The Friday Five: Halloween Etiquette Edition

Well, today I had my first Halloween in an elementary school since, well, I was in elementary school. It was a little crazy, despite the reduced ranks (they were all here), because we had plenty of wandering parents. I listened to the faculty's hilarious commentary as some creative costumes among the dozens of Darth Vaders and Dorothy Gales ("Hey, who's the kid in the Santa Claus costume? Oh, it's _______. Wait, isn't he Jewish?"), and only really one or two questionable costumes ("I'm not asking what that kid is--he's dressed like a pimp! Whose parents put together a pimp costume for a first grader?") walked by us in the Halloween parade.

Some of the more questionable stuff came from the parents. Like the mom in the orange crossover top that was cut down-to-here and up-to-there. Middle-aged mom cleavage and midriff? Ew! And there was the mom who carried on a conversation with her mother, at normal volume, in the one of the classrooms where our "Poetry Rovers" recited Halloween poems to some of their fellow classmates. Thanks for undoing all the good behavior modeling we grown-ups bust our butts to do for your children every school day, ladies. It's a nice double standard you've got going there.

Speaking of etiquette, my parents (at whose house I'm typing this post) have been ranting a bit about some of the trick-or-treaters who have come to the door with less than stellar behavior. So here is today's Friday Five: Kate P's Mom & Dad's Five Tips for Trick-or-Treaters:

1. Knock. Just because you can see me typing on the laptop at the dining room table doesn’t mean I’m going to let you in. It’s not my house.

2. Wait. Don’t run over the little kids trying to exit in your attempt to rush inside. This isn’t speed trick-or-treating.

3. Identify yourself. Especially if (A) you’re wearing a really good disguise, and (B) you’re just visiting. (There’s no shame in it; it’s a nice neighborhood.)

4. Say “please,” “thank you,” “Happy Halloween”—you know, actually respond to the nice people giving you candy. We understand some kids are shy, but at least a nod would be polite.

5. As a corollary to #4—don’t be grabby. Although we did have a funny incident where I watched in amusement as a tiny mermaid neighbor marched all the way through to the kitchen, helped herself to the open bag of Milky Ways on the counter, continued on to the TV room in the back to pet the sleepy cat on the sofa, and then pushed her way through the kids (including her two younger siblings) out the front door, without a single word to my mom. In fact, my mom said she didn’t even see her!

Enjoy the rest of your Halloween, and have a sweet weekend. :)


Read to the 4th Graders Today

It's a real lesson in classroom management when you've got a bunch of tired kids in Phillies gear sitting at your feet.

I read this book (older edition has different cover) to two sections, and they did get into it. In fact, there wasn't enough Houdini-related material to go around when it was time for them to select books. I also had to talk a lot about how Houdini died. Ew. Still a success, IMHO.

Jack O'Lantern Carving, Sans Mess

I'd resigned myself to not having carved myself a jack o'lantern (too busy, it'd make a mess, etc.), until my mom sent me this. Fun and highly recommended.


Post Class Discussion Board Blowup Fallout

I woke up in the same position in which I'd gone to sleep, save having shifted over to the middle of the bed as the result of the cat's new cold weather habit of hogging my side of the bed. Dragged myself out of bed and got ready for school--I had to look good for my I.D. picture which was being taken this afternoon, and I wasn't feeling it. During the drive to school, I tried to tell myself I could compartmentalize it, shove it in a corner of my mind and just ignore it for a while. But my mentor librarian (Ms. K.) asked me if I'd gotten more sleep (because the game had been postponed) and it all just came out. I sniffled but I didn't cry. She came over to where I'd been loading up books on the book truck and patted me on the shoulder. (She's known me since I was a teenager because she's my parents' neighbor.) She said if I wanted to borrow her computer to see if I'd gotten any response to my angsty comments last night, I could.

When I logged in to get my school e-mail, I saw that everyone in the class got an e-mail from Prof- I mean, Dr. D., asking for our phone numbers and a good time to call so she can "check in" with us this week. I replied with my info, but figured I shouldn't hold my breath for the phone call anytime before Saturday. Then I left it and got back into the school stuff.

