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Showing posts from February, 2006

Home Buying and WASL

My students have been following the saga of my house hunt quite closely. Some will tell me when any houses in their neighborhood go up for up for sale and a couple have even attempted to sell me a relative's house. One kid was so excited at the prospect of my moving in next door, he crawled under the house to check out the foundation and gave me daily reports on remodeling.

On Friday, my offer on a house was accepted and I'm on my way to making western Washington my permanent home for the next several years. You can read more about the house on Hedgetoad Cottage, but I can tell you it's surrounded by my students. I'm still debated on the positiveness of this... when one student asked what I would do if "he accidentally tripped on 'Egg Night' and one his eggs happened to land on my house," I was silently thanking the heavens for vinyl sidding and calculating the cost of renting a power-washer.

The reading/writing portion of the WASL is two weeks away. I…


committment! I bought a house!!! I'm freaking out!!! Ok, not really... but I my mind is running a mile an minute. The house is nothing my original vision. It's a 1954 box... that's the best way to describe it. Living room, eat-in kitchen next to 2 bedrooms and bath. It's been added onto since 1954 - master bedroom and separate laundry room, but still, it's a box.

Both kitchen and bathroom need work, but only cosmetic. I have no idea who thought having that type of range would been a captial idea, but there it is. I'm hoping to replace at some point with a either a flat topped range or a cooktop and built-in oven. The light fixtures also need some updating, but it's not an emergency. Really, the hideousness of the brown tile floor so capture the eye that no one even notices the light fixtures. You knew there had to be brown tile somewhere... I cannot escape it.

The bathoom is fairly plain. Of course, the plainness does emphasize the plum sink, toilet and bath…

What Was That?

sentences from the latest vocabulary test... I found a pretty onslaught in the middle of the woods behind my house. I guess an attractive attack is better than an unattractive one. While we were camping, we heard a tumult in the woods. Run! When I found out what the job was, I shirked! I herd a loud guffaw in the woods. Apparently, the guffaw went outside the fence. I smote the door when I was mad. Makes you wonder about God's underlying motives, doesn't it? and my favorite... Ms. XXXXX does not like a tumult in class!

the earth moved

Just back from seeing the Pink Panther. The people sitting behind me thought it was hilarious. I thought it was so-so. The original was much better. Today's audiences crave so much action that movie was just a collection of sight gags. I kept waiting for the plot line... but it never appeared.

The verdict from my Aunt and cousins was that the house was lacking. Which I already knew - it has no style and no curb appeal. However, they weren't all that impressed with the lot either. Perhaps compared to their riverside 5 acres, it isn't... but none the less, there was no excitement in the reviews. We also met a neighbor who had actually lived in the house for several years. Among the various tib bits of neighborhood information he shared, the most freaky bit was the hill side sliding away. Of course, this house hasn't really moved (even during the earthquake), but one on the next lot had been torn down due to various shifts in ground. Oh, if I plan to stay warm, I should im…

Baby, it's cold outside!

Arctic cold front moves in, Western Washingtonians freeze in their tracks!

Ok, it's really not that cold. Yesterday, I kept saying "does it hurt to breathe? then it ain't that cold!" and "cold is standing outside in Maspeth, Queens waiting for a bus for 45 minutes (!) in the middle of a blizzard. Shoot! the looks from others standing in line if you dare to step out of your designated spot will freeze your nose hair right off!" It's cold enough to be annoying, but on the plus side, it isn't raining!!!!

Yesterday we had the big "ohmigod our scores are really bad" meeting (aka "come-to-Jesus-get-with-the-program" meeting). This is the meeting where we look at last year's scores and try to figure out how we went from being up to going down. Some how we ended up with a lot of O's because tests weren't taken by a significant number of students. Who are these students? No one knows... personally I think someone does, but doesn…


I'm in despair of ever finding a house... maybe I'm too picky? Maybe my living area just sucks? I looked at another house this week and discovered that two students live next door. They're all excited about the possibility that I'll move next to them. I think it's weird. Not only to move next door to people I teach, but also that they're excited for me to live next door. I never wanted any of my high school teachers to live next door.

My aunt and cousins are meeting at the newer house to give me an opinion of the lot. Part of me believes that I just suck it up and stop worrying about all the horrible things that can happen. Roof cave-in; hill-side falls off; toilet back-up; over use of hyphens, etc.! Right now, I like the lot and neighborhood. It would probably be a good investment. It's not exactly the style I like, but it would be easier to change slowly, over an extended period of time. In 6 months I have to be able to pay for school, again. This means t…

Here we come a WASLing, among the leaves so green!

This year, the reading/writing portion of the WASL is in the middle of March. The math/science portion lingers until the middle of April, stretching out our joy. I'm thinking last year's exhausting debacle (2 weeks straight!!) got more than a few complaints and more than a few unfilled science tests at the end. The students were sick of testing before the science portion was even handed out.

Basically, this means I'm spending a lot of time rapidly grading extended answers and we haven't even gotten to writing essays yet. If only they could come up with a mechanical essay grader that was halfway decent. At times, I wish we didn't have to do this, but it is an assessment and the graduation requirement at least gives the student enough motivation to take it seriously... I do have an entire period full of the kids who like to draw pictures with their bubble sheet answers.

Always a house... never a home

Toured two houses on Thursday... the first was too close to a rural highway, too much work and really, really stinky. Also, a Victorian, which always feels really small to me... tons of doors, but no place to go.

The second had some pluses and minuses. The lot is fairly nice; great view and backs up to a greenbelt. However, the house itself has no curb appeal at all. It looks like a large shed with a door. (a really crappy door, FYI) Inside there is no style - bland, bland, stark white walls, cruddy white counters, boring brown cabinets, etc. The only color is the dark blue carpet. So why do I keep thinking about it? The living space is completely open and since there's nothing there... anything I add would be totally me. I dunno, it's very odd, but the place just sticks out in my mind.

What is that strange glowing orb in the sky?

The sky is blue! The sky is blue! Ohmigod, I can actually see it! 49 days of uninterupted cloud filled skys can make you go a little crazy. However, the major wind storm (nor'easter type for on the east coast) we had this weekend apparently blew all the clouds away. The weather man is predicting more of this long lost weather pattern for the upcoming week. It's almost like spring.

With all this sunshine, I suddenly remembered Bloomsday is only 90 days away! This has become an annual event for a childhood friend and I... last year, we finally stopped claiming "never again!" (because we always do!) and instead planned to make it even more fun. This year our goal is to make it on TV! We're dressing up and getting crazy. To be honest, Bloomsday is one of the few long courses that is still a fun event. Although there is big prize money and internationally famous runners do participate, the start line is organized so that we never see even see them until the footage run…

Out With The Old, In With The New!

The semester is over and there's a rapidly disapating pile of finals lying on my desk. For some reason, I had a significant turn over this semester. Since it's a year long course, there isn't a lot of movement, but all of my sophomore classes had more than a couple of adds/drops. Weird.