The Haps

You know what are impossible to find?  2 gallon zip top bags.  It’s driving me crazy.

Mitt Romney is going to get the RNC nom, I’m pretty sure.  Ron Paul is okay, but he’s batshit insane.

Sam is doing Wii Fit which is why I am not.

I think my main problem at work is that I am not a great teacher.  I’m okay, but there is sooo much to do.  I can’t really afford to be one, either.  I haven’t started any of my college credit stuff I’m required to take.  I can’t buy books for my room, really.  There’s no way I can get the supplies I am supposed to.  It’s crazy!

Anyway, I’m not going to sweat that.  I am trying very hard to get my kids rocking in reading but reading tests were very mixed today.  I don’t know how to really improve – but I am going to try my best.

Missing!

My family is missing!  I came home, expecting my wife and kids and other-mother and they are all gone!  I don’t know where they are.  I am all alone and I don’t like it.

I am pretty tired.  My back aches and again, my brain feels heavy.  I don’t really know what to do about it except push through.  All I really want to do is go to bed.

They Day Comes

I am trapped within a school building.  My diet of cherry Coke and pretzel rods is non-sustaining and I will no doubt despise the choice on the morrow.  Possibly this evening.  This building houses me and my disdain for work that is finished.

When you are in a classroom, there are approximately five thousand things to be done every minute.  Here I sit, weary, somewhat prepared for tomorrow.  But preparedness is fairly impossible.  The copy machine is inaccessible in the afternoon, once people leave the office.

Yes, it is challenging.  Challenging to do anything at all.  At the end of the day my brain feels full – wiped out, incapable of complex cognition.  But there is much to be done.  And that is the failure here – for I return home and need to be restored but also to complete the days tasks.  For example, this blog, which I am trying to do from school but am having a terrible time thinking through.

Meditation is the prescription.  But it is so late and I need gas and I need to get home.    And I don’t care to blog about mundane items.  The day was a-bustle with hustle.  But the best bits?  I don’t recall.

But I did get my workout in, and that is a good bit.

Dad-Hood

Being a parent is hard.  There is much that is given up to do it, but you do get a lot back, and I am not the first to observe this trade-off.  I was a good Dad today.  (As I write this, I have actually published last night’s post – but two posts back to back? Absurd!  Instead, I’ll have this posted at 8am – so the post is time-travelling to future, which is your present)

Listen:  Today I was a good dad.  The TV was barely on.  We went out.  We played.  Feeding was done, and so was burping, and hugs and such.  But there are many things I do I think are fairly stereotypical and I try hard not to do them.  When Zachary puts himself in danger I respond with anger far too often.

I think many parents do this.

It is the fear, you see.  On the backs of my eyelids, in my mind’s eye, I have seen Zachary leave me in ways I don’t care to elucidate here.  Lucy has imaginarily vanished from the car, or been dropped, or other things.  It is less stressful with her now, than with Zach – but there is still the fear in the back of my head of her sleeping habits.  It’s horrible.

But today went well.  Tomorrow… oh, tomorrow, you bring me phone calls to debt companies that I don’t want to think about.  The sheer irony of wanting to write for a living someday is that I only feel capable of writing when I’m comfortable, but I can’t get comfortable unless I try to write for a living.  It’s a long-shot dream, but one I will never let go of.  Look at this!  Eight Days and a bonus!  Yes, this evening will bring another post.

But the children like to take my writing time.  And I freely give it, because I have always believed there will never come a day when I say “boy, I wish I’d spent less time with my kids.”

Idiosyncracies

Celebrate uniqueness.  That’s the name of the day today.  Celebrate the little bits that make you you – and I will do so for myself.

(Today, as I cooked dinner, my mind composed myriads of brilliant blog posts which evaporated into the ether – I am so very much more eloquent when my mind wanders)

(This is my writing advice for you:  Be yourself.  As I stated the other day, my blog is disclaimed by fear of the wrong person reading.  What do I truly risk, though?  I name no names.  So, that is my advice.  Find a place where you can write everything.  That raw truth poured from the mind is narcotic to the reading eye.  Pure distilled truth.)

