Tuesday, April 30, 2019

When you look in the cupboard

And you see a cheese grater smiling at you.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Crack me up

My friend CC- from music teaching long ago- bought me a get well Svengoolie long sleeved t-shirt.  It is my shirt of choice on the weekends. Last night I turned off the lights to go upstairs to bed and was briefly startled/terrified to find that it glows in the dark.  Eep!

There are 28 days left with students.  Within those days there are many field trips, testing for grades 3-5 and special events.  These occasions naturally require decision making on the part of our leader.  With leaders past, my input and reminders were welcomed and attended to because said leader usually didn't think ahead.  Current leader, while she looks ahead and sees what's coming is often overwhelmed by what is in the present and fails to attend to said decisions.  She has also, of late been making decisions that leave many a co-worker disgruntled. (far be it from me to call them poor decisions- that would be judgey,)

In the spirit of "school is almost out but not quite" morale, I have suggested a guessing game.  Which number will be higher- The number of poor decisions made or the number of school days remaining?

I considered offering it up as a pool (each entrant pays $5- the one closes to the actual number of ridiculous decisions wins the pot- I would refrain from participating to have an unbiased judge of what may be considered foolish.  And while it seems like fun, I think the only enthusiastic participants will be the secretary, the guidance counselor and myself.  Everyone else is too professional to consider such an activity.

In other "I can't believe how hilarious I am" findings-  I'm sure I've told the story of greathusbandbob's dog Claudia.  She ran away from her caretaker (in Bridgeport, OH) while the family was on vacation only to be found across the river on Wheeling Island by greathusbandbob as he was driving city bus on the island.

While planning for music appreciation class this week, I found that I had taken the tune to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and written The Ballad of Claudia as an example of an assignment for last year's students.  Behold.

The Ballad of Claudia

They were headed to the beach twas to be such a treat
And they had a good friend watching Claudia.
The bright summer sky shined the lights in her eyes
And she couldn’t believe she wasn’t going.
They went down the road with the kids all in tow
Excited to visit the ocean.
But back here at home friend was answering the phone
And that good dog went springing in motion.
She went to the park and she stayed until dark.
She thought that’s where they’d go on vacation.
When they didn’t show up she was one lonely pup
And she went out in search of relations.
When the family returned they saw what had occurred
And the kids, they couldn’t stop crying
Dad said “Claudia’d be found, we’ll go look at the pound
But the family all felt he was lyin.
He went across the bridge where the West Virginians live
He had bus passengers who were waiting.
He hit the last stop and he felt his jaw drop
Because there he saw Claudia sitting
THe passengers swore as she went through the door.
That dog better pay her full fare.
He said “don’t worrying none,  I’m paying for this one”
And he drove home that night in a tear.
Don’t let it be said that your dog must be dead
If she runs away while on vacation.
Claudia’s living proof that that isn’t the truth
Now go spread this great tale ‘cross the nation.

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Are my favorite spring colors- gray sky and forsythia.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

It's time to Pay the Piper-

Or at least let her teach what she was trained to teach.

I am sure this topic is wearing and tedious but there was a petty victory today and I must feel good about it.

The most demoralizing aspect of that principal- she turned me into a half-time computer teacher to kindergarteners that don't know their letters yet- deeming this more essential than music education.

Today was the showdown.  I was ready for tense negotiations.  I called the h.s. principal ahead of time (to confirm the meeting place).  I also wanted to let him know my position on working 10 hours a day.  Then I suggested that creating two sections of the same class would solve some problems.  I also offered some suggestions to the elementary school principal with ways to keep me there and not at all at the high school. For me there are advantages and disadvantages to both situations.

There was a conference call with the assistant superintendent.  She asked if anything had been decided.  The high school principal jumped in  with my reservations and ideas-not ever suggesting that they were my ideas.

(as a side note, we were in several principal school classes together- he was masterful at taking my analyses of any given group assignment and sharing them as if they were his own.  And while it was annoying as students together, if he's my principal and takes my idea- I don't care who gets credit for it.) 

