Tag Archives: Work Horse

Welcome Back.

Summer is officially over… the certified welcome back letter came weeks ago, but I just don’t think I was ready to take it all in. These past few months I have found just how much I really enjoy having the summer season.
Don’t get me wrong…
“Oh being a teacher must be nice… you only work 9 months a year and you get the summer off…”
I don’t have the energy to rebut that statement right now… and honestly I just want to relive a few good memories of the summer “break.”

– I worked all summer with one of my autistic students, and the progress that I saw was incredible. “A” is a student working against incredible odds and I honestly was a little apprehensive at the thought of such an intense one on one schedule with her… but at the end of the 8 week program I found myself a little sad, wanting more one on one time. I will still be working with “A” during the school year, but the bond of working together this summer was unforgettable.

– I was in school… I love school. Call me a nerd. I love learning.

– Auntie Kari arrived. Morgan had her baby! Now, as it was mentioned in a blog before (and clearly everyone knows…) I am a little apprehensive about the idea of pregnancies, babies, etc. But Morgan pulled the whole thing off wonderfully… We laid in the pool every Friday afternoon before Hopelyn was born. (That’s right. Sun Prairie owes me some pool time!) What a good time to be with such a wonderful friend… reminiscing about sleepovers in 5th grade and debating about raising her child.

– Family, family, family. I know it is no surprise… my family loves to be together. And I don’t think I hide the excitement too much either. (Except when State Fair plans are interrupted of course.) We all got together a lot this summer and as always, it was good.

– Derek’s birthday… again, no surprise… I love birthdays! For Derek’s birthday this year I bought tickets to Lollapalooza in Chicago. It would take hours to write about all the fun we had there… and it’s better written on Derek’s site anyway, but the weekend was incredible. Not only did we see great shows and spend time with great friends, but it was all done in my favorite place. I swear someday my husband is going to want us to move to the city…
OASN: If I hear another Gnarls Barkley song again in the next 10 years it will be too soon.

– Beyond music at Lollapalooza is the summer music in general. I am not sure how much information is being disclosed here… but I love Christina Agularia. Love her. And today when I heard her new song followed by “Sexy Back” I knew my summer wasn’t completely over. That’s right angsty teen pop music… you have a spot in my heart.

– Not to ever be forgotten… the Iowa State Fair. This is when I know that summer is really coming to a close. I’m not going to lie… I fucking love the Iowa State Fair. I love all the people I see. I love that there are just some things that have not changed about that fair since I started going 20 years ago. I love the roasted corn, fresh lemonade, and salt water taffy that I get there every year. I love that I pet a kangaroo, goat, cow, donkey, llama, and pony all in one day. And, as lame as it sounds… I love, love, love the butter cow! In my opinion, Newsweek had it all wrong… Vegas comes second to the Iowa State Fair. I mean seriously, Dennis Miller is hilarious… but he is no Duffy working her magic with the butter.

And now back to the fall… school has started again and Mrs. Brooks was back on stage. The year is going to be a good one, and I am very excited for what it will bring. But I can’t help but want to go back to my beloved summer every now and then.

god loves alligators.

i teach elementary special education.
and even though i love my job, i often hate when people ask me what i do..
not because of anything i think about my job.. but the way that people react to it.

i have been thinking about these comments that i get for awhile.. beings how i always am hearing them.. but today was the kicker that got the reactions rolling.

while at staples, the cashier is trying to get me to sign up for some rewards program.. alright, whatever. there is a teacher program that i tell her she can sign me up for.
“oh you teach?”
“where at?”
colfax-mingo elementary.
“what grade?”
actually elementary special education.. so k-5.
(all normal questions.. i assume the conversation will end here.)
yeah, most kids are pretty good kids.
(clearly that is the pre-requisit for special ed.. the kids have to just be sweet..)

*brace yourself for her next response..
“i mean i almost got attacked by one one time.. but thats okay, because he just hadn’t taken his medicine. haha!”
hmm… i almost got attacked by an alligator once.
(i grinned at her with the same stupid look she gave me 10 seconds before and laughed as the smile slowly left her face.. hahaha!)

now, today’s conversation was a little different the normal.. usually this is what i get:

“oh wow! good for you.”
yeah.. good for me. i am working with kids who often hate school and i am getting paid a whopping 25,000 dollars a year to some how magically make them love the power of knowledge.

