Saturday, December 31, 2016

So Long, 2016!

I've seen a lot of mention over the last week about 2016 being such a bad year and how many people are glad it is just about over.  Personally, I found it to by like any other regular year (other than that damn election).  On the news front, I guess it would seem that it was a rough year, but part of me wonders if it's just the constant inundation and quick-but-lack-of-facts-news that we get anymore.  A year or so ago I read an article that said something along the lines that "things" aren't getting worse, we just hear about the worse "things" more often than we used to.  And I tend to agree with that.  With that being said, this comedy group made 2016 into a horror movie, and it's pretty funny.
Right now, my new year's resolution is to write more.  The last few months I've had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head, but not a lot wherewithal to get it down or blog about it.  I've just been doing other things.  
I wish you a safe and fun New Year's Eve and Happy New Year!  See you in 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Done and Gone

Decorating for Christmas is always a double-edged sword for me.  I really like having the house decorated for, but I really dislike the process of decorating and (even worse) taking it down.  On the other hand, when I haven't decorated it is hard to get in the Christmas spirit.  On the couple of occasions I haven't decorated it was because I was traveling over winter break and couldn't be bothered to worry about it.  This year, knowing I would be gone a couple of times (including over Christmas) to Minnesota but having a couple of holiday parties at my house, I was limited but impactful with my decorating.
My favorite part of decorating for Christmas is the tree.  I have a large collection of sentimental ornaments that I enjoy hanging, and it's all so pretty once it's done.  The thought of putting up a tree this year was daunting though, so I decided against it.  Instead, I made a much easier "tree" and used it to hang my Christmas cards on this year.  Most of the Christmas cards sent out anymore are those flat, one sheet photo cards that come from the printer, and I've never before known how to display them.  They don't "sit" on the mantle or a table, so they end up just getting stacked up and then thrown out after Christmas.  This year's "tree" gave me the opportunity to display them, for a little while anyway.

The tree is just a few strips of washi tape, garland, a star ornament, and some sparkly silver clips I found in the dollar bin at Target.  It took a bit of time to measure and mark it, but not nearly as long as decorating a real tree.  Plus there were zero needles to sweep up and it's a piece of cake to take down.
I leave on Friday to spend Christmas in Minnesota and won't be back until next week.  The thought of coming home to a decorated house made me grumpy, so I spent today de-christmas-ing my house.  Christmas is over in the Delight household!  Time to start packing...again!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


I've just returned from a whirlwind trip to COOOOLLLLDDDD Minnesota.  Overall, the travel went well, even in the snow and the way below freezing.  All my snow instincts slowly came back into play and all was fine...although I'm glad I don't have to do that all the time anymore.
Even though I flew into the Twin Cities, my visit actually took me to Rochester, home of the Mayo Clinic.  My mom had knee replacement surgery there on Monday, and since my winter break doesn't start until Saturday, I had to come back and finish out the week - otherwise I would have stayed a bit longer.  All went very well as far as the surgery goes.  Recovery is a bit more challenging.  She started PT today, and it wiped her out.  I'll most likely head back to Rochester to be there for Christmas.  BRRRRRRRRRR.
It's 9:35, and I've unpacked, taken a swig of Nyquil, and have crawled into bed hoping 5 am doesn't come too soon.  THREE MORE DAYS...

Saturday, December 10, 2016


As I get ready to head to the airport for a quick trip to Minnesota, I'm remembering what it's like to travel when there's "weather" beyond 80 degrees and sunny.  My flight is expected to get into Minneapolis around 4:00.  Snow is expected at 70% chance today as well.  There's a bit of a nervous pit in my stomach as I start my day about the weather - delays, flight issues, landing - which I have not felt since moving back home 17 years ago after living in New England for 8 years.  There, anytime there was predicted snow, there was always a low grade worry over snow or ice in the forecast.  As much as I enjoyed living back east and the four seasons and even miss it sonetimes, I don't miss that feeling at all.  I've got it now...wish me luck!

PS: In case anyone is wondering, this is a trip of necessity.  I did not decide to travel to one of the coldest places in the US in December for fun.  I'll share more about it in another post.  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

An Evening

On Thursday evening, some friends and I made a field trip to the Getty Research Center for (what I believe was ) a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola spoke to an audience about the making of "The Godfather".
After reading Mario Puzo's The Godfather years ago, I've had something of an obsession with organized crime.  The movie (along with the second one) is in my top 5 favorite films.  We got the tickets back in October I believe, so I've been looking forward to the event for awhile now.
He was introduced by the Director of the Research Center, and then again by the interviewer.  Upon coming onto the stage and taking a seat, his pant legs crept up a bit, revealing bright red socks.  And his whole time on the stage was as endearing as those socks.  The stories he told about the filming of the movie were fascinating and funny.  It was so interesting to go "behind the scenes" so to speak on one of the greats.  The Getty is quite close to UCLA so there were several film students at the event.  Having gone to UCLA Film School himself, Coppola was very accommodating, answering their questions about his role as a filmmaker.  
Coppola has a new book out, which was the reason for the visit.  It's not a book he's authored per say, but rather notes and documents kept during the making of The Godfather.  Rather than using the script, Coppola's process (which he shared that evening) is to create a binder or notebook of his vision of the film he is working on.  The new book is actually a reproduction of his The Godfather notebook.  Being sold for $50 a book at the museum, I didn't purchase one.  It is probably quite interesting for anyone interested in the film and would be kind of fun to read through before watching the movie again - maybe giving a new perspective.  I might see if I can eventually borrow it from the library.
Even though he was born in Detroit an raised in Queens, he does have strong ties to California. In addition to studying at UCLA,  he moved to Norther California over 30 years ago.  He's also the owner of the Family Coppola Winery in Napa whose wines were served at the event.
I don't usually do evening events on a school night due to my early mornings,  but this one was worth the missing hours of sleep.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Rescue

When adopting a dog from an animal shelter or rescue, there is always the possibility that the dog will have a fear or two that they have to overcome.  Rigby came to me with a few such fears.  Loud noises (food processor, blender, lawn mowers, etc.), riding in the car, and being covered with anything (a blanket as an example) frightened her.  All of those fears always made me feel so sad for her.  What had happened to her in those short few months of her life before I got her made her react that way.  She's mostly overcome them since, and she's pretty brave nowadays.
The fear of being covered with anything has probably diminished due to the morning routine.  Rigby forgets how to mind when I make the bed.  When I call her off of it, she crawls across it, makes herself longer and bigger, and somehow covers more and more of the bed with each, "Get down!".  When this habit started, I would barely touch her with a sheet or pillow, and she'd spring off the bed with such a start.  Now?  Well, I can pile all the bedding on top of her, and she falls asleep!  I think she's over that fear.  