Most of the students seem pretty welcoming towards me, so that's good. One kid definitely hates me because I asked her to stop massaging her (male) classmate's back while they were listening to Ms. K. read a story. I was sitting at the back of the group and saw it start up, but I ignored it in hopes it was just a quick gesture. When out of the corner of my eye I saw it continuing, with both of them stealing glances at me (i.e. "we're doing something we're not supposed to, and we know it; do you know it?"), I had to break it up. I'm O.K. with the occasional hug, pat, hand-holding (although it's usually girls and their BFFs), and heaven knows what actually is allowed at school, but that was kind of icky.

I tutored second grade kids in Math this afternoon--"tens and ones." Apparently, every Wednesday a class comes in while their teacher attends something, and the library has to "babysit" them while they do worksheets. (This doesn't exactly sit well with me.) And darn these kids were needy. Not to mention pushy while you're trying to help somebody else. But I did see some of them catch on and that's always enjoyable. Still, I was relieved when it was time for me to cut out and drive to the high school to hand in my clearances and get a photo I.D. I got my coat and my purse, and told the assistant I was heading out.

When I started for the door, one of the students I'd been helping--a little thing with a mane of pale blond hair--came over to me. "Thank you for helping me with my math," she said.

That was a pretty good consolation. Until I saw how puffy my face looked in the stupid photo I.D., probably from a near-tearful phone conversation with Mom about school absurdity and loans during the drive over. My hair, however, looks rather nice. Also in the photo I'm wearing the scarf Dr. Red gave me. I can live with the photo.

Still trying to live with the frustration.

World Series Outcome Texts

(I have finally resigned myself to receiving, responding, and paying for text messages because it's the only way my sibs seem to want to communicate with me.)

Younger Sister: "Woo hoo!"
Me: "Win=yay, hats=ugh"
YS: "LOL I want one"

(I have no response to that, but I'm still watching the presentation of the trophy stuff.)

Me: "Charlie [Manuel] is finally smiling"


Check Your Halloween Candy Supply

Please tell me you're not giving out any of these.

I Can't Tell

Am I missing the high school library because I liked it there, or because I'm not adjusted to the new school yet?

UPDATE: You know, right now I am so angry with my program and my advisor/stand-in advisor/whoever is supposed to be helping me complete the freaking program. It took a casual mention of which certification test I'm taking next month on my class discussion board to have the thread blow up and have it brought to my attention that I still need to take an additional test. I don't know when I can take it, but that most likely means that my emergency registration (and hefty fees for doing so) most likely is in vain, because I can't get certified until I take the other test. Waiting for certification most likely means waiting to get a job. I'm going to go cry myself to sleep now.

Because I wasn't stressed out enough already, being in a new school this week.


I Really Should Be in Bed. . .

I'm too wound up from today:

  • This morning did my usual cantor gig for Mass. It was Pre-Cana (marriage prep) day, and the couples go to Mass and attend sessions in the church basement before and after Mass. Which means coffee is brewing during Mass. The smell rises up to the choir loft and torments this coffee-lover the whole time I'm upstairs. Not to mention I feel a bit bummed out looking out over all the engaged couples, but, well, it is what it is. Before Mass, I said, "God, You don't know how hard this is for me- No, wait, You do. Sorry, I'll stop whining now." Still tried to see if at least one couple looked older than me.

  • An audible gasp was heard during the homily after our pastor explained how embryonic stem cells are obtained. I guess some people didn't know and/or were scandalized. It was a powerful homily. He never beats people over the head, but he gets the message across.

  • I went down afterwards to see my cousins (one of the instructor couples) in the basement, and I got a bagel out of the deal. Mmmm, consolatory bagel.

  • Finished swapping out my summer wardrobe for the winter one. My bedroom is the cleanest it's been since school started.

