Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

This was the first Christmas in many years that I didn't have people over for dinner. Even the year Gee died my sister and her daughter brought lasagna. This year it was just  Rachel and I. I made a pot roast and later in the day she went to Steve's. I have to say it was rather enjoyable. None of the stress of making a big dinner with all the fixings.

Snowed last night and will snow for most of the day, 12+ inches expected before it's over. We have had a very mild winter, no snow at all yet. This will be the first time i need the snow blower this season. I have started it and have plenty of gas. Rachel is even home so I have some help cleaning up.

Fred was a bit reluctant to go out this morning. He had to go out the front door on the leash, the deck is buried right now and we can't get the door opened. He kept coming up to the door wanting to go in, it was cold and windy. After about 10 minutes of me looking at him saying JUST GO PEE, he did.

I have come to the conclusion that Fred will be the last dog for a while. I  have always said if your going to have a pet you have to care for that animal. The vet bills are challenging to say the least. His last trip kinda opened my eyes. If anything serious happened I wouldn't have the cash, the other option is depressing. I will miss not having a constant companion. Nothing can beat a good dog. We have been very lucky,  had two of the best. Boss would have protected us no matter what and Fred just loves being with you. His greatest gift is your company, never more than a few feet away, watching and waiting to please.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago on December 18th Gee died, 730 days. Looking at it like that it seems like a long time doesn't it?  Well it was just yesterday to me. I see it all very clearly in my mind. What fades is where those days went since. Long string of work, home sleep, without many memories to hold me to that time. 

I really can't say that anything over the past two years stand out as memorable. I know things have changed for me, but to put my finger on any one thing I can't seem to do it. I manage to make it through most days without ending up a pile of emotional goo. I have become more social than ever I was before. Lynda and the game night ladies are responsible for that.  I have always been very introverted, content with the simple life I have lead home and family always top priorities.

I have been approached recently about getting more involved within the union negotiating committee. I don't see myself as anyway near competent to negotiate with the school committee on the para contract. I have a hot temper and often I don't think before I speak. I also have a fear that if I did agree then others would really know just how incompetent and stupid I am. Insecurities.

As the 18th gets closer I become more reflective and melancholy. I am feeling old. I am finding it harder to see myself when I look in the mirror, I see an old lady who I don't know, who has a list of aches and pains that she never had before. The shoulder that wakes me up at night, the ankle that hurts until greased with movement, a back that hurts in the morning.....the list is endless. I have told the school I wont be in on the 18th, a "family sick day" so I will get paid. No one remembers.  I don't think Rachel remembered until I said I was taking the day off. I don't mean to imply she doesn't care in any fashion, I just mean her life has moved on, as it should.

Another sign of age rambling......

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Freddie is a rescue dog. We got him a few months after our German Shepard, Boss, died. He has been my companion for just over 3 years now. He came from a shelter at 7 years old, give or take, with some history of abuse, neglect and running the streets. So even now there are things about him I am cautious about. Holding his head when the vet is working on him is one. He growls at her, so I have to muzzle him. Like most dogs once released he hold no ill will, just looks for that cookie as a reward.

He has been licking himself bald in places. I have washed the areas with oatmeal, I have brushed him looking for fleas(remember this one), I have cut out any wheat products from his diet, finally I have taken him to the vet. Her verdict after $150 service charges and a $100 medication bill.....he has fleas!

FLEAS.....ok how can he have fleas when I can't find them, you couldn't find them and they aren't in the house. The cat doesn't have them.... she says, "Well if the symptoms head to fleas you should treat for fleas"....ok so I come out of there with an antibiotic, flea goop to put on his back, spray to relieve the itching and something for his arthritis. Really, I love my animals but damn!

So if the pills for his arthritis don't improve his hips she has a group of shots we could try.....2 shots a week, for 4 weeks, then I can give him a shot once a week....I didn't even ask the cost, ah no. Lets be realistic here. He's 11 years 5 months old, hearing going, eyesight going, joints going. He has doggie Alzheimer's, stands in the corner staring ahead at times, forgets that he was housebroken sometimes, he can be outside for an hour come in and pee on the floor, sleeps most of the time, I swear he goes into the bathroom and can't remember how to turn around to get out. I love my dog and I will do what I can to help him. I really don't need a vet making me feel guilty when blood work is over $200 and I have to say they not understand that if I had the cash I'd do most anything for him. No matter how much I love him, he's a dog and everything has its priority.....unfortunately.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I got a telephone call this morning from an old friend. Tony was in the army with Gee. We met him when Gee was stationed in upstate New York, Seneca Army Depot. Gee was stationed there after coming home from his last tour in Korea. I always refer to the little town we lived in as Hooterville. Romulus, NY had one variety store, one gas station, a post office, and a ton of churches.

Tony was one of a group of guys attached to Readiness Group. They spent the weekends training reservists. During the week these guys were at our house playing cards. We played Pinochle for a year, almost everyday.

