Thursday, September 13, 2012

Password Reset

As most of you know, I changed jobs this school year. I moved from an elementary school of approximately 550 kids to a high school with over 2000 kids.  I went from "Mrs. Chun, will you please read to me?" and "Can I hold your hand all the way back to class" to "I don't care that it is a fire drill, I don't want to go outside" and "I need an AP Calculus textbook."  It has been a big change.

I knew moving to a high school things would obviously be different.  I have taught at a high school before; it was just a long time ago. Cell phones were used to call people, textbooks were passed out by the teacher and PowerPoint was the "it" thing for presentations.  Now cell phones are used for anything but calling someone, the textbooks are in a Textbook Depository and there are a million presentation programs online for free.

My friend, Pam, had told me my first few weeks would be all about textbooks. She wasn't joking. I have picked up, moved, taped, scanned, carted, rolled, delivered about 13,289 text books.  Okay, I may be exaggerating. I do have an amazing clerk who probably managed 7,429 of those books. It is a lot of books. Big books. Algebra II, Chemistry, AP Statistics, World History... you know, all the classes you loved in high school. Surprisingly so, textbook checkout goes really smoothly.  The kids are trained well.  They get in a big line, grab a book, get out their ID card, we scan and scan and they go on their way. It is actually kinda fun. Kinda.

The last three days has been an entirely new challenge. Password reset. Our students log in using an ID number and their birthday as a password. They are then prompted to change their passwords. Well, wouldn't you know... they get locked out. Some never get the prompt to change it. Some forget their new password. Either way it is consuming my time as apparently I am not trustworthy enough to be allowed access to reset student passwords on the computer. Not really. They haven't gotten around to installing that feature on my computer. I am hoping it happens tomorrow. Scratch that. Tonight.

Here is the scenario:
I am working at my desk.  I'm creating a presentation for my classes next week (a PowerPoint because I am old school cool), reading e-mail, planning testing coming up and Student A comes up.

Me: "Can I help you?" said the librarian in a cheerful, friendly tone

Student A: "Yes! I need my password reset," said in a nice high school way

Me: "I can't reset it. However, I can send an e-mail to ask for it to be reset," said the librarian in a cheerful, helpful tone

Student A: " Okay! How long will it take?" said Student A in a nice but almost discouraged voice

Me: "It could be five minutes or five hours. It depends on when our tech department can get to it," said the librarian in a cheerful, friendly, "I'm new here" tone

Student A: "Man! Really?? Why? I have stuff to do!! Is there anything you can do??" said the student in an annoyed, eye rolling, hands on hip kinda way.

Me: "Yeah. I am really sorry. I am hoping to have access to reset passwords tomorrow," said the librarian in a hopeful tone.

Student A:  Walks away.

End scene.

This is my life. Times 26. Yes, 27 times today I had to email the tech department. This is not an exaggeration. Some of those e-mails included three or four student names/numbers.  It is exhausting. Almost all the kids are great and understanding but I am hoping the password reset fairy visits my computer soon and installs whatever I need so I can just happily click and keep my patrons happy. I am new here and this glitch is not helping me make friends.

It really has been a great move. The students are really fun and nice. I think I will love it at Skyview even if the kids don't ask to hold my hand. And I'll really love it once I can click "Password Reset."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fishin', Shootin' and Chet-Ba

My grandpa just turned 83 and recently retired (yes, retired from owning/running a restaurant full time at the age of 82). We usually head to my grandpa's house once a year for a large Verstrate family get together in September but we decided to head over this summer for some one on one time with Grandpa Chet (or as Cooper calls him, Chet-Ba).  My mom and I loaded a ton of snacks in the car, some toys, and strapped the kids in for our six hour drive to Joseph, Oregon.

After a couple of potty stops, a lunch stop, several "baby is crying and we can't reach the bottle or binkie" stops we finally rolled into Enterprise, OR to our hotel. After some dinner in the park with Chet-Ba and Linda, we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep. We were tired from our trip and knew we needed sleep for our adventures the following day.

Our day started with breakfast at the Cheyenne Cafe in Joseph.  Then we headed to grandpa's house for some farm work. Grandpa had some BIG plans for the day.  Cooper first helped Linda get some eggs out of the chicken coop...

Then they needed to chop some wood. They live so high in the mountains in Eastern Oregon they usually have a fire going to heat their home 11 months of the year. Let's put it this way, they had snow flakes on June 9th.

We couldn't come to their house and not drive the tractor.  They drove the tractor down to the pasture by the horses and the garden to dig for worms. 

Carter even got to sit on the tractor.

After digging up some dirt with the tractor, it was time to get some worms. We had to go fishing... 
Now, anyone who knows me should know that at this point I was ready for an inside activity. I hate being outside for any length of time. I admit it.  I am an inside girl. Unless I am by a pool or on a beach... and even then I only last about 12 minutes. But, this trip wasn't about me. It was about having some quality time with my grandpa... so fishing we went.

My mom got to visit with her dad as they found the perfect spot...

