Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Days

As a teacher, I always look forward to the occasional snow day. It's nice to not know you have a day off and then "BAM" off you are. We had been waiting for snow days for a couple of weeks...mainly because the weatherman kept saying we would get a huge snow storm and then it would vanish (which made me seriously think about a career in weather...after all, you can be totally wrong and still get paid).

Sunday night it flurried here. I went to bed as usual, got up as usual and showered as usual. I got out of the shower, turned on the TV and saw we were closed. I couldn't believe it...we had hardly anything. I got dressed and watched the news and listened to them talk about how much snow was on the way, but they also said that there was a possibility of the storm vanishing as previous storms had. I decided that I would go to the grocery early Monday morning (since I had a totally random snow day) to beat any crowds that would rush there after work (let me clarify...I wasn't panic grocery shopping. I was simply grocery shopping. There is a difference. I wasn't going there to horde milk and water and bread. I just needed to make the trip).

Monday night I went to bed as usual. Woke up Tuesday morning and turned the news on and saw I was closed. I went back to bed. Hubby was off, too, because his boss said it was too bad to come into work.

That day I watched the snow turn into freezing rain. And we got freezing rain for almost twelve hours. And then it switched back to snow. We were stuck in this storm that stretched from Maine all the way to Texas. I had never seen anything quite like it.

I knew Tuesday night that I didn't have school on Wednesday. I also knew Wednesday night that I didn't have school on Thursday. This was becoming a pattern.

I know what you all are thinking: must be nice to get random days off. I can't lie. It is nice...when you have one or two. But, ladies and gentlemen, I have been off all week. That makes it difficult when you have students who have projects due, papers due and tests to take. I have answered a ton of student emails in the last few days. I am actually surprised that they took the time to worry about it, but it seems the week to be surprised.

I can't remember if we have ever had a straight week of snow days before. I'm sure that if it wasn't snow and ice we would have been back by Thursday, but we got the ice. And it was nasty.

I am hoping we'll go back on Monday because as much as my job drives me crazy from day to day, it is also nice to have a routine and a purpose. Being stuck inside for three days was enough to push me to the edge...luckily, I got out of the house for a while last night and I plan to venture out today. I think seeing people...real, live people will do me good.

What about you guys...anyone else get hit with this massive storm? If so, how long were you stuck?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Non-Clumping Mascara is so Hard to Find...

Face it ladies...there are a few things that we always look for. The perfect foundation color, the perfect shampoo and a mascara that really does what the package says it does...and we all know that those searches can be close to endless. I can't say I have found the perfect shampoo or even foundation (although I am close), but I think I may have found a near perfect mascara.

I always trust Neutrogena for face care (I tried Clinique's "oh-so popular" Three Step System and I ended up breaking out like I was a teenager on the verge of puberty) so I figured that I would give their new Healthy Volume Mascara a whirl. As you all may remember, I was very faithful to Maybelline's Full and Soft Mascara, so this switch was a leap of faith (and honestly a result of an ad I saw in a magazine...I was seduced by good advertising!)

First thing you need to know is that the brush is HUGE...for real, I have never seen a mascara wand like this. I can almost do all my lashes at one time in one sweep...and that is something. I bought the black brown color and tried it out. Surprisingly, it goes on quite smooth with very little (as in almost no) clumping. I am not going to say that it is 100% clump free because I would be lying. But, I can say with confidence that it takes quite a few uses for the clumping to begin to appear. It seems that the closer you get to the end of the tube, the more likely it is to clump. Maybe that is Neutrogena's "you need more mascara" alarm or something.

This stuff has olive oil in it, so it plumps your lashes from the inside out. If you have tiny lashes (like me) you know that is a good thing. Neutrogena claims that it makes your lashes 400% thicker. Considering I can't measure my minuscule lashes, I can't say for certain how accurate that is, but I can tell you that your lashes will look fuller and they stay soft...another plus for me. I HATE stiff feeling lashes. This stuff gives you volume and doesn't make your lashes look like little spider legs. Yippy!

The negatives are these: it is a little pricey for a common cosmetic brand (runs about $6.50 here) and it is a little hard to get used to the huge wand. It also takes a little more to get it off your eyes than other mascaras. I use Neutrogena's Eye Make-Up Remover and I still have mascara residue after washing my face. I may need a stronger make-up remover, but I hesitate to switch. I just think it could be because this mascara is so potent that I need more remover.

Overall: I don't feel that the negatives outweigh the positives on this product. I am pleased with the volume it gives my lashes and the length (I know that isn't one of the features this product pushes, but my lashes do look longer to me). I love the fact it is virtually clump free and my lashes stay soft. I have tried numerous other mascaras to achieve the no clump look (including Cover Girl's Lash Exact Mascara and Maybelline's Lash Discovery Mascara) and they all failed miserably (in fact, the Lash Discovery is one of the worst I have ever tried...that tiny brush does not work for me at all.) This one, however, rose to the challenge.

So, ladies, if you are looking for a new mascara, I highly recommend at least trying this one. You may be pleasantly surprised by this product. I am happy to see that Neutrogena puts as much into their cosmetics as they do their face are products.

If you have tried this product, what did you think? I would like to know if you had the same success as I did or if you found it less than stellar.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have mascara to put on ;-)

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Change is Coming...

