Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Vote for Brandy's next career

Yeah, I don't think I want to do this again next year. I assure you that I have no regrets for having taken a leap of faith and having tried something new and this has had some really high moments. But I no longer get to have a sense of personal time, just grading that goes until midnight and the weekends. What is the use of summer off if this is my life right now? I know that the program I teach makes it an even bigger challenge, but I sense that it is for the student's benefit that I teach this way and I don't want to half ass it. So I think I will no ass it and bow out in May.

I know that it seems to early to make such a decision, and maybe in May I will totally change my mind, but I doubt it. I love my kids, but they will leave and then I will have a totally different batch. The whole thing is exhausting. If I am going to give up so much time, I need to be back making the bigger bucks. I did realize talking to Jason though that the difference between working my tail off here as opposed to the bank is that I do feel like I am busting my hump for a noble cause as opposed to spinning my wheels for the benefit of Dick K to have a third yacht. That makes is good, but just not good enough.

So I open the polls, write in your vote for what Brandy should be after the summer is over and I may try it out!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Check's in the mail

Today is the one month anniversary of being robbed and with just a tad bit of bullying, Jason was able to get the dumb dumb at Allstate to commit to a number and promise a check in the mail. It will be enough to pay for the new laptops we already received weeks ago as well as go out and get me a new iPod and Canon Rebel. So aside from sentimental jewelry gone, the robbery has afforded us the opportunity to simply upgrade. Yay for that.

More school chat: senior pranks have begun and they are hilarious. It all started when Ms. Elvira (code name for the fattie psycho who told the kids she dresses as a vampire, goes to sci fi conventions and is proud of her gamer status) mentioned to her kids that at her old school the kids would do spontaneous funny things and too bad they didn't. Then she had a stroke of amnesia and forgot she ever made the challenge. So when they started spontaneously showing up in her class to shake their bon bons in front of the class and run, she was furious. She's an idiot.

This is an IB thing and out of 200 IB kids, I have 150 of them. These are my kids running wild and it turns out occassionally leaving "for the bathroom" to do it. Like I care. They told me they were hitting more classes and when they hit my class they need to step up their game. I got my wish on Wednesday.

Wednesday was senior breakfast and an absolute waste of time. Those kids didn't come inside the building until after 12, so imagine how much work they were up to. 8th period rolls around and we'd spent the first 30 minutes "having a party" and were about to start our work when a ruckus in the hall is heard. My kids force me in the room, bringing me to the realization that we were getting our visit. A tall boy I didn't know came into the room with a jambox a la John Cusack in Say Anything and started playing it on his shoulder. Loud dance music boomed out and four boys burst into the room like soldiers on a mission. They tore off their uniformed shirts and threw them across the room and underneath wore white shirts that said "Man Zone." Yes, I know how gay that sounds, but it was their choice. Then they proceed to dance for about 45 seconds in Chippendale's style, and that image is burned into my retina. I sense that I could fired for even seeing the dirty dancing, so I covered my eyes in self preservation. Then as quickly as it began, they marched out, sticking "Man Zone" signs on the walls as they left. We laughed so hard, and then one boy came and did the walk of shame to collect their shirts. I handed him the pile as he worked his hardest to avoid eye contact.

Yes, your child too could have a public education like this... and I can hardly wait to see what they are going to do to top that one...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy two month anniversary!

One of my students today let me know that we had reached my two month milestone of teaching and congratulated me on this momentous day with a card and special gift. Touched by the sentiment, I ripped into the shiny paper and was ecstatic to see a copy of "Josie and the Pussycats" with Rachel Leight Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid.

Am I serious about that level of passion? Oh yes, I love that movie. When we were talking in class about my robbery (hey, I have 90 minutes to fill and Canterbury Tales doesn't always stretch far enough), the conversation turned to my previous robbery. The first robbery was a DVD player and 50 DVD's, including the stunning title I previously mentioned. I had to confess that I **love** that movie and missed it more than Casino, Goodfellas and the other fine movies that celebrate my 1/2-1/4 Italian heritage.

So then I was doubly happy to see that this meant that this guy listened to my class enough to pick up on that, and felt like my ecstasy could only be topped if he had actually learned something that might be on the IB exam. As far as I know, Mrs. Cumberland's misfortunes will not be a selection for the oral commentary, but I will check on that.

The highlights from the card from my fab 8th period - they use big words because this is the smarty pants class:
...what is the purpose of this thank you note? The answer to this is simple. First of all, the card embodies the class' appreciation that you're our IB English teacher, instead of (no good teacher here)...we wouldn't want to be in our comrades' predicament of having to listen to him blather insessently throughout the entire class and we are also grateful that you do not religiously practice witchcraft like (crazy woman here), as she asserts. Basically we are thankful of our luck that our counselors decided to arrange our schedule so we could be in your class (and this next part means he learned from our unit on One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) just like Shukhov was fortunate not to end up at the Socialist Development Center thanks to Tiurin's shrewd ways.

