Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Capo's by Giuseppe Gallo's

August 28, 2013

We were lucky enough to be invited to the soft open at Capo's tonight.  The open-to-the-public opening happens tomorrow.  The food was incredible, and I'm so glad we could be there to help our friends Gary and Cheryl celebrate their newest restaurant venture.  They put in so much of their time, energy, heart, and soul to build this beautiful place from the ground up, and I think all the work is going to pay off in ways they can't even yet imagine.  It was great getting to see lots of family and friends there supporting and celebrating tonight.  We especially thought our lovely waitress Kelsey did a fantastic job, and it was nice to see some familiar faces from the Gallo's staff over there as well.  Just like Gallo's, dining at Capo's was like home--like family.  We wish them all the best!

 Kathy, Cheryl, and me
 Doug and I, making the most of our date night

 Cheryl and her rooster

 The kitchen was crazy-busy, but we couldn't help taking a peek behind the scenes
 Dennis and me

And Here We Are Again...

August 28, 2013

Current patterns make me think that ten years from now I'll be getting calls from The Boy's wife asking me to remind him to acknowledge his wife's birthday and to remember to pay the bills on time.

I got an email today--second week of school, mind you--from The Boy's A.P. History teacher.  Missing an assignment already and didn't do well on a test.  This is a kid, by the way, whose test scores definitely place him in A.P. classes.  He's very intelligent, but he doesn't always keep his head with him, you know?

So I called him as he was on his way to his dad's after school.

Me:  Why did you tell your teacher you were unprepared for the test today?  Why WERE you unprepared?

The Boy:  I never said that.  I didn't say I was unprepared.

Me:  You DIDN'T tell your teacher you were unprepared for today's test?  Because that's not my understanding.

The Boy:  No, I didn't tell her I wasn't prepared.  I said there was lots of stuff on the test that I didn't know!  (Okay--it sounds like the kid is being smart-aleck here, and playing with semantics.  He's not, though; in his mind, there's a clear distinction.)

Me:  (Sigh.)  WHY didn't you know stuff of the test?  Your notes weren't very thorough.  Do you think that's the problem?

The Boy:  I don't know.

Me:  That's not going to work.  We've got to figure it out so that you can fix the problem.  She says she doesn't have your Chapter One notes at all, and Chapter Two notes aren't very thorough.  Did you do Chapter One notes?

The Boy:  I should have done them...I think I did.

Me:  Well, I know you should have done them.  DID you, is the question.

The Boy:  I believe so...probably.

Me:  How is it possible that you don't remember whether or not you did an entire assignment?  

The Boy:  I don't know.

Me:  Well, you'll be doing it again--both chapters, tonight--so if I were you, I'd make it memorable this time.  Where is your textbook?

The Boy:  I left it in your classroom.

Me:  WHY would you leave it in my classroom?  You have that class tomorrow.  You mean to say you don't have any homework tonight?

The Boy:  Well, I didn't.  NOW I guess I do!

Me:  Yup.  I guess you do.  I'll bring your textbook to your dad's.

Maybe someday he'll be happy his mom is a teacher.  Today is probably not that day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Been a Long Monday

August 26, 2013

Survived the first crisis of the year.

 One of the coolest things about my job is that it's never the same job on any given day--I work with 180 kids every day, not to mention all the adults in my work world.  My job isn't about columns and numbers and widgets and boxes to check; it's about people--personalities, emotions multiple intelligences, problems, triumphs, heartaches, and celebrations.  So every single day is a convergence of all of these lives, running parallel, or intersecting, or glancing off of one another, creating unique and singular experiences among all of those people minute after minute and hour after hour.  In some small piece of each day, my collection of experiences from the day interact with each of my students' collections of experiences.  How fascinating to think how even a very small change in the trajectory of any of those paths changes the rest of the path for the day.

Anyway, one of the intersections today was a tough one, but I'm glad I was there and could do my small part to help.  I feel like that's where I was supposed to be. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Music Sunday-My Own Little Concert

August 25, 2013

Doug's band had practice at our house today.  Very tight quarters, but we make it work.  Food, drinks, and lots of great music--80s, classic rock, and blues.  It was a fantastic way to spend Sunday-- I can't wait for the upcoming gig in two weeks!

Oh, The Things the Kids Say...

August 25, 2013

Overheard in the hallway this week during the first week of school:

High school junior boy:  "I have, like, an I.Q. of 160, and even I failed Geometry.  THAT'S how hard that class is!"

I have my doubts as to the accuracy of his statement.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Post-Modernist Discussion of Time

August 21, 2013

During our "Getting to Know Us" activities this year, I asked the students in my class if any of them have a birthday that falls on a holiday.  One of the boys raised his hand and asked if Leap Year Day counted.

M:  Seriously?  Leap Year?  That's awesome!  How old are you? Like four?

K:  Yeah.  Four.  But seventeen.

