The Hunter/Gather of Surburbia

Are we where we live?

September 27, 2011

Mondays are busy

Finally current on some bills, rent due on Saturday and that means a trip to Kennewick. Only 60 miles or so round trip so not too bad. Get up early take Emma out and then off to Kennewick in the morning, then back and take Emma out again and then to work. So Wednesday will be busy too.
It will be so nice to have bills paid, though it will be rough until the 25th of Oct. it will all work out.
Getting Meggin into a groove, I hope, by having her make calls home on a daily basis when students are absent. Next up, start constructing some lessons for direct instruction. Students are bored with being on the computer all night, well two hours, so I'm thinking mini lessons for History and English that can be taken off Odysseyware lessons. Did it before shouldn't be too hard to do now, just time consuming going through the courses again to get familiar with how to modify it. Thank goodness for the projects in Odysseyware.
I hope to be able to explore the area more after my next paycheck. That sounds so whinny, always talking about the lack of money. But until the 25th it pretty much rules my plans.
I love to drive, actually did go a very short trip yesterday to Irrigon, don't laugh. Small quiet town with a really nice kiddy park. Also drove through Umatilla on my way to Irrigon, also small. All so close and all so small. Next trip, tomorrow, to unfamiliar territory and another state!

September 24, 2011

Saturdays are restful

At least they are supposed to be right? And actually I am really doing nothing that I don't want to do today, so it is restful in that sense. Emma and I had our morning walk today, there are way more cars on the road at 8 am on a Saturday, than during the week. So I guess many people are not having a restful day.
I drove our walk the other day and it is about 2 miles. Not too bad, we walk about 6 out of the 7 days. Fridays are an early day, regular day for the other teachers, so we don't do our long walk. Only long enough for her morning pee and poop and then back to the apartment to get ready for work. Emma is still having anxiety over cars driving, but I am holding out hope that she will relax with time.
There is a young Weimeriner, I am sure that isn't spelled right, that really really wants to approach Emma, but she doesn't. She is a beautiful dog, she opts to stalk us for awhile and then trots back to her territory. She is a good dog in that respect. Doesn't bark insanely like the huge and beautiful German Shepard on First Street and hopefully if she ever does approach close enough for a sniff Emma doesn't growl at her like she did the neighbor's dog. Emma is quite the fuss budget, but man I wish the growling would stop since Nika only wants to play. I am afraid to let her off leash in case she reacts like she does with Trixie. Depending on bills, I hate that, I may buy an electronic training collar, the one Matt broke really cowed her.
Today is supposed to be hot, 90 according to the Kennewick news. Just like Salem, Hermiston doesn't have a local, ok Kennewick is way closer to Hermiston than Portland is to Salem. I haven't really sat down and watched the nightly news, I miss the 5pm because I am at work, by 11 pm I am ready for bed.
Thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight and tomorrow, game hen and something else. Need some veggies to. Can't go grazing at the local fresh market this weekend so I will limited to what Safeway has.

September 23, 2011

Friday is not payday

So, Hermiston is the first school district I have worked for that is paying me the day after payday because payday falls on a Sunday. Unbelievable! Luckily, no bills are due until later next week. Very very disrespectful in my opinion and my first experience with the people of Hermiston being not all helpful.
Other than that, the week has ended well. I will eventually figure out PowerSchool and my attendance will be accurate every time.
Watching Kitchen Nightmares and I think one of the first things I will try to cook will be homemade mac and cheese. After I buy some chicken and steaks and well now I'm making myself hungry. The first cooking utensil I will be buying, probably not until October's check though, is a small BBQ that will fit on my small deck, I really miss cooking with a BBQ.
I have got to hook my students into coming, think think think, as Pooh would say. My "depression" at not teaching last year has made me very uncreative. I hope I can regain my former passion, though now that I think about it that was beaten out of me my last year at Willamina. I hope the environment change will bolster me as the year progresses. I really want to do a better than good job. Hooking them will take a lot of work, but I think with Meggin's help we can get things rolling.
I miss my boys and my girls very much, they kept me sane last year and I miss them dearly. Emma is really helping, though she is just a dog so not a good conversationalist. Oliver isn't really either, but he does talk.
So, the weekend will be restful and hopefully inspiring as well. I was hoping to go exploring my environs this weekend, but I'll have to wait until next weekend. That works.

