Some readers have requested updates, so I carved out some time to write this post. I probably won't have time to go into as much detail as some of my old posts, but I did want to oblige the askers.
I've been remiss in my blogging of late because I've been thrust back into the throes of infant-rearing. I'd forgotten the toll it can take on one's day-to-day accomplishments. This time, though, as I also have a 3 1/2 year old, it's even more challenging to get things done.
I count it a productive day if we can manage to get out for lunch, an activity we enjoy to get us out of the house.
I'd like to break from my narrative to give a shout-out to a delightful eatery we discovered toward the end of my pregnancy called the Corner Bakery Cafe. I can say that one positive of the whole blogger scandal is that we stopped going to Panera. At first, this was a big disappointment as Panera used to be a favorite haunt of ours, but after everything blew up with the blog thing and I'd been suspended from work, it felt awkward going there because our local Panera is often a favorite haunt of many of my students who, I'm sure you can understand, I didn't really feel like running into whilst dining. In any event, we decided to try this other lunch spot since it was close to my OB's office (and, at the end of pregnancy, you're pretty much going to the doctor for checkups all the time) and, well, the rest was history. We've barely been to Panera since!
The Corner Bakery Cafe is owned by the Rose Group (you may know them as the owners of Applebees--I recognized the name since, back in the day, I worked at Applebees for about a year). The concept of the eatery is similar to Panera and Cosi. It has soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastries--the normal fare. (This place also has pasta offerings, though I've never partaken.) You order at the main counter and are given a number to bring to your table and they deliver your meal to you. Beverages are self-serve. What sets this spot apart from the other two, my husband and I agree, is that, first, it's always immaculately clean. At both Panera and Cosi we frequently have to wipe the table ourselves and self-bus. And the bathrooms...not always so much. But at CBC, the staff are always wiping, sweeping, shining, and bussing, and the bathrooms are clean. When I'm out to eat, this makes me feel good. I figure that if they are taking this much care with the front of the house, the back--where food is stored and prepared--is probably pretty clean too. Second, the food is consistently good and of an appropriate temperature. At Panera, on the other hand, the soup is frequently on the cool to lukewarm side. On one visit, my husband went to make them aware of his not-hot soup, but there was a line of patrons in front of him doing the same. Panera's response: "There's a microwave over near the coffee." They were sending customers to nuke their own soup, rather than fixing the problem in the back! Good customer service, Panera! We've never had an issue at CBC. Third, the food options are expansive and a little different--they use fresh and fun ingredients like jicama, poblanos, avocados, and green chiles in their sandwiches. And their bread is delish, too, so these other ingredients are going on a solidly tasty base.
All in all, Corner Bakery Cafe is a lovely destination serving breakfast (like made-to-order egg sandwiches, french toast, and the like), lunch, and dinner, with fine ingredients, good service, and consistent quality. Do yourself a favor and check them out if you have one nearby. You won't be disappointed!
Hopefully you'll excuse my little Corner Bakery Cafe commercial there, but when I mention "lunch" now, I think of that place--it's almost Pavlovian!--and I've been meaning to blog about it now for a while.
Moving on to other updates.
So far, for those people who follow the developing story, there's been no movement with the case. I'm currently on maternity leave which followed my paid suspension time. (To clear up any confusion that exists out there regarding maternity leave--at least at most places of employ--it's UNpaid. You are allowed by law up to 12 weeks of time off whereby the company will hold your job under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). But this time is unpaid. Some women cannot afford to take the entire 12 weeks, so may take less time. This is, of course, a personal decision.) In my case, before the whole blog business erupted, I'd already been approved for all 12 weeks of FMLA leave--which would take me to the beginning of June--followed by an unpaid leave of absence for the rest of the school year. Thus, lest people think I'm still collecting a check, the only time for which I was being paid under the terms of my suspension was Feb 9-Feb 28. The rest of the time has been unpaid. This little cushion of not issuing me checks, I suspect, is part of the reason the district can drag its feet on making a decision regarding my work status, and why I've heard nothing from them since Feb 9th when I was unceremoniously escorted off the premises. I've heard and read statements they've made about me, but they haven't contacted me at all. And so we wait.
If you check out the May issue of "Philadelphia Magazine" (about which I've been in the process of writing a post, but which I haven't yet published on here), there's a feature article about me and my story. I think it's pretty fairly reported and does a good job outlining the situation. It even mentions Panera--so we've come pretty much full-circle here! Ha!
My newest daughter is now 6 weeks old! She's doing well, a mean case of baby acne and excessive gassiness notwithstanding. (Anyone know if there's anything to do about baby acne besides leave it alone? It looks terrible!) Unfortunately, she has some baby acid reflux so is on medicine for that. We tried other routes first, but it's the only thing that seems to work. We even tried taking her off of it, but the problems returned. So for now, welcome to the world--here's a pill for your problem. I wish I knew some homeopathic or American Indian-type remedy for her issue (because you know they had some way to cure indigestion!) Alas. Mercifully, though, she's pretty much sleeping through the night--thanks to swaddling. Without it, she woke herself up pretty often flailing about. Now, even though she does not enjoy being put into her baby straitjacket, er, swaddle, at bedtime, she sleeps comfortably for long stretches. Yay!
My 3 1/2 year old is a great big sister. She hasn't displayed any signs of jealousy or no-longer-an-only-child annoyance, so we're happy about that. I do think she wishes the baby would just grow up and play with her, though. haha. Otherwise, she's at the stage where she fights naps (even when she NEEDS them!) and exerts her will. You know--she's 3.
It's tough having two at once--someone should have warned me. Ha ha!
Education Reform Updates:
Despite not being in school, I'm still a card-carrying member of the teacher's union. There have been a rash of anti-union and education-funding-cuts reform movements of late, and it has been horrifying to watch. It has also been strange to watch because I'm still a teacher, but feel like I'm watching from the sidelines now because of my standing with the district. Nevertheless, I've been sending letters to my state representatives regarding various education issues (vouchers, furloughs, funding, to name a few) in solidarity with other union members.
I've also been reading with interest several thought-provoking articles written about education -- this April 30 NY Times piece "The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries," and EducationVotes' "Teacher Takes on Educator Bashing in Provocative EdWeek Post" which cover some points I've made in my posts in the past or that should be considered as well. Check them out. It's a sad situation that the budget cuts are taking such a toll on the system as a whole.
As I said, I'll write more as soon as I have time. Or if/when I hear anything from the district. Stay tuned!