Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Making Copies

Here's something that bugs the crap out of me: JUST when I'm ready to make copies that I will need for my class tomorrow, after having patiently waited my turn, someone comes right up behind me and asks "Do you have very many?" Uh, I don't know, define "many". Like their time is more valuable than mine? Granted, I've wanted to strangle those who run thousands of copies at peak times, tying the machine up for an unbearably long period of time, but my little batch of 75 copies? I think you can deal with. I also hate it when I am making copies and the person behind me is in a hurry and it stresses me out so that I make mistakes - 2 sided and colated and staples, etc.- and have to start over again.

Monday, August 20, 2007

1 Down, 184 to go!

Today wasn't so bad, save for the fact that I'd had way too much coffee and not nearly enough sleep. Tomorrow, we are to attend district required subject-area meetings. All day. To top it off, the new "head" of the foreign language aka "world languages" department knows nothing about foreign language-he's a former social studies teacher. Excellent. He has planned for us to work on literacty strategies-read alouds, think alouds and QAR's. All day. There's going to be mutiny, I promise. For once it won't be from me, instead I will enjoy the show, sit back and watch others spontaneously combust. Oh, they'll be compliant for about the first hour and a half. Then, it will get ugly. People won't come back after lunch, feigning appointments and headaches and diarrhea.

More stuff:

1. Do you ever get excited when you see that the number of comments is greater than the last time you checked? Only to realize that the last comment was one that you left yourself in answer to other's comments? Me too.

2. Why didn't I read "A Prayer for Owen Meany" until just now? I am reading it for my book club and I LOVE it. Love. I laugh out loud, I cry. I'd forgotten how much I truly enjoy John Irving. Reading his stuff is like putting on an old shoe.

3. Mr. T has a new job! He's a new IT guy at a local college. Do you know what that means to the Familia T? Um, free college tuition! Woo hoo!

4. A friend of mine attended college in the south and described the requisite meal she had at practically every back-to-school event: fried chicken, watermelon, and sweet tea. This is my summertime dinner menu a la Iowa: strong unsweetened iced tea with lots of ice, BLT on toasted wheat bread with extra crispy bacon and perfectly ripe tomatoes on the verge of splitting open in the warm humid air, sweet corn, ice cold Muscatine melon- not to be confused with the common cantaloupe. Here's what I'm talking about:

Do you see the ridges? They are perfect for cutting along to make tidy little crescents of melon to eat.
What's summertime food where you live?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Now it's time to say goodbye...for the summer

Tomorrow it all begins again, the school year, that is. Or, if you're a glass-half-empty-kind of person, it all ends, the summer-long, lazy days with nothing to do but go to swimming lessons, crickets chirping, fireflies blinking, sunny, humid, glorious days of summer, that is.

Tomorrow we will meet in the cafeteria because it is adequately air conditioned. There will be fruit and perhaps pastry, coffee in big, brown plastic bins and maybe juice as well. Our principal will introduce the former Activities Director, now Associate Principal. He will introduce the new Athletics Director and band teachers, English, math and science as well. He will apologetically inform us again-I say again because he's already warned us in our "welcome back" letter- that we will no longer be using the Making the Grade grading program and will now have to use the district's data base that will allow parents to access students' grades. We will be given the usual pep talk, the usual walk through of the planner/handbook that they wish so ardently for the students to use, but are long gone by Christmas.

With any luck at all, we will be dismissed at about 10 to go forth and do our teacher work. We will go out to lunch-woo hoo! And in the afternoon, I'm really hoping we do not have to watch that awful bloodborne pathogens video where the guy nearly cuts off his hand at the paper cutter.

The building will be sweltering in most of the rooms, save for the office and the lower levels. It's very difficult to heat and cool our massive, 100+ year old school. It's supposed to be in the 90's this week. And humid- damn Mississippi River. Lovely.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Target? or Tar-ghetto?

When I was in college, my friends distinguished between the 2 Target stores in Des Moines as "Target"- in West Des Moines, and "Tar-ghetto", in, well, NOT West Des Moines. It still makes me chuckle. The faux-French-sounding "Tar-zhay", however, does not. It makes me cringe.

Why is it that every time I get a $5 "gift card" from Target in the mail (you get $5 off any $75 purchase) I leave it at home or only spend $50 if I actually manage to bring it with me before it expires?

And why have the locusts descended upon the dry erase markers in the Target store? Do people only need them at this time of year? Do they think they won't ever be able to buy them again?

While I'm at it, I will confess to you, my blogging friends, that this evening, at Target, I purchased a pair of shoes that a) I do not need; b)are not very comfortable and c) are kind of impractical. BUT, they were: 1) ON SALE - we're talking less than $5; 2)soooo cute- kind of a champagne colored espadrille with some bead work on the toe; and 3)shoes. I'm kind of obsessed right now. I made up for it by buying another $4.24 pair of basic black sandals that are comfortable and practical.

