Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oops, She Did It Again

Poor Rigby!  My friend Tami came into town for work this week.  She stayed at my house on Sunday and Rigby was so excited.  Upon her arrival, Rigby tore around the house, doing the “butt run” and bouncing off  the furniture.  Once she calmed down, we noticed she was favoring her left foot. 

After further investigation, I found that her nail was cracked…again.  She must have caught it on something while lapping the house. 

By last night, she was no longer able to walk on it.  She kept it off the ground and looked pathetic.  I tried to repair it with some super glue, but it was cracked all the way up to the quick.  Rigby would barely let me touch it without pulling away in pain.  So it was off to the vet today after work.  Even though it’s my regular vet, there are such bad memories about being there. 

The vet took one look at the claw and said it needed to be cut.  They took her in the back, and after about five minutes I heard this terrible cry.  It broke my heart.  Then about 5 minutes later they brought her back out to me.  This time sans bandage and/or the cone of shame, which makes things easier.

stuff 515Without it being wrapped up though I have to look at it.  And it looks so PAINFUL.  She’s still a bit limpy and mopey tonight.  stuff 519I took this photo about 6:15.  It is 10:15 now, and she’s still in the exact same spot.  Poor baby.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Old School Hollywood (and a new place too)

Due to a Friday furlough day, three friends and I headed out to Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard Thursday night. The restaurant dubs itself the “oldest restaurant in Hollywood”.
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Restaurateur Joseph Musso and entrepreneur Frank Toulet opened their doors on September 1919.  For over 90 years it has played a part in Hollywood’s history with film, television, and literary elite frequenting as customers. 

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I had not been to Musso & Frank in years.  Since we didn’t have to work the next day, we arrived about 7:00 – much later than our regular school night hours.
stuff 006Clearly, 7:00 is a bit too early for Hollywood’s elite.  It seems as if the silver-haired customers’ hours are more similar to teacher hours. 

I felt like I traveled back to the 1950s on an episode of “I Love Lucy” (the Hollywood episodes of course) when Mike ordered a gimlet.   stuff 007
We ordered and shared a couple of caprese salads for the table.  The tomatoes were organic and very sweet. 
stuff 009In addition to their regular (and virtually unchanged since 1919) menu, Musso & Frank has daily specials throughout the week.  Thursday night is chicken pot pie night.  We each ordered one.  The savory pies come to the table all puffed and pretty, bubbling out of the crust. 
stuff 012 Right after snapping the picture, the waiter removed the piping hot pies from their dish and plated them for us.  The buttery top crust is removed and becomes the bottom of the dining plate. 
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The pie is rich and creamy with big hunks of chicken breast.  The peas, carrots, and potatoes were perfectly cooked.   It was delicious and filling!  I took about half of it home and had it this afternoon for lunch.

Hollywood Blvd. is more of a tourist destination.  With the exception of the theatre, the Hollywood Bowl, and some long standing restaurants, most locals stay away from the area.  So instead of hanging out there, we got in the car and headed back into Studio City.  Mike has been raving about a new gourmet popsicle place just down the street from where he lives that opened about 9 months ago. 

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The young owner of Suck It, creates daily gluten free frozen pops and desserts. 
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It was hard choosing a flavor, but ultimately I decided on hibiscus flower and lemon. 
stuff 023The others ordered strawberry shortcake or a frozen banana. 

After a very long couple of weeks of standardized testing, we very much looked forward to the 4-day weekend (even though one of the days was a furlough day).  It was a very nice start to a few days off.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thoughts From a Bored Teacher

Between being in our second week of standardized testing and having a student teacher who has taken over about half of the school day, I am bored out of my ever-loving mind.  I’ve been keeping myself busy with some photos.

After a series of break-ins since the beginning of 2012, my school district was forced to research measures to keep the school and the equipment inside safe.  They came to the conclusion that bars on the windows was the way to go.  It was a  bit depressing upon arriving to school yesterday morning and finding my windows barred up and the window in the door completely blocked out.
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It makes me a feel a little bit like we are in prison, or maybe a zoo.

