Thursday, June 30, 2011

1 in 45

The budget craziness is "finally over" to quote my (ex) superintendent. In an e-mail today we got our last budget update that the State finally made things final.
I skimmed most of it, no money blah blah, gonna be tight, blah blah... and skipped right to the staffing paragraph. To discover a sentence that made me want to jump out the window.

"we were able to rehire all but 45 of the 370 probationary teachers."

Are you serious? 45? Forty Effing Five!? Just one of 45. Makes me so mad. If there were more of us I think that would make it better. I can name 5 right now who didn't get rehired. So is he lying miscounting? Are they in the process of contacting those "all but 45?" I can't seriously be so unlucky that there are only 44 other people in my boat. I liked it much better when there was strength in numbers. 370. I can be one in 370. But one in 45? Seriously?

One step forward, two steps back.

Going to have to try really hard tomorrow not to give up.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I DO!!! I love game shows. I love watching them and being smarter than the contestants. I love the idea of making a year's salary in 30 minutes.

I had a good food tracking day, so obviously I had a bad budget day. And on top of that my unemployment claim hasn't gone through yet and I was counting on that money. I'm having a money panic day. Which in combination with not being home all day kept me from doing anything productive in the job search area OR the clean my house area. So I am going to tell you my life long dream. You ready?

I desperately want to be on a game show someday. If not for just the money, but also the confirmation that I am a smart cookie. Now these days there are many game shows. There is even a whole network with game shows (GSN, fantastic channel). Each game show has its pros and cons.

  • Wheel of Fortune - I am good with words, and I rock out Wheel when I watch at home. You can make some decent money. Wheel is up there on the wish list, and last year I applied (but heard nothing, story of my life these days). 
  • Who wants to be a millionaire- this show is super easy once you get past the fastest finger. In fact, getting to the hot seat is the hardest part. Again, decent money so this one is up there on my list. 
  • Cash Cab - Oh I love cash cab. Ben Bailey is awesome. Problem - you can't really apply/try to be on cash cab. It just sort of happens. So unless I go around stalking cabs and only getting in ones I think might be the cash cab, it's probably not going to happen. This also takes planning. It would SUCK to be in the cash cab alone. It would also be unfortunate to have some dead weight with you who think they get some of the money even though they were a moron and didn't help at all. The cash cab dream team is Me, Ashley, and Courtney. We balance out each other's knowledge base and would win major money. 
  • 1 vs. 100 - I want to be on the old 1 v 100 with Bob Saget and the mob in the studio, not the new GSN version with Carrie Ann (who ALWAYS is in a dress 3 sizes too small) and the web cam mob. BOO! I would kick old 1 v 100 bootay. The problem with these studio shows is that the host/producers always want you to tell them a cute story as to how you know the answer to the questions. "Gosh Bob, when I was a kid I used to torture turtles I found, which is how I know the answer is B. Snapping Turtle." This is another advantage to cash cab- no cute story, you know it or not. Millionaire is the biggest offender of the tell me the story of how you know this. It's annoying. When I am on a game show, I'm gonna say, "I know this because I have a master's Biotches!" HAHA
  • Are you smarter than a 5th grader? - Yes, I am. Now this show is last on my list because 1- they always screw over teachers. They are like Oh you are a teacher? well then here are the hardest questions of all time!!!!!!!! And 2 - the questions do not align to the state standards and what is taught in each grade level. 
You'll notice missing from my list are: shows that are about chance, not knowledge (i.e. deal or no deal), and jeopardy. I think jeopardy is way too pretentious. I wish that I had kids/a family to do like family game night (modern day double dare) or family feud - but then you are at the mercy of your weakest link, who would be beaten after the show. 

So, someday I will make a small fortune on a game show. Someday... 


Monday, June 27, 2011

Points or Paleo

I have long said the I can either be on a diet or a budget. It is very difficult to do both at the same time. Healthy food is expensive, and cheap food is bad for you. This is a fact, you can not argue with me on that.  However, I need to get in shape (read: lose like 30 pounds) for my bff's upcoming wedding (and general feel good about myself-ness) AND I need to spend as little money as possible, since I, ya know, don't have a job at the moment. Now I am a smart girl, and fairly organized, but keeping track of both diet and budget and balancing them both leaves me feel like I'm juggling too much. Yet, it must be done and so I am working on it.