  • Did a trial run of getting to school. Got lost b/c my discussion of directions yesterday with Dad (where he contradicted something I said) got stuck in my head. I figured it out, but I lost a lot of time. But at least I know where the high school (in the new district) is now. And that it might take me 45 min. to get to school. (Yet another reason I really should be in bed.)

  • Stopped in to see my parents on the way back--they had Middle Nephew and Niece because my brother went to the Eagles game and my SIL needed to clean house without the little ones underfoot. I gave the kids the little Halloween pouches I got as a free gift for buying cards at CVS--I put Teddy Grahams in them. Middle Nephew (not quite four) says, "I'm going to eat you, Teddy!" Then he bites the head off. I guess that's humane.

  • Phils did awesome tonight. Yay!

I'd better log off and go make my lunch now!


The Friday Five, Late Evening Edition

Well, the poll didn't give me much insight as to the direction of my regular Friday post, but that's O.K. for now. For this week's Friday Five, I'm going to highlight five interesting links from the past week:

1. A new take on candy corn by Hannah at the Bittersweet Blog. Love it or hate it, you gotta admit those little handicrafts are clever.

2. Nightfly's prescient (?) LOLCat. (Most times cats just want to sleep on your newspaper or steal your pencil, in my experience.)

3. Ashley's sensitive ponderings on partisan behavior. I'm not crazy about the sheep comment, but otherwise a very thoughtful post. Coincidentally, I was wondering as I drove down the street today if neighbors with different signs on their lawns were speaking to one another. I think for the most part once the big excitement comes and goes, neighbors go back to saying "Hi" to each other and snowblowing each other's driveways or what-have-you. America's interesting that way.

4. Pom's dilemma: when lip gloss meets a Philly street.

5. The Weekend Woo by Tracey, who flexes her creative muscles once again, to our great amusement.

Wishing you a weekend that is more WOOOO!!! than woo.

My Last Day at the High School

For the most part, it was business as usual. Busy-ness, I should say. Finding resources for teachers, helping students with their projects, and cluing in the student who hit the "mic off" button on the headset/mic he was using to record commentary on his VoiceThread (but thankfully, after all the trials we went through in the beginning with recording, this was something we easily could resolve!).

At one point in the morning, Dr. Red and I took some time for her to review the blog post I'd written for her blog about my field experience. The pressure was on a little bit because it's for her professional blog, and she does have a pretty decent following. I'm kicking myself a little bit for having stayed up for the ballgame last night and deciding to sleep in and skip washing my hair in the morning--she added my picture to the post! It's not a terrible picture, but my hair is pretty flat. Not to mention past due for a haircut owing to household budget tightening. Sorry, I can't link to the blog for confidentiality reasons, but I think it accurately summed up how much I've soaked up since I started. She made a couple of edits but said she thought it was really well done. I think that's going in the portfolio I have due at the end of the course. I'm published!

At lunchtime I said goodbye to a couple of the regular lunch crew, the technology coach and the media teacher, and they asked about what I was doing next and wished me luck. Nice fellas.

The student teacher with whom I'd been doing a lot of collaboration was out sick today (not surprising because she was looking a little green yesterday), so it was a little bit of a bummer not to get the chance to say goodbye to her. Fortunately, I have her e-mail address, so I'm going to drop her a line this weekend. I have to remind her to ask security about taking my designated parking space--it'll be less of a walk for her.

At the end of the day, the library cleared out (it's Friday and the library closes early), and I got ready to go. Dr. Red surprised me with a card and a gift. And really, I was surprised. Not to mention touched. Before I knew it I was in tears. She didn't understand, and I didn't want to tell her. . . Six weeks with her, and in addition to everything she's taught me, every question she patiently answered, every reassurance she provided, she gives me a gift. Two, actually:

Very fashionable, yes?
Six years with my prior company, and I got lunch with a handful of people, a gift from my closest co-worker, and a card from a co-worker I'd known for only a couple of months. Not bad, but after six years? Understanding my surprise now? People don't often do nice things for me, and I don't expect it from them. You might call it a coping skill.
In any event, Dr. Red wished me well and told me I'm going to be a great librarian. I got hugs from her, from the two wonderful ladies on staff, and said goodbye to the library.
I'm looking forward to what's coming, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to miss the high school library.


