Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/31

1. What creeps you out?

I don't like being outside in the dark.  I'm not a big fan of clowns.  I don't go to haunted houses or any of the many similar events this time of year.  And you will never find me eating Jello. 

2. What's your least favorite candy?

I don't really like Tootsie Roll Pops, which is weird because I do like Tootsie Rolls.  What can I say?  I'm complicated!

3. Are you a fan of scary movies?  What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

I am a huge chicken and never watch scary movies.  There are enough really scary things in the world.  My overactive imagination doesn't need the help!  I remember watching It when I was in junior high at a slumber party and that pretty much scarred me for the rest of my life. 

4. What part of life confuses you the most?

When I find a part that doesn't, I'll let you know!  :)  I can be really bad at interpersonal relationships.  I have a hard time deciding what is prying and what is appropriate when someone is going through something and I'm always afraid I will somehow make a bad situation worse.  This means that I might give people more distance than they need and come off like I don't care, when I definitely do.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?

Probably sesame, because it makes me think about sesame chicken which is one of my favorites!

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

I've learned that life is often not at all how you imagine it.  I would like to be married, to travel, to be doing what I love (whether that is still teaching or something else).  Most of my friends will have kids, some will have 10-12 year olds, which is crazy to think about.  I don't know where life will take me, but I am certainly interested in finding out!

7.  What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?

a)  I love the questions!  Sometimes I'm shocked by my own answers, but they keep me thinking.  Joyce, you put in such a great amount of work each week and it's just fun playing along.

b) I dislike taking the time to get all of my thoughts together.  This is often my longest post of the week, and sometimes it takes more than one try for my ADD brain to settle down and get to work!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've been having a great lesson in gratitude this week.  I'm so thankful that all of the people I knew in the storm zone are safe, but my heart breaks for those who have lost everything and those who have lost loved ones.  Stuff is just stuff.  It's the people that matter. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dear Super Cool Party People:

I want you to know that I love you and I haven't forgotten about you.  I have been a very bad blogger this week.  Proving that procrastination was not just my college major, it's the end of term and I still have grading to do.  And it all has to be done by the end of the day.  Between being sick and second job and just life stuff in general, the blog has taken a back burner in a bad way.

But I promise if you hang with me through this little rough patch, I will get my act together.  I will be delightful and insightful and the darling of the interwebs once again.  (If I ever was any of those things...)  Until then, my friends...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/17

Ya'll I have been out of it this week so far.  I had a bug over the weekend and into Monday and I pretty much just slept for three days straight.  Not good for the blog, but probably good for me.  Unless I have malaria.  (It's possible I have been looking up symptoms on WebMD.  Nothing makes you feel better than hypocrondria!)  Anyway, I'm back and it's Hodgepodge time!

1. Noah Webster was born this week back in 1758....besides the online version, do you own a dictionary?  Do you ever use the hardback copy or is your hunt for a definition strictly online these days? 

I do own several dictionaries, because I have a classroom.  We do use the hardback version from time to time, just for reference sake.

2.  Should public schools ban Halloween celebrations?  What about other holiday celebrations currently under fire?  

I'm not a big Halloween person now, but I always did as a kid.  I don't think that they should ban the classroom celebrations.  I understand how important instruction is, but you have to break it up with fun sometimes.  As far as those who don't agree with the celebrations for religious regions, don't feel obligated to participate, but don't spoil everyone else's fun either.

3.  What's your favorite 'dog' movie?  

I don't know that I have a favorite dog movie.  Most of the ones I thought of are horribly sad and not ones that I want to revisit.  When I was younger, I remember really loving Beethoven, though.  It was funny and happy and no one had to kill their rabid pet dog (looking at you, Old Yeller).

4.  When were you last somewhere you'd describe as 'too quiet'?

I think it's weird being in the school late in the evening when everyone has gone home.  It always feels a little like the beginning of a horror movie.

5.  Are you a neat cook or a messy cook?  In other words do you clean as you go or make a big mess and then deal with it later? 

I'm a terrible cook.  And a messy one.  I always say I will deal with the mess later, and sometimes later is a couple days later.  Thankfully, I don't cook on a large scale that often.

6.  Did you hear about Felix Baumgartner, the skydiver who broke the sound barrier via parachute?  Was your first thought  COOL! or was your first thought CRAZY!  Are you adventurous? 

I watched the whole thing!  It was absolutely crazy, but very cool.  I was a little worried because he seemed sluggish, but he made 800+ miles per hour look easy.  I am not adventurous, but I admire those who are.