Tony had a heart attack while playing volleyball, from then on he was forever known as Bad Heart.  Gee would tell him all the time, we don't do CPR here so you better not get excited when I kick your ass with this hand, Boston coming...

Those days were some of the best days we ever had. Tony, Flo, Anthony, Faulkner, some great guys. They would come over loaded with food and beer. We shared all we had, no matter how much or how little we had. We looked out for each other, Tony is still looking out for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I went to the cemetery today. It was a bright crisp day, sun shining, bit of a chill in the air. The guys were cleaning up old flowers getting ready for the wreaths that will be laid on the graves for the holiday season. The local VFW co-ordinates this venture. It really is quite the sight,all that green and red.

Gee's second year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, December 18th. I think of him all the time, I can hear his voice in my head, his laugh so loud and genuine. I see his mannerisms when I watch Clayton. Rachel is so like him, she doesn't see it.

I have been having a bad time this past week. Not really sure why. Just haven't been feeling myself, just sad. These waves of sadness are not as frequent as they were in the past. I seem to manage them better when they do occur. Maybe that is what they mean by "Time heals all wounds", they don't really heal you just learn to cope with them better.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Passing of a Matriarch

Babygirl has gone home to her God.  Gee's sister Rosella passed away today.

The woman who held the family together since her mother died in 1938. She was the most godly woman I have ever met. She spent her life caring for others, as God's will. She came to care for her brother when he came home that last time, bringing with her oils, food, and prayers. Everything she needed to bring him comfort.

I talked with her just two days ago. She was so concerned about how we were. Did we make it through the storm, Sandy, alright. Still holding the family together.

She lived her life as God commanded. She has earned her rest.

I will miss you so very much.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Miracles Do Happen

It's true, miracles really do happen, we had one happen today at school! One of the 7th graders had so much pain in his right leg, we thought we might have to get it amputated. On the way down to the nurse in the elevator he was cured. Walked right out on that leg. Then the unthinkable happened......his affliction from his right leg jumped and he began limping on his left leg. I KNOW....don't ya just hate when that happens!

Yep it sounds ridiculous, but it did happen and then the kid had the nerve to try to convince me that it was I, Mrs G, who was mistaken, it was always his left leg......OK Skippy........ This is actually not the craziest thing I had seen or heard, it's just the most recent.

The kids are just off the wall. I think it has to do with the hurricane heading up the coast. That or something is in the water.

We are putting all the crap I have planned  on putting away for the past couple of weekends tomorrow. It is going to be a bit windy on Monday so Laureen is coming buy to give me a hand. I have been having some pain in my shoulder over the past few weeks. So what I could once muscle alone I now need help with.

I have Jack coming to stay over tomorrow night. I am getting a cold, but feel fine. I will leave it to Katie but as of right now I see no reason for Jack to have to live threw all the depravity that will be going on during the annual Halloween Party. He and I can spend the night watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Jake the Neverland Pirate, eating popcorn and cheese sticks. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pirate Jack

Pirate Jack came treasure hunting Friday night. We searched Aunt Rachel's room, Grandma's room, and Daddy's Room finally finding treasure in Freddie's bed in Grandma's room! Two shiny nickles that must have fallen out of my Eeyore bank.Babysitting is so much fun with a very active 3 year old boy.

Work has been a challenge for me these past couple of weeks. I have been "moved" to the 7th grade floor. I am still Project Support but now I follow three 7th graders. I have never handled change well, but this is really hard on me. Not that the 7th grade staff aren't welcoming, they are. However the floor doesn't have that family feel that happens on the 8th grade floor. Where else can you hear the science teacher screech out happy birthday to a student who brings him cake.... or hear Marcella yelling TATA....when he has called her class phone and prank called her......or Dern rolling down the hall in his "wheelie" chair to ask Mikey how to use ed-line.

Are they all certifiable, you better believe it. They are also the most talented and dedicated teaching staff in the district and I miss them terribly.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another Year

 Gee's birthday is on the 18th, 78 years old or would have been......God knows I miss him. I can't find the words to convey how utterly lost I still feel. I do all the things that I am supposed to.I go to work, take care of the animals, do laundry, all that stuff.  Most of the time it feels like he's just at work, like he will be walking in at any minute. But no, he isn't coming home. I hope he is in a place of comfort where he can relax like he never did here in this life. Always watchful, forever doubtful everywhere he went. He learned from experience, believe half of what you see and none of what you hear....

I wonder sometimes did he know how much I loved him. Then I think how could he, I don't think I knew just how connected we were. There is nothing I do that I don't hear Gee's voice in my head.

 So many have told me they couldn't do what I did for Gee, caring for him at home. I never thought anything different, how could I. He was my lover, my companion, my friend, how could I not grant his final wish to die  at home surrounded by the people who he loved and who loved him.  I still "see" him everywhere. I can see him in the recliner, watching wrestling. I hear his "sayings"," if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all", "impossible only takes a little longer", and that laugh, so loud, so strong....