What Amy Welborn Probably Would Title "Varia"

I just spent 50 minutes getting Customer Service to help me renew my internet security subscription, while live-mini-blogging a race between phone and live chat on Twitter. I was still sitting in a chat queue after the phone call ended so I guess the moral of the story is that service isn't always faster online. Strange.

Because of that diversion, I have to bullet-point the rest of the post so I can go wrap up the blog post Dr. Red asked me to do for her blog, about what I wish I'd known more about prior to my field experience. Hard to believe, but tomorrow is the last day of my six weeks at the high school!

The rest of what's up:
  • My family is having a good laugh over this product, which my mom termed "this year's Christmas present" because for Christmas 2002 she gave us all hand-crank world band radios (dubbed "terrorist radios"), TP, and duct tape and plastic tarps (to keep out the toxic gas). Yeah, it sounds sick but if we didn't keep a sense of humor about things I don't know how we'd survive. I said the "100% vegetarian" formula is signified by the spelling of the "bakon" flavor. My sister said it's meant to be fed to terrorists to poison them. My SIL joked that it was the perfect no-cook solution to feed the family--and she could have everybody just come on up to the bucket. LOL and ewwwwwww.

  • The cat has just come out of her porkchop stupor. (What makes cats so nuts about porkchops? I don't recall seeing any PBS special on big cats where they bagged oinkers in the jungle or desert--is warthog similar?) I tried a recipe I found in wine ad in Food & Wine, but I subbed the wine (no way I'm special ordering a case) and used shallots and onions instead of all shallots. . . I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I suspect it might be one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. Time will tell.

  • Phils aren't doing so hot at the moment. Is it because I didn't wear my tee two days in a row? It needs to be washed!

  • I had a lovely conversation with a 9th grader during the last block this afternoon as I helped her reformat an image to post to her group's wiki page (a miracle that I knew how to fix it right away!). Turns out she was a transfer from one of the Friends schools where my aunt taught music several years ago--nice school. Nice kid. She asked me about my student teaching and what I'd be doing next. (Darn it, why are they getting all interested in me now???)

  • I'm probably gonna cry when I'm saying goodbye at school tomorrow.


Interesting Day Today

One of the seniors--a lovely, slightly shy girl who's a serious fan of Christian rock and is writing her research on one band's success--asked me this morning what "voter fraud" meant.

Hrrrrrrrrrrrfffffffffff. How hard it is to have to talk about how certain people think they have to cheat to win. I don't even get it myself, really.

Speaking of cheating, after several back-and-forth messages through the stupid "Ask [School]" site, time spent filling out a waiver of late fees form, and a subsequent flat-out "Your request has been denied" without any explanation (except that it's easy to be cold through a messaging system), it took a phone call right to the Bursar's office and a rehashing of everything to get a stupid late fee taken off my account. It wasn't very large, but it was the principle of the thing. I'm ready for Friday. Hopefully that is the last check I'll ever have to send to school (loans repayment goes elsewhere).

After that matter was settled--and mind you I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at school still--I called my mom to let her know I emerged victorious from my battle with the Bursar, and to double-check the house number for my sister so I could mail her Phils tee to her. Mom said Dad had entered a contest to win a laptop from a local radio station--and they called his name this morning! He had to call them within a certain amount of time, and apparently anybody who knew my dad and heard the announcement (and even some guy the next town over who got out the phone book) called my parents' house to tell my dad to call. The thing was,

1. It wasn't even 8 a.m.

2. My dad was already at work.

3. Dad's cell phone was turned off.

Poor Mom. She's not a morning person and she had to field quite a few phone calls. But Dad called the station in time, and he's got a brand new laptop. That someone would gladly take off his hands if he doesn't want it.

