Comments from the Peanut Gallery

Taking one day at a time...

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  • Sunday, September 30, 2012


    The kids have expressed an interest in doing yoga, so I've printed this out and put it in a visible place.  They don't really do any of the more complicated poses, but when they first tried, it sure was fun watching their attempts.  Heh.  Maybe one day they'll actually get the whole "being quiet" part of it.

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    I Swear...

    There's a little ass whippin' redneck Momma in all of us.

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    I Need A Nap...

    You have no idea.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012


    The same goes for my Mom voice.  They're interchangeable, really.  Heh.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Are You In?...

    I'm contemplating doing this again.  I love how pictures can tell a story, sometimes even better than words can.  Are you in?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Hed Code...

    I have my first cold of the school year and it's a doozy.  Yeesh.  My head is clogged and pounding; my eyes are itchy and swollen; I can't stop sneezing and blowing my nose.  And it's only Tuesday.  Ugh.  While I have seasonal allergies, it's never, ever been like this, so I'm pretty sure I have a bad cold.  I woke up early Monday morning with a sore throat, so I'm not happy camper right now.

    Now, I just have to wait for all four kids to get it, too.  Fun times around here, I tell ya!

    "Ya gotta love school germs," said no one ever.

    Monday, September 24, 2012


    Monday already?  Gosh, I'm just not ready for it.  I'm trying, but I'm just not ready to start a new week yet.  Last week was so exhausting and I feel like it's all catching up with me now.  I feel so drained.  No matter how much sleep I get, it's never, ever enough.

    I decorated the house for Halloween yesterday.  I couldn't help it.  This is my favorite time of year and the kids are so excited about it.  As tired as I was, though, I put everything up inside the house and the kids were happy. 

    Today is the start of a new week, but I'm just not feeling it.  I'm trying, though.  I'm trying.  I hope I'm not coming down with something and this rundown feeling I have is just allergies.  Yeesh.

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

    Digging Out the Hoodies...

    Oh, it's crisp outside...for now.  Chicago weather...cold one day, warm the next.
    I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    Autumn Flavors...

    This recipe sounds so good!
    I love rosemary; I love butternut squash; I love a good bisque; and I love autumn!
    I just might have to make this, especially since today's the first day of autumn...

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Liesl's New Trick...

    I almost passed out when she got on that bicycle and rode it like she'd been doing it for years.
    Wow, they really do grow up too fast.  She's not even THREE yet!  Sigh...

    Thursday, September 20, 2012


    What a poignant quote! 
     It reminds me of certain dictators in history, as well as our current mayor.  Heh.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012


    Well, the strike is over and the kids are back in school.  I'm tired of talking about it, so I'm only going to address it a little by saying that we won a battle, but we didn't win the war.  There is still a lot to be done to make sure every child gets the same opportunities in our public schools.  I'm tired of the kids in wealthier areas of the city getting all the resources and the poorer kids getting nothing, yet the poor schools are the first that get closed.  That's what this strike was about; it was never about money for teachers because I would gladly give up my raise if it guaranteed smaller class sizes across the city, current textbooks and novels, and a nurse and a social worker in every school.  But I digress.

    My Dad is making good progress.  The next few days will be very rough as he tries to move around more.  Hopefully he'll qualify for the rehab program and he'll gain some confidence there before he has to come home.  Fear and pain are never a good mix. 

    I'll be back at work today, but I don't know what I'm going to do in my classroom yet.  Maybe some persuasive writing about social justice.  That would be appropriate, wouldn't it?

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    About Those Three Things From Yesterday...

    1.  My Dad had a successful open heart surgery.  He wound up with a quadruple bypass and was off the ventilator within a few hours after his surgery.  He sure is a fighter.  Hopefully, he never has to go through this ever again.  The next few weeks and months are going to be hard for him, but he will get a little better each day.  My Sister spent the night in his ICU room with him.  I'm sure it did them both some good to be near each other at this difficult time, especially since she lives two states away.  She will keep him from yelling at people while she's there.  I wish she could stay forever.  Heh.

    2.  I am still on strike with my Union brothers and sisters.  We take an anonymous vote today on the contract, which our delegate will take back to her meeting and vote accordingly.  Our Union-busting mayor tried to take the Union to court and get a court-ordered injunction on the grounds that he believes the strike is illegal; he lost.  Now, he's really pissed.  I'm not sure how I'll vote today. 

