Sunday, January 29, 2012

Look at My Muscles

Claire and Mac and I stayed up late watching Downton Abbey. Btw, Mac has been staying asleep better and in his own room, but he still has a really hard time actually falling asleep. So. My Handbook of Marginal Parenting said the best thing to do was to let him come down and watch a show that is inappropriate for his age group, but that he would never understand anyway. That was page 6 in the book. Page 10 said it's fine for Shef to make up his own lyrics to go along with inappropriate pop songs that he doesn't understand. He's Sheffy and He Knows It.

Anyway, I fell asleep thinking about Downton and I woke up thinking about it. We have now finished Season One on Netflix, and we're beside ourselves. How will we watch Season Two in comfort and happiness? I've charged Claire with figuring this out.

Friday, January 27, 2012


We watched Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2 on Netflix. Let's just say that they were both awesome.

After we were done watching, I quickly became obsessed with the Jonas Brothers. Joe! Nick! Kevin! Which could be my favorite!?

Then, I remembered that the Jonases are fundamental Christians who wear purity rings to remind them about their promises not to have premarital sex! They also don't drink or do drugs!

Then, I remembered that maybe Joe Jonas was kind of a player who may or may not have cheated on Taylor Swift with Camilla Belle!

Then, I watched Taylor Swift's funny SNL musical monologue about Joe Jonas being kind of a jerk to her!

Then, I loaded up a new Jonas Brothers station on Pandora which has so far featured Joe, Kevin, Nick, Taylor, Demi Lovato, Jesse McCartney, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus! No Bieber yet!

Yes! I really know how to party like no one can deny!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Kind of Day

The 1968 play I saw today made me feel very proud to be a Minnesotan, actually. We had Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey. These guys made me think of other Minnesotans I'm proud of. People like Walter Mondale and the great and inspiring Paul Wellstone. Now I'm represented by Al Franken, who consistently stands up for my values and ideals. Tim O'Brien, a Minnesotan, wrote beautifully about the difficulty of being a veteran in his many books about Vietnam. The play reminded me that we need to take really good care of our Iraq and Afghanistan vets, even if it costs money.

I was glad to hear that our current president is committed to doing this. In fact, Barack Obama reminded us that we can't park the bus. We have to keep working for a better world. I hope that the President will be massively aggressive to achieve his agenda. I hope he has learned that negotiating and compromising with republicans will only hurt us all.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Batch

We're way into The Bachelor here. However, I have so much work to do that I've been multitasking constantly while watching. For instance, this week, I'm getting observed three times in a row. They want to see the arc of my teaching. They also decided to visit my least well-behaved class. So, I feel a little nerve-wracked to tell the truth. Today's lesson went fine, so here's hoping the next two are fine, as well.

The good news? We're going on a field trip tomorrow to a play that sounds great. It's called 1968. It's at the History Theater. Maybe you want to go too? Check it out at the History Theater in St. Paul. Erin's here (she's here for Ben AND she works for our beautiful capital city), and she says The Minnesota History Center is a "treasure trove of the best of our great state."

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not Your Fault But Mine

After I finished the narrative comments for my students on Wednesday evening, it was time to get to work on the NCTE proposal. That's due tomorrow morning at 8am. Now that Rachel and I have finished that, it's time to get to work on materials for my big three-day observation next week. I'm teaching a book that I haven't read since I myself was in 8th grade. I have to have fantastic lesson plans that highlight all my strengths.

Lucky for me, I have an appointment with my psychic this weekend. I hope my spirit guides want to tell me that everything's going to be fine. Also, I hope they want to tell me that Mac's going to start sleeping through the night and going to bed smoothly. And also that global warming will be solved and that Bachelor Ben finds eternal happiness.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mas Fina

I've been growing my hair out. It's been difficult because it always looks weird. Every night, I talk about it.

"See how long my hair is?" I asked Claire last night.

"You mean you think it's longer than than yesterday?" she said, glancing up from her computer.

Basically I can't stop thinking or talking about my hair. This is my cross to bear. I force everyone to look at pictures of my goal hairstyles. I complain about how my hair matches Johnny Depp's hair. I try to curl my hair without success. I pin it back and then it sticks out behind my ears. I try to force it into little ponytails.

It's not the greatest way to spend time. And it's not the most interesting topic of conversation.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Who's That Girl?

Today, I'm introducing a new character. We now have a housemate named Claire. She watches reality television with us, she plays with the kids with us, she makes dinner with us, she laughs at Dan's twitter feed with us, and now here she is on my blog.

One of the best things about Claire? She's an English teacher with many awesome ideas. Just today, she told me about a million fantastic lessons for To Kill a Mockingbird. She also copied all of the handouts onto a jump drive and gave them to me. Then she showed me some videos of her former students engaging in her creative educational activities.

You can see this is going to be a win-win situation for all. Especially for Dan who loves to listen to theoretical discussions about literacy education.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Um, Mayday?

At my new school, we write narratives about each student to explain the grades we assign, give kudos, impart suggestions, and comment on our day-to-day experiences of the kids.

As a youth and young adult, I was a serious procrastinator. Since I've had kids, I generally don't procrastinate. Because I can't. Because I don't actually have time to delay the work. Because there is no later. NO DAY BUT TODAY!

However, in the case of these narratives, I've revived my old bad habits. I've been partaking in some serious work avoidance. Violin practice? Check. Just Dance? Check. Glass o' wine? Double Check. Comments? NO! NO CHECK!

How many students do I have?


How many comments have I written?


There's nothing to do but to devote myself to the Fly-Lady method of work completion. I hope she and I can get this done. We're going to have to.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week In Review

It's finally Saturday, and I'm so glad. I can't think of any way to describe this week without invoking any number of clich├ęs: a whirlwind, no time to take a breath, a series of unfortunate events.

First, we failed to check the January calendar, and therefore did not realize that Mac had a second week of Winter Break. This created a massive childcare problem, obviously - a problem I solved one day by hiring a girl I'd never met (the best friend of a colleague's daughter) to watch Mac for eight hours. Oh well! She seemed nice!

Also, I still had the respiratory illness I've had for many days. I finally decided to go to the doctor and get an antibiotic after the time one of my senior colleagues stopped in for an impromtu observation, and I had to leave the class due to a massive, choking coughing fit, during which tears streamed from my eyes and I gasped instructions for finding and discussing metaphors.

Next, Mac had his admissions testing at my school, and while he eventually cooperated, he spent the first ten minutes of the interview producing guttural wails and clinging to my legs.

Finally, I spent days in agony over the faculty-student basketball game. "You should really play," said one colleague. She insinuated that I would be seen as a stick-in-the-mud if I did not take the floor. "Yeah," said another. "The students really like to see you out there." Finally, I called Rachel and left a desperate message. She called back:

"Kace, under no circumstances should you be playing basketball. This will only harm you AND the students."

I appreciated her candor, and in the end, I chose dignity. I feel good about that choice.