Thursday, September 29, 2011

PT Conferences of September 2011

Well, I offered extra credit to my students for having their parents come to conferences.

I'm not sure if it's that, or the fact that I have mostly 7th graders, which caused such a big turnout.

We have a really difficult area with very low parent involvement.

So when I have 125 parents of 195 students come, that's pretty awesome!

I didn't really have any difficult or defensive parents. All were very supportive of my policies and comments and seemed to want their kids to do well.

I think one of the best parts of this conference was how many positive comments I received.

I had two or three parents tell me how their kids come home and talk about my class, telling their parents how much they enjoy it. Some of my students told me my class is their favorite. Several kids (especially 8th graders--we're reading The Outsiders) told me that they love the book we are reading.

Add onto this how many visits I've gotten in the past 5 weeks from my old students, and all of the positive comments they've had for me... I'm feeling pretty good about what I do.

My most recent comment from a student on Facebook said, "Ms. Balibrea;I'd like to thank you for being such a great English teacher!On my SAT test there was a question about writing essays, & I got it right. (:"

Awesome! Plus I have way fewer Fs this year so far than in years past--some classes with only 3 or 4 kids, which I can definitely remedy with ease!

I am NOT perfect. There is so much I am NOT doing that I need to be doing. My plan for this term is pretty much non-existent. Nothing has been cohesive toward a pre-determined assessment. I'm just doing all sorts of things wrong. My differentiation sucks. I'm not using any assessments to inform my teaching--except informally to know where I need to spend more time (my 7th graders are not getting their commonly confused words and some prefixes/suffixes). I'm not preparing substantially for my lessons--not putting up pictures to help my visual or ELL kids...

But it's term 1. I will get better. I just had to get moving and get by this term--survival mode. We ARE doing our reading strategy: reciprocal teaching. I think the kids will be better at it as the year goes on. One of the positive consequences I can see already is it opens up dialogue and lets kids feel comfortable letting me know when they are confused; it's creating the safe kind of environment they need in order to understand. Though I really do get concerned at their lack of strategies for figuring things out. I hope this helps them.

So they say after the third year you'll know if you should keep teaching. I have to get through the 2012-13 school year because of my endorsement, but this year is seriously GREAT so far. My classes and kids are awesome. And I have all the kids from last year giving me a little bit of payoff and appreciation, which makes me feel like it's worth it. Maybe they're right. Maybe this is the year that decides it all!

Friday, September 23, 2011


I don’t get angry very often. Honestly, I don’t. Right now, I am angry. Really, really angry. And when I take an honest assessment of myself, I know for a fact that I do not feel this way very often. I don’t get angry because I don’t like feeling angry. I don’t like the heat and sweat and increased heart rate, and the frustration and the cloud that comes over my brain.

I am, however, a really passionate, opinionated person. Sometimes this gets mistaken for anger. There’s not really a whole lot I can do about that. If my blood pressure is perfectly normal, but I’m just expressing an opinion in my “Janae” way, people think I’m angry. Then they tell me to “relax.” That’s the thing that gets me angry. One guy in a text conversation the other night was telling me to relax. Um? I am relaxed, first of all. Secondly, don’t boss me around. Thirdly, you’re basically telling me not to say what I want to say because it’s putting you off. Get over it.

Now, for the reason I am angry today, let’s start at the beginning.

I have the day off. I wanted to sleep in. But you know what I wanted more than to sleep in? To get my internet installed. So when a slot between 8 and 9 AM this morning opened up, I was all over that. I’d rather get up and have internet finally than sleep in. The next slot was between 9 and 11 AM or 4 and 6 PM.

So I got up before 8 AM. I got dressed.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And I waited some more.

I had a hair appointment at 9:30 AM. That should be fine if the Comcast internet guy shows up between 8 and 9 AM like he’s supposed to, methinks.

At 8:58, I was pretty concerned because of this appointment I had. I called Comcast. The guy I got on the line was super nice. He said, “Wow, and he hasn’t even called you yet to say when to expect him?” “No.”

Then there was a knock on my door at 9:01. 9:01. Hmmm.

So I told the guy on the phone that I just got a knock at my door and he said, “OK well he’s a minute late, so be sure to tell him to credit your account for $20 because he is a minute late!”

The tech came in and I told him where I wanted it all set up. It’s on the wall behind my bed. He asked me to pull my mattress out so he could access the plug. So I did. He said he’d go down to his truck to get some things and be a few minutes.

