccles Pike

With Girlfriend working during the day, I have spent a lot of time with her parents, watching tv, and catching up on crochet. I think the 'rents have noticed I was going a little stirr crazy, so they asked me if I wanted to go for a drive to Eccles' Pike. I do enjoy a drive in the country, so I hopped in the car, and off we went. Eccles' Pike is on the tippity top of one of the larger hills in the area. Girlfriend lives in a valley, so we are surrounded by these peak. T & L, (Girlfriend's parents) spent the next hour pointing out places of importance in their lives, their parents lives, and even in Girlfriend's life. I got to see really how small the towns are here, and how certain villages are growing more than others. One of the things that I've always loved about going to this part of England, is that everything is so vibrantly green. There are so many shades, dotted with white sheep and the occasional grey mule. All the farms are separated with hedge-rows (yes, I do occasionally get Stairway to Heaven stuck in my head). There was a storm rolling in this afternoon, so you really couldn't see much of a blue sky. At the top of Eccle's Pike, there is this metal sculpture called the "topography". If you stand in the center of if, and look in a certain direction, it explains to you what you are looking at. It has both carved in illustrations of the countryside, as well as town names. I thought it was pretty nifty, myself. The landscape hasn't changed much in the time this sculpture has been in the ground, that's for sure. Here's a close up of a few spots on the sculpture. The images are click-able for a better view.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

UK Bloggin' - Sleepless Nights

I think I have the worst case of jetlag I've had in the ump-teen times I've been over here. What I usually do on the first day here is sleep as soon as I arrive. That way, I have some energy to be functional for the first day. Then, when it's time for bed (10-ish in these parts), take a sleeping pill. Generally, after that first night, I've been golden. No problems at all. This time, very different. Even taking sleeping pills, the earliest I've fell asleep this week has been 2am. Last night, I finally dozed off after about 3:30ish. In the morning, I'm not waking up until noon-ish. Which gets me lots of chuckles and fun-poking when I do make my way downstairs for lunch. I really do just need to bite the bullet, and get up when Girlfriend does (7am). I'll be screwed up that day, but I think it's what I need to set my body-clock right. I never realized how I was so used to the outside noises back home. I live near wetlands, so my nights are filled with frog-singing, crockets, and the occasional car racing down the street. Seven people live in my house, working all different hours, so I always hear some commotion going on in the house. My housemates also snore. Loudly. I'm the type of person who can't fall asleep in silence, so it's not a bother at all. Here, I'm staying near train-tracks. I never hear them during the day, but I think there's a train an hour all night long. No frogs. No crickets. No commotion. No cars. No snoring. Just the occasional train. I never really understood the phrase "the silence is deafening" until being up at 2am, and wide awake.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

UK Bloggin' - BUFAs I

BUFA - British UnFinished Articles. I just thought it was funny, since "bufa" is fart in slang Portuguese. That's a shout-out to you, Nee-nee! Here's what I've been working on...
This is the Cookie Monster messenger bag. I've just got a bit of the strap left, and maybe I'll make some cookie button closers. Here's a Hello Kitty handbag. I just need to track down some felt for the eyes and nose, and a yarning needle for the whiskers. And a little amigurumi mouse that I have in this pattern book. That's pretty much it. Here are a pair of pics of the room I am staying in. Notice how I've already had a crochet explosion. The other pic is the view outside my room. Ahh, heaven.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

