30 Day Challenge – Day 28

A Drawing

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My Julius Caesar stick people theater, drawn on the board in my classroom last year. Mostly by me, with some embellishments from students here and there…

Stuff

Time for a few stream-of-consciousness ramblings…

Life taken over for the past week or so by end-of-quarter grades. Survived. Also survived report card night fully intact. (Last night, parents could come to school and pick up their child’s report card, and talk to any teachers they wished to talk to. I was VERY nervous, but it was fine.)

Wish we had the whole day off tomorrow instead of a half day, but I’ll get by. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Adam Lambert’s performance at the AMAs? Over the top? Yes. But what do you expect, America, from the guy who cites Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga as favorite artists/influences? And how is it any different than anything, oh, say, Madonna has ever done? Seriously. She is literally famous for pulling this sort of thing at awards shows. (Incidentally, apart from the S/M overtones, the whole thing reminded me a lot of Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted” video. Coincidence?)

Just as a general statement to all–the busier I get, the more absent-minded I get. That means I do things like forget to answer my e-mail. If I forgot to answer your email, I humbly apologize. :-/

Still in the market for a smartphone. Currently considering the new Motorola Droid on Verizon…

Got to meet my very first niece (!!) over the weekend. Had a nice visit with David and family, but forgot to bring the camera. Will take pictures over the holiday. If you’ve been following me on facebook, you know that it’s been busy, busy baby time on both sides of the fam. Rand’s nephew had a baby boy, making me (despite my protestations that it’s simply not possible) a great aunt. My cousin Meghan went into labor about two months early and was rushed to Pittsburgh to deliver. Baby Fiona is just over 2 pounds, but I understand she (and mom) are both doing fine. The family appreciates all of your kind words/thoughts/prayers.

I started reading Margaret Atwood’s new book, but lord knows when I’ll find the time to finish it. I’m enjoying it so far.

I finished reading the Ed Brubaker Daredevil Omnibus. Wow, did that one end on a downer.

I’ve made micro improvements at DDR. I’m still playing at the lowest level (thanks for that tip, Linda!), but I’m starting to get the hang of it, I think.

I’m sure I have more to say, but I’m gonna call this a post. Tomorrow, I bake. If I am so motivated, I will post photos. Happy almost-Thanksgiving!

Things I am behind on

1. Grading. Always. I need to accept that this is just a normal state of being for an English teacher…especially one who took on an extra class. (I love, love, love teaching my college class. I really do…the class is fun, and they’re a great group of students. But I am exhausted.)

2. TV watching. Watched HIMYM last night, but not Big Bang (yes, I did hear how funny it was…). Almost caught up with Glee (just last week’s ep to watch, which yes, I also heard was awesome, thanks). Some shows I have given up on watching currently and will catch them on DVD (Dollhouse and Castle among them).

3. TC stuff. Must do newsletter for October…I am committing to doing that today, even though I should be grading and/or lesson planning. Sorry ’bout that.

4. Birthdays. My sister-in-law’s birthday was yesterday and I have not mailed her card yet. I did write on her facebook wall, though… (happy birthday, Leslie! I’m sorry!)

Ah…in other news, I am greatly enjoying my new MacBook Pro! I have the most awesome husband ever. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On that note…

5. Moving all of the information and applications I need from the old computer to the new computer. I’ve got all my documents, pictures, and music, and some applications. I need to get all my bookmarks (from firefox) and my address book over to the new computer.

6. Reading. Um, yeah. I did finish Transmetropolitan. Also, Rand has me reading some horrible, overwritten, soap-opera-y comic from the late 70s-early 80s that he read as a teenager. But pages filled with words? Nothing, except the stuff I’m reading for school and my college class (mostly short stories and epic poems. sample: “The Secret Life of Walter Mittty,” “The Necklace,” “The Most Dangerous Game,” “Gift of the Magi,” “Beowulf,” “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” “The Lottery,” “The Things They Carried.” etc.

I need more hours in the day.

—>side note. I’m really tired of freshmen telling me that “they read that story last year.”One of the problems of teaching in a Catholic school, I guess, is that it’s nearly impossible to align the curriculum. Ah well.

Ok, I should get to work on…something. Toodles.

Autumn’s here

And so a new header to celebrate!

I swear I had something more to say…

Oh, yeah. Homecoming week at school. Today was “dress like a rock star day,” as some of you are aware (those who follow me on facebook, anyway). I decided to try and approximate Pat Benatar. I really should have taken a picture. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And in other news, still busy. Still haven’t uploaded the photos from my camera. Ummm…

Entourage is much more awesome than I ever thought possible.

Also, Glee! I am not up-to-date, but they are saved on the TiVo. Awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll catch upย  one of these days, and then we can talk..