Monday, November 21, 2016


It's been almost two weeks since our infamous election on November 8, and in those almost two weeks I've had this ever-present sense of bewilderment (and dread) over what has happened.  I know I'm not alone in this shock, and yet I feel like I've gone into my head a bit over it, trying to rationalize how this is possible and what will our future look like now.  Neither is terribly pleasant.
While I've always felt fairly street smart, self aware, and a good judgement of people, after the election results, it is quite clear I've been living in a freaking bubble.  I am stunned that someone so rude and hateful and dishonest and with the vocabulary of a 5th grader has earned the highest office in our land.  Regardless of wanting change in this country, I don't understand how someone who has insulted and degraded every societal group (except white men) deserves to be president.  And no matter how hard I have tried, I can't rationalize it.  If that makes me a whiny liberal, then I guess that is what I am.
I had to take a step back from news, blogs, Facebook, etc, for awhile because I was/am truly disgusted by the election (and what has transpired since).  I spent the last two weeks watching reruns of West Wing instead of the news, pretending that Martin Sheen had gotten the job instead.  Anyhow, I don't plan on posting about it anymore, but I felt I needed to explain my absence.
I hope you all have been well!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

An Online Experience

My allergies have been quite bad this year, and I've been fighting an on-again-off-again sinus infection due to said allergies for the last couple of months.  On Thursday of this week, it felt like I was getting a sore throat when I swallowed or ate, but by Friday night I realized it was actually ear pain.  All day yesterday I had the pain on and off, so I hoped that it was just due to sinus pressure.  Having had ear infections my entire life though, it was apparent by last night that I have an ear infection, most likely due to all the sinus issues I've been dealing with.  I had been delaying the inevitable...I needed a round of antibiotics.
We have several urgent care offices in town, but they aren't appointment based so going is a crap shoot of how quickly you will be seen.  The thought of spending my Sunday at the urgent care office, and making myself presentable enough to do so, was unappealing.  While I know a handful of people who have mentioned or even used online healthcare before, I had not ever done so.  Not quite sure how it all worked, I was hesitant to try it.  This morning though, when I woke up with the ear pain again (I had hoped it would magically disappear after drugging myself to sleep last night), I spent a little time researching it online.  There are a lot of websites for online healthcare, at varying costs.  Although I had searched using my insurance company last night and didn't find anything, I actually happened upon their site this morning.  Knowing that it was linked to my insurance company I felt a bit more comfortable trying it out as opposed to some random health site.  So I tried it!
It took just a few minutes to sign up and then there was a quick health and insurance/pharmacy questionnaire.  In about a minute it accepted my insurance, I paid the $20 copay (which is my regular visit copay) with my credit card, and I was in a virtual waiting room with two patients ahead of me.  The nice thing about the wait was that I waited in my bed reading as opposed to in the urgent care waiting room with other sick people.  I'm not sure how long I waited, since I had occupied myself with a book, but maybe 10 minutes later the iPad dinged and told me it was my turn.  Within a few seconds I was video chatting with a nice doctor about my ear pain.  An additional plus for using this service linked to my insurance is that she had my medical information beyond the health questionnaire.  She could see that I had been battling a sinus infection so it was most likely caused by that.  The doctor had me touch my ear in a couple of places and tell her if/where it hurt.  Then she asked to see my throat, which made me laugh.  Trying to hold the iPad up to my mouth and make sure the camera was looking in the right spot was a bit challenging.  We chatted for about 5 minutes, she prescribed me a Z Pack and sent it right to the pharmacy which I will pick up in about an hour.
The only downside, you have to watch yourself on camera the whole time.  Certain angles on those devices are so unflattering.  The thought of owning a selfie stick is ridiculous to me, but the idea crossed my mind a few times during the visit.
I had no idea what to expect from an online visit, which made me uncertain about trying it.  After today's experience, and the fact that it's linked to my insurance, I would definitely use it again.  It sure beats waiting in line at the actual office when you're feeling sick.  Other than a quick trip to the pharmacy, I didn't have to leave my bed.  I'm a fan of anything I can do from the comfort of my bed.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Have a Taco!

A few weeks ago one of the presidential candidates' surrogates made the comment that if something isn't done about the "dominant" Latino culture we'll have "a taco truck on every corner."  Here in Southern California, we have taco trucks on many corners, so that thought of one on every corner sounded like a GREAT idea.  I LOVE tacos.
Being a Californian, tacos are a way of life. We can get them with ordinary fillings like chicken, steak, pork, ground beef, and fish, as well as more "interesting" ingredients like brain, tripe, cactus, and corn fungus.  I'm not terribly adventurous in my eating in general so I leave the interesting ingredients for others and stick with the more common fillings. And generally when I make them at home I use braised or grilled chicken or carne asada, which is marinated flap meat (steak).  One type that I enjoy when I have it at a truck or restaurant is al pastor or marinated pork/pineapple.  The pork is traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie, which looks a lot like how shawarma meat is cooked, which is why I've never attempted it at home.   I saw, what looked like, a fun recipe on Facebook which used a skewer and marinated pork shoulder to create the tower of meat.
After buying the pork shoulder and planning on serving it for a get-together, finding the ingredients was a little more challenging than I thought.  There must have been a run on achiote paste and guajillo chili powder as both the Latino section of my market and the two Latino grocery stores nearby were out.  Maybe the Tasty recipe was making the rounds!
I ended up with a couple of substitutions (California chili powder and achiote seeds which I made into my own paste).
  On a side note, can we just take a moment to look at the voting guide in the background.  It is enormous - over an inch thick.  I, for one, can not wait until this election is over!
Making the tower was kind of fun, and an impressive sight.  There was a slight problem in keeping it standing while getting it into the oven and even once in the oven it kept losing its balance.
 After a few attempts we redid the tower into two smaller towers, which were much more manageable.
 It cut fairly easy off the tower and the flavor was quite good.  It certainly wasn't the real thing like on the trucks, but topped with cilantro, fresh pineapple, and salsa, it was a decent copycat version.

