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quotes from my student

March 3rd, 2011

She’s funny, this kid. Two weeks ago she snuggled up next to me, looked at me adoringly and asked me, “Ms. Nancy, why don’t you ever have any good books in your library?”

Ohhhhhhh, let me count how many books (new and new-to-us) I put on the shelves in the past six months: A ton. That’s right.

So she heard I was leaving, Due to Tendonitis and Exceeding Need to Publish My Own Writing (and perhaps start a new internet project, with Stevie. More on that later ;)

Today she gave me a really sweet goodbye card, another big hug, then shoved me away and had a lil fit.

I want to be a writer. I want to be WRITING!”

My response: “Do it.”

I (heart) kids. Writing. And books. Today? In that order.

“oh you can’t scare me/i’m sticking to the union…”

February 25th, 2011

standing today in solidarity with my sisters and brothers in Wisconsin. All power to the people.

in anticipation of a snow day…

February 24th, 2011

…don’t you I think I should stay up all night reading? then in the morning the kids can toast some Eggo waffles (which I always call Eggo Waffos by accident, because to my way of thinking, that just sounds right) and make instant hot cocoa? And i can sleep in!

who’s with me?

of course, it’s not that funny if we end up not having Snowpocalypse again and i have to work tomorrow, after having stayed up all night reading. (just joined a new book club it’s rilly rilly good, the reading list. and most of the titles on the list are FREE on my KINDLE and you know i like FREE.) also, did I mention that i gave notice at my job? again?

because I wanted to, that’s why. i’ll work this week and next, then done, all done.

Honest to mike, those of you who have been following this blog since its humble beginnings and right up until its riotous present, fucking how many jobs have i had since i had kids? Seriously. Search under “work” or “jobs” or “starting next job” or “finishing this job and packing up both of my offices I’m done with this shit” and see what you come up with. At one point I worked in three different offices, in three different buildings — Tigard, Hillsboro and Beaverton, too. I could never remember where I was supposed to be is why I quit.

This latest job is good, but the arm thing is making me nuts. Too much typing.

And am somewhat whimsical girl, damn. That’s fine.


edited 6:46 a.m. Thursday to say……….. SNOW DAY! for both school districts :) So the kids are off and I am, too. hallelujah xo me

you realize, of course, that all this reading is cutting into my TV viewing time?

November 14th, 2010

Because it’s true, schools really are political places:

“…and we SHUT THEM DOWN because we CAN!”

July 18th, 2010

Ooooooh, that Rizzo. (wiping tears from eyes.) I find that pep talk highly… peppy, whether it’s Herb Brooks giving it or Rizzo. And now, an update on grad school:

I’ve been meaning to do my grad work for… 21 years. Since I finished my undergrad work, if you want to get specific. Which I don’t, so let’s move along. I still don’t know if I have a job for next year, but I love working with kids, I love my library work, turns out teaching is a good fit for me. I like the order of it, the volatility and unpredictability of it, the way the kids blossom and grow and it’s like time-lapse photography or something, watching it. It is breath-taking. I don’t like to get into the specifics of it here because you know — it’s my students’ lives we are talking about, I’m just a bit player in their production.

But I will say this — when you can get an entire class of 7th grade boys reading, that is more than just a beautiful thing. That is exquisite, and it makes me feel like a superhero. Like a librarian superhero. And I can say, yes, this is why I’m here.

But I have been working as a classified employee (clerk) and that’s what I’ve done my whole life, pretty much. Gotten paid half as much as everyone else (except the other clerks, and man have we grumbled about it together) for doing the same work. Or sometimes for doing more work, when you run into people who want to lord it over you.

How clever, to wiggle out of work and dump it on someone who makes half as much money as you. What a smart, smart person you are to figure that one out. Yuck.

I finished my grad school application last week and mailed it Monday. Went to an information night at my institution of higher learning (as RSG, my little academic all-star friend, calls it) on Wednesday. Yesterday I took the first of many tests I will have to take on the road to becoming a certified language arts (English) teacher (for middle school/high school), a reading specialist (or English Language Learners specialist) and a media specialist (librarian). It will take me about three years to finish all of that, and I’ll be… (I don’t want to say how old) when I finish. (It’s like Dear Abby used to ask, How old are you going to be if you don’t do it?)

I passed my test. It made me feel like a huge success. This week I have my final interview, and the powers-that-be will decide if this cohort is a good fit for me, if they want me, basically. I think we’re all good, but it’s still a little nerve-wracking. Especially when I think of working part- or full-time, taking care of my own kids and my students, paying some attention to my husband (which I’m sure he would appreciate, occasionally, although he’s not a demanding type of guy), cleaning, cooking… oh, wait. I don’t do much of those last two things, anyway. I think it will be fine, but it does seem a little daunting.