I am a fan of one sentence paragraphs.

I’m going to stop apologizing for that.

(And I like parentheticals, too)

So, idiosyncrasies.  I like mugs.

Who doesn’t?

Despite their ceramic nature, I find them sturdier than glasses.  I also find myself more capable of drinking several different beverages from the same mug throughout the day.  I’ve never quite wrapped my head around water from a mug.  It seems strange to drink plain water from what is a vessel designed for steeped beverages and dairy drinks.  Glasses are for water and juice.

That’s how my brain sees it.

Celebrate the mug!  Man, my favorite bit of memory is sipping a hot mug of coffee on the steps of Nikana Lodge, gazing at the mist rising from Big Blue Lake in the early morning.  Or from a tin mug at the top of the steps above Weber Lake near Wolverine.  Or over a mug in the wee hours in Hillsdale around Grandpa’s kitchen table.

There’s power in a mug, over the slumbering.  I’ve replaced coffee with tea as of late, but it doesn’t matter.  Steam is a good match for the mug – though I like milk from a mug.  It’s the serving size, you see.  Picture piping off coffee in a juice glass – it’s bizarre!

Sam and I received new dishes for Christmas and out went the square/round green monstrosities we were so excited for a few years ago.  Massive square stoneware dishes that looked pretty but were impractical.  Now, we sit and dine on thin, round plates that stack easily and are lightweight.  They look nice.  And the pretty blue mugs are the half-egg shape of mug-related-dreams.

Though, I am a fan of witty mugs.

In my Camp days our mugs were donated and the staff tended to have their favorite.  There was a particular stoneware type with colored striping that I always enjoyed being able to drink from.  There was, too, a bright yellow that brightened the day – filling the washed out low-light of the morning with a brightness like a colorized photo – highlight the yellow.

Despite my dismissal of hipster culture, I love a good ironic mug.  “World’s Best Grandma” is a favorite mug of mine to drink from when at my other-mother’s (the Blog name of my mother-in-law, who is far too wonderful a mother to be saddled with a title carrying such stereotypical negativeness).  I also like the Detroit Red Wing’s mug, which is unironic – just summarily cool.

Glass mugs are a sore point for me.  They are cool looking, and make a highbrow vessel for coffee “drinks,” but I find glass too conductive of heat.  Tin mugs carry the same problem, but have a higher “cool-looking” factor and receive a free pass.  I am also generally camping when tin is involved, so I got that going for me.  But glass mugs are too far from my sphere of comfort.  I don’t like to view my beverage as I drink it.  I especially despise translucent coffee.  If one is going to make coffee and go to the trouble of it all, it should be opaque in color.

Coffee is meant to be a dark, dark brown through which light is scared to venture and, therefore, will travel around.  This produces a fine sheen atop the finished beverage.  An opaque mug, with an opaque beverage which seems to absorb the light around it, filling it with zest and life as you sip.  Drinking light.

Ugly mugs are descriptive and I have seen a few ugly mugs in my day.  Rough-looking dudes who life has beaten up every lifetime.  They look quite at home with Detroit Red Wings mugs.

And lastly, the travel mug.  My inner-jury is out on this.  I have several.  Critically speaking, they limit the aroma during drinking of hot beverages, which is crucial.  But they do make it easy to travel.  Typically, refills are involved.  But so are lids – and lids like to wander off.  Perhaps the lids travel to another planet and have formed their own society, akin to Douglas Adams’ planet of pens.  When the pens versus lids war hits, we will all be losers.

If I had to choose one drinking vessel for the rest of my life, it would be a sturdy ceramic mug.  Blue.  Like the one in my cupboard.  The one I picked out with my wife.

Seven Days of Working Out

Today was day 7.  This is post 7.  I worked out for the 7th time this year.  Yes, friends, each day I have worked out.  I have blogged – not necessarily quality – but I have.  But, sadly, I haven’t been able write a love letter to Sam each day.  That was harder than I thought.  It was hard to specifically write something down for her, which is too bad because she’s pretty great.

