Education in North Carolina

1 03 2014

I teach in an amazing school.

I work with fantastic teachers.

I have awesome students.

I love being a teacher.

Having said all those things, know the state of education in North Carolina is not in a good place right now.  There are THOUSANDS of teachers, students, parents, and administrators who are working their buts off and it is like moving through molasses.  We do LOTS of work and don’t really get anywhere.   The North Carolina legislature has made it dificult to be a teacher.  There are LOTS of ways they are undermining teachers: testing, tenures, 25% rule, teacher evaluation, and changing the rules for these things without any warning.

We have read lots of articles and blog posts about teachers leaving NC, teachers who need to be on public assitance in order to feed their families, and teachers who are leaving teaching all together.  I can’t write anything as eloquent as those teachers, but I do want to say to every voter in NC, think about the teachers when you vote.   While you might not feel a teacher’s  influence as quickly as you feel the influence of the people who work to collect the trash; but our influence is felt in every single person.  I remember my favorite teachers–Mrs. Smith in second grade, Mr. Kelly in tenth grade English, Miss Hodel in eleventh grade English.  I remember the teachers who later became my favorites because she made me work so hard–Mrs. Case-Reynolds in tenth grade world history and Mrs. Pasto in eleventh grade US History.  We ALL remember those teachers who inspire us, those who might have wounded us in some way, and the teachers who made us the people we are today.

I won’t be leaving, because I am working too hard to make a difference.

A view of things to come.

20 06 2011

We took the Sunshine boys to Weeblo (the crazy name which stands for “We Be Loyal” Scouts, for those of you who are novices) Camp this weekend.   The boys have had one sleepover.   This is pretty much the first time they have been away from home without one of us.   They are there through tomorrow night and they are fine. 

I would like to say I am doing as fine as they seem to be, however, that would a totally bald-faced lie.   I feel as I did the day I dropped them off at kindergarten, minus some of the teariness.  

 They are in the back row, third and fifth from the left.  Sunshine Boy #1 with his (non regulation) camo fishing hat and Sunshine boy #2 trying to get his fingers up into the surfer dude pose and wearing his headlamp in broad daylight.  Typical of both boys, really. 

 I wonder how they are doing.   I wonder what they are doing.  Are they keeping the EpiPen with them?   Are they remembering the sunscreen and to check for ticks?   Are they checking the food they eat to make sure it doesn’t have nuts?  Do they have the Benadryl in case they need it?  Did they pass the swim test?   Are they bickering?   Are they remembering their manners?   Have they been taking their Zrytec?   I’ll spare you the 10,000 other questions I wonder about, you get the idea. 

I have been staying out of their room, though it would be a perfect time to ambush the pigsty and whip it into shape.   It is so lonely, empty, and lacking them, I just can’t seem to even go in there.   Those two bicker like an old married couple–one with a pro-wrestling background–but they also laugh and say such funny things.   I miss the noise they bring to the house.  I miss how they entertain and occupy their sister.

These days have given me a preview of things to come.   They are getting older and wanting and needing to do things on their own and I am realizing how lonely it will be without their noise and their presence.   Although I’ve got a few years yet and I’m sure there will be LOTS of noise in between, I want to hang onto this busy, loud, and special time.   I cannot count how many people told me it fly past and I would miss it when it was gone.   I can’t say I believed many of them, especially when it was said while a baby was screaming in my ear.  

Turns out those people knew what they were talking about and I am missing it already.

Dusting off the blog…

15 06 2011

Not quite sure what got into me this morning.  Most likely, just a desire to avoid going grocery shopping. 

Once again, since it has been so long, I’m reaquainting myself with all the changes to wordpress.    Hopefully, I can sustain some posting regularity.   I’m thinking summer is a good time to get back into things.  

Here are some of the things that are “new” (of course over a year’s time, pretty much everything is new, right?).

  • I’ve gone back to work!   I swore I wouldn’t go back to teaching, yet, since it is all I really know how to do, I closed my eyes and just did it!   I am a high school science teacher at an early/middle college in Guilford County, NC.  More on all that later. 
  • I’m still involved with the PTA, mainly with the school leadership team and the Reflections program at the county level.  
  • I’ve been lackluster with the WW program.  I finally canceled my membership only to re-up in January.    I wish I could say I’m doing well, but I can’t.   More on that time bomb topic later too. 
  • The Sunshine kids are growing like weeds and once again I am behind the parenting 8 ball.   Sigh.   I miss my babies.  

Of course more has happened, however, it is more of the general life stuff.   You know, groceries, cleaning, homework, and the like.   Not really great blog stuff.  

See you on the flip!


16 08 2010

In my mind summer is just coming into full gear when in reality, the Sunshine kids start school in just over one week.

I feared this would happen. The first weeks of vacation d-r-a-g-g-e-d. These last ones are flying by and I am not ready.

All over my Facebook feed, familiar postings are up: “Getting the classroom cleaned up.” “Back to work in one more day.” “Summer is over, back to school.” On and on they come, more each day as my teacher friends drift back into school mode.

Here at chez Sunshine, however, we are FAR from the drifting back mode. I fear I will wake up on the first day of school looking like Macaulay Culkin when he realizes he’s alone… know the one I mean! I have 15 black and white composition notebooks and for the school supplies. There are tissues, notebooks, pencils, binders, folders, soap, hand sanitizer and SO MUCH MORE to get.

I guess we’ll enjoy the last remaining days of summer and worry about gathering supplies 7 days from now. We’ve got PLENTY of time….

The one where things are listed

12 08 2010

Super LtothAtotheMtotheE right?   Right.   I’m doing it anyway.

