Friday, September 30, 2005
Today, my university supervisor came out to observe me teaching a lesson plan. She only does three of these during the entire student teaching, so they're a pretty big deal. As some of you know, I realized midway through the day that *I* had scheduled my first observation for a FRIDAY--LAST HOUR on a Friday. You can imagine how kids are right before the weekend like that, so I was sure that classroom management was going to be a nightmare and that I was doomed before I even began.
Well, as it turns out, it actually went very well. I got a lot of good feedback. The lesson went smoothly. The kids behaved REMARKABLY well for a Friday afternoon. (I didn't tell them who she was, so maybe they were nervous because they weren't sure WHO she was there watching.) The classroom discussion following my lesson was a good one; the kids were engaged and involved; and she said they really seemed to be enjoying this unit (on a novel called The Watsons Go to Birmingham, a fictionalized account of the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham--it's a very good book, actually). She said that I seemed "very at ease" with the kids, that I actually had very good classroom management, especially considering that this was my first observation, and that middle school seemed to be a very good fit for me. Of course, she did have "suggestions for improvement," but I expected nothing less (a, I'm still learning and b, she's one of the toughest advisors at the school. So I was extra excited when we were walking out to our cars and I thanked her for coming and she said something like "Nice job," and I said, "Thank you, I'm glad that it went relatively well" and she said "Don't say 'relatively well;' I'd say that it went very well, particularly for a first visit." Yay.).
All in all, I'm quite happy with how this first observation went. It was a very nice way to start the weekend. AND, Saturday night, Anna and I get to have dinner. I actually get to go out and be SOCIAL on a weekend! Whoo hoo!!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Approximately one month from now, I will be turning 29.
I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be.
And then one year from NOW, I'll be turning "twenty-ten." After THAT, I'll be "twenty-eleven." (You get the idea. There will be no 3-0 for me.)
It could be worse, though...I could be old enough to have a DAUGHTER who is 29. (Ahem.)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The Enchanted Isle (at long last ;)
Ireland is FUN! The people are laid-back, friendly and fun! Everywhere we went, all over the country, the Irish just want you have a seat in the local pub, grab a drink, sit back and listen to the music!
And Beautiful! The land is gorgeous! The cities were very well kept up, very pedestrian & tourist friendly. The towns were quaint & endlessly colorful with each building a different bright color. The countryside was breathtaking – some rocky, some hills, some mountains, all covered in greens of every shade. Fluffy sheep graze down green hillsides, past ancient rock walls, into quaint towns nestled in valleys by the sea.
The history of the country and the people pulses through everything. The people are very proud of their land, their history and their present prosperity but completely unpretentious about it all. We were in buildings, seeing things that were made before North America was even discovered!
Everywhere we looked there were castles! Many are open to the public, like Bunratty Castle, where we saw how life was lived 500 years ago complete with authentic furnishings from the period. Some
We had different adventures that I could write about like the Best Night of Irish Music, Driving in Ireland, the Most Beautiful Day, or Getting Lost. It was a fantastic vacation full of wonderful memories. You absolutely must go!
Monday, September 26, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
And now that I've just ranted about my "problems," I want to let Sparky, who lives in Texas know that I'm thinking of her. Trust me, I'm well aware that right now, there are people out there who REALLY know what a "bad week" feels like.
Sparky, I don't know if you're in the path of the storm (her Blogger profile says Hurst, which is about half an hour from Dallas, but I could have sworn she was closer to the Houston area than that), but please let us know that you're okay! We're praying for and thinking of you.
In addition to being sick, going through the "break up" with Thomas and then having my power out for 24 hours due to a storm--my CAR DIED on the way home from work today.
