O Canada

Well, we're back from a whirlwind trip to Montreal! We spent one evening and one full day there. Max and I decided that the most cost-efficient way to see the city was by foot... So we walked for ten and a half hours on Friday. We maybe could have gotten away with just seven hours of walking, but we got lost twice. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

Eating crepes. This one is made with ham, cheese, and egg. Yum!

Here we are at the top of Mount Royal, overlooking the city.
Gorgeous views! It was worth the hike and the 250 stairs!

We walked through many streets like this one. Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was still in North America!

Here I am enjoying a giant plate of "Moules frites" which is French for "mussels and fries". Kudos to Montreal for serving my fries with mayonnaise instead of ketchup (they're more French than I gave them credit for!). This picture was taken after eight hours of walking. We were sunburned and sore and oh so hungry. We walked another two hours after dinner, trying to find Old Town to buy a magnet. Both of my legs broke from all the walking, but at least we got our magnet! Proof that we were there!

Back... and Gone Again

My long weekend with my long-time friend who I hadn't seen in a LONG time was fabulous! On Saturday, we spontaneously attended the 16th annual barbecue battle in downtown Washington D.C. We stood in line for two hours to get to the free samples. There were about two hundred feet of tables set up and we were both quite full (and sunburned) by the end of it. Here I am posing with the Oscar Meyer Wiener-Mobile. I resisted the urge to sing the song.

On Sunday we went to the International Spy Museum (which was well worth the entrance fee). The spy museum was actually the best museum I've ever been to... and I've been to quite a few. I would highly recommend it to anyone who's visiting the area. We got to climb through vents in the wall, identify people in disguise, and see lots of vintage espionage equipment used throughout history. Did you know that the NSA shreds 40,000 pounds of paper a day... and that the shredded documents are then recycled into pizza boxes? True story.

We walked a lot around the city, and went to a great Mexican restaurant to celebrate her birthday. It was a such a fun weekend that we both vowed to reunite annually instead of letting another four years go by!

Tomorrow, the husband and I are off on a spontaneous trip to Montreal. I will finally get to find out if they speak REAL French there!


Yesterday, Max and I were entertained for a long time watching our cat Mowgli hunt a fly. Usually, I hate flies in the house during the summer, but the cats seem to think that flies are candy, and behave as such when they see one. Mowgli reminded me of a boxing prairie dog the way she was up on her hind legs and swinging in the air with her front paws. If only I'd had the camera nearby! Even more amusing is when she would take a running leap into the air (paws swinging wildly) in an effort to trap the unsuspecting fly. At one point, she even climbed to the top of the treadmill for a height advantage. But in the end, it was our patient hunter Gizmo who finally ate the tasty treat. She calmly waited until the fly came to her, then trapped it between her paw and the floor. Our cats are way better than fly swatters!

In other news, I fly to Washington D.C area today to visit a good friend of mine I haven't seen in three years! I'll update when I get back next week!

At Least I Didn't Cry This Time

For months now, I've wanted to do something different with my hair. Drastic. But not too drastic, because, you know, deep down I'm a wuss. I've never quite been able to forget those many, many times I would come back from the hair dresser in AGONIZING TEARS because there is nothing so traumatic as feeling ugly when you're 16.

So I'm sitting in the salon, telling Sophie that I want something "new, fun, fresh, light, different". She starts flipping through a magazine and says "how about this cut?" Well, the model looked great of course, so I said Sure! and out came the scissors and off went my glasses.

Now, mind you, I'm blind when I don't wear my glasses--and you can't wear glasses when you're getting a haircut. So she's cutting, and I'm squinting through a curtain of bangs at the blurry new vision of me in the mirror. Everything looks fine as far as I can tell. It's short, but not too short... and I can tell my bangs will look different.

Then Sophie applies roughly a bucket of mousse to my hair and starts in with the blow dryer. After about fifteen minutes, she swivels me around to face the mirror and says "Ta da!" (Okay, she didn't really say that, but she may as well have). I smile because all I can see is what looks to be like an impressionistic painting of me. I reach for my glasses, and ...

Uh-oh. Can anyone say 1995? I am just too young to have BIG HAIR. I pouted all the way back to the car, amidst scoffing stares of passers-by (how do you know they weren't scoffing or staring? You weren't there...). I walked in the house and warned Max that it was disastrous. He managed to make me feel a little better about it. Between his tact and my hairbrush, I was able to tame my new giant 90's hairdo into something hopefully a bit more presentable:

You will all just have to take my word on how bad it was before I got home!!

Final Bell

Today was the last day of school.

I know, I know... you're all thinking: "But Sarah, you've been so calm! Where was the countdown? When was the freaking out? I didn't hear you whine about how the kids are driving you crazy!"