So wherever you are... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY.......I miss you every minute of every day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rachel, 21 already???

My baby girl will be 21 soon......... I still see the little girl with the wild curly hair lying on the floor with her head on Boss's chest watching Mr Rogers, sharing her snack of goldfish with him, payment I suppose for lying quietly while she wiggled into a comfortable position. Her protector and companion, Boss was never more than a few feet away from her.

 She has grown into an amazing young woman. She has a level of confidence I never had at her age, if ever. She seems to know where her place is in life, what she has been put on this earth to do. Her strong sense of what is right and what is wrong has very little grey area. She will make a wonderful advocate for the sick and elderly.

Gee knew she was going to be a girl from the start. She could melt his heart with a look and a smile. As he became more and more fragile she became more and more protective of him. Always making sure he took his meds on time going to doctors appointments with him when I couldn't. He always called her the bossy one to all the nurses, so proud he was of her.

She heads back to school next week. It will be very quiet here once again. Just me, Freddie and Buster waiting for that Friday afternoon when she come bursting in with books and laundry and stories of what happened in her life since she left us, my little girl with curly hair, a young woman to the rest of the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Like most people I didn't win the 300+million powerball last night. It really doesn't matter to me, but the people I had planned to share it with will be disappointed. Rachel wont be getting that Volkswagen beetle she has always wanted, no new tuba for Steve, Clayton and Katie wont get their loans for school paid in full, and my brothers and sisters, I am so sorry, I can't help you retire early. Jack wont have a trust fund to pay his college costs. Like the rest of us he will probably have to have student loans. The Middle School will have to put up with mean old Mrs. G for another year. 

What else could someone possibly do with that kind of money. Help some kids to college with a scholarship, buy some badly needed band uniforms, bathrooms on the football field might be nice, but what else?

I like my neighborhood, the people so kind to me since Gee died. I like my house, needs some updating and some basic stuff, paint and paper but why would I move just because of money? Could I use a few more bucks every month, sure doesn't everyone. That kind of money, not really. 

Money was something Gee and I never fought over....why fight over something you didn't have! We had enough. All the money in the world can't buy me what I want, Gee to be here. So like I said I'm only sorry that I can't help those I had planned to help.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

looking at number 7

It's official, my teacher, J is taking a job in another school. I am now looking at teacher 7 in 5 years. I knew she wouldn't be around for long. She needs to do her practicum for her masters in a severe disabilities classroom, we are moderate. So what does this mean for me?? Well nothing right now, come the end of August it could mean I take over the class room once again. I'm hoping that wont happen. I hoped to be more of an inclusion para than behavioral. Administration keeps telling me I will have a totally new purpose come September. 

I took a class on Accommodation and Modification over the past week. I have to say Lynda and I were surprised how little the regular ed teachers know about this stuff. The younger teachers are so much more receptive on how best to do these things. The older teachers, well that's a different story. One guy, to remain nameless, actually said accommodating and/or modification was cheating. So I asked him, if you have a kid who reads on a 3rd grade level how do you expect him to understand the material if he can't read it? His answer, he'll just have to suck it up and work harder...I kid you about dinosaur thinking. I have to say this guy was one of Rachel's teachers. I never had an issue with him, but hearing him talk, we defiantly could have.

Heading out for a road trip in the morning with the game night ladies. Don't know where we are heading, Judy is driving, it's her choice.  All I know is we're heading north.....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Last Day of School

The last day of a year I thought would never ever end. I started the year with one teacher and ended it with another. I liked both the teachers I worked with this year. K really didn't want to be in Project Support, and was out often. J is funny, young, and a bit overzealous. She isn't going to stay either, her masters is in severe disability, she has been looking for another  position.

We had two kids expelled. Both needed way more than we could give them. I hope they both find the help they need.

We had our first full time girl. Let me tell you I have had real thugs, drug dealers, criminals come through that room none of them was as tiring as that one girl is. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.  For someone who couldn't go anywhere by herself, had to eat lunch with the 6th graders instead of her own grade level, and still  she manages to find trouble.

We had the end of the year party yesterday. I wasn't going to go, as usual. Lynda, as usual, dragged me along. It was fun. Beer pong was the main event. One of the best teachers in the school has retired. We will miss her so very much.

So what's up next? I start a class this morning on Modifying and Accommodating curriculum. Chris, the principle, is going to let Lynda and I, and any other Paraprofessionals who are interested monitor the class for free. We probably have more experience already than most of the teachers taking the class for credit. He keeps telling us we should go back to school.

Well I have to say some of the teachers from the other buildings are taken back from how sarcastic, funny, and down right blunt Chris is.  I guess we are just used to him. There is no BS with Chris, straight up he can be a great guy to work for if you do what is expected of you, but if you don't you'll be sure to know of his displeasure.

