Silence--Two Kinds!

First kind: Blog silence. Sorry it's been quiet. (Bahamas, I wish, Amy G.) Tuesday afternoon I was feeling pretty sick, and somehow Wednesday morning I made it into school. . . only to have Mrs. K take one look at me and tell me to go home right away. Spent the rest of the day trying to get better so I'd actually be allowed near people (especially my niece & nephews) on Thursday for Thanksgiving. (Hope everybody's was good.) I pretty much feel better, except. . .

Second kind: IRL silence. I lost my voice! I was barely audible yesterday, and today was a little better (squeaky) but nowhere near good enough to sing at church. Really frustrating. Even more frustrating because I started my job at the bookstore today. Yup, two hours of orientation yesterday, then they threw me into the kids' section today. Yikes! It went all right. Work people are generally pretty nice, aside from the occasional one-upmanship/brusque "what do you know?" stuff. (For their information, I do know stuff and I was very helpful to people! Who helped the picky 8th grader who didn't know what she liked, huh? That's right--me.) But I don't know how I'm going to teach tomorrow if nobody can hear me.

So, uh, I gotta run because I have schoolwork to finish. I'm not really sure how things are gonna be blog-wise for the next couple weeks, between finishing up school (one week of student teaching left!) and starting the new job. And resting up so I can kick whatever this is that's stealing my voice, out of my system. But I'm not disappearing.

I just might be a little scattered for the next two weeks.


Technical Problems?

A little bird (a ruffed grouse perhaps?) told me that a problem has come up with the word verification. I didn't do it! I spent the weekend watching a friend play "the sauciest saucer" in Beauty & the Beast and writing papers for school.

In any event, I turned off the word verification, at least for a trial period, and hopefully you're now free to comment!


The Friday Five: Ask Kate P (Nearly) Anything Edition, Round 2

Some eager readers have been waiting for the conclusion since last Friday, so without further ado. . .

1. My fave post-finals week indulgence? (from ArcheryChic22)

Besides sleep? Movie rentals and cocktails. I don’t have to watch a movie in segments over the course of several days owing to schoolwork constraints, and I don’t exactly need to be clear-headed because I’m reading a ton. My eyeballs are happier post-finals, too.

2. Any favorite TV shows lately? (from Ashley)

Monday nights I don't answer the phone between 8:30 and 10:00. That time is for How I Met Your Mother and Heroes. Wednesday nights I stay up for Top Chef/Project Runway (whichever's running at the time), and maybe if I'm home in time from pilates class I'll catch the occasional America's Next Top Model (guilty!). At some point during the weekend, I must see The Soup, and now I'm starting to get into The Dish, thanks to my mom. (Confession: could not stand Danielle Fishel and her big lips and hair on Boy Meets World. But she's great on The Dish. She seems more normal. My kind of normal, anyway.)

3. Favorite movie? (Also from Ashley)

I don’t know if I have an all-time favorite, because I don't think I've seen enough to know, but I’ll give you two of my top ones, an everyday one and a Christmas one. The everyday one is Little Voice. Probably not a widely recognized title, but a great, well-acted piece (if you don’t mind a few f-words used by working class British people). It’s based on the play of the same name, and the cast is stellar: Brenda Blethyn as the rough-tongued mother, Jane Horrocks as a quiet young woman with a talent for imitating singers like Judy Garland and Billie Holiday, Michael Caine as a scheming agent, and Ewan McGregor as a timid phone company worker. Music, humor, drama—it’s all there.

My favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street, the original. Again, great cast (other than that one hammy postal worker), warm, wonderful story. I always try to catch it when it’s aired in December. As many airings as possible.

4. “Guilty pleasures” when it comes to music. . . (from Dave E.)