7.  What's not a word but should be? 

Gazillion.  I love to use it in moments of great exaggeration.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Confession:  I teach civics.  The thought of watching the presidential debates gave me anxiety.  I put on Season 5 of The Big Bang Theory instead and never gave it a second thought.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Junior High and the Movie Musical

My Music Appreciation class has been studying musicals.  Now, I should say that I have always had a love for musicals, whether movies or on stage.  I've been in them, gone to them, sang along to soundtracks with great passion with my fellow musical-loving friends---they're just kind of my thing.  But trying to parlay my passion for musicals into lessons that would interest a junior high student has proved, well, interesting.

Most of these kids have never seen anything more than the local community college productions.  They needed a Broadway primer in the worst way.  I started with clips off YouTube.  I showed them casts performing on various TV shows, even a few live (bootlegged) stage versions of things.  I discussed the Tony Awards and played Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping his acceptance speech.  (They did perk up for that.)  We have watched clips and documentaries until we were blue in the face and they were still pretty much like, "Can we get the rest of this lesson over with?"

Discouraged, but not hopeless, I turned to the movie musical.  I started with Newsies, which I have used in class before with some success.  They loved it!  So, charged up with that small victory, I went to one of my all-time favorites, Singin' In The Rain.  I love this movie (though not as much as Sheena), but I wasn't sure the kids would think Gene Kelley and Debbie Reynolds tap dancing while falling in love wasn't quite as great.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  They were disappointed when I had to stop the DVD at the end of class and were already picking out their favorite parts.  (They really loved "Make 'Em Laugh."  One kid said that Donald O'Connor reminded him of Jim Carrey. Score one for making real-world connections!)  I totally did a teacher happy dance at the end of the hour!

So, with that, if you love a bit of theater, what other movie musicals (in whole or particular scenes) do you think they need to see?  My plan for the rest of the unit includes footage from Annie, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and Hairspray as well as a few other cast CD's, but I am open to suggestions.  So comment away...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/10

1.  In what ways do you indulge yourself?

I'm entirely too self indulgent.  I love good food and good wine.  I adore shopping for clothes, shoes and purses.  I am just this side of obsessed with music and DVDs.  I probably should look into indulging just a little less.

2.  Have you ever taken a cooking class?  Any interest?  What type of class would you most like to try?

I have never taken a formal cooking class.  I don't really have an interest in learning either, which I probably shouldn't admit.  I just don't have a love for it, outside of the two or three things that I make very well.   If I did take a class I would want to learn more about how to cook main dishes, because I am more of a baker.

3. What does it mean to be a good citizen? 

Being a good citizen means that you exercise all of the rights and responsibilities, like voting.  It means you are kind to your fellow man, even if it's just something simple.  It means putting the greater good ahead of your own convenience at times.  I've been studying the early American heroes, like the signers of the Declaration, with my students and when you read what some of them were willing to give up for our country, it's very humbling.

4.  'Tis the season of the political these ads influence your vote? 

All the political ads do is annoy me.  November 7th will be the happiest day of the year where my television viewing is concerned.

5.  What's something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again? 

Oh my goodness!  I'm always amazed at all of the new things they have for kids that they didn't when I was little.  But I think it's also hard to be a kid today because you are expected to grow up so fast.  One thing I love about my students, particularly the girls, is that they seem a little more fearless in going for what they want.  Looking back, I really wish that I would have gone out for more sports and taken the chance to look a little silly but be part of a team in that way.  I know that's kind of off topic, but that's what came to mind.

6.  What's your least favorite cliche?

Nothing came to mind right away, so I had to defer to my trusty friend, Google.  I looked through this post, and realized that I don't really have strong feelings about any cliches.  That said, if I had to pick one, I would say "like a bull in a china shop," because it was used to describe me for the majority of my life.  While it's true, it always hurt my feelings.

7.  What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed?  How does that make you feel?

I have 0% of my Christmas shopping done, but this doesn't really bother me.  I don't really like to rush the season, plus I don't have to buy for a large number of people so I don't really get stressed about it.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

A four day weekend and a four day week makes me so very happy.  It seems like things are slowing down a bit and I'm falling into a rhythm finally.  It's hard to believe that it's already almost the middle of October though!  Christmas will be here before I know it...maybe I should be a little stressed!  ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Long Relaxing Weekend

I really appreciate the comments on my last post.  I think one of the most important things we can do for each other is realize that everyone has things no one else can see happening.  And like Joyce pointed out, we all could use more grace.

