No Blaise: Why Time Changes are the Worst, Especially in Chicago

March 19th, 2017

Was the title of this post cryptic enough for you? I’m very mysterious.

As I’m sure all of you sleepyheads know, we lost an hour of sleep on Sunday. Which led into feeling like I’d lost 100 hours of sleep this entire week. The difference between this sleepiness and my normal sleepiness has not yet been determined.

My Chicago friends got especially shit on this past sleepy week. Why feel especially made for us? SURPRISE SNOW STORM. BLIZZARD. ARTIC DOWNPOUR. WHITE OUT.

Those all caps were no accident. That is how I feel inside about the snow that came through in a big way on Tuesday.

Picture me waking up that morning and realizing I’d slept through my alarm. Then imagine me not knowing it snowed (again) and realizing I was going to be late to work. It wasn’t until after my being two hours late to work after an almost three hour commute that I’d realize just how god damn late I was going to be. This day was particularly irregular because poor poor Jimmy was driving me to work so he could borrow my car and return to school later in order to help out our technology person.

If you’ve seen me from 10 feet away on any giving morning, you know how grumpy I am in the morning. Add an hour less of sleep, already lateness, and snow and you can all imagine the heat Jimmy was having thrown his way as he navigated us through the white abyss. (love u bb)

Once we finally arrived at school, Jimmy told me to go in while he “found parking” aka took deep calming breaths and punched a voo doo doll with my face on it. I can only imagine how distressed I looked when I arrived because as I walked to my room one of my coworkers almost spit their drink out when they saw my face.

My kids had an even more wonderful reaction which was to simply ask me as soon as I walked in, “Was there traffic Miss Schmiedel?”

To which I (almost) responded, “Oh yes there was traffic. And let’s all be thankful there was no blood drawn.”

**Want to take this opportunity to give a gigantic shout out to the teacher aids who were with my kids until I arrived at 10am. They have saved my ass on so many occasions and my students and I would be so lost and so so frantic without their unbelievably generous support.**

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No Blaise: Home Improvements

March 12th, 2017

I’m sorry I’m posting so late, but I’ve been very busy today doing very important things. These important things included, but weren’t limited to, stressing out about getting my lesson plan done, buying things to organize the basement, eating potbelly’s, and continuing to stress out about getting my lesson plans done.

Guess what still isn’t done?

Though my lessons still need to be planned, Jimmy and I did make a dent in our houses “transform the basement from the land of lost laundry into a usable work space” goal. In fact, I’m writing this post from the little workspace we created. Yes, I’m staring at a large pile of clothes I still need to wash and put away. But I’m staring at it from my workspace rather than avoiding eye contact with it as I shuffle quickly to the bathroom or up the stairs.

Speaking of shuffling quickly around the basement, we got a space heater too. So instead of the basement aka my bedroom being an ice cold torture chamber, it now is being kept at a nice toasty temperature that allows me to keep the feeling in my toes while I’m down there.

Another success today was my pulling all the clothes I had piled on the basement couches and putting them into a very large hamper. AKA moving them from one area of the basement to another, but I’m giving myself credit for this because putting them in a hamper means that someday, hopefully soon, I’ll be putting them into the washing machine. And that is something.

I also graded some papers this morning. This was after almost punching a kid in the face at Starbucks because she was holding up the line by asking the barista for a “pup cup” over and over. A pup cup, for those of you also may not have known what that was until today, is a small cup with some whipped cream in it for your dog. So, this child insisted that her dogs need were more important than the many under-caffeinated adults behind her in line. As a person who often puts her dogs needs before all others, not even I could get down with this girls requests. I won’t even mention that they made my green tea latte with soy milk instead of almond. That’s an entire post in itself.

So, today think of me as a warrior. A woman who, even though she was served the wrong alt-milk in her morning latte, was still able to be as cranky as a toddler who needs a nap and follow her boyfriend around on errands while telling him what she wanted him to buy for her basement.

Home improved. Attitude almost improved.

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No Blaise: Free Fitness

March 5th, 2017

Have been a paper grading blob on the couch, so here’s an oldie but a goodie to get you your No Blaise fix: 

 

I have reached my limit of blobbing into the couch and dropping mac and cheese into my mouth. This means I’ve start meal prepping for the week, thoroughly researching how to take spin classes, and secretly eating 10 mini Reeses peanut butter cups during class.