I got it towed (luckily, I still have AAA) to a place right next door to my complex (mind you, I was JUST THERE yesterday getting it "fixed;" they put a new hose on my transmission or something). The mechanic will look at it at soon as they open up tomorrow mornning; I just walked home (took me about 5 minutes to get back to my building). My car decided to take a break from running while I was cruising down the exit ramp to my street; I was able to steer most of the way off the ramp, and a few minute later someone stopped to push me the rest of the way. (So that's positive side #1--it could have died in MUCH worse places in metro Detroit during rush hour; namely, on the major road that is currently down to one lane due to construction. That's the way I USUALLY go home, and had that happened, I would have been in SERIOUS trouble. Positive side #2 is that I had my cell phone on me--thank God that I DID charge it up at work today. Positive side #3 is that I had AAA so I didn't have to pay for the tow. Positive side #4 is that I was able to get it to a place tonight and get home relatively easily. See? I can still look at the bright side.)
Here's the weirdest thing, though. My car was still running, but when I put it in drive and hit the gas, the engine just revved; it wouldn't drive. And trust me, I tried for like 15 minutes. Well, when I got to the mechanic and put it in drive to show him what the problem was--my car was working again. (Which was unfortunate for the mechanic who was, at the time, leaning into my car as I suddenly took off.) So I have NO idea how it suddenly started working again, but there's definitely something going on. (I was actually going to swing by the mechanic on my way home anyway, since my car has been getting up to about 2.5 RMP thingies and then revving, instead of actually accelerating--so whatever they did yesterday clearly hadn't fixed the problem anyway.)
SO. That's the fantabulous conclusion to my stellar week.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
"Crash," a movie about racial stereotypes, prejudices and attitudes. And I don't just mean white/black, either. Black, white, Asian, Arab-American, Hispanic...
It's not exactly a lighthearted comedy (although there were a few scenes/lines that made me laugh)--but it's a movie everyone NEEDS to see. There were scenes that had me, literally, on the edge of the couch, because you could just SEE what was going to happen next and you were praying it didn't (yes, you get THAT involved with the characters). And sometimes you'll be right, and sometimes something will happen that you didn't see coming.
For once, I agree with the critics (who ALL raved about this movie when it was first released). Go watch it, NOW.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Bust: 70 (okay, 40, but as the rest of me gets a little smaller, they sure FEEL like 70. Seriously, they're just starting to look cartoonish now.)
Hips: 36 (I had to measure twice, but it's true--after being stuck at 38 forever, they suddenly dropped 2 inches)
However, because of my asthma, I'm now on a 40-day regimen of Prednisone, a steroid. "Being on this medication for such an extended period of time could result in moonface," the pharmacist warned me. (I'm usually on them for 7-10 day "bursts.")
I just looked at him. "'Moonface'? Is that really what it's called, or is that just Mean Pharmacist Slang?"
Moonface, for those of you who aren't regular steroid users, is when your face swells up all big and puffy. As I've been on Prednisone many times in the past, I'm all-to-familiar with this charming side effect; however, I had never heard it referred to as "moonface" before. Lovely, no? (Prednisone also causes a temporary weight gain, both from the water retention and from the CRAZY increased appetite brought on by the steroid.)
So if you need me, just look for the girl with the slim hips, Pamela Anderson-boobs and puffy-ass face.
...who is mildly irritated that Anna's been back an entire week and STILL hasn't told us about her trip????
On Friday after work, I went shopping for some new clothes and realized I am now a size 10/12. HELL YEAH. (And a size 8 in skirts.) ;) THEN, I got to go drinking for free with some of the girls (and one new, very attractive guy) from my preschool job. All in all, yesterday was a pretty good day.
Now, I return to a weekend of grading papers and having no life. (4 weeks down, 8 to go.)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Can someone please tell me why "Listen To Your Heart" (originally by Roxette, now covered by DHT) is the official song of Hurricane Katrina?
After 9/11, versions of certain songs were played on the radio including sound clips from TV and radio coverage. Now, of course, they've done the same thing with the hurricane (at least here in the Detroit market). However, what the HELL does the following song have to do with this catastrophic event?
I know there's something in the wake of your smile.
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yea.
You've built a love but that love falls apart.
