Thursday, June 17, 2004

Thunder and Lightning

So, we checked out of the hotel in Hershey and drove to Williamsport, PA, home of the world series of little league baseball. It *poured* a few times, especially on the way to lunch. There's thunder now, and a severe weather alert for the night. This airport has free wireless, so I'm sitting in bed typing this now. Most of our stuff is still in the car 'cause it was raining so hard.

We met my grandma's sister, Jean, her son and his wife, and my grandma's late brother's sister, and had lunch with them at the PA version of Sizzler's. Tonight we'll be calling my great-grandma (Grammy) to make plans for tomorrow. After that, it's off to Bethlehem via Hershey and visiting my dad's cousin and his family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

And I Thought Burbank Was Confusing....

Yahoo! Maps


Good thing we're going there during the day. :-)

Had my day-before-my-birthday lunch at the Hotel Hershey today. Yum!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

SpooWriter's a Geek

Cassini-Huygens Home

Very cool.

Now, if we can only perfect an anti-aging thingie so there are actually affordable commercial, public spaceflights available before I'm 115 years old, I'll be a happy nerd....

Renting Cars

So, the flight went fairly well. This was the first time we had to get our actual luggage screened, and in fact the first time we flew since the TSA took over airport security. Not too big a deal -- okay, so it was one more line, but it wasn't too bad. We checked in electronically, changed our seats so we were all together, and got on our nonstop flight. Not too bad.

Then we tried to rent a car.

Now, I had a reservation. All they had to do was get my driver's liscense, see my credit card, and find the appropriate car.

Except that they had 3 associated working. For the first 30 minutes, two were trying to appease a lady who looked strangely like my 3rd/4th grade teacher, who did NOT want a small car. Eesh. Then the other lady was just flummoxed by the woman who had reserved her car with a credit card but wanted to pay cash. There were 4 people in line in front of me. It took 1 hour and 15 minutes. So then we try to drive to our hotel near Hershey...except the Yahoo gave us the most random, icky, two-lane-highway-in-the-middle-of-nowhere directions you had ever saw. The guy at the front desk just kinda shook his head when we showed him.

So...after getting in at 5:00 Eastern time, we arrived at our hotel at 10:30 Eastern time. It took 5 and a half hours to rent a car, eat a fast dinner at Sbarro's, and travel 80 miles. time, Hertz, eh?

Monday, June 14, 2004


So, my grandmother finally caved and got a wheelchair. She has emphysema (but still smokes, while at the same time insisting she knows she shouldn't, but also insists that nicotine isn't addictive) and hasn't been able to walk hardly at all lately. I think my cousin's graduation from middle school finally did it. We just spent some time over there...she's not doing great, so Patrick's very worried.

The annoying thing is that now they will probably gripe about the people that aren't accomodating enough, even though not six months ago they would have said...well, the opposite.

Honestly, I don't get the big deal. Maybe it's because I teach a population of kids that includes lots of kids who use wheelchairs, but really, it's just another way to get from here to there. Yeah, it can be inconvenient...but so can not having a car....

In other news, I'm almost totally packed for PA mom and Patrick are not, but oh well... I know at least one of the hotels offers free high-speed Internet (we stayed there's funeral, I think, 'cause it was cold out and Grandma's was in June) so I'll be in touch.

Beginnings and Endings

Abstract, no? I'm never, in a million years, going to be creative enough to come up with titles for all of my posts...just ask anyone who kept in touch with me via email in college.

So, I officially moved to Blogger. I figured it was time, since my Xanga account was coming due, and Blogger is free.

My first year of teaching is officially done...when people say it's the hardest year of your life, they're not kidding. What they don't mention, I don't think, is that it's hard in a different way for everybody. Me, I'm fine with a group of kids. Put me with kids to teach, and I know what to do. It's the gosh-darned paperwork, for one -- or organization in general -- or possibly the supervising of aides. I survived, but it was a near thing a few times....

The sad thing is, the exact stuff I struggled with isn't even an issue in other districts. Our speech therapist came from Escondido, and the secretaries schedule IEPs and just tell everyone, teachers included, when to come. All you have to do is write the actual IEP -- which, by the way, I'm apparently pretty good at. So there, certain unnamed CSUN teachers who pick apart every goal and objective with a fine-toothed comb.

If I sound bitter, I'm really not. Things could have been a lot worse. I'm not a huge believer in fate, but I do believe that people end up where they're supposed to be, and when they're supposed to be, and it turns out that the aides at Santa Su (where I student taught) practically staged a revolt over there this year, 'cause the person they got to replace the teacher (who happens to be doing the same program at CSUN at me, which they aides don't know, and who didn't mind confirming a few suspicions I had over that whole mess) actually (gasp) wanted to teach the kids. I don't know about some people....

I'm busy getting ready to leave Wednesday for Pennsylvania. Patrick got to go to his first concert last night, if you don't count Raffi, although it was with our mom. He saw Kenny Chesney, his new favorite country singer (which is funny, 'cause he typically gravitates towards people with very raw emotion (Johnny Cash's "Hurt," for instance, or most of Melissa Etheridge's album Skin, as well as her song about 9/11 "Tuesday Morning"), who was playing with Rascal Flats (?) and Uncle Cracker. I, on the other hand, crashed in the hotel room 'cause the last day of school was Thursday and Friday was teacher checkout day.

Anyway, we leave Tuesday morning for PA, to do some visiting and some sight seeing. I get to have a birthday lunch at the restaurant at the Hershey Factory. :-) It's going to be pretty hectic, but there's quite a few members of my mom's side of the family who are getting kinda on the old side (like, say, her grandmother, who is 94 and still walks 12 blocks a day -- she had to cut it down this year from 18). Plus, my mom's aunt, who has Alzheimer's Disease and is not doing so well.

Speaking of, working in Simi Valley this last week was an interesting experience. I don't really remember much, positive or negative, about Ronald Reagan, except that my friend Amie went to school with one of his granddaughters, that my grandmother was very bitter that the Iran-Contra hearings preempted As the World Turns, and watching the Challenger explode live on satellite because I was home sick. Politics aside, like most other people, I think I felt more for Nancy Reagan this week than I did for him. For President Reagan, I would imagine that death was probably a release (I felt this way about my great-grandma)'s sad, but in a way, it's better. But Mrs. Reagan clearly had a very deep bond with him, and I think will probably either pass away herself quite soon (as my grandfather did after my grandma died) or will get into campaigning against Alzheimers and breathe new life into herself.

Let's see...what else before I pack my laptop? Oh, yeah...saw Harry Potter last week. It was a very good movie, not the least of which because the kids seem to have learned to act. ;-) Seriously, though, The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite of the books so far, so it figures that I liked the movie.

Got new glasses the other week. Turns out I have astigmatism, which LensCrafters over corrected for on my last I spent much of last weekend adjusting and not trying not to be busy. Patrick and my mom got some too but we had to send Patrick's back because they forgot the transitions coating. We're hoping they come in Monday so he can have them on the trip.

I think that's about it for now...enjoy the minimalist, easy-on-the-eyes template!