UK Bloggin' - Flight and 1st Day

Well, I made it. Safe and sound. I had quite an adventure getting here, though. I arrived at Providence Airport on time, and made it through security with no issues. I got to the gate, and when the time came, I got on the plane. Two hours later, I was still on the plane, on the tar-mac in Providence. Apparently the air-traffic-control didn't have any people running it, so there were no planes leaving Providence until they got some. The took us off the plane, and we waited at the gate. Lots of people were panicing. I wasn't, since I made sure I got the flight with the longest layover time possible. Been there - done that. There was this one lady flipping out, since she had already missed her connection, and the next flight leaving to her desination was Tuesday. Keep in mind, it was Sunday. After four hours of waiting, I had gone through all the yarn I had in my carry-on bag. The plus side is, I'm much more far along on my Cookie Monster bag. They loaded us all back on the plane, and we were off to Newark. With two hours to spare, I had no problems making my connection to Manchester. But there was another waiting game. The plane was having problems taking on fuel, so we waiting on the tar-mac another two hours. We must have made the time up in flight, since I only got to Manchester an hour later than I was supposed to. Girlfriend's dad was there waiting for me, since Girlfriend was at work. I made it to their place, had a cup of coffee, and then slept for the next 6 hours. I watched the Australia / Italy game (awful way for Australia to lose) and the Swiss/Ukraine game (boooooooring). Girlfriend and I had some quality time together, and before I knew it, she was fast asleep. She's ill - bless her. Lovely jet-lag kept me up until about 2am.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm Leavin', on a Jet Plane...

I've got a couple hours before I head to the airport, so I've got some time to blog for a bit. Ever since September 11th, I've been keeping a sort of tradition before I fly. I know the chances of anything happening are slim, but before I leave on any flight, I write a note to my loved-ones and hide it in my room. That way, if something happens to me, while my family goes through my things, they discover it. Today, I think I'll blog it. Mom and Dad - I know that your expectations for me are higher than what I've been able to achieve, and I'm sorry for that. Know that I love you, and am thankful for everything you have given me in my life. My brothers - I couldn't have asked for a more diverse group of brothers. You are all unique in your own way, and I adore each of you with all my heart. Please don't change to conform - you will lose who you are. I love you, Aaron, Saul and Abe. Grandma - You've been the third parent in my life. When things go wrong, I know I can always depend on you to be there for me unconditionally. I love you, and I look forward to the day that I can see Papa again. Emma - Times have been hard for us this past month, but in the end, I know you are my shining start and in the end, we belong together. You have taught me as much about life as I have been able to teach you about school. You are a beautiful girl that I love with everything I am. Clint - Life couldn't have left me a better friend. You have always been there for me, for the huge issues and the little ones. I am so thankful that you've stuck with me, and been there for me. Rachel - You are the first girl that my brothers have brought home that I know is the perfect fit. You've been part of our family for so long, and even though we don't know eachother so well, you are like my sis. I have no doubt that you and Abe will have a long and happy life together. Kara - I'm so proud that you were able to breaak free of the tyranny of ACS, and you've gotten what you wanted. I know that you were the one person at work I could trust 100%, and you have no idea how good that felt. Thank you for everything, and this boy's a keeper! Paige - I never was a dog person until I saw you for the first time. You drive me bananas, but whenever I'm sick, you're right there with your head on my chest, looking over me. It amazes me how smart you are, and how much you learn each day. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson - I'm greatful that you have begun to change your views of me and who I am. Always know that I've only wanted the best for your daughter. I respect you as I do my own parents, and care about you almost as much. You did a superb job raising two children, and I hope that you are proud of them. Alright, now that I'm all teary-eyed, I'm going to shower.

Friday, June 23, 2006

[Content Removed]

Blackmail is the act of threatening to reveal information about a person unless the blackmailee meets certain demands. This information is usually of an embarrassing or socially damaging nature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackmail

Must-Do-Before-I-Leave List

I have about 50 hours until I leave for the UK. In order to stop myself from obsessing about forgetting something, I'm making a to-do list. Yeah, I know it's boring. Deal. Phone loan people, and finalize the car-transfer. Get car? Finish doing laundry. Get suitcases from Grandma's house. Pack said laundry. Go out to Brooks and get needed things: air-sick patch, salsa, chips, candy. Organize and pack yarns and hooks into case. Clean out Crab-itat and go over care with SIL. Pack carry-on bag. Don't forget passport, tickets, meds, hook & yarn, water bottle. Clean room. Actually shut down computer. Post travel details on fridge. Ask SIL to take care of plants. Call business office about paycheck. I'll add more as I remember and cross off as done. Let me know if you think I forgot anything.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wait, what? I have to stay all day?