Anyway, with all of that said, I don't really have a great deal to talk about today.  I had a wonderful, very low-key weekend.  I tried to clean a bit and redecorate, which was reasonably successful if you keep your standards low.  After all of that very strenuous rearranging, I needed to rest so I watched a great deal of daytime TV, teaching me valuable piece of knowledge.  For instance, did you know Honey Boo-Boo's mom is only 33?  As in only two years older than me?  And a grandma?  Or that Ricki Lake has a new, non-trashy daytime talk show?

Rest assured,  I didn't just gorge myself on TV this weekend.  I watched some movies too.  Lulu and I went to see Pitch Perfect on Friday evening.  It was funny enough, particularly Rebel Wilson, who I didn't care for at first and now find truly hilarious.  Did you see her on Ellen singing my favorite old school rap song ever?

I also watched Clueless again, influenced by the Entertainment Weekly reunion article.  I mean, I think the whole cast is actually better looking now than they were then.  I don't think Stacey Dash (Dionne) has aged at all and she's in her forties.  It's been a while since I've seen this movie, even though I own it, but I was thrilled to find that it's still really funny.  Even the jokes that are dated made me laugh.  (And the cutting edge cell phones that were the size of a Buick are almost too much to take!)

What did you do this weekend?  Did you travel somewhere fun or just stay around the house?  It's your turn to share in the comments.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What We Don't See

As bloggers, we know that there is a certain boundary that we all have to put up.  We don't share every facet of our lives on our blogs because that would be ridiculous and dangerous.  Instead, we create a sort of half-drawn image of who we are and what we do, and it works for the medium.  But it would be silly to think that what you see on the blog is the whole of me.

But this guarded image isn't something that is reserved solely for the blog world.  How much of other peoples' lives do we really know?  The truth is we can't ever fully know anyone else.  I can think of so many instances where a friend or relative has revealed something to me after the fact and I was shocked.  (Of course, part of this could always be traced back to my general lack of observation skills, but I digress.)  It's hard to know what someone else goes home to, struggles with, endures.  I know this from my own struggle with depression.  No one but those closest to me had any idea what was going on with me, and I'm not sure how honest I was with them because I had a lot of trouble putting words with my feelings.  I was lucky that circumstances in my life at the time triggered my fight instinct.  It very well could have gone the other way.

I think about this subject often, usually because of my students.  I often wonder what kind of situations they go home to.  Through ten years of teaching, there have been many times when I wished that I could just take some of them into my own home.  My heart breaks just thinking about it.  I know that this is heavier talk than we usually have around here, but it's just what's been on my mind tonight.  If you are reading this in a home where you have electricity, heat, clean clothes in the closet, and people you love who love you back around you, thank God for those blessings.  And when you are done, say a prayer for those that don't.  Because they are certainly out there, whether we know it or not.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Okay Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays

It's that time again.  You can join the party by making your own post and linking up on the button above.  What do you need to be okay this week?

It's Okay...

  • to not get to work forty-five minutes early every single day.
  • that the thought of a three and a half day weekend is so beautiful it makes you want to cry.
  • to wear sandals to work today, because you know it's the last hurrah before the real fall weather settles in.
  • to put aside the biggest portion of your Christmas money for your niece's first Christmas, even though she won't really remember it.
  • to need therapy for your fear of needles just to get a flu shot.
  • that you have a handful of people in your world that you really love, and the rest to just tolerate.
  • to be comfortable with your own organized chaos, but get a little frustrated when others don't have their crap together.

I'm going to want to hear your "okays" too.  I promise that I read every comment and eventually visit everyone's blog!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/3

1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.

Welp, since my birthday is over, I would have to say that I am looking forward to my long weekend which will be here this weekend!!  Three and a half days off sounds glorious right now!  And I plan to spend it getting all of the junk out of this house and rearranging my furniture.  Do I know how to party or what?

2.  Is chivalry dead?  Explain. 

Some days it feels like it.  However, I still know some really good guys.  So, I don't think it's completely dead.  It is probably limping a bit.

3.  On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip made its debut.  Which character is your favorite?  Which character is most like you?  (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock, or Pig Pen)  If you need a description click here .

My favorite character is Sally because in the musical she has the best solo, and she's just adorable.  In reality, I'm more of a Lucy.  

4.  What's something you're competitive about? 

I'm competitive when it comes to just about anything!  I'm a good winner/loser, if that counts for something.  Recently, I was part of a trivia team, which I'd never done before.  It got intense.  And hilarious.  We tied for the win.

