Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Forum #4

Everyone's got their undies in a bunch about The Golden Compass- including, and especially, the Catholic Church. My kids go to Catholic school, as I've mentioned. They brought home a letter from the local Diocese encouraging parents to be very cautious about this book and upcoming movie. The local stance doesn't seem to call for an all-out boycott, rather it suggests that it may provide for some thoughtful dialogue between parents and children. Personally, any time they ban a book or come close to it, it makes me want to read it all the more.

I plan to buy the book this weekend and see what all the fuss is about. Is faith really so fragile? A work of fiction can put it in danger?

What do y'all think? Anyone read it?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thirteen Parent-Teacher Conferences

Last night we had p/t conferences from 4-7pm. I love a 12 hour day! I had a total of about 27 conferences in those 3 hours. Here are some highlights:

1…. Mousy Girl's parents- we were all delighted that she is getting a 96% after struggling and hovering around a pesky 89%. She's been studying and guess what? It shows! Yay!

2. Boy who is a dead ringer for Beaker of Muppet Show fame- nice enough kid, sort of socially clueless. His dad is a 4-alarm nerd, however. Almost to the point of being a charicature of himself. Yikes.

3. Annoying Cocky Jock Boy- parents concerned that there is a "personality conflict" (read: I don't much care for their asshole of a son and don't put up with his shenanigans.) Actually, they were very nice, very supportive. I had their older son and he was wonderful. This kid is a pain.

4. Clueless Boy- dad came screeching in at 7:02 (did I mention conferences were from 4-7?). I was very glad I got the chance to talk to him- found out that he (the dad) is part Hispanic and speaks it and is willing to help this poor child study.

5. Unlikely Homecoming Queen Candidate- I had this girl in Spanish 1, 2 and now 4 and just love her to death. She's not the greatest student, but she works awful hard. She's getting a high C/low B right now. She's not happy. She wants an A. I don't know if she's capable. How do you tell a parent that? Or a student? I didn't. I just encouraged her to keep working hard and doing her best.

6. Goofy Sleepy Inarticulate Girl- her mama is about to wring her scrawny neck because of her grades. She is a sweetie of a girl- so unorganized and probably overextended with several jobs and now basketball. Something's gotta give and it's been school.

7. Brawny Smart Obnoxious Boy- last term his dad came and I was so distracted by the little growth/skin tag hanging out of his nostril, I could hardly concentrate. I felt like Elaine and her old lady with the big goiter. Happy to report that it's been taken care of and I could properly direct my gaze when talking to him.

8. Wise Beyond her Years Not Working to Potential Girl- delighted to meet her mom. Mom knows her daughter is responsible, wonderful, and yet only does what she needs to do to get by with a B or C. She wants to be an obstetrician, to which I commented that that will require some serious schooling. Her mom nodded, and said she'd tried to impress that upon her daughter, and that she'd considered some other career options as well.

9. Dumb as a Post Girl- failing- mostly because she doesn't study and can't conjugate a present tense verb in Spanish 3. (!) Mom was kind of a wimpy, dopey woman. Girl doesn't understand that she can't just show up and get a good grade for that.

10. Irish-looking Boy- his mom was hilarious! She told me she worked at the Butt and Guts Shop as a nurse. (Center for Digestive Health/G.I. doctors) She said she was usually pretty hands off, but her son's grade dropped to a B and she said she wasn't going to have any of that shit. Oh, she was funny.

11. The One Boy Who Gets It- well he's been slacking off on his homework, so his grade slid - his parents are not happy. He promised them that he wasn't going to let the allure of being lazy prevent him from doing his work. His dad gave a good natured eye-roll to that one.

12. Amazingly Linguistically Gifted Girl- dropped a class and now is a TA for me- so we spend half the school day together. She is one of those kids who gets it right away and almost effortlessly. I love her mom, too.

13. Young Republican Girl- seriously, this girl about flipped when she saw my Obama sticker on my van. She luuuuurves Mitt. (or Rudy? I can't remember....)Anyway, I had her brother a couple of times and he is the most organized student I've ever had. Good natured, he'd make a great politician some day, and I mean that in the best way. Once he was going to be gone and he asked for his assignments and I couldn't give him specifics that far in advance, and he just shook his head at me- told me I should get a day planner. But I digress. Sister is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but all of a sudden, things are clicking for her. Her mom was thrilled!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book Chat

These two little girls, Betsy and Tacy, are the main characters of a much loved and often overlooked series of books published in the 1940's, written by Maud Hart Lovelace. They are based on the author's growing up in Mankato, MN. There are 10 in the series and my girls and I are currently reading the 8th book, Betsy and Joe, which is unfortunately out of print, causing me to buy it on ebay for lots of dollars. I did get a nice old library copy, but it was still spendy.

I somehow missed these books as a kid, which is too bad because I would have liked them. My daughters and I close each day reading aloud from these books. We started last fall. In time, we have been there with the Ray family, watching the girls grow up and learning a lot about what life was like at the turn of the century. It's interesting to see that so much of being a kid is timeless.

I am loving reading the books as well- I will miss these characters when I'm not visiting them every day. Betsy's parents are fun- her dad owns a shoestore, her mom is just the perfect amount of involved in her daughters' lives- always supportive of them in whatever their dreams are.

They may be a bit old fashioned, but to me, they are the Girl Power books of their day and are a delight.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Teacher Talk Tuesday #4

As much as I hate the feel of chalk on my fingers, I have a problem with the whiteboards. The markers don't last very long, and then what? They get thrown out. How much of our landfills are going to be full of markers? Not to mention the whiteboards themselves? In the school where I taught previously, we had slate chalkboards, original to the building built in 1923. In some of the rooms the boards had gotten trashed by some dummy who put tape all over them, but most were wonderfully in tact. Think about how cheap chalk is and environmentally friendly, too!
It's weird- I am both old enough and young enough to have experienced both film projectors and filmstrip projectors as well as VCRs and DVD players. I have worked with an ELMO/ media cart AND an opaque projector. Xerox printer/copier AND a mimeograph machine. One building even had an old and a new mimeo machine- one of them you hand-cranked!

My husband had an aunt who was a teacher in the early part of the 1900's. She taught in a one room schoolhouse and had to come in to school with "the team" (of horses) to start up the small stove that would heat their school. In the dead of winter, she would sometimes board with a family closer in town so that she wasn't spending so much time on the road in the dark.

Compare that with now- I take attendance on the computer, the kids drive cars to school. I am most certainly not allowed to even touch the thermostat! We have discovered, though, that if you lay a wet paper towel over it, it will kick on the heat in a cold room.

