Wednesday, September 29, 2004

No Help Needed!

Well, I will have you know that I corrected the placement of Teaching in Thailand BEFORE I got Anna Rae's helpful comment. It was a little different than what she advised. I had to put a p and a slash as well as the br and <. I figured it out by looking at the other links and noticing patterns. The br was a good idea and next to every link but one link had this p and slash too so I tried that and it worked. One more reason why we teach pattern recognition starting in Kindergarten! Gotta run, time for work.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


Wow, I just looked and my link to Tanya's site DID work. However, I want it below Chloe's not next to it. Any tips? Just got off the phone with Anna Rae. She is doing great. She had lots to say about her Rotary weekend. I won't say anything here because I know she is going to post it all on her blog. By the way, she really appreciates it when those of you who read her blog, make comments. It is time consuming (as I well know) to update these things and it encourages her to write more if you comment!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Technology, Bah Humbug!

I tried to add links to my blog but they do not appear to have worked. Now, this should come as no surprise since last night it took me till the very end of Joan of Arcadia to figure out how to record it on our VCR. Anna Rae, you might get 10 minutes of that season premiere. Perhaps this week I will do better when I try to record The OC. Joan of Arcadia gets a big 'thumbs up' from me. Joan no longer suffers from Lymes disease, is out of 'Happy Acres' sanitarium, and tried as she might to ignore God in his various people forms as figments of her imagination throughout the show, in the last 5 minutes she finally agreed that maybe he was really there and not just a delusion left from the disease. Joan's mom is reconverting to Catholicism and after much angst shared the news with her husband and he is less than delighted. And to top it off their family is being sued for emotional abuse by the boy who was driving the car in the accident that paralyzed Joan's oldest brother. Oh, and things are steaming up between geeky Grace and Joan's youngest brother. I look at the summary I just wrote and snort. THIS is the one show I consider a 'must see' every week?! Smallville got a 'thumbs down' Anna Rae. Sorry, I won't waste my time taping that one. Speaking of TV, I have a new coping system to help me remember what to watch now that Anna Rae is not around to guide and commandeer my viewing. On Sunday, I scan the TV Guide for the week and highlight what I might CONSIDER watching. It really saves time and I don't need my reading glasses if I highlight.
This week I was at school till 7:00 or later on 3 different nights. Just lots of clean up, prep for lessons, writing out notes for our instructional assistants, hanging kids work up, writing antecdotals on certain 'live wires' and before I know it is 7:00. We had our Multi-Ethnic Potluck on Thurs. night. About 500 people came. What fabulous food too! I ate way too much! The highlight of the evening was after eating when we all went to the gym and Mr. Nelson (principal) posed a challenge to the student body: If there are 500 or less tardy days by the end of the school year the teachers will be allowed to shave his head. To demonstrate his sincerity he let each of the staff members take a snip of hair off his head with the clippers. The kids went bonkers yelling, "Make him bald!"
This is a lovely fall weekend with foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. I scrubbed the patio in preparation for painting it tomorrow. I also pulled the pumpkin off it's vine and did a bit of weeding and trimming in a flower bed. Earlier in the week I divided my heucheras and tirellas as well as transplanted some baby hellebores. If I have time I would like to aerate the lawn and put into practice some of the natural lawn care practices Chris and I learned at a King Co. natural landscape class last week.
Today we also went for a noon time skate along Alki then ate lunch at the fish and chips place next to the water taxi dock. A very knowledgeable and experienced speed skater, about my age, approached me and gave me her card. She teaches skating in Lynnwood and she is a personal trainer in a Queen Anne gym. I guess she knows a menace on wheels when she sees one! Actually she was very nice, we skated the 'Alki strip to one end and back. She gave me tips but mostly we did social talk about our families and work. It was an unusual yet comfortable skate.
Midnight already! That's what happens when I drink coffee after dinner!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Nearly A Month Gone

Another nice phone call today. We are so lucky that communication is easy even with the time difference. In addition to phone calls we used IM twice this week and got emails and of course our Blogs! And she has gotten letters from several friends and relatives so she knows that she is missed. Check out the photos on Anna Rae's blog if you have not done so already. I especially like the one of the rooftops and the one of the dam. Everything seems to be going smoothly. She's looking forward to meeting LOTS of other Rotary exchange students this coming weekend. They are going to do some sightseeing around Annecy. Later on in the year they will meet for 3 days in Paris and they even have a meeting scheduled under the Eiffel Tower! The crepes she ate this morning sounded pretty darn yummy but I think I would still prefer my own blueberry pancakes. Good thing she's running 2 times a week. I don't think she can entirely avoid gaining some weight because it sounds like there is a bakery on every corner.
I am glad that she is making an effort to get regular exercise. Now with the premiers for TV beginning I asked if I should tape a few shows but she says that VHS in France is different and the tapes won't work. Does anybody know if that is true or not? Two friends called today asking how I was doing without having Anna Rae around. I was touched that they were thinking of me and my adjustment to this exchange. Surprisingly enough I am doing quite well, probably for two reasons: she sounds happy when we talk and I am SO busy with teaching. I do have an occasional twinge of missing her when I pass her bedroom door or when I go into her closet to get the vacuum cleaner that is stored there. Don't worry Anna Rae, I haven't put to much out to the curb yet (just kidding, AR). Well, time to get to bed so I will be almost as perky as my kindergarten students in the morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

