Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My students taught me something

Here in my blog "Wanderlust", I'm constantly in search of doing interesting and wonderful things. When I can't travel, I take refuge in the teen culture that sweeps the nation. Sometimes it means watching the game, sometimes it means learning about new technology I can use in my classroom. Or sometimes I pick up slang terms that are extremely useful(such as "Kirk Out" or "He totally bassed you Miss"). But today I learned something new...not particularly useful..but...

I learned the "Dougie". That's right. Apparently you can too. Watch...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Can't get enough of these guys!

They crack me up... I need to invest in Korg products and make my own band... I'm actually trying to see if I can get some of these digital friends for school.


Enjoy.. can't get enough...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Feeling saner these days.

It was the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. And it was AMAZING!!!! I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Not only that, but there were a whole host of other "special guests" - The Roots, Yusaf Islam (Cat Stevens-- is he even allowed to be in the US), Ozzy Oxborne, The Oj's, Staple Singers, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock (well I guess he is an american institution to some), SAM WATERSON!!! (LOVE HIM!), Father Guido Sarrducci, and many many more. It was an amazing experience. I'm so glad i went and survived taking the metro!!! Everyone was in good spirits, oh and the Myth Buster guys were there... and we did a group wave, and we also jumped at the same time to see if we could shake the earth. Turns out that 150,000 people who jump at the same time is only equal to a minor car accident. Oh well, we tried, TWICE.

We also laughed, cried, and laughed again like mad-scientists. It was so much fun. The Roots (one of my all-time favorites) we great. John Legend was also there performing with them.

We left about 1/2 hour before the show was over, but hey, that's why I'm able to write you now!!!!!

I'm so glad we went.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Me and Lhotse in action

Last one

Lhotse likes to think she put in a lot of work.
Posters are totally not my best effort, but they're posters. I made 'em in like 3 hours.

Here's another.

Having trouble uploading...

You know I'm going, right?

For the Rally tomorrow it's been a flurry of creativity. Made thse 4 posters in a few hours for the big day!!

Let's all restore some sanity!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I guess it took just about a month

Wow, I mean, really, WOW!
I guess I haven't been doing much updating. Which is kind of sad, but also good at the same time. I want to try to be better, but I guess I just go through phases of not.

School is busy
Life is busy
Art is busy

All good things. And I want to make it a point to at least try to share more on this type of communication device. One of the reasons being is that I do spend most of my waking hours teaching. And-- I have some pretty darn amazing students. I don't know how I've lucked out this fall. Of course, since it's the D-home, they'll come and go, and things will ebb and flow. Just as it should, I suppose. Although. I keep telling them not to come back, and that I want to be out of a job.

They've done some pretty interesting projects so far and I'm thinking about starting a blog. Many of them want to see their work out on the Internet, and I actually think it's a perfect forum for them. It'd be anonymous, but they'd know where to go, their family would know where to go to see what they're up to. I will try to set up my 'student' blog this weekend, because I think it is just so important.

Don't get me wrong. I come home with stories everyday about being there, and I'm thinking about writing a book. Just have to work out all the legal issues pertaining to that. It's not so easy to do when you teach kids...not adults. But their stories are so interesting to tell.

I have a girls unit, an older boys unit, a younger boys unit, a therapeutic unit, and a ORR DUCS unit (which basically means they're unaccompanied minors in the US illegally). In the DUCS unit alone I have 6 nations represented (including Canada -- Quebec no less-, Sierra Leone, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Ecuador). Not to mention the variety of students in the area. It's truly an a amazing bunch. Although the stories range from sad--- to worse than sad.

Their artwork really does speak volumes, and I'm hoping to have a show some where here in the near future. More and more I kind of realize that I should be doing this job, but I have to start thinking about where it's going to go. How can I give these students the maximum benefit.

I think I figured out the answer, actually. More school, more training, more planning. I found a program that teaches teachers Peace building though art, and other ideas that would be amazing. The only problem... I need funds, which means I need grants, which means I need time to write those grants. The program happens to be in Switzerland. AMAZING! Don't mind spending the next 3 summers of my life there, but how do I get there. How do I figure out how to manage the time, my life, and the decision to spend money on something that probably will never financially pay me back. HUmmm.......

So I guess that may be the plan this year. How will I be able to fun extra education for myself, so that I can provide the best services I can for a group of kids that have been pegged the lowest of the low, the throw-aways. And is it worth it? Do the services I provide for them have an impact? Does what I teach them matter to them? Is it relevant to how they will be able to live their lives? Does it matter?

