Sunday, December 30, 2007

The good and the bad

I was about to write a post about what a great day I had visiting with Crunchy Forester when I heard an unusual sound. I tried ignoring it, but it didn't stop. I set my laptop down, paused The Sound of Music, and headed down towards the basement with dread. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind the sound was unnervingly familiar.

As I suspected, the sump pump was dry heaving. But alas, the expert is in town. I dashed back upstairs to phone my mom on her cell. She advised to unplug the misbehaving beast and volunteered her husband's aide.

So now I wait for them to arrive. Hopefully parts won't be needed, as 9:30 on a Sunday night is not the best time to need a hardware store.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Traditions

I am not of the religious persuasion, but I am very rooted in tradition. Traditions both societal and familial are often very important to me, which is part of the magic of Christmastime. This year I feel more alone than ever before; in recent years I spent time with FF and his family, before that I spent time with close friends who were also away from home for the holidays, and before that I lived with my parents. This year it's just me, so yesterday I went in search of one of the traditions that I've come to hold dear over the years.

At Second Home Nature Center, I assessed the melting snow and elected to leave my snowshoes in the car (a decision I would regret soon). I ignored the "closed to walking" sign as I headed down one of the trails, but I was very careful to not step on the ski tracks. I still felt guilty though like someone was going to come along and yell at me! Second Home sets the ski tracks so I could easily walk in the tire tracks along the side where the snow had been fairly well beaten down by the tractor wheels. On my return trip I gave into my guilt and switched over to the snowshoe trail, which had not been so trampled and was therefore like walking in sand at the beach. What a workout!

But the goal of my hike was right where I'd known it would be, nestled beneath the stilted roots of a birch tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Almost Here

I went shopping at an actual brick and mortar store this morning. I'd really hoped to avoid setting foot in a single store during the holiday rush, but it couldn't be avoided. I was in and out of two stand-alone box stores before 9:15 this morning. Quick and relatively painless. I never had to go to the mall! Yippee!

Now all I need is for the one of the gifts I ordered from Etsy to arrive tomorrow. If it doesn't, then I'm in trouble.

The temperatures have soared and our white Christmas is rapidly melting. The rain is supposed to start in a few hours.

I am not ready for Christmas day to be here already. Not because I need to do more shopping, but because I love the magic of the pre-Christmas build-up. It went by so quickly this year that I don't feel I got to savor the sweetness of it all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Forced Fun

The forced fun is in full swing at work. We had our big party yesterday afternoon. I don't mind that one too much. There are a wide variety of hors d'oeurves and an open bar. Who can complain about that? I stuff myself silly every year, and there are so many people I can just melt into the crowd.

Tomorrow we're having our own little office party. That's the one I don't care for. We always do pot lucks and the only food that gets brought in is chips and veggie platters and tons of cookies. But no real food. And the $5 gift exchange games are all so tedious. I think I'll try to slip out the back door and retreat to my desk. Maybe I'll actually be able to get some work done if everyone else is preoccupied.

And yet I still can't believe Christmas is only a few days away. I better do the rest of my shopping soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mellow Weekend

I'm enjoying a mellow weekend of Christmas carols and TV watching. I went out yesterday afternoon to buy a Christmas gift and another one that I'd ordered online arrived in the mail, so now I have two gifts to give. I've been spending oodles of time at Etsy checking out all the homemade and vintage items. It makes me feel a lot less like caving into the mad consumerism, but some of the people I have to buy for aren't exactly etsy-people.

If any of you are Etsy shoppers and would like to recommend certain sellers, I'd love to browse for ideas...

I wish I had supplies to bake some cookies, but I have no intention of going outside in this snow. Assuming I could even get out of the driveway....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Further Clarification

Since I probably offended my academic readers with last night's vent, I figure I might as well go one step further and take aim at the scientists who read my blog.

Part of my problem with the teacher-prep program I'm in is that it's goal is to produce high school teachers that will be creating new scientists. This is simply not a goal I share or support. I do not like science, that is science in the way they mean. I do not like lab science or experimental science. Nor do I think that should be the goal of high school science education. I think it's much more important to produce high school graduates that are environmentally literate and have a good sense for natural history, especially with their local communities in mind. They can learn how to be lab rats in college.

