Monday, May 30, 2011

The Dinner

Nance made a lovely dinner tonight.  Thank you Nance!  We talked about so many things.  I was babbling a bit because of some jet lag.  Nance made a great dessert that she read about on this one blog and that blog belongs to a person who grew up in our town. And that blog became a famous blog.  And when we went to that blog for a visit, one entry had over 800 comments.  811, in fact.  That's pretty amazing to have that many comments when you're just a regular person writing a blog about food.

Teendaughter is thinking a June challenge would be good, a weekly challenge for June and I'm not sure what it's about, so read about it over at Teendaughter's blog.  I would link to it, but she's still writing about it at this moment.

We are blogging at the same time, in the same room.

ps.  Here's the link to the challenge, which was added later.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


  A perfect full day in Paris.  I'll tell you all about it. Can't show pix because I forgot to put my darned memory card back in my camera.  Bleh.  Anyway,  it's all stored here in my mind.  Started the day with Leviathan, the Kapoor installation at Grand Palais.  Fantastic!  Then we walked through the Tuileries Gardens, then we took a metro over to La Mouffetard to buy picnic stuff.  Then we had a picnic in the Jardin des Plants, right near the Menagerie, so we could see the wallabies hopping about as we ate.  Long walk after that.  Then we rested.  Then we took the metro to Sacre Coeur and checked out the beautiful view.  Had some Indian food and then cruised on back to the hotel. Do not want to pack right now.  That's my dilemma.  But aside from the packing, I'm ready to get back stateside.  Missing everyone.  Signing off from FRANCE.  Sincerely, and Love, Your European correspondent.

Friday, May 27, 2011

L' Hotel

We putzed around La Rochelle a bit this morning before getting on the TGV train for the ride to Paris.  Found our hotel quickly once we got here and went out on a walking adventure that included the Notre Dame cathedral, a walk along the Seine, zig zagging through the rues of St. Germaine des Pres, checking out churches and galleries.  We also went in search of saltines as my stomach felt pretty weird.  Probably not eating fish for 18 years and then eating it twice a day for several days in a row had something to do with the weird sensation that was hard to describe.  We could not find Saltines, and I wish the French people could have better access to these amazing crackers.  They really help when my stomach feels off and I think the French people could also benefit.  The good news is that after a brief rest in l' hotel, a Pellegrino and a walk in the night air did the trick and I'm back up to snuff.  I'm dying to see the Anish Kapoor installation tomorrow.  Wish us bon chance!  And if you see my two children, can you tell them that we really miss them.  As the days have progressed, the communication has decreased. And we just want them to know that we're coming home on Sunday and we would really appreciate a ride home if possible. And that we'll always be their parents, no matter what.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Les Grenettes

This morning I walked for a long time, along the beach.  Mis-timed my walk and missed out on the lunch, but that may be for the best.  I've been wanting to head into the village in search of a crepe.  Not sure this is possible, but we can try.  This is a v. relaxing place.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

La Piscine

Easy day on Ile de Re.   Reading.  Lounging.  Swimming.  Napping.  Eating. Biking.  Looking at the sea.  You know, the usual.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Le Velo

In quite a bit of pain from the constant bike riding.  What is it with this town and the bike riding?
In the morning I rode to the beautiful village of La Couarde where I walked along the dunes and visited a church built centuries ago.  Then I rode all the way back to our place.  After lunch I rode 15 km, (approximately 50 miles) to the village of Ars.  I rode through a marsh and saw shelducks, egrets, white swans and BLACK SWANS!  After riding back, (another 75 miles or so) I decided to rest and read my book, The 3 Weissmanns of Westport.
Husbandman gets tomorrow afternoon off, and I'm fearing he will want to do some bike riding.
God help us all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

La Flotte

I rode a bike to the cool village of Saint Martin de Re this afternoon.  Very beautiful sea side town.  Then I pushed my luck and rode to La Flotte.  Went in a small church for a look around there and then headed home.  Got v. lost and the ride home took forever.  A mathematician told me at dinner, "There's no way you can get lost here."  I told her, "That's what I kept saying to myself, the whole time I was lost."

