Devine site

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

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Movie Reviews

     Yesterday, after seeing seeing the not so good Brothers Grimm (don't even want to bother posting the picture from the film) we went to see Red Eye. It was a really good edge-of-your-seat thriller starring Rachel McAdams. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it, as neither of us had read much about the film. Aside from the excitement, I love how the film showed a woman in a strong, positive light. Bravo, Hollywood!

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Today, my very spontaneous husband said, " about another movie and I'll take you to dinner, too?" Who could say no to that offer? We headed down to Fort Lauderdale, about 40 minutes from home. Usually we go to one of three local theaters in our area, but Gerry thought it would be fun to go a little further and also to eat at Dan Marino's Restaurant. We got to the theater with 10 minutes to spare (and it was daylight so I got to knit for the 40 minute ride). We were lucky in two ways: 1) parts of Ft. Lauderdale still have no electricity due to the hurricane that just came through - this area was fine 2) a sign in the parking garage let us know that with a stamp on our garage ticket we would save 3 hours of parking....I'm all for that!! We went to see The Great Raid. Now I knew this was about US troops rescuing men from a POW camp in WWII, but I had no idea about this part of history. I do not lay blame on a group of people for what was done by their military so long ago, but what I do have cause to vent about is man's inhumanity to man. Every time I see how one group of people treats another (and of course it still goes on today) I get incensed! I just wish that people everywhere would realize that we are all the same on the inside...we are all human beings!!! I found some scenes in the movie so sad to watch.

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I DO recommend these two movies to all, especially The Great Raid. I am all for watching movies that let us all know about our history, and the courageous men and women who risked all for their fellow man.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Not So Good

I have been putting off blogging because I hated to write about what I am going to do now...about 2 weeks ago I had written with excitement about my daughter's pregnancy. Unfortunately, she miscarried last Monday, just a day shy of 9 weeks of pregnancy. I really don't care to go into the entire episode here, but if you are so compelled you can read about it on Alison's blog Of course, it was a very sad time for all involved, but my heart ached the most for Alison, for she is my daughter. As a mother, you want to spare your child of any age from having to go through any kind of heartache. I wish I had not left the night before she found out about the problem. It hurt me (for her) that she was all alone when she found out. I know she is an adult, and a very mature person, but until I die, she is still my little girl!! Hard not to be there to hold her through all of this. Thank goodness she had Julie, her good friend who lives nearby, for Michael had flown to CA that morning (and then had to return immediately). Thank goodness, too, that soon after she had Michael with her, for he is the kind of man who gives good love and support. I know I have said it before, but I am SO blessed to have a son-in-law as wonderful as he is.
Before that I had a wonderful weekend in GA with Alison and Michael. I got to help by unpacking ALL of the boxes of books that I packed in AZ....and they (mostly Alison) have a LOT of books....I thought it would never end! Their house is GORGEOUS. I had forgotten my camera but I would rather take pix when I am there in October, when the outside is complete with shutters, and the rest of the boxes are unpacked and/or put away. But I was enthralled at the colors of the walls, the beautiful wood floors throughout, the size of the rooms, the layout, the property, and so on. I am so happy for these two for they have worked hard and seen to it that they would own a house suitable to raise a lovely family. And they will!
I had no work yesterday or today, as they closed schools because of Hurricane Katrina. We were very lucky this problems or damage. We mostly had rain and wind and neighbors had some tree damage, but the worst part hit a little south of us. It was ONLY a category 1 anyway. Last night, with Mom staying here, we went to dinner and then tried to go to the movies, but the theater was closed. Today we did get to the movies to see Brothers Grimm....not a good movie! More suitable for a 10 year old who is in the know about fairy tales. Tonight Gerry and I went again, to see Red Eye. THAT was terrific, a real on the edge of your seat movie. The rest of the weekend we are sticking close to home, to do some paperwork for school, some reading (I am reading Wicked, The Story of the Wicked Witch of the West and it's terrific), and maybe finish my Texture Shrug!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wonderful Day