At 9:19, he still wasn’t back. So I grabbed my stuff and met him at his truck saying I’d have to be somewhere in ten minutes, and asking how long it would take for him to install. He said fifteen minutes. Yeah, can’t do that, moron. Thanks for showing up late.

See, my impression of “between 8 and 9” means 8:15, 8:30, 8:45… But not AT 9, and certainly not AFTER 9. I had somewhere to be. That is SO rude. And if it were AT 9 or AFTER 9, then that would be in the 9-11 time slot I was offered.

He said sorry. That really wasn’t good enough. He said I’d have to call and set up another appointment because they have no control over that. Um, see, well, this was YOUR bad, so I think maybe you should come back later today to finish the job you didn’t even start because you’re a tardy slowy slowerton.

Ugh. Whatever. Maybe they could come later today. So I called on my way to my hair appointment at 9:20. They gave the option for them to “call me back in 1 to 3 minutes” instead of waiting on the phone.

So I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited some more.

At 10:35 when I was finished with my hair appointment, they still hadn’t returned my call. Uh?

I called again at 10:45. Then I went to the gym. On hold the whole time on the elliptical, and through a lot of my weight training. 50 minutes on hold. Then something weird happened with my phone, like the screen automatically came on and I guess I unintentionally touched the “end call” button. Freaking touch screen. I was angry. Angrier than earlier.

I called again and opted for them to “call me back in 25 to 43 minutes.” That was at 11:40 AM.

So I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited some more.

Come 1:45 PM, more than two hours later, I still haven’t been called back.

Wow, are you freaking kidding me, Comcast?!

FINALLY I got through to someone with a minimal wait.

I explained to him the whole situation. He was very polite but never apologized for these several inconveniences his company has put me through today.

He set me up with an appointment for tomorrow between 11 and 1. That seriously is not good enough. I probably should have yelled at him till he could get someone out to me today. I’ve been without internet since Monday. By tomorrow, that’ll be the sixth day without it. I need to work. I need to blog. I need to do things.

He transferred me to billing so they could credit my account for the technician’s late arrival. You know, it’s not even that he was late. He didn’t even arrive in the right time slot. 8 to 9 was ample time for him to come and install my stuff before I had to leave. I am SO mad about this.

Anyway, homegirl in the billing department listened to my story. She didn’t apologize about the tech. She didn’t apologize about the two unreturned phone calls and ridiculous waits. She credited my account $20 and asked if there was anything else she could do.

Yeah, be considerate, maybe?! The stress you’ve put me through today is more than $20 worth. At least freaking apologize.

Nope. Comcast: “home of the customer satisfaction guarantee.” How ignorant of them to assume that $20 is going to make up for all of this bullsh-- today. I am NOT happy.

Add on to this that after I went to the gym, showered, and blow dried my hair, the lady at the beauty school totally botched my bangs. Like, beyond help or recovery. I’ll have to wait a couple weeks before they’re grown out enough to do anything with. I usually cut my own bangs and have never botched them as badly as she did. Thanks, idiot hair student that’s going to graduate in 3 weeks. Good luck to all your future customers with botched hair. Guess I’m keeping my bangs pinned back for a while.

Then I had to put my mattress back. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if A. it weren’t a queen sized mattress and B. I didn’t have a bed skirt. But it’s a queen. And I have a bed skirt. It’s really, really hard to put a mattress back and get the bed skirt lined up without trying to pull it under the mattress and possibly rip it in the process. So that was another 5-10 minutes of hassle.

You know where just everything has been frustrating in a day? It’s nothing huge, just a bunch of little things piled on top of each other? That is what this feels like. I almost started bawling while I was trying to put my mattress back, I was so frustrated by the events of this day.

The good news: I got some of my reading done for Tuesday. The weather is awesome today. I have a date tonight at a nice restaurant with a guy who will not be a jerk; I’ve made myself pretty clear. And parent-teacher conferences went well. More on that in the next post. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Week of School (5 Weeks Late)

Well, my first impressions of my classes were all good. I wish I had actually made a detailed account of my first week of school so I could remember my exact thoughts, but here’s what I can recall.

My mom came with me on day one and took care of some of my dirty business—making folders for those who were absent, alphabetizing work, etc. I’m so glad she was there because I’m not sure I would have functioned the next day without her. She got the ball rolling so that I could have a productive rhythm by the second day when she wasn’t there. She gave me a feel for what I needed to get done.

