Monday, December 30, 2013

VSTE Photo Walk

At VSTE in early December, Tim Stahmer organized a photowalk for those who were interested. In spite of the fact that it was ridiculously cold I couldn't pass up this opportunity.

This photo was taken by Tom Woodward, who went along on the photowalk and documented us. He got some other non-us great shots because that's just what he does. I like this picture, in spite of not liking how I look in it, because it is so noir. I could so easily be a private detective wandering the dirty streets, mulling over a challenging case.

These are only a few of the pictures I took on the walk, only my favorites. We started on an enclosed, pedestrian bridge which made for a slightly warmer, very bright start. 

This hangs at the end of the pedestrian bridge, above the escalators there. We all took pictures of it and I'm sure there are better ones, but I liked this one.

On our walk we passed a store. I have no adjective to add to that noun. I have no idea how to describe this store. I took about a dozen pictures there because it was just so astounding. Most didn't turn out the way I had hoped.

Another shot from that store, this one captured the beveled sides of the door that I tried to capture in others and failed. The best part of this one, at the time, was that I hadn't noticed the huge head in the corner until I took this shot. That's how insane this store was.

This picture was taken back at the hotel. If you look really closely you can see my reflection in the ball on the gift. 

Cross-posted here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Moving On Up

After thinking about it for a long time, purchasing a domain a year ago, and finally beginning to give it a try, I'm making the move to my own domain. I've moved all the previous posts and comments over there and for the past couple of months I've been posting to both sites. I intend to continue to do so, but I think I'll close the comments here in the hopes of moving everything over there for the future.

I still have a lot to learn about using WordPress rather than Blogger and about managing my own domain. In addition, I haven't managed to move the pages from here to there so I'm rethinking what I want to do with those. I haven't been happy with how they're set up here but I haven't figured out exactly what I want that to look like.

Anyway, on the off chance that you're like me and still rely on an RSS reader, you might want to change the link from this site to the new one. I hope you'll join me there! I also hope I'll manage to do some more writing in the coming weeks than I've been doing lately.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homework: About Me

It's been almost ten days since Philip gave me this assignment. That's embarrassing but such it is. I've read these posts from several others and enjoyed learning a bit more about them. 

So, 11 facts about me. 
1. I was born in Austin, Texas and grew up there and Dallas until I was about 12. I don't sound like it most of the time, but if I talk with family there the accent comes back quickly.
2. My uncle married a woman from Spain and I was lucky enough to spend two high school summers in Spain with her family (one in Burgos and one in Cordoba).
3. I have one sister and two daughters. My oldest was born the day after my birthday. The youngest's birthday is ten days before my younger sister's birthday.
4. After college I wanted to travel. I needed to find a way to travel and play the harp (as I had only learned to play in college and knew I would lose any skills I had gained if I stopped playing for a while). I got a job on The Royal Viking Sun, a cruise ship. I was Harpist Jennifer, or at least that's what passengers often called me.
5. Playing the piano is therapeutic for me. If my husband gets home and I'm playing he gives me a wide berth.
6. I could eat Mexican food on a daily basis. Freshman year of college I worked with my mom during the winter holiday. I think we had Taco Bell about three times each week.
7. I love musicals, almost any musical. Les Mis and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat are my favorites and I've seen both multiple times. My girls share this love.
8. I come from families of teachers and musicians, although neither of my parents does either. My mom has four siblings, two of them were teachers. My dad has three siblings and all teach/taught. 
9. In college I had a small music scholarship. For it I had to do some accompaniment. Some semesters I accompanied the women's chorus, other times I accompanied vocal students. The voice teacher was Helga Bullock, Sandra Bullock's mother. This was after Love Potion #9 and when Speed was being made. Sandra Bullock was not well known and it was amazing to hear her mother rave about her and see her immense pride.
10. I love water. Growing up in Reston, Virginia I was on a swim team in the summers. In high school I joined the diving team (I was terrible). In college I did synchronized swimming. I think I need to find a water polo team so I can add another water sport.
11. I covet formal dresses and chances to wear them. As a first grade teacher and wife to a college professor, I don't have too many opportunities. (It was a highlight of my time on the cruise ship.)

Next up, questions from Philip for me to answer:
1. If you could take a “dream” vacation, what would it be?
Australia and New Zealand - it's expensive to get to them and a long trip so it seems unlikely to happen but there are so many reasons I want to visit both.
2. Hollywood is casting a biopic about you. Who should be cast in the lead role?
Idina Menzel - I want her because then the biopic can be a musical!
3. The director changed her mind and has decided to create a reality show about you instead. What should the title be?
Oh my, what a terribly dull reality show! How about if I stick with the title of my blog (I don't often create titles I love).
4. What’s your favorite book?
I don't think I could answer that question if my life depended on it. I can pick a favorite movie (The Princess Bride) but a favorite book...I don't think I could even pick a favorite author. Right now Far From the Tree is taking me forever to read but is frequently on my mind (and I've been reading it for months).
5. We take a trip to Yolo, one of those fill-your-own-cup frozen yogurt shops. What all do you put in your cup?
Anything Reese's - peanut butter cups or pieces - both are fabulous.
6. It’s a busy night at the karaoke bar. You’ve got one chance to blow away the crowd and leave your mark. What will you sing?
If I could sing (which sadly I can't) I'd get some friends and do Seasons of Love.
7. Who or what inspires you most?
This is cliche I'm sure, but my family. My husband and my daughters inspire me and make me a better teacher and a better person.
8. What was your favorite class in college or graduate school?
This will pain my college professor husband, but I don't really remember most of my classes. I did take a Mozart class from a professor who was so passionate about Mozart that I came to love him too.
9. If you could snap your fingers and magically change one thing (only 1) about your job, what would it be?
We would not be required to be teaching the same lessons on the same day (or within days). We'd be able to plan to meet the needs of our kiddos.
10. Name one important thing on your “bucket list.”
 Get a PhD.
11. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
My sister gives our daughters a book every Christmas. We wrap them up and put them at the foot of their beds so these are the first gifts they get.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
I can't handle picking 11 bloggers right now. And it seems mean to ask people to do this right now. So, if you have free time during this break and want to share, consider yourself invited! (I can't even handle coming up with 11 questions. I really stink at this homework.)

Friday, December 06, 2013

Big Takeaway from VASCD 13

For the majority of the past day and a half here in Williamsburg I've been inspired, amused, and pushed to think. The conference has been fabulous.
One brilliant colleague at my school is going to ask me, "What's your big takeaway? What are you going to do as a result of this conference?" Great questions. Ones that usually stump me, unfortunately.
Today, though, I'm prepared. There is one question, one big idea that has been bouncing around my head the whole time.
Am I living what I believe and what I value?
This question has resonated with me in so many different ways. I will be exploring those, both ways I do live what I believe and ways I fall short, over the next little while.
It's a question well worth exploring.