Tuesday, September 8, 2009
My school has been amazing so far, and my colleagues are just out-of-this-world. There are a number of us who all moved from out of state to teach our first year at this school, which has been wonderful because we all get along so well. It's like getting built-in friends with a new job, which is amazing!!
My classes are very small - 7 girls in each class, three classes a day. Remember, block scheduling, so I have them each for 90 minutes. Plus homeroom and one prep period/block. School starts SUPER early: 6:45 AM. Which means I'm up at 5 every day, eat lunch at 10:25 AM, and am saying sayonora to my girls at 2:10 PM. It would be nice if I actually left school shortly after that, but I usually don't leave until around 3:30 PM. Still better than getting home at 5 or 6 at night, though I would really love to sleep in for an extra hour every morning :)
So, I've been busy, to say the least. I will work on updating and being creative more often, and I will be going back and reading all that I've missed, I swear (I know, I always say that...but I always do it!). Miss you guys!!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
It's really a question of balance, sort of like a unicycle (no, can't do that). I know that I tried and tried, struggled and struggled to learn and then, one day, voila! My turn came up, the counselor steadied the poles while I climbed on - and I could do it! I walked all the way across the parking lot/kickball field (hey, SHH is in the city. Us city kids can play on concrete, no prob!) and back.
I surprised the heck out of me, and out of everyone else in my group! I was one of the few who was able to master the skill and was forever envied and abused for my stilt-walking talents.
Now, before you're too impressed with me, take a peek at the picture to the left. See the sailor-like kid facing us? Look at how his arms are looped through the stilts and back around to hold the poles. Those are the skills I have.
So, despite my hidden talent, I don't think Cirque is going to be contacting me any time soon.
The other cool thing about my stilt story is that after I fell in love with stilt walking, someone in my family (can't remember who) either made or found a set of stilts made out of broomsticks and two triangular blocks of wood that they gave me. So, granted, I was no more than a foot from the ground, but it definitely upped my cool quotient in the neighborhood when I received my very own set of stilts.
Fortunately, the next time someone asks me about any talents that I have that would be beneficial in a circus...I don't have to panic or have cold sweats. I can calmly respond and impress the asker!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Thanks, VP, for tagging me...here goes!
Pride: What is your biggest contribution to the world?
Obviously, my biggest contribution to the world was the wheel. Just think about how many things would not move without this invention? No bikes, no cars, no skateboards, no roller blades, no shoes with wheels on the bottom. Kids would actually have to use their own two feet to get from one place to another. Thank heavens I invented the wheel!
Envy: What do your coworkers have that you wish was yours?
Well, I'm going to pretend I'm still at the hospital while answering this, since I haven't met my new teacher co-workers yet. What I really wish that I had was my former boss's keyboard. He eats over top of it, so there are always little crumbs and bits of foodstuff lingering amongst the keys. His favorite snacks are popcorn and Reese peanut butter cups, and I really think that the remnants of these items just taste delicious. So I really wish I had his keyboard!
Gluttony: What did you eat last night?
Last night I went to this AMAZING French restaurant in Bloomfield and had escargot, pate, and a delicious crispy baguette sandwich made with thinly sliced ham, brie, and arugula and some crazy vinaigrette drizzled all over it. It was fabulous! Then, for dessert, I had tiramisu, cheesecake, German chocolate cake, and espresso. All at the same time, on the same fork. Don't knock it till you've tried it!
Lust: What really lights your fire?
I'm really into hair gel/spray. I love it when a guy has put tons of product in his hair and my fingers get all tangled and sticky. I adore the smell of alcohol and strong scent that attempt to overpower the chemicals in the hair gunk. Just thinking about it makes me all tingly.
Anger: What is the last thing that really pissed you off?
The last thing that made me really mad was watching The Bachelorette last night. I mean, who does Jillian think she is, selecting one guy from 30? I can't believe the guys didn't tear her a new one on the "Men Reveal All" show last night. Jillian is so stuck-up, fat, and ugly she does NOT deserve to be the Bachelorette. Seriously, who does she think she is? Grr!
Greed: Name something you hoard and keep from others.
Myself. I hate to be social, and I really just want to be able to live in my room, alone with my books and my laptop surrounded my by things like a troll. I go out as little as possible and I really hate to meet new people. I would ideally work from the cave of my room and get rid of my cell phone so as to minimize all contact with others as much as possible.
Sloth: What’s the laziest thing you ever did?
Probably when I backed up my car to the fruit and vegetable stand on the side of the road on the way to the beach. I didn't want to find a parking spot and I definitely didn't want to waste time picking out the ripest fruits. So I backed into the stand, opened the back hatch, and just swept all of the items on the table into the back of the car. Then I drove away. It would've taken way too long to pay.
Okay, this Meme was way more fun than I expected it to be. Who knew I could think of such great stories? I'm tagging: Robin, Mary Beth, Caitlyn, Shades, Andie, Courtney, and Kristen & Seth. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
My time since student teaching has ended has been filled with bursts of busy trips and events followed by several days of laziness. I have been reading a lot, applied for many jobs, went on interviews, had phone interviews, visited friends, etc. I have obsessively checked my Facebook page and my emails, but not my blogs. I have basically turned my brain off for the summer and have not been spending tons of time on my laptop beyond a quick FB quiz.