For the Phightin' Phils

O.K., I couldn't embed it, but do go enjoy the Phils' Fight Song by Canadian Invasion here. I heard it the other day on 'XPN (in between fundraising pitches) and over the PA system at school today. Last week one of the teachers was having t-shirts printed with the school name on the front and "Go Phils!" on the reverse. They came in this morning, and at least half the school (myself included) had them on. I ordered one for my sister--which was prescient considering there were no size smalls of any Phillies tees at the sporting goods store when she was here Saturday--and mailed it to her this afternoon. Having a lot of fun.

But I'm still too nervous to watch!


It's 6:30 and I'm Changing Back into School Clothes

My course requires me to attend at least one school board meeting. Tonight is my last chance for this school district (because I'll be done at the high school at the end of this week!), and I'd rather get it over with before the weather goes really bad. Beyond the annoying frost-scraping every morning now.

I've never been to a school board meeting. I hope there's coffee.


The Friday Five, Centering Around a Certain Person's Birthday

It's my birthday this weekend, so I thought I'd take an interesting twist on the Friday Five. There are a number of databases and catalogs at the school library, and one of them, Historic Newspapers (from ProQuest, provider of databases yielding many an article for this grad student's schoolwork), has a neat function where you can plug in a date and find articles from several major newspapers on that day. When we did the library orientation for the eighth graders last month, they loved plugging in their birthdays (1995!) in this database. So here are five article titles from The New York Times on the day I was born:

1. "Ford Again Denies Fiscal Aid to City" (by Martin Tolchin). NYC in economic trouble. Hey, were they looking for. . . a bailout?

2. "Jets-Dolphins TV Hinges on Two Ifs" (author not provided, probably staff). The two ifs were related to the World Series, of course.

3. "Portugese Under Stress Keep Poise and Stoicism" (by Flora Lewis). Struggles with politics and communism. Heavy stuff.

4. "Remodeled A & S Tells What's in Store: A New Stress on Fashion" (by Isadore Barmash). I have a vague memory of A & S. Interesting that back then they were right behind Macy's as the top retailers in the city, but today Macy's is still here and A & S isn't. I remember when Macy's bought Bamberger's, but I can't remember who bought A & S.

5. "Search for Missing Jersey Woman Shifted to City" (by Joan Cook). She was last seen at her desk in a Manhattan office. They were trying to figure out if she never made it to the bus or if she got off at a different stop and then something bad happened. I wonder if they ever found her.

Much going on, good and bad, in the world at once--true then, and true today. Hope everything going on for your weekend is very, very good.


Been a Little Too Exhausted to Update

I've been doing a lot of teaching these past few days, and I was the librarian-in-charge today because Dr. Red had a speaking engagement out of state. I will be attending an in-state one tomorrow morning--kinda nice because I don't have to be up quite as early as normal. It's a presentation with another faculty member/technology coach, and because they're both smart and funny, it should be really enjoyable. I saw a little of it in the revision stages this week and so far, so good.

Happy about this.

Also happy that, in spite of the fact that some students were making me a little crazy this week (had a senior who was the equivalent of Ricki's Rude Boy, ninth graders were freaking out about citations and MLA style--oh noes!), a lot of them were addressing me by name and asking for my help this afternoon. It was nice.

It was also nice that they didn't laugh when I had to stand on my tiptoes to use the SmartBoard during the lesson.


Monday's Roundup

We had a fire drill this morning. Disruption in the classes, of course (not to mention a real trial for one of the student teachers whose mentor teacher called in sick and forgot about the drill), but I understand why they're necessary. In one of the other school districts, a principal got in serious trouble for not doing the drills and then falsifying the drill reports this past year. What? Why? I just don't even understand how that person even thought of doing something like that.

In other weird news, I am doing horribly in my (former) office's football pool. I seriously can not pick them. Six wrong so far for the week. Six!? I've been floating at the top of the pack for the past several seasons, and I usually win one week. But this time around--what am I doing wrong? Is it that I'm not catching as many discussions on the radio as I normally do, owing to my different daytime schedule and the fact that many sports discussions have been taking a backseat to current political/economic events? Dunno.