If you eat it while consuming knowledge, the calories don’t count.

My meal prepping has been going well. It pretty much consists of me choosing a recipe, making what I think is an astronomical amount of food to consume in a week, and then somehow eating it all by Friday with no problem. My research of free spinning classes is going even better, but my attendance of said spin classes is lacking. I am nearing the end of my free week at my first gym and I’ve only attended one spin class. It was on a Saturday morning though, and we all know Saturday morning workouts should count as three days worth of exercise.

The gym employee giving us the tour before our class told us that early Saturday was their busiest time, followed by an inquiry about what time I usually work out and I was all, “Let’s just move on, shall we?”

I did set an alarm in an effort to go to a 6am spin class this morning, but decided against getting out of my bed at 5am. In my defense, 6am is the only spin class time that works for my schedule so way to set me up for success gym I’m not paying for!!

There are only 4 weeks left in this quarter of grad school, so you know I’ve been avoiding facing this reality by letting google searches consume my life. This has allowed me to line up a series of options of free classes I can hypothetically attend in my hypothetical free time in the hypothetical morning.

I’ve convinced Katie, Anika, and myself, that we should go to another studio for a free first time spin class on Sunday morning. Morning workouts always make me feel more accomplished. “What’d you do this weekend?” “Oh, you know, just laid low (drank at home) and took in a morning spin class. No biggie.” **drops mic**

I’m also very good at ending these memberships before they cost me anything, a skill I relate directly to my dating experience. When I get any sort of correspondence about signing up long term I pull the,

“You know, this was really great, but I just don’t have time. See ya!”

Who said being a commitment-phobe was a bad thing? More fitness for me!

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No Blaise: Relaxed(?)

February 19th, 2017

Hello everyone, I’m relaxing. I’m telling you this right off the bat because it’s something I haven’t done in a very long time. So long, in fact, I’ve all but forgotten how to actually do it. So, I guess what I should have said was, I think I’m relaxing.

Writing this post is relaxing. Knowing I don’t have to work tomorrow is relaxing. Eating a real breakfast this morning instead of shoveling an english muffin in my mouth as I gun it to work was relaxing. Having time to wonder whether or not I’m relaxing is relaxing.

What I’m really concerned about, I guess, is whether or not there’s a set list of activities that can be qualified as relaxing, and if you’re doing anything other than those activities, you’re not technically relaxing. Should I make a t-chart of “Relaxing” and “Not Relaxing” to clearly outline those activities?

If the t-chart reference didn’t make it clear enough, I should add a disclaimer that I got all my lesson planning done yesterday so that I could come to Michigan and relax. So now the brain power I usually reserve for planning a week of lessons for 31 first graders is being used to thoroughly analyze what it means to relax. It was my goal for the weekend, after all.

I literally wrote “relax” on my to-do list for this weekend.

So damnit, I’m gonna relax. I might have an existential crisis about it first, but you better believe I’m gonna relax.

I’m sitting in a chair in a house in Michigan around other people who are, I think, relaxing. I’m near people reading books, playing video games, and shooting hoops. So, at the very least, I’m in the proximity of relaxation.

Does this mean I’m relaxing? If I want to grade papers once I’m done writing this blog, am I relaxing? Is overthinking whether or not you’re relaxing, relaxing?

Are you relaxing?

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No Blaise: Losing Track

February 12th, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on here. It’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of things that aren’t directly involved with teaching first grade. 95% of my life is teaching, 5% of the time is me trying really hard to think about things besides teaching. I’m successful at the 5% half of the time.

I’m writing on Sundays now after sending Benny Jay a text that said, “I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker. But during the week I have no idea what day it is.” and he responds, “How about Sunday?” and here I am.

I’m looking forward to writing on Sundays because it’s one of the rare days I can piece together a train of thought that’s longer than 20 words long. There’s also so much to complain about on Sundays, and complaining is what I do best, so it’s a goldmine for me.

We all know that after Sunday is Monday, and Mondays are the first day of the work week for most of us, and therefore terrible. So, Sunday is dreadful by association.

You know what else is dreadful by association? America. America is fucking dreadful.

The Sunday Scaries can’t hold a candle to the Trump Scaries. Not that I want to hold a candle anywhere these days because everything is so close to exploding.