Secondly, the letter serves to congratulate you for maintaining a sanity level and affable character after the first two months of teaching...Anyways, we commend you for not going home every night and sobbing in the corner while watching the Real World or South Park with 9 quarts of Ben and Jerry's and wishing you hadn't renounced your position at the bank as branch manager"

Moments like that are the only reason I stay, and I think it says a lot about my character than I censor myself enough that he doesn't know I go home and cut on myself with razor blades to relieve the pressures of the day. Oh sweet blood. Kidding, of course. But it does really suck sometimes. And so I cut...

Speaking of blood, when we flew to Philly, Jason and the other teacher we were with saw this priest who was on the flight. He had a crucifix the size of Dylan and blood all on his white robe. Jason and this teacher were pretty obsessed with the guy. I was just freaked out to make fun of him in my head since right after I dissed God's aim in this blog, he possibly made a display of showing off his mad skills by allowing my house to be robbed. Blasphemy, I know, but at least I am not so much a lost soul as not to consider his grand power and his retribution for my actions. My mind is still slightly ajar, and especially since I know what to expect when Bush and Cheney usher in the Rapture. Anyways, I could argue that two other houses were robbed in the same spree and so the skills may not be so mad, but I do not need to anger the Man Upstairs again.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Friday I picked Dylan up from school and he and I headed home to prepare for our trip to Denver. We got to the house and as the garage door was opening, I took my time getting Dylan and I out of the car. I saw that the door from the house was open, but didn't think much of it because it doesn't close well and it ends up open half the time. As I got closer to the doorway, I noticed that the cabinets were open in the mud room. Good, maybe Jason was looking for the title to the truck his mom had found a buyer for that same day. At that moment, my eyes took in the rest of the scene and I realized that we had been robbed...again.

I will start by saying that I took it all in fairly calmly at first because I expected it. Do you ever get that feeling that something is going to happen and then you are relieved because you no longer have to wait for it? That's how I felt, like we'd been hit and that was the worst of it. I set Dylan down with his toys, next to the entertainment center pulled away from the wall so that the thieves could get the X-box out. I noticed both laptops were gone, cameras, etc. and continued to assure myself that these were just things and that they were absolutely replacable (and with better models at that!)

What things do you keep in your bedroom that you don't want the world to see? We've got some stuff, and there is no feeling like seeing these, um, things tossed to the side by some strangers who totally violated your space. My bras and panties were all over the place and I sighed as the emotion came into my throat. My Grandmother's pearls had been found and taken. My mom had given them to me to wear for my wedding and I never bothered to give them back. They had escaped unharmed last time and that should have made it a priority to give them back, but I guess I assumed I had hit my robbery quota and forgot. Then I went into Dylan's room.

Dylan's room is very clearly a baby's room. If the crib isn't a clue, then maybe the A-B-C books or rocking horse could be an effective tool in figuring that out. Yet these criminals decided a baby's room was at least worth checking out. When I got to Dylan's dresser and saw that his sterling silver piggy bank was gone, that's when I got pissed and teary. Who the fuck is such a loser that they steal a baby's piggy bank?! Really, I'd like to know. Yeah, it had like $75 in it. It also had that little thing on the bottom to let the money out. Dylan got that from his grandparents for Christmas and I love polishing it and putting money in it (dollar coins only in that one). And now some meth head effing loser is trying to convince someone to give him $5 for it after he already bought some crank with the dollar coins. Effen loser.

So there's the drama. We couldn't decide whether or not to go to Denver, but after Continental promised to charge us $100 each to change it, we went. I didn't mention it before, but the thieves actually kicked in our front door to get it. Both of our parents were hear within minutes of finding out what happened. Paul and Karen went and rekeyed the doors and repaired the front door so that it would close, since the thieves had hit it with such force that the casing was splintered and hanging off and the hardware from the door had literally been thrown off the wood. My mom consoled me and assured me that the pearls (her mom's) had been through three robberies including her own and that they had finally simply been taken. Knowing our family would drop everything instantly to help us when we need them is a fantastic feeling, and it is a shame that it takes lows to make you the most aware of that.

There were two other similar front door break-in's in the neighborhood that same day. Suddenly every young minority who has been through the neighborhood to read a meter is being remembered by neighbors who had a bad feeling at the time and I doubt anything will come of it. My neighbor across the street was in the garage the whole time mine happened. We'll get an alarm, but what a crap-o feeling knowing someone came in and disrespected you and your family's space. My mom was really upset because she thinks I interupted them. That is up for debate, since they exited out the back door and one of my old school cameras was actually out of the bag and on the floor. Not a good feeling.

We will go ahead and get an alarm this time. I hate alarms and the lack of trust in the world that they imply, but my trust in the world keeps getting tested and I don't want anyone to get hurt next time. The whole thing is a shame, I hate that it puts value in the belief that the city is unsafe and that to have a shot at a safe place to raise your kids you have to move 30 miles from downtown.

But the thing I hate the most is that the thieves always take a pillowcase. The king sized one, which I had finally gotten around to replacing, and for what ever reason is a pain to replace. Just like last time, the duffle bags were in plain view, and yet they took the pillowcase...sigh.