I’m trying out all new and/or revamped procedures this year, and so far they seem to be working wonders for the students’ grades and for my stress level. I’m structuring everything very highly--babying them, if you will. I never realized how little you can trust junior high kids to keep something with them and to bring their stuff to class until last year.

This year, they’ve all been provided with a two pocket folder and some stapled paper for their journals. This took lots of preparation on my part, of course. We also wrote the first few journals together so that they would know what I expect. They need to write complete sentences and be reasonably conversational. They also need to answer all the questions. It also helped (90% of them, those who were listening) them to learn how to format the journals (date first, don’t copy the questions, don’t skip lines, don’t skip space, write on the back of the page, etc.).

My journal scores as a whole were at an all time high when I did my first collection! I’m pretty excited about this. This is because they get their folder when they come into class, they write their journal response, put the paper away, and pass their folder back at the end of class. They never have the excuse anymore, “Oh I lost my journal.” “I left it in my locker.” “I don’t have a journal.” “I don’t have any paper.” Five weeks in, I still haven’t heard any of those excuses, and it is glorious. Let me tell you. Glorious.

I’m getting off topic, sorry. Let’s just say the changes I’ve made are working for me and for the students. I think the most Fs I have in a class is five or six, which is actually really good for me, and expected since there’s so little anchoring their grades. One absence makes a big difference.

We covered the disclosure and procedures in the first two days. We spent lots of time on procedures for the first two weeks of class because I realized I hadn’t spent enough time the past couple of years. It made me super stressed throughout the year that I hadn’t done that. Yes, it’s annoying for them and for me, but by golly, they’ll know my rules like the back of their hand when we’re done. Plus, seventh graders are just getting used to the policies and procedures of EIGHT teachers instead of just one. I had to take the time with them. They even had a quiz on my policies and procedures. They seem to be very on top of it, but I know that’s due to how much time we’ve spent and how much repetition we’ve had on everything (using the absent packet, using the website, borrowing a pencil, using a hall pass, the late work policy, turning work in, etc.)

On A day I have all seventh graders—2A, 3A, and 4A. My B day kids are a different story. I have eighth graders during 1B and 4B. My 3B is seventh grade too.

I didn’t have any behavior issues in the first couple of days. I could tell I might have some difficult students though. Even the “difficult” ones this year are nothing compared to last year, at least so far. The biggest issues are in my English 8 classes, but really, even the chatty kids are good-natured kids. They’re not disrespectful. They don’t have attitudes like my last year’s ninth graders. They’re on the path to perversion, but not quite as bad or crass or dirty-minded as last year’s.

Honestly, I don’t have any kids yet who I don’t like. Even the ones who take me getting in their face and repeating everything a fifth time for them are impossible for me to dislike. That’s not saying I don’t get totally frustrated with them, but I might rather have the challenges associated with younger kids than with the older ones.

I keep getting off topic. Ugh. So! After the first days of policies and procedures—they had time to create a 3x5 card. These were much more successful this year than last year, as I realized how much structure they needed rather than freedom to be creative, since so many will just do minimum, unsightly work. So when they finished those cards, we introduced ourselves. I still don’t have all the names. This is the worst I’ve done out of these first years I’ve taught. Normally, I’m much faster at picking up the names, but this year I just can’t do it for some reason.

My biggest class is either 35 or 36. I’d check, but I have no internet right now. My smallest, I believe, is 32. So it’s not too bad this year.

2A – My smartest seventh grade class
3A – Some pretty rowdy/obnoxious kids in there, but none who are a real issue
4A – Pretty good class for the most part
1B – Depends on the day, but for the most part they are the better behaved of my two eighth grade classes. They’re not too bright as a whole, to be honest.
3B – This class is really good at having discussions; I like it.
4B – A pretty rowdy bunch. Also not too bright as a whole. Even the rowdy kids are really likeable, though.

That was my pretty uneventful first week. Disclosure, policies/procedures, introductions. Getting the folders made and everything was pretty smooth, and so far things are really good.

I have no internet until Friday when Comcast comes to install theirs. I canceled my Qwest internet for today because I don’t want to pay even a partial bill to them. I figured I could hack it since I will be at work until 7:30 on Tuesday and Wednesday night anyway. But really, I feel so disconnected. I thought of a few emails I needed to send and other stuff I had to do online and then realized I couldn’t do it at all! I could on my phone, but that sucks really bad.