I dunno. My collection looks really random when taken on the whole. I guess people are probably surprised that I have CDs from artists like Blink-182, and there are probably people who think that because I’m Catholic I shouldn’t listen to Depeche Mode or R.E.M. or whatever, but the people who think that don’t understand the music or need their faith strengthened or something. I also have a bunch of soundtracks, including just about all the ones for The O.C., and a really eclectic Christmas section: Electronica (with companion “video fireplace” DVD), John Denver & the Muppets, the Rat Pack, Sesame Street, some locally produced ones for charity, and James Brown. Everybody should have the James Brown Christmas CD. There's nothing like hearing James Brown yell at America to unite and make Christmas mean something.

However, the biggest “guilt” is probably that I even buy CDs while supposedly everybody else is downloading music. I try not to buy them new, but I’m itching to get the upcoming release for the Killers.

5. . . . or movies? (Also from Dave E., because I cheated to make this a separate question)

I didn’t notice it until my (crazy bitch ex-) roommate pointed it out: I have a thing about “teen” movies. Among my movie collection are this one and this one. And I’m hoping to see the Twilight movie, whether I finish the dreadful final installment of the series in time or not, at some point next week.

All done, for now! There's always the 300th post around the corner, right? I've got a crazy weekend full of schoolwork and actually getting out of the house to see people. I'm also celebrating some really good news: my graduate advisor went to bat for me with the bursar's office and I now have a zero balance on my account, at long last. At least there are no financial barriers to my graduation anymore. As for the other stuff, well, I'd better get to work.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!


Maybe the Wet Snow Is an Indication

Hell's not exactly freezing over, but the a.m. Kindergarten class liked me today. They're usually pretty tough customers. (Or just sleepy?) Some of them even remembered what I'd taught them about nonfiction the week before! I read them this Thanksgiving story (it's probably one of the cleverer takes on let's-save-the-turkeys-from-being-eaten). They laughed. They noticed the verses rhymed. They even came up with suggestions as to what the characters did eat for dinner if they weren't having turkey. Both classes were really on the ball today, and they got bookmarks as rewards. Nothing like happy students to make me feel better after a long night of bad news e-mails and feeling bad I couldn't make it to the funeral for a former co-worker's mom.

After school, I went for my interview at the bookstore. I think I made a good impression. When the one manager who was interviewing me sat down with me, she said the employees I was talking with while I waited told her I was nice. Yippee.

Tomorrow's Friday, and I will have completed TEN WEEKS of student teaching. Hard to believe, but life actually is going forward.

That probably means I should get going on that budget analysis paper.


Brief Notes from the Desk of Kate P

Dear Grad School Bursar's Office:

Your most recent eBill was a joke, right? After three separate conversations with your office wherein I expressed my concern that my fellowship payment had not been processed this far into the term, and your response every time was, "Don't worry about it and no, you will not be hit with a late fee for it," currently you assert that I now owe said fellowship amount AND another (another!) late fee.

You will be hearing from my graduate advisor shortly, because nothing is gonna keep me from graduating this term. Not even your caprices.

Dear Pet Insurance People:

Thank you for having your location on the West Coast, so that I could call at 7 p.m. my time and your office would still be open to help me update my address and get my renewal forms. Also, thank you for laughing when after you asked how the cat liked the new(ish) apartment, I said, "Oh, she loves it and in fact right now she's taking a nap in her favorite spot on top of the kitchen cabinets."

Dear Self:

Try to forget being annoyed with the stupid people, and remember there are still nice people out there. Even if you have to call the West Coast to find them.


Kate P

P.S. Go to bed. You have to get up early to go check out the middle school tomorrow.


Timeline of a Visit to the Vet

  • 5:45 p.m. Stuff cat in cat carrier.

  • 5:45 - 6:10 p.m. Drive to vet, serenaded by endless pitiful meowing.

  • 6:11 p.m. Walk into vet, pitiful meowing still in effect, and endure "Is that your cat making all that noise?" inquiry from everyone in waiting room.

  • 6:15 p.m. As predicted, listen to vet tech tell cat how cute she is.