Since the dawn of time at my school, the students had a half day on their last day. When students left at 11:30, we could leave soon after. Since our calendar didn't say any differently this year, a rather large party was planned to go off at 1pm today. It's a going-away bash of sorts, since 9 out of the 13 lead teachers, and 5 out of the 8 paraprofessionals that I work with are leaving to take teaching jobs elsewhere. But this morning, we get this in our daily notice. "TODAY - 11:30 A.M. student dismissal – No lunch served – No P.M. Kids Care – Today is a REGULAR DAY FOR ALL STAFF. Instructional staff may leave at 3:00 PM. Check Morning Notice for more details." Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! Update @ 10:50am - Oh....it gets better. A friend of mine emailed the principal. Here is a copy of her email, with named changed. Good Morning Mr. Principal, I’ve noticed on the morning notice that we are to stay till 3pm. On this years calendar it states 11:30 dismissal, and for the 3 years I’ve been here it has always been an 11:30 dismissal. I have prior engagements because I’ve known we were getting out at 11:30. I don’t understand why we were told this today. I am unable to change my plans and will have to leave at 11:30. My office is clean except for my books that I will be packing in my car tomorrow. Teacher. And this is the reply she got. Teacher, To be honest I do not think the tone of your e-mail is really appropriate or professional. Policies, schedules, etc. change from year to year in every organization, so no one should expect things to be the same just because that’s the way it was done before. The heading of the section in the 2005-06 School Calendar distributed to staff in June of 2005 clearly states: NO SCHOOL & EARLY DISMISSAL DAYS FOR STUDENTS and it does not state it is early dismissal for staff. Therefore, you were actually “told this”, to use your words, in June 2005 and not today. In the past, the last day of school for students has been an early release day for staff. However, the last day for staff (tomorrow) has always been a full work day. This year it that schedule (tomorrow is a 1:00 PM dismissal) was reversed for reasons that are more beneficial to the school. I am sorry if anyone made any incorrect assumptions regarding today’s schedule. Staff members who have a conflict in working all day due to such assumptions may apply for personal time for this afternoon if they choose to do so. Thank you. Principal. How about those (like me) that don't have any sick time left? I'm going to have to take half-a-day unpaid if I leave at 11:45.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

C & H

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Two huge weights - GONE!!!

Well, my car situation has been sorted out. After hours and hours and hours of applying for loans over the internet, and getting phonecalls from banks that couldn't help me, I finally got a call from a company that can. A car dealership near me is willing to buy out my loan from Ford Credit, and "sell" the car back to me, as long as I get a loan through them. The loan company is one for those who are "credit challenged", and works with people in my situation. They will take between $70 and $80 a week out of my checking account, at a 20% interest rate. Yes, I know, 20% is awful, but the woman I saw strongly suggested refinancing after the year was up. So, that's one huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I also got my new contract for next year's teaching, and I've already signed it. My boss, fought for me to get more than the standard 3% raise, and ended up getting me a 7% raise! Woo hoo! The two things that I was really stressing about and all sorted. Now I can truely enjoy my time over in England with my Sweetie. I'm so looking forward to seeing the whole family again.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I can see the light!

Two and a half more days of work until I am off for the summer! Six more days until I get on a plane to see my sweetie! I'm just so greatful that I get three weeks to just chill in the UK and not have to worry about anything. This weekend was awful. I'm dealing with a major money issue right now, and unless I get a huge sum of cash before the 26th, I will no longer have my lovely car. This is like jump-off-a-bridge money issues. I'm in the process of applying for numerous loans, but with my crap credit, I'm not holding my breath. Trust me, it might seem like I'm all la-ti-da over this, but that's because I'm medicated and under orders to not stress about it, or I will have a major asthmatic episode. Speaking of asthmatic episodes, check this out:

If you can't read it clearly, the Air Quality says "UNHEALTHY". And I'm running a tug-o-war station at today's field day. Thank the Gods I am near the nurse's station.

