Thursday, September 27, 2007

The welcome mat says it all

"Beware of unstable dog."

Yup, that about sums it up.

How is it already the end of September???

Wow. The month flew by. Unbelievable. And I haven't even run out of things to do with my students yet!

We're having a great time. Some days are better than others, but we're having a good time and we're all learning, myself included. I am getting to know my students and starting to figure some of them out, if that's possible with middle schoolers. Some of the kids who have tough exteriors are about to crumble on the inside, and some are working so hard to change their reputations. It's a volatile time in their lives, and most days I'm glad to be a part of it.

While I'm glad they share their lives with me, I wish they'd quit sharing their germs. I'm fighting off something nearly everyday. Right now it's a cold. I should buy stock in Airborne and Zicam. However, as much as the kids would like me to get sick, I haven't had to take a sick day yet.

We did have our first sub today. There is money set aside within the district for new teachers to be able to take off during the school day to go observe their mentors, so I took half a day today to do that. It was interesting to watch how they interact with their students and the things they do to make it work. It really hammered home something that I sort of knew anyway - you must be true to your personality or it won't work. If you're faking it or trying to be something you're not, the kids will see right through you and you'll fall hard. More so at the middle school level than high school I think. So what worked for K probably wouldn't work for me because I am so very different from him. M is much more like me, though, and I will definitely be stealing some of his ideas.

Anyway, it's going well and we're having a good time. I'm learning about myself, about this age group, and about how to stay on top of it all (hint: You can't).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're biting the bullet

In the 5 years we've been married we've never taken an exotic vacation. Even our honeymoon wasn't all that exotic - we drove to Seaside, 2 hours away at the beach, and stayed for 3 nights.

So now that I have a full time job we've decided to take a real live exotic vacation. We're going to Italy.

We're planning on going in June 2008for 8-10 days. We'd like to do a self guided bike tour through Tuscany for 3 days, plus wander around Tuscany and Rome a bit as well. The bike tour bit means 30-40 miles on a bike each day so we've started training now. Right now we're taking 2-3 10-15 mile rides a week. We'll be upping the mileage over the weeks and eventually up the number of days as well. From what we're reading it's all about time in the saddle and working on hills, so that's what we're doing.

Our goal is to be able to do Portland to Champoeg, about a 50 mile ride, by May. We figure if we can do that we're ready for Italy.

Maybe while we're there I can talk Ricky into some new bling. It is our 5th anniversary trip, after all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I heart Red Box

Some people heart New York, Ricky and I heart Red Box.

Red Box is a movie rental vending machine, in essence. We've found them to be mostly at local McDonald's and Albertson's. (Grammar question - what is the plural of McDonald's? McDonald'ses?).

Anyway, it's $1 per night per movie. So as long as we return it before 7 pm the following day, it's only a dollar rental. Thus the reason we are able to rent so many movies - we use Red Box. The fun part is you can just run to the Red Box and see what's available, or you can search online ( to find a particular movie, reserve it, then drive (or bike!) to that Red Box to pick it up. Usually we go the "roulette" route of just going and see what's available, but we have searched online and found it quite easy to use.

So three cheers for Red Box - cheap movies right now!

Movie Review: Fracture

Wow! What a great legal/psychological thriller! It's not so much a thriller, really, as it is a mystery. Think murder mystery novel put into movie form.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is fantastic, as always. His character has an incredibly dry wit and is very smart, which makes the movie fun. Ryan Gosling plays opposite him as the ADA trying to prosecute him for shooting his wife.

It's a really great story, with lots of unpredictable twists and turns. Usually Ricky and I figure those kinds of movies out early on, but this time we only got it when Ryan Gosling did. There's also some incredible camerawork in the movie.

Anyway, we highly recommend it. It's a thinking movie though, so don't rent it if you're just looking for a mindless laugh.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First full week of school

I made it through my first full week of school, and I'm still alive.

I have a few pills, a few kids who don't want to be there, and a few who give me the "that's not the way our old teacher did it" look on a daily basis, but they'll get over it or they'll leave. We're having fun, learning a lot, and getting ready to do monologues in characters of their own creation. That should be fun.

So all in all, a good week. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks as we get more into performance, and i know the kids are too.

Movie Review: Wild Hogs

We watched Wild Hogs last night. It was a good time. Very funny, though a little slow in spots. However, there was one scene that just about made me throw up. It's toward the very beginning, when Tim Allen's character decided he was done living the safe life and wanted to get off his low cholesterol diet. His family was eating meatloaf or something with mashed potatoes and gravy while he had a "weed salad." First of all, what famil does that to their loved one?! And secondly, he starts shoving meat and potatoes and gravy into his mouth...and then eats a stick of butter like a candy bar. Seriously. I thought I was going to lose my dinner. Blech.

But other than that it was a pretty funny movie and a nice time to just relax and laugh with Ricky and pup (who finally decided to go to bed because he couldn't handle the noise of the motorcycles).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I've decided something

I much prefer to be Laura in the classroom. I really, really hated introducing myself as Ms S------- today. In fact, I had to stop and think about it when a kid came in and asked me my name!

I'll get used to it, right?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Note to self:

Clean carpets more than once every five years.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Your lesson for the day

I am so tired of mean drivers. I'm talking about the people who don't know the rules of the road and who get mad at bicyclists. Twice in the past week, Ricky and I've been cursed at by drivers who are mad that we are in their way, even though we are following the rules of the road and they are not.

According to the Oregon Driver's Manual:

•You must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane or on a sidewalk,
before you turn across the lane or sidewalk.

• You must yield to bicyclists at intersections, the same as you do for
other types of vehicles.

So then please explain to me why, when Ricky and I were crossing the street and this guy wanted to turn right, I was the one who was a dumba--. Or why, today, when we were crossing the street and another person wanted to turn right, Ricky was an m-f-er.

People need to learn the rules of the road. It's getting ridiculous out there, and it's frustrating for us because we do everything we can to make it easy on people. We stick to bike lanes, separate trails, or the sidewalk whenever possible. We pull over if it's a narrow street to let the cars go by. We signal, we have lights and reflectors, we wear helmets. We are always on the lookout and try our best to stay out of the way of cars. But still, we get called names simply for going straight when we have the right to do so.

So let this be a lesson to you all - when you see a bicyclist who is going straight and you want to turn, if there is a green light then they have the right of way. Don't yell at them, don't honk, and please don't call them names.