thanks, [ profile] flipping_hades. now I know where all my spare cash will be going.

really like the way the site looks / is organized.

[ profile] vexx take note - they have a category for bath products. don't know if you're interested, but seems like it could be kinda cool
an 18-year-old kid who was a good friend of my Dad's family died in an unfortunate and almost Darwin-worthy accident. He and his buddies were hopping from freight car to freight car and possibly doing some grafitti on the way, when he fell under the train.

I knew him when he was a little boy and liked him a lot - he, his older sister and their folks came to Thanksgiving at my Dad's place every year. It's incredibly sad and horrifying when someone that young dies, but even more awful that he died in such a dumb and preventable way.
for the past year or so, I've been working my way through the first few seasons of the west wing on DVD and really enjoying every episode. tonight I watched the first episode after the election was completely over for the second term, in the middle of season 4. It just didn't work. the comic timing was off, Bartlett was annoying, the characters weren't connecting with each other or with the audience. The dialogue not only wasn't as snappy, but in several sections it didn't even make sense.

several people have told me that the show wasn't as good after the election in season 4, but I figured they were talking about a slow slide, not a "jump the shark" moment. I hope there are still some good episodes left. it'll be sad to say goodbye to a show that I've really enjoyed, but I don't have enough free time these days to keep watching if it's going to be like this every episode.
just finished a book called Peeps by Scott Westerfield. It's a young adult novel with a *very* different take on vampires. Sure, you've probably read the vampirism as a disease stories, but not like this. Kind of a combination of a novel about vampirism as a sexually transmitted disease and a "Parasites for Dummies" book. but better than it sounds.

If you read the reviews on Amazon, some are full of spoilers, so you decide if you want to know. It's a fantastic story IMO, maybe not the best written book in the world (if you know me in real life, you've probably heard my rant about the difference between a good writer and a good storyteller) but I have to say, the parts that are clunky seem to fit with the voice of the biology geek narrator pretty well.

Another vampire book that I like a lot (also very different from the usual gothic in some ways) is Daylight by Elizabeth Knox (who has a even better book about an angel called The Vintner's Luck.

here's a site that I really hope is for real (though I think it must be fiction).

I'm nearing the end of the odd break we get in February. it was good to have some time, but it wasn't nearly enough time. I'm not sure there could be enough time right now. The Job (it seems like it needs to be capitalized") is driving me quietly nuts. I can't decide if it's me, teaching in general, or my school/district in particular, or just a bad synergy between all three. All I know is that just going into the school to sort stuff and make copies today left me feeling slightly ill and very depressed. so depressed I made my killer homemade brownies (just to completely blow the diet I had already been failing at recently) and read two young adult novels instead of grading papers.


Feb. 3rd, 2006 11:51 pm
been feeling bruised in spirit lately, for all kinds of reasons, both definable and indefinable. Now I'm bruised in body, too, entirely through fault of my own. I plugged something in by taking the cord over the front of my desk at school, and today during my planning period I caught the damn walking boot in the cord and went down hard.

really I was remarkably lucky - it's an obstacle course behind my desk, and all I hit was the floor, but I slammed into it full tilt. it's not what I needed right now, and lord do I wish it was time for our seemingly useless february break instead of the break being 2 whole weeks away.
[ profile] anavolena tagged me for this meme, and since I haven't been explicitly tagged for a meme in a long time, here goes.

Basic Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic "5 weird habits of yours" and people who get tagged need to write an LJ entry about their 5 quirky habits, as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.

1. I always take eggs out of the carton symmetrically if possible, to the point where I sometimes end up having to rearrange the eggs strangely and frequently to keep it symmetrical.

2. I stutter, but only when I'm tired or really stressed. I also pick up accents from anyone I talk to that has one, and when I was a kid, I spoke with a British accent when I was nervous.

3. I can only sleep on my right side - if I try to stay on my left side or my back, I will lie awake for hours.

4. I make up songs about my cats, and also do different kitty voices for each one. This leads to conversations with and between the cats where I do all the voices.

and last but not least...

5. I have begun to think that perhaps I have more of a reading problem than just a reading habit. I took one of those, "do you have a problem with drugs"-type quizzes, and replaced drugs with books in all the questions, and I answered yes to everything. When I had a boring job, I used to sneak off to the bathroom with a book several times a day to get a "fix", a few days ago I had to ask my husband to hide the book I was reading so I could get some papers graded. I've been known to read 3 or 4 books in a day if I have some time and I'm feeling stressed, and when I was working 12 hour days, I still read 6 or 7 novels a week. Thankfully, books don't cause blackouts.