Many things have changed, but I'll bet that if we could time travel, we'd see that lots of things have stayed the same.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Memory Lane Monday

This is a meme I randomly stole from this guy:where where you 10, 20, 30, etc. years ago. The older you are, the more interesting it becomes.

10 years ago: I was teaching middle school Spanish - my 2nd year at that particular school. I was 7 months pregnant with Claire and just beginning to really show. We lived in the upstairs of an old duplex that was perched on a hill. It had a big bathroom, a big bedroom and a hideous slanty-ceilinged kitchen that was more of an afterthought. From the 2nd story were these death stairs that led all the way down to the creepy basement that still had a monstrous Kelvinator deep freeze that would probably violate all kinds of environmental codes had we tried to get rid of it. We used it for storage, although not for anything edible. Horrible and tiny as the kitchen was, the dining room was cute, complete with built-in corner cupboards. Across the front of the house was a cute room that was kind of like a sun room/sleeping porch, although it was heated. When we moved in, we weren't planning a family, so it was our office/spare bedroom that was used for our friends to crash in when they were too drunk to drive home. It became the Baby's Room.
I had just taken the GREs and seriously almost went into premature labor because I drove all the way over to the test site and didn't have my photo id, went back to get it, only to discover that my dear husband had brought it there for me. The proctor lady looked at me with these panicky eyes and told me calmly that everything was fine, that I had enough minutes to spare. I think she thought I was going to birth a baby right then and there.
I was also taking a night class- Statistics, ugh. It must have been weird for my classmates to watch my belly grow- I didn't know any of them and didn't make friends, so I didn't announce to them that I was pregnant or anything.
Why the GRE? Why the Stats class? Well, my plan was to go to grad school and pursue a degree in Speech and Language Pathology- kind of tough for someone without the undergrad major, but some of my classes would have transferred. I did get conditionally accepted to the University of New Mexico in Las Cruces and was offered a deal in which I would work in the public schools as a SP assistant - primarily in a bilingual setting. It all sounded great, until I had a baby and my life totally changed. I decided that we needed to bloom where we were planted, and we were planted here.

20 years ago: I was in my freshman year of college up on the Prairie, or Tundra as we liked to call it. I had surrounded myself with a cast of characters and was really loving dorm life, believe it or not. I had done the typical college things like drank way, way , way too much - good thing it was something already yucky like Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. Bummer if it would have been something good that would have ruined my taste for it forever. My girlfriends and I had dubbed Thursday nights Poker Night, because we would play poker and drink and laugh. None of us really knew how to play poker, so that was funny- we would bet crazy things and it ended up being more like True Confessions. I had this wacky roomate who was from this itty bitty town in northeast Iowa and she had this huge, ultra religious family who all had names like Marlene, Riva Dean and Jethro. Okay I made up the Jethro, but the other 2 are real. She once announced to a room full of people discussing illiteracy and how none of us could imagine not being able to read, "My dad can read.. he just can't read so good." Yeah. She was sweet, though, and always seemed to be really mellow- we later speculated that it wasn't Perrier and orange juice she was drinking, because that bottle of Perrier never seemed to run dry. We think she was sucking down hooch, putting herself in a perpetual state of buzz. ANyhoo, she worked for the University catering as part of her work grant/financial aid and had to wear black pants and a white shirt- classic. She had just done laundry and came back upstairs and said in her stoner voice "everything's pink." And I just lost it- rolling on the floor laughing- then she made it worse by hanging up the wet pink supposed to be white clothes all over our room! I did take pity on her and gave her one of my white blouses.

30 years ago: I was in 3rd grade and had a wonderful, wonderful teacher. I still remember how the room was set up and how she treated us like people and weird random things like Rachael going home sick one day and getting ready to go, pulling Wonderbread wrappers over her feet before putting on her green and gold lace up boots. I remember thinking that I would be mortified to put such things on my feet. My friends and I went through a phase where we wore crazy socks and then rolled up our jeans so as to show them off. Sometimes, I got to go to my friend's house after school and play and how fun was that??? I loved the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, although the movie was of course forbidden, being really lewd and all. In gym class, along with our usual square dancing unit, which we bitched about but secretly liked, we also had a couple of disco lessons. We had a student teacher, I think, because the regular gym teacher would never have indulged us with that.
That Christmas, we went to Joliet to spend it with my cousins and my grandma came from D.C. She drove us nuts- my youngest cousin was sure that she was going to demand to open all her Christmas presents first, because "she's the oldest".

40 years ago I was not yet born, so have nothing to offer here.

If this meme speaks to you in any way and you'd like to steal, steal away! (isn't that a Doobie Brothers' song?)


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Snapshot #4: leftovers

The above gloppy, gooky mess is what we had for dinner tonight! Yay! It's my Thanksgiving leftovers Shepherd's Pie. For those of you playing along at home, here's what you do:

1. Spread leftover stuffing all over the bottom of a casserole dish/13x9 Pyrex- you may want to moisten it a bit with some chicken stock, or turkey if you've got it.

2. Spread whatever veggies you have over that. I used green bean casserole and plain ol' peas.

3. Chop up some turky and spread that over the veggies.

4. Spread leftover mashed potatoes over that.

Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about a half an hour. Serve with gravy, of course.
You can improvise this to suit whatever you have leftover- sweet potatoes, creamed onions. You can also include your cranberry sauce- we like it better chilled and the girls wouldn't like it mixed in with everything else, I am sure of that.

Depending on the amount of food you have leftover, this casserole will feed a small village for a week.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Laissez les Bons Temps Roulez

Escribo antes de mi café- no me molesten con sus correcciones hoy. No harían eso en su propio idioma, no lo harían con los que están aprendiendo otro idioma, no lo harían con los que tienen inglés como segundo idioma. Esto no es el lugar. Si se las pido, estaría bien. No se las estoy pidiendo. Por favor, entiéndanme, yo hago errores, ya lo sé, así que hago errores en inglés también.

La hija mayor tiene un proyecto. En el cuarto grado, todos hacen un "pasaporte" para su clase de Estudios Sociales. Le dan a cada estudiante un lugar conocido en los Estados Unidos y tienen que hacer un reportaje que lo explica. Claire tiene "Mardi Gras, New Orleans", interesante porque no es un "lugar". ¿Les debemos contar sobre las mujeres que muestran sus chichis por collares? Creo que no. Es escuela católica, me imagino que la maestra no se lo gustaría. Me siento un poco estrés por este proyecto-más que mija, igual por la memorización de los 50 estados y sus capitales, ¡uy! Ya los sé, pero a ayudar a ella es otra cosa. No tengo mucho control - es algo que ella hace si misma.