  • Summer.  Can you believe it is almost OVER?  Two weeks from yesterday and the kids will be back in school.    As always I have mixed feelings about this…too many to list
  • Knitting.  Been working on lots of things…too many to list.  Here are my favorites.  Join Ravelry to learn more….A few of my favorite knits
  • Bad/sad news.  Really world, I’m quite sick of it.  Please   Whether it is people getting sick, passing away, or having generally junky stuff happen, it needs to stop.   Hear me???   Again, really too much to list.
  • Sewing.  I’ve been doing some sewing.  Found some AWESOME sheets at Goodwill–a sheet set from Tommy Hilfiger  and just another neat one.  The TH ones became summer play clothes for Sunshine daughter and a dress.   The other sheet is waiting patiently to become new PJ pants for me.  Using the sheet to become pants, is the most awesome sewing trick, b/c there are NO HEMS at the bottom of the pants!  Yeah!!!
  • I’ve been reading AND logging the books with the HP Library book club.  Total geek.  Favorites so far: Once upon a Marigold & Eat Pray Love.   I’ve been hitting the Goodwill and buying way too many books and STILL going to the library for more books.   Man I do love to read….
  • Running.  Wish I could say I was breaking speed records….I can’t.  I haven’t run in a long time.   Hoping the weather cools down a little or I start hauling my fat keister out of bed earlier so I actually get out and run.   I’d feel better, so why am I not doing it?
  • Kids.  The kids are crazy and loveable all at the same time.  All are healthy (thank God!) excepting allergies.    Sunshine sons are going into third grade and Sunshine daughter is going into Kindergarten.   They alternately got on each other nerves and were playing wonderfully.  We didn’t do much this summer and that is OK.  (No, really it is.)  Money is tight and frankly, I’m a bit sick of camping, so we stayed home.  We went to the Sunday concerts and did a whole lot of nothing.   For the boys it might be the last summer of nothing.

Bullets, love ’em or hate ’em, they are useful.   I know, its still LtotheAtotheMtotheE.

Not my true country

27 07 2010

Just last evening, DH and I heard some heart-wrenching news.   An old and very dear friend took his own life.   After first hearing the news last night, I felt sort of numb and untouched by it all.  DH was hit harder and shed tears over the sudden and tragic loss of his dear friend.  Twenty-four hours after receiving the news of his death, I am still in shock.  I’ve wandered around the house today not really knowing what to do or even what I wanted to do.

I met Nick over 12 years ago.  Before we were married, DH and I traveled to his alma mater and went to his fraternity/college reunion weekend.   I met a lot of his brothers.  I was welcomed by every single one.  Welcomed even though most of them hadn’t seen DH in 5 years and never met me before.    The group of brothers, led by Nick and DH, serenaded me at their farewell picnic.

Nick was soft-spoken yet unafraid to voice his opinion.  He was willing to listen to your troubles and lend his ear, his heart, and whatever other resources you might need.  He is much loved and will be well and surely missed.   A t-shirt with jeans, help you move in exchange for some beer, all-around, fantastic kind of guy.  My husband will miss him more than I can really explain.  They were brothers by choice.

Based on the way Nick and all the Promethean brothers welcomed me into their family, I know Nick’s wife and daughter will be wrapped in love.    Each brother who knew or met Nick and those that didn’t will adopt Kim and Shannon and give them love, caring, and whatever is needed.   All grief is different and I cannot fathom their grief.  I do know the brothers of Prometheus will be the salve to begin the healing.

I hope and pray you are at peace.  Smile and be sure to check in on us every once in a while.   I’ll miss you!

Mary, Jamie, & Nick

Mary, Jamie, Nick

“Do not weep for me,
This is not my true country, I have lived banished from my true country—I now go back there,
I return to the celestial sphere where every one goes in his turn.”

–Walt Whitman

Felted slippers…heaven on your feet!

2 04 2010

About two months ago I lamented to the Splintered Knitters that my slippers were in sad shape.  They were starting to fiber apart and develop holes all over. 

“Just knit new ones.”

Mandy said it, Cindy said it, and I think Denise just knit and nodded.  I didn’t want to and said so.  It was a little irrational. I’m sure they thought I was being stubborn and silly.  In a way, I’m sure I was.  Sometimes though you just can’t help how you feel!   These slippers were my first felted project and one of my first completed knitted projects in general.  It wouldn’t be hard to knit another pair, just hard to knit a replacement pair. 

The stars aligned themselves (read:  my mother slipped me some secret spending money on her last visit…THANK YOU MOM!!) and I finally realized that it was time to knit another pair. 


As you can see, the slippers had seen better days.   My feet had stopped saying, ahhhhhh, when I slipped into them.   There were holes all over. 

After a trip to Common Threads and a 30 minute internal debate about the color of the slippers, I headed home to cast on: Felted Clogs from Fiber Trends and Bev Galakas.  (Bev, you are a genius!).

They didn’t take long and viola! I have a brand new, little slice of heaven for your feet! 

My color debate resulted in a heathered color called brick (Cascade 220) and a four-tone called charcoal (Quatro 220).  As I knit them, I wasn’t sure if I would like the finished product, but it turns out, I love the combination.   The Quatro felted into a beautiful rich brown color.  Perfect and much more beautiful than I could have hoped for as I was knitting them. 

All in all, great yarn, great pattern, and wonderful finished product.  As usual, Mandy was right and I find myself wondering why I didn’t knit them sooner!!  If you don’t have a pair of these slippers, wait are you waiting for?  You won’t regret it.

The only question is, what do I do with me old pair?  It feels a little wrong to just throw them away….