Friday, June 16, 2006

9 Hooks + 23 Skeins + 45 Students = 1 Long Day

Work has been piss easy this week, so yesterday, I popped my head into the 6th grade classes and asked if any of the students would be interested in me bringing my crochet materials to work, so that I would teach them. I got about 15 "yes"s, so this morning, I packed up my rolley-tote with yarns and hooks, and headed off to work. I cleared the floor in one of the classrooms, and plopped myself on the floor. When the first class walked in, they all (yes, all 23) gathered around me, and shouted "Teach me, Ms. C!". And, I did. Throughout the day, I had 3 different classes come in and out for 2 periods each. Each time, I had a dozen students in a circle around me, learning how to chain. I only had 9 hooks with me, so they shared. Even some of the boys joined in, and made chain-headbands out of my camo varigated yarn. I had a few students master the chain, and I moved them onto doing rows of single crochet. I couldn't get over how they kept saying, "This is fun!" and "My grandma tried to teach me, but it's easier now!" and "Can we do this on Monday?" Of course, I'm bringing everything back on Monday. About half of the students said that they were going to bug their parents into taking them to Wal-Mart this weekend, and get some hooks and yarn. I told them what they should get, and how much it should cost them. I explained why the hooks are different sizes, and how they go with different kinds of yarn. Most of them want to make headbands, wristbands, and purses. I can't wait until Monday.

Intarsia - My New Learning Experience

in·tar·si·a (n-tärs-)n. 1. A decorative inlaid pattern in a surface, especially a mosaic worked in wood. 2. A knitted design resembling a mosaic that is visible on both sides of a fabric. 3. The art or practice of making intarsias. I've been inspired by Lady Linoleum's post on intarsia. I have tried it before, but I think I'll be giving it another go. I have been in the process of creating a cookie monster bag, simmilar to this tapestry on craftster. I was going to get some graph paper and make my own pattern for it, but someone had kindly pointed me to KnitPro, where they have a free graphing program. Nothing to download, just upload the image you want graphed! I found a pic of a cookie monster t-shirt, cropped out what I wanted, and uploaded it. So friggin' easy. I had all these crappy plasticy yarn butterflies to hold my yarn, but it was just insane. I googled intarsia, and stumbled upon this page, suggesting to use wooden clothespins instead. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

5 Days and Counting!

Yes, I am into the last week of teaching before the end of the school year. I love this time of the year. Grades are in, reports are on their way being sent home, lists for next year are made, so we can relax! I've spent the day letting my students do one of four things: 1. Creating 3-D hats out of construction paper. 2. Reading aloud plays to themselves in small groups. 3. Super Quiet Uninterrupted Independent Reading Time (SQUIRT) 4. Making an "ABCs to Surviving 6th Grade" book. While they were doing this, one of my co-teachers and I spent the day at our computers. She was looking for a new job, I was working on reformatting my blog. Tomorrow, I'm bringing my yarn and crochet hooks, and I'm taking small groups of students to teach them how to crochet. Maybe a few of them will keep it up over the summer, and they'll have rather unique school bags for the new year. Monday is Field Day, so I'll be at the park, playing games all day. Tuesday is their last full day, and I think I'll bring the crochet stuff again. Wednesday is a half-day, and the student's last official day. More chillin' and crochetin'. Thursday I have to come in from 8-3, but there won't be any students here. Cleaning up time. I have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to chill at home, pack, etc. Then, I'm off to the UK for a month!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bert has returned from World Cup

In a previous post, I was complaining that my hermit crab had escaped from his crab-itat, and was no where to be found. I'm guessing Bert (my crab) went to the World Cup game, and was fed up with the results, so came back home. Last night, I found him!!! I was laying in bed last night, and I heard this odd plastic-crinkling sound on my floor. My dog, Paige, had gone through my trash the other night, and pulled out a plastic cookie container. I figured it was just her playing with it again. I picked up my head, and didn't see Paige. But, I did see the distinct white & black soccer paint on Bert's shell. I couldn't believe it! I picked him up, and he pinched me. I'd be mad too if my owner abandoned me for more than a week. I put him in his crab-itat, sprayed him with some water, and put out some food for him. He immediately went over to his habitat-mate, Betty, and started bugging her. Crabby lovin'!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Of Baseball and Cultural Differences