So diet - most trainers I have talked to seem to think everyone should be on the Paleo diet. Basically it is "eating like a caveman" with no processed foods, heavy on lean protein and veggies. Problem is, Paleo is sooo restrictive. No legumes (which apparently includes green beans, my like go-to green 'veggie'), no nuts, no carbs, no dairy, limited fruit. I am italian, and I seriously can not go a week without pasta. It is not happening. I will cry. I am already an emotional basket case and you want me to give up carbs? People will die get hurt. It will not be pretty. I like green beans, I love peanuts and almonds and french fries and pizza. And no dairy? I'm a product of the "got milk?" generation. Milk = good. Yogurt = good. Cheese is just delicious. I can not give up dairy. Ask me to cut all this out and I will be very cranky and mean. Not a good fit for me.

Instead, I am trying to do weight watchers. I did it for a bit in college, and I have some friends who are really good about it, so I'm trying to track and do my best. It allows me to not feel all failure sauce when I need to have some mac and cheese. My trainer still thinks I should go full Paleo, but since I got fussed at this morning for having eggs with the yolk instead of just egg whites, I know I wouldn't be able to do it very long and so Weight Watchers it is! P.s. - on the budget side, I am not going to meetings/paying for it. Sorry WW, I just can't afford it, but thanks for the guidelines. :)

On the other side of the see-saw, Budget. I have suspended netflix (+15.00/month), and changed trainer plans at the gym (+50.00/month). I saved $15 at the grocery store today (coupons/store card) and bought 90% fresh fruits/veggies. I need to find some other places to save, and I am waiting for the State to approve my unemployment claim so I can get paid (fingers crossed!).  I have 7 hours at work this week which is way better than 2 last week. I'm trying. It's gonna be tight but I am trying and that's all I can do right now.

On the job front, nothing right now... Tomorrow is application day so I will get some more out tomorrow. And a job fair in July. Just wishing and hoping at this point.

Finally, in FUN news- Went to Austin for Miss Rachel's baby shower and it was fantastic! (Ok so I blew my diet, but we DID go to a CrossFit workout Saturday morning that kicked my butt). It was soo good to see her and I can't wait to meet the baby. We discussed the Paleo v. Weight Watchers debate and I got some further guidance about WW. Got to see Miss Heather & Jenny as well which was super fun. It is important to my mental health to get out and not wallow all the time. Then wedding dress shopping has been set for next week with Mere and I couldn't be more excited. (Ok I would be more excited if I lost 10 pounds by then, but hey). I have been watching some Say Yes to the Dress to prepare ;). I have had a lot of energy this week and I'm trying to take advantage of it before I crash and go back to hibernating.

Have a good week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How not to be homeless (kinda)

I knew it was coming. For the last 3 weeks or so I have stopped on the 4th to last step and peeked just over the landing to see if there was a slip of paper on my door. Every time there is nothing there I am relieved and make my way up the rest of the steps and home. But Tuesday, it was there. My renewal notice. The sheet of paper from the office that says, "hey so your lease is up like soon and we need to know if you are moving out or staying, and if you want to stay it will cost you X more money that it did last year. K Thanks."

I thought I had more time. I knew my lease was up the end of August, but I thought I had at least one more week to figure it out. They thoughtfully gave me 24 hours until the sixty day move out notification was due to give me this information. So kind. My rent went up only 5% (awesome, cuz I can TOTALLY afford that, not) IF I signed a 12 - 14 month lease. If I wanted to go month to month it would cost 150 more, PLUS an extra 100 dollar month to month fee, making it totally not an option at all. So my final option would be move out, and live at my parent's house. Which is sooo not happening.

List of things I would rather do than live at my parent's, where my dad will treat me like I am 12 and no one else is home to focus on.
-eat glass
-live in a van, down by the river
-have several root canals with no pain medication
-wear a sign that says "I am a failure"
-pretty much anything painful...