We'll see how this goes....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day

While having your family BBQ this weekend give a thought or two to the service men and women who have died defending you and those you love. If you head to a local parade respect the solemness of the occasion. Pray to whoever it is you pray to, that peace will one day come to the world and we will add no more names to those who fell in war. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Snake in the Locker Room

Got to work on Thursday and Joe the custodian tells us there's a snake loose in the school. He saw it but couldn't catch "the bastard", it was to fast for him. Ok that's it we're going home. I am petrified of all those creepy crawly things. Spiders, hornets, bees of any kind I have no problem but lizards and snakes no way. It was last seen heading down the locker room hallway. The track coach is now freaking because he has to go into the locker room after school and is worse than we were. 

It was 7th grade MCAS testing day so we were in the library with our small groups when we hear a blood curdling scream.... Donna looks at Lynda and I and says, "Guess they found the snake". Next thing we see this 8th grade girl heading towards the office holding this thing, smiling like you can't imagine. She wants to bring it to a science room and keep it........ well thank you CC, he made her release it into the wild!! 

Now the question is how did the "little bastard", to quote Joe, get into the school, and how did the 8th grade boys know about it????....well some of the boys track team thought it would be funny if they left it in the girls locker of today, no ones taking credit for the deed, no one knows anything........ isn't that a surprise!

Seventeen days left in the school year, but who's counting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I knew it had to happen...

I knew it would happen sooner of later, one of the kids asked me today how Gee died. It started because A asked me what Hospice was/meant. He is reading a book which has a character enter a hospice center.  After explaining that it was more of an idea than a place. That it is a method of care that helps dying  people come to the end of their lives without pain and with dignity. That many people choose to stop all other medical care and die in peace.

Then he said it, like your husband? Yes A, like my husband. So I told him that after many, many years of fighting cancer Gee decided he was done. No more treatments, he had had enough. That he wanted to die at home, so we brought him home. After thinking about it for a minute he says,  I bet you miss him.....Yes A I  miss him....

I had thought it was going to be this very traumatic issue for me, and it really wasn't. It was very matter of fact, no drama just information. It is now that I become emotional. When A was asking questions I guess because he was sincere and the whole conversation came about so gradually it was more of a teaching moment than a personal one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lost in You Tube!

Has this ever happened to you? You start looking at one thing and you end up totally wrapped up looking for something else?

 I was watching the ball game, Red Sox loosing badly (what a surprise), so I started listening to some stuff on You Tube. I started with some Alan Jackson, then moved on to some oldies from the 60's. The Beach Boys were never a big thing with me, but I clicked on a Carl Wilson song, what a voice. Ok so now I'm searching for songs he sang, love Darlin. So I start to wonder who sings it now that Carl is no longer with us....well it's the drummer....and who is that drummer, none other than John Cowsill, yep from those Cowsills.

Now I start to remember all those songs the Cowsills sang. I start looking for their songs. Which leads me to a Canadian Country group from the early 90's, The Blue Shadows. Billy Cowsill is the lead singer. What a group...Love the song Deliver Me...having "discovered" this wonderful group I find Billy passed away a few years ago, hard living and addiction were major factors in his death. All this because the Red Sox are playing horrible baseball.


Lynda and I went to Royalston to hear Brett's band play. They were very good. It was open mic night and I now know where all the old hippies went! They are alive and well in the woods of Royalston. I couldn't believe all the people there. This is a little New England town in the middle of nowhere, the venue is upstairs in the town hall. Like most small towns everyone knew each other and they all wondered who we were until Brett from on stage introduces us as his groupies, woot woot Brett. It was fun, one of Lynda's many ideas to get me out of the house...she feels I spend to much time at home alone with my thoughts.

There was a man there, mid sixties I would say, so reminded me of Gee. Moved so smoothly over the floor, like he felt the music instead of just hearing it. Gee loved to dance and would dance with everyone. As I watched him a wave of such sadness over came me. Lynda must have been watching me because she says...He reminds me of Gee......its always right there, just under the surface.......

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Ok, I had no idea what it was either. It is a music piece Steve, Rachel's boyfriend, played last night at his fraternity recital. All I really can say is WOW! I had no idea that kind of music could come out of a tuba! I had only heard the om pa om pa sounds. Rachel said something about lower resister, blah blah, I really don't understand, but it sounded like singing, mixed with the sounds of an Aborigine instrument, just amazing!
There was guitars, piano, singing and even bagpipes. They have a tenor who's voice was so beautiful, almost took your breath away. All the guys were great!

Rachel will be home in less than 3 weeks, last final for her is May 9th. The final push to get everything done on time. Her stress level is through the roof. She never leaves anything to the last minute but she still stresses on getting everything done. She is still looking for a job, had an offer of an internship, unpaid internship but turned down. It wasn't in her field of social work and she would like to get paid this summer...