I went to my first baseball game in 10 years yesterday. At the school I work at, students who accumulated less than 3 demerits for the whole year, as well as the homeroom with the fewest demerits, got to go to see a Paw Sox game on the school's bill. I chaperoned. I had a fun time, and I got to hang out with kids that I don't normally see that much. I did get the traditional hot dog and Cracker Jack. On the same sports note, the USA plays today in the World Cup. This is the situation I find myself in: A. I am an American. I was born in America, and I follow American culture. B. Girlfriend is English. She was born in England and only moved here 6 months ago. I will be going to England for the majority of the World Cup. C. My father is 100% Portuguese. Although he was born in the US, he was raised in a traditional Portuguese household. He has become very American-ized, though. Who in God's name do I root for? Of course, I'm pulling for the USA team primarily. But I'm come to the understanding that most likely, the USA team will not be making it out of the group stages. When that time comes, do I root for the English and follow the whole "When in ROme..." train of thought, or go with my cultural background, and root for the Portuguese? I know, there are much more important things in this world to worry about, but I'm trivial like that. My bud Kara has a blog. Go check it out.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

WIP Killer Weekend III

My Goal: To eliminate as many WIPs as possible this weekend. In addition, I need to get some "business stuff" taken care of. My Plan: To complete what I have listed below. But, the World Cup games are on tv this weekend, so maybe I won't get quite as much done. Yes, I know that's a rugger pic. But, it's got USA fans!!! Get a row's worth of Brother #3's Christmas afghan done. - 6 six-inch squares I've gotten 2.5 done. - stitch rows together Get three squares SIL's Christmas afghan done. - 1 Hello Kitty Square - 2 bordering squares Plan Brother #1's Christmas afghan. -print out pattern or -graph out pattern

God save the Queen.

I'm going to England!!! I just bought a ticket last night to go see Girlfriend and her family at their place in the UK. It cost me more than a month's wages, but I was able to swing it. So, from June 25th to July 20th, I'll be blogging from sunny Chapel-en-le-Frith in the High Peak district. It's not my first time in England. I've been there about a dozen or so times, staying with the in-laws. I'm looking forward to this time especially, because the World Cup will still be going on. If it's anything like the last time I was in the UK during a World Cup, it'll be a great atmosphere. When not venturing to the pub with Girlfriend's father (since Girlfriend will be working), I can spend some much needed bonding time with her Mom, knitting and crocheting. Yay.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What's that sharp pain in my back? Part 3

Warning: This is the final part of long-winded post in a three-part series complaining about work-related drama. Names have been changed (including mine), so that this doesn't come and bite me in the ass some day. For those of you who don't care to read that type of thing, I express my apologies, and in return for the hassle, check out this really good coupon for Joann's. After discovering that a co-worker was monitoring my every move, and dealing with it up front, things began to quiet down. Kiki, Noelle, and I started having lunch together regularly. We noticed that "Rayne", the third teacher in the 5th grade team, had began not eating lunch with us, and now dined with Julia. This was a concern, since a good amount of bonding time with the 5th grade team was spent during lunch. Weeks went by, and life at school was as normal as it could get. The end of the year was winding down, and there was hours and hours of paperwork that needed to be handed in. One morning, I come into Noelle's room, and she was having a conversation with Kiki, both looking very upset. Tensions had been building between Kiki and Rayne. Rayne had been curt with Kiki, where before they were friendly. The "you cover my back, I'll cover yours" unspoken deal that all teachers share was broken, and Rayne was no longer going above-and-beyond at all. And so it brings me up to today. There are now, unfortunately two sides in our once bonded team, with Kiki, Noelle, the paraprofessionals, and I on one side, and Julia and Rayne on the other. Julia believes that Kiki is the one who came to me, and this could possibly be the reason that Rayne has been so curt with her. The irony drips, though. Julia is presently interviewing for another position in our school. Because of this, as well as numerous other meetings/coffee breaks/confused schedules, she has not been servicing her pull out students - exactly the accusation that she threw at me. These students end up going to the inclusion classroom, where I reside. In the great balance of karma and whatnot, I am the one now covering her ass, and she is the one getting into trouble for not delivering appropriate services.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What's this sharp pain in my back? Part 2