I don't know how they would all answer that, and I guess it doesn't particularly matter how they would. I guess that based on what I've seen it is enough for me to want to do better for them, because I've seen their small successes, and I've seen the pride they've exhibited in themselves and in the work that they do in art.

It it important for them to read and be financially literate? Yes, but I also think it's important for them to feel that they are also human, and they have other needs besides learning how to hunt for a low-paying job and how to balance a check book. It's important for them to be able to learn what appeals to them, and how to make sense of their own standing in this world.

I can never know truly where thy come from. It's a fact that I am a child from a middle class white family who had great fortune to see the world before I turned 18. I've never lived in poverty, and I've always had 2 parents. My mom stayed at home, and she made us meals. We had shoes on our feet, we had clean clothes, and our very own bed to sleep on. I have never had to question where my next meal would be coming from, or figure out how I needed to avoid my mom or dad so that they wouldn't beat me or yell at me. I was never forced to stay at home instead of trying to attend school. And I certainly didn't have to sleep in an alley way wondering if I would live to see the morning light.

SO my point? Well, I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out. There's all this education reform discussions happening this year, and I'm kind of glad for the conversation, but I also feel that it's just the beginning. I've been teaching the exact same amount of time that the last education reform took place, and it did nothing but create more dropouts, and less jobs.

I worry about the future of all children. I realize that I teach the kids who are in the bottom, but they aren't different from the whatever might be the average kid in the average school. In fact, a lot of the students I teach are well aware of where they are, and are extremely intelligent.

So my question is to you-- WHAT CAN WE DO? How can my students get the outside support they needs so they don't come back? So I never see them again? So they never see the inside of REAL prison?

Phew-- I'll stop. Because I could literally go on forever and ever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Check it!

One of my friends, Christopher James, built this business from the ground up. Started with a papermaking kit and formed it into a business. A pure success story.

Ellen, his wife, is an amazing artist, and art educator herself, who has supported this journey from the very beginning!

Congrats to them both for such an amazing business.


Monday, September 13, 2010

I really need to try and keep up!

So my dears, are you ready for another school year? The first 4 days have passed and we're on to week two! Things have been good so far, so definitely feel like it's a great start.

As some of you already know, I decided to go back to teaching at the detention home. I do really like teaching that populations of kids. They crave positive attention and the arts. They need it! I feel more like a teacher than I have in a really long time (understand that how you want to). I feel like I really know what kids I work well with and get genuinely excited about it. The dialogue that goes back and forth, their questioning, their spontaneity.

This will be my 4th year teaching in the D-home, and somethings obviously stay the same, but most somethings change. Both positive and negative. I have my complaints, but as each school year goes by I realize what matters most -- the kids.

I have opinionated, conservative, should-be-retired, lazy, sometimes mean, complaining co-workers. But this year I have to ignore it. For the sake of my students, and for the sake of myself. I can only do what I can do. What everyone else does is up to them. I have no say in what they do. It used to frustrate me, but now I teach better because of it.

There is no doubt that there should be attentive, caring, firm, creative, and flexible teachers in that school. One day, I hope that they realize it's an important place that change can happen (albeit very very small and difficult ones).

This year I hope that I can keep it up. My schedule is pretty demanding. The first half of my entire day is teaching 5 straight classes and the afternoon is for prep. It wouldn't be so bad, except I don't have my own classroom. I can't really do anything but use the computer as silently as possible. Can't print, can cut, can't make demos. It's a little frustrating. It will be tough to keep up, but I think last year (at the elementary schools) I learned to be really efficient and plan! I will take 5 different classes over several of each grade level any day. I'm glad that I get to see students 5 days a week, even though there is a lot of turnover.

So I am keeping up, for now.

Check back in a month-- it may be different. I hope to post some artwork soon, we have made small animal pictures, and now we're working on mythical creatures! I can't wait to see how they turn out (hopefully there will be some students that are here long enough to finish).

Never the less, I wish I didn't really have this job. The amount of kids that come into the D-home is at least 500 kids a year (some of them frequent flyers). I constantly tell them I want them to put me out of a job! - They laugh, but I don't.

So, be aware. There will be lots of stories this year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This will be by first post in a while

I know it's been a REALLY long time. And I have made some changes in my life once more, but I had to post this first to break the ice again. This is just so funny. I really don't know what to say other than...WATCH!


I think I like this version a whole lot.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The wedding pics so far


I can't believe I haven't put these up yet. I love them. What a wonderful day. Full of family, friends and CRANES!

Monday, June 21, 2010

New template!

I just love this photo design... I don't think it makes this blog easier to read, but I love the textures and earthy qualities to the photo. It makes me want to make lots of art with texture.

