September 25, 2010

New Job

I've been so busy recently, that I completely forgot to blog about my new job. Within days of the new school year starting, I was contacted by a friend's husband, who happens to be the director of the English Language Learners program in a local district. He was looking for a long-term substitute to cover a medical leave in one of the junior highs. He told me it would be a resource class, and that I would have like two students.

I was super excited about the opportunity to have consistent work and my own classroom, so I jumped on board and was able to start working the second week of school (meaning my official unemployment lasted only one week... holla!).

When I arrived at the school on my first day, I was beyond surprised to learn about my schedule. I was, in fact, not teaching any resource classes at all. Oh, no! I'm teaching every subject. That's right, people. Math, Science, Social Studies, English... it's all me! And... did I mention that I have all three grade levels in the room at the same time? And did I tell you that I have three students known as "newcomers," meaning they speak such little English that they cannot even be in a sheltered (content-based) ELL classroom? And that those three boys are in my classroom all day... even when I'm teaching sheltered classes.

Talk about overwhelming! I instantly wanted to duplicate myself and magically become fluent in Spanish (and Albanian... and math), neither of which is possible.

I won't lie... there were enormous amounts of tears in that first week. I even considered throwing in the towel on my way home that Friday - and I'm not a quitter. But after some much needed encouragement from friends, family and even coworkers, I decided to stay.

I have to admit, the job is still stressful and challenging, but I'm glad I'm here. I'm taking it one day at a time, and trying not to hold myself to the standard of being the very best ELL teacher in the world. I'm giving myself permission to say, "No!" if something doesn't work for me and "Yes, I would love your help because I know nothing about teaching math!"

One day at a time.

September 24, 2010

Dirty Clothes

OK, so this isn't the world's greatest revelation, but ever since I started working out consistently, I've realized how much I loathe doing laundry.

In the past, if you asked me what chore I hate the most, I would have responded, "Cleaning the toilet," without a moment's hesitation. Now, thought, I think laundry gives the toilet some stiff competition.

The part that really drives me crazy is how little time one can enjoy the completeness of a laundry cycle washed, dried, folded/hung, and put away because even as this process is completed, the next load of dirty clothes is already started with whatever one is wearing at the time of this dreaded chore. Unless, of course, one chooses to do one's laundry in the buff... something I have yet to try (and will wait to try until I live in my own home... alone... as to not scar anyone for life).

It's a never ending cycle.

And now that I'm working up a sweat multiple times a week, my hamper is full faster than ever, meaning I must partake in this chore sometimes twice a week.... I mean, a girl only has so many sports bras, you know?

Anyone with me on this?

September 23, 2010

It Wasn't My Fault

On my way home from work yesterday, I stopped at a red light about half a mile from my house. I was starving, and despite my healthy eating for the past couple months, I was really craving the taco on the seat next to me. I started tearing away at the wrapping when BANG! I was rear-ended.

I have no idea what the driver of the car was doing to slam into me while in a line of stopped vehicles. I didn't think to ask if she was on the phone or texting. I had only two concerns in the moments following the crash: the immediate pain in my neck from my head whipping forward and back, and the taco that had erupted all over both the car and me (the passenger in the other vehicle thought I vomited. Nice, huh?).

A little over 24 hours later, I am already extremely frustrated with insurance companies and the hassle of rectifying this situation. I find it incredibly irritating that I am stuck driving a car that is not 100% safe (per the man at the body shop today when I took it for photos and an estimate) because the bumper is hanging partly off (and therefore, not recommended for driving at "fast" speeds... whatever that means).

And the OCD in me is seriously grossed out by the fact that I can't go get my car detailed until I have approval from the insurance adjuster. Ewwww!

I am learning how painstaking of a process it is to have a car (or eve oneself) repaired after an accident. How, exactly, do insurance companies expect you to leave your car at a body shop for repairs without a rental to drive in the meantime? How am I supposed to get to work?

I'm hoping and praying this woman's insurance company agrees with my claim and the corresponding police report, and that they do the right thing and cover all of my expenses... as they should, since... it wasn't at fault!