I want to be teaching about trees and glacial lakes and global warming. I want to be talking about Aldo Leopold and John Muir. I want to be outside, hiking through the woods, pointing out shelf fungus and woodpecker holes.

But since we can't always get what we want, I guess I'll try to suck it up. I'll teach about the cell and chemistry and do boring cookbook labs. But at least I'll have summers off, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fed Up

I walked out on a study session this afternoon. I just couldn't take the bullshit anymore. This program is so stupid. I am so sick of doing this garbage that amounts to busy work. I am not learning anything about how to be a better teacher. I am so tired of this full-of-yourself academic bullshit.

Is this just end-of-the-semester exhaustion? I don't know. But I do know that the people designing this teacher-prep program really need to pull their heads out of their asses.

There's no frickin' way I'm doing any studying tonight. I wonder how poorly I can do on the final exam and still get a B in the class.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Goal-oriented

I've submitted all papers (all three of the last before their actual due dates).

I've just burned my portfolio onto a disc.

That leaves studying for the stupid cumulative essay-format final exam. Oh what fun! I am supposed to present two of the topics from our study guide list to my study group tomorrow. Naturally, I haven't prepared anything yet, nor am I sure what one of the topics even means (not a good sign).

And really, all I want to do is decorate the tree I bought last night. It was an atypical selection on my part. I am notorious within the family for choosing Christmas trees that are more bush than tree (wider than they are tall). This one is very narrow.

Maybe if I zip through my study prep I can do a little tree trimming...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

That helps


Don't knock the cheap wine. I had a long and stressful day, but money doesn't grow on trees. If you need me, I'll be sipping wine until I fall asleep on the couch. Don't call.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Out of my hands

Tonight was my last regular class. I have a portfolio review and a final next week and several papers still to write. But at least classes are over.

I got my placement for next semester today. The good news is that it's in a suburban middle school, and the bad news is that means that my full-time student teaching will be in an urban high school. Yikes. I've been told that the high schools are usually less chaotic than the middle schools, and that the urban middle school I observed this semester is particularly disorganized and unpleasant. I hope that turns out to be the case because I really and truly got nothing out of the experience.

Frankly, I am disappointed with this placement and what it means for the next one, but it's out of my hands now. I'd hoped to be (and asked to be) placed on my side of town, but even that didn't pan out. I've also heard less than good things about my host teacher. Oh well, what are you going do...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Never a good sign

When the alarm clock goes off at 5:20 am and you can hear not one, not two, but three snowblowers running, it's never a good sign. When I got bundled up to take the dog out, I saw the other three nearest driveways had already been cleared. What time do these people get up?

I was able to get out of the driveway without shoveling because the plow driver must have taken pity on me. My neighbors were not so lucky. The drive in to work took almost an hour. It was also a bad sign when I saw all the school cancellations scrolling along the bottom of the TV. The city schools in particular concern me because when they close the notorious hill I had major problems with last year gets worse as the plows don't even seem to bother with it. I was able to get up the hill this morning because no one stopped mid-way.

I would, at this time, like to remind people that when driving on slippery, snow-covered roads, DO NOT STOP unless you absolutely have to. It's the worse thing you can do, especially if I am behind you. I may not be able to get moving again.

I'm already sick of winter.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Game #1

Last night I went to a Hometown University basketball game with my parents. It is something I usually do at least a couple times each year. I live close enough to them that I go over to their house so I can ride into the city with them. That gives us a chance to visit during the car ride because our seats are not in the same section. We also do a little visiting on the walk to the sports arena. Last night was a challenge to conversing, as it was hovering just below 20 degrees on the hill. That's a bit chilly for the first day in December. Walk fast, y'all! It was 13 degrees when I got back to my house.

The game itself was fine, nothing terribly exciting other than the slew of technical fouls that got tossed around. At least HU won.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yellow Pancakes

I took a short break from my schoolwork to make pancakes and listen to Christmas music. Yummy "yellow "pancakes (a simplified version of crepes) with lots of butter and mostly eaten standing in front of the hot pan while making the next one.

Now it's back to work and back to classical music, so I won't be distracted by trying to sing along.

Yellow pancakes:
~2 eggs
~1/2 c milk
~1/2 c flour

What could be easier?