Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beautiful, beautiful weather

It's so beautiful, I may have to check those water tanks to see if we need to start conserving water. 

I stand in my classroom wishing I were on the horse (or at the beach) - and I am sure my kids are feeling the same way.  I asked one kid who mentioned he had a horse if he rode.  He said, "No,  I feed him and wave at him."  Basically, now that school is happening, that's all that's happening with me, too - I feed Gibby (or Mr. De does) and I wave at him. 

On one hand, I am consumed with doing a good job at my work - I am starting a peer tutoring program, I am thinking about doing National Board Teacher Certification, and I am determined to knock the ball out of the park in my classroom this year.  I'd like to do NaNoWriMo with a group of students in November, too.  I think I will be comatose by Christmas - just in time to sleep for a week once the festivities are over!  I am in the talking stage for teaching a class during summer school - Research Writing which is SUCH a fun class to teach.  I haven't taught summer school for over a decade....kind of mixed feelings, because if I am going to be comatose by Christmas, I'll be one foot in the grave by May - but the extra money and especially the chance to teach a class I developed and loved again will be really a blast. 

On the other hand, I am making zero progress on the food from the garden idea.  My husband is going gang-busters, though.  He's clearing for the fencing for the ram pen (he finished the shed) and the next two big projects are a bigger greenhouse and a large area for new chickens.  I guess I should be happy things are happening, even if they aren't resulting in immediate food. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

To Degree or To Not Degree

I got an email on my work email from my boss regarding an EdD program opening up next summer.  (Not to get too excited, he sent it to everyone - in spite of telling me- and probably anyone else who asks - that entering a doctorate program is not worth it! He's in the middle of his final throes of his own doctoral program). 

When I first was hired at my current job, I was so excited to find out that one of our benefits is help with tuition for further professional study.  Being the big softie that I am, I could feel the tears prickling at the back of my eyes, because I have always wanted my doctorate, and I have always come back to the conclusion that it is just too expensive, and that I am getting too old for it to pay itself back.  I thought, maybe, with the generous help this organization gives, I could do it anyway. 

However, I have two kids in college - and when they get out, two more will enter in, so really, even with the help, it's not something I can rationalize.  I would have to leave the classroom to make it worthwhile, because, folks, I am ridiculously gifted in the educational credits department (still paying for the last one, as a matter of fact), and getting more credits won't move me up any teacher scale.  On the other hand, it will make me eligible for administrative jobs.  I have to decide whether that's what I want to do.

Some days, I love my job and the kids and there is nothing I want more than to stay here in this classroom.  On other days, I want to do even more.  I like research - that's the truth.  And educational research is fascinating.  I like working with teachers to make schools more effective places.

Honestly, my heart was joyful with that flyer in the mail, until the tough questions kicked in.  Plus, I do remember how hard the last degree was - I had 4 small kids, a full time teaching job, and it meant a lot of late nights and stress, and that was just a professional degree.  I also remember my MA - carting babies to classes (mine, a foster kid on a heart monitor, etc.), also working full time (but not in a classroom, which was easier).  Mentally stimulating, physically exhausting - and both times, I was a lot younger and more energetic.  And this degree means traveling to Oahu quite often, and I don't think, unlike my last traveling degree that the costs are covered by the University.  That's quite a lot more cost kicked in - plus time away from the farm, which is not negligible. 

Well, the application is due January 14; I have time to think about this. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gorgeous Weekend

It was an absolutely beautiful weekend, as far as weather goes.  I spent most of Saturday in a concession stand selling manapua, chili plate, chili dog, chili nachos - you get the idea.  As I am, once again, the "team mom,"  I spent all of one shift and most of the second in the booth (I ducked out because somehow the desperation I must have projected at Thursday evening's XC Parent meeting really worked to bring in volunteers and it was crowded - but I went to my classroom and worked on rosters, etc). 

I hope this is a harbinger of things to come, because we have FOUR meets (usually two) at our school and one of them is the regional championship - which means begging for course marshals.  Oh, and I think I heard there were will be several mainland schools at our invitational - which means more potluck.  I hate that potluck.  Well, no, I like the potluck, but I loathe the begging for donations, stress of planning, and the panic some of the other moms display the morning of, "There's not enough food, Nancy!"  Yes, yes, there is  enough;  there is always enough.  In fact, there are always leftovers.  Mostly rice and chili, but still....leftovers. 

My other duty for "team mom" is to gather donations - usually monetary, because more parents would like me to go buy the food than would like to remember what day they are supposed to bring a snack.  I like this part of my duties, to be honest.  I like knowing that the food and drinks will be there before and after the race (I am sure gonna miss the dad who was a banana farmer, though - his son graduated), and I LOVE not having to call parents to remind them it is their week. 

Coach said, "Hey, I am so glad your son is a sophomore - and hey, your daughter is a freshman, maybe you can help me the year after he graduates, even if I am not her coach."  I told him, "Every year, I come this close to telling you we're recruiting someone new!"  In fact, I already have my eye on this new freshman mom.... She seems really organized and involved, and, you know, new and enthusaistic - this is my 8th year as an XC mom.

 On the other hand, this responsibility is forcing me to do things which are uncomfortable for me - like being a little bossy to strangers, speaking in public (to not-kids), and being more ruthlessly organized than I am used.  Time and task, I am organized on; paperwork, not so much.