The elementary principal remained mute.  She said absolutely nothing.  Even after the assistant super double checked to make sure everyone was o.k. with it.

 The final result is that my daily schedule will change from 8:15-4:00 to 7:15-3:00 and I will be at the high school twice as long as I was there this year and last- (90 minutes a day- the additional minutes are, ironically enough,  almost the exact amount of time a week I spend teaching computer to the little ones.)
Hooray for afternoon dr. appointments!

Hooray home in time for cool classes at the gym!

Hooray for the high school principal was willing to say "we really need you- we have 27 kids signed up for music appreciation and they love you." (and given our past experiences, he knows I'm no fool)

Hooray for the assistant superintendent who said, "Becky, is there a different course she'd like to offer instead of  two sections  of the same course?"

Sorry about your karma elementary school principal who regularly disregards my (and others') skills.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

and yet another reminder

So it's not my intention to turn this blog into a "hooray for me" blog but it is my hope that I can visit these pages to feel good about things that happen.

Mikayla saw me in the grocery store and came running for a giant hug.  This wouldn't seem unusual, except Mikayla is a high school sophomore and while squeezing said "I'm taking your class next year!"  It was just like she was when she was five.  I want to remember that.

It remains to be seen how that scheduled class is going to work out.  The high school and middle school are going to block scheduling.  This means 90 minute class periods (ugh) every other day. Some weeks it's M-W-F, others it's T-TH.  It is scheduled for first period at the high school which will run from 7:30 am - 9:00 am.  Kids arrive at the elementary school at 8:30 and begin their day around 9:00.  If my day begins at 7:30 (which I'm thinking it would actually have to be 7:15 to give me time to get situated), my day is finished by 3:00-3:15ish.

The elementary principal is opposed to this because she doesn't know how to schedule and believes she needs me there longer. I am not at all opposed to this because it means I can actually schedule appointments before 4:00pm

Rumor has it  that they are going to try to get me to take an extra duty contract to cover the extra hours, report to the high school and stay until 4:00pm at the elementary school.  Twenty years ago, that money would have been worth the time.  With cancer and congestive heart failure running its route through my life, I am not one bit interested in the extra money.  Additionally, there is not one sub that will cover a day like that.

 This extra duty contract will be refused.  Especially since the solution is that I take over the beginning band classes and the h.s. teacher (who is fine with an extra duty contract) can show up 2 days a week for some string classes (which can easily be cancelled due to absence).  Of course this means I would no longer be at the high school (which the elementary principal wants and the high school principal is opposed to.) But keeping the high school teacher in the high school schedule and the elementary teacher in the elementary school schedule is not something they have thus far considered.

Tomorrow we meet at the O.K. Corral to hash it all out. 12:30 pm.  My guess is that I will start and finish earlier and the elementary principal will have to work on her scheduling skills.  I can say one thing for sure, she won't be asking me for help.  She made that very clear from day 1.

Also in the news, there is finally a zumba friend. She had always seemed really familiar to me.  Turns out she's Liza Jane's vet.  She's the one who will crawl on the floor with her when Liza is freaking out. And she knits. And, of course, she likes dogs.  And I am a dork and one day after zumba said  "we should be outside of the gym friends."  Except she agreed and has apparently said equally awkward things to people at the gym in an attempt at getting to know them.  More to come.  But it doesn't matter how old you are, it's always really great to make a new friend.   I just have to hope she's a democrat.

And finally dinner tonight.  Instead of buying a seafood sub from subway with witly cucumbers, scary tomatoes that I won't order and a choice between white cheese and yellow cheese, I made my own.  Mayonnaise added to fake crab, sliced cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber and some feta cheese in a wrap was better than anything from subway.  Add a small bag of microwave popcorn, an orange juice with a slip of tequila and you have a hella value meal!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Today's meal

What it lacked in flavor, it made up in texture and healthiness.

