. . .so unfettered, in fact, that I've neglected the blog o sphere almost completely lately. Sorry for not posting anything substantial in some time. I've been sleeping in and being lazy and stuff (sorry, Ms. X., I know you're rolling your eyes. . .), but it really has been rejuvenating. I didn't realize how plain old tired I was until I returned home from California, and I feel lucky to have this time to recharge.

I have been continually reflecting on my first year, and thinking about the areas in which I want to improve, the ideas I need to revise. Summer has brought so much blessed time for recharging that I almost feel guilty (almost). As I write, I sit in my bathing suit after a lovely day at the shore. I hope you are all finding some time to enjoy the summer, however marginal that time may be. In all of my relaxation, I'm busy yet, negotiating the particulars of who I have become, and reconciling that person with where I've come from and where I want to go, as an educator and an individual.

I will leave you with one teacher-related piece of joy, a message left for me on one of the last days of school by my cross to bear. Below was the redeeming message left behind the projector screen on my white board, which the student had written covertly under the screen so no one saw it. The direction I received was, "don't read what's under there until we leave today," which I think comes from me telling my students to please wait until they got home to read the notes I wrote them (even though most didn't).


"I love you so much your one the best teachers I ever had even thow you had a hard time keeping me in line I had a great time in your class your one of the Best teachers, I ever had write next to Mr. [dude who retired this year]. I real like how you cared about your students most of us play it off but we real do like it when we know someone cares abt you. most of us have money but the kids who don't have to strugle, like me. your a great teacher, rhole model, friend & person Sincerly [cross to bear]"

I love the "write next to." But what I love most is, in those last six words, he has encapsulated the exact four things I have always wanted to and could ever ask to be to my students. Teacher, rhole model, friend, person. My life as a teacher is the constant, delicate balance of these four.



I will be reading this next:

Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

As I'm doing some serious introspection on how I will change the amount and type of reading done in my classroom next year, this is right on time.

Smog might turn to stars someday

What I'm reading next:
I can't wait!


Just Sayin. . .

If Jim Halpert was a real person, I would totally marry him.


With an aching in my heart. . . or, Travelogue

Here are a few vacation photos, mostly in the order in which they were taken. . .

The flowers and the wine, a 2000 Bordeaux, on our first night in CA. . . my brother made an awesome penne vodka and his homemade sourdough bread:

An impromptu trip to a farmer's market in Newark, CA:

A funky plant stand on the grounds of Ironstone Vineyards, Angels Camp/Sierra foothills. . . we did some tasting and came away with a Syrah and an "old vine" Zinfandel (an uncharacteristic choice for me):

Angels Camp is the frog jumping capital of the world. Weird Harrold won my year, 1984, and jumped my lucky number, 21 feet (and 1 1/2 inches, not my lucky number). We stayed in Angels Camp for one night in order to do some foothills wine tasting on our way to Yosemite (we've done plenty of tasting in Sonoma & Napa, so we were ready for a change):

The village bank at Columbia State Historical Park, gold country/Sierra foothills:
And this dude, in Columbia gold country, who yelled at my brother for petting his horses. . . twice:

Humbling views from Glacier Point/Yosemite (it was so bright that these are a little over-exposed; meant to fix them on Picasa before uploading):

Proof that God has a sense of humor:
Half Dome at Glacier Point/Yosemite:

El Capitan/Yosemite:
The Merced River, which runs through Yosemite Valley, and which we rafted down:

There are no words for Bridalveil Falls:
On the walk to Bridalveil Falls/Yosemite, this is one of my favorites:

I liked this sign (at Bridalveil) because it answered all of my questions regarding what could happen if I chose to walk on the rocks. There is no further elaboration required:
A beautiful view from a vista point in Yosemite:

The bread and the knife / the [not] crystal goblet and the wine. . . I couldn't resist. This is my brother's homemade sourdough. It is THE BOMB. We had it with steak and salad on our last night in Yosemite. We also had the BOSS wine of the trip, the Torcido (or twisted) from Twisted Oaks, a Grenache blend. I'm so sad that they don't distribute in N.J.:

A view from Tuolumne Meadows/Yosemite, taken when I was prettttty damn sick, before I was able to have an antibiotic called in. . . Tuolumne was a bit eerie (or maybe it had something to do with being 8 Advils deep). At an elevation of 8,600 feet, there are large rocks strewn all over that were left behind by melting glaciers. They almost look like gravestones:

Mitchell's mango ice cream--it doesn't take much to make me happy. Mitchell's is located at San Jose & 29th in San Francisco. Check out my stubby, bitten thumb nail, too:

Buddha at the Asian Art Museum of S.F., where we also took in an excellent special exhibit on samurai culture and history:

Our last supper (for now): my brother's homemade pizza, more homemade sourdough, 2003 organic Bordeaux from Muir's Legacy Vineyards, where we tasted while in Murphys (I ended up with another uncharacteristic choice: organic Chardonnay. A white!). Carb city, but when in Rome. . .

Sooo, all these pictures are my sole property and stuff. I took them all myself (as if you couldn't tell), so please don't steal them (not that you would want to).