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Things hurt.

I hurt my back last week trimming the lemon tree, and that woke up my sciatica, which had been gone-or-easily-ignored since 2015. Doc gave me a bottle of muscle relaxants and said to take 2400mgs of ibuprofen a day. She never actually gave me a stop date, so I have been weaning myself off in case I accidentally explode my intestines. I can stand now, I can walk, I can sit, and I can lay down. Those are not a problem. If I need to transition from standing to sitting, or from sitting to laying down, everything hurts and life sucks for like 10 mins after the fact.


One of my friends at work is a counselor. Specifically, she is one of four counselors, and she is the sole counselor for Special Education kids. She was telling me the other day about how at our school, which is low income and significantly EL, the counselor's main job consists of helping kids get their classes right, and informing them of the A-G college requirements, and How To Do College, and find financial aid. That sort of practical stuff. Recently, she went to a counselor-seminar-thing and met with counselors from other, wealthier schools in our district. In those schools, because of the high graduation rate, counselors aren't concerned about teaching the basics of A-G and college readiness; all those kids are already primed to go on to Ivy League schools. Instead, those counselors are more dedicated to social and emotional health. In recent years, a very rich school district in the very rich area of Paolo Alto, there's been a rise in teenage suicide because of kids cracking under the pressure of being high achievers. Similar things are starting to happen in our district's wealthier schools (a poll taken in one reported that 24% of students there had had "sincere suicidal thoughts" within the last year), so those school's counselors have taken the role of actual psychological counselors, as opposed to academic counselors.

Our district is in the process of laying off classified staffing positions. Teachers are certified, so we aren't on the chopping block yet, but counselors, advisers, instructional coaches, librarians, school nurses, paraprofessionals and other needed people are vulnerable. I went to a district meeting about it on Tuesday. There was a platform for people to talk and give their opinions that was supposed to start at 7:30, but the group before that that was speaking on the matter of renewing some charter schools went long by two hours. Each one of their speakers were given five minutes, and a few went over. When it came to speak about the layoffs, the speakers were limited to two minutes.

Students spoke first. There was almost a revolt as the first girl to speak was cut off by one of the board members for going over her time, just as she was telling about her own suicidal thoughts and the help she received from her counselor. Someone shouted, "Why were the charter schools more important?" and everyone went with it. The girl was told she had "one more sentence" and she said, "But I have two!" They let her say her piece, but several other kids were cut off.

Many of the kids spoke about the help their counselors have given them, and some spoke about how they needed more counselors, as at our largest school, counselors are at a 1-to-1500 ratio (there are four counselors, and would normally be at a 1-1000 ratio, but one of them is on maternity leave). Despite dozens of kids being there to speak on behalf of their counselors and librarians, they stopped the kids after a half hour. Adult were likewise only given a half hour. This pissed a lot of people off. I left at 9:30PM and people were still yelling.

Now the union is talking about a "Work to Rule" thing. Apparently, it is when teachers sort of go on strike by following the exact letter of our contract. We go in 15 mins before our first period, and we leave after the bell. We don't take any work home, and we don't stay at work after to grade or do clubs. We still do our contractually obligated supervision and substitute teaching if somebody is absent and there's no sub, but other than that, we cut off.

That is to say, they will cut off. Other teachers. All of us nontenured new teachers are to continue business as usual, because we can and will get fired for trying.


Roger the bunny has gone home.

8 months ago, he lost the use of his back legs. We took him to the vet and they said there'd be a slim chance he's get better with pain medicine and a drug to kill brain-parasites rabbits sometimes get. It worked. For 7 months, he was fine. He was on a constant drip of pain medication for his bunny arthritis, and he was incontinent as shit and ruined our carpets, but he was fine.

In January, though, his legs went out again. He was fine if he was in a standing position; he could still hop and eat and do stuff. But if he sat down, or if he laid down, he couldn't get back up. He wound up sitting in his own filth when we weren't home to pick him up and move him, and despite daily baths and pain medicine, he wasn't getting better. We took him to the vet yesterday hoping for another miracle shot. Instead, we found out that he has massive untreatable tumors and a bacterial infection. The vet-- the same one who had helped us 8 months ago-- told us, on the verge of tears, that she wouldn't be doing her job unless she told us that putting him down was the best option. We left home with a grumpy old man bun, and came back with an empty carrier.

His bed and messy puppy pads are still in mom's room. This was the first time in seven years she didn't do her morning "bunny bunny bunny" greeting and give him yogurt drops. She called me in tears and told me she'd gone home early from work because her coworkers kept giving their condolences, and she broke down.


The same day Roger was put down, a dog broke through the shitty chicken wire and killed four of our five baby chickens. We have one little yellow one left, and four old ladies who knew how to hide in the garage. I took a video a couple days ago of the now-deceased red one hiding in my sister's bedroom under the blankets. I wish she'd been able to hide there this time.

Things hurt.

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