Thursday, December 31, 2009

Venting - about school

For those of you who are up on my health and school issues and care to learn more of the saga, read on - however lengthy. If not, skip down to my previous post :)

Well, now on to the venting.

I blogged earlier about my first day back at school after being off for 10 weeks due to surgery. And to answer some of your comments, yes, all of that clean up was and still is to do during my free time. Joy, Joy.

Well, I made it through Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday came and I was a hurtin' unit. I knew that we got out early for a teacher inservice so I thought I would just head for home - not that missing inservices are a good thing, but better than missing "teaching".

I went to talk to the Principal and I was literally "reamed". I was informed that it was "my choice to go" however there were Parent-Teacher Conferences that night after the inservice and that I had a lot of very unhappy parents that wanted to speak with me - WHAT?? (Side note.....PT conferences were supposed to be the week before, but were moved due to poor weather - this was all new to me!)

I was informed by the Principal, in a not so very nice tone, that "we used to have a great Middle School vocal music program and now it is terrible, both the Winter and Veteran's day performances were terrible, there are students wanting to drop choir right and left, parents are calling and complaining that their student has wasted a semester of their time in choir......"

I was stunned, I just stood there, and had no idea what to say. When she was finished, I said I would re-evaluate and let her know what my plans were.

After a few tears - okay a lot of tears, and an internal struggle with health vs. paycheck, I chose to stay.

I went back to the Principal, in tears (I hate that!) to inform her that I would try and stay as long as I could and that I felt I was being blamed for something that was completely out of my control. She backed off slightly - but barely.

I also asked her if I could use part of the inservice time to get grades printed off - so I could have at least something to go off of when parents started to show up (another side sub did not update all of the grades before she left, so I had plenty of grades for me to insert - in other words the grades weren't even up to date! - grades still aren't up to date because the grading program on my computer crashed and has to be reinstalled!!)

Anyway her response was no, because I would have 1/2 hour to do that between when the kids left and when the inservice started!!!

It was close, but I did manage to get the grades all printed off. I had 16 parents come in and Praise the Lord (literally!!) they were all very understanding of me being gone, etc. I was so nervous because I thought, according to the Principal, that I was about to be yelled at all evening long!

It got to be about 6:00 pm and I went to double check that conferences were done at 6:30 and that it was "ok" for me to leave at that time. She replied that I "would have to take 1 hour unpaid leave" because all of the Middle School teachers were to stay another 1 hr. (a contract thing) - another thing I knew nothing about!

By this time, I was beyond hurting, stressed out, tired, you name it - I went back into my room and told the band director, that I share the room with, that I was going into the office to lay down - I just could not handle sitting or standing any longer.

Needless to say, I made it through the 16hr day, only by the Grace of God and my allotted amount of pain pills!
I was sooooo tempted to call in "ill" on Thursday morning because I could hardly move. But, I was already scheduled for a 1/2 day as I was to see my surgeon that afternoon for my 3 month follow up. So again, Thank God and Pain Pills!

Went to the Dr.'s and the good thing is that everything is healing as it should. None of the rods, screws, or spacer have shifted out of their place = good news! It will take at least a good year though before things start to feel "normal" Pain wise, it is primarily muscle and nerve issues compensating for an area that used to be able to move but now can not. Hence, I'm doing physical therapy to get these other areas strengthed up!

I also learned that the nerve effected by all this (if not permanently damaged) will regenerate itself up to 1 millimeter a day. I am 6'2", and granted this is my lower back we're talkin' - but I have a LONG way to go as there are 3 mm in 1/8 of an inch. - See you learned something new amongst my venting :)

I told my surgeon about the previous 16hr day and was then told by him that I should not be having those kind of days until I reached the 6 month point. As a teacher - that is unrealistic, and I explained this to him. He wasn't thrilled but again - health vs. paycheck! I did ask for him to write a "Work Release" that during my break time, if needed, I am to go "lie down" for 10-15min. to relieve pressure and stretch things back out.

So back to school I went on Friday, with my "Work Release" form, and then e-mailed the Principal and Superintendent a rather lengthy e-mail, explaining what the Dr. had said and that I was not using my back as an excuse to get out of my obligations but for them to understand that when I'm hurting, I truly am hurting, and if I need to lie down, I need to lie down! I reminded them that when they hired me I informed them that I would do the best that I could and that statement still stands.

I never heard back from the Principal, the Superintendent (a man of few words) did e-mail me back and answered the few questions I had posed in my e-mail.

Okay, so in case you haven't been up on my "saga" let me remind you - I was not at school from Oct. 1st - Dec. 11 due to my back surgery where I had two vertebrae fused. A pretty intense surgery, not to be taken lightly.

I had started my students on the Veteran's Day music the first day of school (so I'm not quite sure why that ended up being so "terrible"), I had all of the Winter Concert Music picked out and ready, and I had 2 weeks of lesson plans done for my elementary classes - so, I ask how was the above all my fault??? (I'm not entirely blaming the sub - it is not easy being a sub...)

