Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bloggity blog blog

I have no clever mental composition prepared but wanted to try to continue to keep track of life's busy-ness. It comes in handy when one feels unproductive.

 

First up- happy birthday knitnightdrjustine. I've made a Dr. Ewe for you.

 

Next-just when I was discouraged by the general state of public school affairs, my friend from the southern part of the state shared her most recent public school maintenance shaming. They painted lines on a gravel parking lot.

 

Next- we are closing on a house on Tuesday. It's a cute little house right in "downtown" burg. We will be moving daughter of Auntofsophanne here in October. She needs assistance with the little things in life and I will no longer be driving three hours every Saturday to assist.

Next week I try to get in 10,000 steps a day. I have some Fitbit friends who have been keeping me motivated of late.

And finally- there is no air conditioning (or air circulation- other than a small tower fan) in my windowless room next week and the temps are predicted to be in the 90's. Is it too much to hope that SuperHVACHoward came in and installed a new unit over the weekend?

I will be grateful that I've blogged now rather than later in the week when I have melted into oblivion.

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

How about those beginning of the year meetings, eh?

I know you've been wondering.

Last year after 20 years as our faculty senate president, I was replaced in a coup. Usually coups such as these are conducted to make meetings move more smoothly and more efficiently. To make things better. Not this one.

Just as I know I suck at keeping my house clean (and have plenty of negative attributes not worth mentioning here), I also know that I can run the hell out of a meeting.

Key phrases to keep things moving forward include...

Is there a motion to ...

Is this something we should table until we gather more information?

Would this be better discussed in a committee?

What I hear you saying is... What action do you feel needs to be taken?

That's a great idea, maybe you could lead a temporary committee to explore the possibilities.

Key actions include rounds of applause for short and/or no reports from committees and sincerely listening and thanking everyone who shares.

The coup was facilitated by the lunch talker (from many posts ago) who resented only getting her three minutes of discussion dominating per meeting. She nominated someone who likes to think of 30 teachers in a meeting as a party she's hosting. "So guys, what did you think of that new program we've been asked to try."

This style of leadership lends itself to the inevitable bitch session that turns 15 minutes into an hour.

 

In a room full of teachers that already feel three days behind the eight ball (did I mention terrible at metaphors?), you can count on the fact that everyone except three will put their heads down in silence and watch the valuable minutes tick by. Those last three will speak up when asked is there anything else for the good of the cause and air whatever has been in their mind for the last forty minutes.

E.g. "I think communication should be better."

The hilarity of this statement was that it came from a woman who rarely checks school email and doesn't read informational documents sent her way. It was all I could do to not raise my hand and say "I make a motion that everyone send (insert name here) two copies of every email and paper document on the outside chance that she'll actually read one of them."

When conversation and discussion stalled, I was nudging here, there and everywhere for people to make motions of one kind or another to move the meeting forward (not to get them to pass, just to get rid of the silent disdain everyone had at being there.)

And then I threw in the towel. I am not in charge. One teacher (who has a personality conflict with the current prez) wanted to nominate and return me to the post and I asked her not to because it would likely create hard feelings. If everyone prefers sitting with their thumbs up their asses in silence waiting for the torture to end then who am I to interfere?

More disturbing is that my obsessive mental monkey brain somehow thinks this is worth the time I've spent writing about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Making the most of the last days.

I've been in a knitterly funk lately. I haven't felt very driven. When that happens I go for smaller projects. Awesome granddaughterLily is a Dr. Who fan so I've made this to send along in a tiny back to school package.

 

I've ordered some yarn for a giant candy corn pillow for awesomegrndaughtertallulah. She's a sweet eater from way back.

AwesomegrandsonLevi spent much of the time practicing slight of hand card tricks at the beach (much to the dismay of the poker players who discovered they were always a few cards short.) I'm on a search for something to encourage that pursuit.

