Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Shelf!Karen helped me conquer assembling this bad body from IKEA. I love it, and I am so excited to deal with all of the lame clutter hanging around my room. I already feel like it has opened up lots of space, and then I turn around to the other half of the room and notice ...
Ugh. The green knobbies are leaving, brown yet-to-be-bought ones will take their place. I can't decide how I want to rearrange my bed, dresser, and lamp. I would love to buy a little loveseat to put next to my lamp so that I can read my little brains out under the light.

This is the devil's clutter that I am curently dealing with. I do not want those tupperware scandals in my room. I think I'll have to go back to IKEA to get some more organization boxes. Maybe I could put them behind my shelf?
I beg you, please, give me some ideas on the arrangement. Bed at an angle from the corner? Dresser at an angle? I have no idea. Help!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Senator Howard Stephenson

came and observed my classroom this morning. One of the district math specialists got the ball rolling a few weeks ago, but it had hit some major ruts on the way. Basically, I didn't know until yesterday that it would all actually work, and I was stressed to the max. I am not familiar with the man, but everyone kept frowning and explaining to me that he is "Not a friend of education," and he "Would much rather have a child learn from a computer (think on-line classes) than with a teacher in a classroom."

I was annoyed by this attitude, and I got sucked into hear-say, and when I went up to beg our adorable librarian, Steve, to let me open up the library to use the computer lab one last time, I completely stuck my foot in my mouth. I was describing Howard to Steve, and I was using everything that I had heard from everybody else, and Steve sat back and cut in with, "Actually, I know Howard." Huge gulp from me. "And he definitely is pro-education, he just feels that a lot of money is wasted on administration ... and he can be bratty, but he will listen to you, and you do a great job, so you don't need to worry."

It was a very stressful morning involving the airport, an early morning meeting, and one practice run of lowering the Phantom (a whole other story, basically our school has a phantom: think V for Vendetta) from the rafters for the assembly later in the day. I literally kicked off my shoes after Jess and I bowed out of our meeting, and we ran down to the auditorium to practice. I was under the impression that I would be in the aisle, belaying the Phantom, but apparently, I was to be up in the rafters with the Phantom, and I would lower him from there, unseen. We climbed into our harnesses, I was ready with my ATC, and then I sized up the Phantom, and had a slow-panic realization of his girth compared to mine. I was literally sliding across the metal walkway as the Phantom put his weight on the rope.

"I don't have you!" as I started to sweat with panic.

"Um, I'm totally sitting on the rope, you have me."

"No, I don't! I can't lower you, and I can't pull you up. This is really dangerous!"

"You have me! Just lower me!" assured the Phantom as I continued to slide until my ATC was smashing itself into a metal bar.

"My ATC is literally up against the bar. I cannot lower you, and you will have to pull yourself back up."

Finally, the Phantom heaved himself back on to the cat walk, and kind of chuckled as he saw my predicament. I was terrified, and now I was sweaty, and I was about to meet a senator, and I had sticky sweaty bangs. We anchored me to a bar, and it pulled me sideways as I practiced lowering the Phantom one time. I had no visual, but it worked out alright. I made a mental note that I should at least switch shoes before the real run.

I sprinted back upstairs where my vice principal spotted me, "Amy! They're looking for you, where should I tell them you will be?" I showed her my filthy black hands, told her I'd be in the library in one minute, and literally washed my hands five times.

The five minute bell rang as I was walking to the library, but luckily only Maggie (one of the district math specialists) was there. She was under the impression that no one else was there yet, and she started to tell me a story about how they had a different appointment with the Senator elsewhere, but he hadn't shown up ... I wasn't listening.

My kids are gems, and they got right to work, and I explained the situation to them because they were so nervous about being in the library, "We're not supposed to be here Ms. Bateman, it's closed you know."

Howard Stephenson walked in with Jan (my principal), Camille (another district math specialist), and Christy (one of our vice principals). I was a little annoyed by the huge gathering, so I focused on helping my kids, and eventually squoze in to the crowd to introduce myself. I was beyond being intimidated, everything had been way too stressful up to this point.