Warning: This is the second long-winded post in a three-part series complaining about work-related drama. Names have been changed (including mine), so that this doesn't come and bite me in the ass some day. For those of you who don't care to read that type of thing, I express my apologies, and in return for the hassle, check out this really good coupon for Joann's. When last I left, I had gathered as much information as I could, and decided that approaching Julia on my own was no longer an option. Things had spiraled out of control. Accusations of me being arrested were now involved, and I was done playing. I knew that Donna didn't direct Julia to do anything. I knew that she was making up lies about me, and spreading them to other staff members. I emailed Donna that morning, and asked if there was a time I could meet with her. Later that day, as I sat in Donna's office, we discussed what I had learned. We both tried to come up with valid, explainable reasons why Julia, someone I had gotten along with so well, had decided to act the way she was. In the mean time, Donna emailed Kiki and got some details from her. When Donna asked me how I wanted to handle it, I told her that I wanted to confront Julia, and I wanted Donna there to mediate. Julia was called up to Donna's office, and she sat across the table at me. I looked at her and asked flat out, "What is going on?" She began spinning this tale of lies. According to Julia, she somehow (and to this moment, I can't see how) combined three separate conversations, mixed them up, and misunderstood them as a single instruction to track me. 1. Earlier that week, Julia had a meeting with Donna, where Julia was told to be sure that the staff was aware of the differences between Special Education, and Title One staff. 2. Julai asked a student of mine, "Jake", when the last time he saw me was. Jake, disliking Julia with as much disdain as a 11 year old can muster, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know". For you moms of teens out there - you know the look. When Julia persisted, he shouted at her, "I don't know who Ms. Cordelia is!" Although this might seem a bit confusing, Jake has always referred to me as "Ms. C", and to this day, probably doesn't know my real last name. 3. Jake's mother requested that her son be placed on a 504 plan. Since he was already on an IEP plan, this was not necessary. So apparently, in Julia's head, these three things dissolved themselves into a single instruction -have staff monitor my attendance and participation in classes. But, this is where my confusion starts. Later on, she said that she was not instructed to monitor me. She said that someone had told her I wasn't going to classes and servicing students. Instead of coming to me right away, she decided to investigate herself, and "spare me the pain". Donna let her know that in now way, shape, or form was she asked to do such a thing. And that Donna would never, ever handle a situation where she would have one staff member monitoring another in a case like she had been. Donna made it clear that if there was ever any questions about my work ethics, Julia was to go to me first. And that if Julia was ever approached by a staff member, a parent, or even a student about this type of concerned, they are to go to me first. When I brought up the pressing-charges situation, Julia flatly denied every saying such a thing, and said that Kiki and Noelle were making it up purely to start drama. She told me that I shouldn't trust them. I was done listening to her lies at this point, and decided to say something. I pushed the issue more, asking if there was something, some "seed" of information that she told my friends that could have gotten misunderstood, and morphed into the thought of me getting arrested, she said that there wasn't. She insisted that my friends were telling me lies. I let Julia know that I absolutely didn't trust her after what she did, and that I would be far more likely to believe something that my friends of 5 years (Kiki and Noelle) than something coming out of the mouth of a person who spend the last few weeks scurrying behind my back. There were still questions that went unanswered at the meeting, but I was done. I knew that nothing I could have asked, nothing I could have said, would get any iota of truth from Julia. I still don't know why Julia specifically asked that Noelle not be told of my monitoring, when it was supposed to be getting done in Noelle's class. I didn't bring up the emailing-behind-my-back as I was sitting in her classroom. I still have no idea where this pressing-charges crapola came from. When Donna asked Julia if she had any complaints about my work ethic that needed to be addressed, Julia said no. That was the last day I spent with Julia as anything but a co-worker. She was very upset as we left the room, and even hugged me as we left. Later that afternoon, I took my things from the office we shared, and moved them to an empty room. The friendly, joking emails between us stopped. No more lunches were shared. Our relationship turned from close friends to absolute professional in the span of 48 hours. And so work went on, but things didn't get better. In fact, it got worse. Continued, in Part 3.

