Tuesday, September 30, 2008

For the Love!

Technology in the workplace is not new. Computers are not new. Especially, in education. I distinctly remember being a TA in 1997 as a senior and entering grades for a teacher into an electronic grade book.

I think that we as teachers can safely say that computers are here to stay.

So, someone needs to explain to me why so many teachers are so STINKING close minded when it comes to technology. (Sidenote: this may be true of other professions, but I have never really worked in any other field...sad, I know.)

Please do not think I am tooting my own horn. I'm no technological wizard. Just ask my husband. I'm sure he'll say something vaguely insulting about my computer skills.

However, I am all about instant gratification, so computers work for me. Especially since the invention of high-speed Internet.

Here's why I left work today saying not very nice things about some of my co-workers:

1. A couple ladies I work with have it in their minds that I can solve ALL their tech problems. This is not true.

2. These same ladies always call me with questions. Not a bad thing, necessarily. But it's not so great when it's for something they need to complete RIGHT NOW.

3. When I am trying to help these women, they act like remaining in the dark ages is a good thing "Well, people your age may know computers, but I remember when we used ditto machines." Okay, you're now LAME and old. Yay for you.

4. Occasionally, they attempt to yell at me.

I say occasionally because when it happened today I gave my co-worker a stern talking to. Seriously, this woman is 50 and I spoke to her like she's 4. I actually asked her, "Do you really want my help or not?" She shut up then.

Still, I'm not answering my phone tomorrow.

*"For the Love!" is a common phrase of one my dear friends Stephanie. It's the perfect way to express frustration without swearing or offending anyone's religious sensibilities. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sitting as a contact sport

As an English major, I spent a lot of time in college sitting on my butt. I'd have an average of 1,000 pages to read a week and could bet on spending at least 10 hours a week writing. I never thought a moment about how bleeping uncomfortable it is to sit.

I cannot do it.

Sitting is killing me.

To be specific, sitting is kicking my butt.

As a teacher, I never sit. In fact, I probably do at least a hundred squats a day. I get almost seated and then someone says, "Hey, Ms Harrell..."

Now, that I'm a grad student, I sit way too much. I spent a good 15 hours last weekend researching and writing, and anywhere from 2-3 hours each night this week.

I just finished my paper (yay), but although I am done writing, my body is not done speaking to me. My knees, back, even my gosh-darn toes are complaining. And then there's my butt. You think something so ample would be comfortable to sit on. Nope.

Here's the interesting thing. How does one prepare for sitting? Can you condition for it? Does it include, dare I say, just sitting on your butt and doing nothing?

I have the weirdest problems.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This week was a bit alarming for me. I was really starting to feel that grad school might not be the right fit for me and my family.

Here's what happened this week.

Sunday I started my first research project of graduate school and I remembered something important: I AM A HORRIBLE STUDENT. Really. It's true. I'm not organized. I procrastinate like crazy. And I have a hard time starting projects. I'm a good writer, so I do well in my classes, but it is painful. So I spent the whole day researching, but not writing. It was just really frustrating. I worked hard, but had little to show for it.

Monday I had a staff (ugh) meeting. In 8 years of teaching, I have attended less than 10 meetings that could not have been better dealt with as a lengthy email. I didn't get home until 6. Had to work out, make dinner, get Em to bed, etc. I got precious little done on my research project.

Tuesday I couldn't work on my paper because I had to attend a school board meeting for my class. It was pretty interesting (actually, it was helpful; there was a presentation on the achievement gap, my project topic.) But still, I had no writing done.

Wednesday, the day I was supposed to have half my paper written, came, and I had still done no writing. Ugh. I had to admit to my professor that I didn't get it done. Very embarrassing. It didn't count for points, but still...ugh.

So today has been all about redemption. After a nice breakfast out, Justin took Em to the grocery store so I could get some work done.

And work I did. Finally, I got my confidence back. Whew!

So far I have four solid pages written. I still feel a little out of my element (I am new to research, so I'm not totally sure of what I'm doing.) But I can actually visualize finishing this paper. I was really starting to doubt being in the program. I kept asking myself all week: "Are you really committed to this?"