I'm in the final phase of the wedding planning. And I couldn't be happier. I feel good about it all. I finally hit a wall about a week a go, and now I've finally stopped worrying about it. It's almost as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. There's still plenty to do, but I'm ok with it. It's mostly set up and final touches.

Still working on finishing making the lanterns, but other then that I'm just thinking about how to put everything together when we get down to C-ville.

My friend Thayna, her husband, and 2 adorable kiddos came in yesterday afternoon and are staying with us. We leave tomorrow for C-ville and then Katie (with her fam), Karin, and Thayna (with her fam ) will be headed down on Friday. It kind of makes it all real... So that's a good welcoming, loving kind of feeling I got going on. NICE!

Now for the play lists. We're not having a DJ, so we're trying to fit in a good mixture of songs for the crowd we have. Jarle and I have wide taste range, but we WANT people to actually dance and enjoy themselves, so we don't want to go too far off the path, BUT want to keep it personal too us. So it's hard. We've organized the dance music. And we've made a huge play list for the dinner and cocktail hour, but I think we'll just put it on random since people will just be listening.

So- moving right along. It's starting to feel fun, instead of like an anxiety producing stress ball. After all, it's a party... It should be fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I know, another link post.

It just is so funny... takes me back to lots of taxi rides...


Saturday, June 05, 2010


I can't get enough of this. It's brilliant...

I'm not going to buy one, but I cannot stop watching this:



Saturday, May 22, 2010



Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's a little hard

Yep, it's been weeks since I've written, mostly since I just don't seem to have the time. Wait, scratch that, I do have time. Everyone HAS time. BUT, it's hard to use it in a beneficial way.

Here's a typical day:
Wake up
feed the dog
fix the face and hair
make lunch
kiss the husband (who's still asleep)
pick up stuff
drive to work
prep for class
clean up
get in car
grocery store
drive home
check for mail
put groceries away
walk dog
think /waste time/take a cat nap (20 mins tops)
fix dinner
eat dinner
clean dishes

And then i do have free time from about 7 -10. But what do I want to do? I want to sit, veg out, watch tv, try to calm my brain.

What do i wish I could do? Oh, tons of things. Like find the energy to go for a run somewhere in there, or practice yoga, or paint.

Now I will admit that mostly while I am watching tv I'm working on wedding stuff. So that is something.

But this is what you would call a RUT. A serious bonafide rut. While I realize that most everyone's day is comsumed by a job, I also feel like I can't turn off my thoughts about my job.

How do you find balance in a busy day to day life? And how can you manage a weekend where you feel yourself content? I'm not quite sure. My weekends seem just as hectic, only I allow myself to sleep in.. I find myself doing the odds and ends that I wished I had the energy to accomplish during the week.

It all comes down to the feeling of being overwhelemd. It's been coming way to easy to feel that way lately. I don't know what it is exactly, but I guess that's why I have been ignoring the BLOG.

I feel like I should be doing something else. Except, I forgot. This silly blog sometimes helps me put things into perspective.

LIFE is GOOD. It really is. And while I feel like I am stuck in a hamster wheel sometimes, I know that at some point I'll be able to jump out of it. I have to remember the things that make me happy.. like being able to walk my dog. I love having my dog around, she loves walking with my husband and I. And i shouldn't take those kinds of moments for granted. They're good moments that make me feel like a person again, not a machine that is on auto pilot.

So- it is a little hard sometimes.

So on that note:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rough week...now behind me.

So that was tough, barely thought I'd get through it. I'll just mention the high points (most of them wedding related)...

-sending out the wedding invitations
- starting to put some lanterns together for the wedding
- K and S finally got to take their new babe home from the hospital (poor little guy had a rough start)
- beautiful weather on some days
- seeing the school play go off without a problem and the scenery didn't fall down or come apart
- made a trip to Ikea and found EVERYTHING I needed quickly
- a wonderful husband who made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast this morning
- nice walks with the Lhotse

So really-- it is enough to forget about the other stuff.

But it has been rough with work. The one school that I'm dealing with just continues to ruin my week. It's really such a negative place. I'm really hoping that I can switch out of that for the next school year... but there's no telling what will happen. I'm trying to think of things that might be pulling me in a different direction. Maybe an MFA program, I don't know. It's hard to say.

We'll see.

I'm off to attempt to make pillows for the wedding. I bought a whole bunch of bold print fabric. We'll see how they go. I'll post pictures of how this goes... I've never really sewed before-- we'll I did make bean bags ones-- but that's another story.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just in time for his birthday!