Compramos el Árbol ayer; lo vamos a poner esta semana o el fin de semana. El gato va a comerlo por 2-3 días, y luego lo va a vomitar. Lo ha hecho por los 12 años que lo hemos tenido. "¡Laissez les bons temps roulez!"

Bueno, es todo. Si quisieran dejar comentario, háganlo en cualquier idioma que prefieren.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Five: Guilty Pleasures

1. Stephanie Plum mysteries. So they're not so intellectual. They don't ask much of me. They don't delve into the deeper meaning of life. They are full of sex and violence. And yet, those are the reasons I read them. Also to escape- a little mind candy. Try one.

2. Velveeta/Rotel nachos. I discovered these in college- a little processed cheese food product that is chemically very close to plastic, a can of Rotel tomatoes, some tortilla chips, we're good to go. So it's not "real" Mexican food- it doesn't claim to be. So it's not nutritious- neither is a pound of Brie wrapped in phyllo and baked. (that doesn't count so much as a guilty pleasure, though, because it's kind of shi-shi, which makes it superior, thus causing no reason to feel guilty...)

3. Mental Health days. There is nothing like staying home from work and just lazing around the house. The problem is that I'm not very good at it. I usually end up cleaning and doing house stuff.

4. Blogging. I could be doing so much more with myself. And my house, for that matter.

5. Us magazine. Trashier than People, and yet it gives me all the dish I really want.

So what are YOUR guilty pleasures? You don't have to name 5, unless you really want to.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

13 Thanksgiving Television Specials I Still Remember

1. The Thanksgiving Treasure: This was so cute and extremely low budget. The motherless girl with crabby dad and spunky grandma- an even crabbier neighbor man with a horse- named Treasure, I think. I loved these books- and there were made for tv movies that went with the other 3. There is a Christmas one, a Valentines Day one and an Easter one, too.

2. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a favorite, of course. It's almost a shame that everything is so readily available for us to view at our leisure- you miss the anticipation of the annual showing of a particular holiday special.

3. The Gilmore Girls Season 3 Episode #52 where Lorelai and Rory have Thanksgiving Dinner at 4 different places. Classic Gilmore- not any of that Season 7 crap.

4. The One With the Football Friends episode.. Poor Rachel- they keep telling her to "go long!" and she does.

5. The short-lived, but much loved showAmerican Dreams episode where the Pryors are waiting to hear news about JJ. Oh, how I miss that show!

6. Do you also remember when Marion Cunningham imagined her family celebrating the first Thanksgiving- complete with Richie finding blueberries- on Blueberry Hill, of course.

7. And then we see Marion Cunningham, repackaged as Red Forman's mother in the Thanksgiving episode of That 70s Show. Slutty sister Laurie brings home her roomate who hooks up with Eric.

8. Another Gilmore Thanksgiving episode- just as an aside, Marion Ross, aka Marion Cunningham, plays Lorelai's grandmother, however, not in this particular episode- Lukes kooky sister Liz has to cook at Luke's and they end up at the Inn with all these Renaissance Fair friends of Liz's- one guy is doing knife tricks at the table...

9. Does anyone even remember Candace Bergen in "Murphy Brown"? The Thanksgiving episode where she volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter and all the turkeys show up and they are still alive is hilarious.

10. I was a huge "Northern Exposure" fan- the Thanksgiving episode from Season 4 is a good one. All the Native Americans also celebrate the Day of the Dead- they also throw tomatoes at the white people. It's quite comical.

11. Not Thanksgiving, of course, being British and all, but I still associate this Mr. Bean clip with Turkey Day.

12. Who could forget Ed Grimley on Thanksgiving, I must say. Ed Asner guest-starred and played his dad. Ed witnesses his neighbor murdering his wife and the neighbor sees him and then comes to get him. Madness ensues, of course.

13. And last, but not least, how about the infamous Turkey Drop featured on "WKRP in Cinncinati"? They drop live turkeys from a helicopter, as a publicity stunt,not realizing that um, turkeys can't fly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Corn Dog? Funnel Cake? Lemon Shake-up? Anyone?

I know it doesn't count as a book, which means I can't exactly do a Wed. Book Chat as I'd planned, but I've got a turkey to contend with tomorrow morning, so I am going to take the easy way out and direct you to the 146th Edition of The Carnival of Education over at NYC Educator's.
He's got quite the smorgasbord of reading for your Thanksgiving pleasure. He's even got a menu item from yours truly. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We interrupt this class with... well, everything.

A couple of weeks ago, a Sophmore class meeting was called during 2nd block. Students were dismissed to the auditorium and returned to class about a half hour later. I don't actually have a class during 2nd block, so it didn't affect my classes, but I still knew about the meeting. I noticed that several of them had brochures about class rings. So, I asked the kids what the meeting was about. They told me it was pretty much all about the class rings. Brand new baby administrator girl swears that there was other important information given at the meeting, but seriously? Class rings? We've got like 30 percent of our kids on free/reduced lunch!

Today, I had like 6 kids (out of 28) leave at 2:15 (we are dismissed at 2:35) to attend a "signing". This is where an athlete signs on to a collegiate team - usually with some promise of a scholarship. It's a big to-do- the media comes, there's cake, a select few get invited AND get out of class 20 minutes early. I think it's great that kids get scholarships, I really do. But, do they make a big deal when someone aces their SATs? When they make it into a really competitive music program? When they are accepted to a prestigious school? I think not.

We have a food drive every fall. To raise money, the student council has some kind of eating contest (donuts, hot dogs, pudding, pie) . The kids pay money to enter, and then, if they want to attend the event, they pay a dollar and are dismissed from their 4th block class at 1:50. First of all, doesn't it kind of mock the whole notion of being hungry? Stuffing oneself to the point of gluttony and vomiting is really in poor taste.

During Homecoming week we have auds to announce the court, to announce the winners and there is a short pep rally on the school lawn the day of the game.

Every now and again, I do like a break from class, I truly do. But I think it's gotten out of hand.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Remembrance of Thanksgivings Past

HappyChyck was kind enough last year to share her Thanksgiving memoirs with us. She left me thirsting for more!