Here's a quick summary of the highlights of the past few months:
Went to Myrtle Beach, SC and interviewed at 4 schools plus had a district interview. All of them went very well except for the very first one - it was at the school I was most interested in, was my first one of the day, and I was completely nervous and had not hit my stride. After that, they all went exceptionally well, particularly the district interview, when one of the teachers on the panel told me she wished she could have tape recorded my response to a question and played it for her current teacher.
While in MB, I spent great times with my cousin Erin and her fiance, my daddy, and my friend Jamie. It was a fun trip, though I wound up not getting any of the jobs. My friend Jamie got the one at the first place I interviewed, and the rest of the jobs were filled by displaced employees.
After MB, my dad and I drove to Savannah for another interview that didn't even happen - the HR lady was super unprofessional and forgot she had scheduled an interview...they didn't know what positions would be open and I was there for 10 minutes. The only good thing about it was that my cousin Amy drove up from Orlando and we got to spend time with her, which was great.
Towards the end of May I began to panic b/c I hadn't found a job yet, so at the beginning of June I backed out of my California summer job. I REALLY hated to do it, but I needed to be able to have the time and the opportunity to job search and potentially interview.
I found out the first week of June that the first draft of my thesis was due the day after I found this out. I had barely touched it in a year, so I went into major panic mode. I spent the majority of that week working on the paper, staying up late and mainlining caffeine in order to have something to turn in to my professors. They would then have a month to comment and offer revisions, and then I would have 2 weeks to make the final changes. That was a stressful week.
The Pens won the Stanley Cup! Wo-hoo!!! Now, I'm sure that most of you realize that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Steelers fan but don't know much about hockey. Last year I sort of got into it during the playoffs, and it was the same this year - I was obsessed. I know that makes me the kind of Pens fan that I would hate in a Steelers fan (if that even makes sense) but I don't care. I had a blast watching all of the games and biting my nails during them. And texting my cousin Ben to find out what was actually happening. He was great at dumbing down the rules so that my football shaped brain could understand what was going on.
I got a job!! I had a phone interview with a principal in Charleston, SC. I had had many with other schools in Horry County by this point, so I wasn't expecting much, no matter how well the interview went. Imagine my shock when I was offered the job at the end of the interview! A phone interview! With a person I had never met! In a city I had never visited! It didn't sink in right away - I kept telling people, "I think I got a job...but I'm waiting to hear from HR."
The position is with a public school 17 miles from downtown Charleston. I will be teaching 7th grade. I know, why would I want to do this after what I went through with my student teaching? By the time I had this phone interview, I had resigned myself to the idea that I might possibly have to accept a middle school position, since despite getting nothing but glowing feedback, I wasn't actually getting any job offers. Enter this interview. This is the first year that 7th and 8th grades are going to be at the high school (although the students will be separated, of course) in an effort to increase school test scores. The kids will be in single gender classes, on a block schedule, and I won't have more than 14 KIDS IN A CLASS. That bears repeating. I won't have more than 14 kids in a class!!!!!
Under these circumstances, I couldn't turn the job down (I mean, not that others were knocking my door down anyway). There was still a possibility of getting a job in Horry County or in FL, but the principal sounded great on the phone and I think even I will be capable of dealing with 14 students - only boys or only girls - at a time. I'm also excited about Charleston b/c it's a larger city than Myrtle Beach, and I was concerned about getting bored in MB like I did in VA Beach. So all around, it was good news.
I visited Delaware for the first time. One of my best friends moved there for the summer and I went with her to move her in and to make sure the roommate she would be living with was not secretly into kiddie porn or animal torture. I had a blast while I was there, and spent some time on the beach (although not much - the weather was kinda crappy most of the time I was there) and learning fun facts about the state. Yes, I'm a dork, but I bet I know more about DE than you do! BTW, the roommate is normal ;)
At the end of June, I visited Charleston. I was supposed to have New Hire Orientation, but of course they canceled it right after I booked my hotel. I went anyway, and spent 2 days finding a place to live, checking out the school, exploring the area, and doing things like opening a checking account. I found an apartment that seems pretty great that my sister is also excited about, and that has guest suites on site for visitors (hint, hint).
Started off with a bang on July 4th weekend (pun intended) having a great time with friends doing fun Pittsburgh activities. I keep trying to make sure I savor the times I'm having while I'm still here, but I know it won't hit me that I'm leaving until I've been living in SC for a week or two!! I'm excited about having plenty of time around holidays to come back to the 'Burgh for visits, since I usually could only come home for Christmas and the occasional weekend when I lived in VA Beach.
After the holiday, I met with my thesis advisor and got the rundown of the corrections I have to do. She is also my professor, the only one I've actually had for more than one class. She also gave me some really nice feedback about the dumb student teaching presentation I had to do right after the experience was over, which was great. And the damage wasn't too horrible on my thesis, thank heavens!