Welcome to the world Kaleb! That is the new born baby who was born to two amazing people - Katie (my best friend) and Shannon (her wonderful husband) - today at around 2 AM! I can't wait to meet him in person and see his cute face. I'm sure they're trying to get as much rest as possible, but hopefully I'll be able to pay them a visit super soon!

WOW! I can't believe it! Good thing I finished their mural for them 2 weeks ago, he was about 3 weeks early!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Sooooooooooooo liking this.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

I really mean that. You know? When someone just doesn't meet your expectations...that's what i want to say:


J'aime Donnie Darko --- forever.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

officially on break

YAY! I made it. And so far so good.

Ruth and Ewan made their visit. We had a great time, although it was short. We met up with some teachers we both used to work with and a nice Friday evening, although it wasn't what it used to be. Still, it was nice to catch up on all the gossip around the district.

Then we headed back to our house for a around of Rock band! Beatles style. I love playing it, but it's hard! I cannot play the drums very well, so I always want to play the guitar. It was fun.

The next day we had a nice breakfast and met up with some of their former neighbors for lunch at Busboys and Poets (never disappointed with that place). A good spot for lunch. They have a lot of interesting books and art items to look at. They pride themselves on progressive thinking, environmentally conscious, and for art of all kinds. We had to wait forever to eat, but it was worth it.

From there the guys parted ways with the girls, and we headed out to Tyson's mall. It is a mecca to all shoppers, but I wasn't feeling it. She needed to find a dress for all the weddings she'll be attending this summer (mine included), but there really wasn't a lot to look at yet. So we just window shopped and talked. I think we were both extremely overwhelmed. I actually couldn't remember the last time I had been in a mall. I can tell you right now, I hope it will be a while longer before I go back..

That night us girls remained by ourselves and rented "500 Days of Summer". I liked it. I don't know I liked most! The soundtrack- awesome. The look - awesome. Zooey Deschanel's clothes -- love them! The cuteness- love love love it... The chalkboard wall-- I need one. I liked it a lot.

This weekend was a great way to begin the spring break. I hear the weather will be better by the end of the week, so I'm really excited about it. My tulips are starting to come up, and I'm ready to let the windows stay open, the dog run free, and just be outside again...

Oh yeah- one more important thing, must send invitations....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3 more days!

Spring Break is almost here! YAY!!!3 more days to go, and I have to keep saying at this point-- "I think I can". And, I think I can.

No huge plans, BUT I will be busy.

This weekend we have some friends coming down from Connecticut. They moved from NOVA up to Yankeeland this summer, and I've been missing them. I met Ruth way back when I moved here in 2003. We were friends right away, because we both started teaching at the same school that year. I moved away (to Egyptland) and then came back, and even though i wasn't back at the same school...we still remained dear friends. She and her husband even put me up 2-3 times a week when I had no place to live. I can't wait to see them! We plan on hitting the old spots she so dearly misses...happy hour place, brunch place, and other places in between. I'm hoping we make it into town to a museum or something too.

Then after this weekend I begin work on a mural for my best friend and her husband. It's not really for them, it's for Baby Boy (name withheld until birth) who will be arriving May 1st (or perhaps sooner?). I will be painting a tree with branches extending on the side of another wall, and on the ceiling (the hardest part for me), and then leaves. I drew a sketch for them, and they seemed to like it. I've never painted a mural for a friend before, so this is a first. I'm a little nervous, because I want them to LOVE it.

Next I head up to G-burg to see my parents (J won't be able to make it). But the visit will have many reasons. One- to meet with a seamstress to alter my wedding dress (which I just picked up this weekend-- and yes I still love it). Two- do some wedding planning with the rents. And 3 actually visit with my parents (it's been too long).

Then J and I will be off visiting a variety of family (his side). We both are excited to meet the new addition oh his side of the family. His sister just had a baby girl last weekend -- Ellie Claire... so sweet, that's why I'm calling her eclair!

Things will be great! I'm ready to be out of the grind for a week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who's bad?

I have the funniest story.

It all starts with a first grader I teach. He is one of the most happiest, excited kids in the whole school. He is enthusiastic, fun, off beat, clever kid. And- he wants to be a Micheal Jackson impersonator when he grows up. (I am totally serious)

This amazing kid, who just friendly, nice, and considerate can't see anything else in his life, but be Micheal Jackson. Last week his class had earned a costume day and he wore his costume (circa "Bad" Micheal Jackson), he danced for us and loved every second of it. He is REALLY good! I was amazed. Some of the kids who know him said he was on tv a couple of times, and he performs kind of often.