What's that sharp pain in my back? Part 1

Warning: This is a long-winded post-series complaining about work-related drama. Names have been changed, so that this doesn't come and bite me in the ass some day. For those of you who don't care to read that type of thing, I express my apologies, and in return for the hassle, check out this really good coupon for Joann's. Life has been good at work this year, for the most part. Because of my lack of complete certification according to "No Child Left Behind", I have two supervising teachers. One for the 5th & 6th graders, and one for the 7th & 8th graders. I have had many difficulties with the 7th & 8th grade supervising teacher for years, so I was thrilled when I got on so well with the newly hired 5th & 6th grade supervising teacher. This, along with the fact that my two closest friends at work were on the same floor as me, we were one big happy work-family - me, "Julia" my supervising teacher, "Kiki", the 5th math teacher, and "Noelle", the 5th science teacher. Then, it dropped. Out of the blue, I get a phone call from Noelle. She prefaced the call by telling me that I couldn't let others know that she was the one sharing this information with me, but Noelle wanted to let me know that something was going on that shedidn't agree with. What she shared with me was that "someone" that I work with was going around to teachers, and telling them they needed to document all that I did: when I was in class, when I wasn't, when I was late, who I worked with, what I did with them, etc. And that this information was going to be used to get me into trouble. When I got off the phone with this person, my immediate thought was that I needed to get a hold of Julia, for two reasons: maybe she was also being monitored like I was, and maybe she was aware of what was going on, and she could give me more information. I thought that if Julia did know what was going on, that she had not told me sooner because she wanted to "protect me" in some way, and not have the stresses that would be associated with having my movements monitored all throughout the day. After the initial shock, my emotions turned to fear. In the past, information gathering like this had been used as a way of being able to comfortably refuse to renew a teacher's contract. I tried to connect my job performance with what this former teacher's job performance was, and I couldn't see any connection. Even though I had no idea why, I assumed that this would be my last year at my school, and that I was in the process of losing my job. The next day, my supervisor, "Donna", was at a conference. I went through the day, miserable. The only consolidation I had was a very well-timed "Thank you for being a good teacher" letter from one of my students. I decided that if my actions were being watched over, I would make it easier for whoever was keeping track of me, by providing an extremely detailed account of my daily goings on. I sent this in an email to Donna, Julia, and my 7th and 8th teacher, since I assumed that at least Donna knew that this was going on. The next day when I got an email from Donna telling me that it was not necessary at all to provide this information, I was shocked. I assumed all along that an "investigation" like this would need her okay before beginning. Although I was hurt that Donna didn't come to me first, I now realized that she had nothing to do with what I was told in that phone call. I began explaining the whole story to Donna, and she asked me if I could find out the name of the person who directed the teachers to do this monitoring. I went back to Noelle, and she gave me more details. Julia had directed other teachers to monitor me. She specifically told these teachers not to let my caller know, since they would in turn tell me. Noelle had never spoken with Julia directly. Absolutely shocked, I emailed this information to Donna, including that I had absolutely no clue that this was going on. Julia had never said anything at all to me about her concerns, and never changed her demeanor towards me. Donna ended the conversation Friday by giving me the optimistic side of things - maybe Julia was trying to defend me in some way. Since this was in line to what I had been thinking that Wednesday, I took that to heart. I decided I would wait the weekend to think things over, and talk to Julia one-to-one on Monday morning. Friday night, I went out with Kiki and Noelle. The conversation started off with, "Do we want to talk this over?" and I knew immediately that there was more to the story. I shared the conversation I had with Donna, and the two were shocked to learn that she did not have any involvement with this monitoring. The impression was given to them that this was given the OK by the administration. More was added to the details of the day that they were asked to monitor me. Julia came into Kiki's room while she and Noelle's paraprofessional were in the room. In a very hurried, flustered, and concerned manner, Julia instructed them that they needed to monitor me daily, and send emails to her every day. Kiki needed to monitor me in her classroom, and the paraprofessional needed to monitor me in Noelle's classroom (but were