Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Here's to research

How nice to have a day when you can get up, lounge around a bit, and then put some of your affairs in order. I had the chance to go through mail, pay a few bills, and make some important phone calls that I have been meaning to get to - and now, I did!

I am working on a party for my mom's 80th birthday in February. Even though she had a really beautiful party for her 75th, my brother Jon and I felt that she should have one for 80. She really is a terrific person - ok, so she drives me nuts sometimes, but really, the fault is not always hers, it's my impatience at times. As mother's go, she is great. She always is willing to listen to me brag or gripe or moan or delight in something. She is not TOO judgemental. She has been through a lot in her life, then had to listen to all that my brother and I went through at various times in our adult lives, and still loves us. So why not celebrate the lady and her accomplishment of reaching 80. I did tell her, however, that when she reaches 85 - we're just taking her out for a nice dinner!!

I saved myself some time and footwork by searching on the internet and making several phone calls to a few restaurants that I know to be good. I was able to have two of them fax or e-mail their menus to me. I called the third restaurant and left a message with their party manager (who has not gotten back to me yet). Then I had a scathingly, brilliant idea. I had not been there at all and have been dying to eat there, so what better excuse could I have then to want to RESEARCH the restaurant. So - off we all went...Mom, brother Jon, niece Gianna, Gerry and I to Mon Ami. I must tell you...the food was GREAT!!!! The service was GREAT!!!! and I sincerely hope that this party lady calls, has the date open and a decent menu available at a decent price and will be a done deal! If not, I fall back onto one of my two other choices - both Italian restaurants, and what can be bad about that?

After dinner we went to see Meet The Fockers, but it was sold out, so we got tix to see The Aviator. It was excellent, and Leonardo di Caprio was terrific as Howard Hughes. Now my interest is peaked and I have to search the net for info on HH, of which I am sure there is a wealth of information.

Tomorrow we (hopefully) have our DirectTV Tivo-like box put in. Fingers are crossed that they have a 70+ hour model, otherwise we will just install the TIVO that I bought Gerry for Xmas and that will be that!

Jon and Gianna go home tomorrow night. Loved having them here but it will be good not to have to think of meeting others everyday, and just busying myself with other things to do - of which I have about 5 already in the fire.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Catching up

I know it's been awhile since I wrote here, but since the only readers (that I know of) are Alison and Karen, and they were in Mexico, there really was no sense in writing. Plus I have been SOOO busy - what else is new?

School ended last Wednesday. The kids had a half day, and I enjoyed having the afternoon to get some things done in my room - grades entered on the computer, lesson plans written. In the afternoon I went for my monthly massage - ahh, that felt SO good! My neck was so tense - it was just what I needed.

I had to go in Thursday morning. I could have just shown my face and left, but I was going to visit my friend/co-worker Shawn afterward, and he lives even further South, so it made sense to stay and do some work at school. I got the room ready for our January return, made the room a little bit more manageable, sorted through books, etc. Then I went to breakfast with Pam, our new kindergarten teacher. We never really get a chance to chat, so it was nice to be out for a bit with her. When we parted, I drove to Shawn's. Shawn had a major motorcycle accident October 22. Thank goodness he's ok - well, sort of. He lost his spleen, cracked 3 ribs, broke his scapula, and had horrific internal injuries. But he's 24, an optimist, and is doing surprisingly well. His family is SOOO nice, and before I knew it, 2 1/2 hours had gone by. Then I went for my manicure and brow waxing - always feels good to "clean up."

On Friday we shopped at Costco for "noshies and finger foods" for that night. My brother Jon and niece Gianna came in from CT and Gerry picked them up and had them here by 7:30PM. Mom, Suzzette and Brian were here, and three of our friends came over. We had a nice Xmas eve, eating, chatting, laughing. Then we opened everyone else's presents, and Gerry asked that we open two of ours (there were only 3 or 4 for each of us from the other, anyway). He had already seen the jacket that I got him, and knew he was getting an electric shaver, so that's what I picked for him to open. He surprised me with a dive computer and a very good pair of fins. I never expected either one. I would not have gotten the dive computer on my own as it is really expensive - I usually just use the air indicator, compass and my watch. The DC does everything in one, and then some.