I can answer yes, I am, now to that question. Thank goodness. I'd feel really silly handing back all that loan money that just came in...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Favorite Time of Day

There is one time of day that I love more than any other: when my daughter falls asleep.

Now, that kinda sounds bad.

This is not my favorite time of day because the house is finally quiet (though she is two...I don't think anyone would really fault my husband and I for wanting some quiet.) No, I love this time of day because I can get a good look at her.

I sneak into Emy's room an hour or so after she goes to bed, right before I'm ready to head to my own slumber. I carefully give her a little pat and kiss, rearrange her blankets, and make sure she has both her teddy bears (my husband's and my childhood bears, by the way.)

Then, I bask in the glory that is being a mom of such a cool kid. At night is when I cannot believe I'm so lucky to be a mom. I just look at her and am stunned. She's beautiful and peaceful and I know she feels loved.

There are many times of the day I love and some I could do without (bath time and brushing the teeth are becoming FUN.) I love cuddling with my daughter during Saturday cartoons, cleaning up the kitchen with her (she helps), and of course, there's reading time.

But then there are those moments, late in the evening, when I can just slow down and appreciate her for the beautiful, intelligent little girl she is turning into.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yay! (This time sarcasm free)

I don't have much time to post this (it's nine and I'm fading fast), but I wanted to give an update on the car situation.

We got one! Yay!

After an entire weekend of poopy trip after poopy trip to different dealers, we finally found a Toyota at a BMW dealership in Elk Grove. I guess it was a trade-in. Good mileage. 2005. No accidents reported on CarFax.

And, although this is not at all significant, it's super cute.


Now on to the next thing...

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I am not a shopper. I hate it. I do as much as possible online. In fact, I can guarantee that the Internet has improved my quality of life. Or, at least, my husband's.

So this weekend we have one objective: buy a used car. I am less than thrilled.

First of all, we are buying this used car because some dumb-a crashed into my beloved, though abused, Geo Prism at the DMV. Then, this dumb-a's insurance company gave us a pittance for the car, my graduation present from college. So insulting.

Second, we have very limited time in which to purchase this second car. I have this weekend off from school and both my husband and I have little homework...for now. Also, we are using my grandma's car, and I'd like to get it back to her.

So today we traveled to North Highlands. (Charming, by the way.) We found something, but the dealer wouldn't negotiate. Sigh. So, later, we drove to Roseville. With a two-year-old. In 100 degree heat. Double sigh. We found something again, but the dealer again wouldn't negotiate.

We came back home, tired, fried, and dejected. Em was way over tired. We bought a frozen pizza and some wine, and mulled over our options. Tomorrow we're heading to another dealership to try our luck again. Wish us luck.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ah, This is the Way...

I tried something new this year, and it actually worked rather well. My husband and I decided (it was mostly me deciding, but he went along for the ride) to throw a Labor Day Party. We decided to throw it on Saturday, not Sunday or actual Labor Day, to save our out-of-town relatives a crazy driving weekend.

All week I was regretting this choice for the following reasons:

1. This was my first week back to school and it was a sprint, not a long-distance event.
2. It turned out I did have my grad school class all Saturday.
3. My husband, Em, and myself were all completely pooped by Friday.

Surprisingly enough (which is very good news for my relationship with my lovely husband), Saturday went off quite well. So well, that I might actually attempt something like this party in the future. Not anytime in the near future, of course, but maybe next year.

Here's why it worked:
1. Most of my friends and family could make it.
2. It was a fun start to the weekend.
3. We didn't spend all weekend getting ready.
4. We had one day to party, one to hang out with family members who stayed over, and one day to ourselves (today, which is lovely.)

Because I'm not hosting a party today, I feel that I can get more prepared for the upcoming week. We already went to Toys R Us for a new car seat, did the shopping for the week, and I just cleaned up the kitchen. The rest of my day includes exercise, laundry (yay), a trip to Target (what weekend would be complete without that?), and some other preparation items for tomorrow.

So, if you're celebrating a long weekend, here are my two suggestions:
1. Do it early
2. Or, even better, do it at someone else's house :)