But if I don’t do it? I know right now that I would regret it.

No regrets, they get in the way.

Wish me luck.

– wm

everything i’ve loved about this week…

June 3rd, 2010

* my students. I don’t write about them that often, because they need their privacy. They’re kids, and they’re not “my” kids (even though I possessively, constantly call them “my” students). from the daily hello’s to the drop-ins, from the “i love you” notes in my desk to the way they’ve changed, grown, blown my mind in the two years I’ve known them… they are the best.

* I don’t think any of them read this blog (they rarely read my library blog, even though I keep shoving the url at them), but if they do happen to stop by… I’ll miss you guys, you are great kids. They tell me, You are the best librarian, and all I can say is, With students like you, it’s easy to be good at my job.

* okay, enough, i’m getting all bummed out now.

* i may or may not land a gig next year, who knows. “it is what it is” — anon.

* i’ve been loving all the nature out in our new neighborhood — the greenspaces, parks, frogs, green, green, green, snakes and tons of flowers, trees, flora and fauna. i feel bad i’ve been slamming on the west side for so long. it’s alright out here.

* i tried to make dinner tonight. I really did, i swear to you. you know i’m trying to be better about that, and not giving up and getting pizza 3 nights out of 7.

* But there was a meeting after school, and I spaced and forgot my phone and had to fetch it, so by the time we got home, it was later than usual, and blood sugar was low. It was a hit/miss thing, dinner. Hit: Fed the kids in courses — baby carrots, apples, crackers (what are they, horses?), yogurt and… they didn’t want what we were having, frozen roasted vegetable lasagna (store-bought), and Texas burgers. (Amy’s for both of those items.) Miss: everything else. Oh, wait — the big bowl full of sugared, sliced strawberries was a hit.

* the kids opted for cereal. not hot oatmeal (breakfast for dinner = yes, let’s do that). smart kids. the lasagna was awful, but the Texas burgers were good, once I doctored them up with relish and mango chutney. i would do breakfast for dinner more, but they don’t eat bacon. or fake bacon. sausage. or fake sausage. it’s waffles or pancakes or nuthin’ around here, and Steve usually fixes those on the weekends so…

* red wine was good, at least ;)

now steve’s making music and i’m getting ready for a shower and bed. end of the school year has got me by the throat, but that’s okay.



i love this so much

May 27th, 2010

this one just made me happy Wacky Mommy.

that’s the way it goes, folks

April 8th, 2010

My problem with jobs is as follows: You look for one, you find one, then you gotta go there everyday. Until you work for a school district. Then you get unassigned in April, possibly get a new assignment by September, possibly don’t. Or you find a new job in your new county of residence, instead of commuting twenty miles a day (one way).

Either way, it kinda sucks when you buy a new house one week, then lose your job the next.

We’ll be fine. Don’t be crying for me out there — my job buys the groceries and that’s about it.

Oh, wait…

Ha, just kidding. We’ll be fine. Steve is The Man and you know how that one goes — if you’re just a girl you make half the money, work twice as hard, and people demand blow jobs of various sorts.

(Is it OK to say that here? “Various sorts”???)

Then eventually you get kicked out on your ass. The End. That’s the life of a girl. Man, do I want better for my daughter.



Lelo’s Cabbage Salad

September 5th, 2009

Oh, yum. Just harvested cherry tomatoes, big, juicy slicers, zucchini, and about four pounds of GREEN BEANS from the garden. It rained all over me, I’m drenched now. Dripping on the keyboard. (Kidding, I grabbed a towel as soon as I came in.)

The flowers are so happy — they’re all dusted off now and shiny. Steve pruned the honeysuckle way, way back about six weeks ago, I think it was. It has rebounded like a mofo and just finished eating the fence. Nom, nom.

I love my garden.

Just got my first tuition reimbursement, too, from my work, for that Human Development/Psych class I took. This is the first time ever I’ve gotten PAID for going to school. (There was that Pell Grant, too, that one time. That was a lovely day when that check arrived, all $1,100 of it. Still remember, 20 years later, haha.) So thank you, union and school district. I feel so extra-intelligent now. That master’s degree is just going to earn itself. And my students arrive back on Tuesday, can’t wait. So many great books to share with them. When they talk-talk during library time, you know what I say?

“Shhh! Hang on! I have a lot of information to tell you and a very short time to do it!” Works like a charm.


Thursday Thirteen: Best Study and Work Habits

July 9th, 2009

Happy Thursday 13, to all you usual suspects. I haven’t been over here for a long time, sorry! Bad blogger. Bad.