This past weekend I had a fan-freaking-tastic time in Virginia with friends. We went to a wine festival and a favorite restaurant (multiple times) and had an absolute blast. I'm not even going to go into more details than that because I will literally be typing all night and it's already 2:30 AM!
Yeah, my nocturnal tendencies have shone through during my time off, also. I began wanting to get up at a reasonable hour every day and go to bed around midnight each night, but that didn't last long. I'm just not a morning person, and since I don't have to get up for anything super early, I can't motivate myself to do it! I mean, I'm not sleeping until noon, but I'm not bouncing out of bed at 8:00 AM either. I will have the shock of the century when I have to be at school by 7:10 AM every morning (with a 1/2 hour drive!).
So, that's my long-winded explanation of where I've been. I'll try not to stay away as long, and I will try to get back to reading/commenting on everyone else's blogs! I have actually been reading them periodically, but I get so far behind that I usually don't comment. But I will again, I swear!
P.S. - Let me know if you find any glaring spelling errors - I tried to spell check but it only gave me words that were spelled correctly and I am terrible about catching my own mistakes!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Wo-hoo! I celebrated all weekend and shockingly enough, the Pittsburgh weather cooperated. It was gorgeous and sunny and I have my first tan lines of the season. Of course, I have to get rid of them since the bridesmaid's dress my cousin wants me to wear in October is strapless, but...
Now that I'm officially unemployed, I have been enjoying my free time (although it's only been two days) and biting my nails about finding a job. If you want regular updates, you can follow me on Twitter. I joined last week and am obsessed. My favorite thing about it is that I can do it from my phone - I can easily text 140 characters multiple times throughout the day, and also keep up with the people I know on Twitter, b/c I can get text updates from people if I want to.
(Yes, I just saw that I can evidently update my blog via my phone...but it's a little tougher to do, methinks).
I do have a few interviews set up in a couple of weeks. Not sure if I mentioned it, but I did interview in New Orleans in March. That went well, and I actually got an offer of sorts, but I turned it down since I have some prospects on the East Coast, which will make my sister happier.
My first upcoming interview is with Horry County School District, which is Myrtle Beach, SC. I actually interviewed with an HR rep at a job fair here in Pittsburgh, and now I'm going to visit a few schools and have a district-wide interview next month. Then, I'll drive down to Savannah, GA and interview with their HR department. They don't know exact openings yet, but they should have a good idea by the time I interview, so keep your fingers crossed that they are able to set up meetings with a principal or two while I'm down there!
Some funny things that happened my last day of school:
~ My CT had my classes each sign a "Thank You, Good Luck" card for me in their Math class. One of the students wrote that she wanted me not to remember her for always being late, but to remember her b/c she's a good student. If she was a good student, I might - but she wasn't! Oops. Another kid wrote: "Good Luck...'cuz your gonna need it!" I laughed at this but was a little hurt b/c this is from one of my good students. Then I saw him and he was genuinely sad to see me go...so I think he meant "Good Luck because the students will possibly be evil." LOL
~ I scrambled at the last minute to create a "bulletin board" out in our hallway. It was a requirement of my student teaching but I treated it almost as a joke for two reasons: 1)I'm a secondary teacher, not elementary. My advisor and supervisor did not put a lot of importance in this. 2)There was zero space in my classroom. So we post student work in the hall, but we couldn't keep it up during PSSAs or for weeks afterwards. At any rate, I finally put some poems on pretty Word stationary and hung it up in the hallway. Based on my CT's and the teacher across the hall's reactions, you would have thought I altered constellations. They were really excited.
~ I let my second class ask me personal questions which I would decide whether or not to answer. This was hilarious. They debated whether or not I had any kids - Thursday was "Bring Your Kid To Work" day, and half the class was missing, so they didn't know if I brought a tot in with me or not. One student told another I was only 20 (ha!) so I was too young to have kids yet. Another said people can have kids when they're 14, so I could have had a kid. The funniest, though, was when they were trying to guess my first name. Jasmine, Jessica...the guesses were awesome. Finally, I told them the first letter, and the first girl guessed "Sarah" immediately...then didn't believe me when I told her that was right. They said it didn't sound right with my last name. Hee hee hee.
So I just re-read this post and it's really stream-of-consciousness, so forgive me! Also, I'm still getting caught up on everyone else's blogs, but I should be doing that this week :)
Monday, April 13, 2009
Pretty snow-covered branches on fallen trees. I did also climb up my Pappap's tree stand but I was dumb and didn't take my camera up with me.
I am not a snow lover, but I didn't mind it this time for once. I was on vacation, so I didn't need to be anywhere. And I wasn't driving, so I couldn't be ticked at my stupid car for sliding on the slick roads (which it does). It was really nice to walk in the woods through the snow and hear the sounds of nature. The entire walk, Robert Frost's "Walking Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening" was floating through my mind:
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
So, some necessary updates. First, the reason why I've been gone so long - I'm pointing the finger solely at student teaching. The lesson plans totally got in the way. At the beginning of my assignment, I tried valiantly to be as prepared as possible, spending at least a day each weekend creating lesson plans for the week, blocking out my classes and trying to determine when I'd be covering each topic in the unit.
