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Based on what I've read online, it's probably something stuck in his nose, which the vet will remove in the morning. No big deal, right? I have a tendency to project doom, so help me keep a positive outlook for the little guy, will ya? He's a right good kitty.
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I'm awake now after sleeping for three hours. Somehow that just doesn't seem fair.

Day Seven: Went to the beach, ate, went to the pool. Yeah, yeah, I know, that isn't enough detail. Ok. Here goes:


When we got to the beach, a dad had already finished this pyramid. Pretty amazing, if you ask me. He used a part of one of his kids' toys to make flat edges after pounding the sand firm. Like all good things, though, its existence is only a fleeting thing. A marauding baby grunted and puffed and finally climbed his way up the side to where he could reach and smash the point at the top.

click for the rest of the story )
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I've set up shop in the family room, with stacks of papers in need of grading. I woke to tend to nature's needs, came out here, and was promptly joined by Mr. Clydiecat, who is rapidly becoming quite the writer's muse, I should say. He's crawled into my lap, tail against my right elbow and chin in my left wrist, to purr and (I suppose) enjoy the vibrations of my typing tendons against his furry little throat. Whatever it is that he likes most about writing with me, I'm glad of it. During the day, he's a holy terror (not to be confused with the holy terrier some of you were talking about earlier) and doesn't want anything to do with anything remotely resembling cuddling. He wants to be known as some sort of stoic feline warrior who would care nothing for the strokings and pettings of the common housecat. He surely is an uncommon housecat, and yet, in the wee hours of the morning, he is much more than content to join and enjoy the pampering.

I was dreaming earlier. Several things from reality entered into the dream. First was a blinding pulse of energy which would destroy anything it touched, even if the advance of the flash were slowed in some manner. I've been playing an online build-your-own empire game called The Lacuna Expanse (my brother-in-law is part of the huge team developing this game, so message me if you want an invitation to the game). In the game, you build various buildings and "grow" them in order to be able to have and do certain things on your planet. In my dream, I'd built an energy pulse repulser. So, this pulse of energy came from outer space, and my little planet was able to safe tiny communities and middle-class citizens by putting all the rich and elite in the largest spaces (like NFL domes) while the poorer simply hid in the dark until the danger was past. In my dream, we were all turned to vampires, and the dream-daughter was able to avoid becoming a full vampire because seh had been exposed to the combination of the ray and the repulser ray.

Confused? Me too, because it would appear that several key details of the dream are missing from the telling, and dreams have a nasty habit of only allowing the light of day to touch some of them.

While grading papers, I talk to the student whose paper I've looking at. I may have made some disparaging remarks while looking at some of the papers, yesterday. My frustration comes from what appears to me to be a plain old Lack of work ethic. For example, who does someone get zero out of ten points on a paper that the teacher requires you to do with the book open?

Since I'm drifting in and out of dreaming while I try to write this, I'm about to pack it in and head back to bed.
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It's almost midnight. I'm crossed-legged on the floor of the bedroom with the laptop, and Mr. Clydiecat is attempting to help me type.

It's been a rough couple of weeks. High-stakes testing begins in five school days. We missed out on four days of instruction due to bad weather, and we've been trying to make up for the lost time. It's grueling. Kids are tired, I'm tired, and nobody wants to hear "ISTEP" in a sentence ever again.

Clyde has a tendency to drool when he's happy. It's really cute, until he's gotten himself into position on your chest when you're relaxing, and then drools into your face. I'm glad he's here, though. Furry friends really make a house a home, and you haven't truly been ignored until you've been ignored by a cat.

We ran out of cat chow the other day, and the poor dears had to manage on a tin of tunafish. You'd have thought I was serving Christians to starving lions! It's fun, though, to hear them trying to manage purring over the tastiness while growling at the cat at the next bowl.

Which puts me in mind of sushi. You know what would be really good right now? Toro tuna. Just give me a big slab of it and I'll squeeze my own lemon juice and just get right down to slathering on the wasabi.

Three-day weekend coming up. Then a four-day week, and then ISTEP. I just need to get information to stay in those little heads for a little bit longer! Once the test is over, I can teach for mastery; until then, I have to teach to try to cover the material.

I submit that a child who has been taught to mastery on basic skills will be able to pick up the more intricate things later on. However, the things we used to teach in second grade are now being covered in kindergarten. We want a competitive national education system, but we aren't willing to take the time to do it right. Once I'm elected supreme ruler, this will change. You'll know it's time for the revolution when you see my shock troops wearing red apple armbands, going through the streets and arresting anyone who thinks that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address had a zip code.
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1-year wedding anniversary with Leah. I'm a little shocked that a year has gone past already, I must admit. I'm also pleasantly surprised at how nice it is to be married to this woman. And I don't mean in a gushy, honeymoon-phase kind of way, either. Sure, there are days when one or the other of us can use some improvement in one aspect or another, but for the most part, it's been a time of enjoying happy results of a wise decision.