Do you like tacos?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Deleted Emails

No, not those emails!
Last week, my school district received an email from our tech department about a change over of our email servers.  The gist of the email was that school site email accounts would be taken down one at a time, transferred to the new servers and then brought back up before moving on to the next school.  It also said that depending on the amount of info on each server, and even each employee's account, the time for the change over could take an hour or two to a day or two.  Shortly after that email, I received my own personal email from the tech department.  It seemed as if the size of my email account was one of those that could cause the process to take days rather than hours.  I have been aware that I am an email hoarder.  I DO delete most of them, but then never empty out the deleted folder because I'm worried about needing to find them at a later time.
After receiving that email, I took a closer look and noticed that I was keeping emails as far in the past as 2004...2004!  Not too many, however 2005 and on took up a lot of space.  There were over 5,000 emails that hadn't even been opened before deleting them, that added to the rest there had to be 10, maybe 20,000 in that deleted folder.  There were so many that when I selected 2004 to 2014 to delete (I kept 2015 since that was just last year) it gave my computer a spasm and it was frozen for several minutes.
After deleting 10 years worth of deleted emails, there are still over 2,000 unread emails in the folder, which means in all there are even more.  But at least the purge got rid of most of them.  One of these days I'll have to go in and get rid of the ones that will definitely not be needed, but finding that time is hard. Case in point, it took me twelve years to do it!  But in those terms, it's like I'm starting from a clean slate...sort of.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Unit

My exasperation over our current presidential campaigns has pretty much reached my limit of sanity. I'm not nearly as conflicted over my choice in November as others might be, but I'm just tired of the 24 hour-ness of it all and what is worse about the 24 hour-ness is that most of it is just intolerable and bat-sh!# crazy.  I think most feel the same way as I do, so I am not unique in that position.
What might be unique about my position is that I teach a full blown (5-6 weeks) government unit to my second graders in October.  I enjoy teaching that unit so much and the kids enjoy learning about our state and federal governments' a second grade level, of course.  The unit is brought out every year, but when it is a presidential election year, it is usually a blast.  The unit is closed out with a campaign, debates, and an election.
I say "usually" it is a blast because this year I have absolutely no desire to do it.  Teaching about what is supposed to happen seems so idealistic when what is happening across the board with our government AND the campaigns is asinine.  The kids have a hard enough time understanding the ins and outs of it all, heck, so do I if I'm being honest.  Trying to rationalize that with what is really happening will leave them mumbling to themselves.
On top of it all, I'm worried about how I will handle those other opinions.  In previous elections, it has been much easier to stay neutral, even with students with differing opinions.  The ideas and talking points that have come out this year are so hateful and so offensive to me (and aimed towards many of my students), my neutrality might get thrown right out the window.  The unit is supposed to start tomorrow.  I'm all ready for it, everything is prepared.  Whether or not I end up taking it on is another matter entirely.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Saturday 9 - The Last Time

This week's song inspiration is Diana Ross' "Last Time I Saw Him." I'd never heard it before.
1.  In this song, Miss Ross sings of a tender farewell at the bus station. When did you last say goodbye to someone at an airport, dock, train or bus station? The last transportation goodbye was probably my mom who flies in and out of town quite often.
2. Continuing with the theme of "lasts," who received the last gift you gave? My friend Tami and I share the same September birthday.  I sent her gift off to Idaho about a week and a half ago.  
3. Who last did you a favor?  Yesterday I woke up to a refrigerator that sounded like it was running in NASCAR.  The appliance repairman couldn't make an appointment after 3:30, which is the time I can be home if I leave RIGHT after school.  He offered 3:20, so my grade level team (colleagues) offered to take my kids at the 3:00 dismissal.  That way I was able to run out to my car and drive home in time for the repairman.  That was a relief, and the icing on the cake was it was an easy fix - only costing me a service call.
4. What's the last thing you dropped or broke?  I ALWAYS spill my coffee when I'm running late for work in the morning.
5. What's the last thing you borrowed or lent?  I can't think of anything off the top of my head, so probably something for work.  Teachers are always sharing materials.  Oh, I just borrowed some library books!
6. When is the last time you danced?  This evening, in the kitchen while heating up leftovers in the microwave.  I get songs in my head, and they inspire me.  :)
7. When were you last nervous?  I get nervous every time a certain presidential candidate says something hateful or asinine and his supporters cheer for him.  There has also been recent reports about how San Andreas Fault is due for another big quake soon.  Earthquake predictions make me nervous too.  
8. What was your last DIY project?  I almost decided to refinish a pair of Adirondack chairs that have been sitting on the side of the house for a few years.  Actually, I was initially going to throw them out, and then while looking them over I wondered if I should salvage them.  And then, when I lifted one up and the wood fell off the bolts, my hopes of a DIY were dashed I was relieved.  
9. When did you last check your horoscope? Was it accurate?  I don't read horoscopes very often, but I do find they are pretty accurate when I have.  I fall right on the cusp of a Virgo and Libra, but from every thing I've read, I'm definitely a Libra.  These made me chuckle.
 This one made me laugh out loud!  I can never decide where to go out to eat.
Happy Saturday!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Release