In no particular order, in no particular quantities- broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, a fried egg/cut up, quinoa, feta cheese, cottage cheese, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, fried tofu, garlic powder, ginger, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon.  It could have used some chickpeas.

Last week I told music appreciation that I had "senioritis" and Beth informed me that I had "senior citizenitis."  Those kids.

Last week I brought a large bag of beef jerky from Sam's.  Said bag was empty in 30 seconds.  Who knew.  While a little more expensive, I would have gladly gone that route had I known.  It's got to be healthier than oreos and pringles.

Cousin had a migraine on Friday and couldn't go shopping.  I called our helping assistant to come to the rescue because I would resent giving up a Saturday.  Instead I got my nails done and got my hair cut and de-grayed (not completely- that would look ridiculous.)

I also went to the library to be fingerprinted so that I may work with the local high school/middle school bands this summer (a PA requirement)  My left hand ring finger was declared as having "wear and tear" because of being a musician.  My left hand pinkie was declared "too small to print."  It was electronic and could not roll properly on the device.  Their initial offer included two weeks of 5 hours an evening and two full weeks at an away band camp.  I replied "too old for overnight band camps" but I'd be available and would be glad to do the evening rehearsals and so an adventure for the summer.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

30 day challenge

While the lasagne was a major cheat in the 30 day veggie challenge, yesterdays roasted asparagus over chia and brown rice was not.  McCormick spices recommended 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp red pepper mixed in olive oil.  The pre-packaged Uncle Ben's garlic seasoned quinoa and brown rice (ready in 90 seconds) made for a great meal.

Then today... from Dave Hurry the Food Up website comes a Spanish Omelet- 3 ingredients. Potatoes, onions, and eggs fresh from the chicken (my friend Maegan has chickens) plus a little salt and directions from a spanish chef on you tube resulted in this.  Greathusbandbob approved (that's two in one week for anyone that's counting.

And a moment in music appreciation to appreciate.  Today's assignment was to look at the Wikipedia article on country music and list the various subcategories of the genre. Boy complained "I don't see any subcategories."  I had him come up with his chrome book to show him.  Instead of looking up "country music" he had looked up "country."

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Epic Meatlover's Lasagne- because he can't eat fast food every day.

I did a recipe!

First I would like to say- the only thing I had to look up was how long to cook it.

9 lasagne noodles

1 carrot sliced in small pieces
1 small container of baby bella mushrooms (chopped)
2 small onions chopped
3 cloves garlic- minced
3 dashes of Italian Seasoning
olive oil
2 jars of Classico spaghetti sauce
(I used traditional and tomato basil)

1/2 lb ground sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 lb pepperoni

12 oz fresh belgioso mozzarella
(1/2 shredded, 1/2 sliced thinly)
1 small container fresh parmesan
1 small container of ricotta

Preheat oven to 375°

Cook lasagne noodles according to package.- lay them out on a cookie sheet lightly covered with cooking spray to cool.

Slice and sauté in this order- carrot, onions, garlic, mushrooms until they're done

While vegetables are cooking, shred 1/2 of the mozzarella.

Stir in the Italian seasoning, move vegetables to outer edge of the skillet.  Break up and brown the sausage and ground beef.

While the meat is cooking, mix mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and egg. Thinly slice the remaining mozzarella.

When meat is fully cooked, add 1 1/2 jars of sauce.

Assemble lasagne- plain sauce on the bottom (save enough for the top)
3 noodles
cheese mixture (I did this by hand rather than spoon- flattened it like hamburger patties to get full coverage)
meat mixture-
pepperoni layer
3 noodles
pepperoni layer
3 noodles
remaining sauce
thinly sliced mozzarella

Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray (to prevent cheese from sticking) and cover.
Bake for 25 minutes
Remove foil
Bake for 5 more minutes
Allow to cool 10 minutes
Slice and eat.

It tasted like Melon's in Uniontown.  It was amazing.

