Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Addition

So, we got a dog (it occurs to me that the "new addition" of the title is in reference to the dog, but also I've failed to mention that I finally lured the boif into cohabitation last summer. I'm a little late on that one. Sorry, Bob). I saw her get hit by a car, and then I took her home. The actual story is longer than that, but there's the gist. Anyway, her name is Lucie, and I adore her. Please don't think that I only kept her because she perfectly matches the color scheme of my living room. That's just a bonus.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oooh, art.

One of the unfortunate things about teaching is that one's will to live gets ever-so-slowly drained from one's body while one sits in meeting after meeting after meeting. Seriously, we're talking A LOT of meetings. Meetings that usually smack of the feeling that the administration
hasn't actually planned anything, but as they are required by the district to make us meet, they are going to have us do something that a) takes three hours and b) involves making a chart of some sort.

Today, though, was nice. We got to do art. Specifically, the art teacher led us through a couple of activities that would get ELL kids interacting with language. The project I most enjoyed was altering a book page. Here's my finished product:

And a close-up of the text:

It was much better than making a chart.

My Class

Anyone who ever stepped foot in any of my college dorm rooms knows I love color. I love bright rooms with, well, stuff. My apartment is much more restrained than my old spaces, though. I am pretty happy with this. It was time to grow up and cut down on the clutter and kitch. I sometimes feel a pang of nostalgia, however, when looking at Ikea stuff. Luckily, I have my classroom as an outlet. I have to take a bunch of pictures of the room for BTSA (let me take this opportunity to say that I loathe BTSA. I cannot put into words the hate and rage I feel toward it. BTSA is shit. I hate BTSA. BTSA blows, stinks, sucks, and swallows. BTSA has been the most negative aspect of teaching. There. Make a portfolio outta that, Evil BTSA Masterminds.) so I thought I show you, too.

Here's the new classroom library (no bean bag chairs yet, but you get the idea. Em, the Google chair will be "unveiled" the same day as the others):

This isn't the greatest picture, but this is the front:

Their mobile characterization projects:

My corner of the universe:

The wall:

An example of my obsessive love for organizing bins and matching binders:

See? I can still have color!

Friday, January 4, 2008


When I lived in Ireland, it was shocking how little trash (ahem, "rubbish") we produced. First, we recycled everything. We reused as much as we could, too. I was always impressed at how inventive people were about finding new uses for junk. Compost was a big deal.
Remember, this was a working farm, so we always had a place to put the compost. And then there was the pig bucket. When I first arrived at Ballytobin, I thought "pig bucket" was a metaphor of some sort. Nope. I fed the pigs every day. They'd eat anything! Except orange peels. I don't know why, but they hated them. Because of all this, we only took out the trash every couple of weeks. It was nice.

I've been trying to live a more ecologically responsible lifestyle. Bob and I recycle like crazy, so this is nothing new. We've started using reusable grocery bags. I love these. They have a nice flat bottom and are really tough. I've also bought reusable produce bags. And darn it, I don't have a yard or a farm, but I miss composting. So countertop composting it will be!

Now, this next one I feel a little guilty about, because I don't use it exactly for the right reasons. Yes, I'm talking Mrs. Meyers. Specifically, I'm talking their lavender stuff. I LOVE the way it smells. To make myself a little less superficial, I also use Shaklee's Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. It doesn't smell like much, but it lasts forever and it works. Oh, and we avoid paper towels and napkins and use microfiber cloths and cloth napkins instead.

I also recently bought the least ugly door draft stopper I could find. These tend to be atrocious, but my front door definitely makes my house lose heat.

There are still things I need to work on. Most of our house stuff is plugged into power strips, but I always forget to turn them off during the day. I haven't switched to CFLs yet. Well, this isn't completely true. I bought a bunch, but the light was sickly and blue. So as quickly as they were put in, I took them out. There's a wider range of CFLs available now, though, so I need to go buy a bunch. I also know I should switch to a low-flow showerhead, but I LOVE my shower's water pressure. I find it very hard to rinse my hair in low-flow showers. Still, I might try this one. For twelve bucks, it's worth a try.

Finally, Martha Stewart Living did an article about reducing junk mail. It took a few minutes, but I opted out from as much as I could. Here are the links:
(credit card offers) (mailing lists) (those pesky Valpaks) (this one killed, because I love catalogs, but I can browse online instead)

So, I'm trying. I'm not doing this to be trendy. I'm doing it because it's easy and right.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Slightly New Direction...

Okay, for the most part I find New Year's Resolutions unhealthy. But, following Emily's lead, I will do one thing: I will write more. And I don't even mean poetry or short stories. I just mean sentences. Together. In paragraph form, even. So the blog will take a slightly different direction--as I wasn't keeping up with all the interior design stuff anyway, I'm going to be a little more general here. Life and such. I know you're excited.

I'll start later.