Saturday morning we woke and opened our gifts. I received a nice check that I was told to use on clothing - yeah, like I have any room in my little closet! Gerry was thrilled with TIVO and promptly began to install it. The installation went well, but the activation was more of a pain. It seems that we have DirectTV so it goes thru them. No biggie, as it is only 1/3 the cost monthly. But I found out that I could purchase a "TIVO" unit thru DirectTV for $'s the sattelite and DVR all in one. THAT'S GREAT!!! I thought. However, they cannot tell you which DVR you are could be 30 hrs, 70 hrs or's the luck of the draw. I told the guy, "That's like my husband telling you, when he comes to give you a moving estimate, 'So you want to move to NY? Sorry, our drivers are going to CA, so we will take your furniture there!'" I couldn't believe it. I made an appointment and told the guy to have the driver call before he gets here, and if he doesn't have a 70 hr or better to give us, he shouldn't bother coming over. Then I will keep the one I purchased in the first place.

We spent the afternoon at my cousin Ann's and had a great time. I brought my knitting and finished a pair of socks (did almost the entire second sock there). These are for my friend's 9 yr old son, who saw me knitting a pair last month and asked if I could make him a pair. How could I say no? Now I am working on a pair for my son-in-law....since both will get a pair, I don't know which of them will get this one. Most likely I will make both pair and then send them at the same time. I also want to get yarn to make my OKC brother Randy the scarf he requested. That is something I need to do this week.

Today we went to see Lemony Snicket (movie starring Jim Carrey). It was really cute, but not one that I would say rush out to see (it is a great kid's movie, though). Tomorrow we hope to see the Aviator.

So we are here, watching the Jets/Patriots game, probably doing pizza and wings for dinner. Not a bad way to spend the evening, and of course, I'll be working on those socks.

Just have to add...I am SOOO glad that Alison is home from Mexico. I really missed her, reading her blog and talking to her! I miss Becca too...she and Phil are in England for the holiday. I don't talk to her as much as I do to Alison, but I like knowing that she is there if I need to chat.

Happy New Year to all!!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

It's a wrap!

Yesterday was my school's holiday party. We were fortunate to have the home of our school nurse, Inka, to have the party at. The house is beautiful - high ceilings, gorgeous winding staircase in the center hall, furnished like a model home. I was in charge of the party. As always, I had ordered WAY too much food. It was Chinese food and it was delicious. About 24 people showed up. It's really too bad that many of our teachers don't see the importance of getting together at least once or twice a year, to get to know each other away from school, to let our hair down, to see each other in a more relaxed mode. Those of us who came had such a good time. We talked, ate, and had a cutthroat Chinese auction. For those of you who are not familiar with this, here's how it goes: Participants bring a wrapped but unmarked gift and then takes a number. Number 1 takes a gift from under the tree, opens it and we all ooo and ahh. # 2 person has the choice of taking an unwrapped gift, or #1's gift. If a person's gift is taken from them, he/she gets to take the next turn. A gift can only be taken away 3 times and then it's out of the game. I ended up with two little white holiday plates (you know THOSE will be regifted to a Chinese auction) and Gerry got a crystal mantal clock (we don't have a mantal, so....regift it). Then the music was pumped up and some of us ladies did some fun dancing. It was so much fun.
Today after sleeping late (we got home around 1 last night) I puttered around and then finally got my butt in gear. I took my car to the mechanic. It needs a new electrical switch - my headlights don't work except on high beams. Gerry and I will switch cars and he will take mine in on Monday for the repair work. Then I did a little shopping. I was on my way to the Boynton Library to return a book on tape when I stopped into JoAnn's fabric store. They had a good sale - Xmas wrap, cards, etc were 60% off. Of course I checked out the yarns, and the Wool-Ease yarn was on sale for $1.99/skein. I just had to buy enough to make socks for Becca, Phil, Michael and Alison. I also bought for Gianna, as I decided to give the socks that I made for her to my para. After that and the library, I picked up the dog's beds that I had put into the huge washer at the laundermat (they don't fit into my machine). And then it was time to .....WRAP!!! I had to wrap all the presents that our Sunshine Committee gives to the office staff, plus gifts that I give to my friends at work, my kids, Gerry, friends, etc. I was almost done when Ger came home and suggested we go to dinner and the movies. How could I say no? We went to Ruby Tuesdays (my treat). I ordered the low carb Creole Catch, which is really good, but after one helping of the salad bar I couldn't finish my entre, it was too much for me. We then walked around Mizner Park, a really pretty shopping area (where we already were) in Boca Raton. By the time we made the full round of stores it was time for the movie. We saw Flight of the Phoenix, which was very good. I had seen the original but don't remember it, so I guess we will have to rent it soon. I was SO good - I only ate TWO KERNALS of Gerry's popcorn!
Alison and Mike flew to Puerta Vallarta today to meet his parents there for a week long vacation. I am going to miss speaking to Alison. Lately we talk at least once every other day, and sometimes more. I love that she calls or is free to talk when I call. I have been speaking more to Bex on the phone as well. Makes me so happy that the girls and I always have so much to talk about.
The eyes are closing and I have to get to sleep. Tomorrow is more wrapping, card writing, putting grades onto my report cards, and knitting (I hope). I really do need the coming vacation after all that I have been doing these past few weeks!!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