Clayton has a new job! He is now working at Mass General Hospital. What he is doing I have no idea, something with computers, and the chance for advancement is there. Which wasn't at Winchester Hospital, where he worked before. He's very excited. Can't believe he will be 29 on the 28th of April! Where did that curly haired boy who lived for Tae Kwon Do and flying over a high jump bar go. I used to worry about my carefree son, always ready for a good time, an adventure, never taking anything very serious. I have always felt Rachel would be the one looking out for him, not the other way around. Well he has become so much like his Dad, Gee was/would be so very proud of him, I no longer have that worry. A true family man in the footsteps of his father.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


At 7:15 AM the fire alarm went off today at the middle school.  One of the classrooms was full of smoke, the smoke alarms didn't work so Chris the principal pulled the alarm.( I believe he's always wanted to pull one). Most of the students weren't even off the bus yet, so we all gathered on the soccer field. Doesn't it start snowing! Not knowing what was going on we head across the field to the high school, all 610 students. Eighth grade to the cafeteria, seventh grade to the gym, and 6th grade to the auditorium. The kids were great for the most part, there is always one or two. After about an hour we find out it was a shredded heater belt, and over heated motor. No Fire....

Then the phone calls, kids were texting their parents that the school was on fire and they were at the high school....come get me! Well some did, many called the high school office or the middle school, sorry no fire today most stayed at school. All in all everyone, students, staff, and fire department did their jobs. Good to know the evacuation plan works.

I'm glad it all worked stuff was in my desk on the 3rd floor. Car keys, jacket, house keys, I'm thinking, well I can walk I have an extra house key hidden, no wait Clayton left it on the hall table and didn't put it back, did I put it back??? S#$% no...ok Laureen's got a key, I'll just call her...S$#%, she works on Wednesday, David's off today I'll call him...SON OF A B&*^H, Laureen said yesterday he was working overtime today....

Once back in classrooms I find out Jamie has a meeting, and then she is going home, she told me last week...damn, like I remember.Three days before vacation, they are off the wall.  A was as always great, F and V fight like an old married couple, about everything and anything, tossed F to the office he had a fit because the nurse wouldn't let him go home he knew he had the plague or something.., V thinks she's going to yell at me because she's upset that her schedule has changed for the day. Remember who you are talking to, I do not yell at you, you will not yell at me. Next she pulls out her cell phone to call her Mother...give me the phone. She actually said "You can't take my phone", yeah I can, and did, she can get it back when her Mother comes to get it from the office. At dismissal she tells me she's leaving, taking the bus you walk everyday, not leaving... 

So as I was leaving for the day and stopped  into the main office to drop off the phone..."by the way, just so you know, I feel the plague coming on and may not make it in tomorrow"....


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sleep, School and other stuff

The darkness of sleep has comforted me since Gee has passed. So often I have lost myself in that warm blackness. I seldom remember my dreams, most of the time they are a safe place to hide from the world. Lately however sleep eludes me. If I fall to sleep easily I wake up very early, have great difficulty getting back to that elusive reward. I guess the strain is starting to show. The Dean asked me if things were alright with me, I looked very tired. So as always I told her what she wanted to hear...I'm fine.

I will soon be starting a class on curriculum modification. It's a graduate level class the Principal, Chris, is offering. My friend Lynda is taking it too, we have been modifying class work for our students for years, inclusion needs a helping hand every once in a while. It will be great having some direction for what we are doing. That and she thinks I spend to much time home alone.

Next week she is dragging me to watch Brett, another teacher, and his band perform. We had planned on going once before however the night we were supposed to go we got one of the three snowstorms we had this winter! Another attempt to get me out of the house.  I always have a good time when we all get together its just getting motivated to go.

There are changes coming at the school next year...Jamie, my new teacher, is hoping to go back to the little kids, the RISE teacher is looking to go back to pre-school also. I would be very happy to get out of the behavior room. I would like the RISE room, this is the place I've always wanted to be. I did my internship in this room, though it's name then was Life Skills. I have enjoyed working with the kids I work with. It does take it's toll on you though. I'm tired of the endless roller coaster I walk into everyday. I guess this year more than any other year I feel  unsuccessful. The kids don't seem to have made any strides into getting back into the main stream classrooms. If anything a couple of them have gotten more needy. Other than A, I feel we have made no progress this year at all. Very discouraging.

Rachel has less than a month left of classes. She will be home the 9th of May. She is still looking for a job but hasn't had much luck, neither have I for that matter. I was hoping not to do summer school this year. I ended up at the pre-school last time and I'm just not suited for it. We will just have to wait and see what comes along. As Gee always said things will always work out in the end...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Old Dog and Other Things

I have just finished a book every dog lover should read, A Dog's Purpose,written by W. Bruce Cameron. My friend Lynda gave it to me. I laughed, I cried, couldn't put it down. I loved it.