5. October is National Popcorn Popping Month...are you a fan?  How do you like your popcorn? 

I am obsessed with popcorn!  I love air popped popcorn with butter, salt and a little sugar.  I know that defeats the purpose of air popping it, but I don't really care.

6.  When did you first realize the world is small? 

I can't really think of one instance, but when you are from a small town, your world always feels a little small because everyone knows everyone else.  

7.  In terms of architecture, what's the most beautiful building you've seen up close and in person?

I love architecture.  It seems like every time I visit a new place, half of my pictures are of the buildings around me or little details that I thought were neat.  The first one that came to mind was Union Station in DC.  But I also really loved the Capitol Building.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 I want to meet this woman and give her a high five.  And a hug.  She is awesome!  And she is right.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall TV Report

I had a spectacular birthday.  I didn't celebrate on a yacht like Beyonce (who is also 31) or in Vegas, but it was as great as a Monday birthday could possibly be.  Well, except for that whole not being able to sleep because I was all hopped up on birthday cake thing.  That is kind of making me miserable this morning.  But I will overcome!  It was a little sad that Tara and Macy headed back to Virginia, but they will be home at Christmas, so we won't have long to miss them.

Normally I do a post about fall TV shows, so now seems like a pretty good time to talk about how pleased I've been with the new seasons of just about every show I watch.  Parenthood has been heart-wrenching this season, but oh-so good!  The performances feel very real, which is why I think I love it so much.  I've noticed that a lot of people on Twitter and on blogs I read have been talking about getting caught up to the new season.  It's by the same guy (Jason Katims) who brought us Friday Night Lights, and if you were a fan of the writing on that show, I think you will be of this one as well.

Another show that I love but have not shown much mercy to in the last couple of season is Glee.  There have been some definite high points, but a lot of low ones as well.  I feel like the change in format for this season has really done the show a lot of good.  It feels fresh, with new story lines and great guest stars all over the place.  (And not in a watch this celebrity do something cool way.  These guests have not been wedged into, but are part of the plot!)  I'm really excited to watch again.

I openly admit to being a fan of Shondaland shows, my favorite by a mile being Scandal.  It's the only one that I want to watch on the night it airs.  The short season last spring was so fast-paced and brilliant that I was waiting with baited breath to find out just who Quinn Perkins really was.  And I was not disappointed.  The twists and turns in this show leave me breathless.  I still follow Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy, but I find myself catching them on Hulu in my free time instead of watching them "live."  I also love Dancing With the Stars, though saying that out loud is tough.

The only new show that I am really excited about is Nashville, which I've mentioned a time or twelve.  It premieres next Wednesday, and I can't wait!  I have miss Connie Britton on my TV.  (I doubt I could love her in this role as much as I loved her as Tami Taylor.)  Though some may have an issue with its premise, I have seen The New Normal as well, and think it's pretty funny.  I love Ryan Murphy's smart, irreverent humor.  (See also:  Glee)

How are you feeling now that most of the fall shows have premiered?  Thoughts?  Feelings?  Grievances?  Air them in the comments.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

What's better than a little shameless self-promotion?  Today is my birthday.  (Okay, technically I am writing this Sunday night, so it's not my birthday yet, but it will be by the time you read this.)  I've been celebrating all weekend and will actually spend today at work followed by a quiet dinner with the parents.  And that is perfectly fine, wonderful even.  I think 31 is going to be my best year yet, of course, I don't think anyone goes into a new year of their life thinking, "This year is going to really suck."  But I think I should get a point or two for being optimistic.

As for the weekend wrap-up, I took Friday off and spent the day hitting some of my favorite shops with Tara, Amber and Macy Jane.  When we got back, I got changed and met Casey for dinner at my favorite local place and then went out to spend some more time with Tara.  You have to soak up all the time you can get with visiting friends.  Saturday, we hit our favorite winery again, then had chili and all sorts of other goodies at Tara's parents' bonfire.  And Sunday, we had my auntie's 50th birthday party and celebrated my 31st as well.  There was great food and it's always a good time to get together with my extended family.

Here's just a sampling of pictures:

 Macy Jane, whom I can't believe is already this big
 A group shot of the whole gang
 I miss this sweet girl already!
Lulu and Miss M
 My mom and her siblings wrapped up my great-grandma's sweater and old lady shoes for Auntie (She's the baby of the fam, and just 19 years and 11 minutes older than me)
Some people had a little too much party

Is it sad that we are still celebrating birthdays next weekend?  I think I'm stretching 31 out as far as it will go!  No harm in that, I suppose!