  • 6:17 p.m. Listen to vet tell cat how cute she is. And that she needs her teeth cleaned.

  • 6:30 p.m. Pay $81 for one lousy vaccine and teeth cleaning advisement.

  • 6:33 p.m. Drive home serenaded by endless pitiful meowing.

  • 6:43 p.m. Make mental note that pitiful meowing lets up when "Round Here" by Counting Crows comes on the radio.

  • 6:50 p.m. Arrive home and release cat from cat carrier. Watch cat wander around apartment avoiding me.

  • 7:15 p.m. Sense cat glowering at me from very high, very safe place.

  • 9:00 p.m. Sit down on sofa to watch Heroes.

  • 9:01 p.m. Watch cat settle in lap. All is forgiven.


What a Nice Coincidence

The day after I posted the most recent Friday Five, wherein I recommended a book written by Seraphic Single, she posted an announcement of her engagement--part of which happened as the result of book purchases' funding their meeting. I'm very excited for the couple and now the book profits go toward their wedding. Congratulations and best wishes, and I hope I talked up the book enough to help out a little!


Not Bad. I Think.

Thanks for the positive thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers. I figure there had to be supernatural stuff involved considering I almost had an incident with the car on the way there (check engine light!?) and nearly missed an important direction on the test (I haven't taken a standardized test on paper since the '90s!).

I'm saying I think I didn't do too badly because I did find a number of "Duh!" questions and most of the others were "common sense" in that they related to all the coursework and field experience I've had so far. (Full disclosure: I looked up a total of three things I thought might be on the exam this past week, but I didn't have any prep materials to study. I just made sure I got to bed at a fairly decent hour and bought myself a Wawa coffee to drink on the way.)

They give you two hours, and I finished in about an hour and fifteen minutes, and I spent another fifteen minutes or so reviewing (I changed my mind about just one answer, but I'm pretty sure both answers were wrong--oh well!) and making sure all the stupid ovals were filled in adequately. I figure it's best to go with my first answer, usually. I did struggle with a couple where I had a hard time choosing the best answer, and I know there were some names I just didn't know (although thankfully an educated guess got me one right, according to a search I just did), but honestly I'd be surprised if I'd gotten enough wrong to fail. Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself.

I saw that one other person was taking the same exam I was (we were grouped with mostly elementary ed exam takers) and afterwards I asked what she thought of it. She shrugged and said she'd taken it once before. Hey, that wasn't awkward. Not at all.

My basic idea going into the exam was this: If I pass, great. If I don't, then at least I've had the experience and I'll get the prep materials before I try again. Now I'm just going to put it out of my mind for the next four weeks until the scores come out.

That shouldn't be too hard.


The Friday Five: Ask Kate P (Nearly) Anything, Round 1

I'm calling this week's post "Round 1" because people put in just about enough questions for me to do this again next week. Meaning if you don't see one of your questions here, it'll be up next week. (One spot's still open if there are any takers.) Here we go:

1. From Lizzie, that cute mom of a cute be'be': What book would you recommend to someone who has very little time to read, and also will go days and days before continuing where I left off?

Man, I don’t know if I’m the person to make a book recommendation to an adult—I’ve been immersed in textbooks and children’s/YA lit for a while now. One book that I haven’t quite finished but I think is really good is The Invention of Hugo Cabret. O.K., so it’s about a mechanically skilled twelve year old orphan boy in France, so you have to be comfortable with being in the Juvenile section, but it is a Caldecott Medal winner, meaning it has fantastic illustrations. Don’t let that fool you: This is a novel, and a unique one at that, because it’s a bit of a text-graphic hybrid. I figure the pictures might help refresh your memory if you had to put it down for a while.

