Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm moving. Don't stop reading!

I'm moving to a new location. The main reason is because I'm tired of having to log in with my old email address every time I post. At least that's what I'll say is my reason. I've started a new class with my students in which I require them to have a blog. I decided to join in. And since my students all have my info on my other Google account, I'm switching over there. Don't worry, I still love you all. The two of you who read me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An email from a student on maternity leave

Ms. Maggie,

My project is going good. The baby still hasn't come. I'm so anxious now. Mr. Pete is trying to get us to switch schools. Do you want me to turn in what I have done? I really want to finish the project on my baby because it was a good project and I got a good start on it.

I miss you a lot. Hope to see you soon. Love you so much.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where exactly HAVE I been?

I've been trying to come up with a good post for the last few months. I've been failing miserably, I know. I like lists. So to make this less intimidating, here's a list of the last few months. This will be more regular, I swear (not the lists...okay probably the lists).

1. In September I moved from St. Paul back to Minneapolis. I live two blocks from Lake Calhoun. Happiness.

Okay, maybe not quite happiness. Technically it's a basement. And it's rather noisy. For those of you who didn't know about my apartment in St. Paul, it was a rented condo. Filled with old people. I swear, my roommate and I were the only ones under 70. Also it had a balcony that looked at downtown St. Paul. And it had central air and heat. Whatever, the millions I will make as a teacher will make up for this moment of dankness.

2. For Halloween I went as steam punk. I'm not going to explain it to you. I will only say it was not a serious costume.

3. In early December, a friend of mine died. While we weren't especially close, I'd known her since I was nine years old. Honestly, this has probably been the most difficult funeral I have ever been to. I should not have worn mascara. I wept like a child. I hope I am a fraction of the caring, considerate, thoughtful and happy person she was. She was the most beautiful person I have ever known.

4. I went to Salt Lake City in December to visit my friend, this time with Perry. Hello, fun. We went for a long weekend and basically spa-ed it up and had a great time.

5. In October, I took a position at a new school. This is probably the main reason I have not been posting. While I have a lot of stories, few should, or can, be repeated. And they are rarely cute antics at this point.

Pros: I am fully employed, with benefits, and have the responsibility of technology integration within all four school sites. There are days in which I am truly reminded of why I always wanted to be a teacher. My students teach me more than I could ever learn from my own life.

Cons: Most of the female population is pregnant and/or has had one or more child. Most (if not all) of the boys are involved in gangs. Despite the jerks out there who mock and imitate the Bloods and Crips, it is a very real life for my students. They have made me hate those jerks even more. Most of my students always carry some weapon, narcotics on them. Last Friday a student brought a gun to school for protection. Since I started in October, two students have been buried due to gang violence. One of my students does not have a bed or pillow and sleeps on wood floors. He comes in every morning with a school lunch as the last meal he's had. This is not an unusual situation at my school.

Things that cross my mind on a daily basis:

1. I yelled at _____. I hope he is not waiting outside with a gun/knife/large group of people.
2. How will I cross the race barrier today?
3. Thank God for my life (honestly, I don't think I'll be in a position to complain ever again).
4. God, get me through today.
5. God, get my kids back to me safely.

Quotes from my students that have stood out:

1. "I don't care what you say, you don't know what it's like to live in the 'hood."
2. "Why did you kill Martin Luther King?"
3. "Why do we have to learn this? It's not going to save my life when a gun is against my head."
4. "Oh, man! Damn!"
5. "I like Ms. Maggie. She tells us she loves us."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The sound and look of the recession, told through a traffic report

Minnesota traffic is a bit unique. Well, perhaps not unique, but given our stereotype of niceness, it's a bit surprising. Drivers here are among some of the most passive aggressive drivers in the country. While we feel we are nice and generally rational people, we also don't appreciate that jerk cutting us off at the last second on 394. The response? Obviously it's to tailgate for a mile and then pass the car in the next lane, glaring at the driver the entire time.

In stop-and-go traffic, do not plan on getting into a lane, regardless of where you are merging from, unless you are willing to risk a possible accident. People will not let you in, as they feel that since you have just come into the area, you have no right to just merge in front of them.

Lately, I've been noticing some situations and sounds that are rather new to the Minnesota drive. I feel like it is related to the added stress and pressure of money that has become so apparent in most of our lives. I feel like people are beginning to lose perspective on rational driving and becoming more aggressive as the pressure of money, or lack thereof, rises.

First, the other day while driving into Minneapolis, someone had a flat tire, which they stopped to replace on the freeway. In the Lowry Tunnel. I understand that a flat tire is a big deal. But really? At 8:00 am? In the Lowry Tunnel? I give Minnesotans more credit than this. The Hiawatha, and U of M exits are a 1/2 mile from the tunnel. He couldn't make it that far? I blame a preoccupation with cost and investment on the poor planning and reaction of this driver.