Howard walked around with me, listened to me help my kids, talked to students individually, and later asked very thought-provoking questions. I enjoyed talking to him, I never really felt like I was defending my teaching style, more explaining how and why I approach teaching the way I do. However, I was very annoyed by our district math specialists because I totally felt like they were on the defense/attack the whole time, and I didn't have as much time with the Senator as I would have liked. It was great to explain things to him, and to feel like he was really listening and absorbing and interested.

As our meeting after class wound on and on, I was getting very nervous about my involvement in the assembly. Thankfully, Christy stepped in and explained my position in the assembly, and they were all very curious, and acted very wowed that I would "Do such a thing." Christy created the perfect situation for me to bow out.

I thanked Senator Howard Stephenson for coming, encouraged him to e-mail me if he had more questions, and invited him to come to my classroom any time, explaining that he never needed an appointment.

The assembly went smashingly, and thankfully I was able to support the Phantom's weight as he dropped into the auditorium to fill the guitar spot for our SBO's rendition of Born to be Wild.

School ends next Wednesday. I am thrilled.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Get out of here!

Apparently the foods' room has a "flying ant problem," and those little buggers are somehow making the treacherous journey to my room.
I don't have any windows in my posh classroom, and the kids wondered why I was so annoyed that there were flying creatures about.

The first day we noticed a flying ant was when he decided to plop down on the overhead as the kids were completing their warm-up. I was taking roll, when Joshua laughed, "Hey! He wants to do question three!" Not at all understanding, but able to follow my kids' laughter, I finally spied our first pesty visitor. He was frantically dancing around, trying to dig at the bright light, gloriously magnified/illuminated for all to follow. Gag.
Later on in the week one of my boys brutally smashed a flying ant that crash landed on his table. The remains splattered on horrified Abbey.
Today, one fell dead from who knows where and landed on my keyboard.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Camping up American Fork CanyonChris, Sofi, Leilani, Me, Jess, and Em's taking the picture
Sofi = Firewood King
Tinfoil Dinners and Corn on the Cob
Down the Hatch
I rock at squatting and stink at browning a marshmallow.

Scary stories have to wait until dark.

Leilani stifled our warnings with, "I like them burnt!"

What the? I have officially gone cross-eyed.

The Victim
Chris graciously cut off the ant's head, although truthfully, the ant was already dead after plunging into the fire trying to escape Chris' knife.

Chris: "Oh wow, these ants are the best! They totally taste like lemons!"

Jess: "They really do, I've had lots."

My reaction : "Tastes like crunchy."

Chris: "Really? You are the first to say that they don't taste like lemons."

Em's tuckered out after a
hard night's camp-a-thon.
Stupid cats.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Who knew?

Alarmed that we were so impressed, my Dad shouted back,

"What do you mean? I had a skateboard when I was a kid!"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Longer Board, Shorter Hair
(My Two New Things)

Em's most successful attempt.

What a great day o' climbing. Jessica Gainer is infuriatingly amazing.
Lil' Em on a big rock.
So proud of Em.
My project. I either need to grow longer arms or start lifting like crazy.Chris Gainer showing us all up.

Dra's a titch nervous for us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bell Canyon Trail

I have been curious about the Bell Canyon Trail ever since Zach and Dra had an adventure with a snake while running back to the car. I had already made plans to hang out with Emily, and when I posed the idea of going on an after-school hike, Em was all in. I love that she's down with anything, and we were out of there in ten minutes. She's a great little cucurachu.

Get those ducks out of our drinking water!

Don't be scared.
I lept right over with a loud, "Yop!" and I loved that Em completely copycatted me.

Finally, I fulfill my dream of spying on Super Dell's house.

Here's a doozy of an e-mail from one of my dear little students. Deep breath, I did have time in my schedule to help him out.

Subject: Dear Bateman (Batman)

Hi, this Brandon Robinson. I have lost my glasses that are in a brownish blackish case. I was wondering if you have seen them or have them in your possession. They are of great importance to me and I hope you can find time in your schedule to see if you have it.