I have a love/hate relationship with Apple.  I really do like all the Apple products I own.  My phone, iPad, and Macbook all work very well for my needs, and because they are all Apple they also work very well together.  I can access pictures I took on my phone from the iPad or Macbook and text and make phone calls on my iPad and Macbook via the phone, to name a few of those working together ways.
Every-so-often though, they do something that irks me a bit.  When they switched from the 30 pin connector to the lightning connector, pretty much every accessory I owned had to be repurchased to accommodate this change.  They said it was to allow for more room for a larger battery, but part of me speculates changes like that happen to make customers buy new stuff.  They've made the phone just slightly different in size or shape in each release too, which means a new case every time as well.  I was also ready to disown my beloved iPhone a few years ago when there was news about the poor working conditions at their factories overseas.  After numerous suicides (jumping off buildings) over these conditions, the company installed nets rather than fix the problems.  I found the fact that companies, like Apple (as well as other tech giants), that make more money than they can even count were making this money on the back of these overworked/underpaid workers just deplorable.  And while I was ready to jump the Apple ship, all the tech companies are doing it so there doesn't seem to be an alternative to that with the exception of going tech-less, which I'm not so sure I can do.
Anyhow, earlier this month Apple announced the upcoming iPhone 7.  The next number release is always anticipated because that's when all the new features are shown.  Some of the changes are a better camera in lowlight (which has been one of my complaints on the iPhone for years), a (slightly) longer battery life, and water resistant.  However it seems as if the phone being damaged by water isn't covered under the warranty, soooo.  But the biggest change, in my opinion, is the removal of the headphone jack.
THE REMOVAL OF THE HEADPHONE JACK!?!?!  Apple has decided that the headphone jack is outdated technology.  Could be, but I see it as another chance for Apple to make us all purchase new stuff.  Funnily enough, they've come out with some new blue tooth headphones.  The thing about blue tooth is if you don't have a connection, you can't connect to bluetooth.  Guess what you don't need a bluetooth connection for...THE HEADPHONE JACK!  To make the transition a bit easier the new phone will come out with a special dongle that will allow us old-folks to still connect our outdated technology.  It's better than nothing, but I'm not a fan of the dongle.  Plus, it's one more thing you've got to remember to take with you.  And I wonder what people will do who have those very expensive noise canceling headphones.  I have never splurged on a pair for myself, but I bought my mom a pair of Bose a couple of years ago for all her travels.  She loves them.  I can't afford to buy her another pair of bluetooth ones!
Ugh!  I'm really an Apple girl, but this change might just put me over the edge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


One of my biggest cooking challenges is cooking large pieces of meat on the grill or roasting them in the oven.  It is not something I do all that often, but when I do I'm pretty bad at it.  This week was no exception.  The recipe I attempted used a nice little pork loin rubbed in brown sugar, garlic, and olive oil and cooked on a roasting pan with carrots and potatoes.  Once the prep is finished (about 10 minutes cutting and rubbing), the beauty of this dish is that it goes in the oven and you don't do anything for about 45 minutes, so it basically is supposed to cook itself without any help from the outside.  
Just like every other time I have tried to cook big meat (for lack of better description), it didn't go as planned.
After 45-50 minutes, the pork loin was supposed to be at 150.  At that time, it was to be removed in order to rest for about 15 minutes while the veggies finished cooking.  However, after about 50 minutes, my meat thermometer showed it hadn't made much progress.  
 Now I have to say, that I have this never ending battle with my meat thermometer.  It is OLD, but that is sometimes a good thing (I keep telling myself).  There is an internal debate I have about whether or not I need to keep the thermometer in the meat while cooking or not.  Since it's not an instant read, it takes time to show the temp and by then I'm not sure if that is even correct.  When I research this topic, some websites say that I should leave it in while cooking and others say not to.  I talk myself in and out of what to do, mostly because if it is inside the oven isn't it taking the temp of the oven?
I don't know.  After the initial temp above, I kept the thermometer in the pork loin and stuck it back in the oven.  It was over 150 when I pulled it out the next time and thought, "Hooray!  It's ready!".  It rested while the veggies finished cooking.  And when I cut into it after 15 minutes, it was still pink.  "They" say pork can be a little pink, but I can't do that.  So back in the oven it went, this time without the thermometer inside.  Going on about an hour and half later at this point, the pan was removed and the temperature was 150, at least that is what the thermometer said.
I'm not entirely confident that my trusty OLD meat thermometer is all that accurate and after all these years of owning it (after inheriting it), so I finally broke down and bought a new instant read one.  I'm not entirely convinced it'll work either.  What if I'm the problem!?!?    

Friday, September 9, 2016


This week's Saturday 9 song is a fun one.  I actually listened to Shaggy (along with Maxi Priest) back in the 90s.  Reggae-fusion is good for the soul.

1) This song is a rather shameless come-on by an accomplished ladies' man. Do you enjoy flirting?  Hmmm, I don't think so.  I find that I'm not particularly good at it when it counts.  
2) Shaggy sings that he's like a turtle coming out of his shell. Do you think turtles, snakes and lizards make good pets? Or would you prefer a companion animal that has fur or feathers?  I do not think reptiles make good pets.  I like turtles, but not as a pet.  Furry animals are best, preferably a dog or a horse.
3) He also sings that if you don't feel like driving, you should hand him the keys. Are you comfortable letting others drive your car?  I don't mind at all.  
4) He tries to woo the girl with the promise of a bubble bath. Do you enjoy relaxing in the tub? Or do you view baths and showers as simply part of your hygiene routine, like brushing your teeth? Baths (tied with yoga) are the least relaxing relaxing-thing I can think of.  I find them boring and kind of gross - who wants to sit in their own body-water for any length of time...blech!   Who has time for that!?!?  And maybe because I've only ever had a regular size bathtub I don't know how to keep both my knees and my boobs covered at the same time.  Showers are my preference
5) Born Orville Burrell, Shaggy took his stage name from his shaggy hair. Using your hair as inspiration, what would your stage name be?  Ha!  Having a mind of its own wouldn't be a very good stage name.
6) Sam admits she hadn't thought about this 20+ year old song in years, until she heard it on a Chase Bank commercial. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, checkwriting dropped more than 50% between 2000 and 2010. Who received the last check you wrote?  I wrote a check recently to the contractor who repaired/painted my home's fascia.  I also wrote one to the groomers.  I so rarely write them anymore.  I pay, when I can, with my cell phone or credit card, quick, quick, quick.  This afternoon at the grocery store I was behind a woman who paid by check and it quite literally was a 5 minutes process between her writing it, then the checker checking ID and writing the info on the check, and then sending the check through the register, and then the woman having to fix the check because she wrote the two amounts on the check differently.  ARGHHHHHHH!
7)  Which would you prefer to receive in a birthday card: a $25 check or a $20 Target gift card? I've got a bday coming up, so either is fine.  ;)
8) Sam's mother refuses to pay bills online. All the news stories about data breaches scare her. Have you ever been hacked? If so, did it take long to get the situation resolved? I've never had an issue with my online banking (knock on wood) and it is so easy.  I have had my credit card number used on fraudulent purchases on a couple of separate occasions.  The cc company always took care of it without hassle, other than waiting for a new card and having to change any billing information.