Your little piece of heaven turns too dark.
Listen to your heart when he's calling for you.
Listen to your heart there's nothing else you can do.
I don't know where you're going and I don't know why,
but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.
Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile.
The precious moments are all lost in the tide, yea.
They're swept away and nothing is what is seems,
the feeling of belonging to your dreams.
And there are voices that want to be heard.
So much to mention but you can't find the words.
The scent of magic, the beauty that's been
when love was wilder than the wind.
I bolded the ONE part of the song that could be loosely symbolic of the hurricane. However, the overall message of the song (and 90% of the lyrics) clearly say "Hey, maybe you should search your soul before you walk away from this person" (ahem) and NOT "We lost everything we own to this historic act of God/Mother Nature, yet we will find the courage and inner strength to go on and rebuild our lives."
I am not, in any way, making light of the tragedy these people are facing. I just really don't understand which programming genius was watching the hurricane coverage one day and suddenly thought, "Oh my God, this is SO 'Listen To Your Heart!' "
Am I missing something here? I mean, I realize that there aren't a whole bunch of songs out there that literally translate to this EXACT situation, but come on-- if you're trying to find a song to represent the horrible, heartbreaking loss and/or the bravery and resolve to move forward--there has to be a song that's much more fitting than this one.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
And if you know me, you know that that means there is something very wrong.
I don't really want to talk about it, but it has to do with Thomas, my soldier. Let's just say that I have a tendency to push people away (especially of the male persuasion) and I am usually quite successful. Afterwards, of course, I hurt like hell.
I don't want to talk about it so let's just say that, unless you hear otherwise, let's not discuss anything related to Thomas and/or Texas.
(And what kills me the most is that I quite pissed him off and, frankly, I'm not even sure WHY. It could be any number of things, really. And since he refuses to talk to me, I can't get the clarification I need. )
Okay NOW we're not talking about it.
(I told him that I can't fix it if I don't know what's wrong. But he has totally and completely shut me out, and I don't know HOW people can just turn off all their emotions just like that. I mean, two days ago he cared for me a whole lot and now, he's just...shut off completely?)
(I mean, he said I could trust him not to hurt me and I was starting to, but I was still testing him a bit to make sure that he meant it when he said he wasn't going anywhere--I mean, I can't just trust someone unconditionally, right? They have to PROVE to me that if I give them my heart, they won't fuck me over. And I TOLD HIM, if I try to push you away, don't let me, because I don't REALLY want you to go, I just need to know that I can trust you. And I really, really thought that he'd stick by me as I tried to let my guard down. I was trying really hard, even. And then this happens. How am I supposed to trust ANYONE if every time I try, they end up leaving? It's like a chain reaction, but then it makes it that much harder to open up to the NEXT person who comes along, and so on.)
(But I really, really liked him.)
OK. No more talk. I'm too sad.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
And other than accidentally punching a student in the eye, I think it went pretty well.
In my defense, I didn't MEAN to pop her.
I should have known it was going to be a rough afternoon when we had a fire drill in the middle of my lesson. But no big deal--I got everyone outside in a very organized and timely manner, and I was even able to get them back on task pretty quickly once we got back inside.
Towards the end of the lesson, an agreement was brought in that all 6th graders had to sign. Row by row, Mrs. R had the students quietly come up to the front of the room as I continued helping the other students. Everything was going fine until I gestured quite largely to make a point (I'm one of those people who talks with their hands)--and, as my hand (which was in a fist, for some reason) went back, I caught little K. in the eye. And it connected quite solidly, might I add. (If this had been a street fight, I totally would have won.)
I turned around and poor K. was clutching her eye. I gave her a hug and told her how sorry I was while looking at her eye. It was already a little red and puffy but she was otherwise okay. (She wasn't crying or anything; she was actually laughing, albeit somewhat dazedly.) I told her to go home and ice it, just in case. Hopefully, she won't come back to school on Monday with a shiner.