    3.  Hubby is holding up well with the kids during this strike.  What's another day, right?  Liv had a friend over yesterday, too.  I had left the house at 5am to be with Dad and I hadn't gotten home until shortly before 4pm.  Hubby had his hands full, but he's a trooper.  He makes it all look easy. 

    That is all, for now.  I have picketing duty and a hospital visit on the schedule today.  Let's hope it's a good day for all of us.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Three Things...

    1.  My Dad is scheduled for open heart surgery this morning.  My Sister is in from Kansas; my Mom and my Brother will be there, too.  It's going to be a day of sitting on pins and needles, hoping everything turns out well and he can have a smooth recovery.  It will, for sure, be a triple bypass, but they won't know if it will be a quadruple until they go in there.  I just can't imagine my father with his chest cracked open.  I can't get that thought out of my head.  So, I'm awake right now, getting ready to meet them all at the hospital in a little while so I can see my Dad before he goes in for surgery.  I'm nervous.

    2.  I am still on strike with my Union brothers and sisters.  I may or may not walk the picket line today.  If my family wants me with them, I will stay at the hospital.  The picket line might keep my mind busy because I just want to cry right now.

    3.  My own children and husband are going nuts with this strike.  They want to go back to school; we want them to go back to school; however, we also know that this contract that I get needs to be ironed out before it gets approved.  There are 100+ pages for the delegates to review with their school staffs, so I can't imagine the kids will be in school until Wednesday, at the absolute earliest.  I am not impressed with what I know about the contract, so far.  I think it's worth a little more fighting if it means crucial areas will get addressed or improved.

    Those three things are the only things I have on my mind.  The first one is what scares me the most.  A job is a job, a career is a career; but you only get one Dad.

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    On Edge...

    Well, today's the day the House of Delegates votes on whether or not to end our strike.
    I've seen the framework of the Board's proposal to the Union and I'm not sure if I like some things in it.
    The language is still being worked on so that nothing gets snuck in under the Union's nose before it gets presented to the House of Delegates.  The vote determines whether or not school will resume tomorrow.

    If we know the mayor, he'll be out for blood after this because he looks really stupid now.  Sigh...
    Doesn't everyone know that you don't just strong-arm your way through people like they don't matter, especially children and those who enrich children's Chicago, nonetheless?!

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    A Very Full Plate...

    You have no idea.  Sigh.

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Strike, Day Five...

    We're all hopeful that this will be the last day we're on strike.  It would be nice to be back into our classrooms next week.  I had received an update from the Union at 8pm on Wednesday night, saying that things were a little better, but they had a long way to go.  On Thursday morning, things had improved a lot, even though they hadn't pulled an all-nighter; they had stopped at 11:30pm, so how much could've gotten done in three hours?

    I'm guessing that Obama called Rahm Emanuel and told him to fix this shit because it was killing his chances for re-election if teachers everywhere don't vote for him.  Obama never took a stand on our strike, so for all he knows, teachers everywhere hate him, too.  He probably told Rahm to get his shit together and make this right.  Hence, the sudden progress in the negotiations.

    I'm ready for this to be over.  My feet are killing me.
    The solidarity, though, is amazing.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    40 Candles...

    Happy 40th Birthday, Hubby!
    The kids and I love you with all of our hearts!

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Strike, Day Three...

    Yes, that's me speaking into the bullhorn.
    I was reading a very poignant blog post written by a CPS teacher.
    It speaks volumes to all of us, as it should to all of you, too.

    There are some who don't understand why we're striking and I'm tired of the mayor and the media making us out to seem like we're only fighting about money.  Yes, money is a small part of it, but our main reasons have everything to do with the children we service who do not get the same resources as the children in the wealthier neighborhoods.  It's a problem and it's not going to stop unless we do something about it.  If you know anyone who's having a hard time understanding why we're striking, please send them here or here.

    Frankly, it's tiring explaining this to people over and over again, especially when they're going to believe whatever the media tells them anyway.

    This is not all about us and it never was.  Read the articles and our fight will make more sense to you.
    Solidarity forever.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Strike, Day Two...

    Nothing compares to this.
    You should try it.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Strike, Day One...

    Today was my first time on the picket line during a strike.  The last CTU strike was in 1987 and I was in a private Catholic high school; it didn't affect me. 

    I must say that the energy I felt among my Union brothers and sisters was a very positive, very powerful feeling. 

    Only one drunk heckler that the police escorted away; he drove off, but the cop stayed with us.  Heh.  Solidarity, people. 

