Sunday, October 25, 2015

U C Davis Crew

 My children are interesting people.  In high school, my son wanted nothing to do with physical activity.  He was a trombone playing robotics kid whose focus was solely on academics and getting high grades.  He competed in band performances and collected data on robots and the only heavy lifting he did was carrying his computer to the car to take it to a friend's house so they could create dungeon and dragon characters.  When he announced that he was going to try out for the Crew team in college, we all smiled and thought this would be a passing dream.
 He started two weeks before school started.  They practice at 5am and run, lift, crawl and push up.  He's lost 30 pounds in 5 weeks.

He earned the name 'Mama Bear' because one of the exercises they do, the bear crawl, is still pretty difficult for him.  The first time they did it, he was by far the slowest guy on the team.  Everyone else had finished and half the team came back to encourage him to keep going.  They told him to pretend he was a 'mama bear' and that his cubs were at the finish line.  They told him he had to go and save his cubs.  The nickname just stuck!
 Crew has to be the worst spectator sport.  I left home at 8:30 am so I could pick up some snacks for his team.  He had asked for some granola bars, lunch meat, crackers and bananas.  When my kids were little, I used to bring snacks for their soccer team, so it was nice to do this again.  I got to the venue around 10 am and expected a couple hundred people.  I was very surprised to have to park miles away because of the thousands of people there to 'watch' the event.  There was a shuttle that took us to the lake and then I had to wander around with the bags of groceries, trying to find the team.  The high school teams had their boosters with their bar-b-ques all set up and their tents and chairs.  After about an hour of the shuttle ride and searching through the huge crowd, I finally found their team in the bushes.  They had no booster support and they were all happy for the little bit of food I brought.  They were all so grateful and so nice and thankfully there were no leftovers for me to have to carry home!

The boys launched the boat around 11:45 for their 12:50 race and I thought that meant they would be racing early.  I was worried my husband wouldn't make it on time.  What I didn't realize was they had to row the boat out to the starting line and then wait for their turn to start.  I was starving, but didn't want to miss the race, so found a seat near the finish and watched boat after boat come past.  I couldn't remember what color their boat was, or what color they were wearing and wasn't sure if I had missed them passing.  My husband and son showed up around 1 and I thought that maybe they had missed the race.  He kept making fun of me because I was having such a hard time remembering what my son looked like!  Who does that?  But then I was listening to other parents say the same thing.  'I think that is my daughter's boat, but I don't know if that is my daughter in the boat!'  Then, I didn't feel so bad.

 Finally after more than an hour of waiting, my son's boat came past and I remembered his boat was white and they were wearing white shirts. :)  They did get passed by a green boat.  Instead of starting all of the boats at the same time, they start them 10 seconds apart, so you know if a boat passes you, they are faster.

 But, according to my son, his boat was 13th out of 14 boats in the novice race and they were the fastest on the UCD novice team.  Some of these guys have only been rowing for 3 weeks.  I guess the hard part is keeping everyone in the same rhythm.  One of the guys kept getting his oar stuck in the water, which slows the boat down.

My son is most proud that he is pushing himself physically.  He says he has never done that before and it feels good.  I'm pretty proud of him too.  It takes a lot of discipline to get up so early every day and go out and do something you aren't very good at.  At least he can see the progress he is making.

Row, Row, Row your Boat~

Monday, October 19, 2015

a short visit

My son goes to college about 30 minutes away and decided he needed a little break this weekend.  Hid girlfriend was coming to Northern California for a dance workshop on Saturday.  She goes to college in So. Cal. so he came home Friday, went to dinner with her parents because the mudslides on I5 had delayed her travel by about 4 hours.  Then they met her for a couple of hours for a very short visit.  He mostly spent his time sleeping and playing video games with his little brother.  The sound of laughter was so nice and something I really miss
Spot decided he didn't like being locked in the room at night and tore up the carpet along the door.  He did it very quietly and I didn't discover it until the morning.  So, Sunday I got a kennel for him.  He doesn't really like it very much, but will learn that sleeping in the kennel is a good option.  It's a good thing I really don't love this carpet.  He's awful sleepy this morning.  But it does make me wonder if his previous owners had enough of the destruction and just let him out. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

see Spot run

 Last Friday I was at school unusually late.  My son's after school caregiver's husband is one of the football coaches and it was homecoming.  They had brought him to my high school and so I wasn't in my usual hurry to get home.  I was trying to get a few lab books graded so I wouldn't have to carry them home over the weekend.  I was setting things up for the lab I was going to run on Tuesday.  This is the first year in the 25 years I've taught that we had no school for Columbus day.  The teachers had a work day, but I decided that would be the day I would take off to get another round of botox.

Anyways, I forgot to lock my door and it was about 4:30 already when three boys came running into my classroom with this cute little dog.  They said they found it running in the middle of the street near the gas station.  They didn't know what to do with it and figured they would bring it to a nice teacher.  :)  I guess that would be me.  I told them I would take care of it and knew I couldn't just bring it home.  What if its family was looking for him?  I know if I owned this dog, I'd want someone to take it to the animal shelter so I could find it.  He is a real cutie.
 So, my son and I packed up my stuff and we took it to the local vet to see if it had a microchip.  They said that another lady and son had brought it in earlier in the day and they had scanned it and there was no chip, but they would scan it again.  Nope, no chip.  They suggested we take it to the shelter.  I was torn between wanting to take it home and knowing that I had to take it to the shelter.  When I got home and told my husband the story and showed him a picture of the dog, he asked why I didn't just bring it home?  He liked the dog too.  He said that if the owners didn't come back for it, I could go get it.
So, I've been watching all week and called yesterday to see if it was still there.  Sure enough, the owners never did come in to get it.  So today my friend went to the shelter with me and we sprung him from doggy jail.  There was another dog that looked almost exactly the same who was much more hyper and we got the number of the dog mixed up.  At first they brought out the wrong dog.  That other dog had lots of spots and was much younger and very wiggly.  This dog is very mellow.