Brandon Robinson

Monday, May 12, 2008

Caving/Birthdays/Mother's Day

Ben had been planning on going to Idaho this past weekend to hang out with his family, and I secretly wanted to go, but felt guilty sneaking out of Zach and Eric's birthday party and the mother's day celebration. As I made my lame list of weekend to-do's, I realized the extremely high level of boredom and invited myself to Idaho. I made sure that my plans would allow me to make it back in time for Sunday dinner/birthday celebration/mother's day hoorah.
Once we made it to Idaho, we all stayed at Ben's brother Dallon's (or is it Dallyn?) house. On Saturday we drove out to some lava rock and climbed all around for hours looking at different caves. In one of the caves, Anth yanked a sleeping bat off of the ceiling, carefully climbed out, and paraded around with it. The poor little bat was blinking like crazy, and now and then his huge ears would stick straight up. Shudder ... they look exactly like gremlins. Doesn't Anth know about rabies? Plus, on closer (but still safe) inspection, the little guy had spiders crawling on him. Blech. It was really fun to make use of my insanely convenient head lamp inside the caves. The bats flew all around us, there wasn't a crazy amount of them, but I definitely ducked my head and gasped a few times. As we were duck-crawling our way out, I spotted a sleeping bat. Ben soon pointed out that there were two.
"Where's the other one?"
"Right above you."
It was practically nestling into my hair. I had completely missed it.
Dallon's youngest, Hailey, totally super-manned it on the lava rock. Poor tyke. She had scraped all up her arms and her little belly. I saw Brandi step on a prickly pear, but she didn't even flinch, so I decided against pointing out what had just happened. In another cave, Rachel accidentally sliced her hand as she tried to pull herself out. She was laughing pretty hard later as she told us that when she was walking around trying to get sympathy, showing everyone her cut, Hailey pulled up her sleeves with, "Me too, mommy." Rachel's wound was pathetic next to those bad boys.
Blazer's cave required a ladder in order to drop down inside. It was one big open room, and apparently, scouts camp out there all of the time. Ben showed off and pulled himself out of the cave without the ladder; he's a spectacular climber. So then Dallon had to try, but before he got to it, he whined for quite awhile about exposing his big white belly. Then Anth's son Austin decided to try to pull himself out without having to turn around backwards. These guys were amazing. Soon I was lifting every little kid up so that they too could try.

Poor Anth punctured two of his fingers when he tried to move a rock out of his motor bike's path. I missed the actual process of getting hurt, but I did make it in time to see the blood pouring down his hand. The kids had drained my camelback so I was of no help when I squoze air on his open wound. We located a water bottle, rinsed him off, Dallon pulled out his whiskey and burned away the badness, and I cringed for Anth. Rachel had been worried the whole trip about how we hadn't brought a first aid kit, but she managed to rummage up two bandaids.

Next, we caravaned to a crater. As we pulled around a corner, we saw the motorbikes struggling to get up a steep dirt road. Austin was almost all the way there, but he ended up pushing his bike the rest of the way. Brandi didn't try on hers, and Dallon was already up and over. Dallon came back down, and I rolled down my window and asked him if he wanted us to drive his little pickup up to the top. Rachel yelled "No!" while Dallon was yelling, "Why not?"

Dallon hopped in, so the three of us rode to the top. I was terrified that we were going to roll over backwards, and Ben might have bruises on his left shoulder to prove it. Once we got over the ridge, Dallon pulled really hard to the left. The crater was right there. I immediately closed my eyes. What if Ben had driven us up? We had to go fast enough to make it up, and we didn't know that the crater was right there, we probably would have crashed straight down the steep crater.

This is way too long, and I keep needing breaks. Again, more later.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Stupid sexy templates.

Thank you Rose for letting me know about the blog mishap.

I have stories galore, but do I have the patience to recall and type?

Maybe I'll soothe everyone's jangled nerves from my lack of posts with a quick outline of recent events, and maybe I'll detail one quick story.

1. 1st place in my first ever 5k.

2. Witnessed Beckham bend it ... like Beckham.

3. Cheered Thurm and Ben on at the Salt Lake Marathon.

4. Slacklined for the first time; hopefully I'll get better.

5. Held an extremely successful Biggest Loser party. Attendees: Me, Ben, and Emily

6. Received half a smile from my dad when he noticed that part of his birthday present included a whoopy cushion.

7. Desperate to attend the Sasquatch concert this year. Anyone want to carpool? Please?

8. Attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. It was held here in Salt Lake. Took stalker pictures of a man wearing a bright blue cape. Yes, cape. I don't know why I'm continually surprised at the weirdos I meet at these things.