Last night we went to her clinic’s Christmas Party at McFadden’s downtown.  It was an area I’ve never been – well, that part of the area – and it was very fun.  Hosted bars usually are.  There were casino games and free chips to play and that was a nice night out.  Of course, my nice nights are generally tempered by knowledge of the AM to follow.  Sam had to work at 6am this morning and luckily my mom was here to help out.

I’m terrible at watching the kids because I have no idea how to keep them entertained.  Lucy wants to eat and sleep and Zach watches TV – and that’s just awful.  I forget about things like the library and the Y and all that.

It’s been an okay week.  The first week back at school.  Bills to be paid and all that – it wasn’t awful, but not exciting.  What were the good bits?  That’s the focus, I should focus on.

Sam made delicious dinners this week and cleaned the house.  I helped a bit, but it was mostly her.

Mom came over and so did Dad so we got to see them.

There will probably be some kids books I can buy tomorrow at the library bag sale.

I was paid on Friday.

I didn’t spend my “allowance” this week, so it can be saved for the future.

We got to go to a cool Asian supermarket today and that was fun.

I am meeting my goal of both working out and bloggin every day, but not of writing prose or really being more organized.

I did get to see Brianne this week, which was quite fun.  And I met one of the other spouses at Sam’s clinic who was a pretty cool guy.  I suppose Sam and I have friends ’round here, it just seems so hard to spend time with them.

I’m feeling very good about working out every day.  It’s so hard to finish things.  As I have many times in the past, I have started something with high hopes.  This time, I will finish.  Finishing is something I never have gotten the hang of.  I tend to wait until bad times to work on things.  I had several times earlier today to write and I didn’t.  Of course, I did have papers to grade and lesson plans to design – which is a real pain in the neck, but whatever.

What frustrates me about blogging is that I have to keep my words in check.  I use my real name and there are things I am terrified of writing down that would possibly trouble-fy me, but I don’t want to hide behind a pseudonym either.  So, it’s a big struggle.  What would I write if only I could?  I don’t know.  Complain more, so its probably best I don’t write because I hate to trap myself in the gutter.

I feel rather morose and I’m quite tired of that.  Many who know me think of me as a happy dude.  Which I am.  Too thoughtful, I guess. My mom said I worry too much about things I can’t change and that is 100% true.

It’s Supposed To Be Friday

Remember?  Friday?  Payday?  End of work week?  So, instead I get a bill from Sallie Mae.  It’s far, far more than expected because I didn’t pay last month’s.  Awful person that I am, when I went online to an account with the same account number as the last statement, and it told me I owed less than on the statement, I believed the online account.

Well, I won’t do that again.  Because my paper statement says I didn’t pay last month and the Internet says I did.  Now, the amounts owed are different, but (and I think this is important) the account numbers are exactly the same.  The UNIQUE account numbers.

Stupid.

So, it’s hard to be upbeat (New Year’s Resolution!) with that kind of crap over my head.  And I’m pretty wiped from school – but Sam’s holiday festivities are tonight and I get to hang out with my mom (and hopefully dad) this weekend.  But I feel like our new budget is going to be stomped by this stupid bill and payment due.

Maybe I’ll pull a Julia Child in a few years, after the loans are paid down, and become a TV chef or something.

Dang, Dudes

It’s been quite a hectic week back in the saddle.  Teaching 1st grade is akin to herding cats, but they are coming along.  We are re-learning our schedule and focusing our work.  Our big goal this week and next is nailing our SSR time – this is self-selected reading.  It is challenging to do as we don’t really have the most robust library.  It’s also challenging with the books we have to have the kids read for sustained times.  Right now, we are working on a weekly-book-shop system.  It’s hard since ideally, not each group (there are five) would shop the same days.  But the ‘book nook’ is tiny when books are in baskets.

Finally, though, I do have a decent Book Log form for checking in with students as they read.  The kids are doing better at reading silently – it is a real challenge for 1st graders.