9) In 1995, when this song was popular, Michael Jordan "unretired" and returned to the Chicago Bulls. Tell us about a decision you made that you wish you could undo. Recently, I wish I could undo the decision to be a teacher a lot more often than I ever used to.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


When I am working, the day's date is quite important.  My students and I write the date several times a day and the date is used in any type of planning I do which happens all the time.  For my entire teaching career, I've had a large academic pocket chart calendar hanging in the front of the room and that calendar would get referenced often.
This year has been different though.  My school district adopted a new math program, and that program has a component that includes a daily calendar activity.  "The Calendar" process is something that kindergarten and first usually do - they count the number of days in school, learn the days/months, and represent the numbers in various ways (coins, tens/ones, etc), but few second grade teachers do because our math is more complex by then.  The calendar component in our program goes beyond the "old-school" way and allows for a lot of higher level skills and student discourse.  I mostly like it.
The one issue I have had is that the calendar date cards have patterns on them, and so they are kept turned around until that date so the students can make predictions.  It's a great learning activity, but it is useless to me as a calendar because I can't see the future dates.  For the first few days of the new school year I'd look up, kind of lost, looking for the date.  I thought about putting up my other calendar just to see the dates, but it's quite large and space is tricky.  A hanging wall calendar was an option, but then I decided a dry erase calendar would be best for my needs.  And since having a matchy-match cute classroom makes me a better teacher (said sarcastically) I decided it couldn't just be any old Staples' dry erase calendar.
I had seen some on Pinterest made out of picture frames, which was the direction I went.  I found a cheap frame at Target.  After taking the matting out, it had a 14"x18" opening.  Many measurement calculations took place to finally narrow down my sizing - 2"x2" squares evenly spaced around a 1-1/2 inch border.  I cut down post-it notes to the square size and used them to layout where I wanted everything.
One at a time the post-its were replaced with squares of red and blue cardstock.
I added little day-of-the-week tags at the time.   If I were to do it again, I would have moved everything down a bit in order to center the entire shape.  
Once inside the frame, it's completely customizable when using a dry erase marker.
August's calendar...
and September's.
I wish the blue matched the the blue of the boards a little better, but I thought the muted colors would be better to see the marker.  I'm happy with how it turned out, and it's made date planning much easier.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Getup

My mom is in town for a few days, and we went downtown this afternoon to have lunch.  We crawled back home on the freeway due to bumper-to-bumper traffic so decided to exit the freeway in Burbank to kill some time while the traffic subsided.  Burbank has a couple of fairly nice shopping areas including a Macy's.  Armed with coupons we went in looking at handbags.  I've been eyeing one in particular for a few months now, but being rather pricey I hadn't taken the plunge.  Mom's coupons would help, so I planned to visit the bag again and decide once and for all to spend the money or not.
After all the sitting in traffic, we had to make a pitstop to the restroom before shopping.  The Macy's restrooms, or lounges as they call them, are usually quite nice, but this one was kind of cruddy.  Overall, aesthetically it was old and worn, not what you would expect from a Macy's.  I'm not usually a restroom snob because when you've got to use one, it's hard to be all that picky.  However, there was something about this getup that had me wondering.
It would seem to me if a store is asking me to pay high prices on a handbag, they can afford to hang their toilet paper on something other than plastic bags.  I thought it might be a one-off in the stall I was in, but my mom and another lady both commented on their getup too.  This seems very un-Macy's like, however it gave me a good laugh.
And yes, I did get the bag.
 It smells so good!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Well, It's About That Time

Today was the first day back in the classroom after a long, relaxing summer (that still went entirely too fast).  The kids start back on Thursday, so the hope is to finish getting the room ready tomorrow and Wednesday.  Maybe it's the 17 year itch, but I'm having a really hard time motivating and getting excited about it.  I know once Thursday comes around and the kids arrive I'll be back in the groove pretty quickly.  And as much as I hate to admit it, back into a routine as well.  Other than the getting up early routine.  I don't like that one very much.
Just some funnies to get you in the back-to-school mood right along with me. :)
This video makes me laugh out loud every time.  It's so true! Other than the starting in September part.
There have been A LOT of those lately...taking all the fun out of learning.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Comedy Book

Back in April, I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  This event might be my most favorite event of the year.  It is always such a fun day -  speakers, curious topics, and great literature.  For a reader, it's like a book carnival.  Plus, it makes me feel smart to be there.
Each year, we attend 5-6 sessions on various topics but always make sure at least one of them includes comedy writers.  This year was no exception as we went to a session called "Make 'Em Laugh: A Look at Comedy from All Sides".  The speakers were Jon Macks (author and television writer most known for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" as well as numerous entertainment award shows), Kliph Nesteroff (author/stand up comedian), and Kenneth Turan (author/USC Writing Professor/LA Times' film critic).  It was a well-rounded, funny, and so very interesting panel.  Their stories about all aspects of comedy had us engaged and rolling with laughter.  I was especially taken with Nesteroff's stories.  He is known as the "King of Comedy Lore" so his accounts of famous comedians that we all know and love were fascinating, and I made note to check out his book once summer arrived.
I downloaded The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy back in June and JUST finished it last week.  In my defense, I was reading a book book simultaneously which split my reading time in two.  Anyhow, while this book is not my usual genre of choice, I did really enjoy it.  Even though it was only 432 pages, it was a slow read as non-fiction often is.  It wasn't slow because it was uninteresting, but rather due to all the names and facts.  This book basically told the history of comedy in the 20th century - from Vaudeville in the 1920s to the effects of the 9/11 attacks on the direction of comedy in America.  It was told in chronological anecdotes which were amusing.  While most of the comedians included are well-known "greats" (The Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Johnny Carson, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin,  Dave Letterman, etc), lesser known comics were given equal time.  I was fascinated by the connection between comedy/comedy clubs and the Mob which was the case for several decades.  Closing the book with the change in comedy after the NYC and Washington DC terrorist attacks, which is coming up on 15 years ago, many of the comedians mentioned as up-and-coming comedy writers (Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, Judd Apatow, Stephen Colbert to name a few) are now in the spotlight as great comedians.  Of course the author would have known that as the book is rather recent, but I did like that connection.
 There is only one criticism I have.  While I understand that women in comedy were rare for quite a few decades, I do wish more detail was included about women comedians.  Women were written about in the book, but after reading, I wanted there to be more than just a mention here and there.  This issue didn't detract from the book by any means, and I would still recommend it.

These are some of the quotes I noted that were either poignant or just made me chuckle...