Cooper was unsuccessful but Chet-Ba caught one trout! It wasn't big enough to feed all of us for dinner but Linda was sweet enough to clean it and cook it for us all to try!

After fishing, we headed to downtown Joseph for an ice cream cone and a stop at my favorite store, Mad Mary & Company.  The slogan of the store is "Everything fun and fattening" - I mean, how can anyone not like that?!  It has toys and candy and crazy gag gifts. I could spend hours in there. Yes, hours.  After our brief shopping trip (and I mean only long enough to get candy cigarettes and a cap gun) we were off again...

At this point my mom had asked my grandpa if we needed to stop and take a rest (he is 83, you know). He laughed and said he was fine and that he usually didn't take a mid-day rest.  My mom looked at me and smiled - not because she was pleased her dad has so much energy - but I think she was asking about a rest for me (the 36 year old)! I was pooped!

We headed to Wallowa Lake, which is about 6 miles down the road from Joseph. It is a gorgeous lake with amazing views of the mountains. There is wildlife everywhere - chipmunks, squirrels, and deer. Everywhere.  Here is just one we saw near the lodge at the park.  They get so close!  

We had to do one "tourist" activity while on our trip to the lake; Cooper wasn't old enough for the go-karts, the mini-golf wasn't open, so bumper boats it was. I used Carter as an excuse to not go on a boat but my mom didn't have any excuse so onto a boat she went! Luckily Cooper has a cool grandma!

We headed back to Chet-Ba and Linda's house for some dinner and to end our day. Linda grilled some hot dogs (Cooper and Chet-Ba had a hot dog eating contest; Chet-Ba won), she cleaned, de-boned and cooked the trout caught that morning (which Carter loved), and we had fresh berries from the garden.  While eating dinner, Cooper and Chet-Ba came up with a plan to shoot some BB guns. I honestly don't know who was more excited, Cooper or my grandpa.  They made a target, hung it on a stump, loaded up the gun... then reminded me to move my car (which I moved as far away as I could)... and FIRE away!  We all had a turn on the BB gun with my mom winning the shootout. She is her father's child.  

It was a wonderful day.  Cooper made so many memories with my grandpa and Linda that he couldn't even put it into words.  He couldn't pick his favorite thing - he said "EVERYTHING!" He loved spending time with his "Chet-Ba" and Linda.  He has already made plans to go back this winter when they have snow taller than him. He will have a whole new set of activities to try then.  I told him I don't think I can keep up...and if we go, we better schedule a nap for me.  I was so tired on our drive back to the hotel, I even let Cooper drive for a bit.  True story.  Don't believe me? Ask my mom. :-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Caught Up

It is June. I haven't posted since April.  I am just a little behind...

June has already had huge milestones and it is only June 2nd.  Cooper got to pitch his first baseball game today. He was so excited to pitch and only got a little nervous.  Not bad for a kid who has never even practiced pitching. He did great. The only bad thing about the experience is he is now obsessed with pitching and I see a bullpen being set up in my living room tomorrow.

Carter also hit a milestone in June!  No, not walking. No, not sleeping through the night. No, he hasn't said "Mama" yet. But his ninth tooth definitely poked through.  He has a mouthful of teeth and has developed a love of grilled cheese sandwiches. He has also developed a love of biting others. His newest tooth is coming in very handy for both.

My niece, Cloe, had her first day of work at Burgerville!  She was a little nervous but I am sure she was fabulous!! She was the cashier at Counter #1 and was ready to go with a smile on her face. She's just a doll. I am so proud of her.

June is also the month when I am going to get caught up at work, caught up on housework and most importantly, get caught up on sleep.  Carter is not a sleeper. He is a great napper but a horrible night time sleeper. Well, that isn't entirely true. He is a horrible night time CRIB sleeper. If he is snuggled in between David and I, he seems to sleep just fine but in the crib he wakes up multiple times. My happy boy ends up looking like this...

Which causes me to look like this....

Scary, huh?  You see why I need him to sleep through the night in his crib???!!!

I am hoping June holds many more milestones including Carter sleeping in his own room through the night and Cooper passing 2nd grade. If I were a betting woman, I would lay all my money on my oldest child. He only has 13 days to go to pass 2nd grade; Carter may not sleep on his own until he moves out.

I hope your June is full of happy milestones and getting caught up!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sometimes you just need a little girl time.  Especially when you live in a house of boys.  This weekend was kinda crazy with Carter's first birthday on Saturday and a huge list of things to do, but I managed two girl dates.  Whenever I have some quality time with my girlfriends, it reminds me of how important it is to take a little "me" time every now and then.  I always come home feeling refreshed and ready to take on my crazy life. If I spent time with these women on a daily basis I would have abs of steel; we laugh the entire time we are together.

Saturday night we went out to celebrate Jamie & Zara's birthday at Darcelle's.  If you have never been to Darcelle's in Portland, you need to make a special trip.  It is an institution. It is fantastic. Darcelle is an 81 year old drag queen who looks better in a spandex suit than most 30 year old women.  We had three rows of laughing, dancing, singing girls watching men who not only dance better than we can (okay, maybe not better than Jamie) but also dress better too.  It is part comedy show, part musical theater, part craziness.  It is completely inappropriate and completely fabulous.