What I want to do is find some two-gallon zip top bags so each student can have a book bag.  The books get pummeled in desks if they aren’t protected.  Someday, I hope to have chair pockets – but that’s far in the future.

This weekend is a book sale at the library, and I am hopeful I can get a mess of books there to beef up the library.  In addition, the milk crates have really helped it look nicer.  I would like some sort of table, still, and need a board of some sort.  There’s a table there now that isn’t too nice.  Pillows.  Those are good, too.

Next, work on the writing starts.  Writing is really hard because we are supposed to do the 4 blocks program, and we have good material within Reading Street I think contributes well to it – but we have these assigned units-of-study which (I think) aren’t necessarily developmentally appropriate for the kids.  It’s too much at a level we haven’t built to.  I have kids who don’t understand how time works (it goes forward!) yet need to write about a “special event!”  I think they can write quite well, but am dubious as to the specificity of their memories when they ask me constantly if it is lunch time yet (they do this in the afternoon).

Kids.  What can you do?  I have some swell kids, though.  One is frustrating as he has some real behavior problems which I am trying to work with, but I don’t know.  Reading.  That’s what it’s all about.

Four in A Row Beats 2011 Already (Also Top Chef)

Okay Dudes, here is the deal:  January 4th.  Two pounds gone.  Four days in a row of:  blog posts, working out, and letters to Sam.  Today – I also discovered the ease with which my phone’s voice recorder works.  This may be mundane to some – it is epic to me.  I can “write” in the car now.

Thanks be to Brianne for her milk crates.

I wanted to link to http://wildpointer.org/ as well.  It’s an old college friend’s blog and its ONLY ABOUT PROGRAMMING.  For reals, I don’t understand a lick – but it’s incredibly impressive as blogs go because its very focused.  My blog.  Not focused.

Yes, after three days of whatnot and nonsense, I’m going to watch Top Chef and blog about it.

We started late because of cable box issues – but it looks like – yes, Molecular Gastronomy!  I dig a little MG.  Crazy stuff, I’d love to try it.  I’d love to read Modernist Cuisine – which is not really Molecular Gastronomy I don’t believe.  What are they doing?  Listen, I think Wylie Dufrense, gastronomist he is, could cook a regular meal better than most without any silly tricks.

Okay, it’s Modernist.  Silly business.  WHAT THEY ARE EATING BUGS LATER?  THIS IS THE GREATEST TOP CHEF OF ALL.

Shoot, a commercial.  Bleah.  Okay – I will now disclose that I am fully on Team Beverly.  Am I alone?  Doubtful.  I also like the dude with the fu manchu action.  Sam thinks he talks funny, but I don’t mind.  Dude is crazy – what’s his name?  Oh well.

Alton Brown shilling grapes again.  I am not a fan of grape juice, Alton, so stop trying.  Also, I love you, Alton, but you use too much salt in everything.  He’s a salty old dude I spose.

Okay, while these commercials roll I will make up a story.  Once, there was a couch salesman and he sold couches to everyone – the rich, the poor – he was an equal opportunity couch salesman.  Couch salesman are a scientific and brave bunch.  They must sell to grouchy old men and hip young ladies.

Well, the problem was that he could sell everyone a couch – but could not find his own!

Oooooh, back on.  Beverly is squirting foam and she is socially awkward.  Feel your pain, Bev, feelin’ it.

What is raviolo, and who eats raw egg yolk?  I would eat salmon belly.  ED!  That’s the guy Sam hates.  Baby duty PAUSE

In time for the quickfire winner – it is young-Sam-Elliot-look-alike Ty-Lor who has an interesting name.

I don’t think BBQ when I hear Texas.  I think chili.  BBQ is not this regional magic thing, foolish earthlings – the best BBQ I’ve had was in Michigan.  It was brisket.  The meat?  Whatever heaven grows, no doubt.  Angelcows?  I don’t know.  Anyway, I also wouldn’t be excited to eat at a place called “The Salt Lick.”  Ew.

