Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I feel like I'm drowning

I don't know what it is about the beginning of this school year, but I feel like I'm drowning and I'm not even swimming! Talking to some colleagues, it's ironic that we all feel the same way. I feel like I'm starting from ground zero... maybe this summer was too long for the kids (it certainly wasn't long enough for me). Then I was having problems with ONE teacher not taking my homeroom students who are in her reading class. They're supposed to go to her class after Language. My reading class goes to lunch after Language. Her class doesn't go till a half hour later. She needed clarification, something in black and white. Even after I showed her, IN BLACK AND WHITE AND VARIOUS COLORS, the schedule and what was supposed to happen after Language she still needed clarification and basically kicked me out of her classroom. I had to call in the big guns. This is the second altercation with her this year and we've only been in school since August 12th! Someone had to stand guard outside her classroom today to make sure I got my Reading kids in my lunch line and my homeroom kids into her Reading class. It's so stressful to be working next to someone who is so combative. I'm hoping that within the next few days, things start to get into groove and I don't feel like I'm sinking in quicksand!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Last of the Sydney Chronicles

I finally have a chance to finish my recounting of World Youth Day in Sydney. I'm really procrastinating! I have to write an article for our Catholic weekly paper and I don't want to do it.

Saturday July 19
We were up EARLY. Before the sun rose kind of early. If you know me, you know I'm not up before the sun! Since everything was packed the night before, all I had to do was take a shower, get dressed and eat breakfast. We hopped our favorite bus line--the 470 to downtown Sydney. The bus driver was nice enough to take us as close to Circular Quay as possible. We found out that we were on the same side of the bridge as Randwick Racecourse. Now, maybe I was a little delirious from lack of sleep, real coffee (hello, Starbucks) and not enough food by this point, but I really rallied to walk across the bridge! Wasn't it the whole point of the pilgrimage experience? To walk across the harbour bridge and into the racecourse?!?!?! I felt we hadn't suffered enough. We took the easy way out of EVERYTHING during the trip. It was as if we forgot the "test" of Monday's experience. I would have walked it by myself if no one else was game, but I think most everyone was sold on the idea of walking the bridge. So we hopped on two trains to get to North Sydney. The walk across the bridge took an hour. It took another three hours to get to our space in the racecourse. On our way in, we were each given a green bag of food. Little did some know that the bag of food contained THREE meals...lunch, dinner and breakfast. Already knowing that we weren't liking the food, some of us packed snacks we liked and Joann's awesome dip! If not for that, I would have truly starved! I fell asleep after I ate my measly lunch of tuna, bread and water. Upon waking up, I found myself staring at STRANGERS where familiar faces should have been. I thought someone had played a joke on me and moved my sleeping bag (with me on it) to a different area. But, I don't sleep that deeply. I moved closer to Anna and her girls. Poor Joann! Some other guy came and plopped his stuff next to her. She was thoroughly surprised when SHE woke up! We didn't do much the rest of the day...who had the energy? I fell asleep during the sleeping bag was so comfy and cozy and WARM that who could stay awake snuggled in it?!?!? It wasn't real sleep, though. A group of people sang and danced all night long. If it wasn't for my Ipod touch and some George Winston music I wouldn't have gotten any rest!

Sunday July 20
This was the day we had all been anticipating all week (all year, really)! After morning prayer, the Pope came around in his popemobile. We were in section L. The popemobile went through section K. Love the zoom in my camera because I got a pretty good picture...not a great one, but close enough. Hey, at least the Pope and I breathed the same air! The Pope said mass (another two hours) and confirmed several people. I was so tired that I fell asleep during the confirmation. OOPS! Towards the end of mass, the Pope announced the next WYD site--MADRID SPAIN! WOW!

We had to get back to our lodge the same way we came in.........WALKING! We had to take a break in the park on our way out. The kids were real troopers. It seemed that every few blocks or so, one of them would ask if I needed some help. When we stopped at the park, I asked one of the boys to strap my sleeping bag to his rolling back. What a sweetheart!

July 21-23
The rest of our time in Sydney was spent on relaxing and some fun! For me, it meant Starbucks and some shopping for the family. I didn't get anything fancy for them. Just little things for the kids and Tim Tams for the adults. It's the thought that counts! They all got special blessings through the prayer cards and medals that were blessed by the Pope during the final mass.

I'd have to say that I went to WYD blindly. I didn't know what to expect. I guess you could call it having blind faith. It was very inspirational. I got to visit a city I only dreamed of visiting. I got to get to know people I see EVERY weekend at mass. They're more than just familiar faces now. But most of all, it was amazing to see that hundreds of people share your same faith in God. We were one body in Christ.

Slide show #5:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I loathe anonymous commenters!

Maybe I'm just tired, exhausted, too focused on getting back into the swing of working again. Maybe I'm just pissed that I had to make a doctor's appointment so late in the day for tomorrow. But this comment just rubbed me the wrong way!

Anonymous said...

Check out number 14.

