Sunday, August 27, 2006

Call me Mommy

The story of my life has become significantly less than gripping.

This weekend I had planned on getting caught up on the laundry, sweeping and mopping the floors, that kind of stuff. Trying to get any work done with Soph around is just such a pain in the ass. I know she misses me during the week. I know she just wants some face time during the weekend. BUT, if I don't get the bedding washed, the Department of Child and Family Services is going to come and take her away. Seriously.

So yesterday, I had just sent her, Janz, and E over to the elementary school playground to play, and filled up the mop bucket to get down to business when there was a knock at the door. Long story short, I ended up with Soph's friend Emily and her little sister Isabo all afternoon, (couldn't say no--as their mom has been taking Sophie two days a week until pre-school starts) thus moving decidedly BACKWARD in the house mucking-out plans.

Today, I've had the other best friend--Addison--whose mom had been my Friday savior. Now, please don't get me wrong. I love these little girls, I love their moms, and I love for Soph to have someone to play with, but damn. Working all week only to babysit and clean all weekend is kind of a grind though. I need some cocktails and loud music; maybe even some dancing. Oh well. I suppose a little Guitar Hero (Have you played it? Embarrassingly fun.) and wine in a box will have to do me.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Writing with sparkly silver gel pens on black construction paper.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Finding boogers

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

'Nuff Noir

Thanks for all the feedback on the film class. I'm continuing to work on this one, and will keep you, faithful reader (ha) updated on how the kids respond. That said, I have noticed that nearly all of the films suggested by others, and by me, have male protagonists. So now I'm on a search to fill in a few of the slots with films with sistas.

Now then--Soph stuff. When we were visiting the Krauses, Mand mentioned a bumper sticker she read that said, "Meat is murder. Delicious, delicious murder." Last night, my dad cooked us up some phat cheese burgers. I took a bite, and announced to the table, what else, "Meat is murder. Delicious, delicious murder." For some reason, Soph liked the sound of it, and today while waiting in the doctor's office (which was filled to the brim) walked around chanting, "Delicious, delicious murder." That, combined with the fact that she was barefoot, had drawn all over herself with a ballpoint, and was wearing a filthy white t-shirt, contributed to more than a few questionable looks by others to yours truly.

Her preschool doesn't start for another week and a half, so she's been doing, and will continue to do the Sophie Shuffle for a bit. Luckily, she's a resilient little cuss, and has been having a pretty good time. Today she stayed home with Dad, and tomorrow is a playdate with her pall Emily.

It's really too late to do a birthday update, but suffice it to say, that girl CLEANED UP. Just off top of my head, presents for which I'm now trying to find room include the following: Easy Bake Oven, a Cabbage Patch Baby, Floam (awful, gooey, disappointing crap), Don't Break the Ice, 5 new DVDs, a Care Bear art set, fishing pole, pink feathery fan (thanks Kods), and about a million other things.

School is ok, but the stress is landing smack in my back, and really exacerbating the Epstein Barr. Hopefully another week or two will see me back in the groove. The blog is going to suffer for a bit, I think, but don't desert me. I'll be around as much as possible.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
I was so proud of her today. She was at school with me drawing on the white board, and figured out how to draw people. She was even prouder of herself than I was, I think. I'm too lazy to pull the picture off my camera just now, but soon. Soon.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
She wants me to pick her up, all the time, all the sudden.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Movies

So--I've gotten downright formulaic with the movie thing. I've decided to set the class based on genre and film elements, and then work with them in pairs. For each set, we'll study 2 films, preferably one pre-1980 (not a magic year, just kind of in the middle) and one post. Here's what I've come up with so far. What do you think? Please keep in mind that I'm trying to choose movies against which my students won't totally revolt.

Genre: Drama/Element: Screenplay
  • To Kill a Mockingbird OR Rocky
  • Dead Poets' Society OR Straight Story

Genre: Musical/Element: Art Direction

  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Moulin Rouge

Genre: Sci Fi-Fantasy/Element: Special Effects

  • Star Wars
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone

Genre: Thriller/Element: Direction

  • Rear Window
  • ??? Ideas? Quality PGish thriller in the last 20 years with exceptional direction?

Genre: Action Adventure/Element: Editing

  • King Kong 1933
  • King Kong 2005

Genre: Noir/Element: Cinematography

  • Maltese Falcon
  • ??? Ideas? Again, a quality noir film from the last 20 years with exceptional cinematography?

Genre: Western/Element: Score

  • Magnificent Seven
  • Silverado

Genre: Animation

  • Snow White
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Genre: Martial Arts/Element: Foreign Language Film

  • Seven Samuari
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

For documentaries, I'm thinking

  • When We Were Kings (Tons of my guys are into boxing)
  • Rize (Boys of Baraka is R. Thppt.)
  • Whatever short documentaries I can track down
  • Winter of the Dance (A pal of mine knows these guys, and participated in Winter of the Beard, which I hope will be out by the end of the year. I may be able to get the director and producer in town to chat with us.)