But of course, things never go the way you plan! After a half dozen or so lesson plans were written and completely thrown by the wayside, I started writing them later and later...until I was usually writing the lesson plan the night before the lesson was taught. Not an ideal situation, but my CT never even glanced at the work I had done aside from asking if I was prepared or felt ready for the day. I kept with my block plans and altered those instead of my 3-4 page detailed plans.
It has actually worked out this way pretty well - I've found that I'm more flexible, I am able to adjust to what we didn't get done during the previous lesson (which caused some plans to overlap) but overall, it worked.
So picture it: every night, I'm parked on the couch in my apartment, laptop on, papers spread everywhere, pretending to write the lesson plan and correct homework but really...catching up on peoples' blogs. So I would stay up later and later...you get the picture.
Something had to go, and unfortunately, it was my blog world. But only temporarily! I am still shocked I've stayed away this long. Anyone on Facebook can see my much more regular updates there, but it's much easier to read a one-sentence status than it is to read a multi-paragraph blog.
At any rate, student teaching is winding to a close, and you will see me here much more frequently. I'm currently on spring break for the week, and then I only have two weeks - TWO WEEKS! - until student teaching is over.
So here is my promise - I promise to go back and read every single blog post I've missed, and I'll probably comment on most of them. So check your old posts for new comments! I promise to not stay away so long, and hopefully at least update my blog weekly until student teaching is done. I promise, I have missed you more than you have missed me!!
Another quick update is on the job front - I have had a few interviews, and I'm narrowing down where I want to live. I went to New Orleans for an interview, I also had interviews with Horry County, SC (Myrtle Beach) and Palm Beach County, FL (West Palm). And I've applied to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. I want to be on the coast in a fairly urban area...I can't deal with anything too rural. So keep your fingers crossed! Everything happens for a reason, and I've found this to be true with jobs more than anything else.
So, welcome back, me! I'm so excited to return, and I can't wait to find out what everyone's been up to!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
But, because of this schedule, I haven't been keeping up with my blog friends, which makes me sad. But I am going to try to get back in the game this week and catch up again, I swear! I also have fun things to share about my kids, but I just don't have the time right this second. But, soon, I promise. And I have my first job interview! Geez, it has been awhile. Hopefully I'll be able to fill everyone in tomorrow or Tuesday. For now, I need to hit the sack!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Plus, last week was a "free" week at school: we watched a movie, reviewed, took a test, and a poet came. So I had really easy lesson plans, which was nice. And, a big Congratulations to my cousin Erin (Caitlyn's sister) who got engaged over the weekend :) Love you!
A is for age: 28...wow, that's scary. Especially since I'll be 29 in August. Eek!!
B is for burger of choice: There is some type of southwest burger at Red Robin that has guacamole and pepperjack cheese and is a-ma-zing.
C is for the car I drive: 1998 Ford Explorer (not 4 wheel drive, which means I slide all over the road in snow). I think it's sort of a sea-foam green color.
D is for your dog's name: Iggy is my parents' dog, but she totally counts. Her full name is Ignatz, after some cartoon that only my father has ever heard of.
E is for essential item you use every day: I would have to say my cell phone, too. I think the only other items I use daily are boring ones like toothbrush and toilet, and I didn't want to go there ;)
F is for favorite TV show at the moment: American Idol has taken over my evenings. It's a heck of a commitment but I can't resist!
G is for favorite game: Computer game - mah-jong, board game - anything trivia, video game - Mario Cart on my sister's Wii!
H is for home state: Pennsylvania
I is for instruments you play: I guess that would be piano, though I am definitely at the beginner level, despite my mom's best efforts when I was growing up.
J is for favorite juice: Cranberry
K is for whose bum you'd like to kick: One of my student's, who shall remain nameless. Little manipulative brat.
L is for last restaurant at which you ate: Patron
M is for your favorite Muppet: Oscar the Grouch
N is for number of piercings: 3 in my left ear, two in my right, assuming they haven't closed up. I rarely wear earrings.
O is for overnight hospital stays: 0, unless you count however long I was in when I was born...
P is for people you were with today: My classmate, Jamie
Q is for what you do with your quiet time: read, sleep
R is for biggest regret: Not being better at keeping in touch...I know there are so many good friends I have let slip through the cracks through sheer laziness.
S is for status: S is also for Single!!!
T is for time you woke up today: I think about 9:00 AM
U is for what you consider unique about yourself: My voracious reading appetite. I've never met anyone who reads as much and as quickly as I do. Oh, and who lets almost every book consume them like mine do!
V is for vegetable you love: Corn on the cob and artichokes
W is for worst habit: Being lazy
X is for x-rays you've had: Um...both ankles multiple times...I think that's it. I had a CAT scan at one point to make sure I didn't have a tumor...not sure if that counts or not!
Y is for yummy food you ate today: I'd rather talk about the yummy food I ate at Patron: authentic Mexican cuisine! Taco salad and nachos with white, delicious cheese. Yum!