"Lenny Bruce joked that Chicago was the only city where death certificates listed a cause of death as 'He wouldn't listen'." (referring to the Mob)

"(Vaughn) Meader was hired to play JFK, but most record labels turned the idea down.  They felt it was out of bounds to ridicule the president." (Times have changed!)

"(Lenny) Bruce was busted at Doug Weston's Troubadour on his return to Los Angeles.  The crime was titillating Yiddish.  The offending words noted in the police report were 'fressing, schmuck, putz, schtup, and tuchas.'  Bruce was busted so often that comedian Herkie Styles started traveling to his gigs as an emergency understudy." (Even in 1966 comedians were arrested for inappropriateness.)

"Back in the old days it was run by the Mafia and run quite efficiently.  You could see the greatest entertainment in the world at low cost.  Now that the town is run by businessmen, the prices are outrageous.  Every department must show a profit.  In the old days, the Mafia let the casino carry the whole operation." (About Las Vegas)

Some of the most famous comedy clubs in Los Angeles did not pay their comedians, feeling that the exposure was enough.  In the 70s, the comedians decided to form a union...
"Comedians knew they needed a united front in order to get paid.  The Comedy Store was targeted rather than the Improv, as it was the most profitable.  Meetings were hosted in the homes of Elayne Booster and Jimmie Walker, but it was tough to get the comedians to engage in serious discussion.  'Jay (Leno), bless his heart, couldn't sit still,' said David Letterman. 'He was behaving like a hyperactive child.  Jumping up and down, being funny and distracting to the point where everybody sort of thought, well maybe we shouldn't tell Jay about the next meeting'."
"'Jay Leno was a loose cannon', says (Tom) Dreesen.  'I'd say Jay, Jay, Jay!'  Gallagher was yelling, 'We'll burn the fucking place down!'  They were all in disarray.  I began to take charge of the meetings so they could get something done...It was hysterical - comedians at a union meeting.  People were in the bathroom doing cocaine."  (That visual made me laugh out loud).

Friday, July 22, 2016

This is What Living on the Sun Looks Like

It was 113 today.  I haven't been outside all day, but when I opened the door to let the dog out, this was my view.
This is our second big fire in two weeks.  The first was on the other side of town.  About 700 people were evacuated, but luckily no structures were damaged.  So far, about 100 people have been evacuated in this current fire.  It was moving away from structures out towards the Angeles National Forest, but the dry winds are making it unpredictable.
It looks like a bomb has gone off nearby.  It's not a concern for where I live, but it's still quite ominous.  Fire season is upon us and it's only July!
UPDATE: Now that the sun is down, the flames are visible and it's now even more ominous.  It's still too far away to be a problem and to get any kind of shot with the camera.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday 9

Summer Break has made me lazy in a lot of things, including blogging.  A Saturday 9 will have to do, for now.  This week's song is Hall & Oates' Sara Smiles.  It's such a 70's song, isn't it?  I grew up with Hall & Oates in the 80s, so prefer this and this.  :)
1) This was Hall & Oates' first #1 hit. Can you name another of their popular songs?  Um, ya, Private Eyes, I Can't Go For That, She's Gone, You Make My Dreams Come True, Method of Modern Love, Out of Touch, I Can't Go For That.  They had a lot of songs, didn't they?
2) Darryl Hall and Sara Allen were a couple for 30 years, and he wrote this at the beginning of their long relationship. That makes this a very public love letter. Are you good at writing love letters? Would you rather tell the person how you feel, face to face? Or do you let your actions speak louder than your words?  It's been a long time since I've written any kind of letter, but I could do a love email or text.  
3) In the song, Darryl and Sara are waiting for the sunrise. Did you see the sunrise this morning? Or did you sleep in?  I did not.  Being on summer break, I barely see morning at all with all the sleeping in I'm doing.  
4) Both Hall & Oates hail from the Philadelphia area. Hall is a native of suburban Pottstown, which was a stop on the Reading/Philadelphia rail line made famous in Monopoly. Do you like playing board games?  Yes, I like board games and card games.  I like games that you can socialize whilst playing.  
5) John Oates grew up a few miles away from Pottstown in North Wales. Decades ago, North Wales' biggest employer was a cigar factory. Do you like the smell of a cigar?  Cigars aren't as bad as cigarettes, but I'm still not a fan.  Back in my bartending days, I had some regular customers who came to drink after their weekly men's league soccer game.  It was back in the olden days and on the East Coast where smoking inside was still allowed.  They once asked if I minded if they smoked cigars when they came to drink.  Thinking my tips would increase the longer they stayed and smoked, I told them it wasn't a problem.  Boy, what a big mistake.  It wasn't so much their smell, but cigars are a mess.  Yuck!  I'm not so sure the clean up was worth the extra tips.  
6) Daryl Hall now hosts a music show, "Live from Daryl's House", that you catch free online.  Do you typically watch shows from your computer, iPad, phone, or TV set?  I don't usually watch stuff on devices unless I'm traveling.  I prefer to watch on the TV where the picture is larger and better quality.  Plus, that frees up the device(s) to play on since I'm not very good at just sitting and watching TV.
7)  Hall & Oates are currently on tour.  Are you seeing/have you seen a concert this summer?  YES!  Sting and Peter Gabriel are coming to the Hollywood Bowl this next week.  I'm going to see them on Monday.  Funnily enough, I think I saw the Hall & Oates tickets on Goldstar recently.
8) Daryl and John have been friends for 50 years, even living together at the beginning of their careers when money was tight. Another successful duo of the rock era, Simon & Garfunkel, also met as teens but they forever seem to be feuding. What do you think makes for a lasting friendship/partnership?  A friendship that is fairly effortless and equal seems to last longer.  When thinking about my own relationships through the years, the ones that are still strong have those qualities.  The ones that have been one-sided or hard are the ones I tend to let go.  They make me tired.
9) Random question:  Are you quick to try new things?  It depends on the new thing.  Chances are I'll overthink it, but sometimes I can easily jump right in.
Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A (Fruit) Salad

