Monday, February 27, 2006


So what's a poutine? See above. I always liked the sound of the word, so I decided that it would be fun to ask my students what THEY thought it meant (because they're not acquainted with poutine either). The results are as follows:

- a woman's ugly hat
- some kind of specific wig, but we don't know the specifics
- female anatomy, huh huh.
- Chinese food of some sort.
- a foreign article of clothing.
- potato chip flavor (that'd be pretty good, actually)

I need more ideas. Play with the word. What would you assign as a definition for "poutine" if you didn't know what it really meant?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


YAY Trusty Getto for tagging me. Yay!!!

Hard questions meme

1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

However they were originally done. Colorized B&W always bugs me. But at the same time, if a movie is in color, I don't want it to be in B&W.

2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

Sports. I just don't care. It's a game, for Pete's sake. Although I have enjoyed learning about football lately. sshh. don't tell.

3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?

CD's, I suppose. But I love my iPod for its portability, and the sound quality is pretty darn good.

4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going ... ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

I assume that this question assumes that there is no chance of returning. If I had to leave forever, heck no!
If I could return, heck yes! And I'd go to Paris for a month and invest the money so it'd grow and grow and grow, and live off the interest.

5: Seriously, what do you consider the world's most pressing issue now?

The devaluing of education and hard work. Kids these days (not all, but MANY of the ones I work with!) expect everything to be handed to them. They ask for "help" with an assignment, and expect you to basically do it for them. School is not something valued - it's a punishment, and teachers are the enemy. People need to stop placing so much emphasis on entertainment (e.g. sports, TV, etc.) and place it more on the things that matter.

Otherwise - I'd say it's the hero-ization (yay new words!) of the bad-ass. Ever notice that the people who were once thought to be upright citizens are now satirized beyond belief in the popular media? craziness.

6: How would you rectify the world's most pressing issue?

Make education rules more stringent. This is my rant from a localized perspective, but it applies everywhere. For example: It's fine that New York requires a whole pile of Regents exams for a high school diploma, but for crap's sake, stop making it so that a rock could pass all the exams! (In NY, a "passing" grade on a Regents exam is 55%.) Not everyone was born to have a Regents diploma. Rework a non-Regents program, and make sure that people understand that there is also honor to be had in doing blue-collar work. Stop assuming that fairness is always equal. To me, making my student who wrote the "I am" poem pass a Regents exam in chemistry is unfair. It is MORE fair, and more beneficial to him to place him in a vocational school where he can learn a trade that will help him secure a decent job. He needs to learn how to wash and take care of himself. He needs to know how to do laundry. If he can barely wash his hands, what the heck is the point of asking him to define ionic bonds? Teach him to wash his hands and clothes first. Then start talking about ionic bonds.

In non-ranting terms: take a closer look at the kids these days, and teach them what they need to know FIRST, and then teach them the academics. On my top priority list for the population I teach:
1a. personal hygiene, especially dental care and cleanliness
1b. LITERACY! Half my students can't even read!!!
2. keeping a home: laundry, basic cooking skills, sewing on buttons, etc.
3. keeping a budget. How to manage money. (Math skills come in here, folks)
4a. emotional health and self-expression: sports, music, hobbies
4b. academics

7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

I actually would have paid attention in some of my academic classes in high school. Especially history.

8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

Beavis and Butthead.

9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole' Opry --Which do you choose?

Opera, as long as it's a good one!

10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you'd like to solve?

I'm with Trusty on this one: JFK. Bull about the magic bullet.

11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

Gail Godwin. Chicken francaise over spinach with a nice risotto on the side, a nice green salad, creme brulee for dessert. And a beautifully dry white wine with citrus notes.

12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky -- what's the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

Honestly, the idea of actually consciously doing something immoral upsets me. Why can't people be good just for the sake of being good?

rant, rant, rant.

But that was REALLY fun! It got me thinking!

I officially tag: JJ, Sonja, Jess, and anyone else who would like to answer. :D

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

excuse me, but is that a Johari window, or are you just happy to see me?

yeah, it's a Johari window.

Play along. It's fun!

go here:

and then play as much as you want. yaaay! :)

Thanks Sonja. You da best.

Monday, February 13, 2006

lists are fun!