B:  Wait!  How is that possible? Wait!  I don't even understand!  How do you celebrate your birthday?  Do you celebrate your birthday?

K:  I have cake.  I pretty much celebrate it whenever I want.

B:  You mean you could make it today?  That's awesome!

Me:  He probably celebrates it on the 28th of February or the 1st of March--somewhere around there.

M:  So...what does it say on your driver's license?  Does it say that you're four, or does it say you're seventeen?  That's so weird!

(For those of you who might be wondering, there's no age on the's just the year of birth.....)

B:  Okay, but how many days behind us are you?  Since you don't get the 29th every year?  How many less days are you than everyone else?

Me:  He's not behind you in days!  He has the same number of days as all the rest of you!  He's been in existence for all the same days the rest of you have.

B:  No, but he didn't get his birthdays, and the rest of us did!  So he missed those days.

M:  (head in her hands) I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all this....

I'm in for an interesting year with this class!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ice Breaker

August 20, 2013

It's only the second day of school, and already some of my kids are cracking me up.  The first couple of days we do some community-building ice-breakers.  At the same time, the kids are learning my rules, expectations, and general behavioral expectations in the classroom.

Today as we were finishing up our people-search ice-breaker, it was close to the closing bell.  I urged the kids to head back to their seats to sit down before the bell rang.  I told them that it was one of my rules that if there are students not seated when the bell rings, I don't dismiss them.

Student #1:  Why do we have to sit down if we're just getting ready to leave anyway?

Me:  Honestly, it's a little bit of a classroom management thing I do because I'm short.  If you all start standing up, I can't see what all is going on!

Student #2:  She doesn't trust us!  Is it because you don't trust us?

Me:  Trust you?  I don't even know you all yet!

Student #3:  How can you say that?  We just got to know each other.  We just broke ice!

I like these kids already.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Little Moments

August 19, 2013

Today was the first day of school, and I started off my day with morning duty out by the parking lot.  Not my favorite way to start the day, but it's part of the job sometimes--what can you do? Even though I don't particularly like duty, I was privileged to get to peer into some pretty wonderful moments as the campus began to fill up.  I watched as moms nervously dropped off their kids for their first day of high school, some of them stopping to snap a quick photograph--some of them even clandestinely after their kids had already turned away, walking toward friends and familiar faces.  I watched kids greet each other cheerily, happy to see one another in person after having to rely on only Facebook and tumblr updates all summer.  There were sleepy kids, unused to rolling out of bed before noon.  There were dads smiling wistfully as their kids clamored out of cars and mini-vans, wondering where the time had gone and when their small babies had ever gotten so big.  There were also seniors pulling into the lot, confident and excited about the first day of their reign as the ruling class of the school.  Moments and milestones in the making.

Two moments in particular were especially sweet, mainly because they were moments between brothers--the older looking after the younger in each case.  I caught a snippet of a conversation between two brothers as they were walking past me on the way to class in the English wing:

Younger Brother:  "...Yes, but can we?"
Older Brother:  "It depends.  Some teachers will let you chew gum.  Some teachers won't.  Just wait until they tell you.  They'll tell you the rules, and then you'll know."

Gum?  Not a big deal, right?  But it's the little things that reassure us--all of us--and let us know everything's going to be alright.  Younger Brother looked so nervous, not just about gum, but about HOW THINGS WERE GOING TO WORK.  And Older Brother, as if he knew the question wasn't just about gum, reassuringly let him know that although right now Younger Brother was walking into the Great Unknown, he was going to be okay.  He'd figure out the rules, learn the expectations, and be just fine.

The second exchange was even shorter.

Older Brother was dropping of a very young Younger Brother.  Older Brother wasn't a high school student--probably an early college student, so he was just dropping off.  Younger Brother looked nearly green with nervousness.  Older Brother to Younger Brother as he climbed out of car, brow furrowed in concentration:  "Hey...don't forget to smile."

Don't forget to smile--it's going to be okay.
Don't forget to smile--you'll make friends.
Don't forget to smile--a positive attitude goes a long way.
Don't forget to smile--you've got this!

Such a little thing, such a small moment, but he didn't have to do it.  He didn't have to throw that small bit of encouragement at his brother, but he did.  And it really made me like that kid.  There's something incredibly endearing about a kid who puts himself in someone else's shoes, especially his own younger brother or sister (who at home might be occasionally annoying or irritating, because sometimes that's how family members are) and recognize that just a small word or look at the right time can have a powerful impact.  I like to think Younger Brother remembered that throughout his day, and that it helped him have a good start to his high school career.

First Day of School, 2013

August 19, 2013

Junior year, freshman year, and beginning of 23rd year in CUSD (respectively)... Looking forward to a great school year!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Beautiful Girls

August 7, 2013

These girls just get more and more beautiful with each passing day--inside and out.  Beautiful and goofy.  I love that they love to have a good time together.