I can't really say that I have any spectacular Thanksgiving memories. As a kid, it was just my mom and I, so we were always invited to spend the holiday with my aunt (mom's sister)and her husband's family. They are kind of a disfunctional bunch, but I always liked being part of a big gathering- probably 25-30 people. My mom, on the other hand, did not. Being single, she didn't really have an ally, anyone to dish with later when we got home. My aunt is kind of kooky, so they don't really have the closest relationship and my uncle's family is fraught with DRAMA!. He comes from a family of 5- he is right in the middle, I believe. He is completely inept socially- bad eye contact, holes up in the corner and either reads or plays cards so he does not actually have to interact with others. His older brother lives in Virginia, so he was rarely here for Thanksgiving. He was in VietNam and was exposed to some chemical that caused him to lose all his hair permanently, and wears a really bad wig. He's also an alcoholic, which is unfortunate and sad, but did make his company rather humorous at times. The other brother is the favorite son and is King Dork. He was a band teacher in suburban Chicago before retiring and was very active in his church choir. He wanted the family to sing together- "We Gather Together" or some such nonsense. It wouldn't be so dorky if someone else did it, but he's got this really booming, affected voice. His son was always trying to put the moves on me, kind of, which is gross because it's like one step away from incest- not really, but kind of. Yeah, later,he ended up doing time in the big house for dating a student. Nice. I always liked his daughter until we all went away to college and she ended up going sorority and got completely Muffied.
The youngest son in the clan was pretty funny and much loved- he died very suddenly when he was 32. He also was an alcoholic- and only had 1 kidney. Not a good combination.
The only daughter was 18 years younger than the oldest son. She always came late and spent 2 hours taking a shower and washing and drying her hair. Every year she would do this. There was a period of time when she attended holidays with a lady friend that I think she was in a relationship with, but no one would ever talk about it. Years later, my cousins and I are all like "oh yeah, they were totally a couple". She is married to a man - get this- she met him while she was doing long-term private nursing for his dying wife. They started dating before the poor woman had even died! DRAMA!
The matriarch of the clan is a widow and would always bring like 20 pies with her- practically a pie for every person. She is a very industrious, very frugal woman, very sweet, but also a bit oblivious. She is very religious- belongs to a church that frowns upon alcohol consumption of any kind (did you notice that 2 of her children were alcoholics?). One year, someone made a tub of frozen vodka slush and the ladies were sipping on it during the cooking. Someone did tell Grandma there was alcohol in it, but she kind of acted like she didn't hear them and sucked down 2 or 3 glasses of it. Her late husband was a traveling salesman and would stay with my aunt and uncle sometimes when they were a young married couple. They noticed that after he'd been there, there booze was gone and the bottles had been filled with water. Isn't that sad? Can you imagine finding that out about your dad? And yet, he is held up on this pedestal to this day.
Grandma's mother also came to the festivities. Great grandma of the Germanist name you ever heard- HUGE nose and made an afghan for each great-grandchild even when her hands had gotten so gnarled with arthritis you couldn't believe she was still able to crochet at all. When I graduated from high school, she gave me a card and a note she had written in her 90+ year old handwriting. She enclosed a dollar. It was one of the sweetest things I got. I wasn't even a great grandchild of hers. She lived to be 102.

Once I got to college, Thanksgiving changed. Once I started dating my husband, it changed for good. We don't see my aunt at all on Thanksgiving anymore. I think every family has that shift, where your group has to divide and grow in a different direction.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday, I wrote:
I took a picture of my mantel. I'll post it tomorrow.
Too tired.

Edited Monday to add:
Ok, I may have messed up my NaBloPoMo by editing this. Oh well.
This is a picture of the mantel in our den. It was once wood-burning but previous owners converted it to gas. We use it all the time, as our big ol' house can be quite drafty on a chilly evening. The painting is of my grandparents' home in Bangor, PA. A friend of my grandma's painted it and then it was bequeathed to me.
The clock really chimes, but I get tired of maintaining it. If was just the winding, it would be all right, but it also tends to lose about 15 minutes a week, so I am constantly having to reset it. Hippy overnight company this summer couldn't stand it, so she picked it up and moved it into the other room. Can you imagine being so presumptuous at someone else's home?
The hurricanes are filled with the infamous gourds and pinecones. This summer I filled them with sand and seashells. At Christmas, I've done candycanes one year and vintage glass Christmas bulbs another. In January, I have some silvery blue/snowflake things I put in them. In February, I fill it with some kind of Valentine candy and at Easter I put jelly beans in the bottom as the base and then a candle.
The burgundy walls are not my fave. It's paint over textured wallpaper. We will eventually paint over the paper because taking it off will probably involve huge chunks of wall falling off.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Este fin de semana es uno en que hay demasiadas cosas y no hay suficiente tiempo. Mi suegro (que se deje en paz)siempre usaba la expresion "es como tratar de caber 10 kilos de caca en una bolsa de 5". No se si pierda algo en la traduccion o no.

Hoy fuimos al desfile de Navidad, tambien juntamos con el grupo de "trivia"- vamos a ser los jueces de la proxima Noche de Trivia en nuestra iglesia. Despues, fuimos a la casa de amigos a jugar el juego "Loaded Questions"- que juego divertido. Se aprende mucho de los amigos.

Manana, ambos grupos literarios reuniran- uno en mi casa. Claire tiene que cantar con el coro a la misa de 9:45.

Lunes, necesitare una vacacion de mi fin de semana.

Perdi mi lista de marcas diacriticas - el codigo para la computadora. No lo se de memoria, disculpeme, por favor.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Forum #3

Santa:to believe or not to believe? That is the question for today's edition of The Friday Forum.
Daughter Claire is in the 4th grade and is 9 years old. She has a couple of friends who are a little older. After a recent visit with one of them, she informed me, "I feel sorry for her." I asked her why and she replied "She doesn't believe in Santa. She says her parents do all the work." She even kind of shook her head, as in disbelief at her friend's lack of faith. I said that was too bad and she continued with "I've searched the basement- I know it's not you guys!"
Ok, at some point, she will have to know the truth, and in her heart of hearts, she may already. I'm not ready for it- maybe next year. But give me one more year of the magic.
What about you? What do you think about telling/not telling your kids? When did you figure it out? When did your parents know you figured it out? How did you feel about it?
For me, I think I was in 4th grade and still wanted to believe, but knew that logically, it just wasn't so. I wasn't that disappointed, though, because I still got presents and my stocking got filled. I never felt that I'd been lied to- I enjoyed the spirit of it and I still do. There's a teeny part of me that still believes in Santa- even though now I'm the one filling the stockings. I like the thought of some nice, omniscient man bringing gifts in the middle of a cold, dark, winter's night, leaving them at our hearth and asking nothing in return. To me, that is the true spirit of giving- giving with your heart and asking for nothing in return.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thirteen Signs That It's Thanksgiving at La Casa de T

1. No one on the Mr. T's family is able to make a decision regarding when, where and if we will all be celebrating together. Seriously. One year it was the Sunday before and they were still like "Wha? We're not sure what our plans are yet...".