I know what you are thinking mom and dad :)  Just what you need, another dog.  But someone has to eat all of the leftovers!  Now that my teenage son has moved out, I'm having to learn to cook half size meals.  I was talking to my parents last night about how much leftover food I'm having at every meal.  So much has changed.  I'm having a real hard time adjusting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

quilts for Middletown, Ca

So, if you've heard the news over the last couple of weeks, you've heard that and entire town was burned down.  Middletown Ca was almost completely destroyed.  It's close enough that there are several local people making trips there to deliver needed items.  I got an email yesterday from our teacher union that said they are collecting socks and blankets for the teachers who have lost everything in the fires, so of course we will be sending quilts.

This school year has really taken a toll on me.  I'm teaching a special ed class and fighting a battle with the administration trying to get support for that class.  We are not on the same page as to what that support looks like.  Either they think I am way better than I really am, or they don't care about that class.  It is a co-teaching class, which means there is supposed to be a second teacher in the room with me.  Well, that second teacher has been sick all year and I've been fighting to get that second teacher in there every day.  There have been several days when I'm all alone.  I'm not a special ed teacher and not trained.  There are more children in the class than are supposed to be and more kids with other issues besides those with special ed as was promised when I first met with the administration and nobody wants to deal with the issues this is causing.  I was promised planning time with the second teacher and we are seven weeks into the school year and haven't met once.  I'm doing the best I can but feel like I'm one breath away from drowning.  It doesn't leave much room for creative energy at the end of the day.  I'm pretty sure the administration had no idea what they were getting into when they assigned me this class. :)  Some days I get the feeling they are hoping I just accept status quo and deal with my own problems.  Silly people.  I think things should just work right.  I HATE wasting taxpayer money.  If we are going to spend twice as much money on students, they should be successful.  Period.  I'm going to do my part and everyone else should too.

I have quite a bit of fight left in me, but it does get exhausting some days.  Good thing there is cake.

Life of a High School teacher

Police arrest Vanden High student after social media post deemed a threat

By From page A1 | October 07, 2015
This is a newspaper about my high school.  After the recent events in Oregon, kids who want attention turn to social media for their 15 minutes of fame.  We weren't told which student made the threats, although I'm sure by tomorrow we will have figured out who it was.  I'm thankful for the parents who alerted the police and hope that the child gets the attention he wanted.

I have so many other issues going on this year that being afraid of getting shot is probably the least of my worries.  Could it happen?  Of course, but could I lose my mind first from all of the other things I have to deal with first?  A more likely reality!

Today is the National Day of The Teacher.  Did you know that?  Yeah, I didn't get any presents or even a day off :)  Not that I expect even a thanks for just doing my job.  I don't do it for the thanks.  I do it because I love the kids and love hearing a kid say things like, "I didn't realize I was learning so much.  I thought I was just having fun."  An actual quote from one of my students yesterday.  It's those moments that give me all the thanks I need.

It's also nice when kids cheer when they see me walk in to substitute for their teacher, like they did this morning.  I got the phone call about 2 minutes before my prep period and I almost turned down the chance to spend time with this group of kids.  But after receiving this warm welcome, I knew I had made the right decision in giving up my prep to help out when the regular sub didn't show up.  But, that's probably one reason I can't get off the couch tonight.

On to the article from the paper:

FAIRFIELD — A Vacaville teen was arrested late Monday after a parent, who heard about a post on Twitter that implied a threat at Vanden High School, reported the post to Fairfield police.
The parent contacted police at 7:30 p.m. to report the Twitter post, which police and school officials said showed a 15-year-old Vanden High student holding a rifle. The photo included text that threatened harm Tuesday to people at the Vanden High campus, school officials and police said in separate press releases Tuesday.

Police found the teen at his home shortly after 10 p.m. Monday and took him into custody, Sgt. Jeff Osgood of the Fairfield Police Department and Vincent Ruiz, head of student services in the Travis School District, said in the releases. They said the .22-caliber rifle reportedly shown in the photo was later found at a family member’s home and was taken as evidence.
Osgood and Ruiz said the teen was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats. His name was withheld due to his age.
Ruiz praised students who notified adults about the suspected threat.
“We appreciate those students who did the right thing by letting adults know about the threat,” Ruiz said in the release. “This allowed law enforcement to take swift action.”
That action included coordination with the school resource officer assigned to Vanden High as well as with Travis School District officials to ensure that a threat assessment could be conducted swiftly, police and school officials said.
No other information was released.

The incident remained under investigation Tuesday. Anyone with information about the alleged threat is asked to call the Fairfield Police Department’s Major Crime Unit at 428-7600, the 24-hour tip line at 428-7345 or Crime Stoppers at 644-7867. Callers may remain anonymous.