tired and cranky

That's how I described my self to Gerry (my hubby) when I called upon leaving work at 6 pm tonight. Yes - I know teachers are supposed to work till 3, but HAH!!! that's a fallacy if I ever heard one. Most days lately I am there until 5 or 6 pm. Today really wasn't all that horrible, but I am so exhausted (but you see, I still have energy enough to write on my blog - guess it's therapy).
The school day started out very nicely. I was in charge of leading a group of 105 kindergarteners in making gingerbread houses, using milk cartons, graham crackers, icing and candy. This was our first year attempting this. But I have a wonderful team of teachers, and there were a group of parents from the class next door who are just fabulous. So, there we were in the cafeteria at 8:30 AM, and would you believe, the kids actually paid attention. Of course, they knew they had BETTER or else they would miss the fun. And fun it was. They made great little houses and hardly ate any of the candy at all. All the leftovers were put into holiday ziploc bags for them to take home.
The rest of the day went smoothly, but I was SO tired from yesterday. I should have come right home and gone to sleep Wednesday, but instead we went to the movies to see Christmas with the Kranks. It's not the kind of movie I would rush to see, but we had sat in on about 15 minutes of it the other day and it was funny. Once seen in it's entirety, it's a fun movie. I was falling asleep on the way home but as usual, got my second wind and stayed up until midnight. So by noon today I was wiped out. I had a meeting at 1:15 and then a staff meeting from 2:10 - 3:15. Then I went to my room to work, spoke to Becca for about 10 minutes on the phone (that made me smile), and spent the next 1 1/2 hours putting grades into the computer. I never got to do my lesson plans and other things as planned. Once I left school I had to go to Costco and Publix to do the final shopping for our staff Holiday Party Friday night. When I called Gerry on my way home I told him to go ahead and have dinner without me. He heard the sound of my voice and said,"do what you have to do and we will go out to eat." He didn't have to twist my arm. Then I did what any girl will do when feeling tired and cranky...I called my mom. She was very sympathetic...for about 2 minutes. Then she proceeded to tell me about HER day, and never again asked about mine. No, she isn't selfish, she just is turning 80 in 2 months, and while she is more like a 60 year old, she does tend to pass over information that is not imminently important. Actually, that was good for me, cause it took my mind off of my day. Then I spoke to Alison...that was VERY satisfying. She was having as lousy a time as I was, so we commisserated with each other. How could you feel crabby when your daughter is feeling crabbier? I loved chatting with her (I always do) and by the time I got off the phone with her I was more myself...tired, but no longer cranky. So I did my shopping, came home to a big hug (was that ever needed!) and off to dinner we went.
I know tomorrow will be a crazy day, as I have to work and then zoom 30 miles north to home, do a few things here and then go about 35 miles south to Plantation, where we are having our staff holiday party. I hope I didn't forget a thing. As usual, I didn't delegate, and so if anything is missing or not right, it's all my fault.
Can't wait until Saturday - lots of presents to wrap and some to be mailed out of town. Maybe I can actually sleep late Saturday, before getting started. Won't that be nice??