2. The annual watching of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I don't get tired of it. I really love it when Snoopy deals out the toast.

3. The Chicas T do not have school on Wed. Woo hoo! Let's hear it for collective bargaining!

4. The Family T commemmorates the meeting of Mr. and Mrs. T by going out to eat and attending the Festival of Trees the night before Thanksgiving.

5. The turkey and fixings have been bought.

6. Mrs. T stresses out about the making of gravy. I am a purist when it comes to gravy - no jarred or powdered stuff for me!

7. The Thanksgiving books have been hauled down from the attic and we have multiple readings of A Cranberry Thanksgiving.

8. The tv is tuned to NBC to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade- the original- while the turkey cooks and fills our house with wonderful smells.

9. All of the serving dishes are laid out with sticky notes telling what goes in them. (I know, control freak, but very much worth the effort.)

10. Unlike others in our neighborhood, the Christmas decorations are NOT put up. I don't quite understand people going directly from Halloween to Christmas.

11. Mr. and Mrs. T watch Home for the Holidays. Possibly the BEST holiday movie EVER.

12. The dining room table is all set and dressed up in its holiday best. I am lucky to have inherited china and silver from several different people and I really do use it.

13. We make turkey notes. I guess it's really just a local thing, but they are a sweet tradition.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book Chat 2: Caramelo

Read this book. If you liked The House on Mango Street and found yourself wanting more, then you will love this book. Amazon describes it as being long, but not long enough. It is about a Mexican-American family. To me, more important is how Sandra Cisneros writes. You can tell she's a poet by the language she chooses.

Short post tonight. We went to see "Annie"- Broadway touring company. It's late. I'm tired. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Teacher Talk Tuesday #2

I teach Spanish. At the high school where I teach, Spanish and other foreign languages are electives. They are not required for graduation. Most colleges and universities require at least 2 years of the same foreign language for admission, some require 4. Most students who are college bound take at least 2 years.

Now, teaching an elective has its advantages. We don't have to have every.single. schmo. in our classes being one of them. We aren't under the microscope in terms of performance in the same way that, say, English, math and science teachers are.

It also has its disadvantages. Our numbers fluctuate from year to year, often causing great stress and strife when it comes down to staffing. We have to get creative sometimes if we want everyone to stay gainfully employed. If the kids get it in their heads that they don't like a particular teacher, they may opt to not take that class, and thus, enrollment goes down.

That being said, I have a colleague who feels very strongly that foreign language should be one of the "core" classes. Sounds good in theory, right? The ironic thing is that this particular teacher would never survive having the general population in his classes. He has no idea of how to teach to all kinds of kids. His classes always start out with a certain number of students, then about 30-40% of them fail and he ends up with very small classes consisting of very high functioning students. I just found out today that he is about 2-3 chapters ahead of everyone else in his Spanish 1 class, despite the fact that we have a district wide pacing chart. So, his students in Spanish 1 had to go through the material at light speed, which was probably all right for the upper kids, but for the rest? Is that good teaching? It seems counter to his wish for this to be a core class. He alienates the students by speaking Spanish ALL the time- to the point where they are frustrated and completely shut down.

Personally, I have found that it's important to speak as much Spanish as possible, without losing my students. They don't have to take Spanish and if they are completely turned off, they won't take it and then I won't have a job at my school anymore.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" -Auntie Mame

I don't consider myself to be a huge "old" movie buff, although I suppose I am in comparison with other people my age. While channel surfing, I was recently reminded of the movie Auntie Mame and the insane lengths I once went to just to watch it.
It was my first year of teaching and I was in that in-between stage of being not quite a grown up and not quite a college student. I had my own apartment, but still spent time at "home", aka my mother's house. One afternoon over Christmas break, I had gone over to do laundry at my mom's and we were hit with the dreaded of all midwestern weather catastrophes: The Ice Storm. They often start out gently- just a little bit of rain, then the temperature drops and you get a beautiful, glass-like layer of ice over everything. It was decided that I would stay the night.
I had friends who were still in college and were home visiting. I called one of them, a friend of mine from 5th or 6th grade. She is one of my oldest friends- she and her older sister both. She said that she and her sister were all excited because Auntie Mame was on television that evening. (We did not have cable.) She asked if I wanted to come over. I said sure, then realized that driving was out of the question. I did not want to walk by myself in the dark, so she and her sister walked the few blocks to my mom's house from their mom's house and then we all walked back together. We were like a travelling Dick Van Dyke trio- slipping and sliding and falling- shrieking and screaming with laughter. We walked where we knew grass normally grew, since underneath the ice was snow and we could get our footing. This worked fine until we reached the end of a lawn and had to cross a driveway. It was hilarious- we'd stand still, in a half crouched position and just slowly slide down toward the street, which didn't matter anyway because there were virtually no cars in sight. We laughed the whole way there. In spite of it being butt cold, (is that a midwestern thing? butt ugly, butt cold, butt hot, butt slow?)it really was pretty- the moonlight catching the crystal-covered trees and sidewalks and lawns, and, well, everything, accompanied by the eerie silence that is found on night-time snowy walks.
When we finally reached our destination, we three piled onto the couch, armed with blankets and popcorn, the smell of a wood fire burning in the fireplace, spicy herbal tea steeping in someone's cup. We giggled and smiled and enjoyed the movie, not having to give it 100% of our attentions, since it is not that heavy of a movie and quite silly. Any movie with a character named Miss Gooch? Come on.
I can't remember if I stayed over or if the salt trucks had been out and they were able to drive me home. It's not that great a memory, not that great a movie, but that night was so happy, so fun, so carefree. There weren't to be many more nights like that. Grown up responsibilities of jobs and kids and just being sensible would soon come into the forefront. But not that night. That night, we 20-something women were once again our 7th grade selves.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This s@#$ never happens to Martha Stewart

Here is my attempt at some Harvest decor. The squirrels seem to think that these little pumpkin gourds are tasty and that my porch is the Old Country Buffet.

This is what it's supposed to look like:

Charming, no? The small gourds and small white pumpkins are from the neighbors' bumper crop resulting from throwing last years' rotting gourds into their backyard. Too bad the damn squirrels like them, too. We live on freaking Oak Lane, for the love of God- there are more than enough acorns to sustain them. Why they gotta eat my porch bling?