So, what I'm lacking is comedy. (In so many ways.) Ly suggested Bringing up Baby, but I don't know if my kids will stick with that one. Maybe. What "film element" would fit well with comedy? I'm kind of thinking either acting or production, since, well, that's what's left.

School starts tomorrow! Wish me luck.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Long story short:

Our art teacher left over the summer. We now have no fine arts classes to offer. Our principal and counselor informed me on FRIDAY that I'm going to be teaching an intro to film class, as, according to NCLB, it's the only fine arts class that, as an English teacher, I'm "highly qualified" to teach. Guys--school starts on THURSDAY!

Now--I did a mini unit on film for my applied communication class, but a year? Can't fake that.

So--put yourself in my shoes. Help me out. If you found out you were going to be teaching an intro to film class in, you know, a few days, what would you do? Would you structure the class chronologically or by elements of film? Or maybe in terms of specific directors, producers, etc.? What films would you show? What kind of assessments and goals would you have for your kids? How would you justify the class to parents who don't want their kids to "watch movies"?

Oh--keep in mind that you're limited to G, PG, and PG-13 movies, and that most of your students are at-risk teenagers who read and write at about a 5th grade level.

Report on Soph's bday party soon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Haiku
Sophie Gene turns 4 today!


Grrr, originally uploaded by missuzj.

I WILL have my way
Or pout until I turn five.
How'd'ya like that mom?

Bucket Head

Bucket Head, originally uploaded by missuzj.

Come in Mom, over.
Where are my presents? over.
Soph over and out.



Jump, originally uploaded by missuzj.

Bounce! Pounce! Skip! Spring! Sproing!
Sprinkler squirt, splash, sputter, spray
Turning four kicks ASS!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Guess who broke a sweat today?

That would be me folks.

See, Sophie's across the street friend, Bianca, has a trampoline. An old, huge, dangerous trampoline with exposed, broken springs, a fucking LADDER to get on it, and no safety enclosure.

Soph and I have been doing battle about that trampoline. I don't want her on it. She loves it. I let her jump with Bianca, but check on her like every 3 minutes and then make up some excuse to get her the hell away from that broken arm waiting to happen.

So, as Soph's birthday is coming up (the 12th, remember?) I ordered her this. Notice the included safety enclosure? Notice how it has no springs, just nifty elastics? Notice how it is close enough to the ground for her to climb on and off of by herself--no rusty old ladder required? Sweet.

I put the order in on Monday, and it arrived today. How's that for speedy?

When I arrived home from my NEVER ENDING beginning of school meetings today, 2 boxes were waiting for me at the front door. The instructions said that in order to assemble the trampoline and enclosure, one needed 3 "able bodied" adults. Piffle! Pashaw! I put that bitch together myself in under 2 hours.

Soph loves it, and we jumped and jumped. My leg muscles are sore! So is my neck, for some reason. I'll probably be slightly miserable tomorrow. I think it'll be worth it, though.

Pictures soon, I promise.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
That great big shit-eating grin she gets on her face when something VERY cool is going down.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
This was my first day away from her all day in a long time. It kind of sucked.

Monday, August 07, 2006

That time of year

It's that time of year; the time when I review the summer months, and realize I didn't do a god damn motherfucking thing. Somehow, "that time of year" always coincides with "that time of the month." Funny that.

Anywho'syourdaddy, I have exactly 3 days left of summer vacation. Three. This Thursday and Friday we have our big faculty planning meetings when we discuss our school wide "DRSLs" (Desired results for student learning), and size up the new faculty members, and brag or (in my case) lie about all the shit we did this summer. Then I get a weekend to sweat and stew. Then, on Monday, all the teachers in the district get to sit in an auditorium and first listen to the superintendent give an inspirational-as-ass speech and then get all fired up as he and the district office staff huck the new inspirational t-shirts out to us stadium style while "We Will Rock You" or some such nonsense crackles through the speakers. After THAT display, we have to sit and listen to some paid education expert and/or inspirational speaker inspire us even further. Then, we plod to our classrooms, and reality hits us, or in my case, bitch slaps me in the face.

I've been going into school a couple hours a day for the last week or so. The thing is, my school is not even a red-headed-step-child. It's the imaginary friend of the red-headed-step-child. We don't have a custodian. We have a sweeper. The sweeper comes in after school, vacuums the floors, gives the bathrooms a lick and a promise, and that's it. Most schools get a total rehaul over the summer. Paint, carpets cleaned, desks scrubbed, white boards whitened, bathrooms sanitized. Kids--I'm not even sure my garbage was taken out on the last day of school. The paint on the outside of the building is peeling off in huge chunks. The toilets are, just, eww. And generally, the place looks like shit.