These chefs think two meats and three sides is crazy?  Pfh.  That’s light BBQ.  I like three meats and a potluck of sides.  I will tell you now, if you want to give me ‘Q, here is the menu:  Brisket (sliced), baby-backs, chopped pork, maybe St Louis ribs with sides.  Creamy coleslaw (vinegar slaw has no place with Q), baked beans, grilled corn with some old Bay, and grilled everything.  Also, several sauces but spicy is great.

This shopping trip is furshlugginer rad.  I am so very much trying to eat healthy, but meat and potatoes taste sooo good.  (I fattened up  on McRibs the last quarter of 2011)

Another commercial!  So, the couch salesman’s dream was to find the perfect couch for…himself.  Everyone who came to him found the couch of their dreams!  The couch, of course, would have to be built by hand… by his own hand.

Where would the materials come from?  How does one build the greatest couch in the world?  Archibald the couch salesman filled out the appropriate forms and bought a cloak and began his travels.  His mission?  The finest wood.  The greatest stuffing.  The svelte-ist fabric.

Oh, Archibald!  The bards would sing of you!  If you hadn’t been eaten by a rhinocerous.

BBQ rhinocerous?  I don’t know.

Ty-Lor and I are soul-cousins, I am sure of it.  That’s a lot of sausage.  It’s a veritable sausage party.  What a sauce mop.  What a pit!  That’s definitely the kind of thing I want when I move out of my parents’ basement (the new nickname for the apartment – except my parents’ basement has a washing machine, so it’s better)  Love cooking with wood, too.  Camp style.

Whoa?  Are they driving Toyota Venzas?  Hey!  They are driving Toyota Venzas!

This is the standard Top Chef “open fire” challenge where they make some chefs look like nerds who’ve never seen a real fire before.

Whoa – how much innuendo can one hot, meaty, moist, slow challenge handle?  Ha!  Ty-Lor is “pushing” himself to redeem his “beef” business.  He’s putting the steak behind him!

I don’t know if I would trust Beverly.  She lit bourbon on fire in a pot and set in dry grass?  Beverly, I might change teams!  Team Ed!  Team Chris!  I think this season they should really throw us off and Tom Colichio should be the winner.  Whoa, someone is taking a risk! Drink!

Meat has been lost and found again!  This meat should be lamb.  Get it?  It’s biblical.  All this smoking is setting a bad example.  These chefs look terrible.  Exhausted.  What kind of contest is this?

Beer can chicken is delicious and lends itself to songs.  Did you dudes watch this?  If you are reading this and do not watch Top Chef, this post is going to be INSANE.

“Have you ever seen beer can chicken?” you ask Tom Collichio.  Nope.  He’s more a Diet Coke Can chicken kind of guy.  See what I did there?  Dude drinks Diet Coke.  I drink Dr. Pepper and Ginger Ale because, deep down?  I am an old man.  This is my favorite part, when Tom walks around.  I wish he would do facetime with the camera like Johnny Iuzzini did last season.  (Top Chef – why is everyone’s name so hard to spell?)

These chefs are dirty.  And exhausted.  And future rich.

Chris Crary’s got the life.  In a sleeveless shirt.  Eating salty ribs.  Alton Brown ribs.  I tell you.

The sun has become an enemy.  That which my son calls “friend” is liken to Lucifer to these chefs.  And there is fire.  I will defend this Sarah lady – heat exhaustion is the pits.  That is an unintended pun.

I want to tell you now:  Diet Dr. Pepper does not taste like regular Dr. Pepper.  Diet soda is the sugar-free urine of the devil himself.

WATER BREAK!

Top Chef commercials are the pits.  That’s why we DVR.

Hey, we can take this time to talk about SHERLOCK – the BBC series that is amazing.  Wait, TC is back.

(Ed is super mad Sarah is gone, dude looks blazing hot, too)  EVERYTHING TY-LOR SAYS IS LADEN WITH SEX.

Ed looks like I do typically when I sweat.

Grayson is selling that Asian chow.