specifically told not tell Noelle what was going on). Julia told them that one of the reasons that I needed to be monitored was that there was a parent pressing charges against me, and I was in the process of being arrested. Eager for details, Kiki asked who was pressing charges, and what were the nature of the charges. Julia did not give those details, saying that it was very confidential. Julia told then that she did not want my actions effecting her certification. "My ass is on the line" were the words she used. I learned that in the next few days, Julia emailed these staff members reminding them to report back to her daily. Instructing them to make sure that they had written down that I was not servicing students the day of a field trip, and document a day that was I absent from work. I was also told that one day, while one of my inclusion students was in Julia's pull-out classroom during a period that I had him in the inclusion classroom, Julia emailed the inclusion teacher (Kiki). She complained that I was in her pull-out room (with my student), and not in the inclusion classroom. The teacher commented that if Julia wanted me in the inclusion classroom (without my inclusion student) that she should tell me. Julia declined, and never mentioned anything to me at all. None of the teachers have any idea why Julia had taken it upon herself do instruct them to monitor me, let along create false reasoning to do so. Julia never told me that going on the field trip would be an issue; in fact she "fought" for the both of us to be able to be chaperones on this trip. Julia had never said anything to me, either in person, or in emails about anything mentioned above. Up until Friday night, I had no idea that she was the one creating these issues. I was not aware of any parent with any complaint against me, let alone pressing charges against me. If this were the case, I would assume that administration would have contacted me right away, and not wait a week until letting me know that this was happening. I am not aware if she has instructed any other teacher that I work with to monitor me, or told any other staff members that I am in the process of being arrested. To be continued in Part 2...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I changed up the description of my blog. I figure I'd have a bit more to talk about if I didn't limit myself to just my crocheting. I figure that it'll probably take up the majority of my blog, but now I don't feel bad about slipping in something a little less craft-like. It's very weird coming home to an "empty" house, now that Girlfriend has gone back to the UK for the summer. I miss her to bits. I keep having dreams about us getting married. I had one a few weeks ago about eloping in Vegas, and just last night I had one about us going to the city hall in Fall River (MA), and getting hitched by a JP. I figure it's typical, since we've been together for almost 5 years now. Maybe it's because I'm reading about the gay-marriage ban they are trying to get through Senate. Oh, don't worry. I won't get into political discussions on my blog. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting But, I would like the ability to get married some day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Breast Feeding = Sexually Explicit Material?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Glad I'm not on LiveJournal.
I think all bloggers should be aware of what is going on. In a nutshell, a rule against nudity in avatars has lead to banning of all breast-feeding avatars, which has been expanded included fine art, such as this, this, and this. Yes, no more pics of a breast-feeding Virgin Mary. Banned avs are stored here. Click here to find out the short version of the 'fuss' over breastfeeding avatars.
Here is a press version of the story, and a blogger summing it much better than I can. Also, details of the 6/6/06 LJ Boycott, and 6/5/06 Nurse-In at LJ Headquarters.

Friday, June 02, 2006

WIP Killer Weekend II

Goal: To eliminate as many WIPs as possible. To-Do List (continued from a previous post): Get a row's worth of Brother #3's Christmas afghan done. - 6 four-inch squares - 1 six-inch square - stitch row together Complete the Baby It's Cold Outside sweater for co-worker's baby-to-be. Get a row's worth of Hello Kitty Squares done for SIL's gift. - 5 Kitty Squares - 10 "other" squares - stitch row together I will update as I complete.

Fun Fur is Muppet Murder

I snagged this button from Deneen's blog, who got it from someone else's blog. The sad thing is, I keep getting asked to make things with the dreaded FF.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Funks Suck

I'm in a mega-funk today. Girlfriend went back to the UK for the summer to see her family. I was planning to go in July, but tickets are in the $500-$700 range. My hermit crab, Bert, escaped last night because I forgot to cover his crab-itat. I am PMSing, and my anxiety meds don't seem to be handling it well. I began three more projects this weekend, none of them done, and will probably just add to my WIP list. I'm in one of those all-I-want-to-do-is-go-home-and-sleep moods.
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