“there is no way i could do what you do.. wow”
really? well.. the compliment is right back at you.. i could never sit in a cubical all day staring at a computer screen figuring out how to genetically modify corn, or sell clothing to size 0 anarexoric angsty teens, or wait tables to crabby customers, or clean the teeth of people who have forgotten to brush/floss/use mouth wash in the past week or two…
in fact, there really are a lot of jobs that i could never do.. it just happens to be that teaching is the one i was chosen for.

“ohhh.. that really takes a really special person..”
you think? I THINK that it takes a special person to shave the callouses off my feet, rub my unshaven legs, clean under my toenails, and smile while she paints my toenails thinking about having to do it all over again. special person is on the checklist of personality traits of a pedicurist..

“you must have some incredible patience..”
you don’t think it takes patience to do other jobs? it would take me some serious patience to deal with the mother computer…

“wow! there is a special place for you..” (this one is often followed by a very God-loving, christian wink)
yeah.. im pulling for the right hand seat. just me and the big man.. judging people, creating natural disasters, defying the rules of gravity… thats the ultimate goal of serving as a special education teacher.

and while the comments are meant to be nice.. i know. (i apparently am a little cynical at times.)
i appreciate that people respect my work as a special education teacher. but, just keep it in perspective.. don’t forget about the respect for other jobs as well.
but sometimes the compliments can just be a little overwhelming.. and maybe thats just it i guess. maybe i just dont take the compliments well..
but honestly, my job really doesn’t take the pope to acomplish.
it just takes an alligator trainer..

now that job takes a really special person. (wink, wink..)


well it seems like a ton of things have been happening… but apparently life is crazier than ever at the end of a school year. when i predicted that grad school, starting a 1st year teaching job, and planning a wedding (all at the same time in the fall) would be the most stressful time in my life, i was wrong.. it is most certainly now, finishing up my first year of teaching and completing another semester of grad school. in the mean time a few things have come up that i have instantly wanted to blog about.. but instead time got the best of me.. and nicole got more than an earful during the ‘usual thursday nite activities”.. 🙂

name that moral:
so, as some may know.. i have been working on the weight loss issue.. and am pretty proud of the success. so proud in fact, that i went shopping.. (not that shopping is something too new, but at this stage of newfound poverty i am in.. it was a pretty exciting afternoon at target!) anyway, i was super excited because i found some very cute new attire, that was in my favorite new size (6!!) and bought up all that a poor teacher could afford. when i got home i left the target bag on the counter.
(in the mean time, the garbage can for the kitchen had been moved and there also was a target bag of trash on the counter..)
a couple of days later, as the weather had warmed, and we were planning our trip to vegas.. i was looking for the bag of clothes. hmmm… derek? oh.. he accidentally threw them away. yep, picked up in friday’s trash..
so long lucky number 6 (and $75) i will see you another day…
so, i am not sure what the moral of this story is.. at first i thought maybe it was ironic because i have many clothes in my closet that still have the tags on them, that i have never even worn… and now the ones i want to wear have been thrown away. something about the irony of my debt??
but after much contemplation.. i think the moral is pretty easy.
god liked me better fat.

the crazy at curves
okay.. so i work part time at curves, thus i encounter many different people. the other morning i was working and crazy woman came in. she is a chiropractor who believes in all natural healing. (meaning, she thinks that she can cure just about anything with a good rubbing of the back..) long story short.. the woman is going on about all the good she does in the world, like curing cancer and what not with her magic hands when all of a sudden she starts talking about juvenile diabetes.
i am clearly no expert.. but my younger brother was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes about 6 years ago.. so i know some things about the disease.
in the meantime, the crazy starts telling me that she thinks her daughter has diabetes because of the “toxic odor” that she releasing. and if this is the case, the crazy needs to decide what to do to cure the disease.
wow! really you have the potential to cure diabetes? you are not crazy in fact, but a genius.. why didn’t anyone else come up with the cure so easily. (if you are not catching the sarcasm.. please leave this website and do not return.)
so, enter my comment. “with all due respect to you and your profession, crazy.. when a heart stops working we use a pacemaker, not a good back rub. such as when a pancreas stops working (as with diabetics), we need insulin, not to have our spine readjusted.”
oh man.. that set her off. sorry crazy.. just a thought.
“no religion, politics or sex” – that is the general rule of conversation we stick by at curves.. apparently we should add “no facts of the medical field” as well.
(note: this was the very condensed version of this story.. just ask nicole.. i didn’t even wait for thursday. she got it ALL on saturday morning, approximately 30 minutes after the encounter with the crazy.)