Summer fruit is getting into full swing here.  I'm still waiting for the stone fruit to be GOOD, but everything else is looking fresher and local, finally.  I had a small brunch this past weekend and wanted to serve some fruit with the light (cool) meal I was serving.  While I love fruit, it's always difficult for me to serve it.  Fruit doesn't last very long once cut into serving portions.  I'm the kind of hostess that likes to have as much as possible prepared before guests arrive, because once they do I lose focus and the cooking gets out of hand.  Whenever contemplating fruit as part of the meal, it ends up getting nixed due to the last minute prep.  It had been so hot here, and I did not want to turn on that oven, so I researched make ahead fruit ideas.  So many of the recipes had melons of some kind as part of most of the dish as they are easy to cut and store for a time.  Other than watermelon (which is too watery to cut ahead of time), I don't personally like melons like cantaloupe or honey dew, so those were off the table.
I stumbled upon this recipe and it looked delicious, plus most of it could be made or prepared the night before.  The strawberries and blueberries were rinsed in vinegar which supposedly kills bacteria that makes them go bad so quickly and stored in the fridge for the day.  The rest of the fruit was washed or peeled the night before the brunch.  I added it all to the bowl and wrapped it in saran before going to bed.  I didn't cut the grapes in half as I worried about about their juices making things too wet.
 All I had left to do the next morning was to core and cut the apple and banana.  Normally this couldn't be done until right before eating as the apple and banana start to go brown so quickly. But the "magic" dressing took care of that problem.
 The dressing is made from the juice of one orange and one lemon, some honey, and poppy seeds.  It's a very light mixture.
 So mixing the fruit up with the dressing an hour or two before guests arrived worked out perfect.  It coated the fruit keeping it from browning and the taste was so mild, not interfering with the fruit flavors.  I didn't use all of the dressing to keep if from pooling in the bottom of the bowl - just enough to see it glaze all of the fruit.
Having similarly prepped the Chinese Chicken Salad and the bread before everyone arrived, the only thing I had to do was pull the dishes out of the fridge, add the dressing to the salad, and serve.  I will definitely make this fruit salad again. It would even be great as take-to salad.  Before leaving for a party it can be made and mixed.  It would last a few hours before serving and there's no melon in it at all!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bags and Bags of Hair

For the last 20 years I have owned dogs (2) with white fur that sheds all year long.  I'm not sure why I didn't learn my lesson with the first one, but I didn't and now have a second one that sheds more than any dog I've ever had, ever.  I keep tape rollers in all the rooms of the house and friends who come over regularly usually bring some sort of sweater/sweatshirt to wear in order to play with my lovable dog and then, afterwards, remove it and be reasonably hair free.  With the new floors throughout the house, Rigby's fur has been the bane of my existence.  White clumps of it just appear out of nowhere ALL DAY LONG.  I adore my new floors, but at times I feel like I'm tethered to that vacuum and dust mop.
It is said that brushing dogs who shed helps with constant shedding, but it's not something I've ever done regularly with my lack of time when working.  Now that summer break is here and I don't have any major plans or responsibilities, I decided I would solve this shedding all over my floors problem once and for all.  I dug out my FURminator, a comb/brush gadget this is supposed to make brushing easier (I'm not entirely convinced), intent on making dog brushing part of my daily routine this summer.  We are 19 days into summer break today (including weekends), and I've brushed her 11 of those days.  As expected, the first two days of brushing were very very hairy.  Being part Queensland and part Shepherd Rigby has a thick undercoat that is soft and fine while the top coat is more hair-like, thick and wiry.  About three days in, it seemed as if I was making progress with the undercoat, and it didn't seem so thick.  But she is still shedding.  In 11 days I have filled 11 plastic grocery bags with dog hair, enough dog hair that would make it seem there was no hair actually left on the dog, but there is.  I don't know how Rigby is not bald at that point!
While hair is still winding up on my new floors, it HAS lessened quite a bit.  I'm only feeling the need to vacuum or dry mop about once a day now.  And with our 100+ degree weather over the last two weeks, I'm sure Rigby is feeling cooler with those bags of hair in the trash instead of on her body.  But I do wonder if she will ever stop shedding completely.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Driver's Training

Earlier this week, my BFF texted to ask me if I could pick up her oldest son and take him to his summer Spanish class on Thursday.  She was going to be out of town at an event with her daughter, and her husband would be at work.  Of course, I agreed to do so, and planned on leaving this week's curriculum work for a few minutes to help them out.
Her oldest son is 16 years old.  She has told me a few times that she would really like him to get his driver's license so he is able to take himself where he needs or wants to be as well as help out with running the other kids around if needed.  Unfortunately, he is not nearly as interested in getting that license as the rest of his family is.  In fact, she has told me that most of his friends feel the same way. We laugh about how we could not wait to get our licenses and have some freedom.  She believes that teenagers, at least the ones in her son's circle, are kind of afraid of driving on their own (Could that be a product of helicopter parenting?).  Also, with them all having cell phones and being active on social media, they don't "need" to actually see their friends in person so that motivation to drive isn't there.  It's probably a combination of both, but regardless of the reason, he doesn't have his license so I picked him up on Thursday and took him to his class.
During the ride, I brought up driving with him.  He has his permit which allows him to drive with an adult, but has not taken the driver's training which is required to test for a license.  Back in the olden days when I was 16, driver's training was offered in school.  However, due to budget cuts, it isn't any longer and it is up to new driver (and family) to take the classes on his own time and dime.  He told me that he just hadn't had the time to take the classes as he's been very busy, which made me chuckle.  I would have moved mountains to gain the independence of a driver's license.
It got me thinking about the driver's training I took through high school.  THAT also makes me chuckle.  The instructor was our school's head football coach.  My high school was/is a high profile football school having won many regional and state championships and groomed numerous college and NFL players.  Needless to say, driver's training was not the head coach's top priority. The course was a half of a semester and broken up into three parts - lectures and movies on the rules of the road, simulated driving, and driving practice in an actual car.  The first part was a joke.  I learned more about the rules of the road from the DMV's booklet than I did from anyone's lectures.  Both the simulated driving and the road practice were a bit more helpful, but make me laugh out loud when I think about them.
The simulators took place in a large trailer at that back of the school.  Inside was made up of maybe 20 "driver's seats" outfitted with a steering wheel, gas and break pedals, even a seatbelt.  In the front of the trailer was a large pull down screen where they showed the view from a moving car's front window on a film projector.  We had to practice driving in various scenarios and our actions in the "driver's seat" were recorded and graded.  It was like a very low-tech driving video game.  Watching everyone lean right or left, and duck, and look over their shoulder, and turn the wheel, and pump the brakes to this old-school film was really quite funny.
So was the road practice.  Three goofy teenagers and an old crabby driving instructor are a fun mix.  One of us would drive, while the other two sat giggling in the backseat.  The instructor sat in the passenger seat with her own foot brake.  If someone got too unruly on the road, she had the power to stop that car on her own and give us a talking to.  It was a weird feeling to have someone else braking the car while you drove.  Even back then, I had a bit of a lead foot, so driving with her was no fun at all.
As soon as that training was over, I made an appointment with the DMV to take my driving tests on the day I turned 16.  It never would have occurred to me not to.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Well That Was Convoluted...But it Worked!

