Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

Another of my flowers (yes, from seeds!) blossomed today. Although... I don't remember buying any blue seeds. I think maybe they were supposed to be dark brown? Well, it's pretty, anyway. The flowers and veggies are growing like mad out there! Some squash and cucumber are well on their way to being ready for harvest. We planted some pumpkin, too. We'll see if anything happens with those! Yay!

A colleague and I were discussing our love of coffee on Friday morning during our fire drill. How it just makes the morning brighter and lighter. And we said, hey, why don't we bring a coffee maker into our rooms? So, a new friendship was formed, between us and our coffee. She's bringing the coffee maker on Monday, I'm bringing the beans. It'll be the start of a beautiful life together.

Three weeks to go. I've finally decided that I'm just going to hyphenate my name. I couldn't give up my name completely, and that way, people are basically right whichever name they use. I'll continue to go by my own name at work, and outside of that, I won't correct people about the name they use for me. The only thing I'd hate to be called is Mrs. Eric 'His last name.' Ick. I'm not losing my identity to become some hybrid of Eric. Sheesh!

I'm working on finishing up my application to go to Brazil next summer. The application is due the day before the wedding, so I'm kind of feeling a bit of pressure with everything that needs to get done. I haven't even written my Korea lesson plan yet that I was supposed to submit 3 weeks ago. Boy, I'm really looking forward to lying on the beach in Florida!

Grey's Anatomy starts back up again this Thursday. Oh my goodness, I can't wait to see what happened with Izzy and George. Drama! I'm crazy about this show. It might be a mental condition, lol. I even put Season 5 on my wedding registry! Eric sometimes thinks he needs to remind me that it's just a TV show and the characters aren't real people. Duh. I know that, I just like the story!

Oh dear. The Utah Fun-dome has escaped the state. In college, a friend and I used to laugh at all those silly girls that teased and bumped up their hair to get that big pouf. Well, apparently the style has spread, and there's now a product that will bump it up for you - Bumpits. I understand wanting to add volume to your hair - I have the flattest hair in the world - but is the Hollywood size really necessary? I guess it is!

Today it is absolutely gorgeous outside! Don't worry, I'm not spending the whole day on the computer, lol. I've already been on a walk with Ramona, to the farmer's market, and in the backyard for an hour or so with my flowers, veggies, and doggie. My mom, Jen, Lance, and Alivia are on their way up here right now, so when they get here we'll spend even more time outside. Love it!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - Weekend Edition

I absolutely LOVE fresh corn on the cob. But I just HATE corn in my teeth. However, taking the corn off the cob before eating it just isn't the same. So, I spend the rest of the night trying to get corn out of my teeth. Like right now. Sometimes floss helps... when I can be bothered to actually go upstairs and find the floss. We had some delicious corn tonight from the farmer's market. Yum!

I bought some flower tea a while back, but never wanted to drink it because I didn't have any clear tea cups. Well. Now I have some. Hooray! It's so delicious and smells so yummy and looks so pretty! I feel so fancy when I'm drinking flowers :-)

Oh! I found the cutest website ever called Fonts for Peas. You can download a gazillion really cute fonts made from people's handwriting. In fact, you can even send in your own handwriting to have a font made! And it's all free. I think I'm going to do that. Huzzah! So, I downloaded a whole bunch of fonts, even though I don't really know what I'm going to do with all of them, since I don't scrapbook. Hm.

Getting married can be kind of stressful, even if you're a person who doesn't stress very easily. I'm not feeling anxious, or worried, or tense, or frazzled... I'm just finding myself fussing at Eric far more often than normal. Sorry, honey! (oh dang, I just swallowed a petal from my tea!) Oh, and I'm picking at my nails, a lot. I'm really looking forward to relaxing on the beach in just four short weeks! Let's just hope a hurricane doesn't decide to roll through Florida that weekend!

I'm still going strong on my Couch to 5k running program! I think this might be one of the few times I've stuck with something longer than a week! I got up on Friday morning to run, and it was raining pretty hard. I figured I had to take Ramona out anyway, so off we went. However, we only stayed out for about 10 minutes (instead of the usual 30-35) because we were both really wet and she kept stopping every three feet to shake the water off. So, I ran on Saturday morning, instead. Oh, and I figured out how to use Garage Band to add my own music to the podcast, so that really helps. Before, there were only cues, and then silence. Much harder to run that way, for me. I was going to go running again tonight, but I don't like to be out alone in the dark and Eric will never come with me. Boo.