Z is for zodiac: Virgo
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Now I have been keeping in mind the fact that it's been 18 years since the original Diaries were published. So I'm willing to suspend my disbelief enough to allow her to include new technology that wasn't popular back then (cell phones, laptops). But the characters sound completely different, and the story is going in a direction that is completely separate from the original four books.
I'm so disappointed! I was so excited for this book and could barely reread the other four fast enough to start the new one. But I'm setting it aside for the time being. Maybe if I distance myself from the original books I'll be able to return to this one in a few weeks or months.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I'm still pretty excited to have shiny, new copies of the entire series. They certainly won't replace the old ones in my heart, but I love how the publisher made them. Okay, the faces creep me out a bit. But for Elena and Stefan, I'll deal. And for Bonnie and Matt and Meredith. Oh, and definitely for Damon.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I've been in the land of middle school kids for over a month now, and I've observed some fantastic trends. Here we go:
Trend #1: Rubber bands (in Pittsburgh we call them gumbands) wrapped around the bottoms of jeans. Not sure why this is popular, I think it looks bizarre, but I've seen many kids sporting it. Looks something like this:
I've only seen the girls sporting this trend. I want to know - doesn't it cut off their circulation?
Trend #2: Tying big winter scarves like bandanas. I started seeing it in school and have recently seen it a few other places too. Most of the girls wear plaid scarves and then match something else (shoes, pants, accessories) to one of the dominant colors. Here's a sample:
I actually don't have a problem with this trend. When you coordinate everything, it's a bit too matchy-matchy for me, but other than that, I'm all for anyone who can figure out the correct way to tie a scarf, let alone wear it effectively! LOL. I am clueless!
Trend #3: I already touch on this when I was at the airport in December. Boots over pants. However, this is the extreme version. Truly, when I was at the airport, I hadn't seen anything. Middle school girls go all out with the trend. And they will wear any boot. ANY boot.
Like these two pictures. When I see these boots on these young girls, it makes me remember the ugly, lonely boots that seem to be on clearance at Marshall's or TJ Maxx's for eons. You know what I'm talking about - the ones with tassles or sparkles or obnoxiously faux fur. Yup. Those would be the ones my kids adore. Heck, it's good to know that there is a market for this crap!
If you're wondering why I'm so dumbfounded by these ridiculous clothes, it's because I was a Catholic school girl. I had uniforms my entire life. Which explains why I was such a clueless dresser when I finally reached college! All I knew was plaid skirts and starched blouses. So it's really interesting to me to see how big a role fashion plays even for kids this young. It certainly passed me right by!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
First, for the past two days the kids have been doing vocab, which is very boring but very necessary. We should have been giving them three or four words with every chapter of the book, but my CT sort of let it lapse and so did I. So now that we're finishing the book this week, I wanted to make sure that they were at least passingly familiar with the terms. The result: a huge vocab list of words for them to define. It's busywork, and boring for them, but they did okay with it. But I think it's just reinforced how ready we all are to be done with the book, so I'm afraid I'm going to have some dragging responses to the discussion tomorrow.
Second, one of my classmates was observed last week and did fantastically, as I knew she would. She's been having a really hard time with her CT, who is very demanding and critical. But my classmate is brilliant and I've always known she's going to be a great teacher. We happen to have the same supervisor, and he observed her last week. It was wonderful for her b/c he stood up for her against her Nazi CT and gave her great feedback. So now I am convinced I will pale in comparison and it makes me ridiculously nervous.
Overall, I just can't wait until this novel is finished and we've moved on to the next unit, which is poetry. At least with poetry, if the kids don't like a poem, we all know we won't be dwelling on it for weeks - and they may very well like the next poem that comes along.
Anyway, on a positive note, jellybean's most recent post gave me a trip down memory lane. My favorite author growing up was L.J. Smith (Lisa Jane Smith). She wrote books about vampires, witches, and shapeshifters which I devoured. I had every one of her books. Okay, I still have them. And I still re-read them occasionally.
While in Target a few months ago, I discovered that her Vampire Diaries series is being republished, along with her Secret Circle series (the one about witches). I was so excited that more people would be reading her work, I almost started crying in the store. Yes, I am emotionally attached to my favorite books!
See, the thing is that L.J. Smith wrote these books back in the early 1990s (when I was prepubescent and it was acceptable for me to be reading young adult novels). I read Vampire Diaries first. It originally had four books, and I remember buying them one at a time and agonizing over when I would have all four. And then I promptly proceeded to read them - literally - to tatters. Then I discovered The Secret Circle trilogy. Tatters again. Her other series are The Forbidden Games (the third book in this trilogy takes is set in an alternate world of Kennywood, the amusement park in Pittsburgh), and then Dark Visions. Yes, I own every book. Finally, she started The Night World series. There are 9 Night World books, and the last one was published in 1998.
1998 is the year I graduated from high school. Needless to say, by this time I was somewhat ashamed of my rabid following of this author, but she was so good I couldn't give her up. And the Night World series was setting up for an apocalyptic climax. I couldn't wait for the last book to be published.
