Comments from the Peanut Gallery

Taking one day at a time...

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  • Friday, August 31, 2012


    Make it a point to make your life beautiful.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012


    I never write about work.  Today is an exception. 
    It hasn't happened in such a long time because it wasn't necessary until now.  Then again, we haven't ever had a mayor despot that has a vision that eerily resembles a certain delusional dictator.

    I never thought it would come to this, but it has and I am prepared to walk in solidarity with my CTU brothers and sisters. 

    This is not only about getting paid more or lowering class sizes; it's also about preserving the dignity of our noble profession, saying no to big businesses running schools that don't perform better and have no Union rights or protection.  It's about standing up to the bully that runs the city and is pissing off the cops and the firefighters by treating them like he treats the teachers...inferior.

    Do you know what happens when you piss off the cops, the firefighters, and the teachers in a major city?  You get a backlash.  You get a war.  You get chaos if you don't play your cards right.  Yes, we serve the public, but we also deserve respect.  We deserve to be listened to and not berated.  They took away our contractual raises last year and have bashed us to the media.  They want us to work a day that is 20% longer, but they don't want to pay us for it or give us any raises at all now.  They're crying poor.  It wasn't enough that over 90% of the teachers voted for the Union to call for a strike, especially after our mayor least favorite politician and governor were proponents in passing the bill that required 75% of the Union membership vote to call for a strike.  They really didn't think there would be enough teachers that would agree to a strike, yet we stood in solidarity to let them know that what was happening to us just isn't right.  Negotiations have been going on forever, yet CPS and the CTU just can't seem to agree on major issues.  It's time.

    A colleague of mine has a friend who works for the mayor monster and he was in the elevator with him the other day.  Our lovely mayor autocrat said, "I can't believe I have to negotiate with these teachers."  Our profession is being attacked, not just in this city, but nationwide.  What was once a much desired career sought after by many has turned into a profession that many don't want to touch because of the politics involved.  I work my ass off every single day and also after my kids go to bed and I resent it when teachers are referred to as lazy.  There are some lazy people in every profession, but you can't paint all of us with the same brush.  Why teachers are attacked mercilessly is beyond me.  I just don't get it.  I work for you and I work my ass off.  Just ask my students.  I'd like to see our self-absorbed mayor leader village idiot come in and try to do what I do every single day. 

    Do I want to strike?  No.  Will I do it for the sake of fighting for better schools for our students, fair accountability standards and evaluations, a productive school day, and smaller class sizes?  You bet your ass I will.

    Nobody puts Baby in a corner.  Nobody puts 26,000+ hardworking, educated, and dedicated teachers and paraprofessionals in a corner, either.  If you need to reach me, I'll be in the picket line.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    The Beans...

    Has anyone seen (my 95lb. Chocolate Labrador) Java?  I can't seem to find her anywhere.  Heh.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Always Thinking Ahead...

    Whew!  I made it through the first day back at work, unscathed.  I missed my kids at home and they missed me, but they know the drill.  If I don't go to work, they can't get new toys. 

    Now if only I could master waking up BEFORE my alarm clock, then I'll be even better.

    There are a lot of new faces at work, a lot of new procedures to digest, and plenty of hard work ahead.  I set up my classroom, got my bearings, and found out I only have to teach one grade level (seventh) this year (instead of two like I did last year).  That means ONE lesson plan for each week!  Yay! 

    We lost a lot of people and gained a lot of people on the faculty.  It should be an interesting year.  What am I saying?  Every year is interesting! 

    Being the awesome planner that I am, I got all my handouts (syllabus, calendar, due dates, forms, etc.) copied at the end of the last school year.  So, I'm not hogging the copy machine now and they're all ready to go for the kids when they arrive next Tuesday.  Always thinking ahead.

    I'm hoping for good things this school year...for everyone.  Now if only the Union and the Board could iron out a decent and acceptable contract so we don't have to go on strike...

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    It Never Gets Easier...

    Photo: Thank you, Maria, for letting me steal this! I love it!
    I go back to work today after yet another glorious summer with my kids.
    Today will be a hard day for all of us.  Hell, it's going to be a hard two weeks, at least. I know it will get better, but my heart will truly be at home.
    Sigh...  I hate this time of year.  It never gets easier.

    I have a very important job to do that I find rewarding in many ways; however, I miss my kids so much right now.  Ugh.  I hate this feeling.