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Merry Exhaustion

Today was a grueling day at work...seriously, it was. I have been going through several changes with the paraprofessionals in my room. Sol was a unique aide for one of my students. Then she became my full-time para and Miriam became the unique aide. But Sol, who is a really nice person, has had a hard time letting go of her responsibilities toward my student (she believes she is helping the new UA but she is merely making things more difficult for the student), and hates doing lunch duty, which, as a full-time para, she has to do. It's a much longer story than I care to write, but the three of us ended up in the principal's office. I was in the clear....Mrs. Vega (my principal) was trying to ge things straightened out with Sol regarding her position and duties. I have to say that Mrs. V has great patience, for I was losing mine as Sol wanted to have her cake and eat it too. I later found out that the student who gets the UA was taken to the Asst. Principal's office and suspended for getting out of control (which he cannot always help due to his disability). I only knew, after the fact, that a referral was put in on him and that his mom came to pick him up. I found out in an e-mail that he had been suspended and that Sol had not gone through the "chain of command" but went directly to the AP,which was a no-no. Soooo - I think it best, as do the Principal and the ESE specialist, that Sol work in another class and not with my student at all. I have a very hard time delegating, and also hate to say things that will hurt another person's feelings, but when Sol did ask me my opinion about her going to another class, I told her that she really needed to, for HER sake and peace of mind (not that it won't do ME any good either).
This out of the way for now, I had our kindergarten team meeting till after 3, then I had report cards to do, organizing for the holiday party (which is this coming Friday),other paperwork, and didn't get out of school till after 5:30. Tonight is Gerry's night to play pool so I headed to the mall to holiday shop. As head of our Sunshine Committee I do all the holiday gift shoppping for the office staff. Of course, I took a few minutes out here and there to get little things out of the way for my niece Skylar (necklace from me, bracelet from my mom); my brother Dusty, who is 15, gets a T-shirt; jazz CD for my secret santa pick; some chachkas for my kids to go with their gifts (oops, don't read this Alison); and the staff gifts, of course. Didn't get home till 9:30.
I had a nice greeting today at work. One of our teachers rushed to me, all excited. She had watched me knit a while back and decided to go for it too. She went to a yarn store in Plantation (that's south of Ft. Lauderdale) and the woman helped her get started on a scarf. She is using two "yarns" that together make a really funky, thready scarf, and she is using massive but short wooden needles so the holes are large in the scarf. I was so happy that I inspired her and warned her that this may become an obsession. I am looking forward to seeing my dear friend Carla when she visits Fl. this month, and teaching her how to knit. After all, look what a one lesson did for my daughter Alison!!! She instantly became as consistent a knitter as Madame LaFarge!!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Here is our tree, sans presents... Posted by Hello

Oh, Xmas tree....