I think what I’ll do with my remaining internet-less hours at home this week will be to read, watch the Discovery channel, and do some writing—blogging or otherwise. Maybe I’ll even get to sleep earlier. Yeah, probably not.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crazy Week

I was supposed to have plans tonight, but they sort of fell through. So I just did my own thing, including going to the gym, eating dinner, watching The Office, running to Costco (not because I needed a hand-dipped ice cream bar with roasted almonds), and writing an article for some extra dinero.

Tomorrow I have work, then I visit Brianne, then class from 4:30 to 7. I might go to my cousins' house after to watch Glee and/or The New Girl. So it will be a late night.

On Wednesday AND Thursday I have work, and then more work. You guessed it: parent-teacher conferences, till 7:30 both nights. I think if I'm going to get any exercise in, it will have to be before work. If you've ever done PT conferences, you know there is no mental (or physical) activity going on afterward.

At least we get Friday off as a comp day. I also have a date on Friday night, so that's something to look forward to after three nights of chaos.

I still have a lot of things to blog about, but I'm spending my meager free time in the next week writing articles so I can pay for the new modem I had to buy. I'm switching to Comcast.

I'm no mathematician, by the way, but here's some number sense. I currently pay $50 for 12 mbps with Qwest. Qwest's best offer when I called them was 12 mbps for $40 for 12 months (locked in) = $480. Comcast is giving me 15 mbps for $30 for 12 months = $360. Plus the modem was $74 which is $434, still cheaper than Qwest's offer. Plus, Comcast's offer will go up to $48/month after that 12 months... Still faster and cheaper than my original service.

Poor Qwest. Had they told me before I called Comcast that the cancellation people would have given me some unmatchable deals, I might have stayed with them. Duh, customer service reps. Duh.

I was thinking it might be fun to blog in detail about my workout routines. I don't really have a routine anymore, if I'm being honest. But I am totally beating myself up at the gym lately. It's awesome.

Also, just as a side note, I hate this idea that "We R Who We R" (thanks, Kesha), or that we can't help our faults because we were "Born this Way" (thanks, Gaga). What a pitiful message of apathy and mediocrity to be sending out. Yuck.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Too Fast

I just want to say that I think men move way too fast, as a general rule. I don't want to make the mistake of Dicto Simpliciter here. But really, as a whole, I think guys need to just lay off the physical aspect.

Like since when did first or second dates become "make out time"? Or spooning time? Or whatever-else-it's-too-soon-for time?

Nothing has happened recently. I've just been thinking tonight. And I don't know. I think I'm just increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of being even slightly physical with someone if I don't know I'm really into them and feel safe with them.

I just want someone take the time to get to know me before they decide they want to kiss me! I want it to be more than what it is for 99% of people.

Is that weird, to become more resistant to physical interaction over time?

Well, whatever. If that's how I'm going to weed out the crappy ones, I'll do it.

Find me a patient gentleman, and I'll love you forever, readers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From the Desks

And now, for an episode of "From the Desks: Messages that Students Write."

Message one, received on Facebook from one of my 9th graders last year:

"Dear Ms. Balibrea

This is your old 9th grade student Erika from last school year. I just wanted to say thanks for everything you taught us. It helped a BUNCH in High School. Today in Language Arts 10, I answered almost all of the questions my teacher asked. I felt pretty smart cause of all of the things you taught us last year.
I honestly miss being in your class, even though it was pretty boring at times. High school is allot different from Jefferson, But I'm started to get use to how it is.
Sincerly, Erika Lopez

(P.S. I hope that you think my writing has improved, I've been working on it)"

Message two, received in an after school visit from my most frequent 9th grade complainer last year:

Student: Hi! :)

Me: Hello! What's up?

Student: I just came to say thank you.

Me (confused): For what?

Student: Just everything. Everything that you did last year is the exact same as it is in high school.

Me: Wow! Well I'm glad. You're welcome.

Student: Like today, my teacher asked us if we know the difference between primary and secondary sources. I was like, "Psh, of course!" So I just wanted to come and tell you thank you, and keep doing what you're doing because it's working.

Message three, left in a note taped under one of my desks by one of my 9th graders from last year when he came to visit me a couple weeks ago:

"Dear Miss Balibrea’s Advisory class,Miss Balibrea is an awesome teacher, so respect her. She knows what she’s talking about. If you don’t listen and if you disrespect her we’ll have some problem. I’m already her favorite student so don’t even try. This message brought to you by her favoritest ever student (Ryan Gibson)! I love you miss Balibrea.Hello =) goodbye now sir/Raquel Eisenzimmer."