It's times like these when I fear I have turned into this guy:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

los Anuncios

En mis clases, mis estudiantes tienen que hacer "anuncios" en que hablen de algo enfrente de la clase. No es un discurso, sino unos 3 o 4 oraciones de algo en su vida. Creo que se vale más si hablen de algo que les pertenezca a ellos. He aprendido mucho de mis estudiantes- donde trabajan, cosas de sus familias, sus vacaciones, sus gustos, como pasan su tiempo libre.
Estos "posts" en español son "anuncios" para mi. Mis estudiantes me quejan y dicen que no pueden pensar en lo que van a contar. Así es para mi.

Friday, November 09, 2007

This one time, at Jesus Camp....

It's time for the Friday Forum, Edition #2. Today's topic is the FCA, which is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and its public school sponsorships.

Let me start by saying that I am a member of the Catholic church, my kids attend Catholic school. I am not anti-Christian. I may not be, nor have I ever been athletic, but I am not anti-athlete.

I did some research- not extensive, but I went to the FCA site. I found out that "Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ." I don't find that to be too earth-shattering. Their mission statement is "To present to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church." As an organization, I can't see anything wrong with it. Those who wish to join, join. Those who don't, don't. There doesn't seem to be any message to those not wishing to join that they are less worthy than those who do, and I don't get that from people who are part of it, either.

I do question, however, its place in a public school. I asked one of my students who is a member if non-athletes could join, and he said no. Makes sense. I asked if Jewish kids could join. (I have a great rapport with this kid and have known him for 3 years now- it was a very friendly conversation.) He said very matter-of-factly that unless they believed in Jesus, then no. Again, makes sense. But what message does that send to our students- especially when a prominent faculty member is the advisor of the group? What does it say to the Jewish kids, the kids whose families do not practice any religion-and there are many, the Unitarian kids, the Muslim kids (I don't think we have any), the Buddhist kids (we have a few, mostly Vietnamese), the Wiccan kids? Doesn't it exclude them in an institution that is supposed to accept all of them? Do they get around it because they meet outside of the school day?

Plus, honestly, I just don't get the juxtaposition of religion and athletics. (Unless it's a Hail-Mary pass) Call me crazy, but I just don't.

I know that many kids could use a little Jesus in their otherwise messed up lives. I know that. But is a public school the place?

*PS: Claire attended a Christian sleep-away camp last summer- with more of a focus on the camp than the Christian. Great experience- will send her back. Yes, I saw the movie Jesus Camp and although I was deeply disturbed by it, I don't think everyone who is a Christian is like that.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What's That Smell?

Thirteen Perfumes that Mrs. T Has Worn

I am a very olfactory oriented person, which at times has been both a blessing and a curse. I LOVE perfume, but at the same time certain scents can give me an instant headache. Certain smells remind me of particular times in my life or I associate them with certain people. I'm going to start with the most recent and go as deep into my past as I can until I hit 13. Are you ready? Let's go!

This is what I wear a lot- yeah, me and Marilyn Monroe. I love how it smells- very soft and classic. At one time I had the body cream as well and would layer it with the cologne. I've had the perfume, the cologne, the eau de perfume and I think the eau de toilette. I remember wearing it in college and one of my boyfriends (like I had so many... ) just kept burying his nose in the neck of my fuzzy red angora sweater and inhaling deeply- THAT's how much he loved it. Can't say that he was that much into me... but that's a different story. I've been wearing it for about 20 years and I haven't gotten tired of it. The perfume, not the sweater.

2. Chanel's Chance is my other favorite. It's much more dramatic than No.5- it's one that people actually ask me "What are you wearing?" I can't wear it in the summer, however- it's too heady for me.

3. To quote a review from Now Smell This "Lovely is described as "a "silky white amber" and has notes of mandarin, bergamot, rosewood, lavender, apple martini, patchouli, paper whites, orchid, cedar, white amber, musk and woods.
Lovely starts as a soft citrusy wood scent. There is a touch of lavender, but no corresponding harshness. It dries down to a subdued musky-woods perfume, with distinct notes of rosewood and cedar. The floral notes are extremely muted, the amber is clean, and the patchouli is a mere whisper. I never caught the apple martini at all."
To me, it smells like Aveda hair products- heavenly. I like it, but I think I like it better on other people. Mr. T, on the other hand, LOVES it.

"This playful fragrance from Victoria's Secret incorporates such bubbly notes as freesia, peony, citrus, bergamot, and juniper berry. The result is a fresh and modern floral perfume for the woman who respects tradition but likes to try something new once in a while." I think that describes me very well!
I treated myself to a small bottle of this last spring when we were in Memphis. I was having a pretty bad case of Spring Fever and wanted something springy to spray on myself. I liked it, but I won't like it in a few years. I'm glad I bought a very small bottle of it.


This is from Caswell-Massey, Elixir of Love No.1. It's very floral-kind of reminiscent of Benetton's "Colors", if that means anything to you. It mostly reminds me of when Claire was first born, since that was what I wore a lot of. About a month before she was born we went to Iowa City to do some Christmas shopping downtown. One of my favorite haunts is The Soap Opera (there's one in Madison, too). Mr.T bought me a bottle of this on that day- one of our last outings as a couple without children.


This is Rapture, from Victoria's Secret. I got the whole set- perfume, lotion, bath gel, bubble bath from a guy who was just a friend the Christmas I started dating Mr.T. This friend also had a girlfriend. He bought her skanky underpants from VS. Would YOU want your boyfriend to give another woman perfume from Victoria's Secret?
It's very heavy, sexy perfume. It's too heavy for me anymore.

Ah yes, Trésor, by Lancome. I've gone through several bottles of this- usually when Lancome has a nifty GWP, for which I am a total whore. I wore this when I first started teaching. The Lancome site describes it as: " Romantic. Sensual. Emotional. The elegance of rose, muguet and lilac. The sparkle of apricot blossom. A glorious golden coral, so every drop opens like petals on the skin." To me it means being an independent young woman in the beginning stages of her career. It means beautiful autumn days, staying up late. It's a very nostalgic scent for me.


Oh, I thought I was so sophisticated wearing this! I wore it all through college- it is very heavy and smells fabulous. These fine people describe it as " the result of the following top fragrance notes: mandarin, pimento and coriander. The middle notes are: rose, carnation and cinnamon and the base of the fragrance is: amber vanilla and honey. Coco Chanel perfume is labeled as a classic fragrance." I had 2 bottles of it and was shopping one day with some friends and saw it at the perfume counter and sprayed some on my wrists to see if I still liked it- thinking perhaps I'd get another bottle. I had to ride home with the car windows down it smelled so bad on me! My body chemistry must have changed, because I absolutely cannot wear it anymore. I've tried to several times, but it just reeks. I like it on other people, I just can't wear it anymore.