I distracted myself from my football anguish by watching the "Troublemaker" video. The song is so catchy that I can forgive the "Who needs stupid books/They are for petty crooks" line. And check out all those nachos. I guess that explains the hair net.

(Don't forget to vote in the poll on the sidebar!)


Happiness on Saturday

Despite evidence that the remote to my stereo has gone kaput (so long, shuffle function!), I'm happy that the weather is really, really great today, and that it occurred to me during yoga that Dr. Red gave me a veiled compliment the other day. She remarked that maybe I'd consider being a librarian at the high school level. (I started the program leaning toward elementary, but have yet to commit firmly.) So, does that mean she thinks I could hack it as a high school librarian?

I'll just let that idea float to back of my mind as I go outside to "play" (a.k.a. take out the trash and go pick up cat food so I will be allowed to come back inside).


Pinch-Hitting for the Friday Five: Book Questions Meme

I dunno, I think I'm a little burned out. I'm at the end of Week Four of my field experience (unless you count my homework, which is coming along slowly still), and part of last night's activities entailed mortal combat with fruit flies. I gotta say, man, am I annoyed I had to throw out bananas--I'm annoyed I have to throw out anything I spent good money on, these days. On the way home from school, I stopped at a bookstore and asked if they were hiring part-time. They said yes, for seasonal positions, and I took an application. Took a break from filling it out when I realized I'd have to think really hard about three references. It's probably crazy of me to want to take on a job right now--or whenever seasonal positions start--but (A) I feel guilty whenever I spend money on anything that's not groceries, gas, or bills; and (B) I'm feeling pretty isolated and maybe a part-time job would alleviate some of that. Or make me annoyed with people in general, so in that case I wouldn't mind feeling so isolated.

The bottom line: The Friday Five isn't happening today. In fact, I'm thinking about doing something new. How do you feel about that, dear blogreaders of mine? Please vote in the poll over at the sidebar. If you would like to elaborate on your choice, please feel free to do so in either the combox or via e-mail (also on side). Thanks!

Instead of the Friday Five, I'm picking up this meme from Lady Sheila, and I'm going to do it off the cuff. By that I mean I'm not going to sit around thinking of the perfect answer to each question. Adding to the challenge, I'm going to allow myself only thirty minutes to complete it--averaging out to three minutes for each question. No searching, except for the recesses of my mind and heart, and a possible run to the bookcases in the other room. My thirty minutes starts now:

What was the last book you bought?
I’m not sure if schoolbooks count, so I’ll do two: for school, Administering the School Library Media Center by Betty J. Morris, and for leisure, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I’ve been assigned random chapters of Administering every week, and I’ve been reading a few pages of Eclipse every night before I go to sleep. I haven’t enjoyed it as much as its two predecessors (seems drawn out and the storytelling monologues were killing me), but I want to keep going through the series and I hope either someone gives me the final one for my birthday or gives me the means to purchase it for myself.

Name a book you have read MORE than once.
You’d think there’d be several of these, but to be honest, I’m the kind of referential reader who goes back to reread parts of books. It’s really rare if I reread a book, except by assignment. That said, I’m very sure I’ve read Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott more than once. There’s also the amazing Myths & Mythology by Anthony Horowitz that my Confirmation sponsor gave me way back in ’85. It’s beautifully written and illustrated, and totally inspiring to a kid who was into reading and art. One of the pieces I submitted for the art scholarship at high school was a copy of a Bosch plate from there. (I got the scholarship and was spared having to go to the archdiocesan high school with most of my eighth grade class who hated me.)

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
So many have done that for me that it’s hard to say there’s just one. Off the top of my head, and coming off the last question, Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco. [Edited to correct title.] Her time in school resonated with me, and I finally didn’t feel so alone in my experience.