a penis inside of you.
my best friend, morgan, is pregnant. now morgan has been talking about weddings and babies since i have ever known her (starting in about 5th grade).. so this is a very exciting thing to happen to her. (and by her i mean me also.. i can’t wait to be an honorary aunt!) since the time she told me that she was pregnant i have not been able to stop picking up things here and there for her and the new baby. it’s so fun buying little clothes, accessories, and the books.. oh, the books! (refer back to “newfound poverty”..)
i also took morgan out for an early mother’s day lunch and pedicure last weekend. she looked wonderful! she is most definitely “showing”.. but she just looks great… so healthy and so happy. now, as we were sitting in the (amazing) massage chairs, probably being cured of cancer mid-back rub, morgan started talking about her belly moving and felt where the baby was kicking. hmm.. interesting.
and later, as we were waiting for our very cute, spring-time toes to dry she pulled out the 3D ultrasounds. alright… the photo was so clear you could literally see the face. hmm… YOU HAVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF YOU!!!! there are 2 other arms, 2 more legs, 10 more fingers and 10 more toes… POSSIBLY A PENIS! all growing in your belly.
the little clothes and accessories.. wonderful.
the alien inside of you.. completely out of my realm.
it is clearly apparent i am no where near parenthood.
maturity first.

in the meantime.. finishing up IEP’s, wrapping up the school year, completing final projects, getting summer schedules ready, planning summer school, etc.
it’s nothing compared to curing cancer and harvesting aliens..
but enough to keep me busy.

what do internet blackholes, STDs, and gluttony all have in common?


Like the cards that I write… there is always a rough draft… and things are no different with this blogging business. Only, generally, my rough draft blog does not get lost in an internet black hole when my dog accidentally brushes against me causing a shock so large it immediately shuts off my computer.

(I am certain though that if the mother computer could be reached I would find this lost article… if only I could afford a ticket to New York. Oh… someday we will meet you maternal internet genius.)

Generally my computer is never so abruptly turned off… unless I read some judgmental bull shit about the philosophy of permanence…. That in fact causes me to shut off my computer on the spot.

(See without the rough draft of this article you get all the bitter thoughts that run through my head that would normally be filtered out. You get what you pay for…)

Anyway, the majority of my now lost rough draft article was about the oh-so-popular v-day. But since those witty comments and ideas are floating aimlessly through the air around us (because that’s where the internet is you know… “just everywhere”… ask derek!) I’ll just highlight some of my thoughts that would have otherwise been so cleverly written.

First of all, I use the term “v-day” loosely because of my loathing hate for it… the term, not the day. upon hearing “v-day” I instantly think of venereal diseases. “Happy V-Day” = “Hope your STD tests come back in your favor.” I understand that “v-day” is considerably easier to write than “valentines day.” But, come on folks; let’s not mix up a day of love with concern of suspicious bumps in places that only good Christian married couples know about…

Now, it’s just the term that I hate. Not the day of St. Valentine… this, in fact, is a day that I love. I know… I know… odd to think about. Kari celebrating a day of love? I may be cynical and sometimes described as “bitchy”… but I do have feelings. And I do love valentines day. I am not sure if it is because it was always a highly celebrated holiday at home when I was a kids, or if it is because I have never stopped loving to make homemade valentines made out of excessive amounts of construction paper, glue and glitter, or if it is because I love watching kids celebrate this day as well.

(in the original article I had something else slyly alluding to the fact that I love candy as well… and while I managed to actually lose a good amount of weight during the Christmas season… I, in fact, managed to successfully consume approximately 14038 pieces of valentines day candy through out the one day season of love…)

I have to admit… at first when the day began I was worried that this would be the year that changed my mind about my beloved holiday. The kids at school were out of their minds from the moment they walked in the door. Dressed in their red/pink (with heart accessory) finest, they paraded in with their homemade mailboxes leaving a trail of glitter behind them. They immediately want to pass out valentines and stuff their faces with as much chocolate as they possibly could. Math, reading, or writing was out of the question that day… there was love in the air. When it finally came time for the “party,” they could hardly contain themselves… and I have to admit I was a little excited too! Valentines were opened and candy was gorged. Between peanut-butter-filled-chocolate-hearts I found out that I was “too good to be true,” “the cat’s meow,” and (my favorite) “ground-pounding/heart thumping.” Oh… day of love… how you never fail to lift my mood!