Making seating charts for school is easy. Making seating charts for a wedding is hard. I think the smartest decision I made was arranging a "sweethearts table" for just Eric and me. That way, we don't have to try to decide which family gets to sit with us, since we have thirteen guests that are just immediate family. Phew! And of course, all that help that Eric promised me? Harumph.

Oh! I'm going to get braces. Well, Invisalign, actually. Starting in November. Hooray! It's going to be a gazillion dollars, but that's okay. I never got to have braces when I was a kid, so it'll be nice to finally have teeth I love. So, yep!


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Wow. It was cool.

What an incredible opportunity for the students! Watching them interacting with the President made my heart happy. Would I have liked to be down there, sitting in the front row, participating in the round-table discussion, or shaking his hand? Sure. But, I'm happy to give that chance to my kids. Amazing. It's something that will remain with them forever!

The entire school body was in attendance, and you couldn't have asked for a better audience. They were respectful, engaged, and just phenomenal.

Oh, and the excitement in the air! What a joy to be there with them. When the senior class president, Tim Spicer, got on stage to introduce President Obama, the students went wild. He did SUCH a great job. We're all very proud of him. And then when the POTUS himself walked out, the mood was ecstatic.

The speech was superb. It's everything we always try to hammer home to the students... but coming from Obama, a man they wholly admire, standing there in their own gym, well, I think it meant something different.

What an amazing day!

I'll post my pictures soon, but check out the photos on any news website. Most of those students you see in the pictures belonged to me at one point. It makes my heart happy to see :-)


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - Double Edition

Okay, hi, so I missed 2 Fridays in a row. I suppose that's what happens when I go back to school. To make up for it, I'll post fourteen quick takes.

I'm really very excited about President Obama coming to my school on Tuesday. But, I can't believe the firestorm coming from the right! Socialist indoctrination? My word. He's not campaigning! He's just the POTUS, speaking to students about the importance of education. Then again, public schooling IS a form of 'socialism,' so maybe they have a point... but, then again, their kids are also benefiting from the system, so.....

I have to make my seating chart for the wedding. But, I need all of the RSVP's first to be sure. That's kind of boring, though, so I'll make number two a REALLY quick take.

I have downloaded and started a podcast called "Couch to 5K." It's supposed to get you running on a regular basis without burning out by starting too fast. I'm almost done with week one. This has been an easy week, so we'll see how it goes next week. The first week consists of three runs, each starting with a 5-minute walking warm-up, and then eight 60-second runs with 90-second walking breaks between each run. It ends with another 5-minute walking cool-down. I've been able to bring Ramona with me, and she's doing really well at matching my pace, whether I'm running or walking. I don't think she'll make it much past week three or four, though, since she's trained to be a sprinter, not a jogger. There are nine weeks in all. And then, of course, you should continue running from there.

I went shopping for new clothes yesterday. I like buying new things, but I hate the mall. That's why I normally just buy things online. But, to the mall we went yesterday. It was crazy, but we made it out alive. Maybe I'll wait another year or two before I try to venture back. I got some really cute stuff, though!

Just to be clear, Ramona is a greyhound. We are not starving her - she's bred to look like that. She's beautiful, sleek, and all muscle. I'd avoid getting on her bad side!

Did I mention that Alivia is officially moving, now? It's still a scooch, as opposed to a crawl, but she's definitely moving across the floor! And only five months old! Wow, time goes fast. I remember when she was just a newborn... :-)

Sometimes I feel like this has turned into a "mommy blog," and I don't even have any of my own (human) kids! I do talk a lot about Ramona and Alivia, but oh well. If you don't like it, stop reading.

Eric and I got our marriage license on Friday morning. It was a bit surreal. We had to fill out an application online, then swear an oath (with our right hands raised and everything!) that we weren't liars. Of course, if I was a liar, I don't think I'd be fazed by the fact that my right hand was raised, but anyway... So, now we can really get married. It feels quite a bit more 'official' now. Oh boy.

The verdict is still out on what I'm going to do with my name. Whatever I do, I'm still keeping my own last name. I'll either just legally have two last names, not hyphenated, or leave his off all together. I'm leaning towards the first. I'll still be Ms. Current-name at work, for sure. That's my identity! I just can't go by Ms. His-last-name. It's weird. I tried to get him to change his last name to a combination of both of our last names (which actually works out to a real last name), but he didn't go for it. Oh well :-\

My hair has gotten too blond. I'm dyeing it again, tonight. Just to dark brown. I much prefer having dark hair, which, yes, I know, is the opposite of probably 80% of American women. Big deal, I like having dark hair, better. And everyone with curly hair wishes it was straight... etc. My hair is getting fairly long, though it won't be quite where I want it by the wedding. That's okay, though. It's past my shoulders, and will probably grow another inch in the next month. Good enough!