BufBloPoFo 09 Topic for Day 12

Lisa, Maeve, Addie and I had Unkie BAStart and Auntie Outgrabes over for some vino and pastries last night. The girls, happy to have an audience, but happier to have cookies, took their time heading for bed. Parental wherewithal can come from years of childrearing, or it can apparently be pulled from a bag of goodies bought at Starbucks. That kind of knowledge doesnโ€™t come automatically for parents, so for day 12 (three more days!) I want to hear your best advice for those of us raising kids.

So, I was all set to say, “I’ve got nothin’.” After all, I don’t have kids. I certainly don’t know anything about raising them.

But then, I thought…wait a minute. I’m a teacher. I should have a thing or two to say about this topic, right? Granted, I don’t get the little darlings until they’ve reached puberty, and that’s a whole different ballgame than raising little ones. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yeah, here’s my advice, for whatever it’s worth:

Read. Read to your kids. Read with your kids. Let your kids see you reading. Take them to the library. Surround them with books. If reading is a normal part of their life from the start, they’ll be less likely to hate it later on. Also, there is no end to the benefits kids get from reading. Their vocabulary skills will be stronger. They’ll be better writers. They’ll be better thinkers, better communicators, better equipped for the future. They’ll be more curious about the world, and they’ll know where to turn when they have questions.

But hey, you’re bloggers…I don’t really have to tell you any of this, do I? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and when they’re teenagers? Don’t let them wear flip-flops to school in the middle of winter. Seriously.

Random Monday Things

In easy, bullet-point form.

  • Over the weekend, I purchased this book. It is chock full of low-fat, low-calorie recipes involving PUMPKIN! WHEE!
  • As of today’s “Biggest Loser” weigh-in, I am down 5 pounds from the weight that so horrified me and prompted me to join the competition. That’s nearly halfway to my target, so yay.
  • Eden just invited me to a Facebook event that brought this song to my attention. I was amused, so I thought I’d post it here. (It’s a Steeler fan parody of Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies.” Darn it all, that song is catchy.)
  • Eden and I chose and notified our Dead of Winter contest winners. Yay!
  • It is mid-term/Regents week at school, and the marking period closes Friday. That means I have no classes to teach this week, but I have a TON of work to do. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I proctor exams. When I’m not doing that, I’ll be grading or entering grades.
  • Rand and I decided to attend Trinity @ 7 last evening. We enjoyed it, and will probably be back. What makes it even more enticing? Completely randomly, we ran into his cousin Paul and his girlfriend Tyra there. Tyra was reading! Small, small Buffalo world.
  • Have not yet located a Wii. I just need to sit down and make phone calls one of these days.
  • Chatted with my dear friend Stephanie today. It had been far too long! So thanks again, Stephanie, for pinning me down. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Through a serendipitous series of events that led to me being online friends with Jessica (aka miss_shortskirt), I got to read an ARC of Ally Carter’s upcoming book. Squee! I *heart* this series.ย  I’ll have to post a review.
  • Since I was a slacker and didn’t really post last week, I forgot to mention the inauguration. I got to watch for a bit at school, and I thought it was incredibly moving.ย  Yay, President Obama!

    Is there more? Probably, but that’s all I can manage for now. Toodles!

    Cue tumbleweeds

    So yeah, it’s been pretty quiet around here…between the craziness of before Christmas, during Christmas, post-Christmas traveling and getting back to school, there just hasn’t been a lot of free time. And what little I’ve had, I’ve mostly spent vegging out on the couch.

    I’m starting to settle back into my daily routine here…although it hasn’t been easy…and one of these days I’ll sit down to tell some tales of our travels. (I don’t know what my problem is, but I can’t seem to focus for long enough to write a proper blog entry these days. As it is, I’ve already revisited this post three times, not even two paragraphs in. Sigh.)

    I’m very happy to see the weekend looming on the horizon. I’m realizing that it’s been a while since we had a full week of school, and today just dragged. The kids are goofy, and I’m exhausted.

    In other news, I stepped on a scale over Christmas break, and I was appropriately horrified. I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. So this Monday, I joined up with my school’s “Biggest Loser” contest…not because I have any delusions about winning, but because it will keep me honest. I have to weigh in every Monday, and if I gain, I have to pay. I’ve been trying to be better about what and how much I’m eating and drinking this week. Next step–exercise. I want to feel like I need to join a gym, because I will never, ever exercise outside in the winter. (in addition to hating being cold and wet, I’m mildly asthmatic. Breathing the cold air=wheezing.) And when I’m at home, well, it’s way too easy to get sucked into other stuff. I dread this. There’s a BAC for Women close by, which is probably my best option…but I hate them for their hard selling and relentless phone calls. Also, I hate that I can’t go to their website and find out how much a membership is. I have to go there and listen to a sales person yammer at me, and I don’t want to do it. There is also a Planet Fitness nearby which has the advantages of being very reasonably priced and gives me the ability to sign up online. However, Planet Fitness is equipment-only…no classes. I like classes. So, what to do? (Suggestions welcome)

    And that’s it for me. (ooh, goody! a whole post completed!) Happy-almost-weekend!