Today was the day I decorated out holiday tree. I know, I'm Jewish and NOT supposed to have one, but we are a product of our environment, aren't we? I grew up in a house that had a Jewish mom and non-Jewish (step) Dad. My grandma Vinelli was no less than a real grandma to me, and we celebrated Xmas at her house each year. So mom had a small tree for my dad, though I don't think it fazed him one way or the other. When I married, my Irish-Catholic husband who converted to Judaism, asked if we could have a tree just until we had children, and being a lover of sparkly things and happy times, I consented. We had a 7 ft. fake tree which I happily decorated each year. My one stipulation was that we have no holiday lights on the outside of the apartment/house (which held fast for many years until our neighbor George wanted to have both sides of our attached homes look the same. He and Ann, his wife, were so great, how could we refuse, so light up we did). I ALWAYS lit my Hanukkah candles - I wouldn't even DREAM of having an electric menorah. When my first daughter, Alison, was born, I just couldn't bare to get rid of the tree. Besides, my in-laws celebrated Xmas, and while I still lit my candles, it was not as traditional for me to do the Hanukkah things as much as it was to exchange gifts for Xmas and have Xmas dinner with the families (although we did have latkes every year, homemade, of course). When we moved from NY to Florida, we accidently forgot our fairly new, beautiful tree. "Well," I said, " we ARE Jewish so we can now forgoe the tree." But I was in Michaels, where my son worked, and they had beautiful trees. He got a GREAT discount, 50% off, so I bought a 9 ft. tree, and finally got the wooden cranberries that I had always wanted to use instead of garland. The tree was beautiful in our apartment. Unfortunately, the next year we didn't have the same type of vaulted ceiling in our house so the tree had to go. "Well," I said, "we ARE Jewish so we can now forgoe the tree." However, the kids were not too happy about that so I bought a 4 ft. tree....which they resented because it wasn't a HUGE tree (in fact, Alison called the 9 ft. tree "the Nutcracker tree." That was our last Xmas together. The following year I had left, and, living alone, once again said, "Well....forgoe the tree," and I did....that year and the next. When I moved in with Gerry....that was a different story altogether. This was HIS house and so there WAS a tree...a REAL one! I was delighted (have to admit, I really missed the tree). And ever since, we have been going out two weeks before Dec. 25th to buy a REAL tree, and I am in charge of decorating it (YEA!). Gerry puts lights outside, and I even gave in and okayed two white-lighted deer with moving heads - sounds tacky but they're so pretty. Doing the tree and cleaning up afterward took the better part of the day.
Tonight we took Suzzette and Brian out for dinner to celebrate her pregnancy (and added his birthday to the celebration, as it's on Tuesday). We ate at one of our favorite restaurants, J. Alexander's in Boca Raton. We always get the same thing there...a marinated steak called Steak Maui, Chicken Pasta soup (which we shared) and Alex's salad - everything is chopped and it's delicious. We were all going to go to the movies, but first stopped into Whole Foods Market. When we came out, Suzzette didn't feel well so we took them home, then went to the movies ourselves. We saw Closer, with Julia Roberts and Jude Law. Gerry wasn't too keen on it but I liked it (not LOVED it, though). It was a story of love, cheating, guilt and more guilt. It did jump around a bit.
The weather has gotten very cool for South Florida....low around 70 daytime and in the 50's at night. Brrrr! I am so glad that Alison taught me how to make socks..I love wearing mine when it's this cool. I am on my third pair now, for my friend's son, but instead of making them in black, as he requested, they are dark blue/green. I just love making them. Soon I will have to make a scarf for my brother Randy, who wants cashmere, or something really soft. I will have to consult with my knitting guru daughter.
I am also really happy about the coming New Year's Eve. We are going to join our friends John and Melinda at their timeshare at the Cocoa Beach Resort (ours is there as well). We will meet them Dec. 30th, at night, and on Friday night spend NYEve at CityWalk, Universal Studios, Orlando. We are going to go in 2 cars, because after the fun of the evening, Gerry and I are going to go to The Villages, about 1 hour from Orlando, to stay at his brother's new house. They gave us a key, to use it whenever we want to, as they are not moving in for another 2 years. Gerry is going to take that Monday off so we can stay a few days. How cool is that?
If I don't get some sleep I will look more awful than I usually do in the AM. So, goodnight for now!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Boat Parade Party

Here in South Florida there is a tradition every December. Various towns/cities sponsor a boat parade. People decorate their boats with holiday lights, snowmen, Santas, music and more, and sail in a parade down the intracoastal waterway. The parade in Delray Beach isn't too big, maybe 8 boats in all. A friend of a friend, Jennifer, invited a group of us over for the second year in a row. She has a lovely apartment on the intracoastal. I made GREAT oatmeal raisin cookies from a container of cookie dough that I purchased as a fund raiser, plus made my hot artichoke dip with crackers. Both the cookies and the dip were a huge hit. We stayed about 2 1/2 hours. I knew most of the people there as they are also friends of friends. Now we are home and I can't wait to get out of these clothes because they smell badly of smoke. Yes, people were smoking in the apartment, but I couldn't say anything because it's not my house!!

