Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City

Run. Run right now, grab a girlfriend, and see this movie. You have to! It's one of those "I need to see it again and again and own it and watch it over and over" type movies. It's the TV show, continued. And oh, how I've missed Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Not to mention Mr. Big, Stanford, and the rest of the crew. They are all back, exactly as they left us. I cried. And cried some more. Tears of sadness, joy, relief, pain -- every emotion possible packed into the movie.

What Sex and the City does for me is take my life and put it on the screen. Not that I'm running around Midtown Manhattan in designer labels, looking for love (love me the Fergie song "Labels or Love"). But the friendships, the nurturing, the insecurity and neediness that each one of us has -- it's all there. When Miranda calls Carrie, or Carrie calls Samantha, or Charlotte cries that she's worried it's her turn for misfortune -- those are all moments every woman has had. We've been the one calling, or the one receiving the calls from our closest friends. And the four women are there for each other, through ups and downs. Over six seasons and then when the movie opens, three years later...

Run right now and go see it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Father's Day and Presents

Sigh. I'm in a quandary. I arranged for a professional photographer (with access to the field at Dodger Stadium) to take pictures of a Cardinals player, one my dad really likes, when the St. Louis Cardinals were in town last week to play the Dodgers. My plan was to have the pictures professionally matted and framed as a Father's Day present to my dad.

Well. The best laid plans and all that...

My dad has not been nice to me (or my daughter) since last weekend. He left for Las Vegas without saying goodbye in person. Yes, he called my cell phone to say he was checking out of the hotel and see ya later. His room was on the same floor as mine and he couldn't be bothered to walk down to say goodbye to his granddaughter? And then when he got home, he was snippy on the phone with me. Very snippy. As in I wanted to hang up the phone snippy. I haven't heard from him since.

I have six pictures professionally taken -- BEAUTIFUL pictures. At this point, I'm not willing to go to a framers. I did stop by Target and pick up a black frame with a cream colored mat. The frame has space for two 4x6 pictures. What do you think?

Part of me wants to send a card and nothing else. Another part thinks two small pictures in a Target frame is fine. The rest of me wants my dad to know that I was planning something he would have loved, until he started acting like this. Don't ask me why he's acting like he is because I don't know...all I know is, he doesn't get all six pictures. But I do!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A New Car!

NOW I've had the BEST WEEKEND EVER! Went and got a new car. Not just any car....the car I've been wanting and wanting for, oh, MY WHOLE LIFE! Yep, a 2008 BMW 528i. She's beautiful! Silver with black leather interior. Navigation system. Satellite radio. An iPod hookup (I love that feature). Trixie (my car already has a name -- she feels like a Trixie, sassy with a little attitude) and I have been driving around town, getting to know each other. And I'm in love!

Say hello to Trixie!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Let's go Cardinals, Let's go!

I have had the BEST weekend so far...

Friday after work, I scurried down to Los Angeles and checked into the Biltmore. It's a fabulous art deco hotel and I love staying there. After I settled myself into my room, I caught a cab to Dodger Stadium where *my* St. Louis Cardinals were playing. Had great seats on the field level, above the Cardinals dugout on the first base side. The Cardinals won the game 2-1 on a homerun by Ryan Ludwick. Ryan (we're not really on a first name basis) knows my dad's doctor, and it's kind of exciting to "know someone who knows a Cardinals player," if you know what I mean!

Saturday morning I meandered down to the USC bookstore. Since I'm officially signed up for a series of education courses and will be receiving a gifted education certificate, I didn't feel at all guilty buying myself a cap that says "USC Rossier School of Education" because I will be taking classes there. Right? Right! Then I went to The Grove for a bit before hitting Dodger Stadium once again. Had even better seats for Saturday night's game. One of my friends is a photographer for the Dodgers, and she came over to chat. She took some photos for me (of me, of Ryan Ludwick) and those arrived by email this morning. Cardinals won again!

Drove back home this morning...the Cardinals/Dodgers game is on television and I'm camped on the couch. And since it's a three day weekend....AAHHH! I still have the rest of today and tomorrow off from work. What could be better?!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drama, Tears, and One Tired Teacher

Walked in this morning to find my student teacher in tears. She was in tears again at lunch. And again at the end of the day. My day was framed with her tears. Agreeing to have a student teacher sounded like such a good idea -- let me just say, NEVER AGAIN. N E V E R.

Yesterday the students misbehaved during her math lesson. And C (the student teacher) didn't fully review the math concept, forgetting the final step of simplifying the answer when working with fractions. OK. Then, in the afternoon, I left the room as C was teaching a lesson on natural resources. The principal saw me leave and decided to step into classroom. After three minutes, the principal asked C to take a slooooow walk to the office and a slooooow walk back. Not good. C was crying this morning because, "No one ever tells me anything, the kids said I'm going to be fired!"