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Love Times Four...

    Liv, Liesl, Jack, and in crime.

    My cast of characters...

    One of my favorite pictures...

    Today is officially my last day of summer vacation.  I'm really going to miss my kids tomorrow while I'm back at work.  We had another really great summer together.  Sigh...

    Saturday, August 25, 2012


    Liv is only six years old, but she has expressed a desire to learn how to write in cursive.  She likes "fancy" writing.  So, I printed this out for her so she could teach herself how to write "fancy."  She'll be the only kid in first grade who is experienced in the Palmer Method.  Go figure.  That's my Livie!

    Friday, August 24, 2012


    A few weeks ago after having a fever for about two days, Jack woke up and was fine.  That day, he came home from Day Camp saying that his thumb and feet hurt.  His thumb looked fine, but his feet had red spots all over the soles as if he'd been running in rocks.  After the third day of the spots not going away, I googled it. 

    Hand, foot, and mouth disease.  No cure, just Tylenol and lots of water.  I emailed photos of it to my favorite nurses (my sister and my friend who happens to be a pediatric nurse).  Yep.  Hand, foot, and mouth disease.  I decided not to take them all to the doctor and pay the co-pays for him to tell me Tylenol and plenty of water.  I trust nurses more than I trust doctors.

    And then Livie got it.  And then Leia.  And then Liesl. 

    All four kids had hand, foot, and mouth disease at the same time.  Jack's was limited to just the spots, no blisters in his mouth at all.  Liv had a throat full of blisters and a few spots on the soles of her feet.  Liesl and Leia had a couple of blisters in their mouths and a couple of spots on the soles of their feet.  Liv had the blisters the worst, but Jack had the spots on the soles of his feet the worst.

    Right now, they all have dead skin where the spots used to be.  It's sloughing off on its own, though.  No worries there.  However, Jack looks like he's going to lose both of his thumb nails because of it (and possibly two more; Liv might lose one, but I'm not sure yet).  One is almost completely off and the other will happen eventually.  Like the skin, the dead stuff needs to come off on its own.  Unfortunately, it's going to include two of his fingernails.  They aren't bloody or anything.  They're just...dead.  I need to find out if they'll grow back now.

    I've never seen anything like it.  Ugh.  Still, I don't think we need a trip to the doctor...yet.  I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to any of the girls.  For now, we just keep monitoring it.  Yeesh.

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Getting from A to B...

    I go back to work on Monday.  I am so not mentally prepared for the extra responsibilities, in addition to the ones I already have at home.  Adjusting is never easy.  Eventually, I get my bearings and all is well.  Getting from A to B, though, is always taxing on my psyche.  I'm not looking forward to it.

    I still don't know if there will be a teachers strike, either.  I guess we'll find out.  My summer vacation could very well be extended if the Board and the Union don't compromise.  As of now, they are are far apart on deciding factors.  It doesn't look good.

    So, I'll be enjoying the hell out of today, tomorrow, and the weekend.  Monday will come way too soon, as far as I'm concerned.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Putang Ina...

    Seriously.  What's not to love about this?

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    What's A Filter?...

    Okay, so maybe I do have a makeshift filter.  It's not like the one you have, but it keeps me from putting my foot in my mouth from time to time.  It wasn't easy constructing one of those, either.  I had to hurt a lot of feelings in the process.  I'm happy to say that my filter is working just fine lately.  If it doesn't, you'll feel the reverberations clear across the world.  Heh.

    Monday, August 20, 2012


    I go back to work on the 27th...
    I'm digging my heels, kicking and screaming, folks.
    This was a great summer.

    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Creative Thinking...

    This is an absolute shame.  I shudder to think that by the time Liv gets to her senior year, she will have only a small fraction of the creativity she had at age four.  She's my little artist; detailed, precise, with a unique perspective on her surroundings and an intense problem-solving streak.  How is it that kids lose their creativity over the years?  Is it the schools or the lack of programs in them?  Was this Torrence Test of Creative Thinking given to the same group of children at four, then at eight, twelve, and seventeen?  This just does not sit well with me at all.  That last line says it all.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Eight Days Left...

    Soon enough, I'll be back at work.  For right now, I'm going to enjoy the eight days of summer vacation that I have left.  Sigh.  Already?  So soon?