As for more “grown-up” reading material, I did spend the summer gobbling up Jen Lancaster’s hysterically funny memoirs—Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights Big Ass, and Such a Pretty Fat. There’s definitely a language warning on them, but nothing raunchy. I’ve been called a prude more than once, if that tells you anything. I borrowed the first two from the library, and the third one I had to buy. (Hint: it might be in the Humor section at the bookstore.)
This one’s a little off the beaten path, but if you’re willing to make a purchase, I recommend Seraphic Single’s The Widow of Saint-Pierre. The chapters aren’t too long, the characters are intriguing, and I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces for the past few weeks. Plus, you probably would understand far more of the French than I do!

2. Also from Lizzie, because I figure she needed to make up for missing last time: What's your absolutely favorite childhood memory that makes you laugh or makes you feel warm and fuzzy?

I think some of my favorite memories are of the times my cousin (a first cousin once removed, around twenty years older) “Sonny” would watch my sibs and me when our parents went out. Sonny was a bit of a free spirit and a highly gifted artist, writer, and teacher. As you can probably imagine, he was very creative and very good at entertaining us kids. One time when I was about eight or nine years old, he was watching us and had to put us to bed. At the time, Younger Sister and I shared a double bed. . . and a large collection of stuffed animals, most of whom we took to bed with us every night. When Sonny went to tuck us in, he exclaimed, “Whoa!” at the sight of all the fuzzy bears, raccoons, and dogs surrounding two little girls. Then, if I recall correctly, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess there’s only one thing to do.”

He gave all the stuffed animals a kiss goodnight. One by one.

Do you have any idea how marvelously crazy that is to two silly kids?

Sonny passed away several years ago (why is it all the good people go away so fast?) but there’s no question in my mind he really had a positive effect on everyone he met.

3. From ArcheryChic22, student extraordinaire: As having nearly survived grad school any advice for someone who is nearly starting grad school (although a completely different program)?

Well, your experience will be a bit different from mine, most likely, because I went back to school about nine years post-degree, and I was a completely online student while working full time. How about some general Dos and Don’ts?

Do eat right and get enough sleep. Do take advantage of any and all good resources. (I nearly drove myself crazy learning APA style for my citations during the first year and I recently discovered that the library website has a program that will generate citations for you. Arrgh.) Do develop good relationships with your professors and at least some of your classmates. (Read Ricki's accounts of good/bad/ugly grad students if you don't already.) Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t procrastinate, but do take breaks often, especially if you are staring at a computer screen (and set a timer if you have to). Don’t pay full price for textbooks if you can avoid it. Do understand that grad school can be twice as hard as undergrad very often, but don’t think you’re crazy if you occasionally wonder how the h*** some of your classmates got in. Finally, don’t be like me if you can help it—do try to have some semblance of a life.

4. From Ashley all the way from her little apartment: How were you introduced to blogging?

Oddly enough, it was my mom, the woman who was terrified of the computer when we first got one. She started following Amy Welborn at her old blog, Open Book, and I started reading, too. Amy (and I can call her Amy because I met her!) started pointing out other bloggers like Dawn Eden, and from there I discovered bloggers like Nightfly. It was exponential, and really great to see all different points of view. I saw conversations going on that I couldn’t have anywhere IRL, save maybe at my parents’ dinner table, and I wanted in. Honestly, I don’t garner much attention IRL, but I very badly want my voice to be heard. Middle child thing, I’m sure.

5. From Dave E., fab fisherman and Mr. Fix-It: What's your take on cooking and do you have a favorite meal(s) you like to prepare?

One thing is for sure: I would cook more if I didn’t have to clean up afterwards. So far, the cat training isn’t working. I like cooking for myself because I know it’s something I’ll like (or if I don’t like it, nobody has to know I screwed up. . . unless I blog about it), I know it’s allergy-free, and it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out. My go-to recipe is Stovetop Turkey Sausage and Mushrooms (an earlier version of this recipe), because once the sausage is browned and the veggies are tender, I can throw the rice and chicken broth in and let it cook while I chill out or check my e-mail. It reheats well and it’s just enough so I can eat it few times and not get tired of it. My no-fail recipe if I cook for others is, believe it or not, an L.A. Weight Loss recipe called Sweet and Tangy Chicken. It’s chicken, green onions, soy sauce, and seasoning. I even overcooked it once and it was still good.

