Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pet Peeves

Just in time for the season. What is your pet peeve? I have many and even thinking about them is like chalk grating on the blackboard.

I hate the service stations that run out of paper for your receipt. You wait in line, pump your own gas and of course your in a hurry and then it says receipt inside. Then you have to go inside and wait in another line to get a receipt. Lately, I just say the heck with it and leave. Thanks to online banking I can still keep track.

Shopping is always a little stressful this time of year and you wonder where they get the cashiers or who in the world trained them? God forbid if you hand a cashier a twenty and three cents for a total of $15.03 they cannot handle it. It used to upset me because they said Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas but now they don’t say anything they should just say Bah Humbug.

Eating out is such a joy and the ambiance is so ruined when you look across the room and the women at the next table are putting on make up. The works, pancake powder, a little blush and lipstick. It is so wrong.

Being a teacher is rewarding but often parents are the problems not the students. Parents who dress their boys in pull on pants with no zippers in the sixth grade and then wonder why kids are bullying their son. Hello???????????

Parents who drive to school because their kid forgot their lunch because their child would be too embarrassed to eat the peanut butter sandwich provided by cafeteria. Tell them to suck it up and eat peanut butter.

Lastly, I hate when I buy wrapping paper and ornament hooks and then open up my stored decorations to find I bought them half price after Christmas last year to save money this year. Oh well “tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la…”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgivings Past

Because people are so busy next week, I decided to post my Thanksgiving blog early.

All of my favorite Thanksgivings as a child were when we visited Downingtown and my Italian relatives.

At Henry & Dixie’s we would get up and after breakfast go to the rival Downingtown vs. Coatesville football game. We would go back and sit down and eat for hours one course after another course and Henry would entertain us with stories of Snagolene.

There were a few memorable Thanksgivings where we went to dinner at the Clemente side of the family. It was an unbelievable cultural experience. They brought out lasagna and we ate our fill only to find out it was the first course. Then they brought out turkey with all the trimmings and a roast beef too. After dinner fruit, nuts, pastry. We went downstairs and watched TV for a few hours and our hosts brought down a snack…. homemade pizza.

When we were married, we spent Thanksgiving with our friends the Merritt’s. Once we spent the day in the emergency room when Annie climbed on a riding toy and split open her chin. I worried the whole time my turkey was burning and when we got home, my friend had gone to our home and finished cooking the whole dinner for us.

We spent several "Walton" Thanksgivings in Washington, Pa. early in our marriage at Grandma Martin’s. She sometimes had 40 plus people for her dinner. There were long tables set up in the basement and cousins running around everywhere. It was awesome. After Grandma and Grandpap couldn’t do it anymore, we had the holiday with Pap Pap and Deedle and her famous 8 hour turkey cooked in a paper grocery bag.

In Florida we were pretty much on our own. I would try to invite others if I knew they did not have a family. Once, I accidently picked up the brown vanilla bottle and doused it in my gravy and ruined the whole dinner. I thought it was the brown “Kitchen Bouquet” bottle. I will never live that one down.

This year my husband will be working and my kitchen will be torn apart for much needed renovations. I am thankful for the memories of Thanksgiving’s past. I pass the torch to our children and grandchildren to make new memories.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It is Only A Matter of Time.

When I was younger I had so much patience. When I waited tables, all the old people sat in my section because I was nice to them. They would send their food back to the kitchen several times if it was not prepared exactly right. They were lousy tippers and they stole all of the Sweet ‘N Low.

When I worked in a retail store, seniors were always returning merchandise. Once there was an old lady who brought back a pair of pajamas that were three years old and complained they had holes in them.

Sometimes you might be behind these complainers in a cashier’s line and they are talking very very loud.

I finally figured old people out. They have had poor food service for 60 plus years. They have been ripped off with merchandise purchases for 60 plus years. They have had stupid cashiers for 60 plus years. They have had ignorant sales people for 60 plus years.

The best I can figure is it is only a matter of time and I will be sending back my food, returning merchandise after I wear it a few years and absconding with the Sweet & Low.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Maybe I Should Write a Book

I laughed one day watching Oprah. She had someone who had written a book because they had cut their budget around $30,000. When Fred quit his job to go back to school, we cut ours $55,000. I was a stay at home mom the first ten years of our marriage and I knew how to live on a tight budget. I was able to do it by pulling out our budget from 1996. We had the money for his tuition and books set aside in savings. I had just hit the top of the pay scale so we were going to have an increase in my pay. We sat down and came up with a plan.

Here it is maybe there is something you did not think of that you could cut out of your budget too.

Yearly savings

· Before we started we paid off our credit cards saving $6,000

· Cut out weekly pizzas $720

· No hair cuts or perms $ 300

· No donations to anyone $1000

· Cut cable $600

· Cut house phone service $1200

· No lawn service $650

· Cut out weekly dinner out or breakfast out $1000

· No more newspaper deliveries $360

· No magazine subscriptions $100

· Bought a junker to get rid of a car payment saving $4,800

· No new clothes $300

· Plane Fairs $ 1200

· No Christmas Cards $100

· No exchanging Christmas gifts extended family $1000

· No new converse $ 200

· Cut food budget in half

Used coupons, generic and made everything from scratch $4,800

· Deferred student loans $ 6,000

· No exchange of birthday gifts $ 200

· No exchange anniversary $ 100

· No vacation at the shore $ 4,000

· Car pooled every other week $ 600

Additional income

· My pay increase $ 5500

· Worked extra period per day $4000

· Stipends/A plus $ 3,000

· Fred side work $ 7,000

When he graduated and got a real job, the pizza came back first, then new car, and the house phone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Lately, I am a self-help book junkie. I devour them and try to meditate and analyze why I do this or why I do that. Basically, I figured out the reason I like to have fun with my middle school students is that I am trying to have the childhood I missed. So I like to sit down and draw with them, color or build my marionettes. I was eleven when running our house fell to me. My sister got married so I slipped into the “first child” syndrome. It was a heavy burden for a little kid.