I told the manager here that I am vegetarian and she asked the typical question, "But you will eat fish, yes?"  I figured it would be pretty bad for me to say no, so I said, "yes."  So far, I've head oysters, scallops and tuna.  All very good.  When they brought me foie gras tonight, the waiter said, "Now you're vegetarian right?"  (He actually said this in rapid fire french, but I got the gist when he said the word vegetarienne).  I really felt I had to draw the line at foie gras and he graciously took it away and gave me a lovely salad and omelette.  Merci, Ile de RE!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Le Bois Plage

We went for a walk on this beach.  The smell of salt air hit our nares and Husbandman asked, "When's the last time we've been to the ocean?"  Well come to find out, we can't even remember the last time! That's wrong, and not positive at all.  One problem we're having is our Visa card has been rejected at the ATM machines.  Oui, cette une problem grande.  We will figure it all out a demain.  Dinner was fun.  We chatted with some mathematicians.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Trip

    Tomorrow we leave on the big trip to the Ile de Re.  I'll be honest, I'm feeling some anxiety.  A lot of things could go wrong.  But there's another part of me that says, whoa, calm down, it's all going to be fine.  I read once that anxiety is all about ego.  Not super comforting, but it reminds me to shape up and try to stop being a total freak. I hope to blog on the trip.

     At the end of the schoolday I got involved with passing out "backpack buddies."  These are backpacks full of food for kids whose families need extra food.  There were loaves of wheat bread that were supposed to go in the backpacks, but these loaves were forgotten when the packs were first delivered. When they were remembered, I volunteered to help run bread down to backpacks.  Most kids were fine when I showed up to add bread to their backpacks, and let me pack in the bread with no worries, but one sassy kinder was adamant that she did not like "whole bread" bread and neither did her mom.  The bread should NOT go it in her backpack. I was short on time, so I used my physical superiority and I got the bread in the backpack by taking the backpack from the kinder and placing the bread inside.  I'm sure she tossed it from the bus window on her drive home, but at least I did my part.

        I'm not yet packed, but I'll be ready by the time we leave tomorrow.  #1 Son and 20 Something Daughter are staying here together.  Once I get to the Ile de Re to see the donkeys with pants, I'll be fine.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Office

I can't remember if I've told you about my new office yet.  I love it.  I have 2 rooms together, divided by a 1 way mirror observation glass!   Our former awesome literacy coach was supposed to have this space for her office when the new building was planned.  But then the district wanted us to spend a ton of money on a 2 room reading recovery observation space.  Then immediately after that, the district stopped doing reading recovery.  So then the district was going to use the room for training purposes, but they never did any training.  So finally bosslady said I could move into the observation room.   I feel ungrateful for saying this, because my old office was really fine, except for being super small, but I never had an excellent vibe in there.  In my new office, I feel a sense of glee.  I can walk about a bit.  People come in and sit down and chat.  It's inviting.  Plus the littles walk by and wave a few times each day.    I've renamed the new office, "The Literacy Center."  I just moved in and I don't have any of my stuff in there yet, but so far, so great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Ocean

This one kid kept fooling around in line today on the way to the library.  I asked him to stop a ton of times, but he kept fake hitting another kid in the face.  So I took him aside for a private talk.  As we were talking a small bb fell out of his hand and rolled across the floor.  The kid scurried after it and brought it back to me.  Holding it in my face he told me, "Look, this is a pearl.  It comes from the ocean itself.  I bought it for 15 dollars and 100 cents at the pawn shop.  And it comes from the ocean itself."