But it never was. L.J. Smith fell off the face of the earth. I looked for the books every where, I googled her and found a fan website that said that they thought Smith was very ill. I don't know if this is true or not, but the point is that she disappeared without ever having her last book of the series published.
Now do you see why I was on the verge of tears when I saw her books re-published a few months ago? LOL.
So she's back. She even has some new short stories on her website. And she's writing a fifth Vampire Diaries book! So I would recommend to all of you to snatch up her books while you can. The format is different - the series are split differently. I think both The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle are being published in two books as opposed to four and three. Heck, I'm such a freak that I'll probably buy them in the new format, too. Plus, my old copies are just that - old. I don't want them to fall apart on me!
I will leave you with one of my favorite lines from one of her books - a line that I scribbled onto every notebook, binder, and looseleaf paper I could find while I was in high school
"You don't love a person because they're beautiful. You love them because their heart sings a song only you can hear." ~ Lisa Jane Smith
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
On second thought, I won't miss looking like a marshmellow for every game. This pic is my dad zipping my sister's coat. That's right, she couldn't do it herself. Sheesh!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Here we go, Steelers, here we go!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I've been trying to decide if it's more exciting for the teachers or for the students to have a snow day. I remember being in school and running to the window to see if it snowed during the night. If it did, I would immediately turn on my radio and listen to the list of school closings, hoping and praying that mine would be mentioned.
It rarely was. When I was really young, my mom just wouldn't wake me up if we had a snow day. I would wake up to a sunny bedroom, sleepily wondering why it was so bright outside. Then I would tear around the house, looking for my mom (my sister was always still sleeping) to confirm my suspicions - no school today! I never thought about her not being able to go to work. We always played outside in our snowsuits and drank hot chocolate. Truly, it was the picturesque day you might imagine when thinking about children in the snow.
But this was an extremely rare occurrence.
When I hit high school, my sister and I were bussed from the city to a private school in the suburbs. We followed the schedule of Pittsburgh Public Schools, which at the time never had 2 hour delays due to how many working parents would be unable to stay home with their children. But my high school followed the schedule of the closer school district, which did have 2 hour delays. The result? My sister and I, along with the dozen or so other kids bussed in from the city, were at school at the regular time. We would hang out in the hallways and watch MTV in one of the classrooms, waiting for the rest of the students to arrive.
So truly, to have an entire day off of school was rare and wonderful. So I can truly appreciate how excited the students must be to have a snow day.
But now I'm a teacher. And I'm just as thrilled as they must be! My CT texted me this morning to let me know that schools were closed (I was still busily ignoring my alarm clock and hadn't turned on the news yet). Our texts were full of exclamation points. We really have no reason to be this excited, considering we already had two easy days this week - Monday and Tuesday were in-service days, without students. Yesterday I even got to sleep in and not go to school until noon. And we were done at 3:00 PM both days.
So while I should be writing lesson plans for the Newspaper Unit I get to construct, I'm too busy enjoying my extra day. And now there are only two school days until we have another weekend. And we had a short week last week due to MLK day.
I should be savoring this time more than I am. I don't think we get another day off until our spring break in April. Yeah, April. As in, two long months away.
But hopefully this crappy weather will actually persist long enough to give us at least one more snow day. In mid-February, maybe. Have I mentioned that's my least-favorite month?
Yeah, one more day would be good...
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
These are pictures from Christmas Eve, when I was making my cousins pose like the pictures on the walls at the diner where we ate breakfast.
Ben is the grinning kid...with a few extra teeth!
Here are my cousin Luke's adorable twin daughters devouring their green cupcakes on Christmas day and working hard to permanently turn their teeth and tongues green:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
Get Into the Groove - Madonna
(Okay, off to a good start)
WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
And I Ran - Hidden in Plain View
(Hmm...not sure what to make of that one!)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Like a Boy - Ciara
HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
I Write Sins Not Tragedies - PANIC! At the Disco
(That's very philosophical of me)
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Here I Go Again on My Own - Whitesnake
(So, am I always alone, or do I leave my friend on their own?)
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Thunder Rolls - Garth Brooks
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS?
Step by Step - New Kids On the Block
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
El Tango De Roxane - Moulon Rouge Soundtrack
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S STORY?
Promiscuous Girl - Nelly Furtado f. Timbaland
(Bet you didn't know I used to turn tricks down on Liberty Ave...)
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Maneater - Nelly Furtado
WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Regulators - Nate Dogg f. Warren G
WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Superman - Eminem
(Well, that seems mildly inappropriate...)
WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Burn One Down - Ben Harper
(It's referring to cigarettes, people, cigarettes...)
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Be My Little Baby - Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
The Most Beautiful Girl - Harry Connick Jr.
WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
(Okay, that's a sign if I've ever seen one!!)
WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Say My Name - Destiny's Child
WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Touch Me - The Doors
WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Good Vibrations - Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch
Very random, I know...
1. The Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!! I had a blast on Sunday at the AFC Championship game. It was so cool to see the ceremony after we won. I love the feeling of camaraderie and good will that happens in Pittsburgh when the entire city is excited. I cried the last time we won the Super Bowl...we'll see what happens this year!
