The Pumpkin Queen
20 entries back

Date:2008-11-16 18:29
Mood: sleepy

Whiny post

I worked 6 hours at school on Saturday. Worked 5 hours today. Now I'm home, it's Sunday night, and I feel as though I should be doing all of these work-related tasks:

*study skills mini-lesson for tomorrow
*write Wednesday's test
*make a study guide for said test
*prepare Thursday and Friday's sub plans for while I'm at the district meetings
*grade journals x infinity
*grade homework
*plan expository 3 week mini-unit for team to teach in December
*make new seating charts
*dig out picture book collection to take in to work
*make a lunch for tomorrow

I don't wannnnnnna. I've worked enough already. I want to cuddle in with my puppy and read a book. A book for SCHOOL, but at least a book. Hmph. I dare just one ignorant soul to walk up to me and say that teacher's get paid for taking summers off and only work from 9 to 3.

Okay. Something good. Hmm. On NPR this morning I heard a new female singer whose music I want to look up. Mr. Wheeker is feeling better than he was earlier this weekend. The hounds got to run to their hearts' content today. We get to spend time with good friends on Thanksgiving. And the Monday after Turkey Day is the Dog Walk through the Holiday Lights at the Portland International Raceway. It looks possible that there won't be freezing rain this year for the first time in forever.

Resting time. Not going to feel guilty. But I may not be able to avoid doing some schoolish foo whilst cuddling in my eiderdown with my puppy.

Have a slow and relaxing Sunday evening, everyone.


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Date:2008-11-16 12:57


So I'm rolling this idea around in my head and asking for any ideas you might have to add to my brainstorming. I want to do a poetry unit this year. I'd like to do a daily/weekly/somethingly poetry intro/experience for the kids before the unit. Maybe each week until the unit, not sure yet. But I'd like to introduce it through song lyrics, preferably not all songs they already know. Give them the lyrics, discuss the meaning/s and use of language, then after all that, play the song and discuss interpretation and personal meaning.

Some songs off the top of my head that are rolling around in the (very early stage) brainstorm are:

Sting - Windmills of Your Mind
NIN - Up Above It
Eagles - Hotel California
Counting Crows - Big Yellow Taxi
Sister Hazel - Change Your Mind
Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love
John Mayer - Waiting on the World to Change

Clarification: This is not a post to have you tell me why NOT to use a song or anyone else. It's just a first step in the process. One possible sub-goal might be songs that get them thinking about their own efficacy in the world.



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Date:2008-11-15 21:26
Mood: tired

6 hours at work on a Saturday = one meme post

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names... or father's & mother's)
Rae Malcolm

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother's dad, father's dad)
Delmer Harold

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name)

4.DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Orange Hound

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live)
Christina Hillsboro

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add "THE" to the beginning)
Yellow Bellini

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Spumoni PB

9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet's name, current street name)
Ferguson 52

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on)
Hamlet Kimberly

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Date:2008-11-14 19:58
Mood: amused

Drugs. I'd take that.

In class today, grading a "scavenger hunt" sheet from a publication comparing the platforms of Obama and McCain, one of the topics was the 700-mile fence apparently being built on the U.S.-Mexico border. Students were asked to write what they think the purpose of this fence is and whether they thought it would be successful. One student conjecture was drug related. The teacher asked for clarification. Student clarified. Teacher replied with "...yadda yadda drugs. I'd take that." As an acceptable answer. Half the class started giggling. It took me a handful of seconds to realize what I'd said.

Amusing moment.

Thank goodness it's the weekend. Now I can go into work and get the other 20 hours of my week of work done.

Happy Friday.


