Sunday, September 27, 2015

One More New Piece

September 27, 2015

Doug and I have been searching for a new coffee table for the living room for a little while now, especially since we got new furniture for the study.  Today, I think we found the perfect piece! I can't wait to see how it changes the look in the front room. Our house is small and often messy, but little by little, we're making improvements here and there.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sadie's 2015

September 26, 2015

Today was Teamsters' Day at the Battle of the Bay: San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A's in Oakland.  Doug's union hall offered a little day trip to its stewards and their wives, so we were up bright and early to catch the chartered bus they provided for us.  Once there, we attended a fantastic barbque put on by the Teamsters (my very first proper tailgate!) before heading into the ballpark.  We had seats directly in the sun--a drawback, to be sure--but had the opportunity to see a rookie Giant hit a pretty impressive Grand Slam that all but sealed the deal for an eventual Giants win.  This was Doug's first major league baseball game, so it was pretty cool to get to see that live.

The only tough part of being gone all day was the realization I had a few days before that we would be gone on the day of the Sadie's dance.  Nicholas got to go even though he's a graduate, since Treasa is still at Buchanan, and Danielle asked her good friend Nathan to go with her--her first high school dance.  I told Nicholas, Treasa, and Danielle that since I was going to be gone and wouldn't be there to take my traditional 'before the dance' pictures, they had to make sure to send me pictures via text.  Treasa's dad did the photography duties at her house, since Treasa's mom was also at another event.  It was a blurry shot, but I'm glad they sent it anyway.  I'm not even sure who shot Danielle's picture, but I think it's pretty cute too.  It's Danielle, Megan, Nathan, and Megan's date Garrett.  I checked in with both the kids at the end of the night once they got back safely to their dad's house, and they all said they had a great evening!

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Ride

September 18, 2015

My new ride for the next week or two while the Prius gets a new trunk and bumper:

Thursday, September 17, 2015


September 17, 2015

So, this happened today.  I was heading to school with Danielle after a morning orthodontic appointment.  It was approximately 8:30, so there was a lot of traffic on Herndon.  We stopped at a red light behind about eight other cars.  When the light turned green, apparently the woman behind me glanced up, saw green, and just hit the gas before she realized that the rest of us hadn't moved forward yet.  Luckily no one was hurt, but it's going to have to spend a little time in the shop.  What a pain!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Need a Nap

September 16, 2015

Today was a straight-through kind of day:  NHS meeting before school, then AP classes and World Lit. class, and another NHS meeting at lunch.  I've had at least three lunch time meetings per week since school started.  I don't remember ever having that many lunch meetings during the school year.  When did that start happening?  Anyway, it's been a long day, and I think I need a nice long nap.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


September 15, 2015

Four assignments due for my classes today.  All done and submitted on time.  Whew!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Getting Ready for the Fair

September 14, 2015

Today the registration for the fair entries was due.  For the fourth (I think?) year in a row, Danielle and I are entering art and photography in the Big Fresno Fair.  Although I'm not quite as happy with my entries as I have been in the past years, I'm still really proud of this tradition D and I do together.  This year I've got 7 photography entries, and Danielle has 26 photographic and artistic endeavors she's showcasing.  I can't wait to see our work up on display again this year!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Settling In

September 13, 2015

Shelves are built and the bed is made.  It's beginning to feel like home.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

You Would Think It Would Not Be That Hard to Find a Bedframe

September 12, 2015

Do people in San Diego all already have beds? Or do folks there just not sleep in beds?  I mean, in Fresno, you can't seem to go around a corner without finding a couple of furniture stores.  It's probably the biggest industry in the city.  In San Diego, however, furniture stores were few and far between.  Since there's not a lot of competition, apparently they think it's perfectly appropriate to make you sign away your first-born in order to take one of those bad boys home from the store, too.  (Perhaps only the very wealthy are supposed to have beds in San Diego?) Not even Target, The-Store-That-Magically-Has-Everything-Ever, could produce a bed frame for the mattress we carted down for Bree. Luckily, we finally turned to the always potentially sketchy Craig's List and found a nice couple who was trying to get rid of their trundle bed.  They sold it for next to nothing, even though it was in great condition.  I suspect some rich curmudgeon discovered they had it and called them on it.  Who did they think they were, owning not just one bed, but one that actually turned into two beds?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sadie's for Danielle

September 11, 2015

Danielle asked Nathan to Sadie's today!  They're doubling with her best friend Megan, and her date Garrett.  Such a fun group of kids!

Moving Bree

September 11, 2015

As soon as school got out today, I jumped in the car and headed down to San Diego with Doug so we could take Bree some furniture to her new apartment in Rancho Penasquitos.  She actually got to move in yesterday, but we're carting down a sofa, love seat, mattress, entertainment center, and chair. I'm excited not only to see Bree and help her furnish her new place, but to get a little get-away with Doug at the same time!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Because I'm Only Just a Little Crazy

September 10, 2015

Today was club sign ups at school. My lunch consisted of me wrapping my brain around the fact that in addition to being advisor of NHS and the Anime Appreciation Club, this year I have added Class Advisor for Class of 2019 and---get this--advisor for the CRICKET Club.  Yes-Cricket.  Have I ever played cricket? Have I ever even seen a cricket match? I think we all know the answer to that question.  But here we are, and I'm going to learn something new this year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Good Advice for Teachers

September 9, 2015

Some small bits of advice for teachers starting out the year:

1)  Try to get to know your audience--their background, their culture.

2)  Acknowledge their background and experience and try to build on it, rather than negate it.