Sometimes I feel like I made the right career choice.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Well, I promised that lots of blogs were on their way, but I probably can count the number of free hours I've had recently to do anything that I want to do on just one hand. In that same entry, I mentioned how I have too much to say about everything. It's weird and sad interesting how much my lack of expression affects my state of being. It's like if I don't get my thoughts down somewhere, they're just rolling around in my brain waiting to be released.

Consequently, I'm feeling terribly psychologically unbalanced as of late. And in order to fix that, I know that I can do two possible things. One is that I can write (in this case, on my blog), and the other is that I can go to a shrink. Ideally, I'd do both. But I don't have money to go to a shrink. This is a contributing factor to my psychological imbalance.

Here are some other contributing factors that I can think of:

Things men have said--or I guess what they've said makes them boys, not men
Spiritually not doing my part
Having a too-long to-do list/work
Starting up a class

So for my sanity's sake, I'm writing this blog. It probably will be boring for most of you. You've been warned. Do not read on if you are not interested in the rants that are necessary for my sanity.

The first three topics have affected me in a very negative sense--taking a serious toll on my sense of self-worth. I don't say this lightly, because in all honesty, when's the last time I wrote a blog about something like this? It's been a pretty long while. And normally I'm a pretty confident young lady. So let's discuss...

I have had some dates with some great guys lately. Some have been really interested, and some not so much, and some for totally the wrong reason.

Let's examine the last situation for entertainment's sake, shall we?

First, one person I haven't heard from in the last two days claims to love me and wants to be serious with me. But he's always too busy for me. It's just as well, because I need to stop repeating my mistakes, and his selfishness just makes it easier for me to move forward. I am pretty sure the only reason he cares about me is because I care about him. It doesn't feel good.

Another guy, after two dates with me, got slightly carried away. I was able to muster up what little self-respect I have left in order to keep things at an acceptable level. There were some seriously awkward moments in there that even I am not sure I want in the public realm of the interweb. Seriously weird. Here's the part I can share. This guy told me, and I quote, "You are a very attractive girl. And you have a very tempting body."

Seriously? Who says something like that? This totally made me sick and sent me into a spiral of self-loathing for the next couple of days. Let's be honest, everyone wants to be attractive. But let's be honest again, no one wants to be told that being attractive is the cause behind someone else's disrespectful acts. In that moment, I felt like every inappropriate gesture or violation against me by a male was my fault, for looking how I do. I think that describes it pretty succinctly. I was honestly struck with the desire to inflict physical pain on myself. Don't go calling the cops or whatever. I'm fine. But that's how bad that night and next few days were.

Shortly after that, a guy who had told me he just wanted to be friends also got carried away. Again, mustering up my determination and self-respect, I asked him several times to stop what he was doing. Several times. He was rather forceful, and my physical resistance wasn't much in comparison to his strength. This situation actually traumatized me severely, to the point where I don't really want to even sit close to a man. I feel like they're all a threat somehow. And after what the other guy had told me, I felt like I had unintentionally asked for it, or like I deserved that kind of treatment, or like I have some immoral invitation written on my forehead. A scarlet letter "A," if you will.

Then a few weeks ago I met a guy on a spur of the moment. We watched a movie. He had a hairless cat. He also took off all his clothes the first time we hung out "because it was hot." Uh? It was the first time we met. And we didn't sit near each other or anything. But what the crap?  Obviously I was pretty flabbergasted by that occurrence. Anyway, a few days later I was chatting with a former student about this guy I had met with a hairless cat. It ended up that my student knew Captain Underpants. Student said that Mr. Underpants was a d--k. I said that I could see that that might be possible, which was weird because it's not as though he's super hot. Well, Captain wrote me a message on the website on which we met. I wasn't able to read the message until a couple of weeks after he sent it because I didn't have a paid membership. I finally did. It said:

"Love how I hear things through the grape vine.

Talk %$#!% more fatty.

I'm to much of an %$#!% for how unattractive I am? Are you kidding me? Get fat, and ugly, and please smell more like BO.

Don't talk %$#!% when you're a fat %$#!% and smell.

Me an %$#!%? Yes.

Me unattractive? Ha Ha Ha.. please.. i could of had you if I wanted, but no thanks chubs."