My old dog earned his keep last night. It was about 10 pm I was putting him out before going to bed. I hooked his collar and he bolted off the deck, barking up a storm, there was someone in the front yard. Who ever it was took off quickly. Good old dog. He may be loosing his hearing, his eyesight is getting bad and I worry about him going down the stairs but he is still my protector. He was so happy with himself, prancing back up on the deck. Just like he does when he chases off the paperboy or the mailman. There has been some car break ins in the area, taking cash, GPS's and anything else that can be had out of a car. I can't say that was what was going on but I called the police. Nothing came of it, as far as I know.

It has been a very long week. First round of MCAS testing is finally over after two weeks. It's hard on the kids testing for 2-3 hours every few days. It's even harder on those who have to administer the test every day for two weeks. I have a kid from each grade that needs a 1 to 1 to test. Two of my kids need me to not only read the test to them but also scribe for them. One of the kids hasn't been in a regular ed classroom ever, but the state says he has to take this test, and his scores will be averaged in with the rest of the regular ed kids. Not fair to anyone. With 19 kids in 6th grade needing 1 to 1 testing and who knows how many small group testing is going on is there a wonder why the Middle School is in danger of being classified as under performing? With a student body with more than 40% receiving free or reduced lunch I think we have more issues here than test scores....

Rachel didn't come home this weekend, she is at UMASS. This is one of the few weekends Steve has free through the school year. It wont be as bad next year as he wont be involved in marching band. He is going to miss it, however his class load just wont allow the time required.  His interview went so well the department head will allow him to triple major, performance, teaching and composition. It will be a five year plan for him but he's very determined. They will be home for the summer in May, Rachel's last final is on the 9th. She is still looking for a job, but no luck yet.  We have a new grocery store being built in town she has filled out an application as did half the town I would guess. She will go to the Nursing Home where she interned last year to see if there is anything available. She would love to go back doing what she did last year but it wasn't paid.

Monday will begin the fourth marking term, the end is near. I haven't decided if I will apply for summer school. I really don't want to work the pre school, which was where I went the last time I worked summer school. I may have to ask for the Rise program at the Middle School and if I don't get it figure something else out.  As Gee would say it all works out for the best...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Home Again

Well we are home again. Spent Rachel's spring break in Washington DC. We had a great time visiting all the museums and monuments. We went to the zoo and saw the pandas, who weren't as big as I thought they would be. Our one disappointment, Mr. Rogers sweater wasn't on display in the Museum of American History.

The animals were fine while we were gone. Jack and Clayton took care of Buster here and Freddie went for a vacation to the vets. Extra walks, played with the other dogs, had a great time they tell me. He was very happy to see us.

Rachel will be going back to school on Sunday with less than 2 months left. I have MCAS testing for the next 2 weeks and then on to the last quarter of the year. With only one snow day this year we will be getting out June 12th.

Jack has 4 new babies, his cat Chloe has had kittens. They are in a "bucket" in Jacks room, "you can only look at them no touching them" Chloe being a rather small cat, can't manage getting the kittens and herself out of the box. She had moved them into Jacks bed at night, hence the bucket (plastic bin).

Rachel is already planning our next trip. She would like to head back to the Land of the Mouse. In 2 years to visit the new and improved Fantasy Land.Jack will be almost 5 then...maybe a family vacation next time...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Road Trip

Well one of the teachers from game night has asked us to go on a two week road trip through the Rocky Mountains. Seems she has a two week time share in Vail Co., so it would only cost us shares in the rental, food and plane ticket. I so wanted to say sure. Unfortunatly Rachel likes to be warm in the winter and she likes to eat. Also my mortgage company likes the idea of getting paid every month. So I will remain here feeling very jealous of all those who can manage to go.

MCAS season is upon us. This is the state test that the students are expected to pass before graduation. I had a 6th grader for a one to one practice session. This kid is a Project Support kid, I follow him regularly to see if he has been keeping up with homework, classwork and anything else the teachers feel we need to make sure is taken care of.  This was Reading Comp. today. Read, answer some questions and some short answers. The practice sessions are for us as staff more than anything...making sure everyone is covered, receiving the accommodations they are entitled to. Tomorrow is 8th grade and on Friday it will be 7th grades turn.

We leave on Saturday morning, early, for D.C, This is a Rachel led trip. We will be going to the National Zoo, a night tour of the monuments and we are going to visit Mr Rogers sweater. She would like to go to Arlington Cemetery, and any other museum along the Mall. We'll need to see what time allows. I am so very lucky, she still likes to hang out with her mother and her friends.