I love that my daughter is also running, but that means, even if I am not team mom over there, I am a mom, and they do FOUR concessions, and I have to find two people from our family to course marshal.  That means my husband and I can't trade off meets so at least one of us can really watch...we'll both have to course marshal.  I am going to find SOMEONE to marshal for us both at the regional meet.  Our son has a decent chance to make the state meet this year, and I am going to watch that race!  At the least, I can beg for a spot at the finish line - I like being there anyway - even if you have a fair chance of being vomited on at some point or at least sweated on by a fainting runner.  All you people who think individual sports aren't as valuable as team sports ought to stand at the finish line of a XC race.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teenager-y Weekend

I have never had two teenagers without also having younger kids who still think Mom is a star...until now.  Don't get me wrong, I quite like teenagers.  I must or I wouldn't have made my career of teaching them, but having two showing small (but still rotten) attitudes at the same time made the weekend less than fun.  Fortunately, the 15 year old just needed food. 

Although, I have to admit making the daughter wheedle a little to earn back her iPod was a little fun - after I got over being mad for the reason I took it in the first place.  My husband disguised being a softie about it by saying she could get it back in an hour, or never, depending on her attitude and her attempts to make amends (I'd set a week time limit).  Or maybe he gets the De mind a little better than I do. She thought she just had to wait it out, he made it a lot less pleasant (extra chores, apologize to offended parties, etc). 

I had all kinds of nightmares - I haven't had teaching nightmares since I was a rookie teacher more years ago than I care to think about.  I dreamed the students, like Tribbles on Star Trek, multiplied as I tried to get them seated and ready for their standardized testing.  I dreamed I showed up to work in my pjs.  Sigh.  Two nights of inadequate teaching dreams.  I showed up at work on Monday, though, and everything was fine.  Phew.  No multiplying kids, and a stern look worked just as well as it always does. 

To make up for it, I acted like a sneaky kid myself.  I went to every wild berry patch I could think of on our property - and I ate all the berries I found myself.  I didn't share.  Of course, that meant about 6 blackberries and two raspberries, but it was the principle (or lack thereof) of the thing.  I did give my husband the one lonely strawberry from the greenhouse, though.  Does that absolve me from being sneaky and a bit selfish? 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Earthquake and the Last Stale Ends of a Tropical Storm

We were woken up this morning by what felt like a decent sized earthquake - although the news said it was only at 4.8.  It knocked down several little porcelain horse statues.  The last earthquake that knocked those down was a 6.7.  This was the end of several of them, sadly. 

It also knocked over a brass bookend horse I had from my grandmother, which was surprising, but it didn't knock over my statue of Mary - although it was awfully close to the edge.  I am glad that didn't break:  it was a wedding present from the sisters I worked with at my first teaching job. 

We've had the tail end of a erstwhile hurricane passing to the south of us.  It is now a tropical storm and we just got the outlying showers and icky-sticky humidity.  The kids had a pre-season race yesterday morning and it was pretty soggy from the rain and humid from the general atmosphere. 

We've been thinking about getting some podocarpus (Japanese yew) for our front property line, and we found some seedlings growing wild.  Today's project was to replant them in pots - hopefully, they'll grow and we can transplant them to the front.  My  husband, who usually avoids the greenhouse, other than to water if I have a string of late days, helped plant them, and then re-organized all the plants so like plants are together and the coffee seedlings (which are getting so big) are not shading everything. 

I spent a few hours helping my son clean - he is moving on Thursday.  I don't think they've vacuumed for an entire year.  Yuck.  The bathroom wasn't too bad, but I just said, "I'll leave this bottle of cleaner - you guys get the honor of cleaning your kitchen when you've done your dishes and emptied your fridge.  Yuck."  My son wishes his room mate was cleaner - he gets tired of doing his dishes, so sometimes he doesn't do them.  The two boys are moving in with two more boys - I hope they can get a cleaning schedule going. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bucket Head

As I was recouping from a great, but long, day yesterday (I admit, recouping currently means mindless games of solitaire alone in my room for 15 minutes after coming home),  I kept hearing a persistent, but oddly soft distress call from the sheep. 

I figured that a lamb got on the ram side and was locked away from mom, so I headed outside to check it out.  It's always a bit of a rodeo to get the lambs out of the rams, because you have to keep half an eye on Elvis and try to herd the little guy through a cracked open gate - without letting Hulu or Elvis through.  Let's just say I wasn't feeling terribly enthusiastic about the adventure. 

As I rounded the corner to the sheep pen, I had to laugh.  All the sheep were piled up against the gate, seemingly in abject fear, and the complainant was in the barn with a bucket firmly stuck on her head, calling for help with the regularity of a metronome.  I thought she was a lamb because she was muffled. 

I pulled the bucket off and all the sheep came flooding back in, hoping for a second course of dinner.  Too bad, guys. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ram Shelter

My husband has been busting his okole to complete the ram pen and shelter.  The shelter is done - cinder floor (6 inch minus for drainage), fence poles for support, 2 x 4 rafters/purlings, and corrugated metal roofing.  The next step is fencing the area we laid out way back on Mother's Day - things take time around here.... 

The kids and I are back in school and pretty darned tired with it, too.  Back to 12 hour days, followed by homework and (for me - kid chores are for weekends, but mom chores are never done) household chores.  I am scrambling to get to know kids' names, faces, and abilities and needs in reading, writing, behavior, study habits, etc. etc.  It's exciting, like every school beginning, but exhausting, too.

On the other hand, I had WONDERFUL news from a friend of mine.  She needed a kidney transplant and the hospital was searching for some time.  They found a perfect match - and the donor had a wife who also needed a kidney, and my friend's husband was a perfect match for her.  Now, what are the odds of that?  One perfect match kidney donation is 1:100,000 - two boggles the mind.  All four were in surgery on Monday, and my friend's kidney function is nearly normal as of last night.  God is very good.