I feel like I should like top-knot man, but I just find him annoying.

HOMEMADE PICKLES!  That’s thing I would eat.  Also, there is blues.  Okay, I love winter, but I’m ready for summer as of this sentence. At least the smoky meats and blues and eating and beer.

Team Misfits has my favorite looking plate (team white).  Too bad the judges don’t seem to care for it.

The heatstroke team looks good, too.  Man, this episode is torture.

Look, you guys can finish watching on your own – I won’t spoil it.  I just discovered New England style hot dog buns.  True story – when we were in Connecticut, I thought they were slices of bread!

Woof, what a post.

The First Day Back

Today I returned to my post as 1st grade teacher.  What news transpired?  Well, district has a new interim superintendent.  Will this help the insane red tape I seem to encounter at every turn?  I hope so.

(Now, as I generally feel I need to disclaim – my school is really nice, and I enjoy my co-workers and supervisors and all that – but life is not perfect, no!)

Well, I have a lot to do in this classroom of mine.  It is always a challenge to plan the day properly and to get things set for the day – even when I arrive early.  People who have been teachers or are teachers know this – there is never enough time!  Right now, I am trying to get a decent log together for my SSR time, in addition to figuring out a good way for kids to pick good books for SSR, as well as organizing my library (which is relatively tiny – but still formidable when it is being “lexiled”).  And with all this!

Still no work on Space Pirates.  And that is really upsetting.  Work, home life, the kids – it’s all crazy!  Anyway, I refuse to give up on my working out and writing in the blog goals.  I just must remember – it doesn’t matter what I right, it is the habit that is important.  So… Here is a blog post for today!

Working out is pretty hilarious, to be true.  I haven’t had time to go to the Y (and I need to, since we decided to stay) so I use the WiiFit stuff, but Zachary desperately wants to play and ends up confusing the balance board as I do Aerobic step.  Sam thinks I look funny.  I will tell you that I greatly enjoy working out in the front room with my family.  It’s a lot more fun than working out on my own, so I kind of hope I only make it to the Y for the pool with Zach.

Lucy continues whiny and needing holding and the apartment continues messy.  Sam is trying valiantly to clean, but it is quite impossible with Lucy.  I recall this when I stayed home with Zach in his baby-hood.  It is really furshlugginer hard to get anything done with a baby being watched.  Sam couldn’t shower until very late in the day.  I recall having trouble using the restroom.  Babies.  Whatevs.

Anyway, I am feeling much better and happier with this working out business and general agreement with myself to be a happier person.  Today was pretty good.  My kids were overly well behaved, though our room is still pretty awful.  I’m hoping to get some plants and to really get the Book Nook area looking nice.  A good friend (as I said) is giving me a bunch of crates to help, and some boards and pillows should help as well.

The students moved seats today and there were some terrible choices on my end.  I feel for one of my poor girls who is typically well-mannered but is sitting by a not-so-well-mannered person.  We will see.

And as I sit, I am tired at the end of the day – which is how one should feel.  But it is after ten, and that is my target bedtime.  Closer today than yesterday.  If I could get up early a few days in a row – things would go well!  I could get the workout in before I go to work.  Now, that refutes my love of working out with the fam – but we do what we have to.

There’s a lot happening this weekend.  Joann fabrics is having a sale, there’s a book sale, Sam’s office party is going on (she has to work the next morning).  I don’t know about partying.  I’m trying to keep off the spirits until my weight goes down.  It’ll be pretty slick at the end of the year after working out 366 days in a row – I’ll be svelte, I bet.

Man, if I was in shape, things would be different.  Because, I could do a backflip.  No one messes with you if you can do a backflip.  You know who can do a backflip?  Batman.

I dare you to mess with Batman.

(You didn’t, right?)

This bloggin’ is a good warm-up for writin’ – but I only have time for the warm-up!  Now I’m wanting to keep going so I can get some Space Pirate adventures going, or my other book, or the other one, or the screenplay.

I left my notebooks at my mother in laws.  That’s pretty lame.