Another small bit of information....Jack's kitty Chloe has had kittens. He called me all excieted Saturday morning, "Gammie we have babies". I would love to take a kitten, but I really couldn't do that to Buster. He has been an only cat for 11 years now I doubt he'd be very hospitable to a new addition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I had a totally different post in mind. I was going to complain about sitting in a seminar for three days only to find out my plans for the money I will be paid for these three days of my vacation are now gone, it will instead go to getting Rachel's car fixed.

Well the web(?) page wouldn't load, I could type a heading but no body. So in my typical fashion I begun to freak about loosing all my other posts. All those emotions I have stored in every line and word were lost to me. I couldn't access them, change them, read them....I had no control over them....

You can not imagine the panic I was feeling. I was clicking help buttons all the time saying I can't loose my posts. What am I going to do???? I felt I was loosing that one connection I have to Gee. Unrealistic I know, because here I am writing a post, with all my other posts sitting there waiting.

What was I thinking, why the panic? I guess it's the same reason I have old boots and coats, his wallet on the hutch, that I wear his wedding's all I have. I find it telling that with all that is around me, those words are precious to me. Words on a computer that no one really reads. They aren't written for anyone really. Just a place to store emotions I can not deal with yet, if I ever will.

As more time passes and I begin to feel I have made progress dealing with these feelings of grief, I find I really haven't. Something as small as a computer issue can send me over the edge. I have said it before...I am beginning to believe I will always grieve for Gee. Somedays it will be hidden, and some it will be on the surface, but it will always be there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


While I was bringing Rachel back to school after getting her Military ID renewed today we were driving down Route 202, a woody back road we prefer instead of the main highway, next thing I hear is MOOSE!! Coming down a wooded hill was one of the biggest animals I have ever seen. I had stopped by this time and she, I think it was a she, walked right in front of my car across the road and continued down the hill. My goodness what a sight.

A Sad Note

My friend Edna has passed away. She has gone to join George who left us late in November. Edna's memory has been fading for years but it seems the rate has escalated since George's death. I guess the best thing I can say about Grandma LeBlanc is she was a spitfire, a real feisty old broad. I will miss her, Rest in peace Grandma LeBlanc.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beautiful, bubbly, funny, friend..........the list of words to describe a wonderful young women is endless. The one word no one would ever have used would be suicidal. We have experienced a tragic loss, one of our students has taken her own life.

We spent the day shuttling the 8th graders to grief councilors. The students were devastated. Holding on to each other for comfort. Asking staff why, why would anyone do such a thing to themselves, why did she? Well we are asking the same question of ourselves. Did we miss something, who talked with her on Monday, were there signs?

The truth is we have lost a beautiful, kind, funny, promising young woman and our hearts are heavy with sadness, for her, for her loving family, and for ourselves.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I brought pictures of Gee to work today, to sit on my desk, next to the kids. I haven't done this before. I wasn't sure how I would feel, having him looking back at me all day. Some days I get so emotional looking at the pictures around the house. The picture of Gee and Jack at Rachel's graduation melts my heart every time I look at it. He wouldn't let him go. Held on to Jack like he was his lifeline.

I brought two of the pictures from Clayton's wedding. Gee looks tired, he had just gotten out of the hospital, but he looked like himself. Not the thin, frail man he would become. It was about 18 months before his death. One he was standing with Clayton, soon after the ceremony, the other he was dancing with Rachel. He wouldn't leave without a dance with her, saying "I wont be here for her wedding, I have to dance with her at this one." I of coarse answered with a you don't know that....maybe he did.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Report Cards

The boys got their report cards on Friday. F did better than last term, but still failing two classes. No gym for him again third term, academic support with me. He is thrilled.

 A got all 80's!! He is going to receive the Most Improved Award for the term for Science!! His grade rose more than 20 points! What a difference a new medication can make. We keep our fingers crossed that he doesn't start having reactions to it. It has been about 6 weeks now and he is still doing great. We still need to work on his personal space issues, and the all about A things but I'm so happy for him. He said it was the first time he's ever been happy about bringing a report card home. WAY TO GO A!!!!!

So far I have been lucky, "knock on wood", and not gotten the new round of winter virus raging through the school. One of the science teachers came to school on Thursday, said his stomach just "wasn't great". By 9 he had thrilled his B block class with vomiting into his trash. I saw him yesterday, Saturday, at the school play, still looking pale. Everyone is covering everywhere. The sixth grade had 4 out of 8 teachers out on Friday.

As for the play....the costumes were great!!! Well I was the costume lady once again. Joanne, the director, did get alot of stuff from the theater guild. The kids did The Wizard of Oz and they were wonderful. I made some fantastic trees and doodlebug wings! I will help Joanne with the High School again this year. Shouldn't be much of a problem, Legally Blond, the kids will wear alot of their own clothes.

Half a year over, crunch time for the 8th grade. After February vacation they will pick their class for next year.  March brings MCAS testing, 8th grade tests in Math, ELA,read comp and writing, Science, Tech ED and I believe this will be the first year Social Studies is included. They will have to pass these tests to graduate.