    Friday, August 17, 2012


    I love this picture of Jack Nicholson and the caption is even better.  I don't think I've ever seen a Jack Nicholson movie that I didn't like.  Maybe it's the eyebrows, but he just makes me smile.

    Thursday, August 16, 2012


    I can tell you, for a fact, that this is true.  If my house is quiet, I think something is wrong.  Having twin toddlers gives you supersonic hearing.  If it's too quiet, it's time to investigate.  Heh.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    No Regrets...

    Ain't this the truth?!  Twenty-one years ago, I met my husband and I've been happy ever since.  Had I not taken some of the risks I did at the time, we might not be together now.  Go with your gut, take risks, and never, ever regret anything.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012


    I wonder if Liesl and Leia will be like this.  Liesl was supposed to be first and Leia pushed her out of the way to beat her; but Liesl's personality is much more assertive than Leia's right now.  It's hard to determine which one will be feistier later, especially since they seem to flip flop back and forth and we never know who will be doing what and when.

    I hope they live a long and happy life together.  They've got each other for the rest of their lives.  Some days, I just sit back amazed that I gave birth to twins.  TWINS, people.  TWINS.  It still freaks me out how cool my body is and what it can do.

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Old Habits Die Hard...

    I always wanted to be an English teacher for as long as I can remember.  I distinctly remember when I was a little kid and my little girlfriends would write me notes.  I would never reply.  I would send their letters back to them corrected and ask them to rewrite them.  Old habits die hard.

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    In Another Life...

    Wow!  Talk about organization!  I wish I was HALF this organized with all of my craft crap.
    Ugh.  Maybe in another life...

    Saturday, August 11, 2012


    So, I bought this stuff and it's pretty good.  Yes, it tastes green, but it's not bad for a supplement that gives me all my greens for the day.  I mix a scoop with 8oz. of milk, shake the hell out of it, and it's like chocolate milk, only a touch grittier.  I can handle that.  It's not a meal replacement, but it is something I'm adding to my daily intake because it can't hurt.  It makes sure I'm getting the greens I'm supposed to be getting.

    And it's a lot less expensive than Shakeology.  I got some samples of Shakeology and I have to admit that it's pretty damn good.  It gives you all your fruits and your greens for the day and acts as a meal replacement.  While it tastes really great, I still won't be paying $120 a month for it.  That's ridiculous!  The only thing that bothers me about Shakeology is the weird fake sweet aftertaste; it's faint, but it's there.

    I'm happy with my Amazing Grass Green Superfood in Chocolate.  It's not bad at all.  I haven't bought the fruits version, though.  I'm curious as to how good that is.  Maybe if I mixed the two, it would be like Shakeology.  Heh.

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Always Up For A Challenge...

    This is something I thought Liv might like doing...a 30-Day Drawing Challenge.  Since she loves to draw and is quite artistic, I thought she might get a kick out of this kind of challenge.  I'm going to ask her what she thinks of this and see what she says.  I just might do it with her!  It sounds like fun.

    Thursday, August 09, 2012

    Gone, Gone, Gone...

    About two weeks ago, the remnants of the horrible wart Liv had on the palm of her hand finally fell off.  I am so relieved that it's over.  It took what felt like forever to go away.  That was the largest, worst looking wart I've ever seen on the palm of a kid's hand.  Compound W and covering it every night with tape worked like a charm . 

    I sure hope she never gets another one of those ever again.  That thing took on a life of its own!  What freaked me out more than how far it stuck out was the fact that it had so many veins in it.  It was deep; it was large; it was veiny; it was a monster that made my stomach turn every night I treated it.  Ugh.  The palm of her hand looks completely normal now.  And she is no longer self-conscious about it because it's GONE!

    I hope I never see another wart like that again for the rest of my life.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2012

    What Box?...

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me that last one.  Yes, he looks "normal," whatever that is.  I suppose if he were in a wheelchair due to his autism, people wouldn't say that.  The mere fact is that autism is not always glaringly apparent; sometimes only those who are close to him see it.  Others can't put their finger on what's "wrong" and chalk it up to being a boy.  Nothing pisses me off more than people saying any one of the five above, but the last one always makes me cringe.

