Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun Haters, or I Hate the Man

Dear Mr. Brown,

Remember during the 1990 Abraham Lincoln High School graduation when you took my can of silly string from under my chair while I was up getting my diploma? Remember how you smugly sat on the bench across from me as my entire class, all 287 (well... 286 because I wasn't a part of it) of them, sprayed their cans of silly string gleefully into the air to celebrate our special day? You raised your eyebrows at me as if to say, "What are you going to do about it?" I hope that made you feel all big and important, denying one person (a pretty good kid who was never a troublemaker in school) her fun moment. Can you tell that I'm still bitter? It's a little lame, but I really feel like you ruined my graduation. You. A teacher. You ruined my night. Jerk.

I hope you're retired,

I seriously hate it when adults smash young people's dreams to feel good about themselves. I was reminded of this hatred today when I learned that the Fairfield tradition of taking huge signs with names on them to the All-State Music Festival is being crushed. First, I should be positive and say that 11 kids from Fairfield made All-State yesterday. And, one more has a chance to make it in piano; his recall is on Wednesday in Ames. That is AWESOME!!! I'm so proud of them and of everyone who tried out. It's hard and emotional, and it takes a ton of commitment.

Anyway, every year, Fairfield kids spend hours making these awesome signs, one sign for every kid who made it. They hold them up in the crowd to show their pride and support. Well, someone thinks these signs are distracting and inappropriate. So now, without even a discussion for how they might be used in a different, more acceptable way, the tradition is over. Done. Finished.

Fun haters.

I know that sometimes when you're in authority, it's easy to be a fun hater. There is work to be done, and there is a time and a place for everything. But can we please have a little perspective and maybe focus that fun hating energy into keeping kids in school or saving the environment or getting crime off the streets? There is so little celebration from kids' peers for the arts. Is it really necessary to destroy what little there is?

If I've ever crushed your fun, I'm sorry. I hope you'll come and talk to me about it, and maybe we can find an alternate solution that will get the job done and bring you joy at the same time.

And for the record, as a teacher now myself, if I was holding that single student's can of silly string while 286 other kids sprayed theirs, I would hand hers back.

Friday, October 21, 2011

22 Things I've Never Done

One of the blogs I get a kick out of is MomJovi. I actually started following her when I somehow came across a post about how obsessed her little daughter is with The Sound of Music. I've been hooked ever since. Today, her post had a little reader challenge along with it. It stems from another blog post from I blog I don't follow currently, but it looks really fun. It's called Mama's Losin' It, and here is the post with the challenge. I think I'll play along and link it back.

22 Things I've Never Done

I'm 39 years old, and here are some things I've never done:

1. I've never been to Hawaii.
2. I've never installed new smoke detectors in my house even though I bought some a long time ago.
3. I've never been able to ride my bike with no hands on the handlebars.
4. I've never had my house all clean at one time since I bought it.
5. I've never parasailed.
6. I've never made my own Thanksgiving dinner.
7. I've never had a brand new car.
8. I've never put up window treatments in my own house until this year, even though I bought it in 2001.
9. I've never danced on a bar.
10. I've never been sorry I became a teacher, even with how hard the job has become.
11. I've never really believed in Hell.
12. I've never been to a continent other than North America and Europe.
13. I've never been ashamed of my age.
14. I've never seen Modern Family.
15. I've never been a registered Republican.
16. I've never been on spinny or pendulous rides since I got sicker than sick on the Galleon at Adventureland.
19. I've never enjoyed singing karaoke.
20. I've never eaten liver.
21. I've never had a tattoo.
22. I've never stopped missing my mom... not even for one day.

Weekly Update

I started this week going to the Iowa Talented & Gifted Association's state conference in Des Moines. It's always so good and a major information overload. I was in Des Moines for Monday and Tuesday, and it messed with my head for the rest of the week. I'm glad it's finally Friday because maybe now, I'll know what day it is! I always room with my colleague, Ann, and it's a great time for us to powwow. It was also fun because the Iowa Technology in Education Conference was the same time, so several of us Fairfielders were in Des Moines. We all met with the Kurths for dinner at Red Robin on Monday. Plus, I finally got to go to Trader Joe's in Des Moines! Woo hoo!!! Iowa has had a Trader Joe's for almost a year, and this was my first visit. Shameful. My new Trader Joe's obsessions are freeze dried blueberries (they're like healthy crunchberries!) and dark chocolate nibs (one calorie apiece and a really cute tin!). OK... back to the conference...

The conference theme this year was creativity. I heard such good speakers on this topic including the amazing Dr. Sally Reis (if had all the money in the world, I'd go to UConn to do my Master's Degree with her and her husband Joe Renzulli... oh, for $100,000 dollars or so... sigh...) and artist/businessman/education advocate David Williamson. Creativity is NOT a buzzword in education right now, and it's a shame. I really feel that we're not preparing our kids to be competitive in the global economy. They don't think outside of the box, and they're not problem-solvers. They're becoming great test-takers though. :P

Last night, Andrew and I went to look at flooring. He's helping me make some changes in my house. It needs updating, and I'd like to refinance eventually. I'm very good at procrastinating these changes, and Andrew has been pushing me to get it done. I need pushed in this area. A lot. And, in case anyone was wondering, it is NOT possible to eat healthfully at Sirloin Stockade. What were we thinking???