So today, Janzen, Sophie, and I are going to go and do what we can to clean it up. Well, Janz and I will be cleaning. Sophie will be doing her damnest to make new and improved messes as fast as we can clean them.

Oh, I got sidetracked. Here is the shit I didn't do this summer.

1. Go to yoga. I think I went twice.
2. Exercise. Instead I gained about 10 more pounds.
3. Take Sophie on fun and exciting mommy daughter fieldtrips.
4. Paint the interior walls of my house.
5. Work on my yard.
6. Write.
7. Write a grant for laptops for my classroom.
8. Dejunk my carport.
9. Detail the cars.
10. Anything productive.

What did I do?
Well, I played a shit load of spider solitare. I watched a lot of tv. I read a lot of blogs.

I suck.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Again with the birthdays! (But it's a good thing.)

All right cats and kittens (where did that come from?). It has come to my attention that we all missed the birthday of the sweetest lady on the internet.

So, because I adore Nicole, and because I can't come up with any new ideas, here is her birthday list. Unfortunately, I don't know Nicole as well as some, AND I'm not precisely sure how old she is, so here's the plan. I'll start the list, and y'all help me out by continuing it in my comment field. If you don't know Nicole "in real life" that's no excuse. If you DO know Nicole in real life, you are morally obligated to give us at least 5 lines on the list. Now then.

1. Her grandparents all have cute nick names.
2. She loves living in the city.
3. She is very hip in her music tastes, and has a thing for musicians (wink, wink).
4. She has an adversion to poop. (Well, don't we all, but I think hers is slightly more, um, emphatic.)
5. At 16, she went to see a rock band at CBGBs without her mothers knowledge.
6. Her hair has been been dyed, in her own words, "most of the shades of the rainbow."
7. She successfully quit smoking.
8. She likes to watch reality TV.
9. She never thinks her house is clean enough.
10. She's a bit of a worrier.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The earth goes around the sun tra la! And Missuz J turns 31!

At Soph's school, on the kids' birthdays, they sing a little song. First, they put a big orange ball in the middle of the room. Then the birthday kid gets to hold a blown up globe. As the birthday kid slowly walks around the globe, the class sings, "The earth goes around the sun tra la. The earth goes around the sun. The earth goes around the sun tra la and (insert kid's name) turns 1!" Then the birthday kid says what he/she could do when sh/e turned one. (roll over, eat baby food, etc.) This song is repeated, year by year, until the class reaches the kid's current age. Then the kid and class list and celebrate all the things the birthday boy/girl can do now.

I think it's a pretty cool little activity. Unfortunately, having neither big orange ball nor globe nor gaggle of preschoolers at my disposal, I shall have to blog it instead of sing it. I'll skip years 1-30, for your anti-boredom convenience. Now then, ah-hem,

imaginary class: The earth goes around the sun tra la! The earth goes around the sun! The earth goes around the sun tra la! And Missuz J turns 31!

imaginary teacher: So Missuz J--what can you do now that you couldn't do a year ago?

Missuz J: Well, umm, nothing.

imaginary teacher (in a very nurturing and gentle tone of voice): Let's think about it together. You're getting to be a very big girl. Did you learn anything new?

Missuz J: Hmm. Well, just last week I think I invented a new cocktail. See, we were out of vodka, and I wanted a White Russian so I used some old coconut rum we had in the back of the freezer. I call it the White Jamaican. It's pretty delish. At least, I think I invented it.

imaginary teacher (an almost undetectable note of impatience in her still very sweet voice): Hmm. Well, that's nice, but let's keep thinking. Let's think about new things. Did you do anything new?

Missuzj J: Well, I grew two new chin hairs. But I guess that doesn't count. Hmm. I've got one! I watched the entire Buffy the Vampire series for the first time--in like 2 weeks! You should have seen the house. And smelled it. Damn. Have you seen Buffy yet? Want to borrow season one? You really have to give it until the second season for it to really heat up. Now, at first, you'll probably think that Angel is smoking hot, but just hold out. (SPOILER) Soon you'll see that he's just a vampire pussy with a soul who hides out in his apartment when Buffy is supposed to be killed by the Master. Just WAIT until Spike gets the chip put in his head by the initiative and starts tarting around with his shirt unbuttoned, and then, then, in Smashed, oh, my God, he has Buffy up against this wall and you can totally hear her unzip his pants and...

imaginary teacher (her impatience now noticeable): OK! I get the idea. There are young kids here you know. Now, other than cocktails and comic book TV, has ANYTHING happened this year that you're proud of?

Missuz J: Well, I didn't get skinnier, or smarter, or more patient, or more spiritual.

imaginary teacher (condoling): That's ok sweetie.

Missuz J: But you know, I think I am a little happier.

imaginary teacher: Now that's something to be proud of.