So I clicked o n the damn link and got this:

14. Do you like music on blogs? Almost unanimously it was no. If you do have music please don't have it auto play.

BITE ME! I read several blogs and they all contain music. You don't like it?!?!??! Hit pause. It's that simple. OR, here's a concept, turn off your damn speakers! If you don't have the guts to log in and leave your name, don't bother leaving a comment, especially when it has nothing to do with the damn post!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Double post! The Scrapping Spot DT CALL

The Scrapping Spot Design Team Call

The Scrapping Spot is looking for creative, innovative and talkative scrappers to join our Design Team.

The Design Team term will run for six months: October 2008 – March 2009.

Design team members will receive:

-a free monthly TSS kit to create with

-a 25% discount in the online shop

-free shipping on orders that are shipped with the monthly kit.

Design Team members are responsible for:

Designing 4 layouts AND 1 card or altered project (if no card or altered item, then 1 additional layout is requested)

At least 2 finished projects by the 25th of the month, the rest by the 1st of the month

Layouts and other items should use at least 90% of the product in our kits.

1 blog post monthly

Occasional challenges and crop challenges/participation.

Promote The Scrapping Spot around the internet (where allowed)

Contribute tips/articles once a month for The Scrapping Spot's monthly newsletter.

Design Team member layouts may be included in our online or newsletter classes. Design Team members will receive credit for all of their designs.

If kit contents are used in a posted/published projects, The Scrapping Spot must be mentioned.

Board participation:

Contribute praise to our members in the Gallery

Post an online class at least once during the term

Respond regularly to topics on discussion board.

We are an exciting and growing community and are looking for strong and COMMITTED Design Team members to actively participate on our message boards and help us promote the monthly kit club and store.


All applicants need to be within the United States, territories and military addresses. We apologize for this but, due to time restraints, we cannot guarantee that product will arrive to us in a timely fashion and our turnaround time is sometimes quite limited.

Participation on our Message Board is a MUST. If you cannot participate, please do no submit an application.

To enter please submit:

2 original layout -OR- 1 original altered project and 1 original layout. We would also like to see some of your other work. Please tell us what message boards you are on and your screen name, and please include links to your galleries and your blog, if you have one.

Please e-mail (photos or scans) your submissions to:

We apologize for those of you outside of the United States but we cannot accept applications if you are not within the US or its territories.

We will be accepting applications through August 31, 2008.

P.S. I take bribes for some good words to Cathy and Jill!!!!!!!! HA! Seriously, Jill and Cathy are wonderful to work with. I've been with them for almost a year!!!!'ll be a year for the message board in September and a year for the kit club in October. I've seen peeks for September and a few ideas they have for October. It's luscious stuff!

My Motley Crew

Today was the first day of school for us! I woke up super early (by my standards waking up before 6am is super early)!! I was out of the house by 6:55am and made it to work by 7:10. Not really much traffic...till I got to the parking lot! We always park behind the cafeteria on the first day so parents can park in the lot. Lots of kids already milling about at that hour. Dropped off some stuff and went to check in at the office. Let the kids and their parents into the room and found out how some of them were getting home. The image is a little blurry...chosen on purpose to protect their identities! We had one student absent out of 23...pretty good for the first day! We had a good day. Some of them were still in vacation mode. By afternoon, I could see some of their personalities come out. *SMILE* No one got lost. No one got on the wrong bus. No one cried. No one got hurt. Everyone did what I asked. Pretty good day, if you ask me!

I decorated my front door, as I always do for the first day. Couldn't come up with a cool saying (lame-o) and it didn't turn out as well as I wanted. I used my new Cricut Graphically Speaking cartridge to cut out the "people reading". Used the blackout feature and cut out 4 and 5 inch ones. I purposely made their names small...they can read it but the whole world doesn't need to. I also used the Storybook cartridge to do the letters. Little did I know that the yellow would make the letters blend in a little too much. It was a little difficult to get the paper on there so instead of taking the paper off and starting again with another color, I traced over the letters with a black marker. Oh well...what's done is done. No one really cares what the door looks like. I saw the kids looking at it (again and again) when they were outside so I guess they like it! I did come to work this morning to find that there's a leak right about the door! Luckily, it's on the outside of the room, but droplets got on the door. Grrrr!

I managed to grab a headache at the end of the day so I saved myself from injury and stayed home from the gym. It was bad enough for me to pop ibuprofen.

We don't start actual classes till next week. Since our school does direct instruction, we'll do a test run of moving from class to class on Friday. Get to meet the kids in my Language and Math classes. I have 15 of my 23 homeroom students in my Reading class. I'm hoping it stays that way! I love a small class... more attention to the students!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sydney experience part 4

Where are we at in this experience?!?!

Thursday July 17

Today we made it to catechesis! One of the archbishops of Australia gave a moving catechesis on the theme of WYD...the Holy Spirit. We were given an opportunity to go to confession afterwards. I wasn't going to, but somehow it happened. Moved by the spirit, I guess! The priest told me a great story that I'll recount at another time. After confession, we had mass and then lunch. Some of the parishioners made pasta for lunch. It was delicious and a far cry from what we'd been eating thus far. We became enamored with these little cans of tuna that they had towards the end of the table. Someone got a hold of a bunch of cans and that went along for the journey to Domain.