I hope I am not speaking too soon, but I LOVE my class this year. So far I have 16 (please, God, let it stay that way) students who are well behaved, and, although many are not comfortable with English yet, they have good brains!!! I don't mean to denegrate any little children, but I have had classes where, beside the difficulty with language, the children had very poor comprehension skills in ANY LANGUAGE!! Of course, a large part of that is due to the fact that many of our students come from home where the parents are either illiterate or just have no idea of the importance of speaking to your children and spending quality time with them instead of plopping them in front of ANYTHING on the boob-tube or letting them run amuck outside. Another thing that makes this year so much more bearable is that we are not starting our organized reading groups till mid-September, giving the students and teachers a chance to acclimate to routines, school behavior and working with the materials in the room.

I met my mom at the nail place where we both were getting manicures. There she was, wearing the T-shirt that proclaims her as a future Great-Grandma (the shirt that Alison made). I don't blame her....she is so thrilled of her new title. She said her name will be G-G. I think that's so cute. We also decided to dub the coming baby Willabee.....for, Willa be a boy or Willa be a girl? Once A&M have found out the baby's gender we will of course use the name that the kids pick out....unless I really don't like the name....then I will just call the baby Sweetheart!!

Tomorrow right after work I am flying up to GA to be with A&M. I am supposed to help them with their unpacking, but since they have already done most of it, they left me the library shelves to restock and then we will have some time to enjoy each other's company before I jet home Sunday night. And, of course, we will get some good knitting in too.

Monday, August 15, 2005


What a day....what a day....what a day!!!!

Mom and I met A&M at the after-wedding brunch, along with M's parents. We sat and talked, met more family members, and ahd some more fun. Mom, Karen and I kept speculating about when A&M would be pregnant (as we knew that they were ready to start a family). With the big move last week from AZ to GA, though, we knew they were exhausted...they had gotten very little sleep in the past few weeks/months. So we figured that this was going to be the weekend that they....make a baby....and maybe would announce it when we are up at their house in GA in October. All weekend we ladies were carrying on about it (can't help it, the anticipation was killing us).

ANYWAY.....we were all sitting around a table having fun when Alison took out 4 small shopping bags and told us that she and Michael got us some souvineers from AZ, but that they were all the same so we had to open them all at once. When we did, we found t-shirts with writing on them. As we read them we started to scream and jump up and down....each one, in very clever ways, let us know that A & M were expecting a baby. We started to cry. I was SOOOOOOO happy. I have been waiting for this day for so long. I am especially thrilled for my mom, for, although she is pretty fit and healthy, she IS 80 years old.  This will be my first grandchild and her first great-grandchild.  You must be wondering what these amazing shirts said (Alison and Michael made them and the sayings themselves)...forgive me. Ali, if I don't get the wording perfect:

Mine: I have been known by many names in my life....Jody, Mom, Daughter, Aunt, Sister, Teacher, Mrs. Reilly, Ms. Sherman, Mrs. Devine.....(and then, on the back)....but being called GRANDMA is the best one of all!

My Mom's: Can you believe I am going to be a Great-Grandma.........(and then, on the back)....Neither can I....I'm too young looking!

Katen's: Just when I thought having Grandpuppies was as good as it gets.........(and then, on the back)....I;m going to be a Grandma....AGAIN!!!       Lennie's is the same but says GRANDPOP!

Gerry: Hi, my name is Papa Gerry!

There were shirts for Becca, Phil and Alison's Dad and his wife, too, all to be given later in the day when we parted. Here we are, Alison, Michael, me, Mom, Lennie and Karen. When Gerry saw this pix he said that Alison looks pregnant because her face is even more beautiful than usual....isn't he so sweet?

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I gave Gerry his shirt when I got home. He was SO thrilled, he called A&M immediately. He was even more thrilled to be noted as "Papa" Gerry!!!! Ah, what a great day!