2. Step/Aerobics Mix - I started taking this class at my University today b/c, let's face it, I desperately need to lose some lbs. A few of my friends are writing blogs about their weight loss journeys, and it's totally motivating me, which is great. Check them out: Mimi's World, Daily Chronicles of a Richmond Couch Potato, and Food, Sweat and Mirrors.
3. American Idol - I know, I know. I'm a sucker for reality TV, what can I say? I am one of the few people who actually hates the first few episodes, b/c I don't like watching them make fun of the poor singers. I mean, some of the people who try out that are bad genuinely think that they have talent, which leads me to believe that there is something wrong with them that they're trying out to begin with. But I get a thrill just seeing the previews. And I almost always agree with Simon.
4. Family & Friends - We had an outpouring of support at the viewing and funeral last weekend, and it was wonderful to see so many people were there for us. Knowing that we had people to turn to and to cry on really helped us get through everything.
5. White Merlot - I have been loving this wine lately. We had it on New Year's Eve, and I bought a bottle while I was at my parents' this weekend. I love it! It's made by Sutter Home and is the perfect combo - not too sweet nor too dry. I typically favor semi-dry reds, but this is a great compromise that I can share with my friends who like sweeter wines...everyone wins!
1. Cold - Brrr. This darn weather is really grating on my nerves. School was cancelled on Friday b/c the wind chill was below zero, and it was even colder on Saturday. The only good thing is that compared to these temps, the 32 degree weather during the game on Sunday actually felt balmy. But now it's back to being in the single digits, and I cannot wait until I move south and don't have to deal with this!
2. Step/Aerobics Mix - C'mon, do you think I got to this size b/c I like exercise? I hate it! When I lived in VA Beach, my friends and I would go to Step Aerobics and I actually didn't mind most of the classes that we had. Plus we all did it together. So I'm familiar with the steps and I know I won't make too big of a fool of myself. But our first class, today, was evidently the "For Dummies" edition. She walked us through the basic steps at 1/2 time and I barely worked up a sweat. And she cut the class early. Hopefully next week we'll get up to speed and I'll feel like I was effective!
3. My Laptop - it continues to be problematic. I finally was able to copy all of my pictures from Greece onto CDs so I think I'm going to ask my roommate to wipe everything off and reload the essentials. I just want to be able to write a lesson plan without worrying that it will shut down on me in the middle of typing and stay down for an hour. Grrr.
4. Weather - I'm so miserable about this cold, it deserves two spots on this list. I keep a case of water in my car so I can just grab a bottle out of the back to add to my lunch bag when I go to school instead of hauling the case up and down the stairs. But the water is frozen. And it remained frozen through lunch. I think I got two sips...the rest was ice. So now I have to haul the water out of my car. I know, I need the exercise...
5. Drama - Two of my dad's friends got into a nasty, nasty fight at the bar after the game and are now talking divorce. And there were four of us present during the fight, who witnessed the punch and the slap...and his embarrassment....and her bitchiness...is it too much to ask that you leave your drama at home? This situation is seriously tinging my AFC win afterglow...
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I've never lost a grandparent before. I know I'm lucky, that at 28, my first grandparent only just passed. But I can't help thinking of all of the things I put off that he won't get to witness. He won't be there when I walk down the aisle. Heck, if I get married, my future husband won't even get to meet him. If I have kids, they'll never know their great-grandfather.
My Pappap always had a military haircut, and I always loved to pet his hair. He'd always yelp and say, "Hey! You're messing up my hair! I worked hours to get it it like that!" He told silly jokes and took naps in the chair in their living room. He was always cold and wearing cardigans, even in the summer.
When I was little, my sister and I would spend a week with my grandparents. We would go to McDonald's, create a restaurant in their kitchen, and make "Ladies" and "Mens" signs for their bathrooms. My Pappap never minded forking over ten cents for the sandwich he made himself. When we went to the North Park pool, he never went in the water, just sat next to the pool in a lawn chair, growing ever darker, and telling us he'd get in when the water wasn't wet. We always giggled and tried to explain that was impossible, but he never budged.
Pappap loved coffee and hot tea. He loved to eat raw onions with his sandwiches. He was on oxygen for the past four years or so, owing to his emphysema. But to this day, every time I smell a pipe, I think of the ones he gave up when I was young.
I can't picture their house without him there. I can't imagine holidays without his presence. I will be thinking of him on that distant day if I ever walk down the aisle. I love you Pappap. Rest in peace.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I was nervous all morning, knowing that I would have to do it. But my CT taught the lesson to our other class yesterday, so I knew I was just doing the exact same thing she had already done. Plus, my CT was super supportive, telling me to just concentrate on the academics and she would handle any behavior issues.
So I took a deep breath and...just did it. And it went well! We moved one rather boisterous student to the front row, and he turned out to be the most eager participant. My CT hasn't actually done a whole lot of discussion in the classes, so I was afraid I would have to pry responses out of the students.
