Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheer Yourself Up

If you need a little cheer, visit It definitely made me smile today when I needed it. Thanks, Jeff, for telling me about it!

Life is Precious

Why do we always need reminders about how short and precious life is? A friend from high school woke up this morning, but her baby girl did not. She'd just slipped away in the night, silently leaving her family and this world behind. A fleeting gift of only a few months, gone too soon.

Squeeze your kids, world. Don't wait to say "I love you." The sun sets, whether we're ready or not. Every day is full of joy. Every day is a treasure. Every single day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be A Lion

A clip from Maravel Arts Center.  This place is doing great things for kids.  I don't care what you think of Rosie O'Donnell.  She's paying it forward in a huge way.  I had goosebumps from start to finish.  Wow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kettlebell Torture

On Mondays and Wednesdays, our principal's wife has been leading a crew of us teachers/gluttons for punishment in a strength training workout after school.  The main object of torture she uses is the dreaded kettlebell.  When I found out they came from Russia, it made sense.  Think KGB torture device, and you're probably close.  They're really not that bad.  In fact, they're good.  So good that I leave feeling like I want to crawl home, or better yet, just stay lying on the floor at school until the next morning and have my classes come to the weight room where I'll be teaching from the floor.  OK.  An exaggeration.  But they are TOUGH!  I've worked up to the 2nd kettlebell, which I'm proud of.  Each one is 8 kilos, which is over 16 pounds I think... I'm terrible at remembering conversions.  My current kettlebell is yellow (ours are different than the ones shown here), but our coach uses green.  Maybe I'll be brave enough to try a green for a tiny bit before the end of the year.  I have no idea how heavy they are, but since yellow is freaking heavy, I'm guessing green is massively painfully freaking heavy.  There are even bigger ones than those which I'm sure I couldn't even lift off the table!  I actually really like working out with my colleagues.  I'm the kind of person who needs a class type atmosphere.  If I have to do it all alone, I'll talk myself out of it every time.  All in all, it's a good thing.  Pain is good... right?

Here's a clip of the kettlebells in action... darned things.  ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Windy Spring Day

I feel great today. I rode my bike to school for the first time this spring. It felt good. I live so close to school, that I honestly feel guilty driving my car every day. Before you start applauding too loudly, you should understand that I'm definitely not a fanatic about it. I refuse to bike on rainy days, cold days, or days when my backpack is too heavy (too many papers to grade). But, I feel like any day that I can bike is an improvement. Since I go home for lunch every day, I get 4 quick little rides in throughout the course of the day. It was so darned windy today though. It made things a little challenging. I was pedaling like a crazy woman on the way home for lunch, and then on the way back, I was going so fast... I felt like I was flying! It's sunny and beautiful today though, despite the wind. Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer, and it might hit 80 degrees on Friday! I plan to bike the rest of the week, for sure... no rain in sight!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

It seemed to happen overnight. Blooms and green everywhere. I love spring. I don't even mind the rain today. Hopefully, it will bring on the morels!

Last night, Andrew and I went to dinner with Roberta and Darien. We went to the Bonaparte Retreat. I love it there, and my filet mignon was to die for. Andrew's steak was less than fantastic (to say the least), but he got the ribeye. That's supposed to be their specialty, but I always get the filet there. It's so good!

Yesterday was our 3 month anniversary. What a happy 3 months, and what a change 3 months can make in a life... or 2 lives, I guess. :)

Tonight is Kevin & Alicia's birthday party, so I'm looking forward to that. They always throw a fun party.

This was a tiring week... a good, busy week... but a tiring week. I'm glad it's the weekend!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weekly Update

This was a short week for the kids.  They had Good Friday off.  We had an inservice day.  In the morning, we worked to incorporate Formative Assessments into our Backwards Design units... sorry for the jargon.  I got a good start with what I wanted to do, but my head was definitely swimming by the end of the morning.  Sometimes my area of Talented and Gifted education doesn't fit nicely into the parameters of the box given.  Productive morning, but a little frustrating.  I'll get it though... more attention required.  In the afternoon, we learned how to Podcast.  This is something I REALLY wanted to learn because a few teachers had done it in their classes, and the outcome is way cool.  I can see a ton of uses for it, so I'm anxious to try it with my students.  I think we were all hoping to get out a little early, but we ended up staying past 3:30 to try to get everything done.  I was into it though, so I didn't mind.

This morning I woke up with a whopper of a headache, so I haven't been accomplishing much.  It's a beautiful day though, so I'm determined to get off my rear and get outside to pick up sticks.  I need to get that done before spring cleanup.  Andrew and I might be going to a concert tonight, but his son is home sick, and my head is really giving me fits, so the concert might be out of the picture.  We'll see.

Tomorrow will be a big day at church.  Easter Sunday.  I have to be there at 7:00 am.  UGH.  The kids' program is at 8:00, then there's a breakfast, and then choir sings at 10:30.  I'll definitely be napping tomorrow afternoon!  :)

Last night Andrew and I watched A Fish Called Wanda.  That movie is so funny.  I hadn't seen it in ages.  I'll never forget the first time I saw it.  It was the summer after my sophomore year, and I went with my friend Nathan.  We laughed so hard that I had tears, and I thought I was going to fall out of the chair.  A couple of weeks later, I went with another friend, and she was offended by the humor.  You could have heard a pin drop.  I was scared to even chuckle.  It's weird how things can be funnier (or not), depending on who's sharing them with you.