I don't know who to tag, really, if there are 5 people on my friends list who haven't been tagged that want to talk about their odd habits, go for it.

Your Social Dysfunction:

You display social deficits and oddities of thinking. Your perception and communication are similar to those of a schizophrenic.

Take this quiz at

Please note that we aren't, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

as I reached the end of another dvd of episodes of the west wing friday night, I realized that sometimes the fact that I can come home and "get my bartlett on" most Friday nights is one of the things that actually gets me out of bed on Friday mornings and gets me to work to bang my head against the wall that is my place in public education today.

in a way it's pathetic - I am such a geek that not only do I spend my days trying to convince 11-year olds that understanding fractions matters to their lives somehow, and my late afternoons and evenings discussing the philosophical distinctions between honors programs, Pre-AP and gifted and talented, but what gets me through those days when I'm banging my head against the wall and wishing that I could get a job at a nice quiet museum somewhere is the thought of retreating to a ridiculously well-researched fantasy world where the man running the country is actually smart enough to be worth listening to.

meanwhile, I can't bear to read to much about the real events of the world, the policies of the real president that we really elected in this country at least once. If I listen too much, watch too much, read too much it makes my spirit shrivel and I don't have the energy to try to mentally wrestle even one 6th grade brain into submission.

and before you say anything, I know, I know that wrestling them into submission is not the best image with which to face the job, but sometimes I just feel like it would take duct tape and frigging nylon ropes to get them to sit still long enough and shut their mouths long enough to actually hear a word I'm saying.

are there kids who want to learn? sure, there are, but some days I feel like most of them are somewhere else besides where I teach. which begs the question, is it me, or is them?

Sometimes this can go overboard - so much so that when my husband told me to "have an exciting day" friday morning, I made him take it back - but when I think of all the hours I spent at previous jobs trying desperately to fight the boredom long enough to get my job done, it is a relief to know that I'll never have to worry about how to keep busy.
have you ever thought
why would you want to skin a cat,
in one way or two ?

one of the things about my job that that makes me sad is that, in general, teachers seem to lean towards being both elitist and anti-intellectual. I mean, not that this should be a shock or anything, because it's so common it's become a cliche, and yet, it still takes me by suprise now and then Two summers ago I went to a party at a collegues house. He's a teacher who complains, like we all complain sometimes, about the dumb stuff that kids do, and in particular about the tendency to not really read things carefully. As he gave us a tour of his beautifully appointed house, I noticed that he didn't seem to have any bookshelves, or any visible books. It kind of shook me up. I mean he showed us the whole house, where could the books be hiding? How can someone who doesn't read teach children to love books, or even to read books?

So I thought of it again this week when I went to a training. I had to get a substitute which is always a pain, and so I got there kinda cranky. I've been to trainings with this trainer before, though, and he's really good, so I came prepared with the stuff he asked for and ready to learn what I could. I'd kind of forgotten the behavior of my collegues at the last training, until the first time the trainer asked us to discuss something with our group. The teachers from my school fell into the sort of perpetual teacher habit of whining about the kids, the administration, etc, and then teased me about being "too smart" when I tried to bring us back to the topic - which was, I thought, a reallly interesting one. They then proceeded to talk through most of the presentation (we were sitting as close to the presenter as it was possible to sit). They paid no attention whatsoever to the protocols we were asked to use when examining student work. In the process, they ripped into me for the quality of the student work I presented, while still teasing me about being too smart because I was the only one at my table who bothered to bring the student work we were asked to bring and then spent the rest of the student-work discussion time bitching about students - which was the primary thing that the presenter asked us not to spend too much time doing.

I'm tired and losing my train of thought, it was really just irritating.
things at work have been better since psycho boy was expelled. my students still drive me crazy, but in a much more normal sixth grade sort of way. talking too much from everyone, gossiping and rumor-spreading from the girls, near fights from the boys, and so forth. still exhausting and difficult to deal with, but much more sane, and punctuated by moments where I feel like I'm actually acomplishing something - a kid manages to explain to me the long chain of connections between hunting predators, and too much sediment in the water, which can kill fish, another remembers to line up the decimals before adding and seems to finally understand what it means to line up the decimals.

it's an uphill push though. teaching is definitely the work of sisyphus. just when the top of the hill is in sight, the rock rolls back down to the bottom and you start again.

gotta push that rock up that hill, gotta push that rock up that hill

on the plus side, thanksgiving was lovely - thank you [ profile] glaucon. as always, you put on a great spread.