How do you choose a book? e.g. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews?
Probably all of the above, and admittedly I am picky. I don’t like to waste my time if I can help it. I tend to do research. For example, recently I came across an ad by Penguin Young Readers Group in a teen magazine (it was preparation for my time at the high school, I swear!) for several books, and I looked them up at various online venues—believe it or not, I might check out at least one of them. While I tend to be picky, probably because I am a typical Libra, and because I just like to read and am curious, I also get overwhelmed by the choices sometimes. Everything looks good. The entire fiction section in the high school library keeps distracting me because it’s next to one of the computer labs where I help out with class. I want to read many, many, many of them.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
No preference, although I spent most of the summer reading non-fiction. To my surprise. (Shoot, eleven minutes to go. I’d better hurry.)

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Based on my recent experiences with Ms. Meyer’s series, I’d say if the plot is really gripping, I can overlook fairly mediocre writing. (Update 10/11/2008: Case in point: The repeated use of "free reign" last night. It's wrong. Arrrrrgh.) If the writing is absolutely horrid, though, I can’t make it. Grammar and diction do matter to me. In an ideal world, I’d be both reading beautiful prose and feeling gripped by the plot.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)?
(Seven minutes! Aaaah!!!) I do love the characters in Eight Cousins, especially Phebe, Rose, and Uncle Alec. But there are many, many more.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Eclipse, but it’s on the floor next to my bed. Easier to pick up and put down from there.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
That would be New Moon, the book before Eclipse. I finished it at the end of August/beginning of September. I remember going out in the remains of a hurricane to purchase Eclipse on a Saturday, and I think that was the first weekend of September.

Have you ever given up on a book halfway in?
The only two I can think of are Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (sorry, summer reading) and The Notebook by Sparks (don’t hold your breath for an apology). And I stopped well before halfway. I’ve put a couple aside with the intention of returning—The Hobbit and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—but it has been a few years since I put them down, and my interest level just hasn’t risen. Yet.
(I typed the period just as the timer beeped. Perfect.)

Have a fantastic weekend.


It's Cold 'round These Here Parts

I had to wear socks and closed-toe shoes to school today. :(

But it's a good excuse to put the coffee pot on after dinner! Mmmm, French Vanilla mixed with decaf. . .


Maiden Moment #3673

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the wedding Mass for a couple of acquaintances. The groom was somebody I'd known when we were kids at the local swim club, and we met up again at the funeral of a mutual family friend last year, shortly before he proposed to his now-wife. We hung out every once in a while for the past year and a half while they planned their wedding. I knew at the time they got engaged that I wouldn't be invited to the reception, and I was fine with that, although I was puzzled when a couple months ago, they made a big deal that they were able to send me an invitation after all. Which I thought (and I'm pretty sure most people would think) meant I was invited to the reception. The invitation arrived a week later, and it was just that. No details about the reception, no response card. In a strange way, though, it worked out, because I was called in at nearly the last minute to cantor for the vigil Mass at the one church where I help out sometimes.

The wedding was--well, it was so them. I can't even begin to explain it, but now that you know what they did with the invitation you probably get the idea. One redeeming aspect was that during the Prayers of the Faithful, one of the petitions was for single people. I think that's the first time I've ever heard that one. It's particularly touching at this time of year when my birthday rolls around and I get blue about being alone. I thought it was nice.

I also started to think it was an excellent harbinger a few hours later when, at about 3:57 p.m., I turned around to see if the celebrant was at the back of the church and ready to start Mass, when I came face to face with a handsome young man seated right behind me. The young people never sit this close to the front. He had that geek-chic thing going, too, which I love--Buddy Holly-type glasses--and dirty blond hair that was longish on top, and was somewhat dressed up.

However, I had a job to do, and that I did, with him almost right in front of me as I stood at the podium and sang. I noticed his eyes were on me, but he didn't participate in the singing I was commissioned to lead.

I got part of the explanation for that when he got up after Communion and gave a talk about how he was a volunteer with a touchy-feely group designed to attract twenty- and thirty-something Catholics who didn't feel they got enough out of Mass and were looking to sit around talking about their feelings and singing praise and worship songs that border on relationship-emo and heterodoxy. His demeanor reminded me of that of someone else I'd known in that position several years ago, through a young adult group--confident, a bit smug, a bit smooth. The interest he possibly communicated to me was one of recruitment, not potential companionship. That's O.K.--he would've run from this semi-traditionalist who appears younger than her years.