I, being a smart girl, came up with a compromise. I refuse to live at my parent's (see above). I cannot lock myself into a 12-14 month lease, as I have NO idea where I will end up once I finally do get a job. I figure it would almost cost more to move out than stay put, also I *HATE* moving. So really I just wanted to give myself some wiggle room to stay put and figure everything out. So I very sweetly convinced the office (Manager has lots of teacher friends and understands my situation) to allow me to sign a 6 month lease at the 5% increase (tried, nothing could be done about that) which gives me till January/February to figure something out.

It is going to be tight. Some things are going to have to go -(bye netflix... and other non necessary expenses). But I am almost positive that I can make 6 months work between my part time job, unemployment, and the rest of my paychecks. It's gonna get a bit dicey when I add in my car payment, but I'll save that dilemma for another day. For now, I should not be homeless until 2012. Which gives me some time to figure everything out. I hope.

So with that battle done, I am giving myself a much needed break and getting out of town for the weekend.


Monday, June 20, 2011

the right thing to do

I know I shouldn't have, but I watched the movie "Freedom Writers" tonight on MTV. They are trying hard to cross promote the "Bad Teacher" movie (which p.s. I totally want to go see). I knew it would make me cry. The book made me cry two years ago. When I watched the movie before I started teaching it made me cry. So, here I am, trying not to cry.

How can you watch a movie/hear a story about kids who so desperately need good teachers, positive school experiences and then cut school funding by several BILLION dollars? How can you know that education is everything and then consider a bill to decrease teacher's salaries - those teachers who are left, and from what isn't exactly rolling in the dough to begin with. And with all of that, I still desperately want to teach. My mom asked me today if I would take my job back with a pay cut and I absolutely would. Without even thinking. When I got to my parent's today there was a letter from my old school. You would have thought it was on fire the way my mom was trying to figure out what it was. Nosey much? Anyway it is a recommendation letter from my assistant principal. This is good because well who doesn't need a recommendation letter, but bad because it means as of the letter's June 16th date I still didn't have my job back.

The way people (ok mostly my parents) are acting, you would think continuing to be in education is just totally out of the question for my life. WHY? I love it, I'm good at it, and it's important to me. WHY is it ridiculous to think that teaching is off the table? Education is important. Kids need me. I'm not done yet. To quote my new letter, "Sarah is a wonderful teacher who is willing to do what is best for her students." Damn right I am. Granted, my kids didn't live in inner city or deal with some of the freedom writer stuff, but they needed me. And I would like to say I made a difference. Proof? ok- besides the outpouring of love, the notes and cards and pictures, you just know.

Some of my favorites who keep me going when it gets hard:
My sometimes sweet 4th grader B. who had to grow up too fast. I read the Twilight series with her and gave her someone to talk about it with and she improved her reading 3 grade levels in a year. My favorite moments are a tie between the Twilight poem she made for me, and the time in the middle of New Moon when she came running up to me in TEARS because Edward left... and I reminded her that there were 2 more books after that and it would be ok, just keep reading. And she did.  I am still reading a YA series she introduced me to, and keep stalking the library for them to get the final book in so I can read it. (Alyson Noel, Immortals series. Totally read it. And if you get Everlasting before I do, I will fight you for it).
My 6th grader J. who was only in my class for about 8 weeks, because P.E. is more important than learning to read. Twice a week during lunch we hung out in my room learning words, reading books, and working so hard. After 14 schools by 6th grade just having a little consistency was such a life saver for him. Hopefully I will see him at the library since he promised me he would read 3 books this summer.
All my 8th grade j-babies. The used to be behavior problem who got to write and stayed out of ISS all year. The so proud to have my name in the paper who improved their grades all around. The iSupport project we did in broadcast, giving them a voice, making them feel heard. The failed state testing but hand wrote me a thank you card for always supporting her.  It may have looked like we played a lot, but again, to quote my AP's letter, I "...motivated [students] to become better thinkers and writers through her Journalism classes."

I know, I'm not as awesome as Ms. G of Freedom Writers. I didn't "save" all of my kids. But I saved enough of them. I made a difference. And when you ask me "what I want to do with my life" that's what I always think of first - I want to make a difference, to do something important. I am not done teaching. I don't want to be, and I refuse to be.

Sorry, long post. I just decided I'm not ready to be done. And I had to remember the kids that made a difference in my life, so I can keep making a difference in theirs.


