Thursday, October 31, 2013


Yesterday when I posted about my failing vision as a sign of age, I forgot to mention the other unfortunate symptoms: I somehow injured my neck in my sleep the other night and am at this very second wearing an ice pack over my shoulder to help with the shooting pain. Also, this morning I went to the doctor to see about my ailing foot.

I was right in thinking it was plantar fascitis, but do you know what's CAUSING that ridiculous condition? It's arthritis in my big toe joints.


And failing vision and a tweaked neck.

The good news is the PF is treatable and the doc had no doubts about me training for and running Boston. He did, however, say I had to wear different shoes.

"Do you have a job where you're on your feet a lot?"

"Um, yes," I said. "I'm a teacher. I'm on my feet all day."

"Yeah," he said. "Well, I'm going to recommend shoes with a hard, rocking bottom. Do you know Danskos?"

Do I know Danskos? The shoes I wore daily for several years until I embraced fashion? Until Tim Gunn told me via national television that my clogs were "the homeliest shoes in the world"?!

"I do know them," I told him. "I wore them all the time until Tim Gunn said they were the homeliest shoes in the world."

He looked unphased by this comment and basically said, "Do you want to run your marathon or not?"

I do, I said.

"Okay," he said. "I'll give you a coupon for Schuler's."

Schuler's. You guys, that's the orthopedic shoe store. Where the old people with their walkers go. Also, people who are only allowed to wear clogs. People with arthritis in their toe joints.

"They carry both the clogs and the berry-colored SuperFeet insoles I want you to have," Dr. L. continued.

Super. I can't wait to go there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I was getting some housekeeping done while my students were watching the first 35 minutes of Gary Sinise's Of Mice and Men. It was hard to do all the work by the light of my computer, but I was determined. One of my tasks was sending heads-up emails to the kids and parents of those kids who failed the first quiz on the novel.

I looked at George's score: 3.5/10. I'm concerned, I wrote to George. Let's kick it into gear.

Later when I turned on the light, I found that George actually earned 8.5, not 3.5. It was hard to see in the dark. Plus, I'm getting old.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Have you ever experienced hockey try-outs for nine year-olds?

They are interminable and inordinately stressful.

They've been going on for like a week and are still not finished. This isn't like me to say, but I'm going to say: let's stop the madness and just play tons of hockey every day for the entire winter until March.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I looked through the Friday Folder today and came to find out that Mac's been experimenting with different ways to write his name.

"Did you write 'Mr. Mac?'" I asked.

"Yes," he giggled. "I like to do that."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The song in this cool video is by a band called The Killers. The song is called, "All These Things That I've Done."

This video was introduced to me by my stellar teaching partner. That partner and I have the same name, which starts with K. Also, we each have two boys. We each gave our boys last names as first names. We also married guys who went to the same school and grew up in the same neighborhood. It's weird, kind of, but it's also fun.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I came down to breakfast this morning and started making coffee, just like normal. Because I now have a "meditation practice," I've "integrated" coffee making into my habit of "mindfulness." Like, I try to "check in with my breath" and stuff while I make coffee.

So, I was doing that, when I was interrupted by my husband, who is now golfing this morning and will not be present for Shef's hockey session.

"I've agreed to talk to you on behalf of Shef," he begins, "about tying his skates tighter at practice."

I raised my left eyebrow and frowned skeptically.

"Like," he continued, "sometimes it's a matter of pulling out really hard on the laces." He demonstrated the appropriate action.

I stared in incredulous silence for a beat before delivering my response: "Do you think I'm not trying to tie the skates as tight as I can?"

"Well," he said. "Um."

"Do you think there might be a difference in, for instance, the SIZE OF OUR MUSCLES?!"

This prompted Dan to flex and make gun references.

"I can't believe you two would even bring this up," I said, directing my ire at both males in question. "Maybe Shef should just tie his own dumb skates."

There were some attempted hugs and condolences, but I remained irked.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Good news: Mac's started Writers' Workshop. His teacher showed us his first two pieces at his conference today.

The first one was about how happy he was when we got our dog, Skip.

The next one was really impressive. It was about how he either wanted to view the Olympics or compete in the Olympics. He even drew the Olympic rings. And, you can imagine my joy when Mrs. V. told me about how Mac already understands revision.

"After he wrote this, he came back to me and proudly showed me how he changed all the CSs to Xs, because it's O-lym-piX."

I love that.


My own kids and I were walking through the middle school the other day after school, en route to tae kwon do class.

"We're headed to tae kwon do," I told my boss and a passing colleague, smiling.