So close, and yet. . . still no match for this Maiden Aunt who isn't traditional enough for the RadTrads and isn't liberal enough for the Touchy-Feelies. I know it only takes one, but-



The Friday Five: Positive Edition

There were some really ridiculous moments this week, and combined with my feeling tired and listening to the news too much, it's enough to make a person feel down. I'd much rather talk about five things that went right this week:

1. See previous post (skip to end for success part).

2. I've found a good ally in the substitute teacher who comes to the library and helps out when she doesn't have a class assigned to her. She's a fairly new teacher and looking for a permanent job, so she's been giving me a lot of great advice. She even brought in her portfolio so I could get an idea of how the one I'm assembling for myself during this course could turn out.

3. After 10-15 minutes of misdirected calls and irritating hold music, I finally got the Bursar's office to admit they screwed up my account, to agree to remove the erroneous late fee. When you don't have a job, ten bucks and change matters.

4. I have a new pair of comfy boots for under $25 (not an easy feat--no pun intended--when you wear a 7W).

5. This is perfect timing: thanks to my e-mailed complaint (and probably those of other listeners), Y-Rock apologized for their messed up broadcast during the 8:00 hour and agreed to re-air the program at 10:00. Yippee.

Wishing you a pleasant, static-free weekend.

How Being Observed Went Yesterday

The usual nervousness happened: I changed my outfit twice and ran out the door without my lunch. When I got to school, I asked Dr. Red if she'd gotten the e-mail I'd forwarded her about Prof. D coming at 8:30. Dr. Red said no. O.K., not to panic, she said--probably because she saw I looked a little panicked--we've got a class coming for the first block (which starts before 8:30) and they're going to need help.

So when the class came in, I told the teacher about the imminent observation, and he was totally accommodating--he had been starting to hammer his students about getting their acts together on research for their projects. I threw myself into it and figured whenever Prof. D came she'd see me in action. She definitely did. I had a student who admittedly has chosen a very obscure topic to research and based on some hints from his teachers I take it he falls into the special needs category somewhat. But I liked his enthusiasm for his choice, and appreciated his openness to my suggestions and instructions.

After that class, I talked with Prof. D and answered some questions (hopefully in an adequate manner). She talked with Dr. Red for a bit, although I suspect it wasn't about my field experience the entire time--Dr. Red is a little bit of a "rock star" among librarians. When Prof. D took her leave, she gave me two comments: (1) Dr. Red says I'm doing great, and (2) Dr. Red would like me to be "braver."

Braver. I guess I could get all resentful about that, because I'm doing the best that I can, and this is my first experience in a library, in a school, ever. If they had any idea how far I've come, and how completely different this is from the job I've been doing for the past six years, they'd understand why I'm so freaking terrified ninety percent of the time. I've got faculty and students asking me to give them things that I know don't come anywhere near what Dr. Red would have in mind. Do they have any idea how much that sucks? Do they have any idea how much it kills me to encounter a new deficiency, every day--yet another thing I don't know how to do or have any idea about, something two years in the program failed to mention--but have to limp along? To sit in on a lesson planning meeting and feel most of it fly over my head, and not be sure if I will ever be able to do lesson planning and--as much as I hate to admit it--wonder if I will ever like doing lesson planning?

The answer is "no." Which means really I shouldn't bother getting resentful about it. Pick your battles and all.

The up side is that I kind of felt more as if I fit into the role than I had before, during the time I'd thrown myself into helping the class and tried just to be in that teacher-librarian moment. I actually enjoyed it and felt as if I knew how to do something helpful and instructional. That carried over a bit today as I worked with other students in a different class (but working on the same research projects), so that was good. Maybe things are starting to "stick" as I round out week three, and it's just taking time to feel comfortable. And brave.

The outcome? I think I passed. I am relieved but exhausted!