Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who's on First

Me: You're so smart, Abby! Say, "I'm totally brilliant."

Abby: No, I'm brilliant.

Me: Yeah, I know. Say, "I'm totally brilliant."

Abby: You're totally brilliant.

Me: No, not me, you.

Abby: You're totally brilliant.

Me: No, okay say, "I'm totally brilliant."

Abby: Who's brilliant?

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yo Hablo Espanol

Yesterday I subbed in a Junior High Spanish class.
Here's the thing about subbing... When you see a sub job the night before you need one- you take it. That's it.
So in 2.5 seconds I thought in my head, "Junior High Spanish, hmmm... I can handle that, right? I know tons of nouns, some verbs and junior highers really don't know any foreign language when they're in foreign language."
It was great. I've been at this middle school many times before (subbing 7th grade math) so I felt comfortable.
In fact, I had a lot of students I've had before because they were 7th graders too.
My Spanish just kind of flooded back through me- I was throwing out sentences, commands and conversations like it ain't no thang.
In fact, a lot of kids kept saying, "Whoa, Ms. Brown you're our first sub who actually knows any Spanish" along with, "Jeez, Ms. Brown you know Spanish AND math?! Most of our subs don't know anything."
Gracias, estudiantes, gracias.
In fact, I felt confident enough to take a sub job a couple of weeks from now that is a week and a half long in another middle school Spanish class. I'm excited and hoping for the best.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

1984 and dancing to class: Subbing reflections

Over the past couple of weeks several people mentioned I should blog more about my subbing experiences. So, here I am doing just that.

I really have nothing enlightening or funny to say about Tuesday, so I'll start with Wednesday. i started the morning by heading to a school I hadn't subbed at; great library and super new looking. I walked into the 2nd grade class and found out there were no sub plans because the sub was out sick yesterday too. Wonderful! No sub plans. However, 2nd grade is not like college where the teacher is out and you can call it a day. No, no, no. Instead, I invented sub plans. The teacher next door stopped in to show me the reading and math books so I could build some sort of lesson (jigga what?) And briefly explained the format of the day so i wouldn't be totally lost.
After frantically constructing some sort of learning for the day (I am so not certified in 2nd grade) the kids came in and I took attendance. Here is where you will DIE.
Although morally and professionally I am obligated to never say names of students, I will try to clue you in so you feel like you know it. Toward the bottom of the list I stumbled upon a name that I was super unsure of how to pronounce. In the amount of time I had to ponder this in my head 1.5 seconds- I thought, "Okay, if I say this phonetically the kid's name will sound like an insult and all the kids will laugh. BUT, how else do I say it??? With a French flair?!" So I said it phonetically and was right. The name was Geekas. Remember, it was not really Geekas, but a different insult- same caliber. Poor, poor kid.
Nothing else to report from that day except dismissal. Most schools either have the teachers take kids outside for pick-up or they go on their own. In this school every class has a TV. When you turn it on at 3, the buses, walkers, and parent pick up kids are dismissed on the screen. Hello, Big Brother: is this 1984?!

Today I had a chance to sub in high school Social Studies. A subject which I fondly refer to as my partner subject. It's about as close as one can get to an English class. All freshmen and for the most part they were pretty good. The last period was extremely talkative and a little sassy. After watching a movie they were asked to answer a couple of questions they'd written down prior to the start of the movie. One kid did not start writing and I looked at him and he said, "When are we going to start learning?" I said, "Right now you're supposed to be showing me what you learned." "Oh, really? I didn't know you wanted us to write down answers. I thought we just wrote the questions 'cause." Right, that's how i roll.
One last thing that killed me at this school. There are no bells for passing periods. There is MUSIC. Like elevator with a salsa twist and a little belly dancing music thrown in. EVERY passing period for the whole passing period. WHAT??!!! I laughed so hard. I felt like everyone should have floated to class.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I subbed in 4th grade today.
I was apprehensive about it. See my recent post "Tales from the 4th Grade Halls" if you forgot my previous nightmares.

It turned out so well- the kids were amazing! They were like all the 4th grade classes I remember and nothing like the classes I had last week.

I compare it to what happens when you watch Grease. Ya know? You watch Grease and LOVE it. THEN you watch Grease 2 and think, "OMG! Can I ever watch Grease again?? I think Grease 2 ruined every image I had of the movie!!!" Then, you watch Grease again and think, "Alright, this is what I know and love."

Well, I found my Grease again and hopefully Grease 2 is ancient history.

For your boredom or entertainment

First of all,
Go to my mom's blog. She took Katie (one of my good friends) and Stephen's engagement portraits this weekend and they are fab. Plus the song is hilarious, so spend a couple of minutes looking at the slideshow and leave a comment for my mom, (and Katie and Stephen). If your finger is too lazy to go to my side bar, click here.

Also, check out this video. It's less than 4 minutes long and about a retired high school English teacher who is illiterate. I'm sure you deduced he's also a college grad. Indeed, it's true. watch it here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

An Ode to Downtown Portland

Today's the reason I love Portland.

I was driving downtown (coffee in my hand, Abby in my back seat, and therefore High School Musical 2 blasting) and there was a stream of protesters with signs, "Scientology is a Scam!"

