Sunday, November 23, 2008

I missed a day...

Oh well.

Thank goodness football season is over.

I went to Chicago this weekend and came back with a cold. Blech.


Friday, November 21, 2008

First Big Purchase

I got hooked on credit cards pretty early. (Stupid, I know.) It's hard to remember feeling like I ever paid a lot of money for anything, because I pretty much bought what I wanted on credit and paid it off over time. I've always had the feeling that things cost money, and if I don't have enough money now I will later. (Stupid, I know.)

My most vivid memory of a big purchase was my first car. Since I was a baby, I put half of my birthday and other gift money into the bank for the future car. It seemed like a very long time until I turned 16 and we used that money towards a down payment. We found a black 1990 Ford Escort. I loved the car. It had a stick shift, hatchback and tape player, and I stuck a diving sticker on it right away. The hatchback came in handy moving back and forth to college in Illinois, and the car never broke down on me.

Mom made me fill out a contract when we purchased the car. I constantly remember it as good parenting, mostly because I know that Mom would have held me to it if she needed to. I was responsible for making $50 a month payments on the car, had to keep up my grades, couldn't drink and drive, had to drive responsibly (I think there was something in there about tickets), and couldn't let friends drive it.

I am grateful that I had to put my own money into the purchase, and that so much responsibility accompanied the car. It was a big deal.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Babies 'R' Us

I stopped by Babies R Us tonight to get a gift for a shower in Chicago this weekend. I was looking forward to going for several days, because I thought I'd be excited to poke around. When I got there, though, it just didn't have much appeal. At first I was worried- 'How can I walk through this store and not be excited?' When I did walk through clothing I found some cute things, and that made me feel better. I've never been very big on gushing over cute things... so this shouldn't be that unexpected.

I'm still feeling pretty far removed from the baby- I've gotten the response of "Are you excited?" several times. The main thing is I just don't feel pregnant yet. Over the past two months, I was exhausted (sleeping 15-16 hours a day over the weekends), but not sick. I've gained all of 2 pounds, my pants still fit, it's too early to feel the baby move... Both times I went to the doctor I was very excited, as the first time I had an ultrasound and the second I heard the heartbeat. There was actual confirmation that something was different. Other days, I wonder... Is there really a baby?

When I'm huge and uncomfortable I'll probably look back at this and laugh.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Our district is in its third year of the PLC program. (Given the current financial situation in the district, it's probably the last year, too. But I digress.) PLC stands for Professional Learning Communities, and it's based on a model by the DuFours. The program is designed to give teachers common meeting time to address instructional needs as well as provide extra lessons in problem areas to students.

So every third day, a teacher comes to my room to give my kids an extra lesson in math or language arts. I meet with the other 4th grade teachers and plan ways to teach better. Each marking period, we're required to have a goal for our students and monitor how they are doing towards the goal. Right now, we are working on teaching the skill of writing a paragraph.

At any rate, the time has been invaluable to our team. We are very productive and work well together. When you look at the difference between schools in the U.S. and schools in China/Japan, one major difference is the amount of time given to teachers to plan instruction. Many of the teachers in the district do not like PLC time, though. They would rather be working with their students, and don't get along as well with their team or don't see the value in meeting. It's been an uphill battle of trying to get the others to see the value in the time before it's taken away from us.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Diving Fun

I got to announce again today! The regional diving meet was exciting. There are now 12 girls qualified for the state meet this weekend, and all 12 are awesome divers. They have tough dives and deserve to be in the meet for sure. Last year, our region placed almost all 12 in the finals. Southeast Michigan has great diving programs that turn out good talent. I just can't help thinking back to when I dove. I wouldn't have been able to compete with these girls!


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Difference a Year Makes

I briefly took a look at the posts I wrote at this time last year tonight. I saw this list of things I was doing this time last year. Yikes!