If I were still at my old job, right now I’d be about a month away from making meringue wreath cookies for the annual “feast” (two days of eating, formerly three pre-merger). The recipe is a varation on a Good Housekeeping recipe from the '80s. I don’t dye them green. I use sprinkles instead of dried cherries. I use less sugar than what’s called for. It’s nothing fancy but they are light and sweet, and you don't feel guilty if you eat three. Or ten. I’ve given out that recipe many times. Maybe I will next month!

Wishing everybody a good weekend, and asking that you spare a positive thought or prayer for me as I take my big exam tomorrow morning--thanks in advance!


Eighties Sing-Along

When I drive to school in the morning, I have the radio on. I don't listen to a morning show, usually, because I'd rather have music, but every once in a while I put on a rock station's local morning show. The two main personalities are ones I've known since my days as a college undergrad, although they were individual deejays then. They can be a bit crude at times, especially with their contests that involve things like MILFs--but they do a lot of charity work, in particular a major food drive every year--and sometimes they really hit one out of the park on the show.

Yesterday morning was one of those really funny moments. The one "sidekick" was inspired by all the '80s movie soundtrack songs on his iPod, and created a contest: Guess the '80s movie by the song from the credits. They'd play about 30 seconds and then ask the callers on hold to guess. I'm not as well-versed as their listeners--totally missed the "Oh Yeah" song from Ferris Bueller's Day Off*--but I did guess the one from The Karate Kid. (Finally saw that a few years ago.)

What had me practically in tears from laughter was when they started the theme from Mannequin, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." They just let it run. . . and it sounded as if everybody in the studio started singing along. And imitating Grace Slick!

All this crazy singing was going on as I was parking the car at school, so I just put the brake on and dabbed my eyes while people had trouble guessing it. I dunno, it just struck me as hilarious. Seriously, I think it's one the biggest staples of every easy listening station in the country. It was played to death when it came out, and it's still all over the place today. Furthering the irony was that the movie had been filmed in Philly. After several tries some caller got it right, from pure dumb luck--so I was laughing even harder. I was parked on a side street for the school, so I was actually in front of someone's house, having a laugh attack. Eventually I did pull myself together and went in to school. Considering the whole climate control issue in the library the rest of the day, it was probably good that I started the day laughing.

Yet, just when I thought I'd gotten the '80s music out of my system, there goes Tracey.

*I know it's a cult favorite, but I just don't get it. Is there something wrong with me?


Last Call. . .

. . . for questions--you have until midnight (Eastern) Thursday. I'm not up to five for my Friday post, so help a gal out here. Don't be shy.

As a side note, I spent the day in an 85-degree (and rising) library. It had been historically on the very cool side until the heating person came by yesterday, so, uh, I guess I have somebody to thank for making it extra difficult to teach squirmy first graders this morning. At least they were with-it enough to pipe up and ask for a trip to the water fountain or permission to take off their sweatshirts so they could sit there in their tees. In November. Poor kids. I was feeling it, too, and trying really hard to be patient. What really sucked was that today was early dismissal for the students, for parent conferences, so after lunch I was wandering around a sweltering library attempting to weed a few shelves and do some advance prep for classes--stuff I didn't need to do right then. Can't wait to see what the temp is tomorrow morning.

In other news, I called to check on the status of the application I dropped off at the local bookstore. The person I spoke gave me the impression they might be able to use my skills with kiddie lit, so to speak. When I got home from school, there was a message asking me to call back to schedule an interview. Being able to afford Christmas gifts would be very nice. Exciting prospect there.