And I was so happy with the mosaic I made earlier in the summer that I decided to go again. I was with a friend who mosaiced faster than I did , hence the larger pieces of glass, but I am pleased with the result. Once it dries and is grouted it will likely be gifted to Auntofsophanne, as she does love those scotties.

 

Tomorrow is more busy-ness business with lots of driving, notarizing and grocery shopping involved. The teachers go back to work on Monday. I have so much enjoyed this summer blogging and hope I am better able to make time for it this year. If not, see you next summer!

 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Did I say Stuff? I meant junk.

Or why it pays to hire someone to help you clean the attic.

Our first category of the day is-

Most Disgusting Find that Said Hired Help Threw Out Because I was Convulsing with Disgust.

One would think that the seven foot long snake skin would have won this category hands down. But alas, it's the five gallon water jug filled with pennies and rat carcasses for the win.

When first spotted from a distance I actually referred to this find as a win/win. Hired help could take a bonus in rolled pennies and I would use the jug as a drum in my classroom. Upon closer inspection (and can I just say that I have been blessed with someone who closer inspects much more quickly than I do) we found said twisted psychological experiment on rat curiosity. Maybe they were hiding from the snake.

 

In the category of Most Valuable Find (if you are a Star Trek geek who goes to conventions and are related to me.) is this-

 

Because of its condition (or lack thereof) and edition, it has no monetary value. Unless of course you are a regular attendee of the big Star Trek convention every year in Las Vegas. How cool will these two nieces look carrying THAT around?

 

Our next category is lovingly called "Varicose Vein Memorabilia"

 

This is a rather tattered and torn menu from Elby's Big Boy. Strawberry pie for $.50. Again, absolutey no monetary value but after sharing it on the Wheeling, WV Facebook page I've found that it means a lot to a handful of people. (75 likes and 20 comments- at last count- a personal record)

And finally my own personal Best In Show goes to this prize-

 

How, you might ask, could this dirty mismatched artifact become best in show? Plans, my friends, plans.

Picture if you will, the start of the school year. I'm sitting at the front of the room with my iPod touch sound effect on "traditional phone." It's hooked up to the Bluetooth speaker hiding near the phone. I push the button and make the phone ring. I point to a kid in the room and say "get that, would ya?" I've got to work on my poker face. Hilarity ensues.

If I can time it correctly I will also share this with my hapless but kind-hearted principal and more hapless but not so kind-hearted physed teacher.

Can anyone tell me why I think this is so funny?

I have also considered and imagined myself walking down the street with it in my hand and checking it the way "kids do these days."

And finally today's Good Samaritan Award goes to 17 yr old NeighborEthan who showed up just as we were slowing down and carried boxes and boxes of Reader's Digest Condensed Version Books collected over the past 40 years. Note to self and others- books are damn heavy. Magazines too.

 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

They always come back

So after my first year of teaching junior high band ('87-88) I spent my summers doing three things.  I taught my junior high summer band, took courses for my Master's degree and taught at a high school band camp in Washington PA (Trinity H.S.)

I spent about 5 years working with the people at Trinity (well into the fall marching seasons) and ended up giving clarinet lessons to some of the high school students before rehearsals began.

Fast forward to knit night two weeks ago.

There were two errant knitters at a booth near our gathering.  Knitnightmarc invited them to join us.  They did and joyous knitterly bonding began.  All the while peppered with comments "You seem so familiar to me.  I don't know why."

Later in the week I was driving through Washington PA and saw the zip code posted on the post office.  This made me think of zip codes which made me think of the 1970's PBS show Zoom. (where they always sang the zip code when they gave the address for kids to write in "02134")

That evening newknitfriendHeather posted about that show on Facebook. What are the odds.  Again, this past Tuesday night we knew we were connected somehow but I figured it was a past life- not this current one.

Finally, today on Facebook, she posted a picture of "band camp at Trinity" 1988.  There it was.  Apparently I taught clarinet lessons to newknitfriendHeather AND she stayed at my apartment one spring for a WVU Honors band performance.  I can remember giving lessons and she and her friend Melissa looked vaguely familiar on their #tbt facebook photos but I can't believe they ever stayed at my house!  And yet, she remembered the name of my cat.