Work was pretty nice today. We had our usual morning - reading, PE, math. The kids had "lunch bunch" with me - we all eat in my room, followed by their language class. After that the entire kindergarten, first -third grades put on a holiday music show. Lots of parents showed up to watch. I have to say that they were adorable, and pretty well behaved. We had some time after the show before dismissal, so we went back to the room and got silly, something we rarely have time for.

After work I went for my manicure - ah, love that! My nails are really short so I didn't do my usual red - just pale pink. Then home to get ready for the party.

I am looking forward to tomorrow - Saturday. We are going early in the morn to pick out our holiday tree - a REAL one. Then I get to decorate it all by myself, which is my preference. Gerry takes care of the outside, the inside is mine (at least for the holiday). Then I have to squeeze in a haircut appointment, Costco to order holiday photo cards, and bake Alison's recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I hope they come out good, as I am going to use egg substitute, Splenda for the white sugar and Sugar Twin Brown for the brown sugar, plus I Can't Believe It's Not Butter for...butter. Trying to keep it as low cholesterol and carb as I can (of course, it uses flour and chocolate chips, but I save where I can). We have another holiday party to go to that night. Sunday I have the monumental task of shopping for our office staff because I am head of the Sunshine Committee.

I started working on another pair of socks, this time for our friend's 9 year old son, AJ. He saw me knitting red ones while at a NASCAR race and asked if I would make him a pair. I said yes, and he said he would like them in black. I really didn't want to knit in black yarn as it's so hard to see the stitches, so I am making dark blue. I have half of one done already. I really like making socks!!

Time to get out of these yucky smelling clothes, shower and relax on the couch - and knit, of course!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Here is my amazing and beautiful daughter Alison! Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

A good weekend, a good Monday

What a nice weekend we had. On Friday Gerry and I drove to The Villages. That is a mostly senior community (a HUGE community) near Leesburg, Fl (Central Florida, about halfway b/t Orlando and Ocala, closer to Ocala). Gerry's brother Eddie and his wife Billie bought a house there and closed on it last week, so we spent the weekend with them. It's a nice house. The woman who owned it bought it in 1989 and was immaculate. She also bought it as it was decorated in the model way back then, so it now looks like a timeshare decor - mostly pinkk (mauve) and light green with white walls. Billie and Eddie are not moving in full time for another 26 months so it's fine for now. I think that they got quite a bargain. The Villages has EVERYTHING a retiree can want - tennis, golf courses, bowling, Town Centers with restaurants, nice shops, music nightly, dancing, movies and more. Friday night we ate at Augustine's, which is like a little Olive Garden. Food was good. Saturday the weather was very cool and cloudy. Joined by their friends Joanie and John, we had lunch at the Lighthouse, a restaurant on the water. We had a great waitress which made it a lot of fun. Silly me, though. On the back of the restaurant the owner puts monthly news, and this time he wrote about his mother. Doncha know that 2 paragraphs into reading it I was crying. I don't know why but I found it very touching. I was SO tired later on so Gerry and I took a long nap. Must have been the dreary weather and my full tummy. At night we went to Katie Belle's, a restaurant that I had gone to many years before when it was open to the public. Now you have to have a pass to get in. The food was just ok, but they have a band and we danced a lot. Once we left we danced outside to the music there in the square, then looked in some shops before going back to the house. Sunday we rose early so Billie and Eddie could close up the house. We drove them to the airport for their reluctant return to NJ. Then Gerry and I went to the Outlets in Orlando where Gerry bought some jeans and pants and I bought him a jacket for Xmas. I knitted all the way home and finished the second sock to a pair I had started at the NASCAR race. I had not worked on it for some time because I was trying to knit the sample that I had promised to work on for a yarn distributor in Arizona. I tried and tried but finally got to a point that I found really confusing, so I am sending it all back. What can she do? Not send me another to do? (If I'm lucky!!!)
Today work was good but a bit nutty. I have a new unique aide (Mrs. Torres) for Nestor , a child in my class. The former unique aide, Sol, is now the full time para in my room, but Nestor still looks to her for everything. She had to leave for about an hour, but we still had Ms. Torres and also Tori, who is from the Dept of Autism, who is working on Nestor's future placement. So we had b/t 3 and four adults in the room at one time. At one point the ESE specialist came in and we had another adult there. I am really happy though that Sol is the full-time para in my room. She is great with the kids, picks up where I leave off, and I enjoy her company.
Tonight Gerry and I went to a holiday party at our dive shop. It was nice. They had a singer, food, and lots of people there. They had lots of free raffles, and we won five free tank fill-ups (for diving). Not a bad prize at all.
Now for the exciting news. Suzzette, Gerry's daughter, is going to have a baby. We are very excited. The baby is due in the summer. I love babies, and am thrilled that we will be grandparents. Of course, as excited as I am, I still can't wait until Alison calls and tells me that she is expecting. THAT will be the ultimate high. So come on, Michael, hurry and give the A-OK!!
Time for bed. Busy day tomorrow - but then, isn't it always?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I feel good, da da da da da da da!