Well-put by Fragrance x .com: "Anne Klein Perfume by Anne Klein, Anne klein is a classic fragrance introduced in 1984 that posses a soft floral scent to it. It is a refreshing blend of soft powdery flowers as well as white floral notes of gardenia, jasmine, and lily of the valley. It is an elegance is recommend for daytime wear."
This is another one that is nostalgic for me. I wore it late in high school and in college. The funny thing is that I just had a very small bottle of it, but I must have doled it out sparingly enough that I had it for several years. It was never my favorite, but when I wore it, I always thought "Oooh, this smells good!". It reminds me of a sunny fall day on a college campus- and for some reason it always makes me think of this really cool plaid purse I had that I stupidly got rid of.


Perfumania says:"WHITE SHOULDERS perfume by EVYAN was launched in 1945. This fine fragrance contains neroli, tuberose, gardenia and is accented with jasmine, orris and musk. WHITE SHOULDERS is recommended for formal use." Formal use-ha! I wore this in middle school- I think I wanted it because it was mentioned in Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself, by Judy Blume, which I read over and over and over and over again. And then again.
The perfume I loved- LOVED, I tell you, until one day my junior year in high school, I sprayed it on my wrist and about gagged. Again with the body chemistry. I couldn't wash it off fast enough.


Not to be confused with the Versace fragrance by the same name, THIS was quite the fragrance in the 70s. Yes, you could spray some on and put on your granny square poncho and gauchos and leave the house in style. It was one of my first "real" bottles of cologne- not like that Tinkerbell crap they tried to pawn off on us . Makes me think of roller disco.


If you were in middle school in the late 70s/early 80s, and you are female, then you probably had a bottle of this. You may not have worn it, but you had a bottle of it. Pink perfume, white lid. Smelled like baby products-powder, lotion. Actually, it smells quite nice. I can't imagine wearing it now, mind you, but it definitely has its place among the tweens. I'd rather my daughters wear it than something that smells like gummy bears.

This is Avon's shining star of the 1970's- Sweet Honesty. We had a neighborhood Avon lady who would come to our house. Her name was Louise and she had dark brown hair that she probably went to a beauty parlor to have washed and set once a week. She had these cool Avon bags-blue vinyl- that housed all her wares. Oh, it was quite the event. Sometimes she would leave my mother with a small white tube of lipstick to try, or a tiny glass vial of perfume. I particularly loved it when she'd show us the new novelty bottles of perfume. One Christmas, I got a bottle of Sweet Honesty that looked like this:

And THAT was so cool. The application, however, was a tad awkward- not a spray bottle, you see. The atomizer would have messed with the novelty of the bottle. I'm sure you all had at least one Avon bottle shaped like something and filled with something that would now make you shudder.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
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Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

It's Wed, which means I'm supposed to do a book chat.
One of my book groups just read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See. It's about 2 girls living in China during the last century, I believe. They are of middle class background and thus have their feet bound. I found myself fascinated and horrified by this whole barbaric process. The bones in their feet actually break and it smelled terrible, not to mention the danger that the girl could die. They began the foot binding at age 6 or 7- can you imagine?
The focus of the story was the friendship between these 2 girls and the secret women's writing that they used to communicate with each other. It is told from Lily's point of view, who is now an old woman wanting to set the record straight. I found the author's voice to be very intimate and her descriptions of life in China at that time were incredible.
I highly recommend this book- it's a quick read and it will immediately draw you in. You will find yourself caring about these characters as if they were real people.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Welcome to Stepford, I'll be your Teacher

Currently, our district has hopped on the "Let's All Be on the Same Page on the Same Day" bandwagon. They want us all to give common assessments, which I don't feel is too bad for the final exam, but find it to be a little dictatorial when it comes to quizzing and testing throughout the term. They want us all to agree to and then commit to using the same weighted grading scale- and when I say all, I mean all of us in the World Languages department. This includes teachers at 3 high schools of 2000, 1600 and 1200 students, as well as 6 middle schools that have anywhere from 400 to 750 students each. Teachers in general tend to be a bit verbose, but language teachers take it to a whole, nutha, level. So, the likelihood of us all agreeing on a grading scale? Slim to none.

I know that the reasoning behind this is theoretically to create more equity in the education that our students are receiving. I am not opposed to equity. However, I have a certain teaching style, as do all teachers, and I think my quizzes, etc. should reflect that. Unless every single kid is taught by the exact same person, I don't see how this can play out.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Battle Axe in 4A

It's Monday in November, aka National Blog Posting Month aka NaBloPoMo, so that must mean I need to take a walk down memory lane. I have a really good memory, so it might seem that this would be an easy task, but really it's harder- where to begin?

My daughter is in 4th grade this year. Part of the mother-daughter dynamic seems to include a peck of "I remember when I was your age" anecdotes. For me, fourth grade was awful. To begin with, I was cursed with having possibly the meanest teacher on earth as my homeroom teacher. There were 3, and I got the mean one. Miss Marjorie Bowers was her name and she was an old battle-axe of a woman. At 60+ years, and I'm guessing at that because she retired at the end of the year, she had a rather imposing physique- sturdy of stature, one of those old-lady bosoms that is just, well, scary; short, steel-gray hair, wire-framed glasses, watery blue eyes that held not an ounce of warmth, not a drop of kindness. She always wore pants- of the polyester variety, and usually a button-down blouse that was never tucked in. Sometimes she wore a strand of hideous beads or a medallion of some sort that could take out an eye if she swung around too fast. Despite the fact that she wore a necklace on occasion, she was not the most feminine person. She spoke with a Missouri (pronounced "Miz-ur-uh") accent- she said "warsh", for example. Her voice was unpleasant as well.

Her severity at Grant Wood Elementary School was legendary. All schools have teachers like that, hell, some of us even strive to be one of those teachers. Her reputation was warranted, however. I was witness to it during science one day. We were reading out of our textbooks- round robin style, when she called on Heath to read. He was a squirrelly kid- always getting in trouble for jacking around, but hella funny, and always with a big, toothy grin on his face. Those were the beginning days of special ed. We knew there were kids who left our classroom and went to get extra help from Mrs. Fife, and he was one of them. Nobody told us that's what they were doing, but we all knew, just as we knew that the Bluebirds reading group was the High group, the Cardinals were the Middle group and the Hummingbirds were the Low group. Nobody had to tell us, we just knew. We had all been in school together since kindergarten and knew each other's weaknesses and strengths. We knew that when Miss Bowers called on Heath that he would have trouble with many of the words, that she would have to help him. We didn't get nervous when she called on him, we knew what his capabilities were and so did she. He started out, faltering a bit here and there. She stuck her big, meaty finger on his page, pointing with her middle finger like she always did, trying to help him follow along. She corrected him several times, said a few words for him several other times, grumpy and irritated. She finally lost it, muttering angrily, "Baby. You can't read." and grabbed him by the back of his head and pushed it down, hard, on his desk, where he lay humiliated, and crying. By 4th grade, if the boys cried, it was a big deal. Our class was silent, horrified. Miss Bowers continued the "lesson", whatever it was, I have no recollection. What I do remember from that day was how she managed to cut our classmate off at the knees; our smiling, funny, quick with a joke classmate; our friend. We hated her.