Today’s inspiration- microscopic ant

I kind of rushed it at the end.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Fridays at Walmart

Nearly the exact opposite of Tuesdays with Morrie. It will become "a thing" as appropriate.

One time when she wanted to add a haircut to her weekly shopping trip, she waited at the salon for an hour and then went grocery shopping.  I mentioned that the next time that happened she might consider grocery shopping first and coming back to see if they were less busy.

This has become complicated.  Sometimes I feel like she needs black and white rules in order to make decisions.  Once she has them, she never forgets them.

Example- she used to stop 4 feet away from the trunk of the car when it came time to put her groceries in.  I finally figured it out and asked her if she had ever made mom mad by bumping too close to her car.  There was my answer.  It took about a year for her to realize that closer was easier but now we've got that figured out.

Yesterday we were walking out behind some slower people blocking any other path.  I had to remind her not to get too close to their heels- we're still working on that one.

Rules for hair salon:  If there are 1-2 people waiting, go ahead and wait.  If there are 4-5 people waiting, come back later.  If there are 3 people waiting but two of them are men, go ahead and wait.  If all three are women, maybe check back later.  That became too confusing. (duh) So then we decided I'd go with her to figure it out.  But that was ridiculous.  So I sent her on her way to make that decision on her own and she finished everything at the same time I finished my Subway sandwich. I'm calling it a definite win.

After I brought her groceries into her house, I called Greathusbandbob to see if he needed anything.  He was on the phone and didn't answer.  No biggie.  He called back but I had already left.  He said "Becky called, did she need anything?"  She said "No, she'll call you when she gets home."

Now that's hilarious.

I got her to laugh for real twice during the trip.  I'm in a much better mood on a Friday afternoon than I am on a Saturday morning.  Mostly because I know that Saturday will be all mine. Once was when I told her about Bob telling our cat he was going to "kick her cat-ass" if she got in his way.  The other was the cock-a-doo rooster idea.  I managed to lay down a few lines of rap using the cock-a-doo and it is now required that that is our official good-by greeting.

Other news- not Friday related.  Greathusbanbob does not read my blog.  I share it with him now and again.  He likes the way I write- especially since it was such a struggle for him when he first started writing about the family geneology.  He has a bazillion funny stories from various adventures in his life (some of which I've shared on this blog.)  He's great at telling them.  In spite of the suggestion he do so, he is too self-conscious to write them. In a flash of inspiration I realized that I could do them justice. I knew as soon as an introduction popped into my head that this was a thing.

Meanwhile son of Greathusbandbob was sorting through saved garage items and sending photographs. (e.g. His membership to the Krishna palace where he did the electric wiring, a pencil from when he ran for mayor of Bridgeport Oh.)  It has become a thing.  I spent my last day of relaxing turning the stories I knew into consumable hilarity.

I share with you the introduction of Knows No Strangers©

Stories. My husband has them.  A lot of them. He’s like the old grandpa that repeats them over and over. Except you don’t notice because there are so many of them.  In the 90’s the show Seinfeldhad a character (Kramer) who “sold” his stories to someone with a boring life.  Then there was the movie, Forrest Gump, with a character who always found himself in the right place at the right time.  Robert Haddon Terry and his stories embody these characters. And while it’s great to hear them in person, the next best thing is having them collected in this book.

·     He grew up on a block in Brooklyn, NY that had 360 families. (where he once thought the city had made a mistake when they forgot to remove some dirt and grass he spotted in the cracks of the sidewalk) He was orphaned at 13 but his drive to survive led him to Huntington Beach CA with many stories along the way. He eventually returned east to Bridgeport, OH to raise a family.  Unemployment in the 80’s (due to Reagan’s railroad policies) brought another set of life experiences to what can only be called a charmed life.
·     Each new life change brings another collection of believable and unbelievable stories- all true- he has witnesses.  I will remind the reader that many of these events occurred at the height of the “turn on tune in drop out” era and drug use was the norm of the day.
·     It is common for wives of story-tellers like him to roll their eyes and groan each time they know one’s coming.  In his case I usually recognize which one to expect after the first sentence, laugh and wait for the uninitiated listener to wonder in disbelief.  And after 15 years he can still surprise me with one I haven’t heard yet. ©2019

Friday, April 05, 2019

When you’re a teacher...

