Sunday, August 28, 2011

August Books

I am still one book behind schedule for the year, so I will have to catch up! This month the two books I read were The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien and The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. I really liked the short stories in O'Brien's book. I particularly enjoyed how he played with the idea of "real" and "fake" stories. How it doesn't matter whether a story is real or not and how sometimes a fake story can be more real than a real one. This is a great observation.

What is so great about short stories is they give you the opportunity to look at some segment of life and find the brutal humanity in it. For O'Brien, this means constantly reliving and thinking about his time in Vietnam. I think for individuals of the post 9-11 world, especially children, this book could have an influencing effect. We now live in a time when war is ever-present and yet seemingly distant. For those who actually have been overseas and for their families, the difficult transition back into "normal"
life becomes apparent. Many of O'Briens stories deal with this time in his life because he cannot completely transition back into mainstream America, and neither could his friends from the war. He simply cannot move on and deal with the things he witnessed, the things he did, and the things he heard about. All of us can go through a traumatic experience like this, which is another thing that I think makes this book universal - displaying some universal truth that is our conscience.

The Old Man and The Sea was a fast and easy read. I have not seen the movie, and I do not think I will. What I took from this classic was the determination and endurance that the human spirit has. Even though the old man is defeated at the end of the novel from forces that are outside of his ability to control, he carries on. He did prevail at sea, and he prevails by not giving up. I also really liked the relationship he had with the boy who was not his son. Fishing brings them together, and the respect and love between them was clearly evident, even though the two barely spoke.

Books to come: Persuasion by Jane Austen and The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare.

I'd love suggestions if you have any! I need to read 9 more books by the end of the year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

School daze

Hi everyone!

This past week school began here in Columbia. Monday-Wednesday I had inservice. We did a variety of things, incuding fixing up the classroom and discussing curriculum issues. Thursday, it all began. I teach reading enrichment first period. The students were so quiet and I have a feeling it is going to be hard to get them to talk at all. Three days a week we will meet in the library to read. I wish this class was around when I was in high school!

Four periods a day I teach English Link. Each class is completely different because of the group of kids in them. On Friday I gave them their first Friday Free Write to see where they are with writing. I also asked them to write me a letter explaining what they learned last year, hope to learn, and challenges or difficulties for them. It was insightful. I have roughly 115 students combined in those classes. I am sure more will be said about this class as the year goes on. I should be prepping for it as I type...

The new thing going on this year is an intervention period. All class periods are 46 minutes long, and then there is a 30 minute period at the end of the day. I have 16 students who I will keep up with all year. Each day of the week is designated for a certain subject area's tutoring day. Ie. Monday for Language Arts. If a student is failing English, he/she will be sent to a different class on that day for tutoring, as well as all of my usual students since I would be tutoring. The students will constantly be shuffling around. The nice thing is that enrichment classes can be offered to students who have all A's and B's. They can sign up for say, open gym time, or a teacher can choose to offer a class, such as yoga. The students would sign up a week in advance, and on that day, the students of that teacher would be split up just like on tutoring days. Hopefully we will see an improvement with our students this year from it. No student has to stay after school for tutoring since it is part of the school day.

Nice weather here today. I want to take a nap, or go to the pool, but I need to work. Alas, summer has ended. I went to church this morning with my friend Emily while Matt worked on homework at the law library. We then went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. My food was just alright. Hopefully we will take the dogs to a park tonight. Also, my rash has mostly cleared up! For those who don't know, I had an allergic reaction to some medicine the day before school started! It was red spots literally all over my body. Glad that is on it's way out! Looking forward to the first full week of school.

Shout out to my sister this week. Miss you and congrats on passing your first exam!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Farmers Market!

Hello, all!

We went to the farmers market this weekend as promised. I even worked up the nerve to ride my bike with the encouragement of Matt. (Thanks!) It was really fun riding over there! I went looking for peaches, but I did not find any. There were a lot of nice other things there, but I am just not used to buying things at the market like that. I need to find some more recipes for vegetables. I am worried that I will buy something and it will go bad. On the way home, we stopped at Gerbes (like Kroger) to buy some peaches. So, I ended up getting a few, and we are waiting for them to ripen up. Here are some photos!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New things!

Hi friends!

I wanted to post a few photos. Matt and I redid our coffee table. I didn't get to take a before picture, but it looks so much better! He did a lot of the work by sanding it all down. I am so happy with it!

The dogs got some new dog tags. They feel pretty special with the new gear and they look adorable!

This milk is phenomenal! It is local and we have been buying it at Hy-vee. The skim milk didn't meet our fancy, but the chocolate is SO GOOD. And the best part about it is it has been on sale for 2 dollars, and when we return the glass jars, we get 2 dollars!! Free milk! Could it get any better?
It is my last weekend before work officially begins. I cannot believe how fast the summer went. I am already looking forward to so many things though. This fall we plan on going to some football games, maybe picking apples at local farms, visiting St. Louis, and hopefully other fun local events. I will keep you updated on all of this.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The apartment

Hi everyone!

Today we went and got tags for Matt's car. I think that is the last of the errands that we really needed to get done. The apartment still has some random things that we haven't found a spot for, but I am going to post some photos anyway. This morning I was really missing Tennessee. We got a letter from my nephew and that was lovely. I start school next week, and the students start on Thursday. I am nervous! I bought a few borders for the bulletin boards today. I think this Sunday we are going to try out a church downtown. And tomorrow I want to ride my bike over to the farmers market. It is not far from here. Hoping to buy some local peaches!
My desk in the guest room where all the magic happens

Where you will sleep if you come visit us!

Notice all the red? :)

The living room. The dogs love to sit and look out the window all day. Notice the lamp without a shade-still looking. If you have any ideas, please let me know! I am reading The Things They Carried--post to come soon. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some jams

Here are a few songs that I have been enjoying. I've been in a hip-hop mood. Warning: may be some explicit words.

"Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

"No Sleep" by Wiz Khalifa

"Right There" by Nicole from PCD

"I Wanna Go" by Brittney Spears

Yesterday we finally put some things on the walls. It is looking better. Matt keeps getting law books in the mail, and they are amounting to quite a pile. I will post more pictures when I feel that it is clean enough. Here is one for now.

Matt and I are also working on refinishing our coffee table. It looks great! We will finish the coats tomorrow. Hope you are having a lovely day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The goal

So, as some of you may know, the first year of marriage did me and Matt some damage in the looks department! We hung onto our nice-looking bodies for a few months, but have slipped into comfort. We recently got insanity! from a friend and are trying it out. Today was day three. I have the goal of losing 10 pounds, and Matt 20. We shall see! Wish us luck.

I met some teachers today at school and everyone is so nice. I am anxious to get started and it is strange having a rel summer for the first time in years come to an end. I have really enjoyed this summer and been able to visit a lot with my family and friends. Now that we have moved, it is sad to be not still have those times. But it does make the our memories that much sweeter.

I wrote a few letters today-so if you want to be pen pals, let me know!