We took the bus and WALKED to get to Domain. That was the site assigned to us for the Pope's arrival. Little did we know that we were waiting for him to pass by on his motorcade. We found out soon enough when we arrived that we were nowhere near the harbour where he was sailing in. So, more waiting and waiting. We walked around in groups trading pins and making new friends. We had snacks and those cans of tuna. Amazingly, it tasted good. Tuna mixed with corn. No mayo or any other condiments. The motorcade finally came by and a surprising speed! Looked like they were going 50mph! Some of our kids were closer to the fence on the other side so they got good shots on camera. Afterwards, we got dinner. More meat curry. Gag! But, I ate it...amazing what hunger will make you do. Then we WALKED AND WALKED AND WALKED to the Market City area to catch the Matt Maher life teen concert. Some folks decided to skip the concert and went back to the lodge. Some of us started to fall asleep in the "nosebleed" section of the Entertainment Centre so we left. A few night owls (really, it wasn't even 10pm) stayed back. ON the bus we went back to the lodge.

Friday--July 18
We went to catechesis and found out that it was our very own archbishop giving the talk. Of course, he sang. When does he not sing?!?! Again we had mass. Lunch was.......... those little tuna cans! Then we rode the bus and WALKED towards Barangaroo to participate in the Stations of the Cross. When we finally got to our site... yuck-o! It was by the bathrooms and trash bins! Grrrr!!!! It was so dusty. We didn't have a screen nearby so we didn't know what was going on. When the first station ended, we left. That was disappointing! Somehow we ended up taking the LONG way back to catch our faithful 470 bus to Annandale!

A few of us adults got off at the Broadway mall to go grocery shopping. The kids and the rest of the adults went back to the lodge. We gave specific instructions to make sure everyone was packed for the overnight vigil! Dinner was white rice cooked on the stove (by me), ready made roasted chicken, salad, corn, and this awesome ground beef dip for chips! The best meal we had all week! We called an early night since we had to be up and out before 8am!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sydney Part 3

Tuesday July 15--This day marked the official beginning of the World Youth Day festivities. For me, it started at 4:30 AM! Anna, Lisa and I were going to get our breakfast in Marrickville at St. Brigid's Church. It would have been an easy walk had we stayed at the house, but since it was so unsafe, it was a bus ride. Only, we didnt't know that there was only ONE bus to get to Marrickville and that it started running at 7:05am. We walked back and forth between that stop and the stop on Parramatta Road. We finally got the breakfast and made it back to Annandale at 8:30.

We hopped the bus (for free!!!) to the Market City area and then Darling Harbour. Some of us went to the Vocations Expo at the Exhibition Center and got some free stuff! Then we walked and WALKED AND WALKED to Barangaroo. Some of our group got in a different line and were given a different section. ACK! Lunch time. What was in store for us?!?!? Aussie Meat Pies, BREAD, flavored mineral water in a can, and some kind of coconut covered cake thing. And then we waited and waited some more. I brought my yoga mat and spread that out. I ended up laying on part of it and falling asleep! I tell you, I can fall asleep anywhere these days! :) The opening mass started at 4 pm. An hour later, the sun was already going down and the mass was STILL going on. The readings were said in different languages. Lots of song and music. Then during Communion, some of the adult leaders got in line to get dinner. Our first foray into the life of CURRY stew...lamb, chicken or vegetable. More bread. Caramel slice (basically a bar of SUGAR covered with chocolate). Bottled water. That was dinner. No one knew exactly which version of the stew they was too dark to see. There was a concert afterwards, but some of us left before the fireworks show. It was such an exhausting day.

Wednesday July 16--Richard, Pauline and some of the boys went to get breakfast and ended up getting LOST. They didn't get back till almost the same time we did the previous morning even though we told them what buses to catch. So, we missed our first day of catechesis. We ended up at McDonald's for lunch (thanks to them for discount cards) and then we hopped the bus to go to the Royal Hall of Industries for a concert. We listened to Fr. Stan Fortuna sing songs basically about chastity...keeping out of the "zipper zone". *smile* Then our kids heard that Jesse Manibusan was up next and wanted to stay for that one. We were scheduled to see the Notre Dame girls choir from CA at the Sydney Opera House, but since the kids wanted to stay, we stayed! While we waited in line, we met up with a group from Texas. Turns out two of them and I have relatives in common! Talk about a small world. When we got back to the Darling Harbour area, we heard that they ran out of dinners there and that we had to walk to Barangaroo to get dinner. Of course, no one could make a decision and the amount of time we spent standing around, some people could have already been walking back to the group with food. I was so frustrated at that point that Br. Joe asked me something and I started crying! Frustration and exhaustion aren't my friends and when combined... sob city!

Slide show part 3: