Sunday, February 22, 2009

25 - er, 26 Things...

I'm copping out on this post and using a meme I saw on Vegas Princess's blog. Plus my cousin Caitlyn tagged me on Facebook for 25 Random I figured I'd just do this and make it 26 "sort of" random things (sort of because there are prompts for each letter).

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:, 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


So, I started L.J. Smith's newest Vampire Diaries book on Monday night...and I don't know if I can finish it. The tone is totally different, to the point that it almost feels (to me) like it was written by a different author.

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 Couldn't Resist...

Although I'm more excited about this one, since it's brand, brand, brand new...

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


First, my observation went great. My supervisor was fantastic and had really supportive comments. The funniest remark he had was that apparently I said "okay" 55 times during my lesson. 55 TIMES! Holy Cow. I guess it's better than "uh" or "like," right? My CT said that it was probably just the way I checked for "wait time" to make sure that the kids were on the same page as me. Heck, if that's the worst I did, I'll take it!!

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


Tomorrow, my student teaching Supervisor is observing me for the first time, and I'm super nervous. There are two primary reasons, I think, that are making me more anxious.

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

World Champions

Obviously, I had to bring up the amazing Super Bowl win that the Steelers accomplished on Sunday. I mean, wow. What a game! I'm so proud of my team, I knew that they could do it. I'm mildly embarassed to say that I was in tears when the game ended. Gah. What a dork!

Two things make me sad about the Super Bowl:

1 - that I wasn't in Tampa to see it. If I was still at my job at the hospital, I would have been able to take Monday off and would have flown down and at least tailgated and enjoyed the atmosphere. Oh well, maybe next year - anyone know where the next game is going to be? Hopefully somewhere warm!!

2 - that I could't hear the parade downtown today. Again when I worked at the hospital and we won Super Bowl XL, I could hear the fans cheering from my office. And we logged on to my computer and watched the live coverage. Couldn't do that at school today, sigh. Oh well!

But these are truly minor details and I'm so thrilled for the guys on the team I can't even express it! I'm happy and sad to have my Sundays back. It will be great to have more time for lesson plans, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't sad to have to wait for happy tailgates. Especially since I probably won't be living in the 'Burgh next year.

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...

I just updated this post w/the videos I only had links to previously....I am going to the head of the class!

The top video is the newest local sensation: Pop Rocks are a middle school band and it's a Steelers version of "Heartbreaker."

The bottom video will is the 2008-2009 version of the unoffical Steelers theme song.

Here we go, Steelers, here we go!!!!!!!!!