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1/28/10

We do not give up.








"We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength."





Rock on, President Obama.

1/27/10

happy, happy day

Well, e-folks, my world just got a heck of a lot better.

Backstory: When I first started shadowing at new school, I discovered that most of the "good" books (i.e. books with literary merit,) were already checked out by the teachers.

I could either teach some random ghost-written-by-an-athletic-company "book" about a girls basketball team,* or, I could teach Rocket Boys, the memoir the film October Sky was based on.


October Sky is mildly entertaining, and Jake Gyllenhall is attractive, but Rocket Boys is crap.
I admire what Homer Hickman accomplished, but he's not a great writer, he rambles, and I was struggling to find passages that actually taught something. Anything. Theme? Character Development? Storytelling prowess?

Sigh. The only consistent theme revolves around the fact that Homer liked girls who wore tight sweaters. The only literary skill he revealed is an ability to make lame punish things, like "I wanted to dance with her, and then take her to the backseat of my car. I did and we did."

Eye roll.



Anyway, the point of the story is, that by some miracle, I discovered this morning that someone had checked in all the copies of To Kill A Mockingbird.


Blessed Heaven. I get to teach literature.














*Update: Basketball book is apparently title In these Girls, Hope is a Muscle.

Can you even imagine what my teenage students would have done with that title? Holy crap.

1/26/10

well shoot

Hello internet. I have sort of missed you.


Here is a list of things going on over here.

1. Full speed ahead at the new job. It is overwhelming, exhausting, and fun (sometimes.) Right now I feel like I am just trying to keep my head above water. But doggie-paddling my way through employment is way better than the alternative, (faker teaching,) so, as mentioned, full speed ahead. I really like having a job. I'm still navigating how to talk about the job on the internet, but someday, it will all work out.* And what a glorious day that will be. Also, become my real-life friend, I'm a total work blabbermouth in real life.



2. One thing I do not like is 6:30 am meetings. Especially, if they are pointless. Sometimes, I wish life was like college, and I could AP test out of 6:30 meetings where I "learn" a new computer program that is so simple I figured how to do it on my own last week while shadowing. I should note that I am not a particularly computer savvy person, so if I can figure it out, the administration should be able to figure out that I don't need a meeting. Especially at 6:30 am, for the love of Mary and Joseph.



3. As an English teacher, (student, fake, and substitute,) I always hated the kid who asked the "How many pages does my paper need to be? What font? Will this be on the test?," before I finished explaining the concept. So my faculty meeting today amused me, because it was chock full of teachers asking "How many professional development hours do I have to log? Will this be in the faculty email? What time is the meeting?," before the poor shmuck from the district had time to exhale.

Second-Hand-Obnoxious-Adolescent-Disorder, a silent killer that affects the lives of middle-aged teachers everywhere.


4. I decided long before I got a job that I would not be one of those teachers who chucks candy at kids for answering questions. The last thing our often-over-weight-nearly-always-hyper-active youth need is a mini twix candy bar as a reward for doing their job (participating in class.) You know who DOES need a mini-twix candy bar? The new teacher who discovered the old teacher's stash in the desk drawer this morning. Enough said.




5. Lately, I've been appreciating the culinary goodness that is the nacho. It's all I want to eat lately. And before you imply that my cravings are remotely pre-natal, I'll remind you that OCD rules my life, and nachos are not the first food-related obsession I've fostered. Remember my french-dip sandwich phase, mother?



6. Ignore #5 for a moment. In an effort to be healthier, (Hey, I told you to ignore #5,) I decided to try a work-out video recommended to me by a friend. This is all I have to say: Jillian Michaels is kicking my trash, and my legs are so sore I had trouble walking down the stairs today. EPIC FAIL.

Also, a judging space for those who feel inclined. Because I got my trash kicked by a reality TV based work-out video.


________________________________


Ahem.
















*Seriously, I was going to say something, then I practice googled some of the information, and my school popped right up. Thanks, Google! Thanks for ruining my blog-life.

1/18/10

confession.

Preliminary judging space:


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I love watching the Bachelor.



I really do.



And, in a somewhat unrelated, but still related note, can we all just promise to recycle the "jealousy card?" It is the cop-out of the narcissist. You don't like me? You're upset with me? YOU MUST BE JEALOUS OF ME. *


I feel like I need to include more judging space.

________________________________________________

________________________________________________

_________________________________________________


I promise to never talk about this again.


Except, what is WITH all the helicopter rides? Does ABC get a kickback from the helicopter company? SHEESH.























* I've gotten the jealousy card twice in the past month. From the same person. Unfortunately, they are unavailable for The Bachelor.

1/15/10

why hello internets

How are you? Did you have a nice week? This is what I have been doing:


Dan worked late tonight, and being the riveting lover of night-life that I am, I watched Mad Men* and cleaned the bathrooms. Initially, I was just going to clean the sinks and the mirrors, but, as always, my slight- and- not- freakish at all OCD tendencies kicked in**, and 3 episodes of Don Draper later, I find myself standing on a chair cleaning the door frames with bleach.