Naturally, being the internally emotional girl that I am, I let all of those nasty words sink in. Fatty, smelly, ugly, fat-ass, and chubs. I'd be lying if I said I had gotten over this message. I've been thinking about it every single day since I read it. This last weekend which I spent fighting illness was as a result of reading this message. I give myself viruses when I stress out about this kind of stuff--not lying.

Now look, the sensible version of me knows that I should disregard the opinion of an obviously insecure, douchey, wants-to-be-naked, hairless cat owner. Clearly, his opinion should not matter. But I can't help but be upset by it. I got an even nastier email than this about three years ago, and I still think about that one on a pretty frequent basis, actually. Words just affect me way too much.

So on top of thinking about his words every day for the last week... I got some texts from my brother today. He said [sic]:

"You are so not my sister... dead to me."

"Your a moron."

"Whatever you closed minded moromonized un loveable person. I can see why you have no relationship."

"Your a little rat. A snitch with no love for me whatsoever."

"Your an idiot."

"Your pathetic."

"Ok moron."

Now I'm not getting into self-injure mode over these texts. But I will say it is salt in the already huge wound. Naturally these texts are out of context. He was mad at me. However, I didn't call him any names at all.

This week I've been trying to get back into regular praying and scripture reading habits. I've been in a good mood. I've treated my students well. I've gone to the gym. I would say I'm trying really hard not to perpetuate negative energy, but wow... I think it's too much to ask lately for someone (who knows me well) to say something nice to me, about a quality that matters. It does sound pathetic, like my brother said, but some kind words would go a long way for me right now.

As for the fourth topic... I just have a long to do list. I've been slacking off big time with planning my unit and objectives out for my students. I'm hoping to get on the ball this weekend and get some serious planning done. But we're three weeks into the school year, and I've still got no game plan. It's stressing me out. I also need money. I need to write some articles for Orange Soda. I haven't done that in a while, and some extra cash really would help me out. But I'm wondering when to do that since now (topic number 5) I have started up my class.

This semester we have to do a daunting case study, another big project, regular weekly readings and write-ups, and lead a couple of discussions. I bit off several of my nails in the first night of class because of the approaching work level and stress.

So now that I've divulged some of my deepest and darkest issues at present, maybe it's a little more understandable why I feel kind of like a psycho.

I think in my heart of hearts I know there's only one place (or Person) I can turn to in a time of so much sadness, discouragement, and stress. I just feel unworthy to approach Him and ask.

Enough serious talk... I am going to eat, shower, and go to the movies with one of the few men who has been respectful to me in recent months. Maybe it'll do me some good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Something's Wrong with This Picture

Today was picture day at school.

I saw one student wearing the same shirt as I wore to work yesterday.

And I saw another student wearing the same skirt I recently got at Old Navy.

Something is very, very wrong with this...

As a side note, they showed me my picture after they took it so I could approve it. That's good, right?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Too Much to Say

You know, what this comes down to is that I just have too much to say. About pretty much everything. About everything in my life. And about everything about life in general. And about everything about everyone else's lives. Just too much to say. All the time.

I purchased some little tiny notepads to keep in random bags and purses that I use in case an idea strikes me. And they do. All the time.

But have I used these notebooks yet? No. The idea escapes seconds after I have it, and tragically I am too lazy to write it down before it runs away from my mind forever.

I DID text myself some potential topics. But then I thought of something else today that I cannot remember at this present moment. So I think I'll summarize my life as of late. And then do separate posts for the more detailed thoughts that I have.

Lately, my life has consisted of work, going to the gym, running errands/taking care of other business, and going to bed. The last thing hasn't been going so well. I just cannot sleep. Melatonin, no melatonin. Exhausted, or not that exhausted. Getting up early, or waking up late. I can't do it. I really can't.

I went out to dinner with my mom last week, and we went to the mall. I have more details on that for a separate blog entry. Just a preview: some foreign kioskers told me I have acne. Thanks, guys. Thanks.

My skin has finally cleared up this week. ;) Just for the record.

I went out to dinner with Aaron to Texas Roadhouse on Saturday night. It was so delicious. Rolls, salad, baby onion blossom, chicken critters, yumdizzle. Then Aaron lost his contact. And he single-eyedly drove home to replace it. That was somewhat of a fright. Then we watched Juno. I love Juno. She makes me laugh. So does her dad. "I'm gonna punch that Bleaker kid in the wiener the next time I see him." Yes.

