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Showing posts from January, 2006

Grammar Funnies

Punctuate these sentences to alter the meaning or make sense - no altering or shifting of words!

A woman without her man is nothing.

Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off.

The girls in my classes didn't like the first one - until they punctuated it "correctly."

Answer for the 2nd-> Charles the First walked and talked. Half an hour after, his head was cut off.

Could It Be...?

front of house
Originally uploaded by Hedgetoad. Yesterday, my father and I toured a few houses. This one was the most promising - 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, almost no kitchen. It does have the original fireplace mantle and the built-in buffet is in working order. Even better, foundation repairs have already been done!

It won't be ready for several months, but then with all the rain, who wants to move?

Find a hobby!

In my quest to get my mind off of house hunting, I've been trying to find something else to do. House hunting easily becomes all consuming. It is even more so for someone who is an obsessive researcher - seriously, does anyone else draw out a map of neighborhood home values before even looking at a house?

So far, I've baked bread, knitted several more inches on the sweater I'm creating (blue with pink flecks!) and this afternoon I planted itty bitty tomato seeds to start my summer garden. I know it's a bit early, but we're in the middle of "January thaw" which makes me antsy and with any luck, this early start will provide yummy fresh tomotoes by the 4th of July. By the end of next week, I should start to see little tiny green shoots - nothing is more cheering that little tiny green shoots in February.

Lastly, a co-worker told me about a house that may be coming on the market in a couple of months that is right in my price range, house style and level of di…

Cautiously Optomistic

Clam Chowder
Originally uploaded by Hedgetoad. I should be outside taking a walk - it hasn't rained for at least two hours and who knows when another break like this will come again?

Seriously, what do you do when it rains for a solid month? Cook and craft. Thus, clam chowder using the clams I dug out of sand myself!

I have to say that I was a little worried. My soups usually turn out to be very watery and tasteless. And while in the middle of cooking I belatedly realized that the recipe called for canned clams, which are cooked! I used clams frozen a scant hour after being pulled from the sand. However, it came out very tasty. And I haven't experienced any gastro-intestinal discomfort or death. All in all, a positive experience.

Razor Clam Chowder

4T. real butter
1 onion, chopped
4T. of flour
1c. clam juice
2 c. water
3 medium potatoes, chopped
generous shakings of bay leaf, pepper and Mrs. Dash Garlic-n-herb
4 pinches of salt
1c. milk
1c. heavy (whipping) cream
12 Razor clams, chopped


Grading Hell

It's nearly the end of the semester.... and as any teacher knows, they are suddenly the most popular person on campus. Imagine, 120 inquiring minds smiling shyly at you, all wondering the same thing. "What's my grade?"

Grades are posted online and can be checked by the students at any time. I guessing the thinking is that if the student asks the teacher, the teacher might somehow figure out the low grade is somehow a huge mistake.

This is also the time of year where teachers start bothering each other about grade percentages in their classes. As a first year teacher, it can seem a bit shocking at first as to how many students will fail. After all, while in school you did not. Nor did you really know anyone who did except for the minescule number of "stoners." In my memory, this was a small single digit number. Obviously, if a student is failing it is the teachers fault - for the grandstanding by unions, I still take each failure personally. What could I have …

Country Boys

The other night while flipping channels I stumbled across the documentary Country Boys . It was so familiar, but at the same time so compelling that I couldn't turn the channel. It focuses on two boys trying to graduate from high school while dealing with some very difficult issues. It reminded me of so many of my students. For many, just attending school on a daily basis takes a lot of effort and planning. How do those difficulties figure into the educational process? In a system that is designed to fit the majority, how does the teacher truly individualize?  Should schools attempt to do that? If they can't what are the options for the students? What are the options for the community? How should it's expectation be met? If you haven't seen it, check Netflix and watch!

D'wayne the bathtub, I'm dwonding!

Another rainstorm has landed. According to the weather service, it will keep raining until the 19th of January. If so, that would break the record for Western Washington for longest stretch of rain without a 24 hour break. I'm so glad I've made the decision to stay in this area... maybe this is why I haven't found a house yet.

The poetry units continue. The sophomores are focusing on the nitty gritty of poetry. Literary analysis is a prennial favorite, right? I feel for the students - I, too, used to say "why can't the authors just say what they mean instead of hiding it?" How do you get students to make that shift?

The freshmen are concentrating more on the writing aspect. Yesterday they wrote metaphor poems. Basically, they have to write a poem about themselves. However, instead of describing themselves, they have to find an object in the classroom to use a metaphor. I collected a few extra things to have on hand, but really I have a huge of crap in my alread…


Finally, it's stopped raining. For maybe 16 hours - basically, we're all huddled in pools of sunshine trying to soak in as much of the rays as possible before the next storm hits. 25 days straight is enough to drive anyone insane.

Back In the Saddle Again

the seller's absolutely refused to come down any further in price, no matter what needed to be fixed. They're probably thinking that the description of the foundation problems in bogus, since they spent a $3.18 on 2x4's to fix it themselves. Thus, I have to let it go. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I spent this afternoon doing drive-bys on a couple of non-starters. An owner of one house startled me by hiding in the foilage... but I will get to look inside tomorrow. I immediately rushed home to double check the photos (I knew I had seen it before online, but couldn't remember if the listing was just a front photo or had inside as well) to refresh my memory. I'm really hoping it shows better in real life than in photos.

Introduction to Poetry

January marked the beginning of the poetry unit. Personally, I think the opening day went really well! I told my self-deprecating story of "The Red Wheelbarrow" and how at first I thought it was the stupidest poem ever written. I was fixated on the white chickens and what they meant to a red wheelbarrow. I finally sent it to an engineering friend as proof of the higher level of difficulty in humanities. Sadly, I did not prove my point because it took this friend approximately 3 seconds to come up with fabulous insight. It doesn't really match up to what the literary critics would say but it makes total sense. The point of story is that even the Great and Powerful Oz... umm, rather the fabulous literary teacher does not connect with every poem. Some poems will make them feel like they are standing naked in room because it's so close to their own emotions, some will have them asking "what's up the chickens?"

I also have them read "Introduction to Poet…


The sellers came back with a counter-offer that was disappointing, to say the least. I didn't really think they would they would take my offer, but at the same time, I also didn't think they'd basically ignore it. Denied.

It's beginning to look like I'll be back to driving by overpriced dives again. joy.

I swear I saw Noah!

For the past two weeks, it has rained. Check-the-back-yard-for-an-ark kind of rain. Normal western-WA-winter rain that makes me want to sit around on couch and never venture beyond the door. Every couple of days I drive over to the house to walk around the back yard and examine (yet again) all the gutter leaks. So far I haven't found any type of water bodies forming, but the forecast for the rest of the month rain and the the closest river looked really high.

I put in a new and much lower offer on the house on Thursday and I should hear something tomorrow either way. Wouldn't it be my luck to finally take the real estate plunge only to see the house float out to sea in a 100 year flood?