Thursday, September 20, 2018

weekly catch up

There is little to report other than a dark start to the week when I found out that retiring at 55 is not financially viable.  I've had 6 years added to my sentence. It made me so sad.

In other news, school is joining the walk 100 miles in 100 days thing.  We will have little subgroups within the school.  I asked the teachers who don't have homerooms if we could have our own group. (I'm always left out with the goofy physed teacher and weird-not in a good way- art teacher.)  We were going to call ourselves The Winners but then I asked if we could be The Best Winners and everyone agreed.  Then I came up with our group motto- We may be homeroomless, but we have class.

This evening we had parent conferences.  No one wanted to conference with me so I kept my door closed.  I had a list of multiple things that I wanted to get done.  Then I started putting new strings on ukuleles and spent two and half hours doing only that.  It makes me crazy when I get so fixated on a thing I can't stop.  What also makes me crazy is the learning curve.  It took an hour and a half to restring the first one and figure out why it wasn't holding.  Then I did three more in the last hour.

This weekend I am getting a short break from the routine.  I am meeting my favorite friend from Charleston WV in Sutton WV at Cafe Cimino Country Inn.  She is in her second year of retirement. She doesn't know about my new status but she does know of my near burnout.  She is also the friend that took up knitting the same time I did and is a fan of crazy B horror flicks.  We came to that place independently of being together.  We are soulsistahs.  It couldn't have come a moment too soon.  The routine of life as I know it was beginning to drive me mad.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

teaching opposites

This morning started with those high school kids.  It was a catch up day.  The ones who were caught up got to relax a little.  The ones who were behind were cajoled into getting their work done with my assistance.

One of my favorite parts of the class is when they come in and when they leave.  As long as I am not behind in preparation I like to make sure I say good morning to each one as they come in. They didn't know what to make of it at first.  Now each has his or her own way of responding and it's usually as they grab a snack for class.

My other favorite part is at the end of class as they leave.  I tell them they are my favorite part of my day and I love them and to have a good day.  There are eyerolls, smirks, and smiles.  I don't care.  They know I mean it however they respond.

At the end of the day I had a kindergarten class that needs to learn how to log into computers.  Except they don't really even know their letters.  Except the ones that their names start with.  It's impossible to tell the difference between zero and the letter O.  I say "find an R."  They say "what does it look like?"

I printed and laminated computer keyboards.  I passed out whiteboard markers and erasers.  And then we played "office" and they had to get to work finding letters and coloring in the boxes.

 I said "get to work or you'll be fired."

They ask "who's the boss?"

I answer "I am."

Then they begin to say "hey boss, hey boss hey boss."  It was cracking me up.

 They were getting a little squirrelly and I made them take a break at the imaginary water cooler.  I said "go stand in groups and talk about what you saw on television last night."  They looked confused, got up, went to the back of the room, looked at some of the pictures on the wall and started talking to each other but I don't know if it was about what they saw on tv.

I called them back to work "hurry hurry or you'll be fired."  One little guy said "are we almost done?  I'm tired."  I said "going to work is really hard you'll just have to deal with it."

It really was the most hilarious thing I've done in a while.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Notes from Underground

With little to report I've turned to some observations (Facebook and otherwise).

I've ordered jewelry (bracelets) from the PuraVida Bracelet Company so they appear on my Facebook page pretty regularly.  Today there was this:

It's wax coated string. String.  I couldn't look to discover the price. It was too silly.  I know I've overpaid for a trendy cute bracelet more than once, but this is absurd.

Item number next- I am a member of a Facebook group called "I'm a general music teacher."  Today I saw this post:

To this I say, NO ONE NEEDS about 50 cheap top hats.  Ever. It's for an elementary music program. While others may embrace the theatrics, I'm very grateful to have never gone down this path.

And finally, in preparation for a lesson on the Star Spangled Banner, I asked my high school students to write about their opinion on the Nike Colin Kaepernick Anthem saga.  I was not surprised by their answers.  I could easily tell which kids were of a fixed mindset and which were of a growth.  Sadly those that were in favor of Nike's actions were very reluctant to state so specifically.  I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that they feared they were in the minority in the room and instead stated that they had no opinion.(Although I was the only one who was going to see their answer.)

On Tuesday (9/11) I asked them to write the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner from memory (they had just listened to an instrumental version.) I would say one third of them could do so with minimal error (I even forgot were so gallantly streaming under pressure) But the majority of those who could not do so were, in fact, the ones vehemently opposed to Nike and the protests.  As I mingled among those of seeming like mind I rhetorically (but quietly) asked, Which is more unpatriotic, kneeling in protest or not knowing the words?  I was answered with nodding and knowing grins.