-Write a response paper for class Tuesday night
-Celebrate Dave's birthday (Tuesday) somehow (I did get him presents)
-Write lesson plans for Tuesday afternoon
-Write lesson plans for Friday all day
-Coach at the regional and state meets
-Write out updates to my students' parents regarding their May Mackinac trip
-Hang out with my father who will be here from Las Vegas
-Write up a mid-point review of my work in my master's field
-Compile work from the past two years of my master's
-Copy said work and paper and deliver it to EMU
-Give mid-point review presentation
-Go to dinner with the state swim team Wednesday night
-Send the overdue book order payment for my class
-Submit the new book order

Things to do this week (2008):

-Clean off my desk at school
-Do progress reports for my students
-See my dad who is in from Vegas
-Coach two nights
-Announce for the regional diving meet
-Go to a doctor's appointment
-Get a haircut
-Send payment for a book order
-Play volleyball
-Make a flier and evaluation form for the diving program

I thought I had a busy week coming up. Perspective.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have nothing interesting to say today... When is December? You'll be spared the days I have nothing exciting going on.

I was lazy today. Dave got a new TV from his parents for his birthday. I sat in front of it. I watched football, watched the end of Underworld (I slept through it on Friday night), watched the Obama interview from 60 minutes. I watched some recorded episodes of Ninja Warrior (another show I'm inexplicably hooked on).


Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Fessing Up

Now that I've personally told most people close to me, I feel like it's OK to say that yes, I'm pregnant, due May 16th, in the wide world of the Internet.

I've been on Facebook for about a year now. I've found it truly useful to reconnect with people I've wanted to have contact with in about six genuine cases. I got to see a friend I hadn't seen in seven years because I saw that he was coming to Ann Arbor. I found several college friends I had lost touch with. That has made it worth it to me.

On the other hand, there are a bunch of acquaintances that I don't really care about having contact with. Some people I'm not sure I want knowing a bunch of information about me. And then there's that guy who is friends with everyone in my high school graduating class... and since I have no clue who he is and he isn't in any of our yearbooks, I refuse to be friends with him.

I joke with my friends about Facebook "stalking" and the people who use it to get information about others. I haven't experienced it until now- there have been small comments made on my profile, including one that was up for about an hour before a friend realized it wasn't Internet knowledge... but no announcements about a baby... and I'm getting all sorts of congratulatory messages about it! Of course, they're positive, but still... how did everyone figure it out? How much time do they spend on Facebook? Creepy.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

First Time You Felt Grown Up

I started teaching in 2002. My first job was teaching a 5th/6th grade split in Orem, Utah. I was excited. And scared. And lucky.

The staff I began teaching with was completely supportive and wonderful. My first classroom had no supplies in it, and every time I entered the building there were supplies at the door for me. People at the school smiled, loved kids, put in extra hours, and did extra reading to improve their teaching.

I was 22, but to many of the veteran teachers, I still looked 16 (sometimes still do). Nonetheless, they gave me a great deal of respect. I realized that I had "made it" as a grown-up when one of the veteran teachers said to call him Doug.

Doug? I'd was a lot more comfortable with "Mr. Turner", and continued to call him that until I couldn't use the excuse of not remembering his first name anymore. At that point I admitted to myself that I had officially joined the ranks of the teachers.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Dave!

He's 28 now, too. We've known each other 10 years! As I told him tonight, it'll be neat to see what we're doing and where we are in another 10, and 10 after that...

We had classes tonight (separately), so we'll have dinner with friends tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Normal Life

(Written Tuesday night... and posted today so I get a post in today.)

It's 7:30.

I've gone to the grocery store, eaten, bought Dave's birthday present, done a load of laundry, read two newspapers and a TIME magazine. I've checked the daily blogs, answered a few e-mails.... done everything I normally do in a day.

Is this what it's like to work a normal schedule?

It's 7:30. What do I do now?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So I'm completely obsessed with the World Series of Poker on ESPN. When it comes on on Tuesday nights, it's a "Stop the Presses!" kind of feeling.

This either really surprises people or doesn't at all. Most people are surprised because I don't seem the gambling type. If they're not surprised, they know that I come from a family with quite a few gamblers.

It surprises me- I don't actually play poker. There was a little while a year and a half ago that I played some online poker, and that lasted about two weeks. I've played in three actual games. We hosted a poker night at our house and I won. It upset the guy I beat because I didn't even realize that I had won on the hand I won on. Oops.

