Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just more "This and That"

Well, as usual, not a whole lot of really interesting stuff from this past week.

I didn't get Tay's grades turned in Monday because I didn't have them finished yet, but that's ok because I found out that our teacher was going to be gone till THIS coming Wednesday for Spring Break. Eh, whatever. Suffice it to say, Tay's grades are still going very poorly. Her geography worksheets were well done (most of them), but it's not going to raise her 51% in history enough to be a passing grade. (Geography counts for less points over all than History, so it may raise it to about a 61 or 62%, but that won't be high enough for me to consider her "passing". I'm sorry, a low D is NOT a passing grade, as far as I'm concerned.) As it stands now, she's repeating 5th grade. And _I'M_ turning out to be the "MEAN" parent because of it, again. Scott continues to tell her that maybe if we bust our rears for the final two quarters, she'll still pass. Maybe if she does summer school. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other....... And yet, I continue to tell him that failing the first two quarters (primarily because of poor grades on tests, or not being willing to spend the time really thinking through the answers on her notes) means that even GOOD grades on Third and Fourth Quarters works will not be ENOUGH to make up for her failing the first two quarters. NOT to mention that we're SO far behind on school work right now that I don't think it's possible to even fit the 4th quarter work into the school year.

We've got Tay lined up to start into the group therapy and activity program at FCSA. She'll start having interactions with a "Group Coordinator" (who's also a therapist/councelor) and a Youth Councelor. The Group Coordinator leads the group therapy sessions, and takes the kids on their activity outtings. It sounds like the groups are limited to 5 or 6 kids, altogether. So there are multiple Group Coordinators. Tay was assigned to this nice, athletic guy named George. And each of the Coordinator has a couple of Student Councilors who work in conjunction with them and each Student Councilor has a couple of children that they are "responsible" for and really interact with on a day-to-day basis. Tay's Councelor is named Stephanie, though we haven't met her yet. (She was on training this past Thursday when we saw L. and met George.) It sounds like, when Tay gets really frustrated here at home, or I get really frustrated with Tay and need somebody to help "talk her down", one or the other of us can call this Stephanie, and she'll help manage Tay and almost be like a "big sister/mentor" to Tay. I'm really interested to learn more of how this works, though. I look forward to having a chance to ask Stephanie, George and L. more questions.

(I realize I'm using only one initial for L., but am calling Stephanie and George by their given names. I figure that as both Stephanie and George are relatively common names, but L's name ISN'T very common, I'll use her first initial but their first names.)

I have Tay's therapist's support AND the Special Ed. Teacher's support on holding her back, and yet that doesn't count for a lot when Scott keeps telling Tay otherwise, and makes ME out to be the "mean" one. I get really sick and tired of always being the one who is put in a position of making her follow the rules.

Scott's pissed me off a few times lately, as well. Like last night. On our drive home from the inlaws, Scott said that he'd like for us to go to the Ice Park this year. I asked him "When?" He kept saying "I don't know, one of these days" and I kept asking "well, WHEN?" I finally told him that he needs to stop being so abstract in his plans, and tell me a definite time, because the Ice Park would only be around for another week or so. (In fact, the last day it will be open this year is March 24th.) He told me to stop using such big words, he didn't understand what I meant. What does "abstract in his plans" mean???? Excuse me? "Abstract?" What the hell do you think "abstract" means?!?!? It means the opposite of "definite, defined". It means "vague", it means "loosely organized". I told him that I WAS NOT using big words, and he SHOULD know what "abstract plans" means, and he got all snippy with me again for using words HE doesn't understand. AND he gets mad at me when I tell Tay to look up a word in the dictionary, instead of giving her some watered down definition. He undermines me and tells Tay that she doesn't have to know what the word means. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK! So, I snapped at him and told him I'm not going to DUMB DOWN my vocabulary just because he doesn't feel the need to learn what words mean or look them up in a dictionary, and that goes for the kiddo as well. I've ALWAYS had a reasonably sized vocabulary with the ability to use "big" words, and I'm NOT going to quit just because he decides it makes him feel dumb.