We watched iconic versions of the anthem (Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir among others) and while searching for Roseanne's horrendous version I found this clip of the top 10 anthem fails.  To be fair, the biggest fails were the ones sung by non-native Americans at Canadian sporting events and to me that doesn't really count.  

There's also a clip in the "dishonorable mentions" of a 13 year old girl with a beautiful voice and a complete brain freeze on the words accompanied by a monotone basketball coach (Mo Cheeks) who stood behind her, supported her and helped her through.  To me that was the opposite of fail. And the best monotone I've ever heard.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

It's getting hairy again.

I'll spare you the details but a whole lot of care taking and very little exercise has been happening here.

As I left Aunt at the rehab I stopped at a place called C Fruit Life.  It's next to a Japanese restaurant and seems to be an Asian fruit/dessert sort of place.  (google research says it originated in Hong Kong.) Think bubble tea, fruit stew and fruits I've never heard of.

Menu screen shots-

The first time I went there I got a watermelon smoothie. Today I stepped a little further out of the comfort zone and got a strawberry smoothie and a banana crepe.  This is what the crepe looked like.  Slices of bananas surrounded by fluffy white cream and a barely there crepe that holds it together.

It was so much fun having food I've never tasted before.  I foresee several more visits and know the trickiest part is going to be deciding what to try next.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A magician

It’s blurry but it’s probably the glow of her magic making it so.

Greatauntofmine has been in and out of ICU.  When she was released today she had what’s known as ICU delirium.  Who knew that was a thing?  

I walked into her hospital room and she said “I’m dying, they shot me.  Ask him out there.  I was shot.  They brought me here to watch me die.”

This went on for 45minutes.  Then Dr. Mays showed up, calmly explained to her (using near identical words) that her brain was traumatized from being so sick and was making sense of things the best it could and when she saw someone shot on television and then pulled out her IV bleeding all over the place that’s what it did.

Aunt looked at me and said “now her I believe.” I don’t swear much on here but holy fucking shit what the fucking what!?

And the reason I have her picture was so that when she left I could show aunt and say remember what she said?!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Hey wait,

I totally forgot to show you the cutest knitting picture I've ever taken- I wish she felt as sweet as she looks but mostly she was just annoyed that I was taking her picture and stealing her soul.

An update on the school space.  A week has gone by and there has been no dumpster fire in the front of my room.  I figured out how to use the panoramic feature on the tablet so there is this- which is zoomable

At the high school today-

The young lady that wants to see how far she can go- if I'm really who I say I am- was playing the first two phrases of Twinkle Twinkle.  She got to the part that was no longer an open string and said "oh shit."  I laughed and sang twinkle twinkle little star oh shit.  Later as they were talking about "shredding it on the uke" she said "yea, I'm gonna shred this uke and then I'm going to shred your mama."  I laughed, looked at her and the class and said Really?  don't do this to me.  The room relaxed and all was well.

One of the questions that I asked on their music personality survey was What is your earliest musical memory?  Her sister answered Brittney Spear's Hit me Baby One more Time and added only My mom isn't a good person.  wow. Reading that gave me a chance to pause, recognize where the anger, defiance and challenging behaviors were coming from and I could respond in a way that was good for her instead of defensive for me.

And finally- I was walking toward my room before class which had a table of ukuleles easily seen from the hallway.  A former student (I recognized him but couldn't remember his name) asked why they were there, asked if he could play one and talked about how much nicer it was than the one he had from his grandfather. (this was a $40 uke- he must be playing on a log.)  I told him how much they cost and that I could order one if he wanted one.  But then I said maybe he should try new strings on his, that makes all the difference and I offered to bring him a set next week.

He was grateful and in an amazingly polite older than his years way, thanked me, shook my hand and introduced himself as Justin.  I said "I know you Justin Black (I remembered his last name once I heard his first) I was your elementary music teacher, Mrs. Terry.  I cut my hair"

Justin freaked the hell out.  He was so excited.  Mrs. Terry!  I can't believe it!  You were such an inspiration to me- I play ukulele and guitar now because of you! I'm in two bands- a heavy metal and a punk band. Wow!  I can't believe it. etc. etc.etc. What an absolute gift that was.

Just the day before I was listening to the giggles of kindergarteners playing "Open them Shut them" without any words,  It was one of "the moments." Perfect response, perfect giggles, perfect start to kindergarten music.  That also felt like such a gift.  Today it was re-gifted in knowing that it can lead to the likes of a Justin response.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Can’t hide the smile

So we’re supposed to blur any kids faces but once again I have to leave the smile there because she’s using her classroom teachers pointy finger to pick my nose.