Regardless if you agree with the statement or not, I love Portland for inhabiting so many people who feel free to protest in the streets- usually on Fridays (awesome way to end the week.)

Granted, if the signs said, "Bush is the Messiah" I probably would not have honked and smiled. Instead I'm sure I'd have an aneurism and cause an accident, but who cares- freedom to say and feel whatever you please.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

2nd one of the day

I forgot to add these things when I did my last post.

Quotation of the day is from my mother. She wrote in an e-mail... "The mo is no mo'." (Referring to Romney, a Mormon, dropping out of the election.) Love it.

Lastly, a quick mention to someone who lost a loved one unexpectedly. No need for details, don't worry- no one you know, but I think as we begin to enter into Lent it's important to remember that we are always better off than we think.
As Fr. Bill said last night at mass, the weather during Lent- rain and darkness- is a symbol of our sins and pain. However, as the rain passes, so does our suffering.
So, as we worry about the small showers in our life, please remember that someone else is experiencing a downpour.


Tales from the 4th grade halls

Here we go...
The past two days I've been subbing in 4th grade classrooms (not to mention being in a 4th grade class on Monday and last week, when a students wrote "cunt ass" on the bathroom sign out sheet- that's right.) Yesterday was more than difficult, to say the least, and the two hours I was subbing in a 4th grade class today were less than joyful- a teacher came up to me and said, "You have that class? Well, I'm sure you learned that they are more than a handful." Yes they are! Of course, the teacher inside me can't help love them no matter what, but I'm very much in need of some Zen after the past two days. So, I treated myself to some better than perfect Stumptown coffee at New Seasons today. Zen, coffee, same diff.
To reflect on these experiences, I've composed a little list I call, "Reasons I'm Glad I am No Longer in 4th grade". This list sums up some of the experiences I've had that make me say, "Is it time to go home yet?" and "That goodness I'm not a 9/10 year old."

Enjoy reflecting on my past two days...

"Reasons I'm Glad I am No Longer in 4th grade"

1. There are no girls that start a rumor about you having lice and make you cry in the corner.
2. You are not surrounded by boys passing notes that say "Your (notice the spelling of your) a dick."
3. I'm no longer afflicted by the boy (usually wearing a basketball jersey with a smerk on his face and of course, is totally cute) who the teacher totally wastes energy on by yelling at him to get work done- all day long.
4. Being awkward in daily life is a personality trait at 22, where at 10 it's a hazard.
5. People don't pick their noses.
6. People don't shove each other for saying, "Hey what are you doing?"
7. There is no longer 20 page fraction packets that the lazy teacher prints offline to fill time.
8. The constant "teacher, he did this, teacher, she did something she's not supposed to!" is not ringing in my ear.
9. Boys don't eat erasers, paper, staples, pencils or kleenex and then spit it in girls' hair.
10. Not being in 4th grade means I don't have to care if my hair is frizzy, my pants are too baggy, I don't wear make up yet, I don't own the Chris Brown CD or if things people do are "so gay".

Thank you for reminding me that high schoolers are mature, well at least in comparison to the poor, lost, awkward beings in the 4th grade.

P.S. I still love subbing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


While at the gym this afternoon, busting my ass on the elliptical, I decided to take the plunge and change one of the TV channels. I usually don't because I always feel like they are all being watched, but it was pretty empty, so I changed one to CNN. It's Super Tuesday- it should have been on anyway!
One of the political analysts said something I want to share.
"The thing with democrats is that if they're passionate Hillary supporters they'll be okay with Barack winning. If they are huge Barack supporters they'll be fine will Hillary winning. But, for Republicans if McCain doesn't win, they'll die."

I just loved the way they phrased that and the blitness of the last bit. Thank you, CNN for making my smile while burning calories.

Also, found this website on the Wall of Resolutions at the gym:
Its mission is to highlight the healthiest foods of the word, provide nutritional info, recipes, etc.
Check it out for a healthy motivational kick.

Happy Super Fat Tuesday.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February, Uncertainty and Lent

First off, thank God, Zeus, Buddha, Allah and every other religions god that January is FINALLY over. It is always the slowest month of the year, but I'm pretty sure this January was the slowest one of my LIFE. It deserves an acknowledgment in the Guinness Book of World Records. On to smaller and better months.

Next, Super Tuesday is quickly approaching- my absentee ballot must be sent in tomorrow- yikes. And I am more confused than ever. McCain or Romney? TOTALLY joking. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. I hope I didn't cause any heart attacks. I really feel that both democratic candidates are so qualified. Can't we just have two presidents???

Lastly, Ash Wednesday is, well, this Wednesday. So soon!! A tell tale sign that this month will speed by. After painful hours of deciding what to give up for Lent, which included me saying, "I could give up coffee, right?" (followed by "why don;t I just give up breathing") and "How can I give up bad food and chocolate when I already omitted it from my daily life?" and "this is SO the wrong time of year to give up CNN..." I decided:
I'm giving up the scale. Since I've been so diligent about losing the rest of my weight goal in the next 7 months, I've stood on the scale all the time: every day, at least once a day.
How ridiculous and so obsessive- story of my life. But, I need to give it a rest. I've been working out and eating right for so long that I know when I'm losing weight and when I'm not. AND if I give up the scale for forty days, I may noticed an even bigger loss.

Happy Friday!