3)  Don't act surprised when they do something right, sometimes even before you've taught it.  Again, build on it, rather than show how much you doubted their ability to grasp the concept.

4)  If you are asked a question and you don't know the answer, don't be afraid to admit that you don't know.  It shows you're human, you recognize that you don't know everything, and that's okay.  Also, if you are asked a question and you don't understand the question being asked, don't get defensive; ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand so that you and your student can get on the same page and speak the same language.

5)  Speaking in a condescending manner to your students almost guarantees that they will shut you off.  It's a pretty good idea to avoid it.

Come to think of it, this is pretty good advice for speakers coming in to run staff development for teachers, as well, it turns out...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Let Me Be a Book Nerd for Just a Minute

September 8, 2015

When I woke up and looked on my Facebook feed first thing (yes, I'm addicted to social media), I saw that my favorite author, Margaret Atwood, was coming to Northern California for a speaking engagement.  ONE stop on her tour in all of California, and it's just three hours away.  This is the author of my all-time favorite book, The Handmaid's Tale, which is the topic of my Master's thesis in literature, and which I have introduced countless students to over the years in my AP Lit classes.  It combines dystopian fiction and feminism, two of my favorite things!  It has truly been one of the most influential books in my life. Naturally, I had to see if there was any way I could swing it to go.  I don't know that I'll ever have another opportunity like this, as I've never seen her tour anywhere around here before.  (I think typically she stays in Canada and the U.K., and possibly the East Coast for most of her speaking engagements.)

I think you know where I'm going with this.  I will be attending an event in October where she is promoting and speaking about her new book coming out.  My ticket grants me access to up-front seating, a copy of the new book, and priority place in line for the book signing afterward.  Seriously--I'm giddy!  In just over a month, I will get to meet Margaret Atwood!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

More Sofa Shopping

September 6, 2015

So here it is:  We've settled on this fine piece of furniture (and its baby brother, the loveseat), to take up residence in our study.  Now we just have to wait a week or so for it to be delivered!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sofa Shopping

September 5, 2015

We have finally decided to replace our sofa and love seat in the living room.  We will NOT be replacing them with this highlighter-yellow/green sofa.  How is this even a thing?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cut Shot Plays Capo's

September 4, 2015

Such a fun night listening to Cut Shot play out at Capo's again tonight.  Unfortunately, the lights over the band's set up weren't working, so they were essentially playing in the dark.  This accounts for the poor quality of the photos, but we all had a great time anyway!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

One Kid at a Time

September 3, 2015

Two interactions over the past couple of days that remind me why we're in the business of teaching:

1.  I introduced my College/Career Exploration Project in my senior classes.  They have to choose three institutions they might be interested in attending, and then look at aspects which might be decision-making factors for them: whether or not their intended major/focus is offered, location, cost, etc.  I tell them they can look at JCs, private colleges, UCs, military branches, CSUs, technical/trade schools, etc.  I had a kid come up to me after class to say he had no idea what the difference what among all of those things.  He didn't know what a JC was, had no idea what UC stands for.  He was thinking he'd just keep his same job that he has now for as long as he can.  His boss makes a lot of money owning his own business,  and he drives really nice cars.  I told him he's exactly the kid the project is designed for--to find out all the options he has.  I don't care if he chooses not to go to college, but I don't want him to not go just because he has no idea what his other options are.  He's going to research his current job to see what kind of salary and benefits he could earn as a full-time employee, and what growth opportunities there are, as well as other factors that might make it beneficial to stay in that job, such as flexible scheduling or vacation time.  He's also going to look at a junior college (which I explained to him), as well as a four year college with an emphasis in Business.  Whatever decision he ultimately makes, it will be with a little more understanding of all of his choices.

2.  I have an independent reading requirement in my classes.  I tell students that if they consider themselves non-readers, they just haven't met the right book that speaks to them yet.  So one of my students approached me and said he had never ever been interested in reading and wanted to know what I could suggest for him.  I asked him what his interests and past times were:  sports, biographies, history, documentaries.  So clearly we have a non-fiction kind of kid on our hands.  I went to my classroom library and pulled out 8 or 9 books that I thought might fit the bill and put them on his desk to peruse.  I was hoping one of them might pique his interest, but if not I'd dig around a little at home for more.  After about fifteen minutes we approached me again with five of the books in his hands.  He asked, "How do I check these out?  I didn't like the other ones, but all of these seem really interesting to me."  Typically, students only check out one at a time, but I was so excited that my 'non-reader' had found a few he wanted to at least try out that I didn't want to discourage him and showed him the process for checking out books from my library.  At the end of class, he approached me again and said, "I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate taking the time to talk to me and help me find a book.  No teacher has ever done that for me before.  I can tell you are really there for your students, and I am really excited about being in this class with you for senior year."

I mean forget the paycheck (metaphorically, people--let's not get carried away)--THIS is real teacher's pay.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Doin' a Little Happy Dance

September 2, 2015

I'm doing a little happy dance tonight because I just got the feedback on my first assignment for my class.

Fantastic job on these. Your responses really area model of what I was expecting. You did a wonderful job of pulling out the main ideas of the readings and connecting them to your own experiences. I also really appreciate the thoughtful responses you gave to your colleagues.
Really well done.

So...yeah. I'm pretty stoked.  I mean, maybe she said the same thing to everyone, who knows.   But I'll take it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Love My Boy

September 1, 2015

Nicholas went away for the weekend with his girlfriend's family this past weekend, and he texted me to let me know he had seen something he just HAD to bring back for me.  I just love that he hasn't outgrown that incredibly endearing quality of random, spontaneous, unsolicited expressions of affection.