So I'm obsessed with the show. I think it's mainly the math- I love statistics, and watching to see if the person with the best chance of winning the hand does. I'm extremely bummed tonight because I happened to be online and saw a spoiler as to who won. I've only been watching for two months now!

**Unrelated note: Today was the first Tuesday in 3 Tuesdays that I actually taught. It was a rough afternoon... :)
I still love my class and am amazed at how quickly the year is going.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy Day

It counts if I update my reading blog, right?

Mondays are busy.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Photo Shoot

Today we took Lucas to the Arboretum while babysitting- I had a chance to practice with the camera. I was working on shutter speed, and didn't have it fast enough to capture some of the more fun pictures. Here are a few, though.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008


I finally made it to a high school meet to support my girls from the past 3 years. It's funny how quickly my schedule got busy and absorbed all the time I would have been spending at the pool. Yesterday I showed up at the beginning of diving, and ended up announcing. With all the meets I've gone to through the years, I have never announced. It was fun. Today I'll stop by to see their last 3 dives during finals... and then I get to leave! I don't miss the day-to-day work at all, but it is fun to see how much they've progressed.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Firsts: First E-mail

I had very limited exposure to the Internet before going to college in 1998. During the last few years of high school, my parents had AOL. It was dial-up and I used it very sparingly for school projects.

We rented a PC from my university, and the first week of school my Assistant Resident Advisor came down and helped me set up my e-mail. It was on the pine system, with a black screen and white letters, and the format looked like basic DOS commands. I remember the whole thing being very foreign to me. I was thrilled to be able to send messages to my then-boyfriend becuase it meant we'd have good communication without a huge phone bill. (Imagine my excitement to discover instant messaging toward Halloween!) Throughout college, I had no idea how to send attachments.

I was very behind the times, as several of my friends at school had been using e-mail for years, as well as messaging. My first e-mail experience was also one of my first memories of meeting Raeanne (the ARA), who became a close friend of mine later in college when I joined the dorm staff as well.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Photo Class Assignment #2

I gave up on the people. Had I spent more time with Lucas this weekend, I would have tried harder on that one. Instead I focused on aperture and shutter speed, and to a lesser extent, ISO. The stoplight picture, especially, has room for improvement, but I think I took about 60 pictures tonight and learned a lot.

The pictures of the swings are from earlier this summer. I took more tonight but didn't like them as much.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post-Election at School

I teach two classes of Social Studies, and since the beginning of the year we've been following the election. I don't share my views with my students, although I get questioned relentlessly. Several of my outspoken African-American children have assumed that I supported McCain, but I haven't been able to get them to give me a reason why they think so. It was pretty obvious from the way it was stated that most made that assumption due to the fact I am white...

So this morning the students came in bouncing off the walls. Many of them supported Obama, and talked about how happy their parents were and how they were kept up all night for election results. Others were obviously disappointed. I was impressed when one student of mine walked in first thing this morning and said "Congratulations" to the kid next to her, an avid Obama fan. I asked, "Did you support McCain?" and she told me, "No, but my Dad did."

Today in class, we colored in the electoral college map and tallied up the numbers for both candidates. We kept the TV on for an hour and anytime anyone interesting was speaking (namely the candidates, but that also included Oprah and people in the town of Obama, Japan) we tuned in. We talked about being gracious winners and good losers. They pestered me again about who I voted for, but I said, "The important thing is that I voted. It doesn't matter today who I voted for- what matters is that I'm ready to support the next president." We looked at the 62 million votes Obama got (as of this morning) and the 55 million McCain got. We talked about how 55 million people woke up disappointed this morning, and what effect that has on the country.

It gave me a ton of hope to watch the kids quiet each other to watch Obama, and to a lesser extent, McCain, speak (no matter whom they supported before, Obama won, and kids like winners). They were totally engrossed in what was going on. So many of them have a lot of faith in Obama. Hopefully he won't let them down.

A few quotes from 4th graders during election season:

Student 1 (watching TV): "There's the White House! That's where Obama will be living!"
Student 2: "President Bush had better pack his bags."
Me: "He still has 77 days in office."
Student 2: "He still better pack his bags!"
Me: "President Bush has until January to finish his job. Obama isn't inaugurated until January... he won't move in until then."
Student 2: "Pres. Bush better start packing his bags."
Me: "It doesn't take 77 days to pack up your house."
Student 2: "He'd better start packing his bags."
Me: "If Obama isn't reelected, he'd also have 77 days to... oh, nevermind. I guess the new president does have interior decor to pick out. Maybe packing does start now."