I'm working to get the GOAL end-of-the-year trips all scheduled.  I love going on them, but I hate having to miss so much school.  I don't know if there's any way to remedy that.  I also have to miss days for the 8th grade trip to Adventureland and to grade 8th grade alternate reading assessments.  I hate being out of the classroom so much.  I better not get sick between now and the end of the year.  That's the last thing I need!

Well, that's enough randomness for now.  Have a Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And I Was Never the Same Again...

Me. 8 years old. It was all over.

I have this theory about how Han Solo affected girls around my age. Let's just say I've never been really interested in the Luke Skywalker type. I know Star Wars was very influential to all kids of my generation. Remember that Friends episode with Ross' mom in the gold bikini? Ewwww. But I digress. For me, it was all about Han.  For those like me, enjoy.  Feel free to pause and repeat.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Not to Dwell, But...

I know not all of the people who read my blog share my feelings about the Iowa State Supreme Court's decision last week, so I really don't mean to dwell, BUT... there was a great article in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times today that I just couldn't keep to myself.  

I'm so very proud.  :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Love That Jon Stewart

I don't know how long the lift of the ban on gay marriage will last, or if it will last at all. But I was very proud of my state last week. Since then, both my e-mail inbox and my answering machine have been bombarded with pleas to contact my congressmen. One side wants an amendment banning gay marriage again. The other side wants the State Supreme Court's ruling upheld. I haven't been so politically attacked since the caucuses. Blerg.

I know the issue is controversial. Maybe that makes me even prouder. I don't get Comedy Central (I have cheap cable), but when I saw this clip posted on Facebook, I had to share it. Take that, California (no offense, California Cousins)!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Queer Eye for the Hawkeye
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blasts from my Past

I was on YouTube and started searching for some blasts from my past. When I watched this "Lower Case N" song from Sesame Street, I remembered how it always made me sad when I was little. It has a happy ending, but it's pretty depressing. And weird. I mean, the new lower case n comes on a rocket ship. Trippy.

And how about this one from Electric Company? I was always fairly hypnotized by these clips. You go, Morgan Freeman! :)

And finally, it's time for Bozo's GRAND PRIZE GAME! I would practice this in our lane on the farm by throwing pieces of gravel into puddles. I only wish I was kidding about that too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Random Update

This weekend, Andrew and I watched the movie Network. How have I never seen this before? It was a great movie, though a little depressing. And, it's still shockingly relevant today, even though it's over 30 years old. I finally saw the Peter Finch line that's quoted so often, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take this any more!" I knew it came from this movie, but I had no idea what the context was. Very timely... maybe even more today than in the 70's.

Andrew and I went to watch his son Zach perform in the University of Iowa Music Department's presentation of Handel's Messiah. They did the Easter portion, and the singers included both the University Choir and the elite Kantorei Singers. It was amazing. The concert was in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Iowa City, and the acoustics were spectacular. Everyone was top quality, but the soprano soloist really blew me away. I could have listened to her all day! During the Hallelujah Chorus, we all stood... that's the tradition. But I don't think I've ever been to a concert where the audience wasn't invited to sing along during the Hallelujah Chorus. Maybe it's because they were recording; I don't know. It was so hard not to sing along though! I had to mouth the words. I couldn't help myself.

I'm reading two very different books right now. One is called The Pirate's Daughter and is a fictional story of Errol Flynn's love child in Jamaica. I like reading about places in the world that are new to me. I'm at a place in the book now that is really describing the history of Jamaica's independence, and in that sense, the book is historical fiction. It has a terrible cover though... it looks like a romance novel. I'm glad I chose it for my Delta Kappa Gamma book club based on description and review rather than cover. There is romance in it, but I definitely wouldn't classify it as a romance novel. The other book I'm reading right now is called Stiff. It's about the history of human cadavers. Interesting, shocking, sometimes humorous, sometimes disgusting, altogether engaging. And totally the opposite of the other book!

I'm starting two big projects with the GOAL kids. They're some of my favorite units of the year. The 7th graders are starting their computer animations. This is an extension of the module they get to do in Modular Technology (Industrial Arts, for you old people out there). In Mod Tech, they're supposed to make a 10-15 second movie. In GOAL, they make a 2 minute movie. I wrote a grant last year for the software, and it's a blast. I hope they enjoy it. The 8th graders are getting ready to make documentary films. This combines the Betts' Autonomous Learner model of individualized instruction with the art of film making. Last year is the first time I tried it, and I thought it went well. I'm working with our technology department to make it even better this year. I can't wait to see what the students are going to research. They have to include an interview in their documentaries, and that was life lesson time last year... arranging an interview, phone skills, interview skills, writing thank-you notes, etc.

Tonight is the first rehearsal for Children of Eden. I love starting new shows. I still don't know much about this show, but I'm excited to work with Dee Ann and Jeri again. We're going to have a ton of three-part harmony stuff in this show, and that will be challenging and fun. We will definitely miss Suzanne though. The four of us were the narrators when FACT did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat several years ago. It won't be the same without her... darned family reunion on show weekend!

Speaking of Suzanne, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You are officially older than me today. I can enjoy it for a month and a day!

Hope you're surviving your Monday out there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Too Good!!!!!

This is the dream, folks.  This clip is like someone saw inside my head and decided to bring all that insanity to life.  It's just so freaking awesome!

Frank... feel like reliving your past? I have a vision of this happening on the Pedestrian Bridge over the mighty Missouri River! I know. I'm a lunatic.
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