We have this super cool tool in our classroom called an ELMO. It's an advanced overhead projector, that rather than just projecting the transparencies will project anything, including a text book or novel. So I prepared the questions ahead of time, and was able to fill in the answers on lined paper as we came up with answers as a class. And I could put the novel there to show students what page or paragraph we were referring to if they couldn't find it.
All in all, it was a great way to start. Our other class had terrible behavior on Friday and Monday, so I'm glad I had the "easier" group of students to help ease me in. And I probably won't be totally alone until next week at the earliest, which is great.
One of my classmates is telling me about how her CT is heaping all of her work on my classmate, and I feel so bad for her, since my experience so far has been great.
I have so much more to share but no time to do it at the moment. My computer isn't dead yet, so hopefully I'll be able to update all of you more often and get back to reading your blogs - you have no idea how much I miss them! I confess that I tried to access a blog from school and it was blocked. Oops! But hopefully I'll have more time later this week. Thanks to all of you for hanging in there and being so supportive!!!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
On Monday, I was a little nervous about starting student teaching. I had a bad cold all weekend, and my sleep schedule was completely off, so I didn't get a ton of sleep the night before. Fortunately, my cooperating teacher had called me on Sunday to remind me where to park and what to do when I arrived.
I found the school with no problem and arrived early. My cooperating teacher (CT) was already in the room, and she gave me a place to put my stuff and we went to a meeting. Our schedule is as follows (7 periods total): Periods 1 & 2 - prep, Period 3 - cover 8th grade lunch, Periods 4 & 5 - 7th grade class, Periods 6 & & - 7th grade class. So we have two classes for two blocked classes.
My CT introduced me to tons of faculty and staff, and everyone was very friendly, although I know I'll have trouble remembering names. There are 4 7th grade classes and the curriculum is very strict - we're all teaching the same thing and there's not a lot of wiggle room in the lesson plans. This is my biggest concern so far...when I start to write the lesson plans, I am worried I'm not going to have a lot of input, and that not having that input will lessen my experience. The good thing is that there are 3 other teachers we can work with to discuss the curriculum and determine what has been successful and what doesn't work.
My CT did not introduce me to the kids on Day 1. She wanted me to just observe and for them to ignore my presence in the classroom (which they did). I was nervous about major behavior issues, especially b/c she had warned me that her second class was a little rowdy. But they just took a little longer to settle down, and the only issues were really with kids talking during class. I can so handle that!!
So Day 1 went well. I definitely took a lot in!
Yesterday I did more or less the same as the previous day - just watched. We had to cover a class during 2nd period b/c the regular teacher was absent, but my CT was very lax with the kids - just handed out a worksheet and let them work together.
During our lunch coverage, a fist fight broke out between two students, which was mildly traumatizing for me. Violence scares the crap out of me - I don't know that I could ever jump in and break up something like that. Plus, it was between a boy and a girl, and the boy punched the girl in the face. And I mean punched - I could hear it from where I was standing. But my CT and the security guard who is always there during lunch were great. They reacted quickly, separated the fighters, and took them to the office.
On Day 2, my CT introduced me to the class and said that we would be team teaching for the rest of the semester. She didn't identify me as a "student teacher" just in case the title had a negative connotation for the kids. She also put the students into alphabetical order so I could start to learn their names. I have about 50 kids total, which really isn't too bad. And some names I already knew (the ones that were corrected frequently the day prior).
I handed out index cards to the students and had them write down two things: something they wanted me to know about them, and what their favorite thing has been that they've done in class so far this year. Of course some kids said that they hadn't liked anything yet, but most of them picked good things. One kid wrote that he wanted me to know that he was good looking. Lord!!! I wanted to thank him for writing it down, since I wouldn't have been able to tell otherwise.
This was a great intro for me b/c it allows the class to slowly get used to my presence and gives me the opportunity to help my CT with behavior corrections, if they're doing something and she doesn't see it. Some of the kids want to call me Ms. C, instead of my last name - that's funny to me. It's so weird to be addressed by my last name!
Today was another good day. I spend the first two periods observing other classes, which is a requirement for student teaching but is something I would probably want to do anyway. I saw my last period class in their first period, which is science. And then I saw a combined group in Spanish during second period. The Spanish teacher I observed is very young, and he told me that it would be a great class to see for behavior. I totally stereotyped and was afraid the kids would be OOC for him, but he was great. He spoke very authoritatively and was completely able to control the students.
Our first class was very well-behaved today. My CT gave them an activity where they were working independently, and they just got right too it. That was encouraging for me to see. The second class of course was not so focused, but they were okay. The more I watch, the more ideas I get about what I can do with them. I just worry that the curriculum will restrict me too much. So we'll see!
Overall, I'm pleased with my placement so far. Everyone I've met has been wonderful and has offered to help in any way they can. They're so excited to have student teachers (there are two Art student teachers from my university as well). This just reinforces to me how crappy our student teacher "placer" is at my school - she could have easily been placing student teachers here every semester and they would be thrilled to have them. The science teacher I observed this morning told me she has actually asked for them in the past, but has never had one.