Tonight we had our monthly book club meeting. This month we happened to read a new, extremely popular title which is based partly in Vancouver and Portland.  If you haven't heard of Fifty Shades of Grey you probably don't watch TV, or listen to the radio, or go on Facebook, or read magazines, or talk to anyone.  It is everywhere.  Everyone is talking about it - Ellen did a bit last week on her show that was hilarious. It is the NAUGHTIEST book I have ever read. I am not joking. And, as a librarian, I have read A LOT of books. I can blush just thinking about it. I dare you to google it if you haven't heard of it; you will blush too.

Needless to say, tonight's book club was awesome!!  Like Darcelle's, it was completely inappropriate and yet completely fabulous. I laughed and laughed and laughed and then laughed some more.  I love these girls. They inspire me, love me, support me, and let me just be me.  I look forward to our girl dates. I am thankful for them and our time together; it is ALWAYS fabulous (and possibly always a little bit inappropriate).  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheat day

This is just a quick update. Today was my anniversary and "cheat" day.  Wait a minute... that sounds so wrong.  It was my "cheat day" for my diet.  Yes, I did eat a lot of food. I did consume onion rings and half of a loaf of bread. White bread with butter and garlic.  And it was good. I think I gained about 5 pounds back.  Oh well.  It was worth it.

As for my "improver" job, my sister-in-law may have beaten me to the position.  This is what we came home to after our anniversary dinner...

I loved it! David, Cooper and I giggled about it before bed. A great way to end a great day.  What will tomorrow bring?  I'm back on the wagon but with a new hairdo.  My hair is now short, red and sassy. I am hoping it will give me enough attitude to survive the next 11 days on Medifast. Let's go! Bring on Wednesday!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


In my next life, I plan on being an inventor. Okay, maybe not an inventor but an "improver"... someone who takes existing products and just makes them better.  I also plan on being an actress and singer but those aren't as exciting as an "improver."  And I can't really act or sing but I do have some "improver" ideas.

Case in point. Diapers. The people at Pampers and every other diaper company think it is cute to put Big Bird and Cookie Monster on diapers. All diapers have some kind of kid-friendly design with a cartoon.  Carter doesn't look at his diapers... I do.  I don't care to see Elmo smiling at me at 5 in the morning.  I would love a diaper to appeal to the adult in charge of changing it.  For example, instead of Elmo put a picture of John Belushi on the diaper with his famous quote, "I owe it all to little chocolate donuts." Wouldn't that be awesome? Think of the possibilities:  famous quotes, a comic strip for parents, funny sayings.  I think it would be a win-win situation. Diapers would be changed more frequently because parents would want to check out the next diaper in the pack... Pampers would sell more diapers....and kids wouldn't know the difference. 

Maybe I will just buy a box of generic white diapers and attack with my Sharpies. Or possibly just add some fun stuff to Carter's Pampers. Anything to make diaper changing a bit more entertaining... and less of a job. I also have ideas about toddler potty training toilet paper as well as adult diapers (thanks to a friend). See a trend? When you see me modeling diapers on the Today Show you will know I have hit the big time. Until then, I'll keep practicing my singing in the car. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm hungry. Seriously. I am obsessed with food. I am on Day 9 of my "24 Days of Hell" (otherwise known as Medifast) and it is consuming my life. I only think about food. You know the saying, "Eat to live... don't live to eat?"  It was a naturally skinny person who said that.  Or someone getting paid to say it. Trust me.

In terms of weight loss, I can't really complain.  I have lost 6 pounds in those 9 days. Everyone says, "Wow! That is great!"  And it is... except.... anyone would lose that much if they were starving like I am.
If you only ate about 1000 calories a day with very few carbs and hardly any sugar, you too would lose weight. And probably be as grouchy as I am.  I am sure my co-workers are ready to try and sneak some bacon into my Medifast shakes or sign me up for an involuntary transfer.

This coming Tuesday is my 13th wedding anniversary so I have "allowed" myself a cheat meal so David and I can go to dinner. Just the two of us. Exciting, right?!  I love my husband and love hanging out with him but to be perfectly honest.... I am more excited about eating a real meal.  I already know exactly what I am going to eat.  And I am telling you right now it doesn't include a "lean protein" nor a "green vegetable." It will include onion rings (no matter the restaurant...even if I have to pack my own) and I might just try to get bread instead of a salad as my starter. I'm not kidding.

I know I shouldn't "live to eat" or whatever... but right now... it is the only thing that keeps me going. I have 17 more days (minus one anniversary dinner).  I will make it. I have to finish what I started. I may have fewer friends and my family dislike me...but I will make it.  It will be hard...I know the next 17 days will be all about dreaming of food and obsessing about what I would eat if I could. 

I don't know what I will do on Cheese Zombie lunch day at school. I may have to call in sick. What can I say? I'm hungry.