Lately I noticed that I only posted when I had negative things to say or when something in the world provoked a negative reaction. I never posted about anything happy. So, starting soon, I will be using this blog to give my insights, opinions and commentary on products I have used, movies I have seen, books I have read, music I have heard...and some of it should be positive! For those of you who swing by only to get a dose of my wit, sarcasm and opinionated personality, don't will be there. It's genetic. :-)

Looks like Rambling Shan is about to become "Reviewing Shan..."

I figure I'll put my opinions to good use. See you all soon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Whom it May Concern...

I am a teacher. I attended college on a full scholarship. I have a Bachelor’s degree. I graduated Summa Cum Laude. I have a Master’s Degree. I am well read, meticulous and dedicated. I plan lessons, grade papers and answer emails until 11 each night. I’m up at 5 in the morning and am lucky if my head is on the pillow by midnight. I work hard, am good at what I do and hope for a brighter future.

But each day, that hope grows dimmer and dimmer. Each day I am insulted by students, antagonized by parents and forgotten by the institution. Daily I struggle with being cussed out, disrespected and bullied. And yet nothing is done. Parents email saying I don’t do enough for their child, so I try harder. The child, however, does not, but the parent emails again insisting that I try harder. So I do.

I am tired. I am tired of being ignored. I am tired of being treated like a second class citizen. I am tired of working so hard for no result. I am tired of waking up each day knowing that I will have some battle to fight and, inevitably, lose. I am just tired.

Too long have teachers been viewed as a low class position. Too long have we been expected to tolerate things that no other profession would ever tolerate. Too long have teachers been looked at as babysitters. Too long have we worked in a thankless job with thankless people.

When will people start to realize that no person could be where they are today without a teacher? Why is it that the CEO of a big company gets recognition and praise and all teachers get ridicule? Why do professional athletes make millions and I can barely pay my mortgage? Why do auto companies and banks get bail outs for overspending when I can’t afford pencils for my classes?

I don’t know how much longer I can fight the battle. Conditions are worse and I am more exhausted than ever. I’m done playing this game. It seems I can’t win.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Places Worth Visting

No, not real places (I haven't been anywhere new for a while). I'm talking about bloggy places.

Thanks to a friend from work, I have found two hilarious blogs that I read on a daily (or almost daily) basis. I find them therapeutic and fun and on some days they help give me that extra boost I need to keep going.

The first is Hobo Teacher. This blog is maintained by two different teachers. In it they discuss (with wit, sarcasm and other various methods) they day to day oddities that happen in their school, classroom or district. Some days it's about an email they received. Others its about a student situation. The funniest part is that some days I swear they work where I work or they are in my head in some way because I can relate to so much that they are saying. Anyone who is in education will appreciate the daily struggles of these teachers. Even those who have never set foot in a classroom can get some insight into what its like to deal with students, administrators, parents and (sometimes) other teachers.

The second is Cake Wrecks, which recently won "Best Humor Blog." This site posts hilarious, hideous and down-right scary professional cakes. There are wedding cakes, birthday cakes, graduation name it. The site is worth a look for the writing alone. Jen has a great ability to convey her opinions and comments in a very original way. Her commentary is almost better than the wrecks themselves. And on Sunday she takes a break from posting the wrecks and she has a "Sunday Sweets" installment, where she posts really great cakes. Some too detailed and realistic to believe, but they are all real.

If you have a minute or need a laugh, cruise on through. They are worth the five (or fifty) minutes that you may spend reading.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Funk

I've got the funk. And not in the "let us in we'll tear this mother out" Parliament way.

I don't know what it is. The things that used to bring me joy aren't doing it for me right now. I don't read like I used to. I don't listen to music like I used to. I don't pick up random hobbies for no reason like I used to. I don't even enjoy my job like I used to.


And I find it funny that I am blogging about it. Not because I am shy about the Funk...I'll admit to everyone that I have it. I think it's funny because, let's face it, no one really cares about anyone else's problems and here I am blogging about mine.

Which leads me to something else.

I remember when your life was your life. You lived it, made decisions, and kept your thoughts and feelings and secrets to yourself or wrote them in that diary that you kept hidden in the most obvious place in your bedroom. Now we put our lives, our problems and (some people) our secrets out into cyberspace where all can see, read, laugh at or spread them like wildfire.

When did this happen? When did we become such an egocentric society that we actually think that random strangers want to know what we did today? What we ate today? What we watched today? I am baffled.

And yet...I blog. I read other blogs. I am intrigued by the thoughts, ideas and troubles of others. I find myself drawn into their stories and I feel that some of those people are my friends...but we've never met, talked or even casually emailed. I care what happens to them. I worry when they say bad things have happened and I celebrate with them when things go well.

Maybe blogging has made all of us less shy about what we say. Maybe it gives some of us an outlet. Maybe for some of us it gives us a chance to be the person we don't have the strength, courage or gumption to be in real life. Maybe some have a hard time being hear, so they blog. Others may have just been looking for something to fill the time. Whatever the reason...we blog.

I started blogging as a way to voice my opinion on issues...big, small, ridiculous. I didn't (and still don't) care who read it or not. I really was looking for an outlet...something that could help me get everything out without unloading on the same people I unload on all the time. My friends and family are great, but they can only listen to me rant about how messed up I think some things are. Is it great when I can hear what someone else has to say about my latest rant? Sure. But I think it feels even better to get it out there.

Even if I am the only one to read it.