New term begins....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back to Westfield

Rachel's last weekend home. She heads back to school on Sunday. We rode out to the school yesterday to get her books, avoiding the crowds on Monday. Renting all but two of her books, it cost her close to $300! I can't believe it, what would it have cost her to buy them....I don't want to know.

I met her boss, Sid, at the help desk. We were heading to the bathroom and he was at the window. Rachel was a bit embarrassed,  he was so full of praise and kind words,. The woman he had been talking to commented on what a recommendation he had just given her. Rachel couldn't say a word. She has never learned to take a compliment. As we walked into the book store she says, "He's like that to everyone". I have to say I have my doubts.

Have to get all her laundry done, I can't get over how many dirty clothes she generates! I am doing laundry every day. If it isn't towels its jeans...I'm sure she doesn't do this much laundry at school!

We are going to be more mindful on how much stuff we pack to take back with us. The parking lot of her building is closed due to construction. So we have to lug everything from a lot that is about 300 yards away. It will be closed until the new building is finished, Rachel thinks it will be 2014, if all goes well. She likes this building and wants to be in it again next year....I just think of move in day...might just be move in month if we have to lug everything across the quad.

Clayton Katie and Jack stopped bye to see Rachel before she heads back. Jack wasn't sure about Steve. Didn't take long, he gave everyone hugs when he left. They were heading to Leominster. Meeting Derek and Bradeigh for dinner at Chucky Cheese. Jack told me he had "chucky money" to play games.

Fred already knows something is going on. All the stuff piled in the dinning room. He keeps walking around smelling everything. He's a funny dog, sleeping in her room. Like if he does that she wont go anywhere. The cat, well like most cats, can't be bothered.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spring Break and Other Stuff

I booked a trip to Washington DC over Rachel's spring break. Ann and Laureen will be coming with us. Ann has been after me for years to go. Rachel has been saying she wants to see Mr. Rogers sweater, she just loved his show. We will be flying in on Saturday and returning on Wednesday. Ann  and I have to work on Thursday.

 Clayton will take care of Buster, the cat. Freddie has his reservations at the vet for boarding. He had a great time the last time he was there. Extra walks, playing with the other dogs and got his nails cut. May have them groom him while on his vacation to the spa, so to speak.

Seems the school system is going to allow the paraprofessionals to participate in the training seminar for the All Star program. This program is one of many that teaches middle school age kids about many social issues. The program is going to be integrated into the daily curriculum beginning next year. We either go to the seminar or we will have classes as professional development over the school year. I would much rather have it done with. Getting paid extra for going over February vacation isn't bad either.

Marks close on Friday....a half a year has passed already. Doesn't seem like it. We will soon be in the middle of MCAS testing and then the 8th grade will be heading out the door for the high school. Can't say I'll be sad to see them go. These guys are the toughest group that have come through in a very long time. Very needy, nasty to each other, and nasty to the staff. They defiantly feel entitled to something, what it is can't put my finger on but they are a tough lot. I will miss A, and I will worry about him too. In many ways he seems to young and immature to go over to the high school.

Rachel goes back to school on Sunday. It will be very quiet around here without her and Steve hanging around. She will be coming home for weekends unless she heads over to UMASS to visit Steve. There isn't much to do at Westfield over the weekend if you aren't part of the party crowd and don't have a car. She will leave her car home until spring....just a pain every time it snows, moving it for the plows two or three times. She will need to re-apply for the social work program at the end of the semester. With her grades she will have no problem. she also has community service credits with her Lambda Sigma work and her involvement in QSA, Queer Straight Alliance, she's the Secretary. She'll worry about that until she gets notified that she was accepted. I can't help thinking how very proud Gee would be of her, he always was but she has surpassed all of our hopes for her.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I didn't want to get up today. I was dreaming of Gee. If no where but in my dreams he was with me. I felt his hand in mine, his gentle kiss, the warmth of him beside me.........and then I woke, and he was gone.

Gee was such a gentle man. Many who knew him wouldn't believe me, but he was. Even after spending most of his life fighting to survive, he still had a gentleness of spirit that amazed me to the end. Always believing there was someone worse off than he.

I had printed old pictures for his sister this weekend, he has been in my thoughts more than usual of late. He is always there but lately he is so close to the surface. Looking at pictures of Clayton's wedding, he looked tired but not gaunt, sickly and so very thin as he would so very soon after. The pictures of him and Jack, of he and Rachel, his smile so warm and inviting.

Rachel and I had a recent eye doctor appointment, Joel asked about him, not knowing he passed away.Another gentle soul, Joel, tears as he tells me he was so sorry, he had no idea, Gee never let on that he was so sick the last time he had been in.

 Gee touched everyone he met. Still, after a year I hear from people who knew him telling me how great he was.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years

Happy New Year......I hope we all have a safe and peaceful year ahead of us.