I wasn't sure how to reply, so I just told the kid to make better choices and to go to library.
  With a kid like this, you kind of have to wonder...Is he just being a weird little kid, or could he actually be out of his mind?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The IQs

Today I had to sit for 6 hours learning that kids with "LOW IQ's" can learn to read.  BUT it's going to take four years for them to make minimal gains in a set of really idiotic skills that you don't even want your kid to have.  The intervention I had to learn about seemed to actually impede kid reading progress.  The control group actually made progress at about the same rate as the poor kids who had to sit for 45 minutes each day segmenting phonemes.  BRUTAL!  If I had a choice, my kid would be in the control group!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Birthday


Little Brother Glenn's birthday is today.  He would have been 49.  He lived like there was no tomorrow. He was forgiving with people and kind and sought out the fun in the everyday.  Happy Birthday little brother, you weirdo you! I remember one time I was complaining about a little peep who drove me crazy at the schoolsite and Glenn said, "Lee, you be nice to those kids!"  I remember his words every day and I try!   I do try!
Appropriate arrival on this fifteenth day of May is waking up to 20 something daughter at home in her bed. The four family members all ate bagels together this morning and I do believe all of us sighed many sighs of happiness to be together once again.

Yes, Rosalyn Glenn is here and we are celebrating like there's no tomorrow!  I skipped work at the compound and we headed out for lunch with some wine and talk talk talk.   Happy May 15th, pallies!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Plan

Today I'm going to work on achievement.
Some time in the morning:  I read about the achievement gap here
11:54 - have returned from the farmer's market with 3 bouquets of flowers:  irises and snapdragons.
12:57 - folding laundry.  Listening to TED talks.
1:23 - Alternating between laundry and dishes.  I find this motivating.  Took a time out to watch this amazing video. 
1:49 - Ramen for lunch.  Nice chat with #1 son, back from his sound check.  His band's playing at prom tonight.  I asked  him if was going to stay after the gig and dance.  He said, "I could, but I probably won't."
2:05:  Read a review of Herzog's new movie about the cave paintings.  (While eating ramen)
3:02  Cleaned up 20 something's daughter room.  Yellow irises. Counting down to arrival.
3:21 Removing 2 bags of garbage.  Still disconcerted about the grain moth situation.  Going to have to google this.
4:07  Have learned more about killing grain moths, also called pantry moths.
4:57  Picked up Husbandman from his jobsite.  Going to fill bird feeders.  Very frightened that a plethora of grain moths may be in the seed can.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Nutville

I have that Fleetwood Mac song in my head...Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.  Don't stop.  It'll soon be here.  It'll be here better than before.  Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

I really wish I did not have this song in my head.  The last thing I want to think about is tomorrow.

On a good note, I saw #1 son in his final jazz combo concert of his junior year.  The guy is just darned good with that big upright bass of his.  All these high school kids sit on that stage, playing their hearts out.  They could be defacing buildings with graffiti, or stealing hubcaps, but no, they're up there playing songs that they practiced for a long time.  They're jazzing together and giving a bunch of people some fun entertainment.  That's why I love this generation of young people  They're creative.

My fave song was Nutville.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Corn Dog

 commercial  corn  corn

I had a post about a corn dog Tums commercial, but #1 son and Husbandman felt it wasn't my best work.  I'm keeping the links tho.  Those took me awhile to find.
The teacher work sessions went well today.
Tomorrow we celebrate Poem In Your Pocket Day.  The kids seem pretty hyped.  I'm thankful to all the teachers who have gotten them pumped up.    I found a little poem by Michael Rosen for my pocket.  It goes like this:

Come in, come in, wherever you've been....
This is the poem in which you're a part.
This is the poem that knows you by heart.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Teeth

You know how I do car duty every day right?  Well there's a mom who talks to me every once in awhile.  She's usually late to pick up her 2 cute girls so I've gotten to know her better than most this year.  She has a lot of troubles it seems to me.  Her miniature van is so cruddy it doesn't even deserve the name of miniature van.  And her clothes are kind of a wreck.  And they've had to move several times this year.  I really could go on and on.
Well yesterday she came up to me and she had hardly any teeth left.  I wasn't sure what to say, so I said nothing.  Her teeth were in pretty horrid shape, so I wasn't super surprised to see them gone, ttytt.  After some chit chat about the girls, she said, "I got almost all my teeth pulled out today."  I kind of nodded and winced.  Then she told me that she had 3 more that needed to come out but she had to wait til January for the insurance to pay for those 3 to get yanked!