Second, I've been noticing a lot more horns. Minnesota drivers are not typically ones to use their horns a lot. That would constitute aggression. And Minnesotans are certainly not aggressive. They will claim they don't know what passive aggressive means and deny it upon learning the definition. Again, I see the added stress of getting through traffic, wasting gas, wondering how much money you'll have next week, next month, next year. People have become more and more aggressive, which I think is due to the constant economic situation that doesn't seem to bring any good news.

Traffic has become rather unbearable. The thing that was nice about Minnesota drivers was, during the week, everyone was on the same page when it came to reaching their destination: get there as quickly and efficiently as possible. On Saturdays and Sundays, people weren't in such a hurry, but still were more interested in getting to their destination in a timely manner. The treatment of people who were not abiding by these unwritten rules were treated similarly to the cutting-off-on-the-freeway situation noted above.

Now, there seem to be an unruly amount of accidents. And worse yet, every lane on the freeway will be stopped. In the morning it takes me almost a half hour to get to work, and 45 minutes to get home in the afternoons, and I live less than 10 miles away from my job. Sunday driving seems to be a contest to see who can drive the slowest in the left lane. I feel like there is a certain dread to dealing with the destination. Drive slower and it will be longer until you have to face more financial worry, at home or at a restaurant. Any place reminds everyone of the financial shortfall we're experiencing these days.

Yesterday, NPR reported the recession ended. Today it took me an hour to get home and I heard 4 different car horns. I don't think the recession is quite over yet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Songs any self respecting woman would hate

...but are played at Ann Taylor stores anyway.

"U Started It"- Gwen Stefani
"Rich Girls Poor Girls"- Everybody Else
"One Of The Boys"- Katy Perry
"The Sweet Escape"- Gwen Stefani
"Disturbia"- Rihanna

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monologue by my yoga mat

Look, I've been sitting here in the corner of the living room for weeks, quite possibly months now. I'm starting to wilt and collect dust. You've left me to sit next to that ball, who I might add thinks we are way better friends than we are just because I've let him use me a few times. I mean, I understand "taking one for the team." But don't you think this is a little ridiculous? I've been taking one for the team for over a month now. I'm just tired of having the ball as my only company. And by the way, pink makes him look fat.

I know you've been sick and haven't had the energy to work out lately. I think it's obvious by how messy it's gotten here. I'm tired of watching you watch movies and falling asleep in the middle of them. Hairspray is not that good. It's disgusting. Have you noticed how flabby your stomach has gotten? I have when you sit down next to me. It's a little sad. I bet you can't even see your muscles in your legs and arms anymore. Doesn't that make you a little depressed? Okay, yes, that was a little harsh, but part of a relationship is being as honest as possible. That jerk who comes around now, bringing you ice cream, claiming to make you "feel better" is just enabling you. Can't you see that?

Don't you remember when you first took me home? You adored the purple and green paisley print. You showed me off and brought me out and we had so many good times together. Okay, the time your dog tried to eat me was not so good, but aside from that.

Don't you remember how comfortable you got with me? You fell asleep feeling my soft foam skin and smelling my sweat and plastic cologne. You looked hot with me, practicing your positions and stretching your body. We really were great together.

I guess I'm just trying to tell you that I miss you and want you back. Please come back. If you don't, I can't promise that I won't become misplaced. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Apartment searching

There is a sick addiction in looking for apartments. I like looking at the pictures of apartments and homes. It's like a puzzle trying to find someplace that has everything I want, namely off street parking and AC. It's a game to find the best apartment for the cheapest price. My goal in finding an apartment this time is to get the first month free with a low deposit. I'm successful so far.

I'd like to live in a duplex. However, this is proving to be more difficult. Especially when it comes to finding air conditioning. In a couple weeks I will say AC doesn't matter, but since it's been 90 degrees for the last three days, I'm feeling it's a little critical.

Also, did I mention I'm excited to be moving back to Minneapolis? I am.

I am a bit bewildered by some apartment advertisements. Many advertise things that really should come with any apartment. For example:

Our apartment features:

Really? Are there apartments in which I would need to provide my own fridge? This concerns me a little.

One landlord seemed apparently irritated to be leasing out the property. His ad went as follows:

Here are the answers to the top stupid questions:

Do you have pictures? No, if I had pictures, I would have posted them.
What is the deposit? One month rent.
What utilities are included? None. Get a job and pay for them yourself.

There was also a phone number to call him for a showing. Needless to say, I didn't write it down. Something tells me he's not going to get choice tenants.

Google has really been helpful though. All I need to do is search for the apartment complex, and a map pops up telling me where it is and it has a link with reviews of it. One apartment I was interested in had 29 (29!) bad reviews. And when I say bad, I mean embarrassingly terrible. It didn't get more than two stars on any review. I felt bad for the place. Five reviews stated they had both mice and bed bugs. Seriously, bed bugs? I wasn't aware those things even existed in the 21st century. What do they have, hay for carpet? It's Minneapolis, not a barn.

I'm concerned for my future living conditions.