"Do you do that with them?" my boss asked asked, stopping to chat.

"Oh no," I said, chuckling. "I just sit there using the free internet."

"She grades," explained my colleague.

"Well, I wasn't sure," my boss qualified, pantomiming some punches.

"I'm just not the type of person who would succeed at tae kwon do," I said. "Can you see me, like, sparring?"

"Oh, I can totally see it," said my colleague.

"Really?" I said, wrinkling my nose. I did a side kick and asked a nearby student, "Hey, Alex, could you see me doing tae kwon do?"

She burst out laughing.

"See?" I said to my colleague.

"Oh," she said, "I didn't say I thought you'd be GOOD at it. I think it would be really funny, actually. It just seems like something you would do."

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I've been having some trouble with my right foot. It's plantar fascitis. I'm pretty lucky to have never had this bane before, but I do have it now. I've been pretty stupid about it, unfortunately. I haven't taken it that seriously; I've been negligent on the stretching. I've kept running, even though it hurts.

Now, I'm making a solemn vow to discontinue this ridiculous behavior.

I will wear inserts in all my shoes. I will take another week off of running. I will take my anti inflammatories. I will stretch and strengthen my feet. Basically, I will use common sense instead of just sort of vaguely hoping the PF will resolve by magic.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Mac is learning how to read. They're using a program called Fundations. Mac said he doesn't really like Fundations. I don't really care about that. He seems to be knowing letter sounds, spelling words out with the right sounds, and recognizing some words in print; so that seems good. There's a cute owl called Echo and the teacher says the kids like his spinny head. Mac says he likes him and makes me repeat some letter sounds like "f, fun, fffff." Fundations is new this year. Let's be honest, I'm sure it's just ffffine.

But, I have to say, I don't like the name of the program Fundations. When Mac's teacher told me about it, she said, "I feel so silly saying 'FUNdations."

"Yeah," I agreed. "Just because you teach Kindergarten doesn't mean you're IN Kindergarten."

"Exactly," she said.

And, similarly, just because I teach middle school doesn't mean I'm IN middle school; although I still do like fart jokes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Tough question to answer this morning on the way to school. The boys just got their hair cut short and spiky which emphasizes a certain family trait.

Shef: Mom, do my ears stick out?

Me: Um, what? [buying time]

Shef: Do my ears stick out?

Me: Well... [deciding to abide by philosophy of honesty] I'm sorry to tell you that all of our ears stick out. You get it from me. Super sorry.

Mac: MY ears don't stick out.

[His are actually the worst of all of our ears]

Me: I love your ears. Your ears look great.

Friday, October 4, 2013


One of the highlights of my week is my violin lesson with Master Instructor Jennifer. We're working on some tough stuff these days, namely some movements of Concerto in A minor, Op. 3, No. 6 by Antonio Vivaldi. Here's what Itzhak Perlman, World Famous Violinist, sounds like playing it:

You might want to just listen to that as you read the rest of this post and imagine me playing that piece in my living room.

So, this week, Jennifer gave me some Suzuki Education about Listening.

Did you know that if you listen to something three times a day for eight days in a row, you basically have it memorized? This is important to me because Jennifer makes me perform everything from memory in order to get my stickers, which are supremely motivating for some embarrassing reason, even though I'm 35 years old.

Besides listening to the Suzuki repertoire with frequency, Jennifer said I'm also supposed to listen to other stuff on a regular basis.

"Like, are you listening to jazz?" Jennifer asked. "Are you listening to bluegrass? Are you listening to other high quality classical recordings?"

"You mean like Katy Perry?" I asked.

She gave me a blank square.

"Call Me Maybe? One Direction?"

She caught on.

"I have heard of Justin Bieber," she admitted.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


September is now over, and it's time to get real. We can no longer be frantic 100% of the time. That September CRUSH is not sustainable. Finally today, I looked at my desk and realized I had nothing I needed to race to accomplish. I could take a deep breath and focus on the exhale. I could send some "good news" emails and catch up on my reading for Teachers of the Future. Tomorrow, I can still teach about adjectives, and everything will probably be fine.


I'm listening to a fabulous audio book called Code Name Verity.

I'll be honest and tell you that I found the beginning to be a bit slow. I probably would have quit reading it if I were using a paper copy. But, the audio version is performed by Morven Christie, a Scottish gal with a sweet voice and an appealing brogue. I still have a few hours of this book left. By this point, I'm 100% engrossed in the plot and invested in the narrator, Queenie. I'm pretty sure there are going to be some twists and turns.