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Date:2008-11-13 19:22

Not quite Red-Breasted Boobies

I often start class by doing something that knocks the daily-grind mindset out of them. Sometimes I'll speak in Whale (a la Finding Nemo) or I'll start describing them in ways they aren't accustomed to (today they "bemused me" ... and discussion ensued). Today their journal exercise was to think of five questions they would want to ask teachers, turning the tables, as it were. For attendance, one of their options was to share one of their questions, with individualized praise going to particularly creative questions. They always have options for answering attendance. This is something I put into practice after attending a workshop where I learned some ungodly low percentage of students ever were spoken to even once throughout the day by any adult (teacher or parent). Starting class, while they're writing by giving them a chance to share something from a menu of two or three options (one of which is succinct for those who don't care to be loquacious or in the spotlight) gives them a chance to speak and to be heard every day. It also seems to be a useful part of the community building I strive so hard to do in my classes. Being safe to risk, to have ideas and test theories -- it's not so common at this age as one would hope.

Anyhow, I often end up beginning class by giving the class a collective name.
"My Fine Young Scholars"
"My precious naked mole-rats"
"The prestigious prodigies of such&such Middle School"
and so on ...

Last year's highlight was a day I hadn't thought of anything but was in the midst of beginning the "My ..." I had to think of a several-worded animal quickly. "... red-breasted Boobies" came out of my mouth. You don't often see 8th graders agape. They always have a caustic, sarcastic, unfiltered or random comment. It was photo-worthy, really. Of course, then I spent several minutes convincing them that that was indeed a bird. Just as Lake Titicaca is a Peruvian waterform and so on.

Today, "My precious Chickadees" got a journal-stopping response as well. First trimester 7th graders are so YOUNG. And so fun to tip into the realm of the curious yet unknown. I really love my kids.

Enough said. (I have no idea if these entries are interesting. Just trying to post each day to try to get back into the swing.)

Tomorrow's Friday. Is the second hand slowing down?


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Date:2008-11-12 21:00

Minutia for minutia's sake

Ate lunch today. Missed breakfast though.

Bought hummus tonight, and pita. Will take both and some yogurt to work tomorrow.

After 14 years at my Middle School, this past spring, W. and the insanity flowing from politicians to try to "score" education and educators decided that my certification to teach grades 1-8 was insufficient. That I was "not highly qualified" to teach 7th and 8th graders. The ignorant, oversimplifiers in power will be the downfall of us all.

The story is much more convoluted than that, and it is the major reason I stopped posting. There was nothing good to say. I was demoralized. I was disenchanted. I may have issues with my self-esteem, but if there is one thing I know, it is this: I am a master teacher. I am extraordinarily good at what I do, connecting with early adolescents, bringing authenticity and humor and nexus to learning that makes kids laugh and share and look bemusedly at the clock when class is over to wonder where the time went.

I ended up being moved to Elementary -- a change I was ready to relish and take on. My first two years of teaching were at the Elementary level and I was ready (after a terrible few years with a ... truly inadequate at best administrator) for a transition in my life. The bomb dropped and then I adjusted. I adjusted to leaving my family at a school that had been home since 1994. And just when I was leaping off the cliff with a smile on my face, they removed the ocean below. Only rocks. Back to Middle School. But a different Middle School.

There was an interminable period of mediation. At this point, I dropped the usual diminutive I'll-do-what-I'm-asked and pressed for rationale.

The story ends and begins with me at a new Middle School with a team I enjoy immensely and an administrative team which seems to at least be competent. Perhaps more. Too soon to say. The staff as a group are positive, they are innovative, they are collaborative. It's been more than I could have asked for, but not without its downfalls (the furniture and key situation may be another post's fodder).

I'm inventing a new curriculum that combines Social Studies and Language Arts into one block. Hence I lose 10+ years of curriculum creation because a majority of the time is spent on Reading and Writing. But I can do this. It's re-creating the wheel every single day, it's working two or three jobs at once, it's exhausting. But I'm happy. I'm thankful for many, many good things.

And there you have today's anti-minutia post.

Wishing you all well.