As I’ve mentioned 5 or 6 hundred times, we are in the midst of testing.  The state tests are done in booklets that, when sent back to the powers that be, are scanned for results.  Our district testing, which mirrors there state, is done in very much the same way.  Except that the tests are done in stapled packets.  Before sending them in to the district, the stapled end has to be cut off so they can go through the scanner. 

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This year’s group of kids are a like short hoarders. 
Just about anything I throw away, they want to dig out of the trash – mostly to play school at home.  While collecting tests yesterday one-by-one to prepare for scanning, the first of the stapled edges was cut off.  In mid-cut, the student watching asked, “Can I have that?”  “Can you have what?” I asked back.  She pointed to the little stapled edge.  I shrugged and let her take it.  After that, the remaining 24 students wanted the stapled edge from their tests.  Every few students, I asked again, “Are you sure you want THIS?”  Each and every student smiled and nodded holding out their hand waiting for the scissors to cut the edge off into their small grasp. 

Every year our school district does an art show.  It’s rather nice.  The art work is beautiful, especially the work done with the help of the art teacher in the upper grades.  As I wandered around campus today trying to find something to do I saw this sight.  
  stuff 064The empty art show box is really the epitome of how important standardized testing is at the school where I teach.  We don’t really do art here.  In fact, we are now being told that social studies, writing, science, and music aren’t that important either.  If the kids are struggling, they are not to have those other areas of academics – they aren’t on the standardized tests.  That philosophy frustrates me to no end.

Open House will be upon us in a couple of weeks.  During the weeks of testing, the kids work on mindless Open House projects to pass the off-time.  They have been putting together a
“Me” mobile to hang from the ceiling.  One of the pages is about what they are most proud of. 
This one was completed by a struggling student.  She is a bright girl; a whiz in math, but has had a hard time with remembering her phonics rules and decoding new words.  For most of the year, she had to do her homework with me.  No one at home could read it or help her with it.  She knew the skills to complete the work, but really struggled to read the directions, so she would come work with me before school a couple mornings a week.  She’s worked REALLY hard this year and decided just before spring break she could do her homework at home, on her own.  Her reading has improved and, even though she’s not at grade level yet, I am so proud of her progress.  So being able to read her work independently is a very  big deal.
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Reading her “proud” page brought tears to my eyes.  How great that she sees it as an accomplishment too. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Media Consolidation

Between opinions disguised as news and stories of people being stupid the television news is just full of crap anymore. With the consolidation of the news stations, we’re hard pressed to find quality, unbiased information.   

I caught this interview with Dan Rather on the Bill Maher show this weekend.  Yes, Bill Maher is a liberal, over-the-top comedian (and some say Rather is a staunch liberal as well), but as we are bombarded with glossy media storms almost daily while the important (but maybe dull) news passes right by, the issue should be a concern no matter the party.  The whole interview is interesting, but from 3:30 to 7:00 is the most poignant.

Where do you get your news these days – besides opinion-based FOX News and MSNBC?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday 9

I like this week’s Saturday 9 questions.  They were kind of fun to answer. 

1. How do you feel when you realize that an impasse will cause a relationship (any type) to end?  At first it’s sad and disappointing, but the bright side - moving on is usually what is best.  If the issue causing the impasse is big enough to get to that point, staying in the relationship is probably more toxic than good.  With that being said, agreeing to disagree on certain things shouldn’t necessarily end a relationship.  It would be boring if two people agreed on everything all the time…what fun would that be.

2. You’re planning a trip that would be an eight-hour car ride, a four-hour train ride, or a two-hour plane ride. With money and time being no object, which would you most likely choose and why?   I think road trips are fun and the freedom to stop whenever you want is a plus.  Also, I like being able to pack more when traveling by car…always room for a few more things in the trunk which isn’t an option on the train or plane.  I’ve not done much traveling on a train to have an opinion, but my experience has been that train travel is actually slower than the car.  Planes are necessary evils in my book – there is nothing good about flying.  If I could travel abroad by car, I would prefer that.

3. What is your ideal past time on a lazy summer’s day?  It depends on the temperature.  If it’s early summer and not too hot, a walk or some shopping at the farmer’s market is relaxing.  If it is hot, then staying inside with the air conditioning on is a good choice, a trip to the pool with a book, or maybe a drive towards the beach where it tends to be cooler. 