I spent most of this week relaxing outside with a book on my iPad mini.  While the iPad has a beautiful, clear screen most of the time, outside in the sun the glare is very bad which makes books quite difficult to read.  Some actual books were checked out of the library for this reason, but I'm in the middle of a book that I want to finish.  I searched solutions which had reminded me that I purchased an anti-glare screen protector a year or so ago after getting the new iPad.  I had one on my full-size to keep it scratch free, but it had a bit of a haze to it.  The new retina screen on the iPad mini is so vibrant, I never actually put the cover on not wanting to reduce the quality.  Since I plan on sitting outside reading for pretty much all of my summer break, I dug out the cover and prepared to install it.
These covers are notoriously difficult to put on.  With their clingy backing, it's so hard to get them straight before they stick.  Air bubbles are also frustrating, and it's quite difficult to get all of them out.  I didn't care too much, wanting to just stick it on and go outside for the summer.  But I was surprised when I pulled out the contents of the package.  There were two rubber band things, some sticker sheets, and stickers on the cover itself.  Puzzled, I was about the throw my hands up, as the written directions really made no sense.  Then, remembering I was on vacation and had the time, I went to the install instructions link on their website and found this video.
Holy cow!  I've never seen such a process for installing such a simple screen saver.  Wrap it in rubber bands, add these stickers, peel these pieces off, add these other stickers, etc.  WHAT?!?!  But I'll tell you something, it worked!  It was the easiest install of one of these screens I've ever done.  Other than watching the video, it took less time than it's ever taken to install pretty much anything on these devices.  I only installed it one time, not lifting and shifting and lifting and shifting over and over again.  There were some additional stickers and videos to deal with dust particles and air bubbles, but after a few wipes with the dust cloth over the top of the screen, the air bubbles dissipated.
This is not a product endorsement as I haven't even been outside with the iPad in the sun yet, but I'm so impressed with the concept behind the directions.  It's a lot of steps for a very simple idea, but it sure made a frustrating exercise way less frustrating.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Unexpected End

Yesterday was the last day of school and vacation is HERE!  After a pretty good year, the last day of school DID NOT go off without a hitch.  Here's why...
The last week of school is pretty useless with regards to learning.  We've taken all our tests, turned in or stored our books, packed away our materials in order to prepare for closing up the room for the summer.  In some respects it's a fun week because of our many activities planned to pass the time.  This week, we performed our play, there was a Board Game Day, a field trip to the beach, a Field Day with water games, a class party, a dance party, and an autograph/memory book activity.  On the other hand, for some kids the lack of routine and procedure is difficult.  On Friday, the excitement was too much and many a 2nd grader lost their mind.
We started the morning with our grade level dance party.  For about 30 minutes we go into the cafeteria, play some fun music and dance.  The kids get their wiggles out and after all is said and done it takes up about 45 minutes of, what seems like, the longest school day of the year.  After the dance party, we headed back to the room to pick up our autograph/memory books.  The kids had spent the week getting them ready for their friends to write messages inside.  We took them out into our quad area and gave them some time to mingle and sign and enjoy their friends before summer break started.  And about 15 minutes in, some of them enjoyed it a bit too much.  One of the kids came running up to us concerned over kids writing on the trees.  A couple of us ran over to the two trees in the middle of the quad, and sure enough, several kids had signed their name on the tree trunks.  Some of them had even signed MY name on the trunks!
We were livid!  Autograph day ended for those kids, and they were sent to sit against the wall of the classrooms.  There we laid into them about vandalism and their lack of respect for school property.  We also told them how disappointed and embarrassed we were by their behavior.  We wanted the kids to clean the trees as most were written in pencil or water-based pen, so we called the assistant principal to help us arrange that and to come yell at them some more.
While I was on the phone, one of my teammates found another student who had written on the trees.  This student had some defiance issues throughout the year.  When she was told to sit with the others, she did not, instead sitting off on her own by her own classroom.  Her teacher, who had had enough, wasn't going to fight that fight on the last day of school, so I offered to go get her.  At first, I kindly but firmly told her to join the rest of the students.  Instead of following that direction, she gave me an emphatic "NO".  Teachers spend the majority of their giving directions and expecting them to be followed.  This adamant "No" didn't sit well. I knelt down to her level, got in her face a bit, and told her to get up immediately.  She shook her head.  At that point, I should have walked away.  I didn't really care where she was sitting, it was just the point of not following the directions of two teachers at this point.  She covered her face with her autograph book.  I took it away and then reached for the red permanent marker she had in her hand.  She immediately pulled her hand away and hid it behind her back.  I told her that what she did was vandalism and that was against the law.  Since she was not able to use the pen correctly, she didn't get to keep it.  After my little spiel, she looked right at me and in a growling voice said, "I'd rather eat dirt."  At that point, I walked away because I was about ready to wring her little neck or feed her a pile of dirt.
The AP arrived shortly afterwards to speak to those kids, and the teachers brought the rest of the students back into the classrooms.  When they returned to class it was lunch time.  The kids were sent to lunch and those who wrote on the trees were tasked with cleaning them during their recess time.  I walked over to the other classroom to commiserate with that child's teacher and was surprised to see that teacher's name and room number written on the sidewalk by her door IN FREAKING RED PEN!  This little girl refused to move even for the AP and while the AP spoke with the other children, she wrote on the sidewalk with her permanent marker.  At that point, the child's mother was called to take her home.  What a way to end your last day of 2nd grade.  On a high note, the rest of the kids were remorseful.  One even told me on our way to dismissal a couple hours later that he was NEVER going to write on a tree again.  Good idea!
As excited as I am to be on break, the day did not end as I thought it would.