For whatever reason, Clyde isn't in here on the bedroom floor to frustrate the laptop and me, and I sort of miss the wrestling we do before he calms down enough to drape himself over my lap while I type.

The end of the grading period was Friday. I got all my grades entered on time. Thursday, I printed out grade reports from the online gradebook I've been using, SnapGrades. Ms. Fleming, an ESL assistant, translated my handwritten comments on the papers: "Based on his/her grades in math and/or reading, [student] is being considered for retention". On a couple of those, I wrote "is being seriously considered for retention". That got a couple of heads to snap around. My hope is that several of these students will start to pick up the slack for the next grading period. I'm going to refer all of them to the BBT committee for possible retention, and I'm going to do all that extra paperwork. Last year, I had one or two that I probably should have retained that I didn't because I thought that they'd improve if I just taught better. I realize, now, that my teaching isn't always to blame for how they perform.

Thursday afternoon, as they were lined up in the hallway waiting to be dismissed to the busses, one of the boys I get on almost every day said that he was going to miss me. Several kids gave me hugs, which they don't usually do. One girl brought in a gift for me, and a gift to take home to Leah, as well as a card in which she wrote a little paragraph to Maddie, Macy, and Nathan. I'm pretty sure she spent her own money to get us these gifts. My is a little metal candle holder which has the word "HOPE" in front of three votive candles. The outside of the box said "$3" and I'm pretty sure it's from a dollar store. I almost cried when I opened it. I don't know if she'll be able to understand how much a dollar-store gift can mean to someone. I know that colleagues in some of the nicer parts of town rake in the loot, with gift cards and baked goodies and such. I wonder if they're as touched as I am, or if they take it in stride?

Ah, well. Things are good. My eyeballs are starting to burn again, and I'm going to follow them back to the warm blankets and kitties and the soft sleeping sounds of Leah.
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I'm typing (as is often the case) from the floor of my bedroom. As is also often the case, Mr. Clydiecat (Clyde, the cat) is assisting. By "assisting" I mean "resting his chin on top of my left hand so that it's more difficult to type". Still, during the daylight hours, he's more likely to try eat the hand, so at least I get to have some time with him when he's calm and wants to be on a lap. He also has a tendency to want to eviscerate the world, so this is actually nice.

A day, it has been. Nathan left yesterday afternoon to go visit grandparents out of town, so Leah and I had a weekend to "have a weekend". Those of you with children understand completely. Those of you without, simply cannot. This morning, we got up early, went to the gym, and then Starbucks. We came home, changed clothes, and I drove Leah to school at University of Indianapolis, where we had lunch in the Schwitzer Student Center. Leah went to class while I got out the laptop to engage in some much-needed wasting of time. It isn't often that you get to be fanboi to your own family. I should note that Clyde has apparently been under the Christmas tree to get a drink, as there is a stiff patch of fur on his left eyebrow that smells like evergreen sap. As we were getting ready to leave, Nathan's grandfather called and mentioned that the weather was looking ominous, according to the Weather Channel, and after some discussion, we headed toward Kentucky and Nathan, rather than Carmel, and a movie. We met at Exit 9 and headed back north. Retrograde Mercury, anyone?

Nathan's grandparents had given him some cash for Christmas, and after some discussion, he had decided what he wanted, and we surprised him by going straight to The Game Preserve instead of going straight to dinner and Game Preserving another day. He bought the Beginner's Dungeons and Dragons kit, and a set of "urban camouflage" dice. He's so excited to play the game that he can barely contain himself. I've promised that I'll serve as Dungeon Master if he wants to bring friends over. In the morning, at an hour FAR earlier than I'm sure I'll like, I've agreed to help him start rolling up some characters, and see if we can start a game between the two of us.

School is hard, right now. I have several kids whose parents I will need to meet with soon, to discuss possible retention. For whatever reason, these kids just haven't put forward the effort needed. I've said from the beginning, that if a kid is actually trying, I'll work with the grades. I can't do anything for someone who won't even put forth the effort. We can all see the dog peeing on their legs, but they still insist that it's raining.

The Clydiecat has decided to curl up next to the laptop, and has stopped "helping" me type. It's nice to have him here. He and his sister, Bonnie, were strays that I ended up adopting, and they've done a lot to keep me sane over the last two years. There's something about having cats in the house that makes it more of a home to me. I like dogs, and all, but I haven't yet had a relationship with one that makes me feel as warm inside as I do with my cats. I suppose there are "dog people" who feel exactly the same way.

And, with that, I think I'm ready to head back to bed. Leah is making soft sleeping sounds, and even Clyde has started little purring cat snores, both of which are making my eyelids heavy.


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April 2015

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