Monday, August 31, 2015

Flip Flops and Tire Tracks

Wow. August is almost over and this is only the second blog post of the month. I knew when I started teaching, that certain things would fall by the wayside. However, I know it's important to keep this up. I also need to start a website just for my art classes. 

What have my classes been up to? Well, a few things, but the big one being these Flip-Flops that I encouraged they design in a Mendhi/Henna style. We used foam to back the paper and also the foam for the toe straps. No, these aren't wearable. I'm rather impressed by the variety and approaches they took with this project!
Around the tail end of the Flip Flop project was being hit with Strep Throat last week. Yes, strep. Again. I feel like I'm repeating the early 2000s again - only without the benefit of being ten years younger. From around 2002 on, I was constantly getting strep throat. They came with high fevers (104 being the highest, I remember) and after I finished the antibiotics, a few months later, another infection was back. I remember I had strep throat just weeks before I got pregnant with Christian (remember your lovely wedding reception, Rebecca? lol) and then just a few weeks after I had him, I got it again! It was ridiculous. 

It was time to get my tonsils yanked and I had the procedure done in 2006. But any doctor (or adult that has gone through it) will tell you, having them removed as an adult is so much worse than having them removed as a child. However, it was time to do it anyway. And despite an arduous and long recovery that I do not wish on anyone (I didn't really turn a corner until day 9), the strep infections did stop. Well, mostly. I'd have a sore throat here and there, but nothing like what I went through before. That is, until 2015! I had a horrible strep infection last April and then again last week. 

Jokingly, I blame Wickenburg. It didn't keep happening again until we moved here. Or maybe my tonsils grew back. You know, like lizard tails. 

Anyway, so that didn't help. And yes, in true fashion of contagious ailments, Chris has strep now. Luckily he's been on the antibiotics for about 24 hours. 

If that wasn't enough, Saturday afternoon I was driving back from running some errands in the Peoria/Glendale area. I was on the 74, and the back rear tire blew. And yes, in full disclosure, I was going about 80 mph.

It was pretty scary. It briefly sent me into the opposite lane, but luckily no one was there. That would have been bad if there was. I don't even want to think about that. 

I managed to get control of the car rather quickly and hobbled to the side of the highway. While I knew I wasn't too far from the 60 intersection, I didn't even see a mile marker behind me or up ahead to know exactly how far I was from the 60. I was so shaken I was panicking as I was looking for my phone when it was in my lap the whole time. 

Anyway, I called Chris, but he was at least 20 miles away and I'd be waiting awhile. I could have called our roadside assistance, but being in the location I was, I'd probably be waiting even longer than I would be for Chris. 

Still, as I was waiting for him, I chose not to get out and explore the possibility of changing the tire. I was too shaken up and it was hot outside. Plus, the tire that blew was on the street side of the car. I didn't want to be fiddling on the side of highway with cars barrelling by. 

I was better off just sitting in the car with the engine and AC running.  About 30 minutes after the blow-out, a guy driving the opposite direction turned around and parked in front of me. I kept the faith that he was there to help and was trustworthy (another reason I didn't want to get out and check out the tire). Obviously, his intentions were to help. But it's sad in a world like this that we have to worry about the alternative. 

I learned his daughter teaches high school English down in Phoenix and he also lives in Wickenburg.  By the time he was done helping and the tire was changed and he went on his way, Chris still didn't arrive. I called Chris who was still about ten minutes away. I met him at the 60 Junction and he followed me home. Turns out, it blew out only five miles from the 60. I knew I wasn't too far from there when it happened. It's just hard to gauge on that stretch of the highway when it's just miles of straight road and cactus. 
Yep...that's pretty much it!

I talked Chris out of venturing back down into Surprise or something to get the tire taken care of that day. There was a social event in Wickenburg in a couple of hours with some other teachers and I was still shaken up from the initial blow-out. I didn't want to deal with the tire. I just wanted to go to the dinner and relax. 

 There was also body damage to the car and it could wait until Monday.

It was a little embarrassing when the Good Samaritan stopped, because I had so much crap in the car from my errands. I even had two Styrofoam heads back there! That's how the "teacher" discussion started. I had to justify the weird crap I had in my car. "I'm an Art Teacher" needed to come out quickly as I glanced at all the stuff that had to be moved to get to the spare tire. 

