Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Good Riddance

2008: not my favorite year ever. Lost too many people, had the cancer scare.

Trying to remember that there were good things too:
- friends got married
- friends had babies
- I got to visit friends and family
- I bought a car, perhaps becoming a grownup in the process
- Barack Obama was elected President of the United States
- I am kicking ass this year in the classroom (not to mention taking names)
- I have a wonderful group of friends who live close and far and love me no matter what
- I have a wonderful family who lives close and far and loves me no matter what
- I got to visit the motherland two times, reconnecting with a wonderful group of women who would do anything for me and for whom I would do anything

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


From the NYT, several things:
- a story on the resurrection of "Scrubs," a sitcom that I love, though have only ever watched on DVD or in reruns
- a story on a psychologist's retry of the Millgram experiment, something that I have taught my students about in conjunction with our genocide unit
- a story about the concept of adding students to the parent-teacher conference mix

I made mittens over Christmas break and I love them. I should start a baby hat soon. Two baby hats, for the children of one of my bosses. (I have many.)

Trying to figure out what to do with myself next summer. The thought of doing nothing isn't fab, but I'm not sure what I want to do. Camp? Could be. It's a good fallback.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Returned, I Have

Interestingly, I made the drive to NH last Thursday in my personal best time, 10 hours and 20 minutes. However, today I made the drive back in 9 hours and 45 minutes, besting my previous record by 35 minutes. Probable cause? The new car. It doesn't rattle to let me know how fast I'm going!

Lovely holiday, although not enough time with family, including my brothers, who zipped back to their homes much earlier than anticipated. Lovely presents -- things to read, wear, enjoy.

Lovely article, from Slate, on the book Rise Up Singing, which I first encountered at Girl Scout camp. There were several counselors who seemed to own their own copies. At any rate... back home. Time to start some school work, as I have actually taken a whole week off!

One of the NPR stations in Boston broadcast a program yesterday afternoon called "The Best of Public Radio 2008." It's a last-ditch fundraising effort for stations across the US... (If you want to give: and had the funniest story about an attempt to take the things that make stories on the NPR website hit the "most popular" list -- but it's not online in consumable form for people who haven't made contributions. Trust me, it was funny. Funny enough to consider making a contribution to a station that I don't even live in range of anymore.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quick Post

Signing off for a week of no internet access... oh boy! Pity me the 12 hour drive each way. :) Or don't, since I am fortunate enough to have a car to drive and a family to visit, even if they do live far away. Be thankful for what you've got and I'll be back just before the new year.

NYT article: private colleges concerned about smaller numbers of applicants, even though early decision applications were up in many places.

Another article, this one on lying -- I don't feel that I lie very often, except, I guess, lies of omission. I'm just bad at it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On Being Lazy

There is truly nothing like an actual weekend, a real break from work. They are a luxury that I do not often have the time to take in my profession. I have been lazing about, finishing knitting projects and starting new ones (mittens!), reading, messing about on the internet. I actually took a nap this afternoon.

Latest things of interest from the internet:
- an article from the NYT on people who leave things between the pages of books. Best part? The closing paragraphs which describe a pair of Smith students in the early 70's who pull a trick concerning a famous alumna of their college. You have to read it for yourself.
- another from the same newspaper on small schools sharing buildings
- plus, an editorial commenting that separate is not equal when it comes to marriage

Now it's time to drink some tea.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Apparently, I'm going to have to squeeze in the 12-ish hour drive home between weather events. However crazy it seemed when I made the decision originally, I'm glad that I'm not driving home. Between storms in the Northeast and the Northwest, I'm certain that air travel will be snarled for a while. So off I will drive on Tuesday.

Since people who are dear to me live in Seattle, I was checking out their paper and the storm news. The following story amuses me: "Road Crews Pit Chemistry Against Ice," wherein it tells of local officials using a combination of cheese whey, water, and molasses to combat road ice. Clever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Holiday Preparations

I like living where I do. The weather is good, less cold and snow than where I grew up. But I have this problem every year which is thus: the lack of cold means that I have difficulty preparing for the holidays. It's like my body hasn't received its proper trigger to think about Christmas.

Despite this, the holidays approach. I have bought presents and they are stacked in a pile, waiting to be put in the car. I have to think about packing clothes and finally decide about taking the cat with me.

And I have to practice my freaking music for the choral reunion. I'm still wicked excited, but I'm unable to find time to rehearse given my current cold (boo!) and just general prep for holiday.

Nothing to report from news sources. I just can't wrap my head around it right now. Looking forward to spending time with family and friends.

Friday, December 12, 2008

End of the Week!

Thank goodness, I made it. Only one more week until vacation, much needed at this point. Vacation shall last for two+ weeks and shall involve approximately one week sans internet access, as the house I grew up in doesn't have it anymore. But that will be good, to spend some time off the information grid. It's often a deluge, sometimes good and sometimes overwhelming. Ironically, I'll probably get more done while I'm off the grid and I'll get to spend some "quality time" with my brothers, given that they will also be home for a week or so and also will have no internets.

Driving home in a week and a half, on Tuesday, December 23. 10-12 hours in the car depending on when I leave and the traffic situation. Advantage: probably not taking my cat with me, which makes for a less stressful ride. Advantage: could conceivably be well-rested enough to get up at the crack of stupid (4 am?) to get through either Philly or Harrisburg pre-rush hour traffic and be home in NH before Boston rush hour. Advantage: new car with plug in for iPod = just listening to music the whole way and not being distracted by changing radio stations.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Not mine, but the 158th birthday of one Miss Emily Dickinson, poet, enigma, and Mount Holyoke dropout. See this article from the NYT on a way that she continues to be awesome. (A new multimedia work that incorporates her poetry and music...)
Wild nights--wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port--
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden--
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor, tonight,
In thee!

Emily Dickinson #249 from edition edited by R. W. Franklin

Sunday, December 7, 2008

No AP Classes?

From the NYT, an article on how the Scarsdale, NY school district has cut the AP courses from their curriculum, focusing on deep thinking in classes of similar topics. Kids are still taking the AP tests at the end of the year, but they aren't forced to "get through" all of the material.


Saturday, December 6, 2008


Posed by a student in a friend's classroom: would you rather watch "The Sound of Music" on continuous loop for 48 hours OR drive across the country listening to nothing but Barry Manilow?

What's your answer?

The Funny and the Sweet

First, the funny, from webcomic xkcd. Who knew bubble sheets could be so dangerous?

And then, the sweet, the last paragraph from a column in Slate on perfecting morning routines.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stories of Place

From the NYT, several interesting stories of place:
- a small village in Vermont that is trying to undertake responsible development with the help of Middlebury College
- an island in Hawaii that used to house a leper colony
- back to Vermont, an article on the club football team at UVM
- American students attending college abroad

Plus, the slightly *duh* article that college may soon be unaffordable for any but the wealthiest Americans. For first years entering next fall at my alma mater, four years will likely cost twice what four years cost when I attended.