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And here is Alison, me and my mom (dark glasses cause she has problems with her eyes and light). Three generations, soon to be 4 (sorry you weren't there, Becca....that's my other daughter, the soon-to-be Aunt).

I could go on and on, but luckily for you reader(s) I am exhausted, too and have to get to sleep. Finding out you are going to be a grandma takes a lot out of a person. And, I just have to add:

  • Overnight in a small hotel: $66

  • Valet Parking twice a fancy hotel: $24

  • Dinner at the Olive Garden: $36

  • Tolls and Gas: Don't ask!

  • Finding out you are going to be a grandmother: PRICELESS!!!!

So thank you, Alison and Michael. You have made me SO very happy. And I know that you are going to be the world's best parents (and don't forget - this babysitter is just a phone call and a 10 hour drive away....advance notice would be helpful).

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Only 175 to GO...!

That's how many actual school days left that the students attend. We made it thru the first week of school. I can't complain...I have a great class. I started out with 20 students - one was a no-show, and all seemed really sweet. Now I know you think that ALL kindergarten children are sweet, but it just ain't so! You get some here and there that can make a class of 20 seem like 40. Last year's class, while consisting of nice children, started out really low in language skills (I teach ESOL kindergarten...English Speakers of Other Lanugages). They did pretty well in the end but it was like pulling teeth to get them there. This year's class seems to be a bit sharper. Only time will tell. I worked ALL week till 5:30 or 6 (except for Friday).

On Tuesday I went knitting. Two new women joined us, both knittiers, just not "polished." They were really nice. I am still working on the Textured time to knit other than Tuesday nights, so it's going a bit slowly. Althea and her daughters were with us for one last time. They are so nice. They were headed to NY and to go white water rafting before heading home to Israel. Have a great trip back, ladies!!! And come back to knit/crochet with us soon.

After school yesterday Mom and I drove to Tampa. Alison and Michael are attending a wedding Sat. night, along with Michael's parents. Alison asked me to bring my mom up so they could see each other and I also thought it would be great for mom to meet M's parents. Gerry had to work and so couldn't make it. This was a great chance for Mom and I to get away, just the two of us (at least, for the drive up). The drive was almost uneventful...we hit torrential rains, thunder and lightening and had to pull over till it let up a little. I couldn't even see the hood of my car. We got to La Quinta (our hotel....not glamorous, but with a little ambiance's clean and the price is right!). A & M were dropping the puppies at her sister's house in Ocala, so they didnt' get in till after 1 AM. Mom and I went to the Olive Garden for dinner, came back to the room and conked out.

Saturday morning we met up with A&m and went to meet M's parents for brunch. We all had a really nice time. Karen, M's mom is such a sweetheart, and always very thoughtful and giving. She brought gifts for us all....foot cream for me ('cause I am on my feet so much), a lovely Lenox berry dish for Mom (for her 80th birthday that was in Feb), and something for Alison which I can't remember at the moment (sorry, Karen). We ate and talked and then the guys went to the hotel/resort where the wedding party was staying and we ladies went with A for her manicure. Afterward we joined the guys. M's family was in the pool, and Mom, Karen and I sat on the side with our feet in the water. The hotel is the Don Cesar....very elegant and beautiful. Parking is outrageously priced and it's much cheaper to valet the car (at $12 a pop). It was a fun afternoon.

We took A&M back to their room and then Mom and I drove an hour north to Spring Hill where my best friend Cheryl lives. We visited with her and family, slept over (not much sleep as I stayed up till 3:30 AM gabbing) and had one of Cheryl's marvelous breakfasts. She is such a great hostess. I love her (not just because of her culinary skills, but because she really is a true friend).

Saturday, August 06, 2005

We're Baaaack!