Sunday, June 19, 2011


i feel sick. too sick to care about capitals apparently, so i apologize in advance. i've felt sick for almost 3 days now. i'm not sure what the problem is, but i know if i go to the doctor there will probably be nothing actually wrong except an extreme amount of stress and my complete inability to function as a stressed out person. really, the only class i ever did poorly in at college was stress management. i suck at it.

symptoms - chills/shaking, either too hot or too cold, severe stomach aches no matter what i eat or don't eat and no matter what i take. pain. everywhere. headaches, blinding pain located behind my eyeball, feeling like i am going to throw up pretty much at any moment. sleep all day, awake all night (actually, that's pretty typical for me). crying all the time. at anything. doctor? got any cures?

case in point - watched the justin bieber movie yesterday, cried at least 3 times. it kinda made me miss my middle schoolers like a lot.
i cried in target getting a baby shower gift - this one is actually more explainable. i put a lot of thought into gifts, i like to be a pro gift giver. i am pissed that i am financially unable to get as awesome a gift as i want to. what i want to get, i can't and i feel like what i ended up with is not good enough and really pisses me off. so i apologize in advance for my gift not being as good as i think you deserve, but it's the best i can do... :(

in other news, response to the blogging has been super positive, and i appreciate that. i check my old school email at least 4 times a day to see if anyone wants to give me my job back. no, i do not think this is crazy at all. It actually makes me feel slightly better that my email is still active. the day i can no longer log in is going to suck...

argh ok the stomach pain is getting worse, and it's almost 1 AM so i should probably try for sleep...since i get to go do father's day later today. hopefully once that hurdle is done with some of the pain will subside? fingers crossed. till then i totally feel like i want to die. joy.

(sorry for the randomness, i was hoping it would help me go to sleep).


Thursday, June 16, 2011

the monster

Today was a double whammy. First, I hit the gym. I am trying desperately to get in shape. This is hindered by my great amount of stress (makes me lazy, tight muscles, and eat poorly). However I have a trainer and he is fairly good. Most days I don't even hate him. Today was not one of those days. I learned that I am failing at my diet (ok well, duh but still!) and really have no idea what is "good" to eat anyway. Note- did you know green beans are not actually a vegetable!? They are legumes. Green beans are one of my favorite green thing to eat. mind blown. - My form/posture is terrible and my brain to muscle communication is totally screwy. I am physically unable to make my brain tell my muscles to do lunges, which is a fairly simple exercise. It's pretty funny to watch, as long as I don't fall over, which I do because apparently my balance is also shot. My trainer's brilliant observation? "You are so tense, are you stressed?" um yes, yes I am.

So after being put in my place at the gym, I got to go to my parent's house. To be put in my place in a very loud and yell-y sort of way. Have you ever tried to accomplish a task without a clear objective, rules that keep changing, and while being told  screamed at about how much of a failure you are? 4 hours later, my lip and self esteem completely annihilated I was released only after promising to come over sunday for father's day to be berated by the parent who was not home today. Bonus? I learned that not only is my master's irrelevant having gotten in 3 years ago, it was also a waste of money as it is useless. Ouch. Oh and that my dreams/wants/desires are void and I should just grab the first job that comes along so that I don't end up homeless. Because everyone should just take jobs they will hate just to have a job. Um no thanks.

So the positives of the day - I am currently drinking wine, I called HR and it appears my last pay check will be in August so crisis averted, and the book I put on hold at the library is ready.  And after spending the afternoon with my mother courtney offered to pay my rent for a year as an alternative to living with them ever, if necessary- which it totally won't be. fingers crossed...

Time to go to sleep, gym again early tomorrow morning and then a fun filled library day! I love library :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Frustration with failure sauce

‎"There are many trails up the mountain, but in time they all reach the top." - Anya Seton
Interesting quote in the TWLOHA facebook feed today. I have kept coming back to it throughout the day, thinking about its implications about faith, destiny, and life. There is the positive thought process - even if you don't know what you want to do right now, it's ok because you will reach your destiny anyway eventually.  And there is the negative approach- screw it, we all end up dead no matter which way you get there. I'm feeling defeated today, so negative it is...