Like I lose track of the days of the week, I’ve lost track of all the horrible things Trump has already unleashed on our country. I’ve lost track of what rights I still have. I’ve lost track of the millions of people that have absolutely no rights left. I’ve lost track of the public services that are becoming obsolete for reasons I can’t keep track of.

I’ve lost track of how many hours I will spent and still want to spend working to make sure my students know that they’re smart and capable in a world that’s being created to privatize everything and make every corner of this country into a corporation.

So, sometimes I’ll use this blog to talk about all the things I’m scared of, all the things that I forget and then remember, and all the things I want to change.

Buckle up.

 

 

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No Blaise: Here I Am

January 4th, 2017

Let me just admit it, I have been MIA. I promise that I still love The Third City very much, it just being a teacher is busy. Especially being a teacher in her first year. Especially when you’re a teacher in her first year and winter break is coming up.

Especially Especially Especially when you’re constantly panicking about whether or not you’re doing a great job. Good job. Fine job. Decent job. Please let me keep my job.

But let’s talk more about that at a later date. This panic is not going anywhere.

Here I am, on my second week of winter break, and finally able to type words into computer in a way that makes sense. Well, as much sense as I usually make.

My first week of winter break aka “The Holidays” was awesome. I hung out with people I love every single day and ate so much food. So much food. So much delicious delicious food.  Fine, I drank a lot too. And slept even more than that.

Hallelujah.

Coming down from the high that was bingeing on everything I love for a week straight has been rough. I’m starting to settle into the idea that maybe I’ll be going back to work someday which means someday soon I’ll be unable to wake up whenever the hell I wanted.

This is sad for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love my job. I have thought about both excessively over the last 1.5 weeks. But am I ready to wake up before 11am? Not quite yet.

I went grocery shopping yesterday for healthy food that I’m hoping will get me energized and out of bed at an hour resembling my wake up time during school. It was a cart filled with veggies and lean proteins and there wasn’t any alcohol in or around it’s perimeter. Mostly because I knew I had half a bottle of wine and plenty of beer at home, but also because I’m working towards not being so obsessed with unwinding via alcohol. Some would say it’s a bad habit.

But here I am, hoping that 2017 has big plans for me and my “bad” habits.

 

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No Blaise: The Quiet Game

December 7th, 2016

I am reporting live from the after school program and let me tell you, basically all I’m doing is trying to get kids to stay quiet and do their homework. The number one job requirement for any teaching job should be: You gotta know how to keep kids quiet.

Really, it’s hard.

I get the pleasure of being in charge of Homework Help for the 3rd-5th graders tonight, a nice break from the 6-8th graders I’m usually with. Though the kids tonight are younger, they’re not any more interested in listening to me tell them to be quiet. They’re even less interested in being quiet. As long as I get them to stay relatively low volume and I don’t hear any curse words, I consider the after school session a victory.

My class during the day? That’s another story entirely. At the beginning of the school year, it was a straight up circus. I think at some point I had become numb to the noise and just sort of went through my day thinking it was ok a few kids were talking when I was talking. Two weeks in, my headaches didn’t stop and I realized it was because I pretty much spent my entire day trying to talk over loud six year olds.

So I decided that these kids were gonna shut their mouths and listen. My “Be Quiet” crusade began. I tried a few different methods:

Consistently telling them to be quiet

Calling parents to have them talk to their especially loud children (this I still do)

Writing names down on the board of kids who were in trouble

A behavior chart (this I also still do)

and a rewards chart that moves up or down depending on how correct the kids are acting that day. It has things like “sweet treat”, “pizza party”, etc.. on it that the kids can build up to. Some would call it child bribery, I call it the best fucking thing to happen to my classroom.

Telling my kids to be quiet got them quiet for a few minutes, telling them they get extra recess if they close their mouths, that’ll keep them quiet the entire week.

Positive reinforcement has been the miracle drug I’ve been waiting for. Thanking the children who are behaving correctly leads to the others kids fixing their behavior faster than my telling them to fix it ever could.

Moving my kids up on the “giraffe chart” towards things like a dance party ensures 95% of my class shuts their pie hole.

And let’s be honest, if I told you I’d through you a pizza party if you just shut your mouth while I was talking, you’d shut the hell up too.

 

 

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