Case in point, I used the word "Emulate" last year, and he thought I was talking about "masturbate". That was very funny. The neighbour couldn't understand why Scott got so up in arms after I mentioned that the little neighbour boy liked to try to "emulate" Tay. But, it ticked me off, as well. I told him "emulate" doesn't mean anything bad, it simply means "to copy", and Scott started going off on how I should have just said "so-and-so tries to COPY Tay", instead of using the word "emulate" in the first place. Why the hell should I have to dumb myself down for him or anybody else?!?! That's one of the many aspects of what is wrong with our society, those who don't want to spend the time looking up new words (or facts) and therefore learn something new, expect those of us who DO spend that time learning, to dumb ourselves down for them. That's not how I work, that's not how I plan to START working. If he didn't like the fact that I tend toward trying to be smart, instead of enjoying being a complete idiot, then he shouldn't have married me. And I'm not going to change and try to be dumb just for him, 12 years into our marriage. *grumble* I'm just so tired of this kind of attitude.

And now Tay's picking up on it as well. "Why didn't you just say that in the first place?!?!" I DID, you just don't have the desire to brush up on YOUR vocabulary a bit to understand that the word I used means the same as another, smaller word, that's not MY problem. You don't wanna be dumb, then DON'T be dumb! Look it up! Explore, be curious. But don't expect me to "dumb down" for you.


In a similar vein, we had a "Page Meeting" this past week. That is, Boss Lady scheduled for we Pages to sit down in a 2 hour meeting together and go over some new details we needed instruction on, as well as covering details on items that were being dropped. A week prior to the meeting, Boss Lady put a request out that if we had ANY points that needed to be discussed during our meeting (or, for the Circulation Lib. Assistants in their meeting this coming week), we needed to PUT THEM IN WRITING and give them to her in advance of OUR meeting.

Ok, at least 3 of us (I'm guessing it was 4 or 5 of us, really) did this. I know I did, and my coworkers CM and CF did. The three of us also made copious mention of the patronizing attitude and lazy behavior of "the Kiss Ass". We tried NOT to name names, but we made it VERY clear as to whom we were talking about in our concerns that this person was A) spending WAY too much time doing her "special projects" to the exclusion of any regular page duties such as shelving or shelf-reading; B) failing to get to the desk or to her back-up shift on time, resulting in time lost by the person who she was supposed to be replacing; C) her attitude toward the rest of us Pages (including our Lead Page, who's been at the library for over 30 years) has become incredibly bossy and patronizing.

The Boss Lady started addressing these "issues" (and there were a couple that dealt with the "Lead Page" as well as another Page that has been on the library staff for 30 years, both of whom have stopped pulling their weight even to the fullest of THEIR abilities in the past couple years) by saying how sorry she was to find out that "so many of you are so sad at this job, that I LOVE my job, and I'd assumed that the rest of you did as well." In answer to the request that 3 of us made for more follow-up on accountability in regards to shelving, shelf-reading, and organizing carts, Boss Lady told us that "you're only accountable to yourself, at the end of the day. There are 11 different personalities, levels of capability, work ethics at work here, and to expect ONE of you to be as accountable as the next is NOT possible. At the end of the day, if you can look in the mirror and think that YOU did a good job at work, then THAT is what matters!"

*shaking head* As my coworker, CM, emailed me later, it was like reading an expanded version of the quote from _Animal Farm_ "all pigs are created equal, some pigs are more equal than others." Because that's EXACTLY what we were being told, we're all Pages "equally", but some of us are expected to work harder and be more accurate and productive than other Pages. And those of us that ARE expected to work harder, be more productive, and more accurate in our job, well...... If we're NOT, then we're obviously ONLY letting ourselves down. *shaking head* No, quite honestly, I can say I'm NOT letting myself down on the job, even on days when I'm not feeling completely present and accounted for, and just don't "pull my weight" as I can on other days. I come home those days and feel completely fine with myself, knowing that this is not a NORMAL condition, and I can go in another day and bust my rump, but occasionally it just happens that I can't "pull my weight" as thoroughly. However, those Pages who come in and give it an all-over half-assed attempt and just don't want to work because they couldn't care less....... It's not about MY ability or inability to pull my own weight, but why am I to be expected to NOT have any cruddy days, when this other Page is allowed to have EVERY day be one where they don't pull their own weight?!?! Why am I getting chewed out on a day when I just can't do it completely, and yet this other person is allowed to have that lack of "with it" at all times?!?! Pardon me for thinking that this is a cop-out on Boss Lady's part in order to get out of having to ADDRESS actual issues.