Now, not only do I still have to get things caught up, I have to go back and get the Middle Schoolers ready for a concert in less than a month. And that's IF there are no snow days during that time! No pressure there!!

I am a high anxiety person and suffer from the occasional panic attack - so even though I have been on break, the panic and worrying about how to get things back on track has been in hyper drive!

Long story short, I feel like I'm being blamed for something that was out of my control. I defenitly know that I will not win any "great teacher awards", and I know that I can not please everyone all the time, but I try - and that should count for something - right?

Well, that's enough venting and feeling sorry for myself. I'm not looking forward to going back to school on Monday, but it is what it is, and I will do the best I can.

If you've actually made it through this whole post-thanks for listening :) Elizabeth

A WIN.....And Happy New Year!!

I WON something - can you believe it!!

I never win anything - truly, honest, not kidding - and I've been meaning to post about it ever since I received it in the mail, but I guess life has just got in the way!

Awhile ago the site Sew, Mamma, Sew! held a "Giveaway Day" in which they listed a ton of sites where you could go visit and sign up for that particular blogs "giveaway". Well, why not?!? So, I went to several and threw my name in the pot and I WON!!

I won this beautiful Tiger Eye bookmark from Pam at
(picture courtesy of Pam's website!)

And, here it is in my book :) The pictures truly do not do it justice!! It's lovely - perfect balance of weight and length so it fits in nicely and does not fall out! Plus the fact that the Tiger's Eye is one of my favorite stones! Thank You so much to Pam for participating in the giveaway!!

I love Winnie the Pooh, so of course when this book came out, I just had to have a go at it :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was good and low key. Mom and I exchanged some great gifts and then just lounged about. Unfortunately my area got hit with LOTS of winter weather so my Dad was not able to come up and spend the day, but I was able to meet up with him the following Sunday, so all was good.

We are still being, blasted with snow and ice about every other day and now I hear it is to become bitterly cold - ahh, the joys of living in Iowa. I guess it is good that we are having this weather now during break from school, otherwise we would have a lot snow make up days and end up going until the middle of June - uck, no thank you!!

Anywho, I wish you all a crafty, safe, healthy, happy, and love filled New Year!!

Take Care and thanks for stopping - Elizabeth

Side note....when I was coming home from seeing my Dad this past Monday, I counted over 38 vehicles in the median/ditch along I35 within an approximate 25 miles - ouch! So PLEASE if you live in a snowy/icy area, BE CAREFUL!! - remember the story of the "Tortoise and the Hare" - slow and steady can win the race :)

Monday, December 14, 2009


We'll start with a picture or two and then I'll explain that "Whew!"
Awhile ago, I blogged about how MammaBear and I took a paper piecing class, here are our results. Mine (above) is not done - of course- because I decided to change my border fabric at the last minute.

Here is MammaB's. finished. Which I think turned out lovely.

Explanation of the "Whew!"
Today was my first day back at school after being off for 10 weeks with my back surgery.

It went okay however-
  1. It took me 1 hr.and 45 min. to get to work because of the winter weather.
  2. I walked into my room and music was in piles organized/unorganized- everywhere!
  3. There were student folders laying about that had not been put away.
  4. I walked into my office and it looked like a bomb had gone off around my desk. I just stood there looking at it trying to figure out where to even start - I won't go into more detail here as I'm likely to use some not so nice words.

Side note: I am so grateful to my sub for covering me for that amount of time, and I will be the 1st to tell you that I am not the most tidy person in the world, but.........!!!!!

All of that, and the stress of not knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing with my students this week, royally tensed me up. That and being on my feet longer than usual led to upper back spasms - NOT NICE!!

Needless to say, I think jumping straight into a full day of school may have been a little over zealous on my part. I should have started off with half days and worked up towards full. Thankfully, it looks like I can do half days for the rest of this week if I need to!
We shall just have to take it one step at a time!

And last but not least, here are my crochet pincushion teacups!
The one on the far left is cocoa with mini-marshmallows, next is tea w/ tea bag, then the teacup I made my mom for her B-day, and then my teacup (which was the 1st experimental cup as part of the design and handle is different than the others.)

Well, thanks for stopping by!
Take Care - Elizabeth

ps - You can click on the pictures for a bigger view :)

Friday, December 4, 2009


I know it's a miracle - it's been over a month since posting anything sewing/quilting related!

Here is a Christmas Tree ornament I did, all by hand I might add because I wasn't up to going downstairs to use the sewing machine. The pattern is from a tutorial I found online and it actually starts out as a circle!



This next picture is a table mat I have made for a Christmas "Grab-Bag" party tomorrow. Went together nice and slick - think I'll be doing more of this pattern!
I do have some other sewing projects to add (eventually) of items that I have done recently and this past summer. For some reason they just never made to the camera and then to the blog!!
Thanks for stopping and have a great day - Elizabeth