September 22, 2011

New beginnings

Emma is finally here with me and so is Oliver the bird. It is so nice to have them here. I never felt lonely, maybe that has something to do with being an only child, but I surely realized how much I missed them once I had them here. Poor Emma is still adjusting to the environment change and I'm not talking the weather. She can't go outside to bound about or poop. We take a long walk in the mornings about 45 min to an hour depending on how many times Emma has to stop anxiously while a car passes. Since our walk is solely on two country roads and one major highway she will have to adjust.
School is also going well as we all adjust to each other. It has been a very long time since I have the opportunity to work with a young assistant. Meggin is a learner and I know she will evolve as an assistant and hopefully as a teacher. She has so much knowledge I will put it to good use when and if we start the accelerated credit recovery courses. They already formulating in my brain, now I just need some training.
Going to two trainings/workshops in October, for one I have to find a kennel or sitter for Emma since I will be gone over night. Waiting anxiously for a recommendation from her old vet as to what vet to take her to. I really hate to kennel at the vet because that costs too much. But I may be stuck with it.
Payday is Friday and I am hoping I can pay my rent, cable bill, electric, and catch up on one or two bills. Car payment for sure. The others may have to wait until I don't have to pay two months rent with one month of paycheck. I hate financial stress and I hope as I catch up on bills that I can help Kelsey and the girls out. I am somewhat reluctant to do that since that will mean more cash for Matt to use for beer, something he needs to cut back on. Saturday he came close to me interferring, but I held back since the girls and Andrew were there and my Andrew was still awake. It may be something Brandon and I will have to do alone with Kelsey. My birthday weekend may the time to do just that. Have to think about it. Well off to take Emma out to pee and then stop at Safeway for something for lunch and dinner.

September 11, 2011

The end of week 2 at school and....

I finally have a permanent assistant! Meggin is a certified teacher, but still looking for a permanent teaching job so I will get her for the year, I hope. I know what it is like having certification and taking an assistant position. I hope I am a good mentor for her. As a new teacher she doesn't have that bag of tricks yet, I hope I can help her to begin to fill it. Assisting in alternative school is a great job reference, shows you can work with the toughest students.
Students, I had an overfull crew on Thursday had to put three on staff computers. I also had the principal and the vp as my assistants. Highest paid assistants ever!
I will get my pay draw on the 15th, so I get to bring Emma home on Sunday! Yeah! She will force me to take walks in the mornings before I go to work and be company when I'm home. I really miss that dog. I miss Destiny too, but she is too large and I'm not sure her hips can take the trips up the stairs every day. I would definitely take her too, but each pet is $300 and that is something I can't afford. Maybe once I get caught up on bills. That is a distinct possibility. I worry about her so much. I know she would be happy here.
I miss the grandkids the most I think. Even though Lauren and Lexi drove me insane from time to time, I miss them both so much. My heart aches for Andrew, I miss the Jessie-man too, but he has so much loving flowing at him that I don't have to worry about him. Andrew has a lot loving at him too, but some of it I fear flows in other directions.
Last night I felt more at home than I have since moving here. It is sort of sad that the feeling comes on the same day I finally get full cable and Internet. Oh well, the little blessings stack up on one another.
Today is 9/11. Ten years ago today I was awakened by the radio saying that one of the two towers had been struck by an airplane. By the time I walked out to the living and turned on the TV the second plane was veering into the second tower. I sat on the ottoman, like I did when the Challenger went down, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. My 35 mile drive to work, my unofficial first day of work in Willamina, was speedier than normal. I saw one plane flying over Baskett Slough just as the radio was saying that all planes in the US were being grounded. I had the radio playing as I arranged my new classroom. Willamina really didn't do all that much collectively, some individual teachers kept the television on, but generally not much at all.
Contrast to Friday of this year, at a Pep Assembly a message was read from the Superintendent to all of the students and a brief moment of silence. I wonder what Willamina did? The Superintendent asked that teachers read a brief message to their students elaborating or editing as needed depending on the grade level.
Lots of programs on TV today commemorating the day ten years ago when the entire world changed. I ache for the survivors and the families. I can't imagine the loss. I've lost friends and family, but nothing due to an overt act by anyone.
So much tragedy has happened this summer due to the weather. Fires, floods, hurricanes things we can't control. 9/11 while a planned act, was not under our control. No matter how much some want to say we could have stopped it, hatred is hatred and therefore unpredictable.