Over the past two days I have learned first hand how caring people can be. I have a child in my class who lives with her mother. They are from Haiti. They came here 2 years ago but mom doesn't speak a word of English. I have been trying to communicate to her that there is a program in my school. sponsored by Toyota, for non-English speaking parents. It helps them get an education, teaches them how to work with their children, etc. A few weeks ago I did a parent conference with this parent, with the assistance of Mona, one of the aides in our school who speaks Creole (and Spanish, French and English, all fluently). During this conference, the parent opened up to Mona and told her that her family's culture dictates that women do NOT get an education, while the men are highly educated and get good paying jobs. This poor woman was illiterate, she couldn't even write her own name. Mona told her about the Toyota program, and also assured the woman that they would meet regularly and that Mona would teach her how to read. By the end of the conference, the 3 of us were crying.
Two days ago Mona came to me and told me that she has learned that this woman does not work and for whatever reason, is not eligible for any public aid that we know of. Plus - she has no furniture in her one-room apartment, and buys what little clothing they have from the thrift shops. I told Mona that I would get things for her....I sent an e-mail out on the district's bulletin board (where people usually post items for sale). I asked for donations of clothing, furniture, etc. Within just an hour or two I had several responses/offers, and many more since then. Today I met with a woman who gave me pillows and two large bags of clothing. On the weekend Mona will take her son's truck to pick up futons, bunkbeds, livingroom furniture and bedding, and I have more people bringing and offering clothing. I am so happy, and delighted that many of our people in the school district are opening their hearts and helping. I feel as if that woman's family "tradition" is finally broken. She will learn, her daughter will learn, and they don't have to sleep on the floor while they do it.

That was the bonus of the day. The bummer was that I mentioned to my principal that I might want to take a week off in January to accompany Gerry to Cozumel for a dive trip. He had booked it about a month ago. At that time I told him that the dates for the trip were not very convenient for me, as I return from a 2 week holiday vacation from school just the week before. Hard to come back after 2 weeks, work a week and go away for a week. We were talking about it the other night and he said, "Just ask." My principal is wonderful, but given the time involved, I felt I owed it to her to ask and go with what she said. And she! She is very understanding, but she felt that with my low-functioning class, coming back after vacation, and a whole week just doesn't work out too well. And...the district is coming down hard on people who take so much time off without a doctor's note. Luckily for me, I have a very understanding husband, and I have no problem with him going off and enjoying what he loves to do...dive. Wish I could go with him, but we will have other weeks (besides, we have fun all the time).
Tomorrow afternoon we head up to The Villages, a huge community b/t Orlando and Ocala. My in-laws Eddie and Billie bought a house there and just closed on it, so they are there for a week. Gerry is so happy that in about 1 1/2 years they will be moving there for good. I wish I could see Becca and Phil this weekend but we will be busy and she has to work the whole weekend. Oh, well! I am looking forward to spending the long ride up....knitting!