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Date:2008-11-11 14:40
Mood: exhausted

It's been a bit of forever since I've posted-posted and I think the weight of the time and the unwritten is making it more and more difficult to post. So this is my gateway post (like marijuana, not the computer). I'll post little bits of things rather than a doctoral summation of the past year+ over the next few weeks and see how it feels.

Today's post? Lunch.
I can't seem to get myself to eat lunch. The hectic nature of a new school, new curriculum, new everything along with my current medication make the idea of eating at lunchtime not quite, but almost nauseating. Of course, then I crash, blood-sugar-wise but give everything I have left to teaching my afternoon blocks and school ends ... and there is something hanging limply over my chair in my classroom. Oh right. That's ME! So my plan is to put together small, easily prepared mini-lunches that are easy to get down and easily grabbed in the morning. This week will be either rotisserie chicken salad, crackers, and yogurt (not all in one bite), or the same with hummus instead of the ch. salad. Anyone have short but sweet lunch ideas that don't involve energy bars or shakes? I tried microwave meals... enh. I need something a tad more ... fresh.

Fascinating post.

Currently reading: A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin (technically a reread -- perhaps a tale to follow, next post)

Note of the day: Irish Wolfhounds are brilliant and snuggly.


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Date:2008-10-22 22:53
Mood: exhausted

Just keep swimming.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

20 Impressionist, 4 Islamic, 7 Ukiyo-e, -19 Cubist, -8 Abstract and -8 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their lives they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

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Date:2008-04-26 11:21

My exclamation mark quota for the next 3 years

Because abbacat is my hero, I must do this too.

If you have a few minutes, choose 5 or 6 of the predesignated words on this site that you think most describe me. It comes up with a crazy-keen chart. Be honest. None of these are offensive -- it'd be interesting to see how others' perceptions differ from my own.

Then, do it yourself and I'll respond to yours!

Click! Click here!

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Date:2008-02-28 21:56
Mood: sleepy

I'm a leaf on the wind

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with
You scored as Serenity (Firefly)

You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)


Moya (Farscape)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


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Date:2008-01-19 23:49
Mood:feeling old

High School Music Meme -- Toxic Zone -- Stand Clear

Grabbed from tempestmir

A music-tastes meme. Go to this convenient compilation site right here and find the five years you were in high school. For each year, admit to the song that was your favorite at the time, then decide which one you now generally consider to be the best song on the list. Lastly, pick the year's worst song, snarking optional.

I'll also post the #1 of the year, cuz why not?

First of all, I didn't play by the rules most of the time because who can choose just one? Second, this proves my senility and/or aged wisdom. Third, bear in mind that I only had pop charts to choose from. Fourth, if you don't agree, nyeah!

Time machine timeCollapse )

Now I feel like I should go drive around in diesel Oldsmobile station wagon with nowhere in particular to go.


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Date:2008-01-02 00:19
Mood: sleepy


Seriously considering getting contacts. Dr. says I'm borderline qualified to benefit from them. Contact users out there ... pros? cons? advice? Ferguson kisses are destroying my glasses. Are they a pain? Are they expensive? Are they time-consuming?

Blurry in Hillsboro

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Date:2008-01-01 22:48

Neil Gaiman, I love you.

coffeeinhell shared this New Year's comment attributed to Neil Gaiman's blog and I liked it so much I thought I'd pass it along and simply say 'What he said'.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.


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Date:2007-11-18 22:13
Mood: naughty

Naughty post - not work friendly (Unnecessary Censorship)

So stolen from the wicked coffeeinhell

If you are offended easily Just Say No to the clicky. And ... WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON MY FRIENDS LIST?Collapse )


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Date:2007-11-18 21:29


This is an Irish Wolfhound Post.Collapse )
Today, Carroy Doyle Ferguson is 3 months and 2 days old. He has learned to walk on a leash and his baby paws are as big as the palms of my hands. He knows he's expected to pee when we take him out back and he rides in the car very, very well. He rolls over onto his back when he's sleepy and groans until I rub his warm, warm chest and belly (which I have been doing on and off during this post).