A Shift in Timing Saves My Bacon

This morning, I went into school unsure of whether my prof (Dr. D.) was coming to observe me, but prepared anyway. And nervous, because if she came in the morning, it would be while I was reading poetry to the second graders who so far were getting a bit wacky in response to the color poems Mrs. K. had me reading to them. I did decide to skip the one about the color red because one line implies bleeding, at which point yesterday a chorus of "Ew!" started. . . and continued after every line, regardless of the fact that none of the other lines were gross. I felt so defeated. Yeah, I don't think this is the school level for me.

So I checked my e-mail at the library assistant's computer, and there was a message from Dr. D. saying she'd be coming tomorrow morning. New panic set in, because it was a half day and as the result of some teachers' complaints, the schedule was flipped to have the afternoon classes in the morning. On Wednesdays, that's only one class. So we scrambled to schedule a few more--not supposed to do that, but some of the teachers of the classes we usually have Wednesday morning were cool with it.

Of course, about an hour after we do that rearranging, Dr. D. calls the library. She's pulling into the parking lot of the high school in Jersey where she's observing one of my classmates, and she wants to know if I'd like her to come in the afternoon today.

Oh, yes, please let me get this over with--and with the first graders.

We're reading and discussing a story about hedgehogs and winter clothes (vocab words: woolen and gander).

Everything went fine--and Dr. D. cracked up when one of the students said his dog "got sick and was wearing [his] underwear." First graders will tell you everything if you let them. Definitely not the people with whom you entrust highly classified information.

It's funny: Mrs. K. thinks I do well with the students. Dr. D. said I did well with the students. (Not to mention I managed to teach all day today with a tremendous headache.) So, it's something I am capable of doing, but I just don't feel my heart is there. It's kind of like how I was with playing the piano as a kid--technically good, but pretty far detached. Part of me is baffled by that--how could I be good at doing something, and not like it?

The other part is, I should be having fun with these kids, but I feel as if what little fun I had left in me as an adult got stamped out. I actually said that to Dr. D., and she assured me that it does come back--for some people, it's when they start raising kids of their own. Good to know, 'cause right now if someone asked me what I enjoy doing I'd have to take some time to figure it out. The last three years have been kind of on the low end of the fun scale. Life might not be one big party once I have my MS-LIS in hand, but it might be a bit easier to breathe once school is done.

I also got the opportunity to talk with Dr. D. about what was going on in class (my class), and all the messed up things about the program. I think I got my point across, and some things will be changed for the better. I also found out that I get another week post-student-teaching to get my portfolio together for grading. A welcome reprieve, because I was stressing a bit about how I was going to get everything drawn up (can we say hardly any lesson plans typed?), copied, and assembled in time.

Some of the people at school asked me if I felt "off the hook" now that my second observation is done. Hardly, because I still have schoolwork due every week, not to mention a budget analysis and the big ol' portfolio.

Also because I'm going to spend the next three weeks doing my best to try to have fun with the kids.

Thank You, Veterans

I'm grateful for everything you've done for our citizens and for people of other nations as well. Prayers offered up for those who have died, and for those in need of healing.

Nothing was mentioned at school (not even during announcements!), but look at this neat idea another school did:

Students at Keith Valley Middle School in Horsham (in
larger photo at right) converted their cafeteria into a mess hall and while
munching on eggs and sausage, they listened as their relatives and friends
talked about their memories in the armed forces. (whole story

That's something with a real impact.



My professor never responded after I told her my availability for observation, so that probably means she'll show up tomorrow morning.

I'm really hoping the second graders I get tomorrow morning will be far better behaved than the ones I had this afternoon. The only bright spot was that one student asked to borrow the book containing the two poems I'd read to the rowdy class. (And Deo Gratias there was an extra copy on the shelf we could lend her!)

You don't even want to see me get started about how Mrs. K said, "I don't know if you're expected to come for the parent conferences Tuesday night." Short answer: NO WAY.

It's going to be very interesting to see how this week goes.