I don't know what happened with her, because she did retire at the end of the year, but I think she waited until the summer to announce it. In fifth grade, we had to wish her a happy retirement into a tape recorder - the idea of one of the other teachers in the building. I remember feeling like I absolutely could not wish this woman well after she had been such a hateful, despicable presence in my world the previous year. I either managed to avoid recording a message for her at all, or choked one out because we had to- one of those "be the bigger person" lessons.

I think of her every once in a while- and shudder. I try and imagine things from her point of few, especially now that I'm an adult and have a classroom of my own. I imagine that she was once someone's child- she would have been born somewhere around 1913, lived through the Depression as a young woman. 65 in 1978 was probably much different than 65 in 2007. It's not that I no longer think she was horrible, for I certainly do. I'm just curious about her story. What was her story?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Picture This

I meant to post this earlier, but it did not happen, and then I sort of "lost" the pictures on the camera. This is a picture of my flip-flop clad foot along with the foot of none other than this man:

We here in Iowa have ample opportunity to get up close and personal with pretty much all of the presidential candidates (unless they are the present incumbent, then we must sign an oath of loyalty and will be escorted out and/or arrested if we so much as shake our heads in disagreement) if we so choose. It's pretty cool. However,I will be sooooo glad when the January caucus is over and each party has determined their candidate.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sábado - Estoy Aquí, ¿Qué voy a decir?

Hoy, como les prometí, les escribo en español.
Ahora, miro el reloj y veo que ya es domingo y no he publicado todavía. Me dormí y cuando me desperté, ya era domingo- el tercer día y esto me pasa.
Ni modo, técnicamente, no me he acostado- me dormí mientras acostando a mi hija y con el cambio de hora, sólo estoy una hora tarde. Voy a seguir con NaBloPoMo.

Hoy fui a Madison, WI con mi familia para visitar a una amiga mía y su bebito nuevo. Yo y ella somos amigas por algunos 27 años y se casó con otro amigo que conocí en un trabajo. Ellos no conocieron hasta 20 años después y se enamoraron a la primera vista.

Nos perdimos en Wisconsin, como siempre. Parece que todos los caminos tienen 2 o 3 nombres y cambian de nombre sin noticia. Llegamos a Madison- tuvimos que quedarnos en 151 y iba a hacerse "Midvale". Pues, eso fue lo que pasó, pero no vimos que se hizo "Midvale", pero vimos un letrero que dijo "151 N", entonces lo seguimos. Fuimos a la capital y por el centro- casi media hora más al viaje. Debíamos seguir el camino hasta que vimos Borders.

Siempre nos pasa cuando vamos a Wisconsin. Viniendo de Milwaukee- la misma cosa. Ibamos a ir al sur, para Rockford, IL- y completamente fallamos la salida. No nos dimos cuenta hasta que vimos letreros para Madison. Ay ay ay.

Escribiré más esta tarde. Ojalá que no me quiten de NaBloPoMo.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Forum #1

Today's Friday Forum will be about online classes. Just so I make myself clear, I've never actually taken an online class- the closest I came was some lame ed. class that was more of a correspondance course and I ended up not finishing it because there was such an extreme amount of busy work and I had just had my second baby and was not really up for it. (the class, not the baby.) I did have a field experience student who was supposedly getting a master's in education (or was it teaching? and what exactly is the difference?) and her classes were all online.
Here's where I am with the online class: as a student, I would have loved it- do the work whenever it fit into the day, wear my jammies and not have to GO to class. No more yadyada. As a teacher, I think it would also be easier in some ways. Post assignments, students send them back electronically, or not. "Teach" class in my jammies, post stuff whenever it's convenient.
As a semi-responsible PERSON, however, I think it's important to GO to a college class. The whole experience- quirky profs, fascinating, irritating, inspiring profs; annoying non-traditional students, slacker types, people going through similar experiences that you are. I don't think that all classes can or should be offered as online courses. In my ed. classes, which, I'm sorry to say, weren't that challenging, I learned from the annecdotes the profs and other students contributed way more than textbook material. Plus, if you're not actually, physically there, isn't there opportunity for cheating galore?
What do you guys think of online classes? Anyone taken one? Taking one? Teaching one?


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thirteen Things about Mrs. T's Blog

1…. I am going to give the ol' NaBloPoMo a try, as I mentioned. To keep myself from stressing every day over what I shall write about, I have come up with a month-long plan in which I have a theme or focus for each day of the week. During the month of November, anyway, I will be participating in the Thursday Thirteen.

2. Fridays will be host to a "Friday Forum" in which I open up something for discussion. Does that make me a comment whore? Maybe. Oh well.

3. Each Saturday, in honor of the extra over the top show on Univisión, Sábado Gigante, I will be posting in Spanish. I apologize in advance to any butchering of the language that I may do.

4. Sunday will be a snapshot of something I feel like sharing with y'all. Any requests?

5. Mondays will be a trip down memory lane. I will post something about my past. Don't get too excited, I'm really not that interesting.

6. Tuesday will be Teacher Talk- I'll post something teacherish, either what I'm doing in my classroom or some pertinent educational issue.

7. Wednesday will be my Book Chat- I'll post about what book I'm currently reading or maybe an old favorite.

8. NaBloPoMo reminds me of the Seinfeld episode "The Contest" for some reason. Only instead of pledging NOT to do some, uh, pleasuring of the self, we are all pledging to do it. Isn't this just the writer's version of that, anyway?

9. The title of my blog, Chuchería, means: Knick-knack, trinket, or tidbit in Spanish. My friend and I used it constantly when we were in Mexico- lots of chuchería in the shops.

10. I feel horribly unskilled in this whole blogging thing- most of what I know how to do I know by accident-just fiddling around. I don't know if that makes me quite clever or quite dopey.

11. I'm always a bit disappointed when one of my blogging friends drops out.

12. I am curious about Facebook, but don't want to be accused of being a pedophile, so I haven't ever looked at any of the sites.

13. This is the first time I've ever officially done Thursday Thirteen OR NaBloPoMo.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!