A student to the dad of one of my students this morning (he's in his late 30s with thinning hair): "You look like John McCain!"
Me: "That's almost as bad as when students told me I had wrinkles two years ago!"

That same student: "My mom says that if Obama wins someone will probably kill him."
(I didn't have an eloquent response to that one.)

Student: "Obama's daughters are hot!"


I was able to go in this morning with a huge smile on my face that had nothing to do with the presidential election. We've tried three times in the district to get voters to approve building/renovating the high school, and it finally passed this time! The building was put up in the 1910s and hadn't had major work done to it. I'm so thankful that the kids will be in a better environment.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank goodness... November 4

I just got done explaining some of my political thoughts in an e-mail. Now I'm fresh out of brainpower. I'd be better off keeping my mouth shut, I think, but this is my last chance to wax political for awhile...

Basically what things come down to for me are education and health care. My belief is that every kid in America should have basic health care and an education equal to their needs.

Unfortunately every family doesn't have the ability to provide their kids with what they need to. So government has to play a role. I'd rather pay for education and health care than prison.

That doesn't seem so controversial... but I also sit very strongly on one side of Roe vs. Wade due mainly to those issues... basically I don't think anyone should bring a child into the world that they aren't committed to caring for. If people were better educated, they might know better not to conceive kids they can't be committed to. There's also a bit of feminist "my body, my choice" thrown in there, too.

Nobody asked. I don't care. I voted, and I'll be happy to live with the results after America has spoken.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Parent Dive Day

This summer, we at the pool had a brainstorm. While reading the feedback on the parent comment sheets, we thought, 'Why not invite parents to come dive?' They could see how hard it really was, learn how to judge and everything that goes into judging, and feel more comfortable asking the coaches questions.

Of course, the parents who are the most vocal with questions/complaints didn't come, but those who did come tonight had a great time. We have about 30 kids in the classes this fall, and probably 10 parents/cousins/neighbors came. They were game to try everything- including the sit-ups at the beginning of practice. There were a few smacks, and we even caught them on video...

This was something we'll repeat again in the future.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Recap & Trip to a Football Game

This was the first year in about six that our elementary school participated in Halloween. In Utah, we used to have parties and a parade, but it had been banned at our school in Belleville due to distractions and inappropriate costumes. This year we brought them back, with a parade and party. The day was fun, with about 80% of my students dressing up.

We went down to Purdue to see the Purdue/Michigan game. As a result, we missed Halloween festivities around here. Dave was disappointed about that, as it's his favorite holiday. He thinks up good costumes. His last three were a Dr. Pepper can, a Renaissance man, and the polar bear from the Golden Compass. He had one in mind this year but didn't get to use it...

Dave's sister, Lauren, is in school at Purdue. It was the first time Dave had been down to visit since she's been there, and I had been once before (to pick her up before Dave's Ironman). The game was not as awful as most this year... at least Michigan scored some points. The outcome was the same. At the beginning of the season I had hoped for just 6 wins to keep the bowl streak alive. That was obviously very wishful thinking.

We sat in front of people who were just obnoxious, calling for their tuition dollars back because of the embarrassing season. Both Dave and I turned around at different points to correct them on some fact they had wrong or explain the reasons behind some of the play-calling. One man was criticizing Rodriguez for putting players in who can't receive the football- "How hard is it to put someone in who can catch the ball?" I had to remind him that there is virtually nobody on Michigan's offense/special teams who hasn't fumbled or muffed a kick return.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

First Picture Assignment

My first picture assignment was to take "fall" pictures. I wasn't outside last week during a lot of the daytime, so I snapped pictures pretty quickly. I like the pictures, but they aren't super interesting as I took them in 20 minutes.

Next week's assignment is to change aperture and shutter speed, while at the same time taking pictures of people and emotions. I'm a little clueless on this one, so the pictures may be interesting.