Here Goes Nothing

Just printed off a cover letter to go with my resume' so I can fax them tomorrow after school. Maybe my G.P.A. will overshadow my lack of experience. And just maybe some school would be willing to give a fledgling a chance. Thy will be done, Lord--but I'm sure You know I'm stressing about the whole no-income thing right now. . .


The Friday Five: Tiny Highlights of the Week

A lot of stuff had my head spinning this past week. Had a near-miss in a shopping center parking lot last night, realized I'd rather work my "li-bary skilz" in a high school, and yeah, there was all that election buzz. So, TGIF and all that--here are five things that while seemingly small were things that made me happy this week:

1. It's November 7 and I have yet to put the heat on in the apartment. In fact, right now it's about 75 degrees in here and I have the office (dining room) window open with a small fan sitting on the sill to bring in some cooler air. No heat necessary means no heating charges, a good thing when one is an unemployed grad student.

2. I found an issue of Spin (which I used to read frequently in college) that I'd set aside to finish, and came across an article on a band I didn't know when I'd first bought the magazine in August but is now all over the radio--Airborne Toxic Event. In fact, I heard "Sometime Around Midnight" this morning during my drive to school. Good interview with music here.

3. While I'm on the subject of found music, I finally found the tape case and liner notes to a mix tape my late friend J. made for me years ago--1994, I'm pretty sure, because a number of the songs are from this CD. I loved that tape but lost it, and earlier in the week was trying to re-create the list of songs from memory. The ink is very faded, but I think I can make everything out. It's probably the only mix to have Sandy Denny followed by Bryan Ferry. J. had a knack for creating very eclectic mix tapes that actually worked. I can't wait to track down these songs.

4. I found Silk Pumpkin Spice soymilk. Search results showed mixed reviews, but I like it. I think it might make a nice light pie filling, too, if I can modify the old Silk chocolate pudding recipe I have (that they have since changed for some unknown reason).

5. Naps. I am convinced that taking a nap just about every afternoon after school saved my sanity, such as it is. In college it baffled me how easily everyone else fell into bed and napped after being up all night cramming for exams or horsing around, but I couldn't. Maybe I just needed a long commute and some ornery kindergarteners to wear me out.

The nice thing about conking out for a few minutes is that now I'm alert to watch "The Soup." Have a good weekend!

(Don't forget to get your questions in for next week's Friday Five.)


I'm Going to Admit It

I entered the school media specialist program with the idea of becoming an elementary school librarian. Whenever I had observations or analyses to do for my courses, I came to the library where I'm currently student teaching. Now that I'm there every day, and doing student teaching--not to mention coming in with an intensive six weeks of experience--I'm seeing things from a completely different perspective.

I feel a bit stifled by the fixed schedule. I am really frustrated with how much time I spend managing students' behavior. I resent being told afterwards that there are two, three, four special needs students in the class, and I'm not sure how I feel about the way these students are integrated (or attempted to be) with the general grade levels. Very often I come home with a headache--which could be from stress in general and may or may not be aggravated by the building and the commute, but still. . .

I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that most likely a higher academic level suits me better as a teacher-librarian.

And you know what? That feels O.K. More than O.K., actually. It's kind of a relief to find where I fit in.

I just hope there's a job out there for me.


I Don't Know What Time They Started. . .

. . . but shouldn't the people installing the new hallway carpet in the building be calling it a day (night) soon? I can hear them working upstairs, and the van's still parked outside.

Hallway on this floor looks nice, though. Not gonna miss the giant bleach spots and big dark splotches at all. The pattern and darker color should hide a lot more mess.

Of course, now the walls look reaaaaally shabby

(Don't forget to get your questions in.)

I Was Voter Number 1112.

That was at about 3:45 p.m. I voted in this ward when I lived in the community a few years ago, and the memory of how crazy it was in the morning was enough to decide I'd go on my way home from school.

That's right, I had school today.