That Dam Field Trip

What a delight to talk after a week of no news! This time I was totally prepared. I had a list of 30 questions or things to tell her. If you know me very well you won't be laughing too hard. 'List Maker' is one of my major roles around this house. First of all, she was in the shower when we called so we had a nice chat with M.,her host sister. M. is hoping to return to the U.S. or Canada to go to a university next year. So, the travel bug most likely stays with these exchange students even after they return to their home. Anna Rae was in the shower because she had been out for a run! I am glad she is taking charge of getting exercise! The first thing we asked about was how the field trip to Switzerland went. "It was wonderful, just fabulous!" she enthused. Just as I suspected she used time on the bus and in traffic jams to connect and make friends. She had taken along her mini photo album of family and Seattle pictures so that she had more than language to rely on for communication. She told us that the school starts each year with a field trip as a bonding experience for each 'premiere' (grade?). And in her case it was just that. She said the scenery was breathtaking the roads were VERY curvy and they went WAY, WAY up (that part I could've done without visualizing)! They went to a very impressive dam on an Alpine lake (Hey, there it really IS Alpine!). They even toured inside the dam. She took pictures for her dad to add to his collection and I am sure he is thinking that we should fit a sidetrip for us to see it in person when we visit next spring. Chris collects postcards of dams and paints dam pictures. Anyway, after that they went to a picnic area on this Alpine lake and ate lunch. She said they had a great view of Mount Blanc. They went to this town called Martigny and went to a the Pierre Gionada museum and saw the Phillips Collection that was on loan from WA D.C.! It had works by Renoir ("You know mom, that one where people are at a picnic table?")and Monet as well as the Da Vinci notebooks of his scientific studies of the human body and they had a sculpture garden too.
School is very hard but going good. She has found a proctor to give her the test she needs to take for the BYU correspondence course but she had a heck of a time explaining the word 'proctor' to the teacher. She has a library card. It cost her 12 euros. The library has 2 bookcases of books in English. She and M were alone this weekend as her host parents were out of town. The grandparents checked in on them frequently and made them dinners. The grandpa cuts the lawn for the host family every week! Chris is envious of that set up. The grandparents live close to the school and the girls sometimes go there for lunch.
Anna Rae is going to join a choir. I think she called it a gospel choir. She said it has only 5 young girls, the other members are middle aged women. The directions are all in French but they are singing Godspell in English! The director is a neighbor.
One of the other young girls is Zara, an Australian exchange student with whom Anna Rae feels very comfortable. She went to a Rotary dinner last Tuesday night and met many other students; her district apparently takes in a great number of students. She thinks her counselor is a British woman named Pam but she is not sure.
Whew! Without Anna Rae being online-able, I tried my best to fill in any of her blog readers who might link onto me. Let's hope her computer access is up and running soon.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

First Day of School

Whew, am I ever wiped. Nothing like explaining the ins and outs of school life to 5 year olds to really suck up your energy. It does get easier; for them and me. The most amazing thing of today was that not a single child cried in either my class or in my team mate's. That is a first in 11 years! So I hope that means they like school life. Our school's enrollment is 24 students above what was projected. Second grade has 30 kids per class,so I know I am not the only tired teacher. As I said, I am quite tired and I'll be up at 5:20 to start my day and 'do it all over again'.
Hey, Anna Rae, how was Switzerland? I hope your computer is running again and you can update us all with a new post. I love you, girl!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Little Rustlers

Little Rustlers
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Welcome to the Kittitas Fair

Welcome to the Kittitas Fair
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

2 Weeks Gone

With the school year starting it is hard to find time to update this. We have been communicating with Anna Rae through every mode available, emails, a weekly phone call, old fashioned snail mail (It took 11 days for her to get the package I mailed to her on the day she left.) It is good that we are using ALL forms because emails have not been reliable as Anna Rae's host family struggles with several computer viruses. Their computer is in 'the shop' yet again! I keep forgetting to ask her if the school has computers for student use. Every form of writing that she sends us has a slighly different voice, with her hand written letters being my favorite. She told us she has eaten something that she would like to learn how to cook; some type of pie like pastry with garlic and cheese I think. It was hard to hear her on the phone on Sunday. She couldn't find the cordless and she felt like she was disturbing people and we kept asking her to speak up. Her field trip to Switzerland was today. I wonder how it went. She was not all that eager to go, she said she would prefer to have the routine of school settle in. Oh well, like I told her, on a field trip, with more casual conversation, she may pick up more language than sitting at a desk. As for Chris and I, we enjoyed the Kittitas Fair and rodeo on Saturday. We saw Travis Brasile rope a calf in 5.9 seconds (last year we saw him rope one in 5.4). As always the smell of fair food was a lot better than the way it felt once it was resting inyour stomache; so much grease (but I do love the grilled onions on the hamburgers!) Today we went for a skate on Alki and then came home and I weeded and Chris mowed the lawn and I went and ran errands in nearby Burien. I am doing laundry
now; only the second load in a week. That is one of the differences at our house since Anna Rae left. Last week when I washed the last of her t-shirts that was in the laundry room, I hesitated and considered keeping it slightly wrinkled and smelling of her deodorant. But then my practical orderly self came back into focus and I tossed the shirt in with the rest of the load. I even miss the popsicle sticks she would forever leave on the rop of the magazine rack as she got all engrossed in a book or the TV. So you see, you ARE missed, Anna Rae!