On top of that, Boss Lady seemingly ignored most of our concerns about the "Kiss Ass", except the one in which that Page is seemingly, permanently, incapable of getting to her desk and/or back-up shift on time. (That came down to who's getting paid for what hours on the job, and if that Page was off in her hours, it threw other people off in THEIR hours and messes up our Time-cards. THAT is not allowed. Therefore, it was addressed and dealt with. The other issues that come down to "personality" and personal capabilities, were blown off completely.)

CM and I decided that we'll give it a week or two, see if things are improved. If they do not, we're going to each print out a second copy of the list of concerns and complaints that we gave Boss Lady, and we're going to take them to our Union Representative. We're trying to talk CF (the third Page whom we know handed in a list of concerns to Boss Lady) and one of the casuals (who may not qualify for Union attention, but at least can verify our complaints and be a witness to our concerns) to go with us to talk to the Union Rep. Things just cannot stay the way they have at work, and if Boss Lady refuses to do anything about it, then we go over her head. And as Boss Lady's Boss was in on the meeting (and was asked to read over our written memos as well, and didn't add or subtract anything from Boss Lady's schpeal), if Boss Lady's Boss doesn't do SOMETHING in the positive about addressing these complaints, then it IS time to go over their heads to the Union Rep.

Edited to add: CM let me know via email that she actually talked to the Union Rep. yesterday after stewing over our blow-off by Boss Lady, and was given a talk that essentially said that there is NOTHING we can do about Boss Lady loading the Kiss Ass up with extra jobs, but that we CAN approach Boss Lady and "Using _I_ statements, explain that would like to be considered for any future "special projects" that arise." *sigh* CM seemed to think that this is the best we're going to get as far as somebody reigning the Kiss Ass in on her attitude and refusal to actually do the other duties in the job description. *rolling eyes*


Anyway, onto better (tasting?) subjects. Here are a couple of recipes that I made this week. NEW recipes, that is. I'd never tried either of these before, and they both turned out very well. (And, neither of them as I post them here are the original recipes as I read them, but rather are how I've changed them to suit my needs.)

Creamy Corn Chowder

2 chicken bouillion cubes
1 c hot water
5 bacon strips
1/2 c chopped onion
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1/4 c flour
3 c milk or half & half
1-1/2 c frozen corn kernels
1 can cream style corn
1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
tobasco sauce to taste

Fry bacon to crisp, remove to a paper towel to drain & cool. Set aside. Fry onion in bacon grease till translucent. Add flour and stir till smooth(ish) and the flour starts to brown a bit. Gradually stir in milk and water. Bring to a simmer. Add in bouillion cubes, seasonings, corn and chilies. Simmer 10 minutes or till heated through. Season lightly with tobasco sauce as desired. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon just before serving.

(The original recipe uses green bell pepper that is sauteed along with the onion, and forgoes the canned chopped green chilies. Also, rather than tobasco sauce, it calls for a bit of basil. I didn't have any green bell pepper or basil in the house, so I went slightly spicy instead of savory as the original recipe led toward.) This recipe turned out very good and Scott said he'd consider this as an alternative to my clam chowder, which he also loves.


Rye/Wheat Bread

3 c all-purpse white flour
1-2/3 c rye flour
2-1/3 c whole wheat flour (You could just use 7 to 8 cups of all-purpose flour as is called for in the original recipe, but this mix turned out VERY well for me.)
2 c warmed whey (from making some yogurt cheese, the whey is the liquid that drains off the yogurt as you've got it in a cheese-cloth lined strainer. It's very good for a person, supposedly. Plain water could be used instead, or even milk.)
1/3 c sugar (original recipe calls for 1 whole cup sugar)
1/2 c melted butter
1/4 tsp salt (the whey is salty, so I only used 1/4 tsp regular salt. Otherwise, up the salt to 1-1/2 tsp)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp active dry yeast

Stir together flour, sugar, and yeast. Make a well in the center, stir in warmed whey, butter and eggs. Mix all together, beginning kneading before sprinkling in remaining salt and carefully kneading that in.

Knead till elastic. Place dough back in greased bowl, and turn over a couple of times to grease top of dough. Cover bowl with dampened towel, and set in warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.

Turn out to table or counter and punch down. Form into 3 loaves and place in greased loaf pans. (I could actually have made 2 larger loaves, but I wound up with 3 smaller loaves. White flour, or even whole wheat flour, rises better than rye does.) Cover with damp towel again, and allow to rise for 1 to 1-1/2 hour or until about doubled. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Brush with melted butter as soon as removed from oven. Cool in pans about 5 minutes, then turn onto racks to continue cooling.


