Thursday, November 30, 2006

suioghisvghkieier i eioshegigehishjies iesfoi

brain. is. completely. fried.

Budget time. four schools. unknown/unclear procedures. Unknown $ amounts. pressure to finish yesterday. holiday concerts. multiple schools. if it's friday, it must be 4. 18 songs, one more time with each class and one "big" rehearsal before performing. chorus with memorization issues. 5th grade with motivation issues. fourth grade with rhythm issues. second and third grades with size issues. first grade mostly fine, but antsy. kindergarten = no attention span and overcrowding. other school also time issues. really, time issues everywhere.

stress. frustration. confusion. fear. anger. tiredness. disapointment. anxiety

two good things: today is payday. tomorrow at 3 it is the weekend.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Jersey 101

A little schoolin' for all of you not from the Garden State....

New Jersey is a peninsula.
Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern
seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

New Jersey
is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.

New Jersey
has more race horses than Kentucky.

New Jersey
has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq mi.)
than Havana, Cuba.
New Jersey
has the densest system of highways
and railroads in the US.
New Jersey
has the highest cost of living, auto insurance and highest property taxes in the nation. (and why do we still live here????)

New Jersey
has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World."

New Jersey
is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club

(no, not
Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.

Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian
sausage w/peppers and onions.

North Jersey
has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.

New Jersey
is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine
ride by inventor John P. Holland .
New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most
famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May.

New Jersey
has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state
in the entire country.
New Jersey
is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.

tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy. New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts?)

Here's to New Jersey - the toast of the country! In 1642,
the first brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.
New Jersey
rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.

New Jersey
is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.

New Jersey
is home to one of the nation's busiest airports
(in Newark), Liberty International.
George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War
battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington.

The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture
projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory.
We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.

The first seaplane was built in Keyport , NJ.

The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.

The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.

New Jersey
was home to the Miss America Pageant
held in Atlantic City.
The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its
playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City. And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, not to mention salt water taffy.

New Jersey
has the largest petroleum containment area
outside of the Middle East countries.
The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey,
in the Watchung Mountains.
New Jersey
has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)

New Jersey
had the first medical center, in Jersey City.

The Pulaski SkyWay, from Jersey City to Newark, was
the first skyway highway.
NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel).
The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.

The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in
1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton).

The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ,
(but they're all gone now!).
New Jersey
is home to 2 out of 3 of "NEW YORK'S"
pro football teams!
The first radio station and broadcast was in
Paterson, NJ.

The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ,
by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.

All New Jersey natives: Sal Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, Alan Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Linda McElroy, Eileen Donnelly, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Joe DePasquale, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gorden McCrae,Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm.Halsey,Jr., Dave Thomas (Wendy's),William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Bob Reyers, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, Kelly Ripa, and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra and "Uncle Floyd" Vivino.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It makes you thankful...

I heard a sad story today.
I was chatting with someone I work with this week and they asked me about what I am doing for Thanksgiving. I told them, and then asked in return. This person is going to be home alone. Parents (both only children) have passed and the only family are some relatives in PA that are not too close. The teacher was invited to numerous dinners with friends, but doesn't want the awkwardness of unknown family members. So they will be alone. They argued that it was relaxing, but still. It's a day about family, friends, sharing. I would never want to sit in those shoes, yet I can understand how they feel.

It makes me thankful for all that I do have, and shameful that sometimes I forget how lucky I really am.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lunchless days, free books and gambling

This past weekend I went to the NJEA convention in Atlantic City. I've never gone before, so I decided this was the year to initiate myself. What an overwhelming experience!

Got to the convention on Thursday morning after too few hours of sleep. Went to three workshops that day, which meant that I was not going to have time for lunch. Bah. Luckily, I had a "special helper" who was kind enough to bring me food, considering the union doesn't like the convention food vendors and therefore there was no food at the convention - nor time to get some, with only a half-hour between sessions and a handful of places within walking distance.
After the sessions were over that day, some downtime was needed (so many people, so much noise, so much confusion!) and then food. Dinner was finally acquired at Johnny Rockets (yay for vanilla cokes and apple pie!) and we visited a few casinos - the Sands was about to close that weekend, so we stopped in for a look. I then blew a whopping $10 on the penny and nickel slots (woo hoo - big spender!) and then went to bed.
Friday I ended up doing only two sessions - at that point, I'd had enough of sitting for two hour segments! It was a good thing I did that, though- when back in the exhibits again, I visited the booth of the people who publish the textbooks I use. The guy started up a conversation, and then, since the exhibit floor was soon getting ready to close, he gave me five teacher edition textbooks for my series! Now I have almost a complete set of them to keep at home! :) Yay!
Saturday we went to Point Pleasant and played skeeball and arcade games before heading home. It was a good weekend, but hectic and tiring and involving a lot of stuff. But I am glad I went, saw, and conquered. And experienced.

Next time I go, I know I really need to plan ahead. I ended up only being able to acquire a room at a chain hotel that is normally fine for just sleeping, but in this case was not quite so nice. I know now to plan enough in advance and stay at one of the many casino hotels, aiming for the ones closest to the convention center. I know it means more planning and more money, but it will be worth it. Atlantic City, on the whole, is not the greatest place to be, so it is best to be in an environment where there are lots of lights and security people. Also, I will know that it might be a good idea to have dinner reservations made in advance if you want to eat anywhere nice, and also know the phone numbers of local take-out places in terms of getting lunch at the convention. I wonder if places would deliver if you asked them to? Hmmm....