Monday, December 31, 2007

Eat, drink and be merry

Goodbye to 2007. It's been a good but hectic year, passing by so fast that if I feel like when I blinked, the year disappeared.

I resolve to make 2008 significantly more tranquilo.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Occassion

Tomorrow I'm setting my alarm for the fist time in a week. Gotta wake up in time to get a haircut.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry X-Mas

It's been a good day. Woobie got a squeaky chew toy that kept her busy all afternoon. I finally took it away from her so she would settle down and take a nap. She's an older dog and needs her rest.

We had our traditional lasagna lunch and snacked on chocolate for the rest of the day.

Santa brought the seventh and final season of Gilmore Girls on DVD. I know what I'm doing for the next 22 hours.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Playing House

The majority of the past couple of days has been spent rearranging furniture and unpacking boxes. I found some things I've been looking for for over a year. My car and house keys are still missing. I'm hoping they'll turn up in one of the boxes that I haven't gotten to yet.

My room looks almost like a room again. The living room also looks real. All the rest of the house is coming along. I'm in town two more weeks. Hopefully there will be curtains and shades on the windows sometime before then.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I miss my computer

There's not going to be much posting unless the WiFi starts connecting.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time to Sleep

I'm home. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


My project is 119 pages long and it's freakin' DONE!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

24 hours

What's that Beastie Boys song? "NO... sleep... till BROOKLYN!" No sleep from now until I get home to Brooklyn tomorrow night after a full day of teaching and classes.

Tonight, there will be no sleeping. Tomorrow, I will look like death when I show up to school with the 7th graders. I'm sure they will tell me just how bad I look. They pull no punches. Brute honesty.

There's a thermos full of caffeine and sugar. With stimulants, I can do this.

Monday, December 17, 2007

48 hours

One day of student teaching down. One to go.

One massive project down. One bigger one to go.

One more interview tomorrow.

Must pack. Must water plants. Must consume or give away perishables.

Must sleep tonight.

Must not sleep tomorrow night.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

72 hours

Ooooooh, counting down the hours until the semester is OVER. Two major projects left to go. Two more days of student teaching. One last interview at a museum for a spring internship.

Let's get it over with. All of it.


I want to be done.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nastiness is coming

One thing I have learned this fall is that "snowy mix" is a euphemism for nasty @#$%!@ weather. Tomorrow's forecast is for snowy mix with wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

The groceries are bought. The laundry's being done. I'm hunkering down.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I fell asleep last night at nine o'clock. In my clothes.

At some point I woke up enough to at least set the alarm to go off this morning. That was a good move.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Second Thoughts

I woke up before five in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I was worried about the lesson I was going to be teaching later in the day.

The goal of the lesson was to teach kids how to write a strong conclusion to an essay. My plan was to tie in the lesson to some work I did with students a couple of weeks earlier. Two weeks ago I told them a story about my dog and it led to a thesis statement: People should always pick up after their dogs. The topic led to a lot of classroom talk about poop and turds. On multiple levels the lesson was a huge success.

Last night I stayed up late writing out four different concluding paragraphs for an essay using the dog poop thesis. None of them were great. Some of them were purposefully bad. The point of the examples was to show the students a range of writing techniques and to then analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each paragraph.

Between writing the paragraphs and standing up in front of the students, I changed my mind about 10 times about whether or not to hand out the conclusions to the class. Part of what went through my mind was, how is it going to play out if someone who doesn't know what we're doing gets a hold of the poop paragraphs. Am I going to be in deep doo-doo?

I taught the lesson as planned and it went well. The kids were so into it. They loved finding the flaws in my conclusions and telling me what I should have done differently. They especially liked moaning about how boring the longest conclusion was. "Boring!! Stop!!! There's more?! Argh!" I think they got the point. They didn't want to create that kind of reaction in readers of their own writing.

After my performance was done, they ALL wrote multiple conclusions for their own thesis statements, honing in on getting stronger and stronger concluding paragraphs with each attempt. I was quite happy.

Then the principal walked in. She occassionally pops into different classrooms to see what everyone is doing. She missed the poop talk by about 10 minutes. I don't think she would have minded. I will admit that I am relieved that today wasn't a day when prospective students and their parents tour from class to class, observing class activities. That would have been crappy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Finally Remembered

The other day I couldn't remember what had made me laugh so much earlier in the day. It's probably one of those things where you had to be there, so I apologize if it's not funny out of context.