It's a funny funny world.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

40 Years of Stuff

Or

Where are the American Pickers when you need them- a New Adventure Series.

So with Auntofsophanne relocated, there is still the matter of her home to attend to. It has always been immaculate and after looking around a little, I see how this happened. Aunt is clean, orderly, thrifty and always prepared. Uncle was a closet hoarder before being a hoarder was a thing. To maintain equilibrium he was assigned a small office and a large attic to store his "collectibles."

It's nice to have the permission to go through and begin clearing out his things with aunt still healthy and alive. Instead of grieving sentimentality, it's done with humor, incredulity, and aunt's blessing.

I am lucky to have found a partner in this adventure by way of an unemployed woman who loves this kind of work. Two working bodies are definitely more efficient than one but it's more than that. She is there to bear witness to the treasures to be discovered.

Our first trip together was this past Friday. On the way home we decided to create categories of findings to entertain ourselves and the July 31st winners follow. There are pictures missing for some items from this first series because I didn't know it was going to be a "thing" until after the fact.

Most Abundant Item- Drill Bit Sets- I stopped counting at ten.

Most Obscene item- as this is a PG-13 kind of blog, suffice it to say it's a wind up toy depicting certain "I did not have sex with that woman" acts.

Most Erudite Item- Snoopy in Latin


Item to get the most enthusiastic response from me- a stethoscope and sphignometer.


Grooviest piece of memorabilia-transistor radio



Collectible delusionally thought to be worth something- mechanical coca cola bank




Most disturbing item my co-worker kept- a pair of working handcuffs.

The next trip will likely occur at the end of next week- until then, make me an offer.  All proceeds go to the account of Aunt of Sophanne.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I need a vacation vacation.

As this summer has been primarily full of busy busy-ness, I've had less life exploration time. (Which is really how I like to spend my summer). I've had to grab adventures where I can.

Adventure the One- With the help of many kind friends and strangers, Aunt of Sophanne is safe and healthy and in a place where there is a good likelihood of her remaining that way- all things being equal.

Adventure the Two- I placed my introverted self in harm's way and made it through a weeklong Smithsonian Folkways class. (YouTube link of me on TV) I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. Go figure.

Adventure the Three- in between visits to the aunt I stopped at the local "make cool crafts place" and came backe with these-

 


 
 

Adventure the Four- While on vacay in NC I went to a Ghost Tour at an old Library near Moorehead City NC. We didn't see any ghosts but I will now and forever refer to elevators a "fear boxes" as instructed by our tour guide.

Fear Box Selfie- do we look terrified?

Adventure the Five- also while on vacay I took the plunge and got my first pedicure (be grateful there are no pictures). I will say only this And then they got out the cheese grater...

Adventure the Six- we had leftover apples from vacay and I found this on the pioneer woman's website And this is the picture of the one I made!

 

Adventure The Seven- tonight I make my first solo drive in the evening to the Big Burgh To see Randy Newman play with the Pittsburgh Symphony. I've seen him perform solo before and honestly, the man makes a grand piano sound like an orchestra so I can't wait to see what's in store tonight. I'll be meeting knitnightdrjustine for the evening but I'm not even nervous about getting there!

 

 

Somewhere between adventure the Two and Adventure the Six I upgraded my Mac to the latest OS, finally committed to the iCloud and opened up the 1.4 of the 2G of operating memory which was down to 768MB

All this has happened as we have been buying a cute little house for my cousin and making the many necessary arrangements for her to move here. I've also been working with an amazing woman who's helping me get the aunts house "curb ready"for when she's ready to let it go.

When you look at it in one big collection, no wonder I've had my fair share of panic attacks this summer! Going back to work may be just the vacation I need. At least it will give me a break from feeling like I'm flying blind!