This afternoon I filed for unemployment. It was a big sucky step. Mostly because I had decided 2 weeks ago when school first got out that I wouldn't do it. It seems like admitting defeat. It seems like it is for other people. People who aren't going to get their jobs back. People not me. I also took the time to finally put an end date for my teaching job on my resume. This too seems final. And much like failing. 
Deep down in the bottom of my heart I just KNEW that I would be called back and given a contract for next year. That all this budget nonsense had nothing to do with me, because it doesn't. I feel like I gave that up today. I am exactly as devastated about it today as I was in February when I got the first letter that they *may* not renew first year contracts, in March when they *did not* renew my contract, and in June when they finished staffing for next year and I packed my classroom into my car. Honestly, I just cried a little right now. I feel like now it is final. Also, I know nothing about unemployment except that there are many hoops to jump through, and there is some caveat somewhere about you can't collect if you are subbing, so I am holding off on submitting my subbing application until I get at least one check... grr. 

Why today? Well because today was pay day. And it occurs to me the this check, or the next one could very well be my last one. I actually have no idea. I will need to call HR tomorrow and figure this out, as the internet could not help me at all and I would kind of like to know at what point I will be unable to pay my rent. Also today was the official first day of summer (the season), and the end of the 2 weeks principals are still at school. So it's pretty much The End of the hope period. Time has run out. I also went to work my awesome 2 hours at my part time job (yes, it is hard to complain about being unemployed when you have a part time job, I know, shhh) and another teacher there said she was collecting unemployment. One of my reasons for not filing 2 weeks ago was I didn't think I could work part time and collect, but since I only got 2 hours this week apparently it matters not to the State. She said do it, and so I did. (I am easily convinced of things when the alternative is moving).

This whole thing, plus working my 2 hours, put me in a pretty snarky mood, and I was anxious until I was able to get to a computer and file. I was unable to do this right away because today was check up day and I had said I would go with miss Ashley to the doctor (long story, another day). Ashley and Courtney put up with my mood which was super nice of them, and Courtney and I actually had a pretty good time in the waiting room. They are currently BOTH kicking my butt in words with friends, but mostly because I don't have the brainpower to come up with good words. After finally filing for unemployment (the more times I say/type it, the less shocking it is) and putting an end date on my resume (ouch! still hurts) I used Ashley and then Courtney's computers to apply for 6 adjunct positions at Lone Star CC. So take that unemployment! I had to use their computers because 1- I have a mac and the Lone Star application refuses to work on safari, and 2- I tend to get frustrated about half way through and want desperately to stop unless someone is there watching me.

So, how's that for productive today? Do you think it will be enough to appease the parent monsters? I hope so because I have to see them tomorrow. And it might suck more than filing for unemployment...
*Dear Courtney, thank you in advance for coming with me tomorrow to provide a buffer so my mother does not tear me a new one. You rock!*



Welcome to my blog. All the cool kids have one, and I have always wanted to be a cool kid; thus here I am. I'm sure you have some questions and so in this introductory post I will try to answer them.

1. Ok, so what is this blog all about.
Ah I am so glad you asked, dear reader. Simply put, it is about me- in the least self centered way possible. I am not: engaged, married, pregnant, a mother, a coupon queen, a chef, or a crafter. These seem to be what most blogs are about. However, I DO: craft occasionally, love to cook, use coupons, have friends who are some of the best mothers out there, love kids, secretly plan my wedding, and have attended a handful of weddings. So I do have knowledge on these topics. Once in awhile a post might be about one of these. But really, it's about life. My life, and figuring out "what I want to do with my life."

2. Um, Sarah, you are 27. Shouldn't you have figured out "what you want to do with your life" by now?
Yes, you would think so! I wish I had. But Life throws curve balls and I find myself a month into 27 trying to figure out what I am going to do about it. For the past 2 years I have been a teacher. I have loved (almost) every minute of it. I wish I could keep doing it. Life, the Powers that Be and the State Budget seem to think that is really funny thus I am spending the summer trying to find "the Perfect job."

3. Ok, so who are you anyway?
Today I am lost. Yesterday I was hopeful. Tomorrow I'm sure I will be something completely different. I am looking for direction. I am trying to find my way. I am a friend, a sister, a daughter, a learner, a lover, and many other adjectives.
I love:
wine & food

I hate:
sans serif fonts
mean people

So, there you have it. Post number 1. Hopefully it gets better from here.