4. Name a CD you own that no one else on your friends list does.  Hmmm, my musical tastes are very eclectic.  I will listen to just about anything but country music.  However I do own an old school Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) CD.  My dad was a fan while I was growing up, and they grew on me.  It’s a good CD to turn up loud and dance around the house.

5. What's a wish of yours? I wish that giving up caffeine didn’t make me feel like I was going to die.  Seriously, I don’t know.  It seems fruitless to have wishes, hopes seem more realistic.

6. What is something you’re going to do a lot of this week?  STANDARDIZED TESTING

7. Is there someone you wish would just fall off the face of this earth?  Oh my god, yes!  There is just one.  I literally HID behind a wall today to keep from having to interact with this person who I am allowing to break my heart and make me miserable almost every-single-day.  Oh, can I change my wish answer?

8. What did you do last night? I walked the dog,  had dinner out with a friend having drama, and then came home and fell asleep on the couch.  So exciting.

9. Where is the next place you'd like to go on vacation?  As a matter of fact, a trip to Turkey may be in the works.  But really, a trip anywhere sounds great.

What about you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Election Season

I received the sample ballot for our upcoming election in the mail today.  In addition to a couple of measures or propositions, the June 6 election is also California’s Republican primary.  Being a registered Dem. I don’t have a horse in the race and am not allowed to vote even if I did, but thinking about the number of major candidates left (2), it makes me wonder why we are even bothering to have this election.  It seems to be statistically impossible for Ron Paul (or anyone else for that matter) to receive enough votes and beat out Mitt Romney. 

Last year, it was decided to move our usually early Republican primary to June in order to hold it during our regular state elections.  California is in such dire straits financially, it was responsibly decided that moving the primary would save the state millions of dollars.  But with California being such a large state and having the most delegates (172, the next largest being Texas with 155) it’s so odd to me that by the time the primary even gets here, all those votes don’t really matter one bit.  I wonder if that will reduce the voter turn out in this election.

There are only two measures on this ballot as well which is rare since anyone with a $200 check and proposal can get a proposition put on our ballots.  It seems as if Republicans are generally against both measures, so with the primary already locked up, voters against might not even show up.  I’m on the fence with both.  Reading through the explanation is painful.  Just when I think I have an understanding of what they would mean if passed, the legal mumbo jumbo gets in the way of my comprehension. 

I try to be a good citizen and do my civic duty when it comes to these elections, but sometimes the politics of it all is just too much.  There has got to be all sorts of hidden agendas disguised in these props., (I just know there is) which makes me second guess my opinion. 

After all is said and done, I will fill in my request for my absentee ballot and somehow make a decision before it is due. 

Election season is upon us…oh great.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Well, At Least Monday is Over

Two weeks of district and state assessments began today. 

tumblr_lu7i9k1Y6G1qc7mh1 267049452873841467_A4xgXh7c_c 267049452873858880_fvMYp6yM_c  fcat_cartoonThe sad thing is I looked EXACTLY like that teacher over the last few weeks.
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standardized-tests-students standardized_test test3standardized-test   
267049452873864426_W5GSZ4Na_ctesting_cartoonTwo parts down…twelve more parts to go.  That’s I’ll I’ve got people. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday 9

Missed last week’s Sat 9, here’s this week’s…
1. Who or what sleeps with you? right now just six pillows and a very floppy puppy
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2. Last time you saw your high school best friend? Over spring break, we met up half way in Santa Barbara.
3. What do you do when you're sad? Cry
4. What do you wear when you are relaxing around the house? jeans, t-shirt, flip flops or pjs
5. What did you do immediately after high school? moved to the East Coast
6. Is anyone on your bad side right now? Very much so, but it’s work related and ongoing.
7. What's the first thing you do when you get online?  Check my email
8. What jewelry are you wearing? silver necklace with a honu charm
9. Post a current song that you like.
This was the last song I heard before writing this.  It’s off of Snow Patrol’s new album.  I’ve been having a hard time getting into the album, but I like this song.  The official video wouldn’t link up, but the song still plays. 

Your turn. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Too Many !!!!!!

My friend Jill shared this article last week. 

It’s Time to Fix America’s Email Exclamation Point Addiction!