Most people face desks with stacks of unfinished work on their desks when the return after an extended leave.  

Not me.

I went to my mailbox and found this from my Office-loving counselor friend.


I got to my door and saw this- a decorated door full of love.

And as I opened the door I saw this- welcome back cards lining the entrance-

I walked a little further and saw this-

And when I got to my desk, I saw this from the sub-

I thought I was done and then the secretary asked me if I saw the cards lining the hall. I thought she meant the ones that I saw coming in.  She said no, come out here.  Where I saw this-

The one on the right is longer than the blue one and wraps around the wall.

I thought I couldn’t feel better and then the buses unloaded and those little kindergartener’s faces lit up and they came running full speed for giant hugs.

Again-I assumed that was the last of it but as the high school kids were leaving the resident artist and his friend stopped to give me this-


It is a caricature of one of the more annoying students who regularly whines the statement on the front of the card with that exact gesture.  The inside shows his lunch box filled with snacks he’s taken from my room. To the left it reads “I had nothing to do with this,” just in case I didn’t laugh.

Here’s what it looked like from the window of my car leaving today-

But it was all sunshine in my heart.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Another day at the office- if by office I mean Hospital

So yesterday was the lung segmentectomy.  They took 1/9 of his lung.  It had cancer we think, but there was none in the lymph node or brain so we're good.  If you ever want someone along for the  ride who is no drama and always ready to jokey-joke then greathusbandbob is your guy.  And while it drives me absolutely up to the wall and back when he changes channels at thirty second intervals, we were like two pathetic teenagers when I had to leave.

It wasn't that way when the roles were reversed.  I'm not sure why but I think it might be that Mars-Venus thing.

And while I could be considered a rural snob, I prefer to think of myself as a slightly judgey sociologist.  Below is what can look like in a WV surgery waiting room.  This image was accurate for about 35%of the waiting room people.  And I'm guessing these are the ones who voted our most recent president into office.  

The woman in the blue in this picture was like the lunchtime talker from way back.  We heard about the grandsons favorite tv show (Paw Patrol*), his favorite character on the show, Uncle Bert's drinking and the noises her pug makes that sound human.

   I'm also guessing that the woman on her left is what I would look like if I drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney.  I don't think she was much older than me.

Greathusbanbob wanted a picture of me at the hospital and snapped this doozy.  Any more, bad pictures crack me up and I embrace them.  You'll miss your whole life if you spend it trying to take a good picture.I'm just glad that I don't look like Robert California (James Spader) from The Office.  With the graying hair growing out from the short cut from last year, I sometimes terrify myself looking in the mirror in the morning.

One other small victory of the day was dinner.  On Sunday night I signed up with the group Dave/Hurrythefoodup for a 30-day vegetarian commitment.  All of the recipes that have tasted the best in the last year came from this group.  The hospital cafeteria options included chicken (oh hells to the no), pizza, burgers and fries or a salad bar.I did the salad bar and didn't go back for the ice cream treats at the register.

I return to school on Thursday.  Greathusbandbob is going to hire his male nurse friend to be here with him on Thursday and Friday. NurseCraig was an ER nurse in his past life. While in recovery GHB had an I CAN'T BREATHE scare so we will both be relieved to have a trained professional on hand.

And finally- a new career plan.  I think I'm going to go to casino school instead of law school.  You don't have to pay as much and it doesn't take as long and good full-time dealers can make $100,000/year.  Also I love the way cards feel in my hands.  And they offer insurance.  

* I did not tell her that I am friends with the guy who sings the theme song to Paw Patrol.  It would have blown her mind.