I also read a great romance novel today - total tearjerker called Ain't she sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I have developed such a weakness for writers who consider themselves to be following in the footsteps of Georgette Heyer. Not sure if it's an advantage or a disadvantage that it made me cry so much.

to make one of your own, visit

Gaia Dream Creator
Your Birthdate: October 27

You are a spiritual soul - a person who tries to find meaning in everything.
You spend a good amount of time meditating, trying to figure out life.
Helping others is also important to you. You enjoy social activities with that goal.
You are very generous and giving. Yet you expect very little in return.

Your strength: Getting along with anyone and everyone

Your weakness: Needing a good amount of downtime to recharge

Your power color: Cobalt blue

Your power symbol: Dove

Your power month: September


Nov. 3rd, 2005 10:04 pm
interesting that meme is a compressed version of me me!

I couldn't resist this one. It's not my style to do this, but I'm curious if anyone will reply and with what.

from shellefly:

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of you and me. It can be anything you want, either good or bad. I promise not to come after you with whips and chains, either way (unless you ask nicely)!

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised, embarrased, etc, about what people remember about you.
You scored as Carrot Ironfounderson. You are Captain Carrot Ironfounderson of the City Watch in the greatest city on the Disc � Ankh-Morprok! A truly good natured, honest guy, who knows everyone, and is liked by all. Technically a dwarf, but only by adoption. You�d rather not be reminded that you are the true heir to the throne, but that does explain why people naturally follow your orders�


Carrot Ironfounderson


Gytha (Nanny) Ogg




The Librarian


Lord Havelock Vetinari


Commander Samuel Vimes




Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax




Cohen The Barbarian


Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with
Mystic Theurge
14% Combativeness, 3% Sneakiness, 85% Intellect, 52% Spirituality
Brilliant and spiritual! You are a Mystic Theurge!

Score! You have a prestige class. A prestige class can only be taken after you’ve fulfilled certain requirements. This may mean that you’re an exceptionally talented person, but it probably doesn't.

The Mystic Theurge is a combination of a cleric and a mage. They can cast both arcane and divine spells, and are good at both, making them pretty terrifying on the battlefield. They have more raw spellpower than just about any other class.

You're both intelligent and faithful, but not violent or deceitful. I guess that makes you a pretty good person.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Combativeness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Sneakiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on Intellect
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Spirituality
Link: The RPG Class Test written by MFlowers on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
this is the first silly online quiz I've taken whose result means much of anything to me. I think practicality tinged with compassion is what is required of teachers.

your guardian is DEATH!
"Death accompanies each mortal twice in life.
At birth, she speaks to them, but since no one
remembers what she says, it is not known why.
When they die, she guides them to what lies
beyond their mortal years. Mortals fear Death.
They fear the sunless lands to which she guides
them. They feebly attempt to placate her. They
do not love her. She is the divider of the
living from all that has gone before and all
that must come after."

as a child of Death, you are extremely practical.
you understand the pain of the real world - and
its joys. you know that it's important to
experience the bad times in order to appreciate
the good times. yet, you are not without
compassion. you empathize with those going
through hard times. when push comes to shove,
though, you'll do what you think is right. the
journey is what's important - not the length of
the journey. as Death says, "you get what
anyone gets; you get a lifetime." public
service fall under her jurisdiction.

which member of the endless is your guardian? (pics)
brought to you by Quizilla
so, as it always happens,the thing that makes me lose all perspective is a child is in pain on my watch. physical pain is hard, but emotional pain is harder. today I cried in front of all my kids when a little boy told me"you can't help, nothing helps, not even therapy helps - leave me alone" I'd just about got myself settled again when he walks up and says, "I apologize for what happened over there, I don't think, I just act, can I try again?"