September 22, 2010

Zumba Love

Sometime in August, my BFF, Elaine, introduced me to Zumba. For those that don't know, it's basically a dance aerobics class, but much better than the ones from the 80's you're all thinking of. It incorporates Latin dance styles and music and is basically a big party.

To say I have never enjoyed working out would be a huge understatement. In fact, I loathe it. Even when I have the best of intentions, like when I joined Curves back in the day, I find myself bored and wanting it to end almost as soon as it begins. I'm just not motivated.

The secret, I've learned, is that exercising can't feel like exercising. That's what I love about Zumba. It's like going to a dance party with a bunch of my girlfriends. Now that's my kind of working out! And no one's worried if you miss a step or dance off beat... everyone just encourages each other to keep moving and burn those calories.

I've actually become one of those people that needs to get in a good workout to feel good. I hate missing class and feel super lazy on days I can't attend. Who am I????

I am super happy to say that for the first time since high school, I am working out regularly. Not only do I take my Zumba class twice a week, but I've also ventured into some other cardio, strength, and yoga classes, all offered at the same facility.

This weekend, I'm super excited to attend my very first master class, where a guest instructor is coming in from Wisconsin to dance the night away.

Did I mention I will be spending a Saturday night working out? Haha! I don't even recognize myself anymore!!!

September 19, 2010

Did I Just Say That???

This weekend was the much anticipated Girls Night Out extravaganza with my friends Elaine, Patty, Alison, Amy... and my mom!

Al was the first to arrive at the bar for our karaoke action. We thought she was kidding when her text message, hurrying us to her rescue, said she was among the "short bus" riders... but she wasn't.

One man ended up sitting at a pub table right next to me, eating his Starbursts and inquiring about my song preferences. I didn't want to be rude by ignoring him, but I also didn't want to encourage further conversation. Let's just say, it made for some awkward moments, and the girls thought this situation was hilarious and were brought to tears of laughter at my expense.

At one point, The Champ, as he called himself, was called to sing a song, and during his performance, Patty told me, "Be a sport, and give him his first kiss."

"I don't think I'd be his first kiss," I corrected, "Just because he's special, doesn't mean he's not getting any. Haven't you seen the movie I Am Sam?" And just when I uttered the words "I Am Sam," there was a lull in the music.... FML!

My favorite part of the night was when Amy was about to sing and made a comment about wanting some free beer. The DJ responded, "Free beer is on February 30th," to which Amy gasped, "Really?! That's awesome!" She later admitted that she couldn't believe they were promoting the event so soon!

It was another great night. I never laugh so much as when I'm with this group. Love you guys!

September 16, 2010

The Joke's On Me

This is Gizmo, our chihuahua. Although he was not named after the look-alike Gremlin, he has proven to be just as mischievous at times. As a result, sections of our house are closed off via baby gates to keep him in line.

My sister and I have a terrible time with the gates... we're always knocking them over or tripping ourselves as we try to hurdle them in the hallways. Because of this, Amy prefers to take the gate down, making it easier to walk back and forth between bedrooms.

The problem, though, is that every time the gate is left open, the dog makes his way to my bedroom or my bathroom and poops.

Yesterday, I rushed home from school to shower and change before curriculum night. Upon arrival, I found the gate had been taken down and Gizmo had dropped off a few "gifts" on my bedroom floor.

As you can probably imagine, this is extremely frustrating. I have asked my sister repeatedly to please make sure the gate is in place if she's not going to watch the dog. Clearly, my reminders weren't working. So, I decided to teach her a lesson. I picked up his droppings and placed them on the floor in her bedroom, hoping it would teach her a lesson, and left for school.

When I came home from school last night, I learned that my sister wouldn't be coming home. Seriously disappointed that my lesson would go untaught, I shared my genius plan with my mom, who then informed me that she was the one who left the gate open! Oops! Sorry, Sister!

The best part was that when I went into my room to change, I discovered that Gizmo had somehow managed to leave me another generous gift.

I guess I know whose side he's on!