Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Try a bite before you say no, please.

Our dog, Sebastian.

Really, those few words summarize it all for anyone who has met him. And, really, since my co doggy owner is the only person who follows my blog, I suppose I could stop writing now. But, I've never been known for being quiet just because no one is listening.

I believe there should be a catalog of all of the things Sebastian has eaten and not noticed. Here goes my best attempt at remembering it all:

1. At least 10-12 whole pairs of underwear. Some of them mine, some of them guests who didn't believe me when I told them to shut the door.

2. Endless piles of trash and all the goodies found within. He has no preference for any particular kind of garbage cuisine. Spaghetti, cherry pie, burger is to you what bathroom trash, bedroom trash, kitchen trash is to Sebastian. Our kitchen trash is now bolted to the furniture.

3. 3 bottles of fish oil pills and a glass jar of prenatal vitamins - including the glass jar.

4. Diapers

5. Zinc oxide cream

6. An entire bottle of hemmroid cream. Beyond being funny that he ate hemmroid cream, let me note that that stuff works because it's a vassal dilator. Not the best thing to send flooding into your blood stream.

7. Plastic bags from the grocery store (whole)

8. Goose poop by the barrel

9. Elk duds (elk poop kindly renamed for the puppies who love them)

10. The paper liner out of the bottom of a pizza box. I could actually read "Little Caesars" when that one came out.

11. Our employee's lunches, breakfasts, and snacks

12. a Thanksgiving dinner

13. Packing peanuts (learned later that those have vegetable oil in them. Apparently that makes them close enough to food to satisfy Sebi's palate.

14. An entire duraflame log

15. An entire pumpkin (we figured out where it went when he burped up some seeds)

Oh, I just know there's more. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. Sebi's growls :).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaching Memories

My 2nd year of teaching:

I was assigned to 8th grade US History. I spent the summer previewing the district's curriculum. Apparently there were no Native Americans in the US - ever. No, wait, found them in the 3rd grade curriculum. They were the people who wore feathers and liked Thanksgiving - phew - they did exist! I decided to teach about these mysterious Native Americans with no curriculum to fall back on. Mind you, I was still very novice at the teaching profession:

2nd week of the year, My history department chair walked into my room, and in front of my 7th period class said, "I just asked one of your students what you're studying. I can't believe you haven't started Colonial America yet. You are wasting their time and damaging their education."

If you're wondering, she is now the principal of a school.

My 3rd year of teaching:

I was told my 7th grade curriculum was to include Africa, Oceania, Asia, mapping skills, current events, and World Religions.

Well - to be short - that's a lot of skills to cover in one year. Beyond skills, that was a lot of content to address in one year. I instantly wondered - could I respectfully and meaningfully teach about so many continents in one year? For a moment, I pondered trying to approach this curriculum one country at a time. Never mind - that would mean teaching about 114 countries and 15 dependencies. Considering that most school years in Colorado are just shy of 175 teaching days, that was clearly not going to work.

To boot, my students were 12 years old and over 80% of them were in the midst of learning English. (Small rant here, I started teaching thinking nothing of the title ESL - English as a Second Language - until I realized that for many of my students, it was a 3rd, 4th, or even 5th language.)

Ultimately, I wondered if they would end up learning anything when so many snowballs of information were being lodged at their 12 year old heads. So, I looked into the history curriculum for the district. As I suspected, this was the only time Africa, Oceania, and Asia were on the curriculum. They would have world history in 10th grade, so they would likely cover Asia again, but oftentimes "world" history ignores Africa.

So - I started at square one with each region. Here's a glimpse into how that went -

Day One of Asia Unit: Pretest - "Do the words "Asian" and "Chinese" mean the same thing? Overwhelming answer: "Yes"

Day One of Africa Unit: Pretest Results - My students were convinced that not a single person in Africa had ever seen a car. They believed there were no buildings taller than 3 stories. They believed only the wealthy had clothes.

Need I go on?

So, now I had to redefine what progress would look like. And, I can proudly say that we made some. Still, I can understand that map at the top.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's all about your point of view

I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of our glass door. Indeed, I was catching glimpses of myself in every glass option in our kitchen. The large windows over our sink, the side windows around the kitchen table, and the glass door that leads to our porch. I waved at my reflection, and it waved back. It was saying, bye bye implied privacy of being in your home - and then it waved back hello, your neighbors can see you...

And then my reflection went right back to its former activity - dancing like crazy to a little old school Madonna. As I shook my booty around my kitchen, I realized that I have very few moves. I have a few that I perfected in college - but they should have stayed on the stage at the Foundry instead of following me into my adulthood. The rest seem to involve me doing the famous white man's overbite while moving my dancing fingers and various other body parts around.

But, what kept my booty shaking despite the fact that my neighbors were calling the crazy patrol? My baby daughter sitting in her seat at the table dancing right along with me. Grinning - seriously - from ear to ear. A spoon in her hand, a spoon in her other hand, yogurt in her hair, and a huge silly grin - Moving her head from side to side.

So, I paused at the glimpse of me and had a conversation with myself (something I do quite often - if you're wondering). Here was the conversation. Is it unfair to model such bad dancing to a tiny baby who still stands a chance at being able to hold her own at a Bat Mitzvah party? Or, do I enjoy rocking out with my baby, trust that fun is the more important style, and just enjoy it?

For now, I say dance. When Madison's 13, I'm guessing she might vote for mom to take lessons...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Note to self

do not eat cheetos while running billing. I do not have the willpower to put the cheeto down, so there is orange cheese on all of the bills...