I just bought my tickets to Holland. We're going over Thanksgiving to celebrate the wedding with my mom's side of the family. I'm really looking forward to it! My grandma rented out this place for the weekend, and we'll be doing a big family reunion. Hopefully everyone will be able to make it! I love getting to see them all! Of course, it'll be November, so maybe not quite so green as the pictures, but still a good time! PS. here's an English translation of the page

Ramona has become a bit bone aggressive. Remember those rawhides I was telling you about? If you get near one of them while she's got it, she'll growl at you. I already threw away one of her bones because of it. None of that, young lady!

Let me tell you some 80s movies I really love. Better Off Dead. Sixteen Candles. What About Bob (1991-but close enough). Ferris Beuhler's Day Off. The Breakfast Club. The Princess Bride. Back to the Future. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Stand By Me. Can't Buy Me Love. When Harry Met Sally. To name a few. I could watch them over and over again. I don't find movies anymore that I'll watch every time it comes on. Hm.

I found a pretty nice website where you can print coupons without signing up for annoying emails from stores. It helped me get some nice deals when I went shopping yesterday. Hooray for 20% off! Oh, and let me tell you what, sometimes its really nice being a teacher. I just bring my ID around with me and ask every store if they give teacher discounts. Some do, some don't. But, it's sure nice when they do!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Washington Post article by Jay Mathews

The best part, though, is the comments.

The President Discovers My Favorite High School

Welcome to Wakefield High, Mr. President. I just saw the announcement that you have selected that mangy campus, overlooking an exhaust-filled commercial stretch of Route 7 in Arlington County, for a major speech on education Tuesday. You could not have picked a better place.


I have spent nearly half my life looking for high schools that have learned how to raise American teenagers, particularly those with economic disadvantages, to new heights of learning. There are many more of them now than there used to be, and I find all of them inspiring. My favorite is probably Wakefield, because I have gotten to know well the people who made it such an amazing place.

When you get there you will see the school doesn't look like much. There is a plan to renovate the old facility, but it hasn't happened yet. But the minute you meet the teachers, an amazingly energetic and upbeat crew of classroom dynamos, you will see why Wakefield students have done so well despite their disadvantages.

For many years Wakefield was the poor stepchild of the Arlington system. It was located in the southernmost part of the county where low income people lived. Half of the students were poor enough to qualify for federal lunch subsidies and most of them were black or Hispanic. Nobody expected much of a school like that, until two very talented and determined educators, Marie Shiels Djouadi and Doris Jackson, took over.

Djouadi, an ex-nun with extraordinary intellectual and musical gifts, came first and as a principal in the 1990s recruited teachers that believed, as she did, that low-income minority children were just as smart as the affluent white kids in North Arlington. They just needed more time and encouragement to learn. One of her recruits, Jackson, a D.C. teacher and counselor, became her guidance director, and then her assistant principal and her successor.

They opened up Advanced Placement courses to all students and installed AP teachers who knew how to get all kinds of students ready for the college-level tests. They created never-seen-before innovations like the Cohort, a group of indifferent male students at each grade level who met each week with counselor Al Reid and discovered, by talking it over among themselves, that they actually could handle these demanding teachers whose high-level classes they had been railroaded into taking. They set up summer programs and after-school opportunities for more study. They produced the first required senior project program in any Washington area public school. It has proven to be just as successful as similar programs in many private schools, providing electrifying experiences for seniors, and now a few other public schools are trying out the same idea. Last year 39 percent of graduating Wakefield seniors had at least one passing score on an AP test, more than twice the national average.

You are popular at Wakefield, Mr. President. They see you as someone who has pulled himself up to very high expectations, just as they have. I don't know what you are going to say in your speech, sir, but if I were you I would hang around afterward, and talk to some of those teachers. What they have done, everybody should be doing.

By Jay Mathews | September 2, 2009; 3:38 PM ET


Wednesday, September 02, 2009



September 2, 2009

MEDIA ADVISORY: President Obama to Speak Directly to Students in National Address on Educational Success

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As children across America go back to school, President Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of taking responsibility for their success in school on Tuesday, September 8th at 12:00 PM EDT at Wakefield High School in Arlington. In advance of this address, the Department of Education is providing resources developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion about persisting and succeeding in school. The speech will be broadcast live on and C-SPAN. The speech is open to pre-credentialed media. The deadline to request credentials is 6:00PM EDT tomorrow, Thursday, September 3rd.

That's my school!!!!!! I'll tell you all about it on Tuesday!!



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