    A quick update, and random internet things

    If I start to think about all the things I haven’t gotten around to posting about…well, I’ll just find myself getting horribly overwhelmed, and that would be counterproductive for me right now. I find it strange that my life feels SO much busier than it did at this time last year, when I had *more* going on. After all, I dropped my college class (I taught one class during the fall last year) AND I am no longer planning a wedding. So why do I feel so buried all the time?

    I’m finding myself really missing the block scheduling that was introduced at the school where I worked last year. With that schedule, I found myself VERY busy two days out of every 8-day cycle, but the rest of the days were more gently-paced and productive. Now? I don’t feel like I’m ever caught up. I’m feeling better than I was at the beginning of the year, but still awfully crazy most days. And being an introvert by nature, I’m utterly exhausted by the end of the day…most Fridays, I feel ready to cry with relief when the last bell rings. This past week, I’ve been trying to focus on giving myself some time to relax and reenergize at the end of every day. I put on some calming music, light a candle, use my aromatherapy heat wrap, and this seems to be helping. I should also be working more yoga into my weekly schedule. I’ve been thinking about joining a gym as well. We’ll see…

    Anyway, here’s what I’ve been looking at on the internet the past couple of days. This post, from cracked.com, might be the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.

    The 5 most horrifying bugs in the world

    For the love of all that is holy, let me never come into contact with that Japanese giant hornet. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh!

    Then, just for kicks, I read this: a Roman Catholic priest threatened with excommunication for daring to suggest that hey, maybe Rome should consider the idea of ordaining women. That, along with the comments I’ve read on that article, remind me why I voluntarily announced my resignation from the Catholic Church a few years ago. I briefly considered writing a full-blown Catholicism-WOW! rant on this topic, but I just don’t have the energy.

    So there ya go…enjoy, and have a happy Friday!

    Sooooooo busy…

    I have to read both A Raisin in the Sun and Of Mice and Men within the next week.

    We have open house tonight.

    Interim grades have to be in tomorrow, and I still have a bunch of essays to grade.

    I wrote six discipline referrals today.

    Thankfully, I’m giving a test in two of my classes tomorrow…that should be a good opportunity for me to get some things accomplished.

    In other news…I received an issue of The Martha (TM: Eden) in my mailbox yesterday, courtesy of Jen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ve been told to keep watching my mailbox, so who knows what the mailman will bring me next? Stay tuned, and thanks, Jen!

    Reading

    I am positively overwhelmed by reading material right now.

    Last week, in anticipation of the beginning of school, I ordered Teaching Outside the Box by LouAnne Johnson. (LouAnne Johnson is the teacher who wrote the book that inspired the movie Dangerous Minds.) So far, it’s fantastic.

    I also received a slightly belated birthday package from Stephanie, which included Dead Until Dark, the first book in Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series, as well as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

    I bought a few books at the Scholastic Sale that I would like to read, including an Anna Quindlen novel I was unaware of.

    Rand ordered me some cool books from Canada–a series of YA novels by Sean Cullen. You may recognize Sean from Last Comic Standing.

    Or, if you’re like me, you may know him as a member of Corky and the Juice Pigs.

    At any rate, his humor is weird and utterly hilarious. I’m very much looking forward to the books.

    On top of all the reading I’d like to do for fun, of course, I have the required school reading…among the books I’ll be teaching this year:

    • A Raisin in the Sun (familiar with, but have never read)
    • To Kill a Mockingbird (yay! one of my favorites!!)
    • Lord of the Flies (read, but it was a while ago)
    • Night (read)
    • Of Mice and Men (never read. saw the movie back in college)
    • American Born Chinese (haven’t read yet, but very excited about this!)
    • Romeo and Juliet (again, yay!)
    • Julius Caesar (um…yay?)

    I did my master’s project on teaching Shakespeare to high school students, and just about every scholar agrees that Julius Caesar should be ditched from the high school curriculum. Apparently no one is listening. Ah well…I’ll do my best to make it interesting, and promise not to make them memorize and recite “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…” (which is the ONLY thing I remember about reading this play in high school. seriously.)

    Hmmm…overwhelmed much? ๐Ÿ˜‰ In all seriousness, though, I’m beyond excited about this job. And I’ll try my best to squeeze in some reading for pleasure among all the edumacational stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Well, I guess I’d better get to work!