C's perception of the lesson was that the kids were behaving, were on-task, and participating. I said, "That's not what the principal saw. She saw four kids paying attention and the rest not. You have no engagement strategies and the students were giving you silly answers. They were being rude and disrespectful." Not a good start to the day.

At math time today, I left the room. (I'm leaving because next week -- GULP -- I'm supposed to turn the classroom over to her completely and I want her to get used to it.) One student called C a fat ass. Several more flat out refused to do their work. C started crying in class and didn't stop. At lunch I asked her if she wanted me to stay in the room the rest of the day and she nodded YES.

After school the principal called her up. C was gone a loooong time and was crying when she came back. Who knows what was said, except that it can't have been good. C's trying, she really is. I've tried everything I know to do -- I started talking to her University supervisor the first week, when I realized there was a problem. I've modeled every behavior management strategy I know, as well as different student engagement strategies. The principal and assistant principal have talked to her (and the students), trying to offer support. This is C's third student teaching placement; how can she have been allowed to get this far with this much of a problem?

Part of the problem is a lack of personality. Maybe it's shyness. C doesn't talk to other teachers, or me. At lunch, she sits next to me but doesn't say A SINGLE WORD. She's been with me since the end of March and will not even say HELLO when she passes someone in the hallway. My team leader said today that she's starting to feel anger toward C because of it -- that's not good.

AARGH! Thirteen more days. I can get through this. Really, I can....but can the students?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I like how Emily on Law For A Living posted her summer's my personal version:

12: last day of school
15: Father's Day
17: Buy Back Day at work
20-22: weekend in New York City with my best friend
25-26: Summer Institute at the University of Southern California

15-25 West Palm Beach, FL with Vicki and the kids

1-9 Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Philadelphia, and New York City with Madison
22 Back to work

Throw in some days at the beach (near our house, day trips) and trips to visit my parents in Las Vegas and we'll have a FUN SUMMER. Oh yes we will!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This weekend is the annual Fiesta at my daughter's school. It's part carnival/part fundraiser/part 3 day party. Unfortunately, this weekend it's been hovering at the 100 degree mark and the Fiesta has been super hot and miserable. Not that the kids have noticed, of course. We've been to the Fiesta all three days -- Friday night for four hours, Saturday for eight hours, and today I left after five hours (she's still there, with some friends, for another two hours).

Last night, as the live band was playing and people were dancing and laughing, I was struck by the sense of community. These are the people I see every day as I drop my daughter off at school, or the people I see Sunday at church (it's a parochial school). And yet I don't see these people in a social setting very often. Once a year, on Fiesta weekend, we come together and dance, laugh, and visit with each other. And that's a very good thing. Why don't public school have social gatherings for parents? Why don't we (as public schools) build a sense of community? Even if we had something much smaller, like a Saturday afternoon school carnival in the cafeteria -- something to help foster a positive sense of togetherness within ourselves and the members of our school community.

Just an idea.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Seventeen Days

Seventeen more days of school. Seventeen more days of certain kids, the ones that make seventeen seem like forever...last week, my student teacher was teaching and I left the room. Big mistake on my part. When the dust settled, three students ended up being removed from the classroom for a day and a half.

The week after school ends (after those seventeen days....) I'm going to New York City for a quick weekend. A baseball game in Yankee Stadium. Walking down Fifth Avenue. Roasted almonds from the vendor on the street corner. That should be a good stress reducer. And then West Palm Beach for 10 days in July. Another something to look forward to doing. I asked my daughter today what she wanted to do in August. She thought for a minute and said, in all seriousness, "London is nice, but what about Rome?" -- that's my girl!

I don't know if the decision to go off Zoloft was the right one for me, at least right now. I know I'm quicker to be angry when I'm not taking the medicine. And my patience is thinner. But I'm not in a fog or 'zoned out' and I feel happier overall, I think. The people around me are being patient with my quick temper. That's all I can ask at this point.

Another 'new' news bulletin is the series of classes in which I enrolled. Dr. Kaplan in the education department at the University of Southern California (USC) is a leader in gifted education, especially in urban settings. I have been using her icons the past few months and have noticed an increase in academic vocabulary and connections among my students. I signed up for a Summer Institute with Dr. Kaplan, and enrolled in a certificate program with her that starts in October. The program lasts for one academic year, and my district is thrilled that I will be studying with Dr. Kaplan herself. I am too!