Saturday, August 27, 2005


We have to stay in town for Hurrican Katrina because Mark has to work. That's what happens when you work for "THE News, Talk, and Sports Leader!" of radio.

They're putting us up at the Hyatt, which is next to the building where he works....but we have to rotate the room. They get half as many rooms as there will be people. So for like 12 hours, it'll be ours, while the other people are working. Ugh. We can bring blankets and pillows for if he's working overnight or something.

This looks like it will be the big one. The one that could wash us away. We have to leave the kitties here. We're closing them up in the computer room, because there's stuff they can climb on to escape any flood waters. It's breaking my heart, but that would be the safest room for them, should anything fly through our windows. We can't bring them with us. And my parents have two cats, so they can't take them. They're waiting until morning to decide whether or not they are evacuating. To me, that's too late. But Mayor Nagin is making the final call for mandatory evacuations at daybreak tomorrow.

The thing about this storm is that it snuck up on us. With my work and school schedule, I haven't had time for the newspaper or for TV. So I was vaguely aware of Katrina, just by listening to the radio to and from work and school. But they were expecting her to hit Florida and travel the coast of Florida. Until today, apparently. I mean, Mark works for, as I said, "THE News, Talk, and Sports Leader" of N.O., and when he got off work at 5 yesterday, there was no reason to worry. The principal of my school came around again after work to tell us all to have a nice weekend, asked if we had anything planned. Didn't say anything about paying attention to the local news media to see if we would have school. But today, they announced that the Archdiocesan schools are closed Monday. UNO's website says that they are closed through Tuesday. We went out to dinner with friends last night, then hung out with more people afterwards. No one said anything like, "Hey, are you evacuating?"

We slept in today, and went to the mall around 1:30 to get lunch and kill time. I noticed some buildings were boarding up, and that's nothing unusual. A bar we passed had this sign, "Due to Hurricane Katrina, we will be OPEN on Tuesday!" (Down here, people have hurricane evacuate from a lower-lying area of town to your friends' or relatives' house in a higher area, and you get food and candles and batteries and booze, and you party because there's nothing else to do. But when the threat is so bad, like it is now, that kinda dies down.) Anyway, we pull up, and there's a bunch of cars, but not many. We pull in the parking garage at Penney's, because that's the only garage and it's so flippin' hot, and walk to the store. An employee was sitting outside on a smoke break, we thought. She stopped us and said, "Store and mall are closed. Sorry." So I guess the cars there were all employees, and I'm guessing the mall had been open.

So now, we're feeling really dumb and very twilight-zoney. We stopped at Burger King and got lunch (yuck), then came home. Mark noticed two voice mails come through, both from his boss. Boss tells him that if he isn't evacuating, they need him to work. He doesn't have to, but that the main bosslady said something to him about, "This is where we separate the men from the boys, especially where pending promotions are concerned." So in other words, if Mark wants this promotion/raise he's been trying to get, he has to work.

So we're stuck here to ride it out. I'm bringing my textbooks with me, along with some stuff for school. But this monster is headed straight for us. She's a Category 3 right now, but they expect her to go to 4 before landfall. That's because she's moving too slowly, and she's building speed and strength.

I'm not religious by any means, but there's a theory that Our Lady of Prompt Succor (quick help in Latin) once saved the city of N.O. when the Ursuline nuns prayed to stop a raging fire that destroyed much of the city. The fire stopped before it reached their convent. OLPH is considered our protector. So when hurricanes come through, the city starts praying to her. The first words out of my mom's mouth were that she was already praying. The craziest part about it is that I'm almost inclined to believe it. The last few big ones headed towards us turned at the last minute. One, I think Lilli, slowed down speeds when it hit the friction of the coast, and we were spared. I'm not a praying person, but I'm hoping that if this is a real thing, that it pulls through. And, I figure my mom is praying enough for me, and maybe about 1,000 other people.

I'll let you know how we fare.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Oh yeahhh...