9. Croquet/Bocce to the max lately. Kudos to Ben for beating me in both last night.

Details about my 5k:

My school had been advertising a fundraising 5k for so long, and I had continually talked to my students about how much fun it was going to be, and how important it was to raise money for our school. I talked to my friends and did my part to help promote the shindig. Ben and his roommate Kyle were definitely willing to participate, and I was secretly nervous to run, but so excited to be a part of the fun.

Well ... dun dun dun. When it came down to it, I couldn't participate because I was going to be at the NCTM conference in Salt Lake. Why not just skip out, you ask? Well, my way into the conference had been paid, and it was close to $700, and I would have felt way too guilty to sneak out. Plus, I had to volunteer on one of the days so I felt like I missed out on a whole day's worth of classes.

When I volunteered I got bumped up to "Floor Leader," watch out! I got a walkie-talkie, and I just roamed checking on the other volunteers. I walked and walked, and soon was cursing my choice of boots. The walkie-talkies were fun, but it really red-flagged me as someone of importance, and I had to help a lot o' people. It was scary at first because I didn't have a clue where certain rooms were. I walked a lot of people to their classes, faking like I knew the way, but really frantically checking until I found it. I was a great faker. Soon enough I had walked around so much that I knew exactly what to do and where to go. I had two crazy ladies, and only one cool walkie-talkie exchange.

Crazy Lady Number One: "Where are they serving us lunch?"

Me: "There are vendors all around the Salt Palace, and there are quite a few restaurants just outside."

Crazy Lady: "No. Where will they set up to feed us?"

Me: "They won't be feeding us lunch," thinking, "Are you serious? You think they're going to feed over 10,000 people?"

Crazy Lady: "I heard they're going to feed us in the ballroom. You know, where they fed us breakfast?"

Me: "Nope, there are classes going on in the ballroom," again thinking, "Where the heck is she getting all of this?"

Crazy Lady Number Two was absolutely furious when she came waddling up to me. I found myself putting my hand on my walkie-talkie not un-like it was a pistol needing to be drawn. Crazy Lady Number Two: "Where is room 101 A?"

Me: "Oh, it is actually downstairs, the way that you were coming from. Unfortunately, you're going the wrong direction, but I am more than happy to walk you to the class."

Crazy Lady Number Two: "I cannot walk anymore!" I nearly shielded my sensitive ears, she was so loud.

Not really knowing what to do, I repeated myself, with a courteous smile, and she went off about how someone had told her to come upstairs ... I walked away. Shrug, she was being unreasonable, and I wasn't able to help her.

Anyway, this was about the 5k right? Ben tried to convince me to stay home and run with them, but I would have felt so snakelike in a way. He pointed out that I could still pay the entrance fee, get a shirt, and still support the school. Good thinking. So I gave him my money, and he paid for two people. He explained to the people manning the booth how I wanted to run, but I had to be at my conference, and they cooed, "We love Ms. Bateman ... yada yada yada."

Ben called me a little after he had finished, and I was asking him how he did and such, and he pointed out that it was a little loud because they were about to announce the winners. Ben started laughing, his deep, completely humored, straight from the belly, (my favorite) laugh. I didn't understand. He kept laughing, and then let me know that they just announced 1st place for the girls: Amy Bateman! to which the entire crowd erupted into cheers and claps.

I still didn't understand.

Then Ben's roommate Kyle shook his head with, "You didn't do what I think you did?" Oh no, Ben had run with my number on ... We had a grand ol' laugh, but I was nervous about the consequences. Ben didn't want to say anything because it would disrupt all of the prizes. I didn't want to receive a reward on Monday for a race that I wasn't even at.

To Ben's credit, when he and Kyle got back to his car and checked the other number, the booth people had written my name on both numbers.

On Monday, I only had one student say anything, "Ms. Bateman, you won something at the race!" And when they were announcing winners over the intercom, I seriously almost started sweating. I sent one of my teacher buddies a message about how nervous I was, but she laughed it off with, "Don't worry, I already told Jan (our principal) all about it."