I exercised some self-control, put down the Mr. Clean magic eraser things, and decided to blog instead. I'm sure you, (and the state of my mental health,) are all extremely grateful.


In other news, this week I hung out at my new school shadowing the existing teacher, who, awkwardly enough, I am replacing. I would like to tell you all sorts of hilarious things that happened this week, but I've developed some weird paranoia about talking about work on the internet. Mostly because I don't want creepers knowing where I work. And because unlike all previous jobs, I would be very upset if I lost this job.

Who wants to hear about my method for removing soap scum?!!!!!!

But, suffice it to say that I like my new school, most of my students seem interesting and tolerable, and that I am very, very excited to be staring on my own next week.


Sometimes people think I am kidding when I tell them I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 16. But it is true. I remember sitting in my American History class junior year and watching the teacher, and realizing, "I'm going to do that someday."

I can't believe it finally happened.


















*Mad Men is rocking my world so hard I cannot even tell you. And yes, I know, I am late for the party on this. And the Potato Peel Society Book. And everything else that was big and new and shiny in 2008. Consider me a time-capsule.



** People are surprised when I talk about my OCD cleaning tendencies, because I'm not a neat person. But it makes sense, if you think about it. I don't like to start cleaning because I can't stop. Combined with a hearty and somewhat paradoxical sense of laziness, you should all be able to understand why my bra has been on the living room floor all week, and yet all my baseboards smell like Clorox.

1/10/10

hmmmmmmm i sort of like it*

"I pray to be religiously orthodox, culturally conservative, politically liberal, and economically pragmatic."


-Richard Neuhaus



What do you think?























*Even if I think faith-based initiatives are none of the above.

1/5/10

"I'm tan...

...and have beautiful hair. "





Just kidding. I'm not and I don't.* But guess who does? My 15 year old brother, Grant. And yes, that IS a direct quote from Grant. Isn't he a peach? Had a lovely time in Mexico with my family, and Grant, and his endless supply of "your mom" jokes.

Here is a list of thoughts:


1. I understand why you are no longer allowed to climb on the ruins Chitzen Itza. Really, thousands of tourists do cause a lot of wear and tear, and I want my kids to be able to see awesome historical sites too. BUT I also wish Spouseman and I could be the exception to the rule. Knowing what is best for other people, but considering myself the exception? I AM a good Democrat.**


2. Speaking of history, the irony of staying at a Mexican resort modeled after a Spanish colonial villa, (complete with Mexicans serving white people drinks on the beach) was not lost on me. I wish I could talk to the owners of the resort, because really? That was the best idea you had? This is why "themes" are never really a good idea. Why can't the "theme" for the resort just be "lots of food and alcohol and water-related entertainment?" Probably the same reason suburban women wear cowboy boots in engagement pictures, and photographers put babies in tutus, and people hold weddings in barns: people are stupid. And, in the case of our resort, culturally insensitive. ***

This is what a highly liberal humanities based education gets you, folks. Major in science. It pays better, and you can go to resorts guilt free.


3. Occasionally, I read grown-up books. Here are some grown-up books I read whilst on vacation:


Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay- I liked this book, but it was horribly depressing. And I felt like something was missing, a conclusion, or some little ray of hope that everything would be all right. Then I realized that wanting a book about the Holocaust to have a happier ending is at best presumptuous and at worst revisionist. I did like how the author connected the Holocaust to a contemporary person, because I think that is the best way to remind people that the Holocaust still impacts people, and should be remembered.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows- I know. I am the last person on earth to read this book. It was very good, and I liked it, and while I think it is wrong to expect a WWII book to be funny and uplifting, when they are, of their own volition, I like it.


New Mercies, by Sandra Dallas. I really enjoy Sandra Dallas books, and have read most of them. They are perfect airplane/beach/ travel books, because they are well-written (so you don't feel secretly embarrassed to be caught reading it) but still fast-paced and entertaining. If you read all of her books, you notice re-occurring plot lines and themes, which can get old, but really, whatever, I've eaten a billion hamburgers in my life and I still like them. So go get yourself a Sandra Dallas for your next trip. Except not Chili Queens, I think that was the only one I didn't like.


4. Most of the time, I read books for children and teenagers, so it wouldn't be a real vacation if I didn't read at least on YA book. I finally managed to snatch The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I loved this book. I thought it was a great read, and, as my friend Gurr pointed out, reminds one of reading a Roald Dahl.

Also of reading Lemony Snicket, but we can't talk about him, because I'm still bitter about how he ended his series. Whatever, Lemony, go back to writing X rated adult fiction. I'm over you.

5. So that is what I read. I also kayaked the heck out of some ocean, saw a crocodile, and ate more than should be humanly possible.


What is new with you?







*I love when I come back from vacationing in a warm place, and people ask me "where's your tan?" This is laughable. I will never tan. I burn, painfully, peel, and return to the exact same shade as before. Kudos to you if you can tan, but it will never happen for this MCB.


** See? See? I can make fun of democrats too, just because we don't have the equivalent of Glenn Beck doesn't mean there isn't an abundance of comedic material....


*** I'm going to get so much crap for that, but, again, whatever.