I feel HORRIBLE.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I was monitoring the lunch line yesterday (it was right across from the teachers' lounge and most of the kids in line were my 6th graders, so I stopped to talk to them for a moment). As I was standing there, I was absently shaking my Slim Fast.
"What's that, Miss K?" one of the boys asked.
I explained that it was to make me skinny.
"But Miss K," another boy said, "you're ALREADY skinny."
"A.," I said, "you just made my day." I even gave him a half hug before I remembered that middle school boys probably wouldn't be delighted to receive a hug from a teacher in front of their friends. (Remember, I'm used to being around younger kids.)
Well today, I was walking around the room, checking to see how many kids had done their homework from the night before. I passed A's desk and noticed that he hadn't written anything in his geography notebook.
"A," I said sternly (well, somewhat), "why didn't you finish your homework last night?"
He looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights--and then he blurted out what he clearly thought of as his get-out-of-jail-free card: "You're skinny!"
"That's not going to help you here, A.," I told him and handed him a Missing Homework slip.
I had to fight back my smile as I walked away from his desk.
First, I need to set the scene, as the following paragraphs are quite relevant to the story I'm about to tell you.
Yesterday, we were reviewing (it was SUPPOSED to be a review, but many students appeared completely in the dark) line graphs. This particular line graph depicted the U.S. population growth from 1790 to 1990. The x-axis had the years; the y-axis had the population in millions. The information to transfer onto the line graph was on a chart, CLEARLY LABELED "Population of the United States" and featuring columns with the headers "date" and "population."
IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THAT, the instructions were, "Use the data to draw a line graph to show how the population in the U.S. has changed over the past 200 years."
Okay. As a class, we started graphing the points. For their homework, they were to finish the graph and create a title. They had no idea how to come up with a title for this graph.
"What is the graph about?" I asked. "Look at the chart, read the directions and use that information to create a short title that will tell others what the graph is about."
Fast-forward to today, when I'm grading the papers while waiting for my student teaching seminar to start. Most kids came pretty close: "Populations," "U.S Population," "Population Growth," "US Population Growth in the last 200 years" (that one made me delirious with happiness), etc.
TELL ME, THEN, how one student saw fit to title this graph "Favorite sports." (???????????????)
Another student entitled his, "Numbers."
And a third, "Soldiers lost in the war from 1790-1990." (Nowhere on the paper did it mention soldiers OR war. And, mind you, the population was sharply increasing on this chart--the line was CLEARLY going up.)
It's a good thing these kids are cute.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Monday, September 05, 2005
(Mom, you are in no way allowed to participate in this conversation. In fact, perhaps you should just skip this post altogether.)
What makes sex "good"? Is it skill/technique? Chemistry? The feeling/emotion for the person? What if the person isn't very good but you have a lot of chemistry with them, or you care about them a lot? Can you have good sex with someone who isn't very good? What if you can barely stand the person but the chemistry is strong?
In your opinion, what constitutes good sex?
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Ah, Labor Day weekend--the unofficial end of summer and a chance for families to have one last "fling" before the hustle and bustle of another school year begins anew. I know that some of you have big plans: family barbeques, perhaps, going up north, traveling. I wanted to take a moment to share with you MY plans for the holiday weekend.
1) Grading 25 journals (keep in mind that each journal has three separate entries I need to grade, so this is actually like 75 assignments)
2) Grading 29 spelling tests
3) Grading 28 language arts assignments
4) Writing a week's worth of lesson plans for 7th period reading (the first class I'm taking control of, starting next week)
5) Beginning work on my student teaching notebook/ portfolio (I won't bore you with the details, but this notebook has 10 different components that must be completed prior to the end of my student teaching, including a complete, comprehensive unit)
6) Trying to remember why, exactly, I want to be a teacher
If I ever again hear anyone say, after hearing that I'm entering the education field, "Oh, teaching must be so easy! You only work from 9 to 3 and you get the whole summer off, plus all those breaks during the year!", I will personally bash them over the head.