In the morning my routine was get up, iron my uniform and brother’s dress shirts, make breakfast and off to the bus. After school, babysitting, chores and cooking dinner. My parents both worked so by the time I did dishes I was exhausted and off to escape in my room.

My opinion of myself was that I was a poor student. I never studied or developed good habits. It was a wonder I got “B” honor role each report. During one of my in depth looks at myself the light bulb went off. There was the realization that I really wasn’t stupid if I got B’s with no effort.

Anyway, the point is sometimes we do things, or wear things or enjoy things more than others because of our memory tracks.

One way to break out of negative memory triggers is to do self-affirmations. You look in the mirror like that guy on Saturday Night Live and say you are a good person, or I love my life or I am skinny. But the best affirmation I found in a book is "I am a money magnet. I am a money magnet. I am a money magnet…"

Do you know a money magnet? Someone who is like Midas…

Money should not be part of our value system but if this works, I will be with my babies for Christmas and renting a home at the seashore in the summer. "I am a money magnet. I am a money magnet."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Kids Can't Spell?

CAB memo

PLC are to meet to discuss the target groups ELL (formerly ESOL) or ESE students who did not meet the AYP on the FCAT spring test. The PGP goals must correlate with the SSS and the IFC to comply with the SIT and the SIP Plan. These requirements are to meet the mandates of the NCLB Act.

SS Lessons must follow said IFC using BEEP and the JAT resources. It is important for the children to use said resources in order to transition in later grades to TAJ resources.

SGA/PC /HS /FFEA/SADD and MICRO society are all having community service projects and collections this week.

SAC and SAF are meeting to discuss the BEF grants that can be used to fund SEAS field trips and the ETS at our school. BRACE and BRITE will also contribute to these funds.

BEACON and BVU have arranged to have workshops on FCAT explorer and VC and PMP here on workday and PTSA will sponsor lunch to celebrate NE week.

BTU will meet in the afternoon to discuss FAQ about the EASE and some of the problems that come up logging into ESS and they will also contact HRD and ERP.

SIU will investigate the cell phone and I phone thefts using the video monitor system.

Also 40% of the kids on 601, have H1N1 and will miss the BAT next week or is the BATTY?

To be honest fellow BCPS educators, I have about twenty more but I am exhausted.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pride & Joy

The fall has always been a kick off time for family and reflection. This is probably because of the many celebrations for the Martin’s at this time of the year. This week I thought of the many milestones and extreme feelings of pride I have experienced throughout the years.

The girls were involved in music programs, academics and there were many evenings where as parents we felt like we would burst.

When Jaime graduated college it was very emotional. Jaime was the child who had to work very hard for her honor roll report cards. She was the kid crying at the dinner table in elementary school struggling with the subjects that she found not to her liking. When she graduated high school, she got a job immediately in a law office and was doing very well. We were surprised when a year later she quit and said she was ready for college. We all had an investment in her education not just financially but emotionally so her graduation was a blubbering event. James topped it off by secretly showing us the engagement ring he would give her later.

I was most proud of Annie when as a young woman she faced great adversity and trial and rose to the top. When you think of survivor and the words “suck it up” and go on, that is Annie. When she found Paul and they were married there wasn’t a dry eye in the place including the groom. It was as if she climbed a mountain and made it to the summit and survived. Needless to say, even the tornado that came through and canceled the outdoor event could not burst anyone’s bubble.

But the single most significant event in my entire married life even over the birth of our children was when my husband Fred waited for me to greet him on the stage when he received his nursing graduation pin. He reached for my hand and we walked across the stage together. It was equal to the day I walked down the aisle and saw his smiling face. We had set a goal and together we had achieved what we deemed the impossible.

Each day I am reminded when Fred comes home animated and telling me about his day at the hospital of the joy I felt on his graduation day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All things Equal

If you are a product of the sixties, you can relate to this motherhood syndrome. It is where you try like hell to make things equal. It starts all the way back to the day you bring them home from the hospital. You make decisions based on is it fair and you fail miserably. I remember I brought Jaime home from the hospital in the exact same outfit, had her Christened in the same dress and so on and so on. Now years later, I am stuck with boxes of stuff because how do you pick who to pass it on to???

In grade school you sign up to be room mother at a time when you are overworked and stressed because after all you were Annie’s room mother and it would not be fair. At Christmas, you carefully try to juggle the amount of money you spend and have the same amount of boxes under the tree for them to open.

When they were teenagers I hated to hear the words “It is Not Fair. She gets to do this, she gets to ride in the front seat, she can stay up later. I threatened to put the words on their tombstone one day. Consequently, I tried to instill the point that sometimes life is not fair. These words come back to haunt me because they remind me often when I am droning on and on about my current life problems.

You might wonder what prompted today’s blog. It is guilt. I wished Annie Happy Birthday on my blog. Looking back to September I realized I could have done the same thing with Jaime on her birthday. The only excuse I can come up with is I was a neophyte blogger and learning how I could come up with topics to express myself and have a voice.

Jaime, I will even things out soon, I know I owe you a blog tribute.