    Autism does not always slap you in the face when you meet it.  He's not a flapper or a finger flicker or a spinner or a rocker.  He's not a Rain Man and he's not nonverbal.  People are not always aware that autism is a spectrum and no two children have it the same way; there is no typical stereotype.  He is not cognitively delayed or learning disabled; he is socially awkward because of his quirky mannerisms.  So, what makes Jack different?  Often,  it's the insistence on sameness, the OCD of rituals, the need for schedules, or the quirks.  Sometimes you don't notice at all.  Nevertheless, he is still a boy, he is still capable of loving you, he has the ability to carry on a conversation with you, and he is ABOVE ALL a BOY before he is autistic.  High-functioning or not, he is a lovable boy and NOT a label first.  And his journey navigating through a world that constantly assaults his five senses is much more difficult than your journey will ever be.  Jack does not simply think outside the box; to him, the box doesn't even exist and the possibilities are endless.  We should all be that lucky.

    Autism is not a cancer, nor is it a death sentence; it is simply a different way of life.  And just because you can't see it like you can a physical disability, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  "He looks so normal to me..."  If I had a quarter for every time I heard that one...
      I wish more people understood this.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2012

    Like Popcorn...

    Go on.  Smell it.  You know you want to.  Heh.

    Monday, August 06, 2012


    This is going to be a busy week.  Yeesh.  I'd better stockpile my patience before we leave on our roadtrip to the Northwoods on Sunday.

    Now, if only I could find where I put my reserves...

    Sunday, August 05, 2012


    This is sooooo true!  I can't name my favorite book anymore than I can name my favorite child.  There are so many to choose from, people!

    Saturday, August 04, 2012

    Yoga Anyone?...

    This is probably the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.  Heh.

    Friday, August 03, 2012

    If I Could Turn Back Time...

    Today is the last day of Summer Day Camp for Jack and Liv.  They are going to really miss all that activity and all those field trips.  It was a wonderful experience for both of them.  They woke up each morning with a purpose, busted their butts for six hours a day, came home worn out, and slept like rocks at night.

    Now, I have to figure out how to keep them busy and active next week.  Thank goodness we have a pool!  We'll go on vacation on the 12th for a little over a week and then veg out when we get home because I go back to work on the 27th (if there's no teachers' strike).

    I wish I could turn back time.  Summer just flew right by...

    Thursday, August 02, 2012

    So Soon?...

    This is the last week of Day Camp for Jack and Liv.  Tomorrow will be their last day.  It went by so quickly!  They had a great time, though.  It was a great choice.

    They still have a month before they go back to school.  I go back to work the last week of this month.  In two weeks, we'll be going on vacation.  Next week, we'll clean the house and prepare for our trip. 

    I'm exhausted just thinking about the next three weeks, let alone going back to work at the end of the month.  When I was a kid, summers seemed to last forever.  Now that I'm an adult, summers go by so fast.  Sigh.  I  must be getting really old.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2012

    The Scary Seven...

    I've believed for a long time that what you put into your body is what you'll get out of it.  I came across this picture in my Internet travels and it spoke volumes to me.  I've been in a slump lately and I can't help but think it has to do with what I'm putting into my body.

    Everywhere you turn, though, you see the Scary Seven.  You have to eat a completely raw or vegan diet to not ingest any of these things because they're in nearly everything you buy that's packaged, even bread.  While I don't think I'm ambitious enough to eat raw foods only, I have thought about making some changes to my diet and my family's diet.  The only things holding me back...Hubby will never go for it because he's a creature of habit and Jack is the pickiest eater in the world due to his autism.  I don't think I can get anyone but the girls and I on some sort of healthy norm.

    I recently looked into Shakeology for myself.  I have a friend who's a coach for them and swears by it.  I've tried a sample before and I actually like it as a replacement for a meal a day.  It's thick and filling and is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements your body needs.  However, it's very expensive, which I don't think Hubby will go for, either.  The only way to get a break on the cost is to become a coach, as well.  And that requires a small start-up fee.  Yeesh.

    I'm just torn.  Getting good foods into anyone in this house is like pulling teeth, but I need a change.  Perhaps I need to lead the way.  I don't know anymore.  I just want to feel good from the inside out.  Is that too much to ask for.  I've been battling intestinal issues for the last six months and I just want to get well again.  I need to change some habits, though.  And I guess if I have to do it solo, so be it.

    Sigh...There's nothing like climbing a mountain alone.  I don't even know where to begin.