I'm sure Drama teachers may have the same problem with some of the weird props in their car. I'm just glad I didn't buy some of the Halloween limbs and skeletal stuff that I was tempted to as I was at the craft store.

Anyway, so that's August. I admit September is one of the hardest summer months because the heat just drags on...and on...and on while the rest of the country talks about the beginning of that autumn nip in the air and putting on sweatshirts and loving the feeling of the changing seasons. We get no such Septembers. 

Until next time!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Greetings from the Flip Side...

Well, here we are...three weeks into the school year. I know, it's kind of nuts that it's only August 22nd and it's already been three weeks of school. But that's Arizona for you. 

The weeks approaching the first day of school and the first week thereafter were exhausting. However, it's all been rewarding. The mood and climate of the district sure makes a difference. 
Picture of all the new teachers for the district and a couple of board members. July 2015
That said, the lack of money for art supplies in the classroom remains the same. Well, the lack of money for just about anything in any classroom remains the same. Again, that's Arizona for you. 

At the same time, there is more communication of what the actual nominal budget is for supplies. Sure, the number is completely insufficient for my amount of students, but at least I was given a number. I also have enthusiasm for an awesome collaborative public art project I would love for all my students to put together for the school and community. Sure, it requires more funding, but the town as a whole is supportive of the arts and education. I have more faith I can make this happen here in Wickenburg. 

It's amazing. A year ago, I wasn't even planning on being back in the classroom this soon and I was certainly hesitant and doubtful of going back to any Arizona classroom at all. However, looking at where I am now and how the circumstances have come together, this is obviously meant to be!  

Here's a little art sampling from those first two weeks. The big hair drawings are from our first week Get to Know You exercise. The project is called Bad Hair Day. Students create a funky hair style out of their name.  The letter collages below are the first big project. Taking inspiration from the fun and colorful text art of Pop Artist Robert Indiana, students chose one letter and made a colorful collage out of it.

That said, transition at home continues with the new house. We finally moved all of our new stuff out of the rental. It didn't help that all that was going on at the same time as the start of a new school year, but when it rains, it pours! And of course, the heat doesn't help either. 

Gosh, last week the heat really spiked. And of course that was a day that I had to go to Phoenix with Christian for a doctor's appointment. He and I left Wickenburg before noon and the dash read 106.  By the time we got down to the north Phoenix area to stop for lunch it was 111. When we left Central Phoenix around 2pm it read 117. We stopped at Costco for two things. Milk wasn't one of them, but we stayed in the big milk room giant cooler for over ten minutes. It was 41 degrees in there. It felt perfect. I didn't want to leave.

 The first week of school also meant Mikelle turned 15 and Alexander started Pre-School! I didn't get to be there to see him off, as his first day was also the first day for my students. Maybe that's a good thing so I could be spared of the tears of seeing my baby starting school. My friend Elyse (her husband is also a teacher in the district) takes the boys to pre-school.

First day! 8/4/15 The backpack is almost as big as he is!
I was so exhausted from that first week of pre-school that Mikelle's slumber birthday party at the house is a bit of a blur.  Wow. She's 15 and a Sophomore in high school. How can I be the Mom of a kid that old? That means I have to be old too!
January 2002...Rexburg Idaho   How can this snow angel be 15 already?!
Age 5...just as the freckles were starting to sprout!
Fun picture of her that I got away with a few months ago!
My students helped make some of these fun birthday posters, and the night before her birthday, Chris and I hung these at the entrance of the high school for Mikelle to see. She was hoping it was friends who did it. She seemed a little disappointed when she realized Mom and Dad were behind it. I tried to tell her that many 6th-8th grade "friends" made the posters, but she said she didn't know those kids, so that didn't count. Well, Christian is in one of my classes. He helped make one! So that counts.
Speaking of birthdays, Chris had his big 4-5 this week. Birthdays don't freak him out like they freak me out. He's more secure in that area. 

I posted this Throwback of him in August 1998 with Zoey in the shower. She was only about a year and half at the time. Now she's an 18 year old screaming diva bird. Well, she was a baby diva back then. Not much has changed.

Well, as far as getting everything up to speed, that's all I can muster right now. There is more of the June Oregon trip to recap (still...yes, I know....), but time to enjoy the only day to sleep in!