This week, I've been playing catch-up. It's been frantic, and I'm behind, but the conference is always worth it. Tomorrow, it's Homecoming at the University of Iowa, so the Hawkeye Mornin' Crew will be there in full force. The tailgate theme is Walking Tacos. Mmm!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekly Update

I had a crazy work week this week. On Wednesday, I took 25 kids to the Class Act Comics conference at the University of Iowa. It was a great experience, and the kids got to meet published authors. Here's the link to my school blog for more details.

Thursday, I had a doctor's appointment in Iowa City, and Andrew went with me. My reward for the day followed, and it was Una Don at Oyama. Oh, how I love that eel! I enjoy it anywhere, but Oyama really has the best, in my opinion.
Andrew & I agreed that we enjoy the miso at Shokai better though, and I think the edamame is better there too.
Lucky for us, Shokai is in Fairfield! Now, we just have to patronize it enough to keep it in business! LOL

On Friday night, Andrew & I went to see the latest Shakespeare Ensemble show, Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. It was very enjoyable, and it made me miss being on stage with Steve White. We had such a blast bantering in Lion in Winter.

On Saturday, I got to sleep late, and then Andrew & I had a little Hawkeye party in his living room. It would have been nice to have a better outcome, but we still had fun watching it... as much fun as a Hawkeye fan can have when they're not playing very well. :P After that, we watched the Nebraska/Ohio State game. I was hoping the Cornhuskers would get creamed to make me feel better from the Iowa loss. No such luck. I really can't stand them.

Today, after church, Andrew and I drove to the Amana Colonies to have lunch with my Alaska family who are in town for my Uncle Bob's 55th dental class reunion at the University Iowa. I ate terrible things and enjoyed every minute of it. Back on the wagon tomorrow. I finished the night working at school, and I'm ready to start another week.

October is beautiful in Iowa. It's a little warm for my taste, but Iowa in October should be experienced by everyone. Glorious!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life Lessons

Yes, I'm an Apple fan. But, that's not why I love this speech. I think Steve Jobs was an innovator and a visionary. He was also a man who learned from his past and wasn't afraid to take chances with his future. I shared this speech with my students today. Great life lessons. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Two Tauri Collide

I am a Taurus. Andrew is a Taurus. Normally, this is not an issue, but occasionally, our stubborn streaks show. Sometimes, he's right (how to change the outgoing message on his voicemail), and sometimes, I'm right (which building in Chicago is the John Hancock building... I won BIG with that one). But until there's proof, neither one of us ever gives in.

This weekend, Andrew & I went to Mankato, MN, to see our darling, talented Stephen Crisp in his very last show at Minnesota State University. It was a beautiful production of Rent. I love that show so much, and he was wonderful in it.

On the way home (the drives were GORGEOUS, btw... I adore this time of year), Andrew kept commenting on how bad the corn looked, that it was so short, etc. This is not the first time he's said something like this. I just know from being on my dad's farm that the height of corn is very deceiving, especially from the road. Andrew was convinced that the corn was way shorter than him. So I finally said, "Do you want to pull over and see?" I wasn't ticked or snooty... I just knew the corn was pretty darned tall. There was a little lane close by, and we pulled in. I hopped out and stood by the corn, and Andrew's mouth gaped open. It really is a crazy illusion. Then he wanted to stand by it too, and I snapped this pic. I love him so. I just wish I actually would have bet him like I did last fall in Chicago. Darn. Missed opportunities.

Andrew of the Corn

It was a short trip to Mankato, but I'm so glad we went to see Stephen's last show. We were able to have dinner before the show with him at Fridays, and then we went out after the show to grab some wings at Tav on the Ave. Delicious. They had cider on tap, so Andrew was a happy boy.

my "little bro" after his show at Tav on the Ave

isn't this a great pic of Andrew & me :)

On Sunday morning, we all had breakfast, and then Andrew & I hit the road. Fun, quick weekend.

And, yes, I did look up to verify what the plural of "Taurus" is.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crocheting Projects

I follow several crafty blogs online, and I recently wondered why I don't ever post any of my own projects... hmmm... ? So, here's a little taste of the crafty side of me.

When I was in 6th grade, the thing I wanted most for Christmas was for my grandma to teach me how to crochet. When I opened my present from her, inside the box were 2 skeins of yarn, a simple "how to" book for reminders when I left her house, and a crochet hook. One of my favorite pictures of us is on Christmas Eve that year. I'm sitting in her chair with her, and her arms are around me, guiding my moves as she taught me how to crochet.

I've taken breaks from crocheting, but I really picked it up again when my best friend Tracy was pregnant with her first baby. Olivia's "blue bee" (or is it "blue b"... hmm... I guess I've never spelled it out before) is her favorite, though now the poor thing is literally a pile of knotted string. Olivia's in second grade now, but here's a picture of what it looked like when it was new and in one piece:

When Olivia's little sister Elora was born 4 years ago, I started her present. I was determined to make it a little stronger to hold up longer than blue bee had. It was stronger, all right. It basically turned into a crocheted suit of armor, and it only took 4 years for me to complete! I finished it this summer when I was offstage during Time Out of Rhyme... I had put the poor thing aside so many times, I was worried she wasn't going to get it until she graduated! Luckily, it's done, so here's a picture of the finished product:
I'm finishing up my cowl this week for the Crochet-along, so stay tuned for pictures of that too!
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