September 7, 2011

And so week 4 begins

While I am still feeling overwhelmed with just about everything, I am settling in somewhat and finding my adventure to be enlightening. I still do not have a permanent assistant, though the administration is working hard to remedy that situation. Something I am not used to. I even had one of the assistant principals assisting me last night for the last hour of school. One only one sadly, but he did give me insight into Hermiston. More than 35% of the resident are under the age of 18, 50% of the residents rent, Hermiston is the "hub" of a wheel for seasonal workers that turns through Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Pendleton. I may have got the percentages wrong, but you get the idea. Hermiston is fairly diverse place, something totally unexpected.
The AP feels that the community as a whole is fairly tolerant. I know they are friendly, but then I am white and white-haired and female.
I feel in my bones that I will retire here, well I am may retire from here and move back to Salem, but I don't plan on a move if I don't have to. Maybe out of the one bedroom apartment eventually, but I am thinking this tiny home of mine is an excellent way to catch up on my bills and maybe two or three years down the road have the funds to move into a house or duplex. I don't like the physical moving part of moving to a new home. Not one bit at all. Where is Scotty when you need him to beam things around?

September 4, 2011

Week Three and the students

Thanks to Denise, Joseph, Matt T., Brandon, Matt C., Ryan, and Juan I am nearly settled into my apartment. I have my big-screen TV, couches, bed, and other furniture and I am feeling a bit more human. I do not miss those beanbags one iota.
Finished the first week of school this past week, much in the same way Willamina runs its schedule, Hermiston begins the week before Labor Day. Couldn't have students the first day as there were no computers up and running. But on Tuesday the first trickle began. While the cultural makeup of my new students is far different than at Willamina, the core of who they are is very similar. I had maybe two Hispanic students in Willamina, here in Hermiston the majority are Hispanic. I am going to have to expand my student  library to Hispanic literature, not a huge issue, an enlightening one.
My first negative issue with a student I traced back to me. Yes, me! A student looks and somewhat acts like an adult I knew outside of school while living in Salem. Now that I have pierced that I am better able to see this new student as himself and not with the weird feeling I had initially. Thank goodness. Though there is another student, once he starts and I get to know him I am hoping his vibe, one I am all too familiar with, will slip away.
Getting a weird vibe from a student isn't all that uncommon, but I really hate to start out our relationship in the classroom with an issue. I have always prided, yes one of the seven deadlies, on my ability to rise above what the students' actions are and who the student is as a person. Separating the out of school personality with the in school personality is not as easy at it sounds and can sometimes be a dangerous thing for me and my other students. But the knowing makes the classroom climate easier to read on many levels.
Hermiston High staff continue to amaze me. They are a generous group and that is what is keeping me bright and bushy as I wait anxiously for that first paycheck and my ability to begin to catch up on bills that have been falling the wayside as the months drolled on on unemployment. I am luckier than many on unemployment I found a wonderful position only about one year after being laid off.
The scariest part is now I have rent, something I haven't had to worry for many many many years. Not being able to just repair, kill off bees, or feed the wild birds is a hard proposition for me. Pigeons are birds, but they are everywhere and I have yet to hear more than one or two song birds. Maybe that's the life here in Northern Eastern Oregon, I certainly hope not. Oh, and seagulls, do to Hermiston's close proximity to The Columbia. That is a new river to explore. I understand there are river walks to walk with Emma, once I get her here, a dam to explore, and a huge number of parks for the size of the city.
Having to drive 35 miles or so and into another state to shop at places like Target, Best Buy, etc is an annoyance. I prefer to spend my money in my home state, sigh.
Well I have droned on. Must go down and check on my laundry, another new experience for me.