On the bus on the way to school in the mornings, I sit and talk with one of my teacher friends, surrounded by sleepy students and their parents. She knows someone who is in graduate school, studying to be a speech therapist and told me very matter-of-factly about her friend's stress from the heavy work load.

"He's going crazy. He's been dissecting too many brains."

I don't know why that's funny. But it continues to make me giggle.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Someone stole the seat off my bike this weekend.

And the rear safety reflector.

Though it's irrational, I'm more irritated about the safety reflector than the seat.

Dear Safety Freak Thief,

IT'S A CHEAP PLASTIC SAFETY REFLECTOR. Do you really think it will keep you safe as you ride around on my stolen seat? It won't protect you from an ass-whooping.

Love, j

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Who's Selfish?

As soon as I finish this last stack of papers, I get to go to bed. I'm checking grammar.

The grammar is correct in this short sentence, but I believe the spelling is a bit off.

"You're so shellfish."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Lesson of the Day

This afternoon I was working with a group of four boys as they planned a presentation they're giving next weekend in front of 150 people. The boys decided the content of what they wanted to talk about, divided up responsibilities, and worked out their speaking order. They were in the middle of writing out their speeches and I was giving advice when the giggles broke out.

Boy 1: Ugghh!!!!

Boy 2: Man, why'd you do that?

Boy 3: (giggles)

Boy 4: That's gross!

Me: Blah blah blah, presentation advice, blah blah blah.

Boy 1: (pulling his sweatshirt up to cover his nose) Jennifer! Aren't you going to say anything to him?!? Can't you smell it?

Me: What do what me to say? Everybody farts.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Blah blah blah

I heard something funny today, from someone, but I can't remember who said it or what it was about.

This is a common problem lately. No brain action.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Too much... no time


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Paper Beads

Today I went to a craft sale at my college where products from Beads for Life were being sold. The work is beautiful.

I'm teaching kids how to make paper beads on Friday and now they'll have a beautiful Ugandan paper bead bracelet to inspire them.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What Not To Do

This morning I was pretty tired. I worked until 4 am on my paper, slept for a bit and got up around 7am to get ready to go spend the day at class.

I thought I was feeling pretty perky and alert as I prepared to make breakfast. Water was boiling in the kettle in preparation for a big cup of tea. I cracked a couple of eggs to make an omelet.

The breakfast routine is pretty much the same everyday.

Boil the water. Set out mug. Get out a bowl. Crack the eggs.

Today, in my tiredness, I missed one little step.

The bowl wasn't on the counter.

Kettle boiling. Mug on the counter. Eggs cracked. I remembered cracking them.


I peered over the top of the tea mug. Two eggs stared back at me like a pair of eyes.

Uggh. Not feeling so perky after all.

Talking to people on the way into class, we all looked forward to the relief of turning in our papers after a nearly sleepless night. Last paper of the course. Freedom in sight!

But the professor didn't want our papers.

"You can keep working on them until next week."

I wanted to crack eggs in her coffee.

Monday, December 03, 2007


One paper stand between me and being finished with a class. One paper. 8-10 pages. Due 10 1/2 hours from now.

Bring on the caffeine.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bonus Grammar

Grammar and English mechanics are not strong points for the 7th graders so I've been leading a series of lessons on strategies for remembering how to use words in the correct contexts.

Friday I wrote out a list of the words we'd been working on for a student who was late to class.


Later in the day, I found the same index card on the floor with a bonus grammar lesson scribbled on it.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Southern Comfort

I realize I wrote a lot in the past month about being stressed out and having papers to write. That's going to be the same boring story for the next two and a half weeks until I go home to New Orleans and eat myself into 2008.

Last night I talked to my family and at some point in the conversation my mother said it was nice to hear me sound so relaxed.

There was a simple explanation for that. "I've been drinking."

Today I regaled a group of seventh graders about the pleasures of being in New Orleans and eating fried pecan pie.

"FRIED PIE!" they screamed.

Oh yes. Fried pie.

They were much more excited about the concept of fried desert than they were about sharing the tabouli salad I had brought for them for lunch.