So, today I decided that I wanted to find out where this obession came from. I had a few moments because the kids were working really hard and painting to music, so I sat down beside him. He was already talking about it with a classmate, so I asked him- So what made you so interested in Micheal Jackson? He told me that the he remembered the first song her heard was on Guitar Hero - Beat it- and that from then on he "Just loved it". He says he got a few books, watched some of the videos and he "Just learned how to be him". He went on to say that to be better he needs to start collecting clothes, books, and all of his videos. And beleive me, he's saying all of this in a very excited voice!

This kid, who you would never suspect he'd love to be MJ, finishes his work, and asks me if he can do a free drawing. I say of course-- and he draws 3 faces of MJ. He says- this one is far away, this one is coming closer and this one is the closest.

Well, at least he learned my lesson about perspective.

I really love this kid though, you can tell he just really loves being able to be himself. I think he's had a bad day here and there, but mostly he's just a happy kid who loves music. I asked him what he spends his time doing at home , he said- mostly I just listen to music all the time.

Yep, I like that kid.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Broken Bells are out!

You know you want to get it, don't you?


This awesomeness happens when the singer from The Shins gets with Dangermouse.


Check out this video where they test their music out on kids:

The kid is brutal about the synthesizer bits.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Get this--

No school tomorrow! I've had a great time, believe me, but I'm going a little crazy. I love the time off, I've done a lot of things that I've wanted to do, but enough is enough. How will we ever make this up? I'm sure we'll find out about it all tomorrow. Teachers are supposed to show up at 9:30 ish, and then we have a staff meeting. I'm half wondering if they're going to make us shovel some snow. Apparently it's still extremely dangerous for bus drivers/riders/walkers. So we're not even sure if school is actually going to happen on Wednesday.

This has been such an odd time, we seriously have never ever had anything like this happen before. It's cost our little district over $700,000 to clear snow. There is no budget for this, really, but apparently FEMA will pay us back. Humm...fema. anyway, I'm sure there will be something more interesting to report soon....other than the weather.

Anyway , what to do except enjoy the remaining hours of freedom. Hopefully I'll still have some summer vacation when all is said and done.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Internet Radio

Believe it or not, there are no good radio stations in the area. I don't know what it is. I mean, we have the 9:30 Club and the Black cat? Why can't we hang out to a radio station that actually would play musicians that show up at these venues. Argh.

Anyway, who needs it anyway, when you can scan the internet for other real radio stations. Like WNRN! Hello? This radio station is located in Charlottesville, VA. And I love it. They play music that I actually like.

Check them out--


And tonight they have a special show for Valentine's day-- um, it's the anti-valentine's day themed music. AWESOME!

There's also some station in Pittsburgh that plays decent music, but I forget the station name.... ARgh! But it's public too!

Come on DC get it together!

happy heart day for those of you you enjoy it.

(I do, sometimes)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I miss people.


I still love this game, and had a fair amount of time to practice it in my freshman year at college (I never owned any kind of video game system). You can play it for free here:


Article from 1999

Most of you who read this know that I grew up as a State Department brat. I moved around every 2-4 years until I went to college (and then continued the tradition on my own). For eight of my years we managed to live in Bonn, Germany. First time was from 1976-1980, and then again from 1989 - 1993. I remember quite a lot because it had never really changed.

It was kind of like time stopped and kids were allowed to be kids, walk to the movie theatre, meet up with other kids to go to get pizza, catch a game of basketball, walk to school, walk to the HUGE park.

Of course it was Germany, and well, we got into trouble too, but most of all it was probably like how America was in the 1950's...(the positive parts).

So here's a little article I found on the internet. Makes me kind of sad.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

I think we're done.

The sun is out, let the melting begin. I think this will be the last of it, although Northern Virginia has been known to get a couple of hits with snow in March. I hope not though. I'm very much done with all this wintry weather.

We broke 180 year record. Most snow ever recorded, I think. It's been truly amazing, but at the same time, I can't wait to get out of the house, and go somewhere. I don't know where I'd be able to park, but still, I think it's time to get out of the house for a significant period of time.

The snow should melt away. It's supposed to be in the 30's, the sun is supposed to stay out. Those are the 2 things we need right about now.

We're already off from school tomorrow too. I think that will be the last one. I haven't been to school since last Tuesday! It's been nice, and I think one of the first projects I might do when we get back might be spring related.... Who knows?

I hope to post a few pictures soon! So you can see just how much we've gotten.

Stay warm out there my friends (although, some of you do not have to worry about that at all - you know who you are).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

strike that--

Noooo....not 4-8 inches.

Now it's 12-18 inches!

Where is this stuff coming from?