We still haven't learned to read when he's ready to make a McFergus. But we're working on it.


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Date:2007-11-18 20:45
Mood: hopeful

Current and Soon to Be Released Movies?

So, I hardly watch commercials, but I find that the downside is that I miss trailers and heads-up info./hype about new and upcoming movies. I looked on LJ (or tried) for a community, but found nothing. Anyone have a good site or reference for such things (including indie and small release films, please, if poss.) aside from Rotten Tomatoes?


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Date:2007-11-13 01:09
Mood: exhausted

For now a picture and a few words -- the best yet to come

This is a post of my favorite picture of Carroy Doyle Ferguson on Mr. Wheeker's journal. If you're deeply interested in either a reply about lifespans of large dogs or about the minute details of tonight's bout of crate training, feel free to visit, because I'm too tired from the loooooong drive home and the dog settling in to type here, too.

Longwinded and road weary

Tomorrow, more.

I love him.


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Date:2007-11-10 21:24

Wasting time until tomorrow..... PUPPY!

Thanks be to sleightgirl.

William Shakespeare

Away, you scullion! You rampallion! You fustilarian!
I'll tickle your wheeker!

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

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Date:2007-10-23 22:57

because it's always about me

Inundated by pictures of California fires, watching those amazing firefighters working what seems like impossible conditions, watching people who have lost nearly everything, was something like the following.

1) Enh. They always have fires in CA. This is just another one. Hmm. Living in a desert.
2) Hmm. This is going to get ugly fast, between the 100 degree temps and the Santa Ana winds.
3) (insert sick feeling in stomach) This is just what happened in Tahoe at the end of June. I'm starting to feel the same feelings (anxiety, sadness, anger, helplessness).
4) What must my father and his SO be feeling right now? (They were evacuated for nearly a full week with no information other than most of the houses surrounding them were gone.) Turns out they're, unsurprisingly, going through their own version of PTSD (or whatever you'd call this). It's bringing up all those feelings. And this week she had to fly INTO that zone and is working there. That, let me tell you, does NOT help.

So, I'm going to pause a bit tonight and send comforting, empathetic thoughts to the millions+ (?!) people evacuated and/or losing their homes.

Kudos to those firemen and women.


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Date:2007-10-21 22:54

Pointless blabbering: Nutshell (good day)

We went to our first coursing competition today to watch some friends' dogs play/run. It was a lovely Sunday, we laughed and enjoyed ourselves, the dogs and the people.

It's been so long since I've been emotionally capable of this sort of social, several-hours-long sort of event. The people were very fun and we seemed to have quite a bit in common. Though I admit, one of my favorite parts of the day was curling up with the Irish Wolfhound in its pen for a significant amount of time. I'm in love with this dog. We took some pics. I'll see if I can download any of the coursing in a post soonish.

Parent conferences are this week which means 12 hour days both Wed. and Thurs. Looking forward to Friday.

I finished reading a pulpy suspense book called "The Mephisto Club" which had interesting enough characters that I finished it rather quickly. Looking forward to getting back to JS & MN.

I think I'm going to be a victim of 'The Birds' for Halloween which means I should show a 5ish minute exerpt from it to educate these 13 year olds to the wonders of Hitchcock. Hmmm....

Did anyone see that 30 days vampire movie this weekend? I heard it's awful, but I wanted to see it, dammit. I don't want it to be awful. I really want to see the Zellwegger (?), Gyllenhall, Close movie about torture/terrorism the rights of the one vs. the safety of the many. I think that came out or comes out soon. Anyone have anything to share on that one? When Ebert calls a movie "perfect" that says something.

Trying to get sleepy on a Sunday night before the school week begins is somewhat difficult because all the things to do and to remember to do and all the stresses of the previous week are looming. I try very hard to stay in the moment so I think I'm going to pick up my book and read myself to sleep.

I wish you all a restful Sunday night and a ease-filled Monday tomorrow.


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