The students didn't, but there were in-service meetings (why I had to attend, I don't know--didn't see any other student teachers there!), and hey, whaddya know--voters. It was Let's Tell the Student Teacher-Librarian She Has to Come in a Half Hour Earlier but Let's Not Tell Her School Is a Polling Place and Parking Will Suck Day. Whoops!

Most of the in-service didn't really involve me, but I did help the fifth grade teachers plan a research unit, which made them happy. At lunch, I met the other librarians in the district who came for a meeting with Ms. K. They were very nice but it was a little uncomfortable how much they kept peppering me with questions about my time with the Famous Dr. Red. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's innocent curiosity, but Dr. Red's the first person to tell you she's just a normal person and she doesn't "get" all the awe people heap on her. I have to say, though, it was nice to hear other librarians commiserate about how some people can really look down on the profession and think we don't need education and skills to do the job. I'm sure readers here know we don't "shush people" and stamp cards all day. I printed off a copy of the list of all the courses for my program to show the one librarian who asked me about school, and her face just lit up when she saw it. After lunch, the librarians got into their meeting and I did schoolwork , then watched the clock inch its way to 3 p.m.

Voting was pretty uneventful, unless you count the harrowing drive in and out. There oughta be a rule that a polling place have a separate entrance and exit, or at least a driveway that can allow traffic in both directions at the same time. Thought I might lose another bumper this year. Sheesh.

The only real wait I had (outside of my car) was pretty short. They divide us up in four sections by last name, and apparently a group of us in the same surname section came to vote at the same time. Then the jovial old lady recording the voters (and giving me #1112) told me and the weary check-in dude that she had a friend in Florida with the same last name as mine, and that she was giving me the first initial "C."

"It's a 'K,'" I corrected her with a smile.

I don't know if it's legal, but the person who collected my "voter ready" ticket was. . . an eleven year old girl. I guess it's never too early to get kids interested in the process.

Of course, they sprang a question on us, which never fails to exasperate me. At least it was only one. Anything beyond two is kinda annoying.

Well, I pushed all the little buttons I wanted, and then the big "record vote" button, and I was done. Avoided getting flattened in the parking lot, and then headed over the post office to mail a bill payment and buy stamps.

No lines over there for once.


Celebrating My 200th Post

The previous post was Number 200. Yippee!!! Some lovely readers have been waiting for this to come around again--it's Ask Kate P (Nearly) Anything time again. Same rules apply. Here's how the last one went. (How much fun was that?) I would like to have at least five to do a Friday Five post of responses (barring any natural disasters) next Friday (11/14), and most likely if I get more than five good ones I'll answer every one.

Go on. You know you're dying to ask a fabulously crazy person like me something.

No Rolling Pin? No Problem!

When you're Cooking for One, that is.

Hard to tell, but it's an apple turnover. It tasted slightly better than it looked. But not much. I have hopes that someday I'll have the chance to expand my repertoire. In the meantime, where's that Bed Bath & Beyond coupon?


Kate P's Mom Explains '70s Music

Me: Sometime over the summer, I found Season One of The Muppet Show on DVD really cheap. I just started watching it this week and it's even funnier than I remembered. I didn't realize it started airing in '76, so I guess I saw it in syndication. I don't recognize some of the guest stars at all, though.

Mom: Like who?

Me: Well, Charles Aznavour, for one.

Mom: O.K., yeah, I can understand that.

Me: I mean, I know Florence Henderson. . . Man, she has a beautiful voice and everything, but between the weird caftan-tie-dye outfit and the song--totally '70s.

Mom: What was the song?

Me: Something about "the elusive butterfly"--"Do not worry, it will not harm you"? "If you see me on the horizon, I'm going after the elusive butterfly of love"?

Mom: Oh yeah, all the songs were about drugs back then.

(Note: According to this it was really from the '60s. But, lest I misinform or anger any readers, this was a casual conversation over bacon, eggs, and coffee. Mom's pronouncement was still hilarious.)