Our neighborhood is going crazy. I'm trying to stay off the listserv, but I keep getting these messages that are so full of panic. It's like people are hysterical. I don't think people realize that this is just not normal. It really isn't. I haven't seen this much snow ever. It's really odd to be hit with so much snow. But a few people in the neighborhood are using the listserv to complain, not to help. It bothers me, and I've posted one message because I was upset at the reaction to the snow by some people. Basically people were mad at their neighbors for not shoveling or clearing their snow. So I just wrote that technically no one has to remove any snow-- but on the other hand, I'm sure people are doing what they can.

Our neighborhood is mixed. There are many old people, single people, couples, people with kids, people who travel. I've been helping people, but the reality of it is, this is tons of snow! There is no place for the snow to go. I just want people to relax-- there's no school, the metro at our stop is not running, federal government is closed. Snow removal is backbreaking work, and if someone has a complaint they should talk to a neighbor, not belittle them namelessly on a listserv.

Ugh-- opps, I guess I just complained myself. Ok- enough of that. Like any of you care about my neighborhood....

So- we're awaiting the extra snow. It should all begin in about 1/2 hour.

I really can't wait until spring at this point. It's going to be fantastic.

Monday, February 08, 2010

And again it begins.

No school tomorrow. 4-8 more inches expected between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday night! At this rate my blog sounds more like a weather channel than a blog. It was nice to be outside today, though. It was sunny, I went on a walk with the Lhotse. Tomorrow I plan on a day of making art, maybe do a little baking, taking the Lhotse on another walk.

I also need to go on a grocery store mission. We have no eggs left, and a little bit of milk. J went out earlier today - no eggs and no milk. Hopefully the big trucks can drop off another shipment of the necessary items to the local grocery stores before the next round of winter weather.

I'm ok with the time off, but at this rate making up the school days is going to hurt, whenever that's going to happen.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010!

We have just about survived. It basically all started on Friday at 10 a.m. and continued on and on until about 6 p.m. last night. We have a boat load of snow out there. Just about 2 feet! Again! I didn't take any pictures yet, but the sun is shining brightly and sure to melt a little bit of it away. Although, the temperatures are brutal right now-- only about 20 degrees outside!

Yesterday we lost power at about 11 a.m., just right before I was about to take a shower, but luckily, just after we finished our second cappuccino (phew.) Power was out all day. We had no internet, no tv.. just us, books, and lots of art making (pictures to come soon).

It was a welcome day of relaxing, playing games, reading, and resting. Jarle retreated to the car for a short time to listen to a basketball game on the radio, I made stuff. I guess if we had a smart phone or something we would have still been in contact with some part of the world, but oh well! We just have the cheap cell phones.

We took Lhotse for a walk around the neighborhood, sans leash! She loved running free. Every so often she would turn around and check to make sure we were still there. We'll probably do it again, although we'll have to make sure she's leashed this time. Too many people are trying to leave the neighborhood today (idiots).

So, we did have a working stove, and I made a huge batch of black bean soup! We had extra bottles of wine lying around, and it was quite the night filled with Jenga, cards, and Scrabble ( I lost big time on scrabble-- usually it's close, but I lost out on all those triple word scores, darn it).

It managed to get pretty cold, pretty quickly and we bundled up in our blankets and down comforters and read until we couldn't hold our eyelids open anymore. And wouldn't you know it- at about 11:30 p.m. the power came back on, the heat clicked on again, and we fell asleep with smiles on our face.

Now the hard part begins, cold temperatures, lots of snow to move and shovel. School is already canceled for tomorrow, and I think Tuesday will be canceled as well. Tuesday also has a forecast of snow, through Wednesday. I think we're expected to get another 6 inches of snow, and no real warm up in sight. When will we ever make it back to school again? Will we lose our spring break? Will we go extra days at the end of the year? I have no idea. I'm sure the school board is pondering our fate at this very moment.

I do know one thing, I've actually really enjoyed being stuck inside with my sweet husband and little dog. Later today we'll venture out and tackle all what's outside, but for now I'll still pretend we're completely snowed in.

Friday, February 05, 2010

And so it begins...

Sent to me via e-mail from the wonderful City of Alexandria:

Winter Storm Warning Update for the City of Alexandria

For Immediate Release: February 5, 2010

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the City of Alexandria, beginning this morning and concluding Saturday evening. Accumulations of 20 to 28 inches are possible; near-blizzard conditions and heavy winds are expected. Be prepared for extremely limited mobility for several days.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

oh sickness, please go away

It's been since Sunday I've felt completely under the weather. Ugh, it's that same ears, nose, throat gross stuff. It just won't leave my body. I can't really breathe, let alone talk. Yesterday, I could barely communicate with my students. It must have seen like a mime show to them! They said I would be really good a charades. HA! They were right. We even have those sound systems in our classroom, and the microphone couldn't pick up my whisper at all!