Tonight's menu is individual meat loaves (got 5 of them from 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of pork sausage) and Au Gratin Potatoes. I NEVER follow the same recipe for meat loaf twice, so your best bet would be to find one you like, but be sure to add a Tbsp of horseradish to whatever meat loaf recipe you use, as it really enhances the flavor of the meat, without being actually able to taste the horseradish. (Unless you LIKE to taste the horseradish, in which case, by all means use more than 1 Tbsp.)

I'm also going to be making southern style turnip greens with dinner tonight. But that's easy, just sautee some chopped onion in reserved bacon grease. (I keep a bit of bacon grease in a jar reserved just for that, in my fridge. It's great for sauteeing onions for southern style greens, and sometimes just for adding a bit of bacon flavor to things you want to fry up a bit.) Anyway, once the onions are translucent, add in your canned or frozen greens and simmer up for a while. (I'm using greens from my garden this year, frozen till now.) Season with a bit of cider vinegar, just before serving, and serve with crumbled bacon, if you've got some on hand.

Anyway, here's the Au Gratin Potatoes recipe. I've never made this before. I have no idea how it'll turn out.

Au Gratin Potatoes

8 c cubed potatoes (peeled, if you like, I don't)
1/4 c butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-1/2 c milk (I used half & half.)
1 pound process American cheese, cubed. (I used Colby Jack.
About 2 tsp tobasco sauce
About 1 tsp garlic powder
About 1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce (these last 3 are my addition, and I added them to taste, basically.

In a large saucepan, cook potatoes in boiling water (you can boost the flavor by adding a couple of chicken bouillion cubes) till tender, but not mushy. Drain and place in a greased 2-1/2 qt casserole dish. In the same saucepan (rinse it out first), melt butter. Add the flour. Stir to form a smooth(ish) paste and simmer 1 or 2 minutes. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Add salt, pepper, tobasco sauce, worchestershire sauce, and garlic powder (if you want to use these last 3). Add cheese and stir just till melted. Pour over potatoes. Cover and bake at 350 deg. F. for 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley. (Actually, I added in the parsley with the other seasonings, as I was using dried. But, with fresh parsley I'm sure it'd be better to use as a garnish instead of a flavoring.)


Well, there you are. Some recipes for the week. I'll post more next week, I'm sure. *grin*

That pretty well covers it for now. Not a hell of a lot going on, lately. More of the same, really.

Hope to get by and visit every one of you in the next couple of days. Hope all is going well with each and every one of you.

Have a Blessed Day!


LadyStyx said...

*HUGZ* Frustrating, I know. I hope things get better soon.

Tori_z said...

I don't know many of the "big words" but i don't complain when people use them. I just ask what they mean. It doesn't take much to ask. I used to have a dictionary on hand too, for those people who respond by saying "look it up in the dictionary." But I don't have one that talks, and there's no room to store a braille one... Braille books tend to be several volumes long, and I can just imagine how many volumes they'd use for a dictionary (bearing in mind the first Harry Potter book is in about 3 volumes).


Sorry to hear your concerns were ignored. Funny how it's only the things that concern them that people give any thought to.

Thanks for sharing the recipes. :)

barefoot gardener said...

Ouch! Sorry you are having a rough time.

But Spring is on the way, and that makes me smile anyway. ;)

Celticspirit said...

Glad to hear Tay is starting that program, it sounds like a good one.

Those recipes sounds really good. I've made a corn chowder very similar to that years ago and now I'll have to try your recipe.

What a crappy situation at your work. I have similar problems but it's more about people not being treated equally and certain people getting special treatment.

Good for you on not letting anyone Dumb You Down. I don't blame you one bit on that one.

whimsical brainpan said...

Kati, I hate to say this, I think home schooling Tay was a good idea but unfortunately not necessarily a successful one. Any ideas on what you are going to do?

The group thing sounds good. I hope it works out.

Hmmm... Maybe you should have the therapist talk to Scott. Seems like the things he is doing is bad for Tay's education and maybe if Scott (or whoever) talked to him, he would listen.

And good for you for standing your ground!

Your Boss Lady is a real piece of work.

Jeez! You call all that "not a lot going on"!?!

Robin said...

Wow! Whim is spot on about the therapist.

Hope things get better!