This morning, I am once again putting off studying. How am I ever going to make it through grad school if I can’t even get through this one little class? I am tormenting myself and the Internet. How am I going to teach my kids good study habits, for middle school, high school and college? I had a hard time my first two years at college (Portland State University, gooooo Vikings!) because before I could pass any classes I had to learn to study.

Now, I realize that it’s summer, and for some people, school is the last thing on their minds. But I am hoping to be accepted into a graduate teaching program, and get a dual endorsement to be a media specialist (aka: Librarian), too. For educators, summer means time to take those extra classes and brush up on your skills. And for those of you who are parents… reading abilities tend to fall behind in the summer, but math skills really take a hit. Why bother, when there are all those good video games to play, right? Please do what you can to keep your kids’ heads in the game, so to speak.

Here are some tips, for yourself or anyone who might need them. These can also be tailored for work situations… Hope they help!

1) Focus. I try to work out every morning, even if it’s just a little deep breathing and yoga to stretch. A walk helps, or better yet a run. Once your head is clear you can make a plan.

2) Have a snack, make a cup of tea, grab a bottle of water, use the restroom — no excuses to get up once you’re studying.

3) Have everything ready — post-its, sharpened pencils, a notebook to take notes, index cards. I’ve been using index cards to scribble down definitions. My class is Psychology 311, Human Development, and my term paper — only five pages, not too bad! — is to write down my life story, with “explicit reference to the facts, principles, and theories presented in the text.” First of all, that’s crazy. Second of all, I’m a blogger! I can deal.

4) Find a spot where you won’t be tempted to take a nap.

5) Read. Read, read, read. Blink. Read, read, read. Blink. It takes me sometimes a half an hour to really get into my textbook.

6) I try to put myself into my kids’ shoes. (They are going into 2nd and 5th grade.) They truly have no incentives to do homework. They know they’re not going to flunk, even if they bail on their homework half the time. It’s boring. Worksheets are usually involved. It’s too easy. Or too hard. Or too, uh, boring? Yeah, that’s it, Mom! They are not being challenged! Now this one especially pertains to work. No one likes the drudge work. No one. But it has to be done. So I try to stress to my kids that they can’t just cherry-pick their assignments — sometimes it takes pages of drudge work before you get to the fun or interesting stuff.

7) Don’t complain, whine or have a fit. The work could be done in the time spent doing that.

8) Rewards are good. I know after I finish this class, my employer will reimburse me the $400+ I plunked down for the class. If I bail on the class, I don’t get reimbursed. That is a good incentive. For younger kids, it can be something as small as a sticker chart, a nice dinner out, a trip to the park, or maybe baking cookies. For bigger kids? I’m sorry, but you might have to be mean. No TV time, no techno toys, no sleepovers unless that homework is getting done.

9) Try not to let anything stand in your way — the phone, someone dropping by (your house or your desk at work), drama… keep it at bay. When you let others know how important your studying (or project) is to you, they will back off and (hopefully) the interruptions will dwindle. (Edited to say: I forgot the most important thing — unless you’re using the computer for research (my class, for instance, has cool flashcards I can access online. They helped so much with the two tests I’ve taken so far) — STAY OFF THE COMPUTER. NO blogs, Facebook, e-mail, nada.)

10) Pace yourself. Set aside chunks of time for various parts of the project, or schedule study blocks so you don’t have to pull any all-nighters. My kids had three or four big projects apiece this year. (First and fourth grade! Please. I thought that was a little too much pressure.) Dino reports, speeches, animal projects — it was crazy. So we charted it out: Diorama materials gathered up one night; diorama assembled the next night. Index cards compiled; speech outlined; speech written. I think they’re going to be ready for college in three years, at this rate.

11) Another thing — don’t pressure yourself or your kids too much. Relax. At the end of the year, I finally started drawing lines through my son’s homework. (Huge packets, weekly.) He’d finish a chunk of it, then another chunk. I would draw a line through whatever didn’t get finished, initial it, and write a note for the teacher saying, “This is as much as we were able to complete in the hour we spent on homework three nights this week.” It is insane the pressure that is put on kids now.

12) That being said, it has become necessary now more than ever to learn to get along/go along. (There are a lot of us out here who feel lucky to even have a job, or be able to go to school.) Life and work — what are you going to do, you know? The bills need to get paid, the classes need to be completed. Working as part of a small group? You can expect that at least one person will bail out and “let” the others do the work. Just do the work to the best of your ability and get on with things. It will be obvious to whoever is in charge (teacher, boss, supervisor) who was and wasn’t responsible.

13) Look on the bright side — it’s pretty cool to pull off something you didn’t want to deal with, or thought you couldn’t handle. That sense of completion is pretty satisfying.

OK, off to study now.


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