However, today, it's another snow day! Saving me from having to be at school today. I'll take it. It's unexpected, and actually the roads are pretty clear now, but that's just fine. Tomorrow, is another story. I think I'm going to have to call in. I'm not feeling any better, and I think I need one more days of meds and sleep. I would really like to kick this thing before the end of the week.

So speaking of the end of the week, we're supposed to get the snow storm of the century! And I quote Channel 7 weatherman: By the weekend you could be measuring the snow by the yard stick instead of the ruler.

Yikes, not characteristic of Virginia weather at all. In fact, down in Charlottesville they're calling for 2-4 FEET! WHAT? I'm truly hoping that it isn't that much, if here in Alexandria we get much more, we're going to be going to school in July!

So wish me luck, and that I'm on the road to recovery.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A new painting started...

With the time I do have on my hands (not much) I've definitely been making an effort to make art. It's tough, especially since I just can't seem to stay away from larger sizes. But hopefully I can get on a roll, create enough for a new portfolio and maybe even apply for an MFA.... (scared).

So this is just a start, I collaged, and now I'm in the actual process of painting. For some reason I've taken to things that are fractals. -- So for my first fractal inspired art--- a FERN! Hopefully I'll go down the line of other interesting fractals, like snow, leaves, nautilus shells (I heart those).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow again.

We traveled down to c-ville for a wedding tasting, only to be snowed out. But you know, it's kind of nice. At least when it snows, it's still kind of bright. Everything looks fresh and clean, and even though you know you can't really get out and about in a car, it's kind of nice to slow down, take it easy, and give in to forced relaxation. I plan on holding on to that feeling for as long as I can, because it really doesn't come around too often these days.

Of course, this is a normal weekend, and I kind of wonder how we'll make it home if the snow keeps on coming down. There isn't going to be any kind of warm up, like usual. So I'm hoping we can get home, and that the roads WILL be plowed.

But until then, I'm going to catch up on some reading, tv watching, eating, and drinking. Ahh, winter, I love you sometimes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pomplamoose! I LOVE YOU!

Again, I can't share how much I love these guys! They're completely amazing!


One of my students.

Each year elementary students participate in this city contest. I actually had 6 students place this year, but this student got written up in the article!!!

Check it out:


Saturday, January 23, 2010

keep doing what your doing.

I really want to complain right now, but I'm not going to.. But I'm just letting you know that it's out there.

I had a really nice morning today. I had a nice freshly made cappuccino made by yours truly, and my lovely husband made me some delicious pancakes. What a treat! Then we slowly got ready for the day, took Lhotse for a walk, and I made my way to Silver Spring by way of metro.

I met up with a friend who I used to work with at the D-home. It was nice to meet up with my friend because it had been a while since I had seen her. We caught up with everything, and talked about old times, old students, new times, and new students, the way things are, and the way things that aren't changing.

We made our way to a new wine store that her friend just opened up. He's from Nepal and moved here a while ago. After working for the hotel industry for a long time I guess he figured it was time to be his own boss. And now he is. It was a really nice store, and I'm so glad I met him. He and his wife are super nice, and super sweet, and they said they'd be willing to show my art work in their little store. So I'm going to send them some pictures of what I do, and then I guess they'll say if they actually want it or not! But the wife seemed to be into showing work, and hanging it! So I think it will be a good thing! It's better than letting my work sit in closet, and letting it just slowly deteriorate. So maybe something will come from this. I might try to get them to sell my note cards too. We'll see.

So what I need to do is-- make art! Duh!

In other news--- is it spring yet? Come on spring! I'm so ready for warmer weather, and it's only the end of January.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm scared

I'm scared of public schools.
I'm scared of the public school budget for next year.
I'm scared that the arts will be squashed out of the American public school system.
I'm scared that our future generations will have no imagination, creativity, or skills to be independent.
I'm scared that I'll have to prove my worth to the public school system that doesn't value it either way.
I'm scared that I may get paid based on how my students perform.
I'm scared that kids will not be allowed to be kids.
I'm scared that kids can't explore like they used to.
I'm scared that teachers are just going to sit there and take it.

Is there hope? I have a little bit, but..

I'm scared that I'll lose hope.