Things I have done today:

  • Taught 5 classes and two voice lessons
  • Comforted a crying fifth grader with a funny story and a watermelon tootsie pop
  • cooked a tasty dinner loosely based on the Mitford cookbook by Jan Karon
  • seasoned a cast-iron Dutch oven that used to be my dad's that had lost its seasoning
  • downloaded a whole bunch of songs for my 5th graders' music soundtrack project
  • wrote lesson plans for next week and the week after
  • proctored a study hall
  • did bus duty
  • had a blues cafe with my 4th graders
  • watched TV
  • blogged :)
  • washed lots of dishes
  • yelled at TS for running down the hallway only to hear him say, "WHAT?! I didn't hit anyone!"
  • helped a kindergartener color
  • mailed out my application to Crane, officially
  • begged my two favorite reference letter writers for letters of reference
  • talked on the phone
  • put leftover dinner into gladware
  • chatted with Gracie for 2.5 seconds or so
  • took a shower
  • blowdried my hair
  • shaved my legs and armpits
  • put on pajamas
  • ordered a NYSSMA manual
  • went shopping for teacher clothes online, but bought nothing
  • etc. etc.

all in all, a productive day.

Tomorrow, I must:

  • teach 3 classes and 2 voice lessons (the easiest day in the cycle, unless I tell you which 3 classes!)
  • work on my curriculum map
  • write sub plans for the 21st
  • turn in my lesson plans to the elementary school
  • make thank-you cards for the secretary and reading recovery teacher for coming to the blues cafe
  • go to dinner with John to celebrate singles' awareness day
  • figure out something romantic to surprise JJ with
  • notify the union that I can't come to the meeting because I have to teach voice lessons
  • start packing my suitcase
  • eat supper
  • email Dr. Nolker to ask his advice for when I'll be in Greensboro
  • watch the Charlie Brown Valentine's Day special
  • watch NCIS if possible

not a bad day ahead. I'm still riding on the waves of business... and joy of seeing JJ FRIDAY!!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

survey addiction time.

I stole this from a former Cranie, whom I hold in high musical regard.

1. My roommate once: had a delicious dinner waiting for me when I came home from class.

2. Never in my life have I: liked exercising.

3. The one person who can drive me nuts, but then can always manage to make me smile: I'm not sure, unless it's this one student I hate who has a brilliant sense of humor.

4. High School was: my first public school experience.

5. When I'm nervous: my hands shake.

6. The last time I cried was: the other day.

7. If I were to get married right now my bridesmaids/groomsmen would be: uhhh.... I'm not sure.

9. My hair: is getting longer.

10. When I was 5: I was in first grade.

11. Last Christmas I: got a really ugly pink furry jacket.

12. When I turn my head left, I see: a L'Egypte au Louvre poster in my mom's study.

13. I should be: washing my face and brushing my teeth.

14. When I look down I see: my hands on my keyboard.

15. The craziest recent event was: this 13-year-old's birthday party I went to tonight.

16. If I were a character on Friends I'd be: one of the people who sits around at Central Perk and reads books all day.

17. By this time next year: I will be sending out resumes like craaaazy.

18. Current Relationship Status: the happiest I've ever been.

19. I have a hard time understanding: that people do bad things out of their own volition.

20. One time at a family gathering: I had to listen to a story about my grandpa's wife having her impacted bowel loosened. while we were eating.

21. You know I "like" you if: I am very careful around you and tend to blush.

22. If I won an award, the first person(people) I'd thank is/are: the bestowers of the award for considering me worthy.

23. Take my advice: don't take what students say to you personally.

24. My ideal breakfast is: Folgers cafe latte in vanilla vibe, and some apple cinnamon oatmeal with half and half.

25. If you visit my hometown: make sure to find a local Italian restaurant and eat your heart out.

26. Where do you plan to visit anytime soon: Greensboro, in less than a week!!!!!

27. If you spend the night at my house: wear comfy pajamas and be ready to adjust your blankets all night. (the heat is on or off.)

28. I'd stop my wedding if: I found out I was marrying an axe-murderer.

29. The world could do without: extremists of any kind.

30. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than date: someone abusive.