Modern, Cool Nerd

73 % Nerd, 65% Geek, 43% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used
to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a
pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world
that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and
geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very
least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent,
knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing
computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one
you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one
up there, winning the million bucks)!


My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 89% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 77% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Saturday, August 20, 2005

After the first week...

I think I like it. I still have no clue as to what is going on. But it's working.

As I was telling the group at Chevy's, and I apologize if you're hearing this again, but it's my blog and a lot of people weren't there, so NYAH, but I feel that my years as a camp counselor were leading up to this job. There's the two teachers in the room. We do a lot of hands-on and art activities. They talk pretty much constantly. They get up and wander. Some of them can't help it. We're working on raising your hand to speak, and we're making progress, but a couple of them get up to tell you whatever it is they want to say after they raise their hands. But at least they raise them now.

Some are so frigging SMART. They get everything immediately. My math class has 6 kids. They work hard. Three of them, one of whom is autistic, know the answers to EVERYTHING. We played a game called "mystery number" yesterday. In this game, I told them I was thinking of a number where the number in the tens column was X, and the number in the ones column was Y, and they had to use a chart to guess it. Sometimes, the question was that I was thinking of a number that was X less than Y, and they had to use to chart to find it. If they got it on the first try, they got a point. If they missed it, I got a point. And if they won, they would get stickers. They only missed two. They understood the lesson.

Now, I'm not that creative. That was in the script. We use the Saxon program, and it has a script for the teacher's guide. Can't take credit.

We have one kid who hasn't shown up yet. Apparently, this is typical. We've also been told that we shouldn't expect to ever see the parents, because they don't return phone calls and they ignore conferences. That's so sad. They must care a little that they send their son to our school, but evidently, they don't care enough.

And it is SOOOOOOO nice to have a boss who acknowledges your presence. The principal and the president both smile and ask how you're doing when they see you in the hall. On Friday, the principal came around to tell us to have a nice weekend before he left. In two weeks, I've had more acknolwedgement than I had in 10 years with the Dub.

The one thing I'm not happy about is the fact that they are sooo religious. Yes, it's a Catholic school, so I should expect morning prayers and Mass on Friday. But in addition to the Our Father in the morning, there is the Pledge to the Cross (didn't know that even EXISTED) and the Pledge of Allegiance (which is normal and not religious, except when the objectionable line is said). Then there's the blessing before meals. Also not unusual, and I really wanted to say the Hamotzi the first few times, especially since both start with the letter B in the first word. Sigh. BUT...we go to lunch at 11:45. At noon, the church bells ring. They ring the Angellus. We have to stop eating and pray the Angellus, which includes the Hail Mary about four times. Gah. It takes forever. Not to pleased with the sheer amount of Catholicism. I know...what did I expect...but I didn't know how MUCH was going to be shoved on me. But it's the price I'm paying to avoid getting shot in the N.O. public schools.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

First day of school.

Well, I lived.

Let's list the points. They aren't necessarily highs, they aren't necessarily lows....just points.