Reading the article made me laugh because I think I am an exclamation point addict! 

The author’s point about needing to include feeling or energy in emails and texts and comments is the exact reason I use them.  Being a pretty expressive personality, the need to share that expression in my writing leads me to use exclamation marks. 

If I were speaking the word “great” or laughing, both would be done with feeling and oomph.  Simply writing “great” or “ha ha ha” doesn’t quite portray my emotion like “Great!” and “Ha! Ha! Ha!” does, in my head at least.

Of course, when writing letters or emails for work my grammar is more professional.  Most of the time, my excessive exclamation points are limited to personal writing.  However, my feelings about people who email or post using poor grammar (especially your vs you’re, their vs they’re, etc.) lean towards negative, so I must think about this perpetual punctuation. 

I will try to limit this overuse starting now! 

What do you think?  Are exclamation points overused in emails and social media?  Are they losing their effectiveness because they are overused?  Or do you read with excitement and feeling when you see one (or ten)?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I wrote this last week but time got away from me and I am just now getting a chance to post it.  At this time, we are wrapping up our 3rd week of test prep…

As I’ve mentioned in some of the comments, we are in the second week (of a four week stint) of STAR test practice.  It is truly painful.  I HATE it.  The first week isn’t awful, but by the second week I always want to stick #2 pencils into my eyes.  My team and I have come up with all sorts of bribes motivational gimmicks to keep the kids from nodding off and rolling out of their chairs and onto the floor.  Even worse, is I have a student teacher who started with us the very first day of test prep, so right now all I’m modeling for her is the part of education I hate the most!  But at least she got to hear a good one today…

One of the standards we reviewed today was plural nouns.  Second graders have to know the four plural noun rules and all the basic irregular plural nouns. We were on rule #4 – If the noun ends in ‘f’, change the “f” to “ves".  The kids had brainstormed a couple of words that follow the rule and then kind of hit a wall.  Their hands were up, they wanted to share out a word, but drew a blank when called on.  G raised his hand, but had nothing.  I gave him hint…
Ms. D – G, if you get married when you are grown up, you will be the husband and she will be the….?
G – WIFE! (shouted excitedly)
Ms. D – Right! (writing it on the board).  So if all of you boys get married when you grow up, there will be a lot of….?

Wait for it…

2-3 students – (shouting) BABIES! 

When the kids say something like this, it’s important to keep very calm and not let them know you are ready to burst out laughing.  If they sensed I thought it was as funny as I did, they would have all started shouting out, “BABIES!  BABIES” over and over and over again.  At that moment, the other two adults in my room (my student teacher and the reading helper) glanced up at me, almost shaking with laughter.  We knew we couldn’t laugh out loud, but wanted to more than anything.  I pulled it together…
Ms. D – Well, maybe there would be a lot of babies (with only a hint of laughter that a couple of my most perceptive kids picked up on), but what would the plural of ‘wife’ be?
The kids quickly settled down and I was finally able to get “wives” out of them.  For the rest of the day, it made for a good story in the staff room.

My student teacher, for now, sits in the back of the room and takes notes about how the classroom is run most of the day.  I walked over to her during another transition and asked her if she took notes on that.  Yep, she did!  It was a gem.

Now being in our third week, all the excitement of test prep has worn off, and the kids aren’t quite as into the bribes as they were in the previous two weeks.  When having the students take out their practice test materials yesterday, D (the one who shot me with an imaginary shotgun earlier this year) groaned audibly, “Test practice makes me tired.”

Me too D, me too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April into May

Now that we’ve turned another page on the calendar, it’s time for the Kathryn Wheel Calendar Challenge.  Here are my pages for April…

stuff 170 acrylic washed eggs and background

With everything going on recently, I’ve been on a journaling frenzy over the last few months.. stuff 171
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I’ve just about run out of pages in this journal, so I made a new one to get started in. 

stuff 177It’s bigger than the one I’m currently using, and it has the most delicious Fabriano watercolor paper inside.  I can hardly wait to begin working in it.

April was a huge birthday month, so I made some cards.  It’s nice to have a stash of them at my fingertips when needed.
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I’ll leave you with this lovely song/video…

Have a wonderful May!