31. Most recent thing you've bought yourself: dark taupe Egyptian cotton towels. :D

32. Most recent thing someone else bought for you: the tip for my food last night.

33. My favorite blonde is: my favorite 5th grade student.

34. My favorite brunette is: myself. I like my hair.

just wait one cotton-picking minute here. WHERE IS THE FAVORITE REDHEAD QUESTION?!?!?!?

35. And by the way: why the hell do sports figures who are responsible solely for entertaining people make millions, but the shapers of the future (i.e. teachers) make about $40k on average?

36: The last time I was high was: in an airplane. literally. 30,000 feet or something, right?

37. The animals I would like to see flying besides birds are: monkeys. Think Wizard of Oz.

38. I shouldn't have been: as harsh with my high school chorus at the beginning.

39. Once, at a bar: I drank a white russian and ate a hamburger.

40. Last night I: went out with friends, got really annoyed, went home, read, and slept.

41. There's this boy I know who: had to go to the hospital to have surgery to drain the pus from his abcessed tooth. *barf*

42: I don't know: what the future holds.

43. A better name for me would be: Nebuchednezzar.

44. If I ever go back to school I'll: get my PHD in music theory, and write a semiotic analysis of all of Hindemith's music that was composed during the rise of the Third Reich.

45. How many days until my birthday? Many. many moons.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

student of the day

so, I have one hilarious 6th grader, J. He's the quintessential nerdy white boy, but he has a few talents and moments that knock my socks off.

He kept asking me if he could sing "I Believe I Can Fly" for me. I hate that song. I lived in Philly for 2 years, one of which the Iggles went to the super-bore. During super-bore season, that song was INCESSANT on the radio. I don't care if I ever hear it again.


he wanted to sing it, so I let him.

That boy's got SOUL!!!
Holy shit, can he sing!!!

Funny kid. He also talks back by accident. It's hysterical. The other day (when he sang the Iggles song for me), he also said this,
"Miss B-, if you never do ANYTHING else a student says, promise me this: NEVER let anyone that you teach EVER sing the Concert Etiquette Rap. It's AWFUL!"

He was serious, and it was adorable.

When he plays the piano, he's still playing only one note at a time, but he sways around like Van Cliburn.

He also has told me that I should quit my job and become a comedian, because people would laugh.

But today took the cake. Somehow we started with a conversation about getting a grand piano for the chorus room (he wants us to have one, and I agree, but it'll never happen in these here parts!), and it ended up with a discussion about my house. I know that my house used to be a funeral home, but I also know that my apartment in the house was not the funeral parlor part of the house. But that grossed J out a lot. I told him I liked the place anyway, and he said (very loudly),

"But Miss B-, you live where dead people used to live!"

dead people. used to live.
'nuff said.

I love you, kid.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

my songs.

Trusty Getto tagged me with this. Oddly enough, my 5th graders are doing it too for general music class. They have to pick 5 songs, give me the title and the artist, and tell me why it is important for their lives. Here are some of my songs.

1. "You Are Mine" by David Haas
This is JJ's and my song. JJ brought me back to church, in a way, and this is one of my favorite worship songs. It also describes a lot of the dynamic that the two of us have had through time.
I will come to you in the silence,
I will lift you from all your fear.
You will hear my voice,
I claim you as my choice.
Be still and know I am here.
I am hope for all who are hopeless,
I am eyes for all who long to see.
In the shadows of the night
I will be your light
Come and rest in me.
Do not be afraid, I am with you.
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me;
I will bring you home.
I love you and you are mine.

There are two more verses, but the first section of the song is what gets me most.

2. "Sweetest Decline" by Beth Orton

My friend Joe put this on a CD mix for me while I was in Philly. It's a beautiful song. The first Friday night that I went out with some people from school and made some new friends, this song was playing on the radio. I can still see driving across the bridge to get to Lydia's Tavern...

3. "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones

This song is so romantic to me. It reminds me of what I hope for with JJ.

4. "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor

My father used to play his guitar and sing this song to me and my brother as children. We also used to travel a lot as a family, in the car. These are the lines that make me think so strongly of Dad and our car-time:
There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway,
a song that they sing when they take to the sea.
There's a song that they sing of their home in the sky.
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep,
but singing works just fine for me...

I have more songs, and they are coming. But for now, this is what I have, because I am tired and want to relax.