To school, that is. Here in S. Florida, teacher's report back to work Aug. 2 and the students return Aug. 8 (the 10th for Palm Beach County). For teachers working in Broward County it was a short summer....8 weeks (for the last 2 summers, to move up the school year calendar) instead of the usual 9 weeks off (and I only had 7, as I went in a week before for training/workshops). Now you might say, "Well, you DID have the whole summer off," but for those of you who don't work with 20 different personalities, 20 different learning styles, 20 different cultures, all 5 - 6 years old, 20 different kinds of parents (who sometimes act like 5 - 6 year olds), you probably don't apprciate the need for all those weeks off. Some teachers aren't as lucky as I am either in that they have to work a second job in the summer to make ends meet (Florida pay, while not the worse, doesn't compare to what I would be receiving had I stayed in NY, though it certainly is better for me than dealing with winter snow and cold). I must admit, though, that I was ready to return to work, as I had a very busy June into July. And just about all my Florida friends are people I work with, and I was eager to be among them again.

One of the best parts of attending workshops and meetings is that I get alot of knitting in. I finished my broadripple socks (see previous post) and started the Textured Shrug, using Electra and Clea yarns. I have finished one sleeve so far. The rest of the time I was extremely busy setting up my classroom. We have a 20% rule in Broward County (supposedly in all of Florida,but I heard that other counties don't adhere to it). The 20% rule is that you can only put paper up on 20% of your classroom hanging from the ceiling, nothing closer than 18" from the ceiling, no fabric on anything (may not be flame retardant), no live plants (it adds to the moisture in the room and we have a mold problem), no little fountains (same reason as plants), no upholstered furniture such as an easy chair, no cushions for the children to sit on, no big or medium stuffed animals......all contribute to mold issues. Now you have to know that LAST year we were told to have live plants, fountains, fabric covering shelves to make it look neat and pretty, and to make our rooms look comfortable and "homey" for the children. I was taught for many years to create a "print rich" classroom, which helps children develop reading and writing skills. As you can see, this change is very frustrating for teachers (not to mention costly.....we are the ones who paid for the plants, fountains, cushions, fabric, etc.). In addition, the last two years we were told to limit our "literacy centers" during reading to just 3 areas....computers, listening and use of Leap Desk/ Language Masters. So we got rid of many of the teacher made activities that went with our previous learning centers (because we have no place to store them....our closets were under close scrutiny, too). NOW we are ENCOURAGED to have many "Literacy Work Stations,".....ABC & Words WS, Poetry WS, Pocket Chart WS, Overhead Projector WS, Writing WS, and so on. Don't get me wrong...I am THRILLED that we are going back to what we know to be beneficial to the students, but I am so sick and tired of every year the powers that be changing from what works to what they think it should be. And I hate my sterile looking room. I miss seeing lots of poems hanging on the walls, children's work displayed all over, pretty colors (they want us to use only soft colors such as blues and greens, no vibrant reds, oranges or yellows)...this IS Kindergarten, for goodness sake. AH - forgive me...I just get incensed at all these changes, and frustrated that those deciding these changes are not the ones on the front lines who know what the students need. Thank goodness my administrators are in agreement with us....but their hands are "tied." If they don't have us comply with the rules, they will be sited. They are only following orders!!!!!

Thanks for letting me vent!!!! All this aside, I had a wonderful day. I went to the golf course with a friend and played 9 holes of golf. I took lessons about 2 years ago, and "played" 18 holes of golf with Gerry 2 times (once was a tournament, but really, they just needed a "warm body" to make the fourth). Needless to say, I forgot everything, but Linda was amazing in that she kept showing me how to swing, how to stand, etc. She was patient, encouraging and fun to be with, and I had a very satisfying experience. The course we played on is right next to the Atlantic Ocean, which was beautiful this morning. It was hotter than heck out there, and I , who rarely sweats, was dripping, but it didn't spoil the fun. When I got home I helped wash the dogs, took a nice shower and a 2 hour nap....hey, I deserved it. A little later we went for a 4 mile bike ride, then out to dinner, arriving home just before the rain. I couldn't ask for a better day!

Today my daughter Alison and her husband Michael moved from AZ, going to GA. What could be better for a mom than to have her child move closer. I couldn't be happier!!!