Well as it turns out, the end-of-the-year for a resource room teacher is A LOT more laid back than for a classroom teacher. The difference? The kids. Much as I love them, students make you loopy in June. But as a resource room teacher, I just conveniently left them in their classrooms so that they could enjoy their end of the year activities, and I could tackle a mountain load of paperwork. This week went by calmly, efficiently, quietly. Even quickly!

And now begins the time I like to call: "Doing Whatever I Want Whenever I Want To". Hurray!!

For She's a Jolly Good Fellow

Today the entire special education staff went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate the successful end of my colleague's first year of teaching. It doubled as a goodbye party too because she is moving on to greener pastures next year in a school closer to home. I'm not sure what it is about Mexican restaurants that appeal to teacher parties (this is the third consecutive year I've had an end-of-the-year party at Mexican restaurant!). Maybe it's because the environment is stereotypically loud and colorful.... just makes us teachers feel right at home!

Anyways, we sent off my dear friend with cards, tributes, and gifts for her new classroom: disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, air sanitizer, band-aids, DVD's, and a trophy (which she worked HARD to earn, let me tell you). She loved all of it, of course, but I think what she would rather have liked to do is to take our entire special ed staff and bring us with her to her new job...

J, you will be missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Master List or Master of Lists

Despite my protesting body, I did drag myself to work today. I had two good reasons to do so:

1) I have work to do before the end of the school year (Friday)
2) If I had to stay cooped up in this house for one more day, I would have gone insane!! No, really.

And it's amazing what can get done when I don't see any kids! I crossed some major items off of my to-do list. It was a such a deeply satisfying feeling to check things off that list. I briefly considered making up another list full of things I've accomplished, just so I could cross off more items. But that would make me out to be crazy. And I'm not crazy... Crazy is when you write a list of all your lists so you can keep track of them all.

Yes, I'm talking about you Rebekah!

For Real

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Cause for Alarm

... and there were many today.

Cause #1: My principal comes to my office and says: "I'm just going to cut to the chase" (uh-oh) "I really value honesty" (UH-OH) "Did you put an anonymous, angry letter in my box about two weeks ago?" [WHEW! No way, that was not me at all]. Interesting discussion ensued.

Cause #2: Huge IEP (yearly meeting to determine individual goals and accommodations) scheduled for 1:00 today. It happened to be the transition IEP of this little fellow. Transition IEP's are run by the special ed. team from whatever district/school the child is coming to us from. Anyways, this one is a big deal. I got a phone call at 8:45 AM informing me that the IEP team members were at the front office, waiting for me to start the meeting. Apparently, when the other IEP team rescheduled the meeting from 1:00 to 9:00, they neglected to tell us!!

When I realize this, I am talking myself down from panic. Breathe in, breathe out. Nobody knows you're freaking out, so just pretend that you're not! Then I had to go conjure up two substitutes on the fly (so the classroom teacher and aide could attend the meeting) and pull our principal out of an awards assembly.

It all ended up working out okay; my heart stopped racing halfway into the meeting.

Cause #3: Ordered takeout from Panera Bread today. About halfway through my yummy salad, just as I am lifting the fork to my mouth, I notice HALF A LADYBUG stuck to my lettuce!! Ewwww. It would have been so much better if I had just found a whole ladybug, because where did that other half go???

Cheetoh Tummy-ache

That's what I'm left with after a celebration today. Today was the last day that I saw kids (yep, the resource room is closing up shop so we can tackle a mountain of paperwork next week!), and there was one student in particular that deserved a party. She had come SOOO far since the beginning of the year. She was so shy and fearful at the beginning... she didn't look me in the eye for two weeks when I saw her one-on-one. She was two grade levels behind and she would just sit in her regular classroom, helpless. Today, she's a cheerful, confident student! She asks her teachers for work; she takes real pride in her accomplishments; she's just blossomed!

So since I knew that she loved "Hot Cheetohs", I decided that a Cheetoh party was in order. She wrote out invitations (on orange Cheetoh shaped paper, of course) and handed them out to all the teachers who had helped her this year. We all spent a fun time together, eating Cheetohs (three different kinds!) and playing Blink.

She has gotten so skilled and fast at Blink that I no longer need to give her less cards for the advantage. She can actually beat me when we have the same amount of cards and when I'm TRYING to win. Never thought that would happen! I'm fiercely proud of her. She alone gives me a compelling reason to come back to my job this fall!

Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate

How to successfully avoid working at work:

  1. Make a list of everything you need to get done before the end of the school year
  2. Tack said list to the bulletin board and admire your organizational skills
  3. Make a checklist in excel to mark off each progress report finished (Note: start writing progress reports later)
  4. Take a ninety minute “business” lunch
  5. Print off travel itinerary for the summer
  6. Shuffle papers into a neater pile
  7. Call Mom and Dad in France
  8. Stare at the summer countdown posted on the white board
  9. Refill water bottle
  10. Check LOLcats frequently throughout the day

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