    We had a peaceful demonstration filled with chants and songs and a very positive energy.  Every truck driver honked.  Every ambulance had sirens on for us.  Every police car put their sirens on for us, too.  Parents honked; some actually picketed with us and their children.  It was a very powerful feeling to know that we are supported by many who don't believe the bullshit the mayor puts on the news about us.

    Tomorrow is Day Two.  Keep your fingers crossed.

    Sunday, September 09, 2012

    No Deal...Yet...

    Well, a deal still has not been reached between the Chicago Board of Ed and the Chicago Teachers Union.  If no deal is hammered out by midnight tonight, we will officially be on strike.  It'll be the first strike in 25 years; the last one lasted 19 days. 

    I have a feeling this is going to get very ugly if it's not resolved soon.

    Fingers crossed for my first experience picketing...

    Wow.  Just wow.

    Saturday, September 08, 2012

    Wearing It With Pride...

    I got my shirt yesterday and I'm ready to wear it on Monday when I'm picketing.
    If the Board and the Union reach an agreement by midnight on Sunday, then I'll still wear my shirt to work on Monday.  Heh.  I can't see Mayor Rahm Emanuel backing down any time soon, though.  He's a dirty bastard that has no respect for teachers.

    There is safety in numbers; it's the only thing I like about math.

    Friday, September 07, 2012

    The Smell of Rotting Leaves...

    I don't know about you, but I'm ready for fall to start already.
    Pumpkin, butternut squash, cinnamon, crock pot cooking, split pea soup, cool crisp air, jammie pants, football, and hot cider...

    Are we there yet?

    Thursday, September 06, 2012

    Always Consider the Source...

    Always consider the source.
    If they've never walked a mile in your shoes, they can't possibly understand.
    They can imagine your journey, but they'll never know how it feels.
    Likewise, you will never understand their journey, either.
    Hopefully, you can agree to disagree or meet somewhere in the middle.
    And that's my two cents of wisdom for the day.  Heh.

    Wednesday, September 05, 2012

    First Grade, Second Grade...

    Here's a photo of Liv and Jack's first day of school.
    Liv looks adorable.  It also doesn't surprise me one bit that Jack wanted to make faces.
    They both had a good day.
    How exciting!  Oh, to be that young again...

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012

    First Day...

    Today is Jack's first day of second grade.  It is also Liv's first day of first grade.  My babies are growing up.  How could they go from diapers to reading books so quickly?  Sigh...  It is also my first day with students. 

    If I get past my tears at the start of a new school year for my oldest two, I'll try to remember to post a picture of them.  As a teacher, it's never easy sending your kids into someone else's classroom, hoping they'll thrive and grow and learn there without you.  Lucky for us, they've got great teachers.  Then again, it helps that Mama works for the same school system and keeps regularly contact with them all.  Heh.

    Happy first day of school, kids!  Mama loves you and cannot wait to hear about your day when we meet again after school! 

    Monday, September 03, 2012

    Everyone Can Remember Their Favorite One...

    Remember how you became what you are today. 
    I'm pretty sure a teacher had something to do with it.

    Sunday, September 02, 2012


    There is something very precious about a child opening up a book and getting lost in it.
    It warms my heart, feeds my soul, and calms my nerves.

    Liv has been reading a lot lately...quietly.  I have found that when she is lost in a good book, she's quiet.  This, in turn, makes all the other kids in this house a lot less noisy.  I won't say they are quieter because they are never quiet.  However, one less booming voice in this house can make a huge difference.  Plus, she's setting a great example for her siblings, as well.  They see her ignoring them because she's reading a good book and they go over to the shelves and take out books they can read.  They want to know what's so exciting, what's so special about stuff inside of books.  Before you know it, all of them are quiet and the house is at peace, so much so that you can hear a pin drop.

    Reading.  We love it here.  It's like manna has fallen from the sky and landed in my living room.
    I can finally pee without someone barging in now.

    Saturday, September 01, 2012

    Wow...Just Wow...

    Wow.  What a week!  I am so exhausted and I didn't even get everything done that I needed to get done at work.  There is so much that goes into making a classroom organized and inviting for students.  The way I look at it, I ask myself, "Would I want my own kid sitting in a classroom that looks like this?"  That's how I approach my design and that's why it takes several days to make it just right.

    So, after the kids went to bed last night, I worked from home.  I sure hope the office is making all the copies that I need done for next week...

    Other than that, I need to RELAX this weekend.  It's my first three-day weekend of this school year and I won't have another day off during the work week for another nine weeks.  Boooooooo!

    Then again, if we go on strike, I just might have a lot of days off.  Heh.