-- Made it to work on time.
-- Forgot to buy lunch stuff, so I grabbed some TGI Friday's steak quesadillas out of the freezer. Pathetisad.
-- Our autistic boy threw a fit before school, but did fine. He wanted to go home about halfway through the day, so he kept telling us he didn't feel well. But each time, the pain was in a different spot: back, stomach, head, eye. So he had obviously just had enough and was ready to leave.
-- Another kid, who is overly affectionate, kept trying to sit in our laps. He ran up to me in the middle of spelling and kissed my hand. He spent most of the day crying. I said the word "math, " and he burst into tears. Then, a kid said the word "homework, " and he lsot it.
-- The kids wander a lot. Some can't help it. Others do it because they see everyone else doing it. It's hard to tell which ones are which. The ones who have to, we let. The others have to sit.
-- The room is noisy. It's kind of the nature of the beast, though. We have a "Yacker Tracker, " which is a traffic light that reacts to decibels. If it gets too loud, a siren goes off and the red light lights up. It works, in a way. But they're fascinated by it. They like to try to make it go off. So what we do is, we make them sit in silence for 5 minutes, and we set a timer. If they talk during that time, the time starts over. That's how I did time-outs at the JCC. Setting off the lights will get old after a while, though.
-- The library isn't finished its makeover yet, so the librarian had to come to us. But the kids were good.
-- Our girl from Thibodaux isn't coming any more. They were buying a house here, but the deal fell through. This was going to leave us with one girl. Another class only had one girl, too, so they moved her to ours. And, we had a little girl touring the classes today who will be in our class. Which makes the statistic correct: the ratio of girls to boys with learning disabilities is 1:3. We'll have 17 total, which is a big class.
-- To little boys fought over who I was going to sit by at lunch.
-- No one had to go to the Cool Down room or the Time Out room. So, YAY!!!
-- One of the other teachers brought us motivational cards with quotes from Maya Angelou on them and some Dove Promises. She's great.
-- You should SEE the supplies they had to bring. We spent most of the day switching off on who had to teach and who had to unpack. It was CRAZY. We ALMOST finished.
-- Stayed at school until 5:30.

So, in all, it was a fabulous first day. It'll take some time getting into it, but I think I'll be okay.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Oy vey...

Talk about small worlds and reprogramming....

So we had a guest speaker at teacher inservices today...the father of one of the families I've known through the J over the last 10 years....four kids....had all of IMs me to this day... Apparently, he speaks to us once a month. Random!

Also, a mom who used to bring her cute little boy to babysitting is the accountant for HRA.

In addition, a family with three boys, one of whom got lost in WDW last year and almost lost his $40 cowboy hat out west this year, attends the school.

But on to, after working with children only in a Jewish environment, I need to retrain my brain to work in a Catholic setting. For instance, I have been joking around that when Halloween and Valentine's Day roll around, I'll have to remember that not only can I talk about these holidays, but I can decorate, celebrate, and teach them. But that was a joke, mostly.

Yesterday, I was helping my co-teacher go through boxes of supplies, and I found a jar filled with colored stones. It looked like candy until I picked it up, and I was thinking that we could give it to the kids for rewards. Then I picked up the jar, not to unpack it, but to see if the candy was kosher. D'oh!

Then, they were talking about how we can use the kitchen for instructional methods if we want, and I was ready to take a tour of it and learn where the dairy and meat sides were, and then I felt excited when I realized that I no longer need approval for items brought in!!! And best of all, no Rabbi Schfiftyfive lording over the kitchen! Woo-woooo!

Monday, August 01, 2005

ARRRRRRRG all around!

So we spent the weekend in Grand Isle. And on Sunday, I woke up sweating like crazy. Which is unusual for Grand Isle, as I am always frozen from the little window units. I felt like crap, too. Then I froze. Then the sweating. Uh-oh. That can mean only one thing: fever. Then I realized how bad my stomach was feeling. And I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, worshipping the porcelain gods, while the family was at the church I refuse to go to.

Unfortunately, Mark had to be to work for 6, so after one more good heave, we hit the road. And I made it back okay. But around nine, all of the water I'd been drinking came back to say hello. I realized that I was just starving. I'd gotten rid of the four bites of toast I'd had earlier. Mark was working 'til midnight. We didn't have any bread or crackers or bland stuff, so I called my parents, who brought over soup, saltines, Gatorade, Sprite, and emetrol. (Which I ended up not having to take.)

So I'm home today, instead of working mini-camp. Not necessarily a bad thing, simply because I really haven't stopped in two weeks, what with trip camp and all. Mom calls to check on me. Ten minutes later, the phone rings.

It's the principal at my high school alma mater, wanting to know if I had a job right now because they had a last minute personnel change. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the only job I wanted!!!!!!!!! But a week before school starts, I can't turn them down. So I asked to PLEASE be kept in mind for next year, and she said she'd put a note on my file. I AM HEARTBROKEN BEYOND WORDS.