I could feel these waves of anger and pain just radiating off of this kid and it swamped me. these kids need so much that I can't give them. on maslow's hierarchy of basic needs, most of what I can offer isn't even on the radar. One little boy steals food from the cafeteria so he can feed his little brothers and sisters, meanwhile he begs supplies off me so he can do science experiments at home and keeps his pet snails in his jacket sleeves. Another little girl doesn't speak more than 3 words of english, but when we talk in advisory class about what you absolutely need to survive (playing a game about needs vs. wants), she raises her hand to vote for education as soon as her friend translates.

how can I help letting them too far into my heart? or more to the point, how can I keep them from breaking it, particularly when their hearts are breaking. being 11, 12, 13 years old can break your heart even if you aren't trying to learn a new language, trying to keep your family fed, or battling some major emotional demons. so how can I remain open without getting my heart broken as well?

gave the last two kittens to their new mommy today, was fairly heartbroken, but all four have good homes
with people who will love them, take care of them, and also, importantly for me, report back to me on their
progress, since all the new kitty owners work at my school.

still not sure I'll ever get over saying goodbye to molly. she's the lovely little calico who stole my heart. probably
her new mom will re-name her, but I think the name is appropriate, since she's named after Molly Moon, a children's
book character who is a very adventurous orphan. anyway, she's a lovely, tiny thing and I so wish I could keep her.

today was also the first day of school and I am already exhausted. so tired I can barely stay upright. I know I'll get used
to it again, but as of this moment I can't imagine how I will keep up this pace.

So the kittens are getting much bigger and more cat-like, though they still look like powder puffs with ears legs and tails. They are so round that they almost waddle when they go into the cages at night, and in the morning they seem bigger, but skinnier, so I guess I’m feeding them up right.

Raising kittens has been a huge commitment, though, and it’s left me exhausted most of the time. I’ve felt almost like I’ve suddenly become a mom, with fuzzy little quadruplets to raise. Hats off to all you moms, by the way, I’ve been doing this 2 and ½ weeks, and I feel like I’m losing my mind, so I don’t even know anyone survives 2 years of infancy and toddlerhood. A friend told me that you “fall in love with your baby” so that all of the irritating things don’t seem so important, but man-oh-man, I love these kittens, and no offense, but I suspect I find them cuter than I’d be able to find a human baby, and still they make me crazy.

George and Susan keep chewing Ringo’s balls, and Ringo’s only defense is to poop all over them. I’ve finally had to keep Ringo and Molly in one cage and George and Susan in the other to prevent excess ball-chewing (and to lower the number of baths I have to give them – they still are just learning to wash themselves). Because they are so young, I’m afraid to leave them wet and have been blow-drying them after baths.

They definitely see me as mommy-cat. When they get sleepy or scared, their first preference is to curl up somewhere on me – Ringo likes my shoulders, Molly favors the space in the middle when I’m sitting cross-legged, George and Susan prefer to be anywhere where they can chew someone’s genitals. Today the little girls from next door (who are maybe 3 and 7, and speak some English, but prefer Spanish, when they can be coaxed into talking at all) asked if they could come over and touch the kittens. The littlest one, who barely talks, would go from looking so serious to the most beautiful smile ever whenever the kittens would do something especially cute. The kittens tolerated being petted and held – even when turned upside-down, but when put down on the ground they dashed back to my lap, except for Molly, who kept trying to make a break for the bushes.

Other than that, I’m trying to get my head around the idea that I have less than 2 weeks until school starts and much to do.

Tomorrow I will try to post some of the kitten photos we took tonight.

Also, if anyone in the Seattle area wants a sweet, cuddly, very furry orange-stripey boy kitty, I have two who will be ready for homes in the next week or so. They are mostly litter-trained, eat mostly solid food, though I am still giving them a bottle at night, and have been de-wormed and tested for FeLV. So far no vaccines, as they were too young, but I hope to get them in there. They are free to good homes, though a donation towards vaccines would be lovely if their new owners can do it. It looks like the girls have a good home lined up.


Aug. 15th, 2005 02:15 am
oh dear...I think I understand, just a little, how mommies feel. feeding kittens with a bottle, seeing this tiny, helpless little face blinking up at me,not minding getting peed on. whew, they're not even my species, but I find myself obsessing over them already and they've been here less than 12 hours.

we're down a kitten from the original litter to only 4 - my friend's dog got a hold of one of them and broke it's neck before she brought them over here. I'm hoping like crazy that the other 4 do ok. they sound like squeaky toys gone mad when they mew.

feeding is getting easier - earlier today I had to use a syringe, but this evening they're drinking from a bottle that looks perfect for a doll.
it'll be hard to give them away, but I'm going to have to - my three cats are probably plenty, especially considering I'm a bit allergic, and at least one of my cats is a bit crazy.

so if anyone needs a kitten... or wants a kitten...or can be persuaded to take a kitten - when they're weaned, in a couple of weeks - you can have an adorable kitten.

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