We limited the ADHD youngsters to only 2 pieces of candy in hopes of keeping some sanity within the school walls. And my homemade red/white/pink construction paper, glitter-filled notes of valentines wishes were cherished my all the kids.

(even G enjoyed the valentine although he was still a little sad… but not any less hyper… that we had not properly celebrated “beaver day” earlier this month.)

The rest of the day went as to be expected… Derek and I went out to great dinner where I managed to consume even more chocolate during the “chocolate lava cake” finale. (Dear Weight Watchers, please forgive me for Tuesday. I apparently was cast with a spell that makes me say “fuck the points” and over-indulge in diabetic-coma-like amounts of glucose stuffed food.)

We met with friends for drinks afterward. Came home and both passed out on the couch…

The next morning it was back to the “real world”… complete with kids bringing their profanities right back to school, all the glitter vacuumed off the floor, and me finally mailing out our “Valentines Day” cards….

Ode to Cousin Dusty

For my job I often have to frequent the country club.. not just any little small town “the pool is a little nicer” country club.. but instead, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, which happens to entertain the prominent socialites around the West Des Moines area. Although I don’t generally enjoy being at the country club, it does give me time to think. (and by think i mean scribble down my thoughts, of all the assholes who spend too much money to parade around the elitist pool, on my old crumpled up “to do list” found at the bottom of my purse).
– And on a side note.. I am sure that while I am contently sitting there (doing what I do best..) judging others.. on their parenting skills, voices which happen to be 4 notches louder than normal, and plastic surgery faces – all the other real country club members (ie. those who have a member ID, rather than just a “nanny pass”) are judging me on my unwashed hair, my bathing suit from Dillards, and my far-from-plastic surgery/liposuction body.
Anyway, now that all of that introduction is over… I am pretty sure that Thursday was “Bring Your Poor Cousin, Dusty to the Country Club for an Up Close and Personal Taste of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” day. As I was resting my eyes (that’s right.. at work..) while the kids where engaged in their millionth lesson of the day, my blissful peace was interrupted by the strong shouting of an obscenely, aggressive male voice.
“You better start watching the ball!”
“Oh! Come on! Get tough!”
“Stop whining.. you gotta get 5 in a row before swimming!”
Why is the varsity football team doing drills at the country club? you might be wondering.. I was, in fact, curious myself… but I turned to find cousin Dusty, who was helping his 6 year old son become prepared for the Dallas Cowboy tryouts that were apparently occurring VERY soon. Right there at the Des Moines Country Club!! I mean there is a guy who can multi-task..
Dusty was perfect for Des Moines Golf and Country Club.. his beer bellied, step-child-red-spike-on-top-mullet, yellow buck teeth, ridiculous gold bling-ing cross necklace (note: guys who wear necklaces should not only be few and far between, but also should not wear them to the length of where the necklace gracefully dangles between their woobies..) and worn out Kmart swim trunks was just what i needed on that Thursday afternoon.
At first I found myself a little annoyed at Dusty’s presence (ruining my restful afternoon), then a little judgmental (feeling for the first time, a step above someone at the country club), not soon after the feeling of complete awe struck me (like a car accident that you just can not stop staring at), and finally I felt some comfort in Dusty’s courage to attend the “mock your poor cousin” day.
Although I am sure my son will not have to make 5 catches before being allowed swim, I did identify with Dusty. His camera in hand, (and mine hidden safely in my purse) we needed to capture all we could of this socialite society… I couldn’t help but hope that I would see him at next year’s reunion of us poor folk.

-And it should be noted, that just as I was feeling this sense of connectedness with cousin Dusty (probably from Arkansas), in walked Mister Right, to grace the presence of all those surrounding him..
17 and complete with his bright orange, popped collar, polo shirt… all to match his green plaid gingham (only be to seen on curtains in country time magazine) polo swim trunks and matching bright orange flip flops.
Hey, Mister Right?
Are you the original creator of that messed up, almost long hair, would be grunge if you didn’t shower twice a day, sexy look that all the boys are sporting these days?
… I think cousin Dusty and I pulled out our cameras at the exact same time…