Here I am working in an American Public School, the district is trying to be more transparent and sharing of information, but I don't fine it reassuring that they're still making these very big decisions without long term consquences. Our district got a lot of stimulus money last year for teachers, and I feel that it wasn't put to good use at all. Now there will be no stimulus money, and all of us expect more cutbacks than this past year. They want to give us a slightly shorter contract year, and then also cut back our daily hours-- but guess what? We'll still all be working those same days, and those same hours (same teacher struggle as anyone else, really). But then they want to raise our health care, and the district won't participate in our retirement. There will be less money for the arts, and they may even cut a fine arts teacher because of numbers. There's a new high school requirement for all students to take a Fiscal Math class!!??! What? Back in my day that wasn't a class everyone would have taken.

So I'm scared. I don't know how we're all supposed to keep doing the same jobs we do everyday when we're cutting teachers, making bigger class sizes beause of those cuts, and then shortening our days/hours, and paying us less, and then still planning to base our pay on the way our students perform? Who thought this up?

Well, I need to stop ranting, because if I think about it more I may actually explode all over my computer (parden the graphic tone). The budget will go through the board tonight, and we'll see what happens. I predict a few of those items I mentioned will go through.

I guess I have to keep saying to myself that it actually could be a whole lot worse. And it's true. I could be completely losing my job! And I don't think that's going to happen.

But like I said, I'm scared.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A very gray Sunday..but productive.

So it's raining outside, and pretty dark. We had a good run of the sunny skies for a while, but I hope it doesn't take too long to come back. So with the hope of warmer weather, I decided to start getting back into the running. Yikes. Shocker, 3 miles felt like 100 miles today. I haven't run in so long, and this was the first run of the new year! I hate to admit that, but it's true. I just hate the gym so much, and have pretty much been avoiding it throughout the cold weather months. Meanwhile, the holidays have come and gone, as well as all those delicious treats, meal after meal, and that extra cookie-- or 2 or 3.... So it's time to get back in there, do some work, and prepare to fit into clothes I've been avoiding these last few months.

So wish me luck on this goal, hopefully I can just keep thinking "Wedding Dress" and that will give me the motivation I need to push through. Although, sunlight and warmer temperatures are always welcome, because I am more of an outside person.

Other then that, it's been a really nice relaxing weekend. J and I made a purchase. We didn't give gifts this year, but did nice things for each other instead. But then yesterday, while looking for things to fill a gift basket for my parents (for all the nice things they do for us), we stumbled on a relatively inexpensive cappuccino machine! We looked at it, maybe stared longingly, and Jarle said," This could be a Christmas present to ourselves." Who am I to disagree with such a smart man! So we got it, we've already made a few lovely beverages, and it's just so nice to have. It will make the weekends that much more special and DELICIOUS!

In the art department- things are getting better. I'm working on a gigantic painting, it's coming along. J keeps reminding me that I should scale down so I can sell my work. And I know I should, I'll keep trying. I just like BIG! But he's right, maybe there's more of a chance to build my portfolio and even sell some work. That would be nice!

It's shaping up to be a busy next couple of months. But that's ok, I like to be busy. I have a presentation to give on Tuesday about the LCI (Lincoln Center Institute), then I need to get started on the school play scenery stuff (and I think a few props). We'll be waiting to hear from Jarle's applications for new jobs, planning the wedding.

Cross your fingers for J's applications. It's a tough time to look for a job, but I'm hoping he can find something in the next couple of months. Luckily he's still on staff where he is, and will continue for the next couple of months.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend wherever they are. Enjoy the time you have to relax! Do something nice for yourself.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A small rant

I try to never be absent, but life happens and you gotta have a plan. This year we've had to make extra plans (in case of flu). I have a normal emergency plans and then if I know I'm going to be absent I try to have the students continue working on something. Then there are the plans that I make for when most classes are finished, or there are just way too many supplies to keep track of.

So I did that. I created a plan because it was right before the holidays, and show was expected. So something easy, and something that could be done with all grade levels.

I left it in a clear area, and also made a note of that in my request. PLEASE FOLLOW THE LESSON PLAN!

The sub did not. And what kills me is that this person totally wasted tons and tons of construction paper. She actually didn't do anything. Really, I'm sure she just sat there and picked her nose.

Maybe I shouldn't get too worked up over this, however, when your budget is only $500 for the whole year- for the whole school, wasting 100 sheets of constructions paper really makes me on. I basically get to spend less than one dollar on each student. And when someone comes in and decides to do their own thing it really makes me mad.

I asked the principal if he heard anything from her, i.e. maybe she couldn't find my clearly marked BRIGHT GREEN FOLDER that was thick with examples, plans, class lists, emergency information etc... He said no. In fact he said," Honestly, she probably just winged it."

This is the school I detest. And it continues....

Sorry about the rant, may this be the only one of 2010! (Cross fingers)