This girl is TOUGH STUFF!

Geezlouise, I thought, I've got to stop kvetching about stuff.  Case in point.
But if I totally stop, my blog will cease to exist, I thought next.
So there you have it.  We're neither here nor there.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Office

I'm cleaning my office.  It's looking better and I'm feeling better with a less cluttered space.

I had to read this book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success as part of
my literacy partner job.  It's a pretty good book.  It's about having a growth mindset versus
a fixed mindset.  Part of having a growth mindset is learning from problems, rather than being
stymied by them.  When problems occur, a growth mindset person thinks, "What can I learn from this?
What does this situation teach me about what I want and don't want in my life?"
The author claims that some people naturally have the growth mindset and some of us have to work at it. If you want to read it, you should.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Definition

I was at homework table with 3 sassy fifth graders.  2 of them I've known for several years now.  They were chatting away and not homeworking, when I said, "Let's put the kabosh on all the talking."  They asked me what kabosh meant.  I told them, and because I had my laptop I googled the term to give them the exact definition.  Then one little sassy asked me to look up the term hob-knocker.  I asked where she had heard it.  They all answered that they heard it on I Carly, but they didn't know what it meant.  I looked it up and slammed my computer screen down when I read that hob knocker is a guy who hits another guy in the face with his penis.  This really piqued their interest.  I told them that I highly doubted the term was on I Carly.  They insisted it was and asked me repeatedly to tell them what it meant.  So I did and we all laughed for a really long time after that.  Come to find out, the term has other definitions, but none of the definitions are appropriate school conversation.

I had a good time with the 5thsters at homework table today.  After the whole hob knocker incident, we watched some you tube videos about rides at King's Island and found out how much the tickets cost.  The girls really want to go to King's Island this summer.  I hope they get to go.  They're great gals.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Marigolds

Helped the firsties plant some marigolds today.  Then I watched them play on the playground.  This was the first time I'd been on the new playground ever.  As expected, our playground equipment represents a virtual death trap, a suicide rap.  The bars are dangerously high and there are odd turny things that the teachers don't want the kids to hang on to for obvious reasons.  Kids have already broken bones out there.

We wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The #1Son

#1 son had a big project about global warming for Physics.  We've been encouraging #1 Son to really focus on the research aspect of this project.  As usual, #1 Son went his own way.

The AP Massacre

#1 son is studying for AP tests.  When I asked him what I should call my blog entry today, #1 son said, "The AP Massacre."  This isn't the type of confidence I like to see in #1 before his AP tests.  Maybe he means that he's going to massacre the tests, but that's not the feeling I got from his tone and demeanor.  Good luck, #1.  Do your best, forget the rest.  (And by doing your best, I mean continuing to study for the AP's this week).

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Death

I really hate that feeling when someone kills someone else and I feel a glimmer of glee about it.  Sure when I'm watching TAKEN with the incomparable Liam Neeson, that's appropriate.  That's what the action genre is all about. But in real life, I find the feeling so disturbing.  I remember when I heard Jeffrey Dahmer got murdered, I thought, OH GOOD! But then I just felt gross after that.  I don't want anyone to be killed, no matter how horrid they are.  And when I'm happy about someone being murdered, I wonder, Am I losing my human-ness?  Of course, I'm pleased I don't have to watch anymore of Bin Laden's home movies, but I wish we hadn't murdered him.  I wish we could have been better than that.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Movie

Saw Rabbit Hole last night.  It gets a 5 on the fist of 5 scale of great movies.  It's sad of course, but beautifully written and the acting is top notch.  If you want to see it, you should.

On another note, I've learned more about those critters I photographed.  They're webworms or they might be tent caterpillars and they are taking over the world.

The New Blue

Our home is being painted .  I love this new blue.  It used to all be the red brickish color of the deck as shown above.  For various reas...