I have stuff to say about my investment in certain things/people. And why I am so ridiculously stupid to repeat my same mistakes about 5 million times. "Don't make someone a priority when they only make you an option." Yeah. No matter how many times you tell me that, I'll never follow the warning. Really.

I also have personal items that I can vaguely describe, as I am generally just in a really difficult place with myself. I have a story (or two or three) about what sort of sent me into an already established spiral of self-loathing. (You know, I try really hard not to hate men, but honestly, they make it kind of difficult.)

I worked on visiting teaching with my coordinator for over 3 hours on Tuesday night. It's nice to have that done, and I am hoping things settle down so it's not such an ordeal every month. We've still got more work to do on Saturday (finalizing the numbers, changing the MLS and files, getting the copies made, etc.).

I love Dropbox. I really do. It just changed my life--especially related to work and church.

I finally got paid yesterday. And after a long time of not visiting the grocery store, I was happy to come home with some fresh strawberries, sweet potatoes, oranges, and salads. I am very excited about this. I was so excited I got myself some Little Caesar's. I will be eating at home the rest of the month. My groceries were so heavy coming in, that a (blog) thought occurred to me: what an amazing burden. To have my arms weighed down with groceries could be so unpleasant and such hard work, living on the third floor, but I was SO glad to have food to carry in. So glad. I even went to Costco today. And I got gas. Oh money. I am watching you fly away so quickly.

My class starts on Tuesday. Ew. It's on reading assessments.

I started a new book today: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's OK so far. I just needed something to put on my classroom poster for what I'm reading.

The weather is fantastic today: breezy and 86 degrees. I'd love to go on a walk but have no one to go with.

My classroom has finally cooled down significantly. A steaming hot, disgusting classroom was a great way to start the school year, let me tell ya!

A quick note: on a left green arrow, right turners do NOT have the right of way. On a two way green light, left turners do NOT have the right of way. I feel like the only person in Utah who knows this.

I got a Facebook message from one of my students of last year. It was very sweet.

I've been at the gym three days this week including today. And a couple of days last week. I am happy to report that I burned 802 calories on Tuesday and 814 today in 65 minutes on the elliptical. I left today with still more energy--I could have gone for a run afterward, no lie. I probably should have pushed it harder. I love the numbers. I love the progress. It makes me happy and proud. Maybe one of these days I'll start watching what I eat so that all the muscles I have will actually show. ;)

I'm not excited to switch Netflix plans. But in case you were wondering, I went with unlimited streaming. All the TV shows. Too hard to pass up.

Spotify is amazing. Seriously. New love of my life. Good things from Europe.

I'd like to write about living alone. And the pros and cons of such a situation. Like the fact that I laugh at funny things by myself. I watch movies by myself. I want to go on a walk and have no one to go with. I cook dinner for only myself. I pay bills by myself--no splitting. And my coworker Sarah mentioned another challenge: zipping up a dress by yourself.

My home teachers came by unexpectedly yesterday. This was both good and bad. Good because geez, it's been years since I've had home teachers show up. Bad because I had stuff I wanted to get done and was all sweaty from finishing a workout. Oh hi guys. Come on in. Talk to me while I look like hell.

On arriving early, and arriving late. There are good and bad things surrounding each of these situations. Can't we all just be on time? We can thank my visiting teachers for my desire to discuss this topic.

I saw Death Cab in concert last Monday (also the first day of school). My feet hurt. But dang. My obsession increased by a landslide. More deets on that to come.

I'm still baffled as to why people feel the need to go on the elliptical right next to me. When I am on the end, and there are 11 (literally, 11) open next to me--as in, the rest of the row--WHY does someone have to be on the one right next to me? In this case, a young woman. What the crap? Doesn't anyone understand personal space? Anyone?

And really, I need to update y'all on my teaching situation. My classroom, my students, my first week of school, etc. Rachel said she had checked my blog all week to see if I had blogged about my first week yet. I guess because this was my third "first week," it didn't feel like as big of a deal to me. WAY less stressful than the last two years--the first year, and the first year at a new school, in a new classroom. But more deets on that, later, too. Thanks Rachel, for caring!

Speaking of Rachel. I love her. What do we do without friends who listen to our soul's heaviest discontents? Plus, she replaced my round cake pans unnecessarily. That's awesome.

OK, I reek and really need to shower and eat some food. More writings are on the way, though. On. The. Way.