I used to think that CNN was a serious news channel. I thought that I could tune in at any time of day and find out what was happening in the world. No longer. CNN, you are dead to me. Paris and Britney and Nicole are NOT late-breaking news. They are fodder for our desire to be entertained by the bad behavior of others. I was going to say that CNN was just a step above Fox, but really, I think they are the same.
Grandpa John says that we should tune in to Lou Dobbs, though. He thinks Lou's the man. Me? I get the news I need on the weather report... I can gather all the news I need on the weather report... (sorry, couldn't resist the Simon and Garfunkel reference there. 10 points if you can name the song. Not responsible for song sticking in your head for days.) Anyway, I actually get much of my news from the Daily Show. Really.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Well, we just got back from visiting my grandmother, who is soon to be 85. She lives in Bethlehem, as I mentioned in the previous post, but she was born and raised in the nearby Cornish slate-mining community of Pen Argyl. She met and married my grandfather and then lived in the adjoining Welsh slate-mining town of Bangor for 30 years and then divorced him. Yeah, she's a feisty one.
The thing with my grandma, is that she kind of has her own language. Not knowing this may lead you to ask yourself what the hell she's talking about in the course of a conversation. Some of them are regionalisms, some are just her, I think.

mangoes: to most of us, this is a tropical fruit with a very large pit. To her, this is a green bell pepper. The red bell pepper? Red mango, of course.

it wants rain/it wants nice: This would be the weather forcast.

tree shack: I would call this a tree house, as most of the rest of you would also.

brootsy: Not sure on the spelling of this one, and not entirely clear on the definition, but I think it means squirmy or wiley, as a small child would behave. An adjective.

rootchin' around: Again, not sure on the spelling, but I think she means squirming around. A verb.

leave, let, left: The usage of these words gets all turned around. "She let the chair cushions out in the rain." "My mother never left us go to the movies."

pockabook: This is more of a pronunciation thing- pocketbook. Nobody in the midwest says pocketbook, it's always "purse" or "handbag".

highball: This may be more of an age thing, but it's what is offered before dinner.

So, our trip out was a whirlwind. We drove all the way to State College last Sat. and stayed there overnight. The next day, we drove around the town and the campus. I imagine it is heavenly in the fall. We had just a short drive to Bethlehem, but got stuck in traffic, so we got off I-80 and angled over. What a crazy thing to do! We drove through all these itty bitty coal towns over hither AND yon on these twisty turny roads, through Pottsville, St. Claire, Manahoy and FINALLY go to I78, where we were stuck in traffic for over an hour. I have never been so grateful for a DVD player and a cooler packed full of food and drink in my life.

Monday, we went to the Musikfest in Bethlehem- seemed to be more Fest and not as much Musik, and we missed the Reverend Al Green by a day. The festival food had the usual deep-fried anything, the colossal turkey leg, the funnel cakes and popcorn. BUT, they also had Hungarian food- haluski, halupki, and other yummies.

Tuesday, Mr T was invited to be the 4th on my step-grandfather's golf outing. I encouraged him to go, even though he played 18 holes of golf for the first time this July. It's not everyday you get to play golf with 3 WW II vets. When they came home, they all had a cold beer and then went to buy Grandpa John a computer! He's 87 and has had cancer 3 or 4 times. He worked in the steel mills before he retired. He had lung cancer last fall. He mows his own grass. He does all of his own home repair. He reads the paper. He is still sharp as a tack. He should be everyone's hero. Wow.

Wed, my grandparents had an American Legion dance to go to, so we headed up to Easton to the Crayola Factory. In case any of you live near and have considered taking your kids, reconsider. We had been 2 times before when the girls were younger, and it was ok, but for the money ($9.50 each for everyone 3 and up)it was nightmarish. All of these busloads of small children in matching t shirts(child to adult ratio looked to be about 10-1) unloaded and took over the place. After an extremely short demo of how crayons and markers are made, you procede to different stations where you try out different Crayola products. Can't we all color at home? Paint? Cut? Ack. We then HAD to visit the Pez museum around the corner- the kitsch factor was too great to pass up. THEN we travelled to Allentown to see the Liberty Bell Shrine- where the bell was actually hidden durning the Revolutionary War. They have a nice replica there that they let you ring. THEN, on to Hellertown for a tour of Lost River Caverns- a privately owned cave that you tour. VERY cool. We topped it off with pizza and cheesesteaks at the Crossroad's Hotel- delicious. For Sweet Adeline, a cheesesteak is a sandwich made of thinly sliced steak and has cheese on it- usually on a hoagie roll. I am not doing it justice, but they are fabu. We enjoyed them with a cold Yuengling draft.

That was it, as we left yesterday for the trek home. In years past, we have done the Amish thing, as California Teacher Guy mentioned. We've gone to Hershey, Gettysburg, up to the Poconos. This ended up being more of a Grandma centered visit. She's not going to be around forever and I want the girls to know her.